White water rafting adventure on Mamoni river Panama

Booked with Adventures Panama, this Friday was the day of some whitewater adventures, a day tour to ride the Mamoni rapid waters on a rafting.

Whitewater rafting adventures

Booked with Adventures Panama, this Friday was the day of some whitewater adventures, a day tour to ride the Mamoni rapid waters on a rafting.

Waking up at 5:30am, for a hotel pickup at 6:45am, the day started as usual by a beautiful morning room view on the Panama canal, from my room at the Radisson Panama canal hotel.

After double checking that I got all my white water rafting gear in my bag, I went for a quick 15minutes breakfast, as it opens at 6:30am.

Panama: Find local activities

The driver arrived on time, on a large jeep, and the English speaking guide Antonio went out of the car to welcome me.

On the way to pick up the next guest at the Intercontinental Miramar Panama hotel, about 15minutes away by car, he explains me that we will only be 2 guests today for the trip, and we will pick up later a second guide.

The other guest in the car, we could start our trip to Rio Mamoni, near Chepo, a 1h30 drive from Panama City.

The second guest, Paul, is a British man on holiday for a week in Panama, joining his wife which is on a business trip.

He tells me that he booked the trip a few weeks ago, and is lucky that I did also book, as the minimum number of participants is 2.

Stopping half way at a gas station, the second guide, Fabian, enters the car. He only speaks Spanish, and we are told he is very experienced, more than 20 years.

Our group is now complete for rafting.

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Panama jungle jeep adventure

Getting away from the city, we suddenly leave the flat road for bumpy mountainous paths, getting up in the mountain to reach our starting point on Mamoni river.

At one point, we can start spotting some wildlife: looking at the road in front of us, I suddenly see a large black thing, larger that my hand, crossing the road right in front of us very fast, it takes it about 3 seconds.

That's a huge wild tarantula! I am at this moment extremely happy to be in the car, and that we haven't reached our destination yet.

However, reading about it later on internet, tarantulas do not attack humans and are more likely to flee at the sight of any large animal. Ouf !

After about an hour and a half of good talk in the car, we suddenly stop in the middle of the trees.

Antonio says we've arrived. Really? Yes, looking behind the trees, we can guess the Mamoni river.

Last access to phones (no network coverage in the Panama jungle) and to our bags, it is time to put on sunblock, take a few pictures before departure, put on our rafting gear and some insect repellent.

Meanwhile the guides and the driver are inflating the inflatable raft, that we will use for the day for the two of us plus a guide, but also an inflatable  Kayak   on which the second guide will be.

That feels very secure to ride this class 3 and class 4 white water rafting river.

Once all is done, they start sliding the raft and  Kayak   down the hill, and we walk to the Mamoni river.

Mamoni river white water rafting Panama

Our starting point is very calm, a large pond of water in the middle of the Panama rainforest.

After putting the raft in the river, we get the security advices. It is not the first time rafting for any of us, but it is always good to hear them again.

Instructions are very simple, as usual: follow what the guide says, which might paddling forward, backward, stop, or laying down in the raft.

We start paddling slowly, move a few hundred meters away, and wait for the other guide that is on the kayak.

A first opportunity to look around at the beautiful rainforest that surrounds us. The day is still beautiful, without much clouds, and a great sun.

Temperature is about 30°C / 86°F, which is very comfortable, and water is most likely close to that temperature.

When the  Kayak   joins us, we continue paddling, and soon start to feel the first emotions of this trip with some light water bumps.

Mamoni level 3 white water rafting

The first part of the day, which takes us about 2 hours, is mostly class 3 rafting, meaning some rapids with moderate irregular waves, not higher than a few feet / about one meter.

We very often stop paddling and admire the jungle, trying to spot wildlife. We expect to see some monkeys, probably sloths, and eventually iguanas.

The rafting part is generally rather calm, and very enjoyable.

On the raft with us is Fabian, the Spanish only speaking guide, and his 20 years of experience makes marvel at spotting wildlife in the jungle, which is very hard for Paul and myself!

Panama White Water Rafting Panama - Rapid Classification

Whitewater rafting adventures

We suddenly stop on the advice of our guide, and look around: there is a sloth hidden in the tree.

It takes us some time to see it, as it is hidden in a tree.

How could Fabian spot it from 10 meters away or more? He really got skills.

