We went with Expedition Colombia, who have world class extreme kayakers running the trip. The quality of guides was astounding, especially the trip leader, Mael. On day 1 we hiked for 1.5 hours from San Francisco down to the Santa Domingo and Melcoho river confluence, then rafted 15km with grade 3-4 rapids, into the Rio Verde until reaching the confluence with the Calderas River where we made camp, sleeping in hammocks under fly sheets.
Caroline swam through a little rapid
well, feet first of course.
The story behind the company is that no-one really kayaked in Colombia until Jules and his brother set up their company. The river was going to be dammed for hydroelectric power by a company whose experts found just 56 species of plants that would be destroyed. Expedition Colombia ran other experts down the river and found over 400 species, 15 endemic to the river and 4 previously unknown to science. The project was cancelled. The locals all know the company and every year they run free trips just for the villagers of San Fransisco.
Back to our trip: day 2; 4 hours of rafting on the Samana river (Colombian rivers tend to change names whenever a decent tributary arrives) on grade 3-4 rapids until the Samana bridge, where we hauled out and drove to Rio Claro Valley Nature Reserve.