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I have been rafting in Chile, US and now Peru and River Explorers was by far the best experience. River guides were experienced doing a great job of creating an enjoyable Peruvian experience. Can’t wait to go back!!
The Urubamba whitewater rafting in the upper section is located at only 45 minutes form Cusco and 1 hours from the Sacred Valley. This river runs through a steep, twisted gorge lined with sharp granite rocks and rapids.
If you will choose rafting the upper Urubamba River, consider the season and the section. During raining season (December – April), heavy rains makes the upper section one the best places for rafting in Cusco. Because the stretch of the river is long, the upper portion offer different sections for different levels.
Normally in dry season (early May to December), this is a superb choice for vigorous first timers and can satisfied boaters with little experience. This rafting offers nice technical rapids with rocks, waves and wholes.
Dry season (May to December): During dry season, mountain snow-melt brings the Chuquicahuana to life for thrilling Level II-III rapids through the upper Urubamba. This section dwell in scenic overlooks, making for a close experience between rafting and nature. The Chuquicahuana section is excellent choices for whitewater day trips close to Cusco and the Sacred Valley.
You will meet with your river guides at your hotel at 8 am. After a short introduction as we hit the road and head out along the South Valley route to the idyllic Village of Llocllora, situated at only 50 miles – 80 km from Cusco on the Urubamba river side, is a perfect ideal starting point for the Chuquicahuana river adventure. Prior to boarding the rafts, you will be provided with all your river gear (Wet suit, life vest, splash jacked, helmets and paddles). Your head guide will give you an orientation on rafting commands, emergency procedures, safety, and other white water related matters. One everyone is comfortable with the commands and gear the Urubamba whitewater rafting begins.
A nice Peruvian classic! The largest section of the upper Urubamba river with challenging rapids and excellent scenic views of the riverside include big eucalyptus trees, beautiful flowers, a profusion of cactus and charming Andean villages. The Chuquicahuana is famous for its long, exhilarating technical rapids. The 6+mile wild and scenic Chuquicahuana section is naturally divided into different shorter sections with names that are known in the world of Peru’s whitewater: The Knife, The Siphon, Butterfly, Hawaii Bombay, Ali, Batan and more. Each of these great rapids are level III and III+ and vary at different flows, and each has its own special optimal flow.
During the high water typical between December and mid April, long rapids with holes and waves as high as 12 feet offers long, thrilling rides perfect for adventurous intermediate and experienced rafters who want a exciting, splashing good time.
Later, as we tucked into cold beverages and a delicious lunch with entrance, main course, salads and fresh fruit at the side of the River, we get ready to pack the gear and drive back to Cusco (115 minutes approx.)
Meals: For both tours includes 1 lunch.
Rafting gear: Safe bailing boat (The floor is over the water surface so water come in and water drains out) safety kayak, life jacket type V, wet suit, paddle jacket, paddle and special river shoes.
Guide: English speaking guide certified in Swift Water rescue level III and advanced first aid courses and very important very experienced with over 8 years working in this river.
On the River
Shorts (obligatory in order to wear over the wet suit).
Cap, if you need gloves for blisters, neoprene or wool socks to use with the river shoes (not cotton)
Sun block, sun glasses, towel, dry clothes for after rafting, fleece and drinking water.
Rainy season (mid- December to April): You may think that rafting during this period is to cold, but actually rainy season are warmer than dry season and the Urubamba become one of the best rivers for whitewater rafting in south America. However, River Explorers watch the river levels and weather closely in raining season to pull off a trip in the Chuquicahuana, the Quiquijana or on the Piñipampa section. The key is to choose the right section evaluating the river level and weather condition to run an absolutely safe and fun rafting tour. Whatever the section you select according to your abilities, the rewards are high. Both sections are spectacular, the level 3 and 4 rapids are challenging and river side views are outstanding.
All the Urubamba whitewater rafting tours in the upper section starts at 8 am when you meet your guide at your hotel. The drive travels along the way down the Saylla and Oropesa Valley. The whole route offer spectacular views of the Andes, lakes and charming villages. Each town along the drive possess its own beauty and range of uniqueness, including local markets, rich corn farmlands and ancient ruins.
Once at the beginning, you will put on a wet-suit, life jacket, paddle jacket and helmet- Thereafter, the head guide will give a well orientated safety talk about the commands and will show techniques for rescue, swimming positions and other safety instructions related to rafting. Once this is done, we will jump into the river! Each guide will make sure that you feel secure with the information given in the briefing which you will practice before start running the rapids.
The run starts in moderate tempo and gently builds to a mashing finish . On the first hour the cool, brown flow alternately crushes through heaven rapids and meanders through channels an rocks. Then in the second hour, the river runs rushing through a long series of dashing escalating high intensity rapids. This section is excellent for advanced and experienced boaters
With high water, the Quiquijana is an ideal whitewater wonderland with more than 40 constant rapids perfect for intermediate and energetic first-timers. This is a section of pure fun without the anxiety that sometimes follows tougher runs.
South of the Sacred Valley, a 40 minute drive from Cusco, the Urcos – Piñipampa flows and plunges through a multitude of continual rapids. Running this section, we blow at high speed down narrow rocky canyon corridors. Over and over we blast upon nice, gentle class II and III rapids booming with fast current, nice waves, and quiet moods in between the rapids. This section requiring easy paddling, perfect for family trips, first-timers and even can satisfied intermediate seekers.
These section has one of the best white water that the Urubamba River rafting has to offer. This part of the river is an ideal whitewater for everyone looking for a good adventure. During the course of tour you will have a chance to see torrent ducks, falcons, herons and mythical ancients tombs. You will encounter more than 40 exciting and continuous level 3 and 4 rapids that will thrill you throughout the 16 km – 9. 5 mi run. After two exhilarating hours we will arrive to the end, where our cook will have a delicious lunch prepared with fresh ingredients ready for us.
As soon as the van is loaded, and saying goodbye to the river we start the drive back to Cusco that takes one hour.
Meals: 1 snack and 1 lunch
Rafting gear: Safety kayak, self bailing rafts, life jacket type V, wet suit, paddle jacket, paddle and helmets.
Guide: English speaking guide certified in advanced first aid course and Swift Water rescue level III.
-Sandals like Teva or Chacos with straps that secure the food properly, tennis shoes can also be a best alternative (flip flops not acceptable).
-Dry shoes for after the rafting.
-Sun block, drinking water.
-Towel and dry warm clothes for after rafting.
-Eyes glasses need to have a string or rope attached to avoid falling down.
-We provide full wet suits that covers the arms and legs. Wear swimming suit inside the wet suit and if you wish a long synthetic sleeve can also be good if you want to keep warmer. Cotton is not recommended at all to wear while rafting.
Urubamba whitewater safety
The personal safety of our clients is our main concern. Be aware that is raining season and the Urubamba river gets wild, melting water after each rain feed the river making the Urubamba whitewater rafting a once in a life time experience. The decision to cancel, change or modify the tour itinerary is 100 % up to the guides.
To better enjoy your whitewater adventure read our tips and recommendations before booking trips for river rafting in Cusco,
Daily departures at 8 am.
Flexible departures with minimum of 2 people, maximum number of people per group are 18.
Season: All year round.
Graduated from the National University of San Antonio Abad, Cesar is one of our main guides. He is expert in MTB, River Rafting, Inca Trail and cultural tours.
Erika is the operations manager, she organizes, book, confirm and make all the arrangements making your vacation unforgettable.
Ylda Tupayachi is the Accounting Manager. With more than 20 years of experience in the travel industry, she is a key for our clients happiness.