Río Lacanjá offers one of the best tropical jungle wilderness floats in the world. Experience jungle wildlife up close, run dozens of small travertine ledges, and explore the amazing ruins of Bonampak, Lacanjá, and Landeros! The final days of the trip are on Ríos Lacantún and the upper Usumacinta, ending at Frontera, from which you can continue on the Main Usumacinta. This trip is suitable for intermediate kayakers. Some raft passengers can be accommodated.
Río Lacanjá is a small tributary of Río Lacantún, which is one of two rivers forming the mighty Usumacinta. Río Lacanjá flows through the Reserva Montes Azules, a protected jungle reserve with old growth forests and little disturbance. It is one of the few remaining intact jungle areas in Central America. Jungle wildlife is abundant. We will have a local Lacandón guide with us, as stipulated by the tribe.
Our journey will traverse the entire length of Río Lacanjá in IKs, kayaks and rafts. We will spend 7 days paddling down the 86 km of the small jungle river to the confluence with the Lacantún. Enroute, we'll stop to explore the ruins of Lacanjá, Bonampak, and Landeros. On the river, there are numerous travertine ledge rapids up to 2.5 m high, but each has a great recovery pool and can be handled by class III paddlers. There is one portage of a class V+ drop on the lower half. Novice paddlers can come and paddle on the raft. To get a better idea of the trip, watch a video of the 2012 trip.
|Once we finish the Lacanjá, we face 20 km on the fast-flowing but flat Lacantún to the first access point at Quirinqüicharo, then another 30 km to a bridge and access point at Puente Benemérito, where we can have passenger exchanges. Not far past the bridge, the Lacantún joins Río Chixoy officially forming Río Usumacinta, and flows 50 km to Frontera. There are several attractions in this section, including the inscription ruins at El Planchón, the travertine waterfalls at El Chorro, and a small canyon with big water class II rapids. After 3 days on the Lacantun and upper Usumacinta, we'll arrive at Frontera, where we'll rendezvous with others and exchange passengers for the journey down the main Usumacinta. All in all, if you do the entire Lacanjá-Lacantún-Usumacinta, you'll be paddling down 328 km (203 miles) of river over 18 days, a Grand Canyon-length of trip through amazing jungle. [86 km Lacanjá+100 Lacantún/UpperUsumacinta +142 Main Usumacinta = 328 km]
|OTHER ATTRACTIONS: Chiapas is full of natural wonders and Mayan ruins. See this slideshow for a taste of a few main attractions. While you are down here, you definitely will want to visit the ruins of Palenque and possibly also check out some other paddling runs. Greg Schwendinger's MayanWhitewater.com website has descriptions of many runs, including class III Río Chocoljá and class III Río Shumuljá. There may be a few days of class III-V kayaking before or after the trip. Also, if you are competent enough (class IV or V kayaker), you might consider joining Rocky for kayak descents of Ríos Santo Domingo, Paxilhá, Agua Azul, lower Tulijá, or possibly some new exploratories.|
DAY 0: everyone meets in Palenque; night in Hotel Lacandon or other
Depending on the group's goals, it is possible to end the trip at Quiringuïcharo or continue downstream to Puente Benemérito and/or Frontera. If continuing on the main Usumacinta, it is nice to paddle the entire distance.
Palenque (Pal), has an airport and Interjet started service from Mexico City several times per week in February 2014. However, if flying from the USA, it might be easier to fly into Villahermosa.
Villahermosa (VSA), a 2.0 hr drive/bus ride from Palenque. VSA is serviced by United, Continental, American, AeroMexico and other Mexico-based carriers (also as partner airlines). If several of the group are arriving at VSA airport, we'll arrange to pick you up (a little extra fee). If you drive down, you can meet us in Palenque and get a significant discount for use of your vehicle in shuttle.
Tuxtla Gutiérrez (TGZ), the capital of Chiapas, is approximately a 5 hr drive from Palenque. The route between Tuxtla and Palenque passes San Cristóbal de las Casas, a charming colonial city very popular with tourists, and the Cascadas Agua Azul, another of the major tourist destinations in the region.
Cancún (CUN) has international flights from just about everywhere, is serviced by most international US carriers, and generally is the most inexpensive to fly to. Although it is pretty far away (~11 hr by bus to get to Palenque), you would get to see more of the attractions on the Yucatán peninsula, including it's famed beaches, cenotes, and various other Mayan sites (Chichén Itzá, Uxmal, and Tulúm, for example) before or after the trip.
We strongly encourage potential participants to offer the general contribution rate if possible. Special discounts are sometimes offered to folks on our email list, so you are encouraged to sign up (Email List info).
Reduced rates may also be granted to certain participants with more limited financial means. This can be to raft guides, safety kayakers, and experienced oarsmen willing to work on the trip, to journalists or filmmakers who can help with publicity, and to anti-dam activists who will be instrumental in protecting the river. Please send an inquiry if you would like to be considered for a reduced rate, and consider what folks might pay for basic Outfitting Services.
A trip will definitely occur with a minimum of 4 participants. Other launch dates can be arranged for groups of 4 or more. For small groups wishing to minimize costs by sharing some expenses, we can list the additional launch date here tentatively to see if others might be interested in joining to make a full trip.
(2) Alejandro Quiroga (tentative trip leader) is a rafting/climbing/general guide who lives in San Cristobal, has paddled/guided the Lacanjá several times, and co-guided the 2012 SierraRios Lacanjá trip. Alejandro will likely be guiding his 14' NRS raft on the trip with paddlers and gear onboard.
(3) Mario Chambor or Adolfo Chankin (local Lacandon guides). As stipulated by the Lacandon tribe, we will arrange for a Lacandon native to accompany us all the way to the Lacantún. This guide will provide additional information on the tribe's customs, point us to ruins, and describe the flora/fauna of the jungle.
(4) Safety kayaker. To be determined.
.A FEW COMMENTS FROM PAST PARTICIPANTS:
"Just wanted to say thanks again for the awesome trip. I've never been on a jungle river before and now I can't wait to do another one. A really incredible experience." [2012 Lacanjá trip]
"Hi Rocky, Thanks again for a sensational and unforgettable trip. You did such an amazing job organizing. I especially am psyched to have met you and to have another kayak friend/guide to work with. You guiding me off the waterfall was a big highlight... Erik." [2011b Usumacinta trip]
"You led one of the best trips I've ever been on... and I've been on a lot. " [2011b Usumacinta trip]
"Thanks for everything, Rocky! What a blast that all was. When's our next trip?!! -Suzy" [2011b Usumacinta trip]