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Peru Whitewater Rafting and Kayaking - Activity Info. - Peru

Whitewater rafting is soaring in popularity in Peru largely because of the country's abundance of world-class rivers. Many of these rivers are located near two of the most-visited tourist destinations: Cusco and Arequipa. Peru has whitewater options for every level of experience, from beginner Class II and III water to Class IV, V and beyond. Although some rafting companies offer kayaking trips it is not as common as rafting. Experienced kayakers should contact the tour operators in the whitewater areas for information. Some companies in Arequipa offer inflatable kayak trips down Class III water.

Cusco is Peru's rafting capital. The most popular trips are day trips on the Río Urubamba. Most trips leave the city at 9 a.m. and return at 3 p.m., giving visitors about three hours on the river. Many companies also offer three or four-day trips on the Río Apurímac, which is probably the best known rafting destination in Peru. Despite operating out of Cusco, these trips require a four hour drive before actually getting on the river.

Another popular choice is a rafting trip down the Río Tambopata in southwestern Peru which begins on Lake Titicaca. These trips generally last over a week meandering through the Tambopata Candamo Reserved Zone in the Peruvian Amazon. While an excellent adventure, be sure to ask how many days of your trip will include whitewater. Once you reach the Amazon the water gets much tamer and involves more 'floating.'

Arequipa offers several rafting destinations. The most common are day trips to the Chili and Majes rivers. These trips include three to five hours on the river and return to Arequipa in the evening. Some companies also offer multi-day trips down the Colca Canyon, the deepest canyon in the world.

Expeditions down the Río Cotahuasi are also available in Arequipa. This trip takes rafters down what is considered to be one of the finest and toughest stretches of Class IV and V whitewater anywhere. The trip starts with a grueling high altitude drive to the river followed by a strenuous hike around Sipia Falls. Over the next 120 km (74.5 mi), paddlers will encounter not only huge whitewater but also spectacular campsites and Inca ruins. Advance research and booking is a must, because these trips are offered infrequently.

When choosing a rafting company make sure all the necessary safety equipment is provided. All guides should be certified, and lifejackets, throw-bags and helmets should be included. Most companies go beyond the requirements to ensure a safe, comfortable experience but it's still important to take care that the safety standards meet your expectations.

Activity Info., Kayaking Info., Rafting Info.

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