Mexico - Week of Rivers
DAY 1: Arrival in Mexico (D)
One of our Esprit guides will meet you on arrival at the Veracruz International Airport. Please arrive by 1600h for our 2 hour transfer to our base in Jalcomulco. If you cannot arrive by 1600h, please plan to arrive a day early or we can make alternate "private" shuttle arrangements. It is a pleasant 2-hour journey into the mountains of the SierraMadre. From sea level we make a dramatic rise in elevation to our home in the enchanting village of Jalcomulco. On the way we pass through the coffee plantations of Coatepec, across the plateaus of the Sierra Madre and down through the mango groves of the Antigua River Valley. Arriving in town, we’ll settle ourselves into the pace of village life where generations of families have lived harvesting sugar cane, mangos and trapping langostinos (the giant crawfish the village is justly famous for!). Our home for the week will be in the heart of the village in a classic hacienda called La Villa. Each room is equipped with comfortable beds, private bath and hot/cold shower. The grounds and amenities feature a very traditional style hacienda surrounding an inner tropical courtyard with access to hammocks, a refreshing pool, computer access and wireless internet (lobby area only). Upon arrival, we enjoy a traditional Mexican dinner prepared by the ladies of Jalcomulco welcoming you to their village! An awesome start to an amazing week!
Day 2: Village & Antigua River (B,L,D)
Jalcomulco is an AMAZING whitewater/adventure destination. The town consists of 6 streets running parallel to the river and 6 streets running perpendicular to the river. The river features 100km of class II, III, and IV whitewater, “Jalco” as we affectionately call it is located at the 70km mark. The town has 4 schools, 2 soccer fields, a library, a medical centre and in the evenings antojitos stands (mexican snack stands) and cantinas open up that are, in fact, too numerous to count! Jalcomulco hosts 20 local rafting companies all vying for Mexican rafting customers and one international operator (you guessed it...Esprit). Our 2nd morning starts with a delicious breakfast served along with locally roasted coffee. After breakfast we set off on foot to explore the town and meet the friendly people of Jalcomulco.
The village has 3000 residents (including chickens, dogs and donkeys!). It’s a great opportunity to get a sense of the town, meet some of our local friends as well as stretch our legs before getting into our boats for the next 6 days. After outfitting our boats we aim for a mid morning departure to paddle the lower Antigua River. This stretch of river offers a fun, low intensity class II-III paddle which winds its way through mango groves and sugar cane fields. Everyone gets a chance to get used to their boats, surf a bit, and have some fun. We’ll shake off the winter dust and get you warmed up for the week of paddling ahead.
DAY 3: Paddling the Actopan (B,L,D)
After breakfast, we travel north to the next valley to paddle the Actopan River. The spring-fed, class II-III Actopan bursts from the mossy limestone cliffs having travelled over 150km underground from the mountain of Perote. The put-in is a private nature reserve called an UMA. We tour the reserve’s butterfly nursery, and learn about their animal rescue program. Toucans, parrots, crocodiles and iguanas are brought to the UMA by government agencies (PROFEPA) after being confiscated from people keeping these wild animals as pets. At the UMA they are either rehabilitated for release into the wild or kept securely in captivity for breeding. Our river run starts with a spectacular 7m. waterfall which plunges cleanly into a crystal clear sapphire coloured pool. The next 15 minutes whiz by as the river descends through the “wild mile” of tight and continuous class III whitewater. Lunch is at a “paddle up” riverside restaurant with a traditional feast of quesadillas, rice, beans and fresh local fruit. After lunch the river mellows slightly as we paddle through “chayote” vines (a local vegetable on tonights dinner menu) and mango groves known for arriving one month earlier than in other valleys of the region. Narrow, quick and pristine – the Actopan River is a fun, fast paced river that will have you laughing, smiling and loving Mexico.
DAY 4: Barranca Grande to Amititla (B,L,D)
After breakfast we travel upstream from town to the upper reaches of the Antigua River. The scenic drive will take us up into the highlands surrounding the village of Xico. Dropping down a spectacular put in road clinging to the edge of the mountain, we reach the put in of the Barranca Grande section of river. This is the beginning of our 3-day expedition featuring continuous class II-III-IV whitewater through a spectacular canyon over 300m deep. Our first day is narrow and fast with 18km of continuous whitewater. Although there are a lot of eddies, the main flow never quits... its like one really long rapid! Take breaks often to enjoy the spectacular scenery of the canyon! The canyon walls are adorned by ancient tree ferns a plant species that dates back to the Jurassic. The river cuts a swath through virgin “Cloud Forest” the transitional zone between the alpine upper reaches of the river and the tropical rainforest further downstream. There is no other way to explore this amazing area than by river...Mother Natures Highway! As the whitewater begins to offer more eddies between rapids, we end our day beneath a swinging footbridge that leads to the remote coffee station of Amititla. We spend the night here as guests of a local family camping on their coffee drying platforms.
