Embark on our most popular kayaking tour: a day of paddling in Ecuador! Kayak rental, transportation to and from the river, lunch, and guide included!
- Start day: Every other Saturday
- Trip Length: 14 days (airport pickup in Quito included)
- River time: 3 to 6 hours per day (depending on water level)
- Run: 20-30 kilometers per day
- Difficulty: Class IV rivers (kayak experience recommended)
- Additional $700 kayak deposit required when booking.
Amazon to Andes: The Ultimate Kayaking Journey
Ecuador is one of the smallest countries in South America, yet , this little paradise is one of the most diverse places on Earth.This is due to its vast amount of ecosystems and microclimates mainly due to the presence of the high Andes mountain range which traps and funnels water and humidity around its volcanoes and inter-Andean valleys from both, the Pacific Ocean and the Amazon Basin. With a spectacular amount of rivers and quality whitewater, Ecuador boasts more rivers per square mile in its upper watershed comparable to no other place. The amazing amount of quality class IV and V has turned this country into a world kayak hotspot for the last two decades. Surrounded by nature and with all sorts of fun rivers characters like big volume, technical, creek, pool drop and continuous boulder gardens to name a few … The Amazon rush promises to be a blast!
Suggested Items to Pack:
- Good protection helmet
- Standard Whitewater kayak Rescue PFD
- Spray Deck
- Dry top
- Shorty splash Jacket
- Warm layers minimum 2
- Long lightweight river pants
- Good protective river shoes
- Dry bag for you’re lunch and extra
- Your own personal mini first aid kit containing personal pertinent medication
- Water bottle
- Throw rope and a minimum amount of rescue gear
- Float bags
- Insect repellent
- Sun protection
- Pair of sandals
- Clothes for warm weather and colder high andes.
Notes: This itinerary is subject to change without notice due to seasonal changes, inclement weather conditions, water levels, and the discretion of the guide. Although we attempt to stick to the itinerary, changes do sometimes occur. Alternate river runs are available and may be substituted for those on the itinerary. Being flexible allows you to get the most from your experience.
- Cloud forecast weather: In the semi-tropical transition zone between the Andes and Amazon, daytime temperatures average 60 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees to 30 degrees Celcius), and nighttime temperatures average 60 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit (16 to 20 degrees Celcius).
- Amazon weather: In the Amazon rainforest, daytime temperatures average 68 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 35 degrees Celcius), and nighttime temperatures average 64 to 71 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 22 degrees Celcius).
- DAY 0
Welcome to Ecuador! Arrive in Quito anytime. Airport transfer to our starting hotel included.
- DAY 1
Pick-up time from the hotel will be at 8 a.m. and soon we’re on our way and going up and over the continental divide at 13,200 ft. (4000m). We will observe the paramo ecosystem that contributes largely to the volume of some of the rivers we will paddle. Driving through the rainforest our destination is the area of Archidona, founded in 1560. Following lunch , safety brief and outfitting we will prepare for our warm up paddle in a small section of the Misahualli River a manageable technical stretch of class III+ rapids
- DAY 2
The plan of the day is to paddle lower section of the Jondachi River into the Hollin. A area that used to be the site of the petroglyph makers of the Cotundo phase (1000 -300 BC). With beautiful jungle landscapes, occasional herons or river otters in the case of the Jondachi, this promises to be amazing deep jungle run.
- DAY 3
Heading south of Tena we are bound to paddle the pristine and lush gorge of the Piatua, a gem of nature with massive boulders and clear water with defined lines of class IV rapids. The presence of otters and the tiger heron, reveal the pristine condition of this river. Flowing south of National Park Llanganates ( burial site of the Inca treasure)
- DAY 4
The aim of the day is to paddle higher on the Jondachi. A slight step up quality class IV jungle creek is the best description of this run. It is a remote day run with a deep jungle feeling to it.Tiger herons, parrots, monkeys and even the elusive jaguar have been sighted on this run.
- DAY 5
Theres options of creek or a big water play day on the Jatunyacu river. Large wave trains and good surf along with expansive jungle scenery is the main characteristic of the play run Many local villages live alongside this river that flows from the the Llanganates and is one of the major tributaries forming the Amazon downstream
- DAY 6
Today our aim is to be able to get a full run on the best section of whitewater creaking on the Upper Misahualli
- DAY 7
Travel day A option of paddling in the morning before heading back is on the table or staying dry and visiting the hot springs of papallacta on the way out has become a very popular choice to finish off the trip.If running our andes Amazon trip we will be taking a rest day to go see some wildlife and jungle around the Port Misahualli where a float on a dug out canoe to see parrots and monkeys is the highlight of the day. Ps You can go paddling but rest day recommended
- DAY 8
If there is one run worth repeating its the Piatua. The river has so many rapids and is one of the best paddling trips in the area. A second run down will be something you will all want to do.
