What was really important to me was the environmental consciousness of the whole crew. I really recommend River Explorers if you want to have an unforgettable experience with amazing nature, nice guides plenty of adrenaline and lots, lots of fun.
The Apurimac rafting tour – The Great Canyon flows through astonishing narrow gorges twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the US. Along the way is interrupted by small tributaries, waterfalls and hundreds of rapids up to level V.
The National Geographic expedition identified the Apurimac River as the source of the world’s largest River system, the Amazon River.
Briefing (night before trip departure): Pre-departure information: description of river canyon, navigation, what to bring, etc.
In May, when the river is swollen with snow melt, prepare for a wet and wild ride with big waves, holes and powerful currents. During mid-July until November, the river changes, requiring technical maneuvers around rocks and dropping through narrow chutes.
Departure: 8 am
Return: 4 pm
River level: II, III, IV and V
Distance to cover in the river: 45 km
Time in the water: Between 4 to 6 hours a day
Your tour leader and our private van will meet you at your hotel at 8 am for the four-hour bus journey to the Apurimac River. On the way, we will have one stop at Izcucahaca to buy the last supplies for the Apurimac rafting trip. We will stop several times along the way to enjoy the view. Before the Apurimac rafting begins, we will stop for the final time at Condorhuachana (“place where the Condor stands”), an amazing gazebo on the Apurimac Gorge from more than 2,000 meters (6,561 ft), a perfect place to enjoy the views and take pictures.
Once at the river, passengers and guides will organize for the Apurimac rafting trip. You’ll then pack your sleeping bag, camp clothes, etc., into the dry bags, and then we will have a picnic lunch near the riverside. Afterward, we will gather for the rafting briefing, a 30-minute orientation given by the leader. He will go over the safety features of the tour and demonstrate techniques for paddling, floating, rescue and some other safety measures. This briefing will be followed by a practice session in the river, where each passenger takes turns swimming in some level 1 rapids so that everyone can practice grabbing the secure rescue lines and grabbing the safety kayak or cataract. We also will practice flipping the rafts over and what to do in a situation like this.
Once the guides, crew and safety kayak feel confident, we will start the Apurimac rafting adventure. The first hour will be fun level II and III rapids and peaceful calm sections in between magnificent vistas of the river gorge. After the initial section of the river, we will arrive to the first level III+ rapid (Level IV in May and beginning of June) called the little Z; after a series of rapids, we will reach a nice waterfall. More rapids and breathtaking vistas we been seen downriver after before reaching camp later in the afternoon. We will organize the camp on the sandy beach called Las Paltas (“Avocados”). Your guides will give a brief orientation to become acquainted with the area, our solid waste toilet system and the camp routine, then you can relax, enjoy an afternoon snack, read a book or have a glass of wine as the guides make the first delicious dinner. After dinner, we will give you a briefing about next day and then we can enjoy the campfire while you enjoy the tales and experiences of the Apurimac River rafting guides, the river sounds or just lying on the sandy beach watching the spectacular starry sky.
The Apurimac rafting second day begins at 8 am with a delicious fresh fruit salad, yogurt, juice, cereal, fresh coffee, tea, oatmeal, hot chocolate, bread, etc. After breakfast, it’s time to pack up the dry bags, tents and reload the rafts for the Apurimac rafting day. We jump into the rafts around 9 am and then continue our way through the Apurimac Canyon wilderness. Today features some of the best rapids on the river. Just few meters away from camp, we will be running many class II, III, III+ and our first level IV rapid: “The Chute”. You can enjoy the spectacular scenery of the canyon after the Chute rapid as you travel toward The Portage rapids. In this place, passengers will need to disembark and walk around it, carrying your own dry bags while the rafting guides will be taking the rest of the gear. After The Portage, we will rest and then continue through Minefield gorge running a series of level II, III and IV with nice waves, drops, and technical rapids. The Apurimac river calms, and after resting and enjoying the astonishing views of the river, we will run into Purgatory Gorge, which has been carved by the Apurimac floods during the rainy season.
Overflows of water rip through Purgatory Gorge, eroding the walls into smooth, curved formations topped by contrasting vegetation. This place is perfect to jump from a cliff, rest or swim while we enjoy the vies of this peculiar place. After resting, we will enter to Purgatory rapid level IV — one of the best rapids of the Apurimac rafting trip. The whole river flows into the left side of the gorge near a massive rock wall, creating powerful currents and big waves. Before running this rapid, each guide will explain how to run the rapid and will describe where the safety kayak and guides with the secure lines will be positioned. Then we will start running the rapids one by one until everyone has finished running the rapid safely; after this, we will have one more portage.
The river gorge opens a little after Purgatory to join the Vilcabamba River (a tributary of the Apurimac River). A Couple more rapids and we will arrive to Dragons Tail Beach to have lunch. You can swim, relax or have short walk to explore the area, while the guides will making another fantastic lunch.
Las Tres Marias, The Z, Indiana Jones, The Roll Over, The Window: all class IV rapids with nice waves and holes will be our next targets after lunch. After small rapids, we will enter to another big rapid (El Trinche – Evils Fork), level IV (level V from May to June). At the beginning of the rapid, there are waves and holes with some rocks, and before the rapid ends, a big hole awaits. The guides can maneuver and go through this last hole without any problems. Minutes later, we will be again running The Table and No Name rapids, level IV, while we make our way into a gorge with giant rock walls.
Our destination for the second day is The Table Beach camp. Before we arrive at camp, we will collect wood for campfire. Once at the campsite, we can change into camp clothes, and guides will assist with setting up your camp tents. You then will be free to relax, hike or have a refreshing swim in the Apurimac River.
