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

river photo

Class: IV-; Ave. Gradient: 14 m/km; Portages: none; Length: 12 km; Time: 2 hours

Season: June to October; rafts? yes; Highlights: getting "mojado" at the border; Crux move: avoiding the smugglers

Water Quality: poor; Water Temperature: warm

PI: Puente Talisman (elev: 335m); TO: Rancho Marilandia

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

The Río Suchiate forms the border with Mexico near the Pacifi c coast. The Main section starts at the border crossing nearest Tapachula, Mexico, known as Talisman or El Carmen (the town on the Guatemalan side). The gradient is consistent in this section and forms long rapids with short pools in between. The river stays open and wide from here on down, and the rapids are fun, though have little to distinguish themselves from each other.

A full description is in the Mayan Whitewater Guatemala guidebook..

Descent History: Probably rafters from Tapachula were the first to run the Suchiate, but I don't have the beta. I have run it two times, the last time in 2010.

Flow Notes: The Río Suchiate always has some water in the rainy season but I like to see at least 800 cfs (the more the better). Conagua (Mexico’s National Water Commission) has a gauge at Talisman, though it has been broken for a long time. The Tapachula rain gauge, shown below, may give some clue to recent rainfall patterns. The more water, the better, on this run. In dry spells rafters might have a hard time getting down.

cfs graph

Nearby Tourist Attractions: Not much close by.

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