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Río Huehuetán (aka Kuilco), Upper & Lower, Chiapas, Mexico (area: Pacific coast; click here for the Chiapas table of rivers)

river photo

(photo courtesy of Imagina Rafting)

Class: V-, IV lower; Ave. Gradient: 31 m/km upper, 21 m/km lower; Portages: yes, in upper; Length: 8 km upper + 9 km lower; Time: 6:00 upper + 2:00 lower

Season: June to October; rafts? lower; Highlights: bedrock rapids, scenery; Crux move: 90 footerrrrr....

Water Quality: good; Water Temperature: refreshing

PI: Puente Alemania (elev: 515m), or El Cairo, or in between; TO: Huehuetán

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

The full Huehuetán is a long run with a lot of variety, nestled in a lovely coffee-growing area of the Sierra Madre de Chiapas. There is plenty of granite creeking and boulder gardens, with a basaltic section thrown in, plus a tall waterfall to be portaged and admired. There is plenty of scouting and some portaging involved, especially down through the waterfall. Back when Imagina Rafting operated here, their guides reckoned the Lower to be the best commercial raft run in Mexico.

A full description is in the Mayan Whitewater: Chiapas & Belize guidebook.

Flow Notes: The Huehuetán has a gauge (linked below), but it has been broken for years. Other coastal gauges can give you an idea of trends, and the Finca Argovia rain gauge, shown below, is just upstream. Check the flow near the TO along the road into Huehuetán beforehand (at the coastal highway the river has added flow from the Río Mejapa). My impressions are from a low water run, ~200/750cfs at the PI/TO. The river could be run at much higher flows, but I personally would be hesitant to put-on with more than 600 cfs flowing by at the PI. Historical data from INEGI (from the gauge point) is included below.

cfs graph cfs graph
height graph cfs graph

Accommodations: Go upscale and stay at the finca hotel at Eduviges, otherwise Tapachula is convenient.

Nearby Tourist Attractions: coffee-tourism at the plantations (fincas) near the PI.

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