- DAY 9
After a morning start we will head over to the Quijos valley to run some higher elevation runs. Starting with the upper Cosanga amidst the cloud forest and often visited by great bird life such as the andean cock of the rock or the Mot-mot. The Cosanga is a semi pool drop creek that eventually flows into the Quijos River.
- DAY 10
Today we put in on the Quijos river. We will paddle closed canyons from time to time, where you can see ancient basaltic flows of Chacana and Antisana Volcanoe. Its rapids are easy to read and run but look out for some big holes and some fun big water.
- DAY 11
Hopefully and if the river and weather permits we will be heading up to paddle the Oyacachi river, a big water big boulder creek that descends from the town of Oyacachi high in the lake district of Cayambe volcanoe.
- DAY 12
Today we will explore another of the multiple canyons the Quijos river has to offer. Big water surf and fun rapids with famous rapids like gringos revueltos.
- DAY 13
A full day to run the lower Cosanga is the mission of the day. A challenging slightly more remote section the lower Cosanga is a classic.
- DAY 14
Travel day to Quito and hot springs to soak out in after all that paddling. End of the trip.
Looking for a shorter trip? Check out the Amazon Rush!
River People Safety procedures
River People guided kayak trips are led by a team of experienced kayak guides. With a combined total of 35 years of guiding experience, we aim for you to be able to experience the best of kayaking in Ecuador and be confident that safety is at the forefront of all we do; we run on Class IV rivers. Of course, we also want to ensure you have a super fun day and are able to get off the river and relax with a cold beer is another element of our guided kayaking trips!
We operate with the maximum amount of controlled risk possible where permitted. Nobody is paddling in above their limit of ability therefore we encourage you to be truthful regarding your paddling ability. You will be told to sit out if determined you are in above your head and other options will be available like hiking or sightseeing if you’re just not feeling right. We also restrict entry into flooded rivers or uncontrollable high water. Another activity is available if rivers are too high. Regrouping in designated eddies by the lead guide and looking back to watch the sweep boater is the fundamental river procedure. We expect you to portage a rapid or scout when strongly suggested by the guide. Forfeit of the trip is possible if you compromise the safety of the group. The speed involved in the way we carry out the river descent is in a calm, safe manner.
Drivers are stationed at emergency exits where available and will be on hand to help out if needed. Guides carry emergency coms (spot) phones. Guides carry wilderness medical First Aid kits and qualifications. Guides are advanced whitewater rescue trained and carry a spare paddle with rescue and extra emergency gear. Guides speak English and Spanish and are extremely knowledgeable about the area we paddle in, such as where the nearest hospital is, emergency evacuation plans, and other important information is carried by the drivers and guides.
- Over drinking the night before to the extent of heavy intoxication and drugs are not allowed at River People
- Being healthy, in good form, and the right mind set is essential to participating in this dynamic trip
- We put a lot of emphasis on washing hands and proper hygiene
- If feeling ill, please stay away from food prep
- Our group water containers have a spout that must remain untouched by hands or personal bottle edge
- Stay away from dodgy street food and food that has been in the sun too long
- Alex Dent and Tim Dent
Alex Dent and Tim Dent started kayaking in their teens when they arrived in Ecuador in 1994. They started paddling as kayak assistants with the first rafting company in Ecuador’s Upper Amazon around the area of Tena in 1997 and went on to be assistant guides on Class III when they reached 18. In 2003, they formed the company called River People along with their father Gary when the previous one sold. Alex and Tim pioneered the Jondachi Hollin rafting trip one of Ecuadors most stunning remote one-day jungle trips. They also started to run the first expeditionary trips to the remote Upper Hollin in Sumaco Galera and the Intag river. Alex and Tim love the river and love showing people down them. With regards to the rivers of Ecuador, language, and a deep knowledge of the country, Tim and Alex have a great amount of experience, love of nature, and have many stories to tell.
- Pancho Echeveria
Pancho has been raft and kayak guiding for the last eight years and has excelled in his profession as a very qualified and eager-to-serve professional. He is a qualified National tour guide and is on his way to becoming a IRF guide instructor. Pancho also has a great sense of humor and is a fun guy to have on the river.
- Victor Aguirre
Victor is one of the most experienced whitewater guides in Ecuador. He joined Tim and Alex and the Dent crew in 2005 and has worked alongside since. Victor is a qualified first aid instructor for the Red Cross and has a very wise head on him. Victor participated in all the first exploratory trips Tim and Alex made. A Very safety conscious trip leader and a great asset to the River People team.
- Monica Moreno
Monica is Tim’s wife and part owner and the intellectual behind a lot of what goes on. She is the chief designer of the lodge and the head chef and menu designer. A very hard worker, Monica really cares about the service we provide and ensures it’s top-notch. A major asset to the River People name and its service.
- Amber Dent
Amber is Tim’s daughter, the head entertainer, and chocolate cake and ice-cream taster. She ensures quality control on those items. She loves swinging on ropes and tying knots in the raft warehouse. Jungle Girl is her other name.
