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Boquete Travel Guide

White-Water Rafting

Chiriquí has Panama's best white-water rafting, with many rivers to choose from during the rainy season (June–November). Only one river—Río Chiriquí Viejo—is navigable during the December–May dry season.

The Río Chiriquí Viejo is considered Panama's best white-water river. Of its two rafting routes, the harder is the Class III–IV Palón section, which requires previous experience and can become too dangerous to navigate during the rainiest months. The easier, Class II–III Sabo section is good for beginners. Chiriquí Viejo is a three-hour drive from Boquete each way, which makes for a long day. Unfortunately, it's threatened by government plans to dam it for a hydroelectric project. The Río Estí is a Class II–III river fit for beginners that is closer to Boquete and doubles as a good wildlife-watching trip. The Río Chiriquí is a fun Class III river with one Class IV rapids; it's a 90-minute drive from Boquete and appropriate for beginners. The Río Gariche and Río Dolega are Class II–III rivers nearer Boquete and suitable for beginners.

Boquete Outdoor Adventures. Boquete Outdoor Adventures offers multisport trips that combine rafting, kayaking, island tours, hiking, and tree trekking. Plaza Los Establos, Av. Central, Boquete. 507/720–2284. www.boqueteoutdooradventures.com.

Chiriquí River Rafting. Chiriquí River Rafting makes safety and eco-friendliness a priority. The company offers trips on all area rivers ($85–$105); the Río Chiriquí Viejo trip is the most expensive. Av. Central, across from park, Boquete. 507/6879–4382. www.panama-rafting.com.

Panama Rafters. Panama Rafters is a small, American-owned company that runs easy rafting trips on the Chiriquí and Majagua rivers, and a more expert excursion on the ChiriquíViejo; trips cost $75–$90, depending on the section and include transportation, lunch, river shoes, and towels. Plaza Los Establos, Av. Central, Boquete. 507/720–2712. www.panamarafter.com.

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