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Rafting the River Chiriqui out of Bouquete

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Winchester, United...
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Rafting the River Chiriqui out of Bouquete

A word of warning to anyone planning on going rafting whilst staying in the Bouquete area. We booked with Panama Rafters and although the rafting experience was fantastic and the rafting guides could not have been better we had what could have been a very nasty experience.

When we arrived at the River Chiriqui rafting site where there is the access to the River. There was another rafting company 'Chiriqui Rafting Company' who were already there and were allowed access through the gate. There appears to have been a dispute between the land owner and Panama Rafters and they padlocked the gate after the Panama Rafters owner refused to discuss payment/access with him. We were then told that we would have to access the river another way and to follow the guides. He then climbed into the mini bus we had arrived in and drove off leaving us to get on with it. We discovered this other access was a steep 300 ft climb (no pathway) down to the river, it was incredibly dangerous. The two guides with the rafts had to cut through barbed wire to get down and we were left to scramble down the best we could. I slipped and hit my coccyx bone (tail bone) on a rock and have been in terrible pain sitting since which was 3 weeks ago. I class myself lucky as I could have just as easily have broken my leg and there would have been no way out of there other than helicopter.

I was in serious pain all through the rafting but in fairness to the rafting guides they were brilliant and the rafting was outstanding. I would suggest to anyone to make sure that this access problem has been resolved before booking with Panama Rafters. Other people in our hotel had booked with Chiriqui River Rafting and had the same brilliant time rafting without the access problem.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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1. Re: Rafting the River Chiriqui out of Bouquete

Sorry to hear about your experience. Consider also Aventuras Panama, providers of multiple outdoor activities.

Napa, California
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2. Re: Rafting the River Chiriqui out of Bouquete

This must have been resolved, or i went to a different spot. I went with Chiriqui River Rafting on the Chiriqui Viejo, for class 3 and 4 rapids. While the trip to the put-in was 2.5 or mor hours, the scenery thru the mountains was unbelievable. The access to the river was a steep winding rock trail, not for out of shape folks. However, the river was gorgeous, with not a speck of trash, and non-stop rapids for 4 hours. We had a nice rock ledge to stop for lunch, and there was never more then 100 yards of calm water between rapids. Dozens of waterfalls came in on both sides of the rivers, and at least 3 species of kingfishers abounded. We even saw an otter, which they call a "Nutria'. What we call a nutria is a coypo.

salt lake city, ut
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3. Re: Rafting the River Chiriqui out of Bouquete

I just had an experience with Panama Rafters as well. See post The Right Side of the River? The owner of Panama Rafters has not changed. He is still trying to rip off land owners, drivers and clients. I would highly recommend Chiriqui Rafting Co. as an alternative.


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4. Re: Rafting the River Chiriqui out of Bouquete

I rafted with Adventuras Panama in June , on the Mamoni. It is in the lowlands, accessed from Panama City. It is not as swift as the Chiriqui.

My experience was a good one. My co-passenger did fall out twice.

I've rafted quite a few rivers (although quite the novice), and am so grateful there are posts like these. A rafting trip does have the potential to turn very dangerous. I would advise every participant to question the safety precautions in place: are you wearing life rafts? Do they have a spotter in a kayak? Do they give ample instructions prior entering a dicey area? Do they have a first aid kit? Cell phone or satellite phone or radio?

After reading the above posting, I would probably abort the trip in the future if the normal access was not possible, or if the equipment looked sub-standard etc.

I've taken quite a few chances in the past; and taken ill-advice from guides who were young and wanted to please, and didn't mind improvising. Lucky that my "adventures" didn't turn into a nightmare.

Barbara / Panama Boutique


5. Re: Rafting the River Chiriqui out of Bouquete

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