- Eleanor Dent
The matriarch of the Dent Family and is head of the lunch department for the river trips The all wise and knowing. She met Gary in Ireland and they both decided to make a move to Ecuador in 1994 and that’s how River People started.
- Gary Dent
Gary, the man who started it all, has retired and often has his feet up does help drive once in while and enjoys a occasional Cuba libre or beer with folks. He helps Eleanor, his wife, in the lunch department and feeds the dogs, Toby and Sooty.
- Byron Lopez
Byron is a great asset to the team as he’s gained a tremendous amount of experience in the last few years as a paddler and a guide. If you’re in a tight spot Byron is a good guy to have on your team. Byron works for River People most of the year and also does contract work for various companies.
ECUADOR IV RIVER PROGRAM RIVER DESCRIPTIONS
- River Quijos -4/4/A
The Quijos river is an impressive stretch of whitewater flowing from the colossal volcano region of Antisana with the top Quijos seldom explored. With miles of whitewater to choose from, the quijos boasts top paddling for class IV to V paddlers. En route to the Amazon, various canyons and stretches of boulder garden rapids make this one of the best multi-option sections of river to paddle on. The most famous sections that we guide on are the class IV section of Chaco canyon known also as Linares and the lower quijos gorge of Moradillas.
- River Cosanga 4/4/ A+B
The river Cosanga flows from the eastern glacier region of the Antisana Volcano. It eventually joins the Quijos river after a fun section of rapids mainly composed of multiple rapids of great quality class IV at normal flows. It is described best as a open medium sized river, semi pool drop with mini canyon sections en route. Always fun, it will challenge your technical boating skills.
- River Oyacachi 4+/4+/B
The Oyacachi River flows from the paramo highlands of the Cayambe-Coca National Park, also known as “El Condor”, an extensive network of rivers and lakes designated as a bio reserve of the world. With big and powerful continuous boulder gardens with relative high volume style rapids, the Oyacachi is one of the favorite for many paddlers. Get ready for a fast blast down river run. The top section of the Oyacachi is one of Ecuadors most challenging class V+ overnight trip. The middle and lower portions are the most commonly run.
- River Jondachi 5/4+5 /B-C
The Jondachi river is world-famous in the boater world. Its origins are located in the cloudforest where the humidity of the Amazon is responsible for the creation of tiny creeks that drain their water to create this beauty, best described as a boating paradise with refined creek boating, beautiful enclosed jungle canyons, indescribable nature scenarios, and river water quality. This river should be in every kayaker’s bucket list. Currently under threat from hidro dams, the Jondachi has been the centre of attention of the Ecuadorian Rivers Institute and outfitters to preserve this treasure as a natural free-flowing river corridor connecting the Andes to the Amazon lower basin. Top section is graded overall as Class V with lots of 4.Middle section is compromised of a very nice section of Class IV and the lower is 3+
- Upper Misahualli -4/4/A
The Upper Misahualli is refined technical low volume creek boating. A very enjoyable run with multiple put ins and takeouts. Its low volume character is deceptive as this river will keep you busy with tight moves and boofs all day long. Good river to warm up on and hone in some skill and one of the most popular runs for the local boaters due to its warm water and close proximity to the jungle town of Tena where many of Ecuadors boaters learned to paddle.
- The Piatua
Pristine jungle river compiled with wide open boulder gardens with 1 to 2m drops and boofs! The piatua is fun fun Class IV all day long. Definitely one of everyones favorites due to its smooth pace, multioptional lines and river length of nonstop Class IV. Also threatened by a hydro dam project of dubious reasons we endeavor to keep this river corridor and beauty untouched by supporting the Ecuadorian Rivers Institute in its efforts to keep it as a free-flowing river.
- The Upper Hollin
Deep remote jungle run which is usually done as a overnighter. Starts out with Class IV rapids the first quarter of the run in a semi confined canyon then opens up to fun class III+ interspersed with some easy IV. Described as one of the best quality jungle runs. Has a 40-ft. and 30-ft. waterfall an unique cave rapid at the put in. Waterfalls can be portaged.
- The Upano Namangosa Gorge
Impressive big water jungle gorge complete with a big pool and big water Class IV with towering walls of rock and foliage interrupted by spectacular waterfalls free falling hundreds of metres. Epic for its sheer size and volume of your surroundings. Makes you feel small but it’s a relatively easy read and run fun rapids down in to a remote area of the south east of Ecuador’s jungle. Usually done in three days.
We have incorporated a slight variation to the rating system to give you a little more insight on Technical skills needed and the remoteness of some of the runs A- less to 1 hour to medical attention B- 1-3 hrs to medical attention C- 3 hrs+
Technical Difficulty Number / Rapid Grade Number/ Remote setting letter
Itinerary subject to changes depending on weather and other factors Overnighter trips are weather dependant.