Good Central American routes?

My girlfriend and I are planning a trip to Central America over Christmas and have been trying to scout out possible packraft routes. We are currently zeroing in on Honduras and/or Belize as the most likely destinations but are open to other ideas.

We’re interested in one to seven-day trips, preferably involving both raftpacking and packrafting, and we probably aren’t up for anything more challenging than Class II with patches of Class III. Trips requiring guides for the hiking sections are okay. We’re especially intrigued by the prospect of some cave rafting but we aren’t sure whether it’s at all feasible to do it self-guided.

Anyone have any suggestions?
Tom Moran

Nothing to add about a route, but I have been to Belize and it was very beautiful, friendly people, good food, great beer, amazing scuba diving, and I would definitely love to return and backpack and packraft through Belize!

Erik Nielsen, who’s a prof at Northern Arizona University, did Peace Corps work in Honduras, near the Mosquito Coast I think. He and I had talked about a neat route where you’d start on the west side of the mountains and hike over and float this river that goes out to the Mosquito Coast. Can’t recall its name. But I think it’s in a Biosphere reserve and is very scenic, clean and would be fun. Jaguars, friendly people, tapers, primary forest, the works.

It should show up on a map of Honduras’s east side, if I’m getting my countries right.

Alos try looking for Erik’s email at NAU – he’d likely reply to a query as he knows about packrafts, too.

Yea, Tom, it’s the Rio Planato. Google that…

Erik sent me this:

The rio platano is a 8-10 day trip. FYI this is a friends outfitting company with an itinerary for the trip;

Other rivers on the North coast are described at these links;

Thanks for all the advice. Unfortunately the Rio Platano is generally considered a weeklong float, minimum, and we don’t have a big enough chunk of time to dedicate to it. The other links were useful though.
Tom Moran

I had a look at the Rio Platano in Honduras as a possible remote river journey, but then saw a photo of about four of five good-sized rafts lined up on the shore, ready for a trip. Bit too crowded for my purposes… I think it’s paddled pretty regularly these days. Probably very pretty through there though.

Kevin Casey

Having just come back from a packrafting trip in central America, I’d say the Rio Bocay and Rio Coco are pretty remote… and really fascinating if you want to see something of the Mayangna and Moskito people who live in the area. A few fun rapids to shoot too but nothing too scary!
We only met 2 other non locals during the 10days on the river - they were Americans running a medical program in the area. In the 4 months they’d been in the area, we were the first tourists they’d seen on the Rio Coco.

I’d highly recommend it!