Copalita River (Río Copalita)
Popular with surfers and river rafters alike, the Copalita River (Río Copalita) is one of the region’s most popular water sports destinations, surrounded by beautiful flora and fauna. From the river rafting opportunities offered inland to the boogie boarding and surfing conditions you’ll find as the river empties into the ocean, the Copalita River is a must for adventurous travelers in Oaxaca.
While you can enjoy the delights of the Copalita River independently, most visitors choose to arrive in the company of a local guide who can escort them safely down the river rapids. Each tour—which can often be adjusted to suit your level and interests—typically includes all the necessary equipment, a safety briefing, and paddling lesson. To maximize your time, opt for a tour that includes birdwatching, mud bath, or ATV experiences too.
Things to Know Before You Go
River rafting experience is not required as instruction is provided, but participants should be in good shape.
Options range from beginner-friendly, calm rafting experiences to advanced rapids rafting trips.
Copalita River rafting experiences aren’t suitable for non-swimmers and very small children.
Bring a change of clothes and other necessities like bug spray, biodegradable sunblock, and a swimsuit.
If you plan on river rafting, wear footwear that will stay on your feet in the water.
Copalita River activities are not suitable for wheelchair users or those with limited mobility.
How to Get There
The Copalita River runs through the state of Oaxaca, emptying into the ocean just 6.2 miles (10 kilometers) down the coast from La Crucecita. Most river rafting experiences begin at least 7 miles (11 kilometers) inland from the coast, usually more, so tours with round-trip transportation from your hotel are the easiest and most common ways to get to your riverside departure point.
When to Get There
The best time for extreme river rafting down Río Copalita is during and immediately after the Oaxacan rainy season, which typically runs from May to October each year. Intermediate and advanced river rafting options are typically available from July to January, while calmer rafting excursions can be enjoyed year-round and allow you to better enjoy the surrounding flora and fauna.
River Rafting on Río Copalita
Rafting along the Copalita River takes rafters through a series of exciting river rapids, from Class I to Class IV rapids. Class I rapids are considered easy—expect fast moving water but few obstructions and small waves—while Class IV rapids are advanced, with intense turbulent water and a risk of unavoidable obstacles and waves. More action-packed Copalita River rafting tours typically require a longer drive time to reach the start point.
- Finca La Gloria
- Chachacual Bay
- San Agustin Bay (Bahía San Agustín)
- Huatulco National Park (Parque Nacional Huatulco)
- La Crucecita
- Maguey Bay (Bahía Maguey)
- Santa Cruz Bay (Bahía Santa Cruz)
- Órgano Bay (Bahía Órgano)
- Playa La Entrega (La Entrega Bay)
- Tangolunda Bay (Bahía Tangolunda)
- Copalita Ecological Park and Ruins (Parque Eco Arqueológico Copalita)
- Zipolite Beach (Playa Zipolite)
- Mexican Turtle Center (Centro Mexicano de la Tortuga)
- Cacaluta Bay (Bahia de Cacaluta)
- La Ventanilla