After unwinding for a few hours, the guides will have a hot, delicious dinner ready for you. After dinner, you can relax with a cup of coffee or tea next to the campfire under the stars playing cards, telling more river stories, and reliving your best adventure moments from the river day.
Another hearty breakfast prepares you for today’s journey with pancakes, bacon, scrambled eggs, cereal, yogurt, juice, coffee, tea, etc. The river starts out with exciting rapids, so be prepared for a thrill from the beginning. During the first hour, we will raft through fun and challenging rapids (Wake Up, Ramona, and the Labyrinth), all class IV rapids, then we will enter the biggest rapids of the Apurimac rafting tour called The Toothache and You First. To minimize risk, passengers must walk around it; only the river guides will be able to run this rapid. The scenery is simply amazing with giant rocks, walls that go from river level up to 1,000 meters (3,280 ft.) and a 200-meter waterfall are part of today’s Apurimac rafting tour.
Immediately after these portages, the canyon opens while we enter Babaluba rapid, grade V, where we organize the safety. The safety kayak will run the rapid first, after the luggage boat, and once kayak and the guides with the rescue lines are properly located, the passengers’ boat will start running the rapid. In the first part, the river goes through small channels with many rocks, after the river gets calm, and then we disappear dramatically while the boat is jumping through drops and holes. We have only few seconds to rest after Babaluba because The Last Laugh rapid, level IV, is coming.
After these rapids, there will be a series of class II, III, and III+ rapids to run until the end. At the end, our private bus will be waiting for us with a good lunch and cold drinks; thereafter, we drive for two hours to Cusco. In Cusco, we can enjoy watching a video of our adventure on a big screen in one of the pubs.
Professional English-speaking river rafting guides, certified in Swift-water rescue and in Wilderness First Responder.
State-of-the-art rafting equipment including self-bailing rafts, hi-flotation life jackets, helmets, dry bags for personal gear, paddle jackets, , and special containers for cameras.
Double tents, safety and professional river system navigation, private round trip transportation, video and picture service.
Complete first aid kit, including disposable resuscitator (CPR Bag Valve Mask).
SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger.
Our meals are carefully planned to fit the needs of everyone. All the meals can be made vegetarian or vegan, you just need to inform us of your dietary needs with at list one week before the tour departures.
Below is an example of meals you may savor during your Apurimac rafting adventure.
Pancakes with banana, honey or caramel milk. Bacon with mushrooms with scramble eggs mixed with tomatoes and onions. Salad make with fresh fruits from our tropical forest, yogurt, honey and quinoa muesli. All our breakfast are accompanied of bread, milk, coffee variety of teas, marmalade, porridge with apple slices and some other times with cacao
We offer a potatoes salad mixed with cheese, chicken, broccoli and red pepper or rice with chicken slices, peas, carrots in a delicious Peruvian sauce. Launches are coming with bread and a selection of delicatessen meats and cheeses, slices of tomatoes, lettuce, onions, cucumber and sodas, water and juice.
Lunches and the end of the rafting: Chicken grilled with different kinds of sauces made out in a Peruvian style, this are coming with potatoes, sweet potatoes, fried banana to the oven, avocado mush, tomatoes, onions, slices of corn and cold beers, sodas, water and juice.
We serve our traditional soups mixed with chopped vegetable as starter. Our main dishes include filet mignon, grilled chicken, Lomo saltado (Traditional Peruvian dish), Mexican dinners, pork filet, and pasta. Every night we serve a salads and our classic spicy salad chopped in smallest peaces marinated with lime, olive oil, vinegar, salt pepper and rocoto (fresh chili)
Consist of corn or chocolate corns, fruit and cookies.
Sleeping bag (may rent for $15 per trip), inflatable mattress (may rent for $15 per trip).
Camping: Sleeping bag rated to Comfort 10 °C during May to July and 20 °C between August and October (sleeping bag may rent for $15 per trip), inflatable mattress (may rent for $15 per trip). Rain jacket, comfortable tracksuit pants (avoid jeans or cotton pants), shorts, 2 T-shirts; A warm fleece jacket or jumper, thermal long sleeved top and pants, two par of wooden socks, runners or sandals (trekking heavy boots are not allowed. Head flashlight (plus spare batteries), tooth paste and tooth brush, money to use during the driving on the day one and two, any medication that you may need.
While river rafting: Swimming suits and for better warmth wool or polypropylene long sleeve is ideal to wear inside the wet suits. Sneakers are best (NO flip flops, crocs or bare feet during rafting and/or in the camps)
Personal items: eco-friendly toiletries, i.e., bio-degradable (no place to wash except in the river, no pollutants please!!)
The Apurimac rafting tour is carefully designed to provide fun and especially a safe trip. Our main concern after safety is to look after the environment. We work every day in an effort to prevent pollution and contamination.
Fauna: Fox, giant river otters, condors, deer, variety of birds and — if we are really lucky –puma!
Garbage disposal: All inorganic matter is returned to Cusco, including all human waste (transported by means of cargo boat).
Climate: Warm and arid. From May To August it can get a little chilly in the evening, the temperatures during the day can get up to 35°C – 95°F.
At River Explorers, the safety of our clients and employees has always been our high priority. Years ago we and other respectable rafting outfitters lead the effort to develop the rules and regulations for white water rafting in Peru.
Here are two links that contain tips to help you make your next whitewater rafting trip a success.
The Apurimac rafting is open during the dry season (May to November).
Our departures dates are flexible, we need only 2 persons to open a tour. Therefore, just pick up a date and let us, we will start from there.
Below are some fixed departure dates.
May: 17, 31
Jun: 7, 21
July: 12, 26
Aug: 9, 23
Sep: 6, 17, 25
Oct: 11, 22
Nov: 8, 22