Located in the heart of Puerto Rico's mountainous region known as the Cordillera Central, the Upper Arecibo cuts its way through a steep-walled canyon just above the town of Utuado. Providing roadside access, Route 10 (a major north-south highway that connects the towns of Arecibo and Ponce) parallels the river for most of the section. The run sits in a beautiful canyon lush with vegetation where homes literally hang off the steep walled banks above the river. Cement columns of up to thirty feet form the foundation for these homes and you can literally see the floorboards from the river. This section is different from the downstream reach of the Lower Arecibo. It's a tight and technical creek run, switching between boulder-garden and slot-style rapids with drops of up to six feet. The gradient is fairly consistent except for a steep class V+ waterfall section.
As you approach a small concrete dam, the gradient rapidly increases and it's time to get out and scout the next set: three falls ranging from 18-25 feet drops. In succession: the first falls is ugly and broken but drops into a deep recovery pool; the second falls drops almost on top of the third and is very technical. After this the rapids gradually calm as the river descends into the town of Utuado. If this section is running the upper and lower reaches of the Arecibo should have sufficient water and are worth checking out.
11 years ago
Levels rise and fall quickly, usually runable within a day of hard rain.
Flows are more reliable from April to December with August September and October being the wettest months.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
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