Mexican Whitewater

Huasteca Campground
Cd. Valles, San Luis Potosi, MX
See map: Google Maps
Start Time: 
Saturday, December 26, 2009 - 5:00am - Sunday, January 3, 2010 - 9:00pm

If the recent cold-front's got you Jonesin' for some tropical kayaking, the come with us to Mexcio. Some of the best whitewater in the Western hemisphere is just a few hours South of San Antonio, TX.

You've probably heard me talking about these trips in my Intro to Kayak and Intro to Whitewater clinics.  You may have even seen some photos or YouTube clips from last year's trips.  If you haven't seen the photos yet, check out this gallery!

My goal is to get aspiring whitewater kayakers to the point where they can experience one of the most beautiful places on earth. If you've been through my Intro to Whitewater clinic, you're pretty well prepared for this awesome next step.

The trip will be from Dec. 26th through Jan 3rd. Briefly, we'll leave ABQ early on the 26th, and drive to San Antonio, where we'll meet up with the US Jr. Olympic Team Coach and his crew. We'll leave San Antonio early on the 27th, cross the border at day-break, and reach our base-camp a little after Noon on the 27th. We'll paddle the Lower Micos the first day (similar to the Racecourse....but through a Tropical rain-forest)....and that's just the warm-up.

We'll celebrate New Year's Day 2010 in style...paddling, of course! Arguably, the most awesome paddling trip you'll take in 2010, but lets not get ahead of ourselves.  We'll wrap the trip up on Jan 1, 2010, and begin our way home early on Jan. 2nd. We'll get back to San Antonio Saturday evening, and continue back to Albuquerque Sunday. We typically arrive back in ABQ between 7 - 10pm.

The cost for the trip is $700, which includes guidance through a variety of world-class rivers and intermediate to advanced whitewater instruction. Food and camping are not included, and travel cost is shared. Plan on another $300-350 for all food, camping and travel.  Other companies charge between $1400 - 2400 plus travel for the same week-long trip.  We chose not to be all-inclusive because (1) camping and meals are incredibly cheap in Mexico, (2) all-inclusive trips limit what we can do on and off the river and (3) we understand some people are on a tight budget...others are not. Covering your own meals and lodging is easier for everyone. 

Some of the most fun is exploring unique restaurants, or enjoying the hospitality of a home-cooked meal prepared by the land owners and their families.  Many land-owners have developed campgrounds for kayakers, and their meals are incredibly delicious.  These privately owned campgrounds are much safer and provide logistical support, like running shuttle, to make our days more enjoyable. As for "exploring unique restaurants in Mexico..." - I can say with certainty, the best Fillet Mignon and "lemonade" (aka - margarita) I've ever had was found "exploring unique restaurants"....and it cost a whopping $7USD.

They don't call it 'City of Valleys' for nuthin!  Within an hour of our base-camp, we'll have multiple rivers and multiple sections to paddle. What we do each day, depends largely on the overall skill of the group.  El Salto starts with a 165ft waterfall and ends with a 110ft waterfall. Between the two, are 26 travertine waterfalls and slides, ranging from 3 - 33ft. Don't worry, it's easy, and it's optional. Rio Tampaon starts at the base of a 360ft waterfall (the tallest in the region), which we've rappelled in the past, and is the best intro to "big-water" (high volume) kayaking I've ever experienced.  Ojo Frio is a 3-mile run with gradient of 110ft/mile (the Racecourse's gradient is 32ft/mile). It sounds tougher than it is. It's just a series of travertine stair-step waterfalls, 3-15ft tall, every 100-200ft apart...for 3 miles.  This is a great intro to creeking, Plop-drop-style.

We can't forget about Las Pozas, famed Sir Edward James' world famous resort. Words can't describe what he started, but never finished, or what he was thinking along the way.  I'll fill you in though; Have you ever seen M.C. Escher's drawings of ladders, stairs and waterfalls that seem to defy gravity?  Well, Edward James hired the most eccentric artist of his time to replicate that effect. "Steps & Falls."  As the illegitimate son of Kind Edward VII, James was given hundreds-of-millions of dollars, to simply "go away."  He ended up in Xilitla, S.L.P. where he spent his fortunes expressing himself through his art, and extremely lavish parties for the rich and famous of his time. Google Las Pozas for the rest of the story....or better yet, come with us and see for yourself.

A lot of people are concerned about visiting Mexico now. Understandable. 90% of the violence in Mexico is in Juarez and Tijuana, and we'll be no where near there.  San Luis Potosi is the state we visit, and we'll base camp in Ciudad Valles (City of Valleys). Cd. Valles is about 200k people, big enough to have just about anything we need, yet small enough to easily navigate to the best markets and restaurants. Their whole economy is based on eco-tourism....yet, it's not like Puerto Vallarta or Cozumel; it's rivers and waterfalls, canopy tours, zip-lines, caves, ruins, etc. We cross the border at McAllen, TX, a small and easy crossing. We cross first thing in the morning, in broad daylight, so we beat the lines, and can be deep into S.L.P. by mid afternoon. 

Passports are required. No question. Don't leave home without it!

1) A $300 non-refundable deposit is required to reserve your spot.  This deposit is non-refundable, and is non-transferable. If you're concerned that you may need a refund, consider Traveler's Insurance. I'll send you a receipt, which you'll need to file a claim should you be unable to attend.
2) The trip is booked on a first-paid, first-reserved basis. Once your deposit is paid, your spot is guaranteed.
3) The balance of the trip is due at the start of the trip, Dec. 26th.
4) The trip is limited to Ten people

I'm sure you'll have questions, so please shoot me an email, and I'll answer them ASAP.


New Mexico Kayak Instruction, Inc.
505-217-2187, office
505-803-2201, cell

Latitude: 22.097683
Longitude: -99.138983

These GPS coordinates take you to the Huasteca Campground; our basecamp. For fun, go to Google Earth or Google Maps and enter these coordinates. Switch to Satellite view, and zoom in as close as you can. You'll see our campground, with the circle-drive. Pan over to the river then up stream (North/Northwest). First, you'll see the series of rapids on the Lower Micos. Then you'll get to the village of Pogo-Pogo (which may not be marked on Google). This is the base of the Upper Micos. Continue panning up-river and you'll see each of the 6 cascades of the Upper Micos.

$700.00 Before Tax

My learning curve has been exponential. I never imagined I would learn this much, so fast!

Chuck Washington  -  Resident MD, UNMH

Frequently Asked Questions

A non-refundable deposit is required to reserve your spot. The deposit is non-refundable, and non-transferrable. We gladly accept Visa, Mastercard and Discover over the phone.  Checks can be made payable to:

"NMKI" (New Mexico Kayak Instruction)
5800 Osuna Rd NE #64
Albuquerque, NM 87109

Please let us know when your check is in the mail so we can be looking for it.

Classes are booked on a first-paid, first-reserved basis, so mail your checks early, or call 505-217-2187 to pay by credit card.

The non-refundable deposit goes to reserve your spot and cover certain fixed cost, like pool rental, insurance and assistant instructors. It's a two-way guarantee that you will do your best to attend, and that I will save a spot for you, provide you with a properly fitted kayak, and provide assistant instructors as needed, to keep the Student to Instructor ratio in check.

If you cannot attend, try to find someone who can take your spot, and work the deposit out between the two of you. They should contact me as soon as possible to ensure space is avaialble, and provide me with their height and weight, so I can bring the right sized kayak.

If, and only if, a class is full, can the deposit be refunded, or transferred to a different date.


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