We try to see it well by getting closer, but he keeps hiding behind the leaves.

At another point, we pass a large side rock, and, just behind, a colony of bats start flying away.

Very beautiful!

We start getting hungry, and stop where a small side beach can used to lay down our lunch.

The guides turned the  Kayak   upside down, which made an interesting improvised table.

Lunch is pretty good, with everything necessary to make sandwiches: different kinds of cheese, ham, sauces, tomato and salad. For dessert, cereal bars and fruits.

The lunch in the heart of the jungle takes us about half an hour, which we also use to jump in the water from the top of a rock, and have a refreshing swim.

Lot of fishes are around our eating area, and we throw them some pieces of food to have the pleasure to see them swimming after it.

White water rafting class 4

Time for the second part of the rafting trips, the class 4 rapids ! This means that we might encounter intense and powerful, but predictable water, with unavoidable waves and holes, requiring fast manoeuvrers under pressure.

Our guides switch boats, with the English speaking guide, Antonio, joining us on the raft.

He tells us that we might have up to 5 rapid class 4 passages, depending on the water level, which is pretty low that day, due to lack of rain the previous days.

In case the water level is too low, we'll have to avoid the passages and walk around.

Before each of these rapids, the other guide on the inflatable  Kayak   goes first, scouts, and assess if the inflatable raft can follow or not.

Lucky for us, we can ride 3 of these rapids, and we have to avoid 2 of them, by climbing the rocks on the side, while the guides are getting the raft and  Kayak   down using a rope.

These rapids are a lot of fun, and by following the Antonio's advice, it all goes very well, nobody gets hurt nor falls in the water.

Panama hotel

River rafting on Rio Mamoni

After the rapids, the last part of the river rafting day consists mostly on a lot of paddling on calm water, sometimes getting stuck on the rocks as the water is very shallow.

Antonio tells us that sometimes caimans can be spotted around, but that is not the case on that days, we actually do not see much wildlife on that section of the river.

With a lot of paddling on that shallow water without much current, we start getting tired after this adventerous rafting day trip =)

Arriving at a 200meters long river corridor, we can see at the end a bridge over the water, which will be our arrival point, where the driver is waiting for us.

We see horses crossing the river, and Antonio tells us that it might be school teachers going back home as we are Friday, after a week going to teach kids in rural areas where no roads goes.

Some kids are playing in the water, and a group on the side of the river salutes us.

End of the adventerous trip! Our driver waits for us with drinks, a choice of soda and local beers.

With Paul, we are happy to have one beer after this great day of water rafting, one of the best things to do in Panama City, an awesome day of xtreme adventures Panama!

Back at the hotel, an incredible sunset was waiting for me on the Panama canal.

White water rafting gear

Life jackets and helmets were provided by the tour, along with the inflatable raft and inflatable  Kayak   of course:

It is good to take a swimsuit, shorts and t-shirt suitable for swimming:

Also, I always take with me special swim shoes, and gloves - cycling gloves are good enough:

Gloves also helps making the GoPro with the wrist strap more comfortable to wear a whole day:

White water rafting Panama in short

Doing white water rafting Panama is one of the best white water rafting in the world, for a day trip from a large city.

With only a two hours drive to join the white water rafting Panama adventure, it is pretty convenient to get there with the provided transport to the river rafting Panama location, in the middle of the jungle.

Then, the adventurous white water rafting Panama lasts for nearly half a day, about 4 hours paddling on the water, making it very physical as well.

If you are ever in Panama city, and want some amazing action, do not hesitate to book a day trip of white water rafting Panama in the jungle!

White water rafting Panama booking on Adventures Panama website

Frequently Asked Questions

What level of rafting experience is required for the Mamoni River, and what makes it an exciting destination for white water rafting?
The Mamoni River offers varied levels of white water rafting, suitable for both beginners and experienced rafters. Its exciting rapids, beautiful jungle scenery, and the opportunity to navigate through challenging river sections make it a popular destination for adventure enthusiasts.

Michel Pinson
About the author - Michel Pinson
Michel Pinson is a Travel enthusiast and Content Creator. Merging passion for education and exploration, he iscommitted to sharing knowledge and inspiring others through captivating educational content. Bringing the world closer together by empowering individuals with global expertise and a sense of wanderlust.

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