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

river photo

Class: IV (V+); Ave. Gradient: 26 m/km; Portages: 1 or 2; Length: 10 km + Río Naranjo; Time: 2.5 hours + Río Naranjo

Season: June-October; rafts? no; Highlights: narrow creeking; Crux move: careful scouting

Water Quality: good; Water Temperature: medium

PI: Ixtalito (elev: 465m); TO: Río Naranjo highway bridge

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

The Ixtal is a little treat for creekers lucky enough to catch the water. There is a little of everything on the run: narrow IV micro-creeking with some unique features, III boogie-ing, and the run-out is on the larger-volume Naranjo.

A full description is in the Mayan Whitewater Guatemala guidebook.

Flash Flood Danger: high, start early.

Descent History: First and only descent by me, Greg Schwendinger, in September 2007. I saw about 350 cfs at the PI.

Flow Notes: There is no online gauge, though the Nahuatán gauge at Pajapita and the Ocosito gauge at Caballo Blanco, measuring in nearby drainages and shown below, give a hint to relative levels, when working. The flow is not very reliable (especially June to August), so scouting beforehand may save you some wasted effort. Unfortunately there is no simple way to do that. One option is to take a warm-up run on the Naranjo, and hike up from the confluence (the Ixtal joins the Chisná 200m up from their confluence with the Naranjo) to scout. You could also drive in to a small bridge in Finca El Recuerdo to scout, but it's a 40 minute detour (16km from the coastal highway on the main PI road, take a sharp right turn, and follow the rough road 4.5km to the bridge). Another indicator is if you see close to kayakable flows in the Pajapa river (2 to 3 kms from Pajapita) on the drive in, it's looking good for you.

cfs graph cfs graph

Nearby Tourist Attractions: The beach at Tilapa, and the Manchón Guamuchal Wetland Preserve nearby.

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