Project Description

Mulatos/Aros Sonoran Desert Expedition

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One of the finest long-distance wilderness rivers in Mexico, this ten-day trip lies just south of the Arizona border and provides spectacular Sonoran Desert scenery, great side hikes and beautiful canyonlands. The remote wildernesses of the Mulatos and Aros rivers are home to the northernmost jaguar population
(Northern Jaguar Preserve), and the rapids, scenery and camping are on par with the most sought-after rivers of the southwest. The water on the Mulatos and Aros rivers is clean, relatively reliable, and big (average 8000 cfs once the Mulatos joins the Aros). There are fun class III rapids on most days and we can even count on a few exciting class IVs while we are on the Mulatos. You can expect beautiful and lush desert canyons, pristine sandy beaches and large wilderness campsites. In all, this is an amazing trip for first-timers and beginners looking for something out of the ordinary as well as a not-to-be-missed addition for those who have already seen a few of the other great rivers of the Southwest.

Our trips are based out of the small city of Hermosillo, Mx, the capitol of the state of Sonora, which is where we will meet groups and shuttle to and from the river for this itinerary. There are several flights a day from Los Angeles and Phoenix, making travel relatively easy. 

2020 Mulatos/Aros Dates: July 29, August 12

Double Occupancy: $1999/person

Single Occupancy: $2100/person

The first group of 3 or more to book can save 10%!

Call for info: 575-758-2628

*Custom dates available for groups of 6 or more*

Arrival: Please plan to arrive in Hermosillo by the day of or before the trip date. Lodging at Hotel La Finca this night is included in trip fare.

Day 1: Fly in. We will all try to have dinner together on this night and talk about the following day.

Day 2:Morning drive from Hermosillo, stop in Sahuaripa, ready rafts and camp at put-in.

Day 3: Launch on the Rio Mulatos! After a short Geology talk at the nearby gold mine we will make our way downstream and encounter a few class II-III rapids.

Day 4: After our first real riverside breakfast we will launch into the canyon of the Barranca Mulatos and encounter our first class IV rapid (Amargosa). We will camp this night in a beautiful, lush desert gorge. 

Day 5: Finish class IV rapids of Barranco Mulatos (Saucito, Unscathed, Dos Mas), exit the first canyon, and find a nice big camp for the evening.

Day 6: Arrive at confluence of the Mulatos and Aros rivers, which will more than double the streamflow as we make our way onto the Rio Aros! We will camp this night upstream of the small village of Natora. 

Day 7: Brief stop to explore the small village of Natora, resupply any beverages or food items that might run low (cold drinks!) and then make our way down the Aros to Arroyo El Aliso, our first high volume class II-III!

Day 8: Enter Lone Palm Gorge, pass Arroyo Santa Rosa, and Canyon de los Arrieros. We can expect a nice flow of fun and splash class II-III rapids on this day.

Day 9:Pass Nacori gauging station and Canyon la Bocana. We will see our first class III-IV rapids since entering the Rio Aros, rapids Morita and Cajones!

Day 10: Float past the village of Bavispe and run a few last class II rapids. We will possible arrive at take-out on this day, in which case we will de-rig the rafts and prepare for an early departure the following morning.

Day 11: If we are not at takeout we will have a leisurely morning and make our way to the take out. Drive back to Hermosillo, Mx and stay at hotel that night. At this point guide service will end aside from assuring you catch your taxi to the airport the next day!

Overview:

Get ready to pitch a tent, sling a hammock, throw down a pad, and relax! Every day we will prepare and serve you a delicious riverside lunch and our camp dinners and breakfasts are a classic staple of the Far Flung experience, as 40 years in business has not only taught us the principles of reading white-water…but also of cooking and camp ambiance!

***Please let us know ahead of time about any allergies or special food requirements***

Travel and Camp Gear:

Following is a list of required and recommend items for this multi-day tour through the southeastern edge of the Sonoran Desert and the rugged mountains of the Sierra Madre! As part of the trip we will provide waterproof drybags for all of your personal items, camp chairs for fireside relaxation and enjoyment, and tents and sleeping pads. We ask that your bring your own sleeping bags, or you may rent them from us for a fee.

Please click here to look at a more in-depth list of required and recommended gear:

International Trips Pack List

River Essentials:

  • The temperature and climate on the river will be that of mid-elevation southern mountain ranges. Although July and August are towards the end of the rainy season and have a chance of being dry, there is always a chance of rain. Being so, we recommend an ample supply of quick drying clothing, lightweight pants and long sleeve shirts for sun protection, a large hat, extra socks, and sandals with straps for the river and sneakers or hiking shoes for camp and side-hikes.
  • A few lightweight thermal layers for potential chilly nights.
  • A small amount of Cash and copy of your passport
  • Rain top and rain pants can be priceless on the river.
  • A large towel and a hand towel are great comfort items on a multi-day trip.
  • A book or magazine

Passports

  • If you don’t have a passport, we ask that you apply for one immediately in order to allow for ample time for processing and for you to receive it. If you do have a passport, find it and check the expiration date to see that it is valid for at least 6 months from the dates of this trip.
  • Please make a copy of the photo page of your passport and carry it separately from your passport. It is also a good idea to leave a copy with your emergency contact at home. We also request that you send us a copy to keep on file for emergencies during your trip. If your passport is lost or stolen, a photocopy will help the local consulate speed up authorization for replacement. It is recommended that you do not pack your passport in your checked luggage and instead carry it on your person during travel days in case you asked to present it for any reason.

Visas

Visas are not required for U.S. citizens to enter Mexico. If you are a non-U.S. citizen, please check with your consulate and communicate with us. We will require proof that you have received your visa no later than three-weeks prior to trip departure.