DAY 5: Barranca Grande to Monte Blanco (B,L,D)
After a leisurely breakfast, we begin our second day of paddling the Barranca Grande. This stretch of whitewater features too numerous rapids to name. Most are class III pool drop rapids with swift moving current tugging us toward our camp. The gorge gradually gives way to mango plantations, coffee fields and other signs of civilization as we make our way downstream, covering close to 28 km of water before reaching our Monte Blanco camp, just upstream of the infamous “four IV’s.” Tonight, you’ll be treated to a riverside dinner prepared by your guides overlooking the river. Our Monte Blanco camp is another special place owned by our friends Alejandro and Manuel May Lovillo. The two brothers built the camp as a community project to provide an outdoor education centre for local schools. They have developed and produced an amazing composting system, have installed solar lighting and have integrated the camp into the local environment. Alejandro, the former municipal president, currently a school teacher brings his student to the river to teach them about the local environment, connecting them with the natural world and to have more fun than sitting in a classroom. Unfortunately, just in front Monte Blanco camp is one of proposed dam sites. Alejandro and Manuel are hoping that tourism will help prevent the dams from destroying their beautiful camp.
DAY 6: Barranca Grande
The “Four IV’s” & Pescados Section (B,L,D)
Our third day of paddling the Barranca Grande begins with the infamous “Four IV’s”. Extra volume of water is added by the Texolo River giving these four technical class IV rapids well deserved reputations! Rapids such as Classe Cinco, The Drop, El Cepillo, La Rana and the newly formed “Secret Rapid” will have you crashing through steep, narrow drops, that make the perfect start to an awesome day of paddling. After lunch we begin our descent of the famous Pescados section of the river. It is the most popular commercial paddling section in Mexico. The Pescados is known for its sharp corners, steep drops and the “Bruja Blanca...aka White Witch”. Our three day paddling expedition ends as we paddle right back into Jalcomulco. Hot showers, a local masseuse and a “temascal” (local sweat/sauna ceremony) await to soothe any aching bodies as we kick back in town. We join our friends Gabi and Mario in their local restaurant for dinner. Later in the evening we will show our photo presentation of our trip so far usually filled with some and the “chills and spills”, scenery, people and magic moments of the trip. After the show feel free to join the staff at La Prueba or The Gecko for a nightcap (or feel free to head off to bed).
DAY 7: Alseseca River (B,L,D)
For our final day paddling we set off to explore the steep creek “waterfall wonderland” of the Alseseca. A 2-hour drive from
Jalcomulco, we head inland past the snow capped peak of Pico Orizaba to the put in of the Tablazo/Roadside section of the river.
Less than 3 km in length, this short action packed river offers some the best and accessible creeking in Mexico. Awesome photo
opportunities abound as we work our way through a series of spectacular waterfalls and slides! Challenging for advanced paddlers yet forgiving for beginners the Alseseca can be enjoyed equally by all paddlers. Each rapid can easily be scouted and walked for those who choose. For those running the most challenging rapids our Esprit staff have “got your back” as they set up intricate safety systems including “live bait” rescue. This exciting and rewarding day is capped off with a final banquet dinner, icy cold Margaritas, tequila sampling and the video presentation of the week in the home of Jim, Barbara and Taïgan the owners/directors of Esprit.
Day 8: Departure for Veracruz
As we enjoy our final group breakfast we laugh and remember the highlights of our trip. Then at 0800h it’s back to Veracruz to either catch your flight or enjoy an afternoon and evening in the coastal city of Veracruz. Here we will say our goodbyes and make plans for our next adventure! For those staying an extra night in Veracruz there are many fun things to see and do including visiting the old Fort of San Juan de Ulua, the aquarium, a boat cruise out to Cancuncito and la Isla de Sacrificios or kick back with a cerveza in Los Portales!
Private Departures/Custom Trips Available
Interested in a custom trip for just you and your friends? Contact us for a private trip where you choose the rivers (Class 2-5).
We have years of experience running the best rivees that Mexico has to offer. Contact Jim Coffey directly at firstname.lastname@example.org . Private trips can be booked with a minimum of 8 paddlers.
Feb. 3 2018 - Feb. 10 2018
Feb. 10 2018 - Feb. 17 2018
$1750 CDN if booking a group of 5
or more! ($1375 USD)
Custom dates available on request!