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Río Matanzas (west), Guatemala (area: Salamá; click here for the Guatemala table of rivers)

river photo

Class: IV; Ave. Gradient: 20 m/km; Portages: none; Length: 1 km; Time: 30 minutes

Season: July to October; rafts? no; Highlights: technical class IV; Crux move: hike out

Water Quality: decent; Water Temperature: not noted

PI: Matanzas dam (1470 m); TO: last curve (1450 m)

Description: (click here for general notes about my descriptions)

This Río Matanzas should not be confused with the larger, better-known Río Matanzas to the northeast. This Río Matanzas starts at the Matanzas dam near the Cobán highway and flows south and west, becoming the Río San Jerónimo and then the Río Salamá. This shorter Río Matanzas has most of its water diverted to a hydroelectric plant so is usually too low to run, but in extra-rainy periods the small dam spills.

A full description is in the Mayan Whitewater Guatemala guidebook.

Descent History: Nils Saubès and I explored this in September 2013, with 150 cfs.

Flow Notes: You will need to eyeball the flow from the highway at km 142.3 (about 300 m south of the turn down to the dam).

Nearby Tourist Attractions: Biotopo de Quetzal.

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