Travel Ecuador : Activities : River rafting

Rafting Ecuador

Ecuador is an excellent spot to do whitewater rafting, with a number of different rivers frequented by tour operators. It is possible to head from Quito to the jungle, toward the coast and to Banos to experience the most popular rafting destinations that the country has to offer. Rafting destinations include:

Toachi and Blanco Rivers
These rivers are located close to Santo Domingo de los Colorados. This town can be reached from Quito in approximately three hours. Due to its elevation on the western Andes slope, the weather is very warm and the water is pleasingly not cold either. The rivers are class III and IV, providing for some exciding rafting opportunities. It is possible to raft here all year-round.

Quijos River
The Quijos river is in the direction of the Amazon, approximately three hours from Quito. The river is found in the El Chaco part of the country, and it is in the eastern Andean slope. Unlike the rivers near Santo Domingo de los Colorados, the Quijos river is only suitable for rafting during the months of October to January, and this depends on how much rainfall there has been. The river varies between class III and class V. Here the water is cold, and it is worth asking your operator if they provide you with a wetsuit.

Mira River
The Mira river can be found in the areas north of Quito, close to Imbabura and El Chota, in the northern Ecuadorian Andes. This river is a little calmer than the Quijos, Toachi and Blanco rivers, with a grade of class II to III. The river can be rafted pretty much all year-long, but this does depend on rainfall levels. The water here is warm due to the pleasant climate.

Banos
A number of tour operators in Banos de Agua Santa offer rafting in the rivers of the area. Where you can raft will sometimes depend on the level of rain. Make sure that your operator is qualified, should you choose to raft in this area and beware of cowboy operators.

Rafting packing list
When you go rafting, there are a number of different items that you might want to bring, to make sure that you are properly equipped for your trip. You’ll want sandals that you can wear in the river, along with clothes that are rapid-drying. Don’t forget a towel. Make sure to confirm whether transportation and meals are included and bring sufficient money to cover expenses that you’ll have. You should take dry clothes to change into for after your Ecuador rafting experience. You may want to take your camera, though you should have it sealed in a completely waterproof container or bag.

Rafting Safety
Over the years, there have been whitewater rafting accidents in Ecuador, leading to death in some cases. For this reason, it is important that you ensure that your operator is qualified to take you rafting. Ask about the qualifications of your guides when you pay. Be wary of very cheap deals—there is a good chance that safety corners are being cut with these, and you could be putting your life at risk. You get what you pay for. When planning a rafting trip with a qualified tour operator, make sure that you will be provided with a minimum of a helmet, a life jacket and a wetsuit (if the water is going to be cold where you are rafting.