Ecuador's whitewater rafting scene has become an international sensation attracting aficionados and novices alike. Thanks to its unique topographic features, Ecuador has the highest density of whitewater rivers in the world. From the centrally located Andes, tropical rivers stream towards the pacific coast or to the Amazon Basin. Ecuador boasts readily accessible rivers of all difficulty levels. In addition, Ecuador's year round warm temperatures and stunning scenery make rafting in Ecuador a safe, exciting and truly unforgettable experience.
What is Whitewater Rafting?
Whitewater rafting or mountain river descent is a team
activity where crew members navigate a raft through rapidly flowing water using their paddles and
their bodies working together in sync. Rivers are
classified from 1 to 6 according to their difficulty.
Class I: rapids and very easy
Class II: rapids and easy but with waves
Class III: rapids with more irregular
waves and backwaters that require maneuvering experience.
Class IV: very turbulent, require skill
Class V: extremely difficult rapids
Class VI: extreme conditions with a permanently
Headwaters of the Napo River (Grade III)
Perhaps one of the best rivers for rafting. Big waves
and exciting rapids combined with calm water surrounded
by the magic of the rainforest. The months of March to
October are ideal for this sport because the water level
is usually within medium to high range. The adventure
consists of 25 kilometers only one hour from Tena.
Misahuallí River (Grade
Due to its difficulty, it is considered to be the most
challenging rafting experience in all of Ecuador. It has
some rapids that are level IV within a deep canyon with
virgin rainforest surrounding it. It also has a spectacular
30 foot waterfall takes you to the stretch called “Tierra
de Gigantes” (Land of Giants). This river can be
navigated from the middle of October to the middle of
March when it has an ideal water level. It takes one day
of travel for an experienced team.
Upano (Grade IV)
Abundant waterfalls are found in this river full of action
that takes you to the south of the province of Morona
Santiago where it reaches the Amazon and becomes more
peaceful. The best months for this river are October to
For any of these rivers, from Quito, the trip takes about
5 hours to Tena, departure point for the majority of trips.
Other rivers in the Amazon are the Aguarico (Grade II-III)
and Dué (Grade II-IV).
Toachi River (Grade III)
The Toachi is practically the most popular river in Ecuador
for rafting because it is the adventure that is closest
to Quito. The time of the year that is ideal for enjoy
the water of this river is from January to the end of
May. The round trip takes about 5 and a half hours and
the packages are offered four times a week.
Rio Blanco (Grade III)
Parallel to the Toachi river is the Rio Blanco. Rapids
without pause maintain the crew alert and ready for extremely
entertaining moments during the entire trip. The recommended
period for rafting or kayaking in its waters is from January
to May. To enjoy all of the enchantment of the Rio Blanco
and its surroundings, we suggest trips from 1 to 2 days
from Los Bancos to Valle Hermoso where you can camp along
the banks of the river.
Quijos River (Grade IV-V)
Located at the point of El Chaco and in the area of Papallacta
in the province of Pichincha. The highest and longest
part of the river is 145 meters which passes through the
San Rafael waterfal, the highest waterfall in the country.
The optimal period for visiting this river is from March
to September when the flow is sufficiently high to enjoy
Other waters that are perfect for kayaking and rafting
are the Pilaton (Grade IV-V ), Mindo (Grade III-IV), Caoni
(Grade II-III) and Mulate (Grade III).