White-Water Rafting in Cusco
Cusco Urubamba River (1 day)
Day trips whitewater rafting on the Urubamba River are extremely popular and easily arranged once you arrive in Cusco. Typical trips depart Cusco daily at 9am and return by 3pm, leaving about 3 hours actually on the river. Trips usually include lunch, transport and all safety equipment and costs start at about $25 per person. Some trips combine a visit to the Inca ruins of Ollantaytambo or Pisac on the way back to Cusco.
There are 3 sections of the Urubamba River which are regularly visited. They are:-
1. Huambutio to Pisac (Year round) A good introduction to rafting with short and easy rapids which require no previous experience or special physical conditioning. It may be a little too gentle for some people especially in the dry season July-September, but the scenery is great. This trip is frequently combined with a visit to Pisac market and Inca ruins.
2. Ollantaytambo to Chilca Class III Probably the most popular section of whitewater with the water being a bit more challenging with some exciting rapids. Novices can still make this run though. This trip is often combined with a visit to the Inca ruins of Ollantaytambo on the way back to Cusco. The putting-out point is usually Chilca which is only a 5 hours trek from the start of the Inca trail at Km 82. A few agencies therefore offer this trip as part of a combined 5-day rafting/Inca Trail package (half day rafting, 4 days trekking and half day returning by train to Cusco).
3. Huaran Class III + June-September This section of the river is further along the Urubamba towards Machu Picchu and provides some sizeable rapids and fast whitewater. Prior experience of rafting is necessary and this trip is not offered daily. Check with a rafting company in advance to see if they are offering this trip.
Cusco Apurimac River (4 days / 3 nights)
The Apurimac means 'speaking God' in Quechua and was considered a sacred river by the Incas. On its way to the mighty Amazon, this spectacular river cuts deep through gorges, surrounded by steep cliffs and sheer granite walls and slowly descends into wide pastoral valleys and tropical rainforest, providing some of the most exciting whitewater in the world. Most of the time will be spent rafting class III+ and IV rapids, although there are a few IV+ and V rapids along the way. Amongst the wildlife to be found in this remote and isolated canyon are river otters, condors, foxes and torrent ducks. There are several tour companies in Cusco operating this trip (see Peru Tour Operators), all running a similar itinerary. Obviously safety is of paramount importance in this 'high risk' adventure activity, so choosing a professional company should be priority.
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