Trip Reports

Boat Reviews

Articles & Tutorials

Mexico Trip Report '06/'07

Our most recent trip to research for "The River Gypsies' Guide to North America" took us south of the border to Mexico. We decided at the last possible minute that a trip down there was needed, since Mexico is a North American paddling destination with plenty of whitewater. We decided to explore the Eastern Slope - the Sierra Madre Oriental - in the states of San Luis Potosi and Veracruz. Here's the report:

Deeper into San Luis
Having warmed up a bit on the Micos, we headed farther up the drainage by about 75 minutes to the Salto. The Salto and Micos are both sections of the Rio Valles. Salto is fed by a hydro plant upstream, and is a step up in difficulty and commitment from the Micos. While the Micos crashed briefly down one short gorge, the Salto runs for several miles over many travertine ledges.

The run starts out in the diversion channel that the hydro plant puts the water into before it returns to the real riverbed. This makes for a fast, continuous 1/4 mile, ending in a pretty good drop where the river dumps back into the real riverbed.

Boof left, or go really deep in the hole!
Photo by Ben Edson,

The pool that you land in when you re-enter the real riverbed dumps immediately off a clean 20+ foot waterfall. It's tricky not to boof it.

Andria shows us how it's done.
Photo by Leland.

Leland flattening it out a bit too much.
Photo by Ben Edson,

Ben putting his bow down.
Photo by Leland.

A few miles and a TON of 3-10 foot travertine drops downstream, there was one more pretty good sized plunge. We looked around for a while before we figured out where to run this one. Ben had already lowered his boat and walked around when I found this slot back in the bushes on river right. I'm still not sure where it is regularly run, but this line worked pretty well.

Leland gives it a go.
Photo by Ben Edson,

Emski taking the plunge.
Photo by Leland.

Just below this drop, there is a nasty new rapid formed when a travertine ledge collapsed. The new route looked really sketchy - the lip was guarded by trees on the right, and the HUGE hole was backed by an enormous rock (the old ledge that fell over) on the left. We all portaged. There was one more quality drop before the Salto El Meco - a 100 footer that has been featured in a few paddling vids.

Emski on the final drop.
Photo by Leland.

Don't slip on the steep Salto takeout - 100 footer right below!
Photo by Ben Edson.

Leland looking at the top bit of Salto El Meco.
Photo by Emily Mahowald.

Salto was so fun that we stayed and got another run on it the next day!

Stay tuned for part 2 of the River Gypsies' Mexico trip report -
Santa Maria & Alseseca!!