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Río Ocosito, Upper, Guatemala (area: Pacific West; click here for the Guatemala table of rivers)

river photo

(photo by Gary Lee Chrisman)

Class: IV; Ave. Gradient: 23 m/km; Portages: a few; Length: 9 km; Time: 3:00

Season: June to early November; rafts? no; Highlights: beautiful narrow gorges; Crux move: avoiding the class VI slots

Water Quality: good; Water Temperature: cool

PI: coffee plantation (elev: 605 m); TO: Río Ocos bridge (400 m) near San Luis

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

The Upper Río Ocosito is a Pacific coast classic and the ultimate in continuous gradient creeking. It has more blind turns into narrow mini-canyons (and other unique features) than any other class IV creek that I know. The jungle scenery is fantastic too! The rapids do change a lot year-to-year, though, so scout carefully.

A full description is in the Mayan Whitewater Guatemala guidebook.

Descent History: First descent was on 25.8.03 by Greg Schwendinger. It's been run a handful of times, with up to 400 cfs at the PI.

Flow Notes: There is an online gauge, shown below (currently out-of-order?), but it's downstream at Caballo Blanco below the confluence of the Nil/Xab so there's no definite correlation. In 2012, a reading of 0.8 gave about 1000 cfs at the TO, which is a good healthy flow. The gauge on the parallel Río Nil also is a helpful relative indicator. The Río Ocosito holds its water better than most coastal drainages, and the water channels well, so you're pretty sure to have enough water July through October. Anyway you can scout the river from the TO easily; if it looks borderline, I say go for it, since the best/first half necks up nice. The second half is wider and shallower, so when in doubt, be prepared to TO at the San Luis bridge. The new El Manantial hidro project upstream will have some effect on flows but it is not clear what effect.

cfs graph cfs graph

Nearby Tourist Attractions: Santiaguito Volcano (active); Takalik Abaj Mayan ruins; Xocomil/Xetulul water/amusement parks; Patrocinio nature reserve.

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