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Río Jubuco, Guatemala (area: Low Motagua; click here for the Guatemala table of rivers)

river photo

Class: IV; Ave. Gradient: 18 m/km; Portages: plenty; Length: 8 to 18 km; Time: 2 to 7 hours

Season: June to October; rafts? no; Highlights: pretty waterway; Crux move: El Bálsamo gorge

Water Quality: decent; Water Temperature: warm

PI: Jubuco (434m) or mid-way bridge (210m); TO: Natalia

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

The Río Jubuco offers a long and challenging stretch of whitewater, with the highest average gradient among the runs in this part of the country. It has a Caribbean feel with lush jungle along the river and many palm trees decorating the rugged farmland. The character of the river is class IV/V and is a delight for those who like technical challenges, while still fun for those who are a bit more risk-averse. The lower section allows a short 8 km run and reduces the amount of portaging. The 10 km upper section requires high water, a 4WD vehicle, and a willingness to execute a strenuous portage.

A full description is in the Mayan Whitewater Guatemala guidebook.

Descent History: I ran this solo in October 2014, with 250 cfs at the start.

Flow Notes: The Río Jubuco needs extra high water to go, especially the upper part. On my run, a reading of 2.4 on the Morales gauge gave 250 cfs at Jubuquito and 500 cfs at Natalia, less than ideal.

cfs graph

Nearby Tourist Attractions: not really in this area.

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