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You run these rivers at your own risk, fool.

No, really, I hope the information provided in this site increases your safety and fun on the rivers of northern Central America. But you really are on your own out there, so some warnings are in order. E.g., my class I to VI rating system may approximate yours, but is not exactly the same. Not to mention that most of these rivers I've only run once or twice, so you can't take my descriptions at face value, or assume they are up-to-date. As in any river in the world, conditions change: different flows expose undercuts, logs get trapped, rebar gets turned skyward, floods happen.

Kayakers have died on these rivers. Which is scary considering how little they are run. These kayakers looked at a rapid and simply misjudged it. Remember, this is not your local river that has been tried and tested thousands of times.

Change is constant. One of the distinguishing characteristics of tropical rivers is that they are constantly undergoing change, especially due to seasonal flooding. Read my descriptions, for what they're worth. But expect changes. I've seen rivers change their course in one big storm.

Ratings. Even if my description is pretty much up to date, my ratings might vary from yours. This is especially true for rafts. Also, I might call a river class IV even if there's a class V rapid in it, if the class V is straightforward to spot and portage for class IV boaters. Rivers with extreme hazards or extra painful portages are marked with a .

Wood. Logs get trapped all the time in tropical rivers, so be vigilant. Do not take chances with this: scout any rapid that you do not get a good view of from your boat. Remember, these are not rivers that are run often and you do not have the luxury of word of mouth when a dangerous sieve is formed. You are on your own.

Flash floods. Flash flooding is a very real and present danger in the tropics. When it rains, it pours, as they say. Fortunately, it does so generally in the afternoons, and the mornings are usually sunny and safe, so put on early. All bets are off if a large tropical storm or hurricane is in the area, though (see the tips page). Use common sense, gauge carefully your conditions at the put-in, and take a peek upstream from time to time during your run to look for rain clouds. Pay attention to my river descriptions, I try to point out treacherous sections. A good guideline is to avoid running steep canyon sections after 12 p.m.

Time. The times I have listed for each run are very approximate. I often underestimate the time needed, especially for groups. My times also do not account for lots of picture-taking and videoing, or new wood that needs to be portaged, not to mention swims and rescues.

Lingo. I often use PI for put-in, TO for take-out, RL for river-left, RR for river-right.


Disclaimer: all information provided in the mayanwhitewater.com website is provided without warranty of any kind. All decisions you make on and off the river are your own. Do I really need to write that?

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