The Usumacinta forms part of the border between Mexico and Guatemala. River rafting trips on Rio Usumacinta flow through Guatemala’s El Peten region, or “department.” El Peten is the country’s largest and most northern department and lies in the heart of the former Mayan territory. El Peten is home to Tik’al National Park, the first UNESCO World Heritage Site—the largest of all discovered Mayan ruin sites. Researchers have unearthed thousands of structures at Tik’al, including stunning pyramids and temples. Research is ongoing as the 4th century site is still not fully excavated.
Although river trips on the Usumacinta River tend to be four to twelve day expeditions, the river itself is a mellow class II+, making more of a float trip than a true whitewater rafting trip.
Scenery and Wildlife: Remote Jungle
The Rio Usumacinta once acted as an important trade route for the Maya and some trips include side explorations to the remote ruins in the canyon. Nature lovers and bird watchers will enjoy vibrant jungle wildlife like Howler Monkeys, Macaws and brilliant Toucans. Other highlights of Rio Usumacinta river rafting trips are the spectacular travertine falls that send water crashing into the river below.
River trips on Rio Usumacinta are available nearly year ‘round.