SierraRios offers rafting trips down Grand Canyon-type rivers in Mexico, Canada, South America, China, Africa, and other parts of the world.
“My goal is to bring people to these rivers so they will appreciate their beauty and raise their awareness so they will work to protect them,” says Rocky Contos, director of the non-profit organization.
Asked to name the best river for beginner rafters, Contos recommended the Usumacinta, which he described as “the biggest, the most voluminous” river in Mexico and Central America that forms part of the border with Guatemala.
“You’re on the water six days,” Contos said about the SierraRios trip. “You get the experience of camping. You get to run some rapids, but nothing too difficult or scary, and you get a marvelous experience because you’re floating through the rain forest and jungle is just incredible. It’s a corridor with the world’s biggest concentration of howler monkeys—the sacred monkeys of the Mayan people—and you get to camp at two outstanding Mayan sites: Yaxchilán in Mexico and Piedras Negras on the Guatemalan side. So the trip has a lot of cool things about it.”