Is Los Patos in the Dominican Republic the shortest river in the world?

Dominican Republic, English, Journal

I heard a lot of people in the Dominican Republic talking, that Los Patos is the shortest river in the world. But is that really true or just a fishy story? The best I could do was to find it out myself and visit the place. And I was not only surprised to see (one of the smallest) rivers of the world, but also what all happens there during a normal evening in the week.

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Approximate reading time: 5 minutes

Some short facts about a short river

‘Los Patos’ means translated from Spanish ‘The ducks’. Why did Dominicans call this tiny short river ‘The Ducks’? They did it because there were a lot of ducks swimming. Very creative and quaint name-giving.

Los Patos is 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) away from Paraíso and some 38 kilometers away from Barahona in the Southeast of the Dominican Republic. You’ll need definitely a car to get there. Going with public transport from Barahona is a real challenge for daredevils I would not recommend.!1m14!1m8!1m3!1d3621.9344065238843!2d-71.18351668703377!3d17.959072224180566!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!3m3!1m2!1s0x8ebaf8ad40a06bf5%3A0x96acf33da7fe92d8!2sLos%20Patos!5e0!3m2!1sde!2sdo!4v1600480711078!5m2!1sde!2sdo

Depending on the tide, Los Patos in the Dominican Republic has a length of 61 meters (about 200 feet) the shortest river on the island. That’s a short introduction with some short facts. But there’s not much else to write about…but…Wait!

A river with only 61 meters in length? Is Los Patos in the Dominican Republic the smallest river in the world? Let’s find it out!

Where is the shortest river in the world?

When I wanted to find out about the shortest or smallest river in the world, I found much divergent information. Different websites seem to know about the shortest river in the world. The only problem is, that their answers differ and several rivers claim to be the shortest in the world. Usually, these types of official records are a matter of the Guinness World Records. Unfortunately, these guys seemed to stop listing that type of notable record for whatever reason:

Starting in 2006, the Guinness Book of World Records did not list a category for the shortest river.

And until today, there is sort of wrangling going on between two US-rivers who claim to be the shortest river of the world. Sounds to me a lot of controversies for a simple accolade whose champion isn’t even able to hang it on the own wall.

The Roe River measures an average 201 feet in length.

201 feet from the imperial system are 61 meters in the metric system. More or less the same length as Los Patos in the Dominican Republic!

Los Patos
Balneario Los Patos in Barahona. No sand, but pebbles at the beach. Is that the smallest river in the world?

Is Los Patos in the Dominican Republic the shortest river in the world?

My final answer is No, it isn’t. Los Patos in the Dominican Republic is not the shortest river in the world. There are five rivers in Europe which have a shorter length than Los Patos. Seems like, the shortest river of the world is Kuokanjoki in Finland with 3.5 meters (11.48 feet) which connects two lakes. Looks also quite funny in Google Maps, if you ask me. And if these 3.5 meters will be ever beaten, I’ll eat my hat!

What to do at Los Patos?

Well, after all the formalities it’s now time to give some insights and valuable content about the actual site. You probably clicked this article because you wanted to see also some photos and videos. I gladly show them to you and report what’s going on at Los Patos.

I arrived very late around 5 pm at Los Patos. Sun was already setting and it was getting dark. But not too late to take a fresh bath in the river. Some Dominicans kids took the term ‘taking a bath in the river’ a little bit too literal…

…and came with their whole bathing equipment while the parents were sitting at the same time in the plastic chairs drinking a cold beer.

Yes, cold beer! It was already time for cold beverages, as the day was already advanced. Before it was getting too dark, I still wanted to take some photos and record some videos. But from what exactly? No matter, if it is the shortest river in the country or of the world. There isn’t pretty much to do at Los Patos. It’s simply too short to offer some action. The best you can do is to sit your ass on a chair in the shallow waters and do the same as the Dominicans do. Nothing.

Loitering around

Drink a beer. Relax in the shade in a plastic chair. Let the river flow. Sit at the ‘Balneario Los Patos’ and enjoy the Caribbean. If you can. A lot of people are present in the evening and noisy Dominican music roared from the boom boxes to fill the whole area.

So I decided to walk a little away from the sound and waded in the fresh and clear water. I was curious where the shortest river ends. Little fishies are swimming inside of the shallow waters and even little ducklings follow their mama duck. I guess, that the Dominicans were right to call their river after the ducks.

But then I saw a pretty strange scene a few moments later and had to look twice to be sure.

@Los Patos in the Dominican Republic
Why are the two cars there in the river?

I saw two cars in the river. My first thought was, that these trucks were stuck in the uneven and slippery terrain and couldn’t drive any further. But I was wrong. The cars were on purpose parked there. To wash them.

A short walk in the smallest river of the Dominican Republic

Quite sad to observe, that people are washing their dirty cars in the river. In the end, Los Patos disembogues in the Caribbean Sea. Not only with freshwater, the freshwater from Los Patos is enriched also with all the shampoo from the spa visitors and lubricous dirt from the vehicles.

To not end this article with a sad memory of just another ecologic delinquency in the Dominican Republic, I’ll put next a photo of the beautiful sunset with damask rose hue.

Los Patos in Barahona
A very scenic Caribbean sunset @Los Patos in Barahona

Good news: Los Patos is not only called the smallest river in the Dominican Republic, but also the adjacent beach. That makes it easier to remember. I wrote another article about the following sunset with even more beautiful pictures at the beach. Check it out and let me know what you think about it!

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