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

river photo

Class: III+; Ave. Gradient: 9 m/km; Portages: a low bridge in Upper; Length: 10 + 12 km; Time: 1.5 + 2.5 hours

Season: June to October; rafts? Lower; Highlights: nice canyon in Lower; Crux move: catching the water

Water Quality: decent; Water Temperature: medium

PI: Finca Candelaria (340m), or CA-2 bridge (250 m); TO: Rancho Marilandia

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

The Río Petacalapa is a scenic little creek that hides a very pretty canyon in its depths. When the water is up it off ers some nice options for intermediate boaters.

A full description is in the Mayan Whitewater Guatemala guidebook..

Descent History: The first known descent was in October 2006 by Bob Vranich, Maarten Bleijerveld, and me. We had 100 cfs at the PI.

Flow Notes: The Río Petacalapa needs recent rains to be runnable, and even then we have always found it a bit shallow. Use the Río Cabúz gauge (when working) to get an idea of trends. The Tapachula rain gauge, shown below, may give some clue to recent rainfall patterns.

cfs graph

Nearby Tourist Attractions: Not much close by.

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