Your airline will give you a tourist card to complete while on your flight. Be sure that you have signed both copies of this form. Please have this document and your passport available for the customs officer. Keep your copy of this form in a safe place as it is often requested upon your departure from Mexico.


Mandatory Evacuation Insurance

We require that you purchase emergency medical evacuation insurance to participate in this expedition.

Call or visit Travel Insurance Services at 800-937-1387 for inexpensive options that cover this requirement. We strongly recommend that you protect yourself, your belongings, and your vacation through the purchase of a travel protection plan.

Please consult the following article or explore some different recommended provider options below:

Included

  • All transport pertaining to trip logistics
  • All meals while on the river
  • All required safety and rafting gear
  • Professional guides
  • Lunch on the road on days 1 and 10
  • Hotel Lodging from arrival in Hermosillo to departure post river trip

Not included

  • Airfare
  • Dinner night 1 after flying in
  • Breakfast day 2
  • Guide tips and miscellaneous gratuities to locals (we recommend bringing between 2-3000 pesos in small bills on the river trip for miscellaneous tips)
  • Any Visa fees you might incur
  • Travel Insurance – including mandatory evacuation insurance
  • Any pre or post trip travel or activity arrangements
  • Dinner in Hermosillo after your arrival
  • Dinner in Sahuaripa
  • Lunch/Dinner on drive from take-out back to Hermosillo
  • Sleeping Bags (may be rented)
  • Alcohol (We will supply 3-4 beers/person/day on the river trip for those that request on the information form. There will also be wine and liquor. If you wish to communicate about this with us we can purchase any extra that you might want or do our best to accommodate special requests – either may incur additional fees.)

MEETING PLACE & TIME

You should make arrangements to arrive in Hermosillo, Mexico the day before our departure for Sahuaripa. Accommodations upon your arrival will be arranged for you and is covered by the trip cost. Dinner will be on your own that night.

Final information with details regarding your hotel and a voucher for your transportation from the airport will be sent by email before your trip.

GETTING TO AND FROM HERMOSILLO

There are daily direct flights to and from Los Angeles and Phoenix. There are also many flights that layover in Mexico City or other Mexican cities operated by a number of different airlines. If you plan on driving, just for an idea of time, it is about 4 1/2 hours from Tucson, Az to Hermosillo on a good highway.

Let us know if you’d like assistance with arranging your international flight logistics.

Please do not purchase airfare until your trip has been confirmed by the minimum number of required guests and you have paid your deposit.

July and August in the mountains of the Sierra Madre are usually semi-dry and hot, with a chance of occasional rain showers. In general, daytime highs can be expected to be from the mid-80’s to mid-90’s and nighttime lows in the 60’s and 70’s. Despite the general forecast of hot, dry weather during the time of year that your trip will occur, it is always recommended to pack for unforeseen thunderstorms and be prepared for cool weather.

SECURITY

Your security, health and safety are our highest priorities on any of our trips, but we pay especially close attention to detail on our international excursions.

The violence in Mexico involving the drug trade has been in the news recently. We like to let our customers know that drug traffickers and those associated with them, including law enforcement, are almost exclusively the only ones affected by the violence. Once we are out of the Hermosillo (a very safe city) we will be traveling into a countryside full of friendly people and then into a river wilderness where we will see little-to-no people throughout our trip. Locals from the largest town in that area, Sahuaripa, will be accompanying us both to the put-in and from the take-out, which goes a very long way towards facilitating positive interactions with all of those that we meet. We do our best to employ locals whenever possible so that rafting is seen as a positive event in the community. We may even have one such local person along in training to be a wilderness and whitewater rafting guide. As a result of these precautions, it is highly unlikely that we will be harassed or affected in any way related to the drug war. If you have further questions or concerns please email or call us for more information.

There is a common risk of petty theft while traveling in places where citizens are very poor (such as the Mulatos/Aros area). This is not any different in a developing and newly industrialized nation such as Mexico than it is in any other middle/lower-income destination you might have visited. Again, on occasion we will employ locals to accompany us through certain areas, help with camp chores, and keep an eye on things during our side hikes. Sierra Rios, our partner in this trip, has been working in the area for a decade and has never had any issues.

HEALTH CONCERNS

Overview:
Some potential problems are traveler’s diarrhea, bug bites, colds, cracked skin, foot fungus, and skin infections. While we take precautions to minimize any potential problems it is important to remember that you are the first line of defense for your own good health. Participants should consult the CDC website for information on traveling in the destination country and visit a doctor well before the trip. In addition to any prescription medications you might require participants should consider carrying some sort of anti-diarrheal medication, over the counter pain meds, and scheduling appointments to get immunizations if you feel it necessary.

Traveler’s diarrhea:
One of the most common ailments among tourists in less developed countries is traveler’s diarrhea(gastrointestinal problems).  You should try to minimize chances of getting it by avoiding potentially contaminated foods before the trip. We recommend our guests carry a supply of  over the counter anti-diarrheal medication just as a general precaution.

People:
It is possible to encounter unfriendly people at any point on a trip and we cannot control for this. However, on many sections of river where the threats are known, we employ precautions to keep our groups safe. This may involve hiring local guides to accompany our group and/or hiring security to join the group.

We always seek to keep our groups safe from all negative encounters or assaults. Far Flung Adventures Tours, Inc and SierraRios LLC assume no responsibility if there is damage, loss, or death due to unfriendly human interactions

Mulatos/Aros Rafting Expedition Video


NRS Duct Tape Diaries: Mexico Boating Adventures Part I


Morita Rapid on the Rio Aros


Twelve Days From the Rio Tutuaca

  • This is an account from a different river in the area, but nonetheless is an interesting story that provides a look into the rivers of the area we will be going through.

Center For Disease Control Website