Why is Peru such a great destination for rafting?
River Rafting in Peru | Peru is full of fast and exciting rocky rivers that flow down from the high Andes Mountains. The best rafting opportunities take place in mostly the central and southern regions of Peru. Take a ride on the Urubamba River (close to Cusco), the Apurimac River or the Cotahuasi River (near the Colca Canyon). Or take a rafting tour through the Amazon Rainforest in the Manu or Tambopata National Reserve. River rafting in Peru is a unique experience you do not want to miss when traveling in Peru.
When is the best time to go rafting in Peru?
The best time to go rafting in Cusco is between May and October. The best time to go rafting in Arequipa is June and July. Certain rivers such as the Apurimac and Tambopata are best in the dry season, as they are too big and dangerous in the rainy season (January, February and March).
Reading tip: When is the best time to visit Peru
Other rivers in Peru are best in the rainy season, as they are too low to raft in the dry season. Each river is different and you should ask your travel company which season is best to go for your particular destination.
What do I need to pack for white water rafting?
To wear/ take on the river
- Long sleeve thermal top to wear under your wetsuit
- Swimming trunks / bathing suit
- Suitable shoes that grip in the water, if wetsuit boots are not provided by the company
- If wearing sandals, they should be the type that straps securely to your feet, such as TEVAs, rather than flip flops
- Sunglasses with strap/ string
- Sunscreen- factor 40+
- Lip salve/ block
- Insect repellent
- Water bottle with strap
Note: Your rafting company will supply your necessary rafting equipment including life jackets, helmets, paddles, wetsuits, pre-departure training and instruction and of course the raft.
Where to go rafting in Peru
*Rafting in the Colca Canyon
Have you heard of the world famous Colca Canyon? It’s actually one of the deepest canyons in the entire world. Well, instead of taking a tourist bus to visit the lookout point like everyone else, why not visit from the bottom while rafting? It’s more than 300 rapids offer a challenge for lovers of extreme sports. Raft through the waters while being surrounded by mountains that literally soar to the sky while the enormous Andean Condor sweeps above you. The best-known route runs from Chivay and along its 40 km path passes through Cabanaconde and Tapay. Rapids range from Grade II for beginners to Grade IV for experts.
While you are in Peru you have to stop in Cusco and of course go to Machu Picchu. Cusco was the capital of the Inca Empire and you can see Inca ruins and streets with Inca stones everywhere. However, did you know that Cusco is not the only the place to go to learn about Inca culture, but also for adventure trips? In this blog you will find a ton of Tips for a Rafting Tour in Cusco Peru.
*Rafting in Cusco on the Urubamba River
A river rafting trip on the Urubamba River in Peru, nearby Cusco, is a great adventure and an awesome experience. The Urubamba River or Vilcanota is one of the most important rivers in Peru. It runs from the high Andes Mountains down through the Sacred Valley of the Incas, near Cusco. The river passes Machu Picchu and extends into the Peruvian Amazon. The Urubamba River has some great sections, especially in the Chuquicahuana or “Chuqui” area. This part of the river offers different rapid levels according to the time of year.
How hard is white water rafting in Peru?
Class I rapids are almost flat and Class VI are considered almost too dangerous to take clients down in a raft. Most Peru rafting trips are between Class III to IV. In the rainy season, many of these rivers are not possible to raft on due to water levels being too high. Your rafting company will suggest alternative sections
River rafting tour in Cusco
To make the most out of your River Rafting Trip on the Urubamba River in Peru – our most popular rafting trip- , we are happy to give you a few tips. These tips are from people that have made the trip and also include answers to some of our frequently asked questions. So check out carefully before departing on the river rafting trip on the Urubamba River and be prepared for the best rafting trip in Peru.
River rafting in Peru: tips
# Tip 1 : You don’t need to bring any gear (except shoes).
The rafting company in Peru will provide all the necessary gear, including a wetsuit, helmet and paddle. You will need to bring some sporty shoes or rent some wetsuit shoes at the departure site.
# Tip 2: You are going to get soaking wet!
Yes, the water is unavoidable, you fall in, or at some point, you might even jump in, and you will be completely wet! Therefore, we recommend bringing your swimsuit instead of normal underwear and an extra pair of dry clothes to change into at the end of the trip.
# Tip 3: You can get videos and pictures at the end.
At the beginning of the rafting trip, the guides will ask you if you want a video of the rafting. If you do, the guide will put up a go-pro on the front side of the boat and film you during the rougher and more fun parts! It costs around 60 soles (approx. 16-20 US$, depending on the exchange rate), but you will be with six people on the boat so that means you will only have to pay ten soles each.
# Tip 4: No experience needed
In the beginning, the guides will explain everything to you on the shore, especially the commands that the guide of your boat will use. Once in the boat, you start off on a quiet part of the river to practice, and to get in sync with your teammates.
# Tip 5: a river rafting tour is a full day activity
Cusco is a great area for adventure tours and outdoor fun!
Normally, you get picked up around 7:30 in the morning from your accommodation in Cusco. From there, you need to drive for about two hours before you arrive at the lodge next to the Urubamba River around 9:30. From there, the staff will give you the equipment and wetsuit. Next, you will get on the bus again to drive to the starting point for the rafting. From the starting point, you will raft back to the lodge.
The rating takes about 2 hours. After you’ve put back your gear, you get the opportunity to go into the sauna. Yes! After you have been freezing in the water you can get into the nice, warm sauna! Afterward, you can get under a hot shower and be warm and fresh again for lunch! And after that, you can enjoy zip lining over the river and back before getting back on the bus to Cusco.
# Tip 6: be prepared to freeze your ass off
Is it cold? Yes, it is freezing cold! Please be prepared to freeze your ass off! It is amazing how cold it can get, especially if you don’t have shoes and jump into the water!
# Bonus Tip
What’s the last tip to make the most out of your river rafting tour in Cusco?
River rafting tour in Cusco
Overview of all our Adventure Tours in Cusco
When to go to Peru
Do you want to read this article in Spanish?
Rafting en Perú: una aventura inolvidable