Rafting in Ecuador, Rafting Guide at nearest Quito Ecuador rivers, Rafting at Quijos and El Chaco area near Amazon Basin

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Quito Rafting & Kayaking Guide

Rafting Tours in Ecuador, photo taken for Rios Ecuador & Yacu amu rafting specialized tour operator

Ecuador has the good luck of being one of the countries with the most rivers per square kilometer in the world. It is one of the best sites in the whole world to practice the exciting sports of whitewater rafting and kayaking.

The majority of the rivers, which are ideal to raft and kayak in, are on the edge of the watershed of the Amazon River - in other words, in the Amazon region of Ecuador. This land offers the adventurer the opportunity to experience amazing sights and sounds of one of the most exotic and threatened areas on Earth, all while practicing adrenaline-filled sports in its chaotic waters.

First piece of advice: knowing the water level before you plan your trip is essential.

The water level in the river can greatly fluctuate depending on the season, making some rivers too dangerous to run in some months or too dry to run in others. Check with a travel agent about the best months to run the river you're interested in.

The equipment you need to raft or kayak in is: a bathing suit or shorts, a light t-shirt, and dry clothes for changing after the trip. If you are on an organized tour, the rafting agency will supply you with a helmet, life vest, and other saftey clothing.

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Sandals or shoes that can get wet are recommended; some people raft and kayak barefoot. You will get wet, that's part of the fun! So if you're bringing electronic devices (such as cameras or watches) make sure they are water resistant. Water-resistant disposable cameras are a great idea for capturing memories of a fun-filled day in the water. You can find these supplies in Quito in a sporting goods store or by consulting with the tour operator.

The rafting and kayaking routes in Ecuador are divided into two categories: those flowing into the Amazon and those flowing from the Western Andes. The main river in the Amazon is the Río Napo , which contains a wonderful combination of fast-paced rapids, calm waters and exuberant jungle scenery. The best months to run on the Napo are from March to October.

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Another important river is the Misahuallí , navigable from mid-October until mid-March. It is the most difficult river in Ecuador. Faster than the rest of the rivers, it is recommended to experienced sportsmen. The advantage of this river is that it will take you through the "Land of the Giants," the biggest accumulation of rapids in the country.

The rivers flowing in the Western Andes are mainly two rivers: the río Toachi and the río Blanco . These are closer to Quito and they are frequently used for water sports for this reason. The two rivers drain into Valle Hermoso , an ideal site for rest and relaxation after a journey.

The main problem with these rivers is that, due to an ever-growing population, the zone is less clean than the Napo and Misahuallí. However, the landscapes that they offer are still unforgettable: the beginnings of tropical rainforest, dense vegetation and a warm, wet climate. The ideal months to run these rivers are between January and mid-May.

There are other rivers that are not so frequently visited by rafting and kayaking fans which are still unique in their class: the Muluate , Quijos, Puyango and Jatunyaco . "Jatunyaco" means "Big Water" in Quechua and is a good river for beginners who want to step it up a notch.

The best way to get into rafting and kayaking in Ecuador is to choose your tour operator well. You need to be sure that there will be certified, specialized guides who can communicate to you well. In Ecuador there is an Association of River Guides that certifies people to be fully capable river guides.

To organize this kind of trip you can book tours out of Quito in advance or book the tour directly from the city you wish to leave from. Most of the tours depart from the city of Tena. Their price ranges from $30 per person on up, depending on the type of tour, and sometimes not including the price of equipment rentals. Group discounts are usually given.

If rafting doesn't capture your interest, one alternative way to enjoy the jungle and its rivers is to visit Mindo, a small cloud forest town easily accessible from Quito (in car or by bus), 80 km away on the road to Calacalí. Besides camping and enjoying the refreshing scenery, the amazing waterfalls and incredible biodiversity in the protected forest, you can rent inner tubes in the town and enjoy an interesting and exciting float down the small rapids in the river Mindo. The price is around five dollars, which includes equipment and a guide. Mindo is a bird watching hot spot in Ecuador and also has a butterfly garden with several exotic species.


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