river adventures

Explore the Rivers of Ecuador

With the Andes Mountains rising to over 5,000 meters and falling steeply down to the Amazon basin and Pacific coast, there are many fine rivers that offer all grades of white-water rafting and kayaking. There are many experienced companies offering whole-day excursions and extended multi-day trips that take you well off the beaten track . . .

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Name Information Important Duration
Baños 1 Day The tour will start early in the morning in Baños where we will drive for about 40 minutes to the river. Along the way, you can see several waterfalls and the incredible landscape of the Sangay and Llanganates National parks.
  When we arrive at the river you will be given a safety talk, explaining everything you need to know about rafting such as paddle commands, and other tips to keep the group safe once in the water.
  After the rafting tour, the car will be waiting to drive you to a nearby restaurant where you can eat a well-deserved lunch before we return back to Baños. You should arrive back at around 2 pm.
  The Pastaza river has two sections suitable for rafting. The level III+ will be from La Penal to Madre Tierra villages, and the other section is known as upper Pastaza and goes from San Francisco to Topo.
  The level 3+ route can be taken all year round, while the level IV is only open during the summer from August until May, and sporadically in winter.
  What to bring:  swimsuit, towel, sunglasses with retention strap, baseball cap, sunscreen and lip balm, insect repellent, personal water bottle
Tena 1-Day The trip begins at 8.30 in the morning. You will drive into the jungle for about 45 minutes to our put-in site near the village of Cando.
  Before setting off we will fit you with a life jacket and helmet, give you a comprehensive safety briefing, introduce you to your guide, and then train your team in the paddling techniques needed to navigate our way down the river. Once ready the boat will push off from shore and within moments you will find yourself being drenched in the first rapids, Pimpilala being one of the biggest. After this first shot of adrenaline, the fun continues as you crash through walls of whitewater, explore a hidden canyon, drift silently along sheer river cliffs, and take a swim in the refreshing waters.
  During the trip, you will stop on an expansive beach by the side of the river for a delicious picnic lunch that includes fresh tropical fruits and is served with soft drinks, juice, and water. At the end of the trip, you will celebrate a great day out with a few ice-cold beers or sodas. The drive from the take-out back to Tena takes about ten minutes. Arrival time will be at approximately 4 pm but may be earlier or later depending on the river level.
  What to bring: Swimsuit/shorts, T-shirt, tennis shoes/river sandals, Sunglasses (with retention strap), baseball cap, Sunscreen, insect repellent, Towel, dry change of clothes
Upano River The trip starts with travel from Baños to Macas. Drive to the first night camp. You will have an orientation briefing from the trip leader and meet the guides.
  Days 2 – 3: We begin with a comprehensive safety briefing and instruction in paddling techniques. Then we’ll launch our rafts with camping equipment and fresh supplies onto the jungle waters. During the day you will take time out from the action to explore the edge of the jungle, venture up to cascading waterfalls or simply drift through the calmer stretches in awe at our surroundings. At night you will camp on sandy beaches by the side of the river and enjoy an excellent meal in an extraordinary restaurant.
  Day 4: After a relaxed morning in the final camp you will raft a short distance to the take-out point and drive back to Macas then back to Baños where you will arrive around 7 pm
    What to bring: Swimsuit/shorts, T-shirt, tennis shoes/river sandals, Sunglasses (with retention strap), baseball cap, Sunscreen, insect repellent, Towel, dry change of clothes
Quijos The day starts early at around 7am in Quiro. You will then travel east up across the páramo and down through beautiful cloud forest to the base in the Quijos Valley.
The trip will take about two and a half hours. After a short drive to the put-in, the Trip Leader will give a thorough safety briefing and conduct a swim test. Then you’ll split into groups for an intensive in-boat paddle practice with your guide. The first part will be more of a warm-up before the raft becomes a little more interesting and technical. We take on the very same rapids that challenged two hundred and fifty of the world’s best rafters as they battled it out in 2005 to be crowned World Champions. But don’t panic – it was our years of experience running the Quijos that convinced us to invite them all to compete on this truly remarkable river. So rest assured you can be in no better hands.
  You will raft for around 2 hours. During the trip, you will stop by the side of the river for a snack and then have a delicious picnic lunch including fresh tropical fruits and served with soft drinks, juice, and water. After lunch, we head back to Quito. Arrival time will approximately be 6.30 pm but may be earlier or later depending on the river level and traffic conditions.
  What to bring: Swimsuit/shorts, T-shirt, tennis shoes/river sandals, Sunglasses (with retention strap), baseball cap, Sunscreen, insect repellent, Towel, dry change of clothes
Jatunyacu and Jondachi Rivers Our journey begins heading east from Quito through the Inter-Andean valley, then gaining elevation until we reach the continental divide at 4,100 meters of altitude. Here we begin a scenic descent into the Amazon Basin. We enjoy the beautiful scenery along the entire ride, from highland paramo to lush rainforest. We will reach our put-in just as we enter the Llanganates National Park. Before you can start your rafting adventure, we set off on a short hike through the jungle to a nearby group of naturally-formed river pools, where we jump, slide, and swim around incredible rock formations, helping us get comfortable in the water before rafting.
  We return to the put-in, and after a brief instructional session, head for the rapids. The Jatunyacu, which means “Big Water” in Kichwa, is considered one of Ecuador’s best one-day river runs. It has lots of big waves and fun features and offers the perfect balance of challenge and accessibility for the novice rafter. The river is surrounded by spectacular jungle scenery, birdlife, and Kichwa families that live along the shores in small bamboo and thatch houses. After an exciting first run, we head to our riverfront jungle lodge, where we enjoy a gourmet dinner and a relaxing evening amidst the jungle sounds.
    Day 2:   This morning, we drive toward the Jondachi River to experience Ecuador’s newest whitewater attraction. Today’s run starts with a technical section of the Jondachi, which then merges with the Hollin and transforms into a high-volume river with seriously big waves. You will hike for around 30 minutes, Then before boarding the rafts, you visit a secluded river cave nearby, where we plunge into deep pools and enjoy the amazing scenery. We return to the launch spot to begin an epic 38 km run through a pristine jungle canyon. The Jondachi section is tight and technical, requiring careful maneuvering between granite boulders. Once the Jondachi joins the Hollin, water volume increases significantly, creating big waves and demanding a more aggressive paddling style. The high canyon walls that frame the river are covered in lush rainforest and several picturesque waterfalls. As you paddle, you can see kingfishers, egrets, Yellow-rumped caciques, and brilliant blue and green tanagers.
      Day 3:   On the third day, you begin the return trip back through the Andes, with a pair of fun stops along the way. Before leaving the Amazon, we stop to visit the Waira Churis, a Kichwa family who express their culture’s symbiosis with the rainforest through traditional song and dance. Many of their songs are played with traditional instruments made from jungle animals and plants. After the visit, we continue up into the Andes, enjoying views of lush tropical valleys and waterfalls. The next stop is the Termas de Papallacta Spa and Resort, where you can relax in thermal pools fed with mineral-rich water from the nearby volcanic hot springs. The resort is surrounded by mountainous cloud forest scenery. After a relaxing afternoon, we head back to Quito in the early evening.
    What to bring: Swimsuit/shorts, T-shirt, tennis shoes/river sandals, Sunglasses (with retention strap), baseball cap, Sunscreen, insect repellent, Towel, dry change of clothes
3 days

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