Small World Adventures is celebrating our 30th anniversary this year. Come kayak Ecuador and celebrate with us!

If you want to come kayaking in Ecuador and have the best week of paddling of your life, look no further. Small World Adventures wrote the book on kayaking in Ecuador (literally)! We’ve been offering guided kayaking trips in Ecuador since 1993 and we guarantee that we’ll send you home tired and happy after seven days of kayaking Ecuador’s world class rivers. Don and Darcy work with an all-star team of Ecuadorian guides, drivers, and cooks to ensure you get the most out of your time kayaking in Ecuador. So what’s stopping you? Come kayak Ecuador with the best team in the game!


Why Kayak Ecuador with Small World Adventures?

  • We have the most experienced guides in Ecuador, hands down. Our team makes kayaking in Ecuador their #1 priority, which means you’ll get the most knowledgable kayakers in the guiding world. Our core guide team is made up of a group of multinational kayaking professionals: Don, Darcy, Andres, Byron, Jair, Bladimir, and Brayan.
  • SWA hires local guides, cooks, drivers, and hotel staff to ensure we do our part to contribute to the local economy.
  • Deluxe food, lodging and transportation
  • Over 55 modern kayaks to choose from
  • 7 days of kayaking in Ecuador’s Amazon Basin with only 1 week off from work
  • Class II through V
  • November to March
  • We wrote the Kayaker’s Guide to Ecuador
  • SWA is a proud member of 1% for the Planet
  • SWA’s guides and owners are Ecuadorian River Institute volunteers and board members. Small World acts as the chief fundraiser for the ERI, and we do yearly fundraiser drives to support Ecuador’s rivers. Check out last fundraiser where we raised $19,420 for the ERI. SWA also makes regular contributions to the ERI as part of our 1% for the Planet commitment.
  • We support two local kids kayaking clubs–Amazon RiverKeepers and the Yaku Churis. We also support the Kayak Club Ecuador with gear donations and river outings with club members.
  • Don and Darcy were part of the first team to Kayak the Amazon River from source to sea and Darcy was the first woman to do it. Read about it in Amazon Woman, her adventure memoir!

Current Conservation Efforts for Kayaking in Ecuador

Small World Adventures has raised over 70k for the Ecuadorian Rivers Institute since Don and Darcy bought the business back in 2016. Because we love kayaking in Ecuador (and the Earth in general), we want to do everything we can to keep the rivers free-flowing. We have also become enthusiastic supporters of the Yaku Churis kids club whose mission is to teach kids to protect rivers through the medium of whitewater kayaking. Our annual 1% for the Planet contribution also goes to the Ecuadorian Rivers Institute. We always encourage people to come kayaking in Ecuador because the more we can show the government that tourism is a sustainable and viable industry, the better off Ecuador’s rivers will be. Kayak Ecuador to show your support for free-flowing rivers!

River Conservation Efforts at Home

Our guides and owners also work with American Whitewater to protect our North American Rivers as well. Whether it’s racing at Gore Fest, volunteering at Gauley Fest, or writing updates for the AW mag, we do our best to get out there and show our support for the amazing folks at AW! Spreading the love of kayaking and providing a voice for the rivers is an important part of who we are.

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Our Passion: Kayaking (especially kayaking in Ecuador)

What draws us to the river is a combination of our love of the sport of kayaking, the enjoyment we get out of visiting new places, and the privilege we find in getting access to remote river canyons that only a handful of human beings will ever be fortunate enough to see. For us, kayaking is a sport that gives our lives meaning, fills us with happiness, and reminds us to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life.

Our Mission: To share our passion with as many of you as possible

Small World Adventures is made up of a group of people dedicated to the outdoors, to river conservation, and to spreading the love of whitewater kayaking. Our lives are enriched by our time on the river, and we hope to spread these feelings to as many people as possible. We feel our best while on the water, and we want to help you to achieve your best as well. Plus we know that if you fall in love with kayaking in Ecuador, you’ll be motivated to protect these places.

Our vision: Protect our natural places for future generations by spreading a passion for, and knowledge of, these places

Through our commitment to 1% for the planet, The Ecuadorian Rivers Institute, and American Whitewater we support and encourage the protection of our world’s most wild places. Our hope is that people will be able to enjoy them for generations to come, and we feel it’s our job to protect them and promote awareness and compassion for these places.

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Kayak Ecuador with Small World Adventures from Small World Adventures on Vimeo.

What you’ll get when you kayak Ecuador with Small World Adventures

You will get the best guided kayaking vacation ever! If 7 days of non-stop paddling, delicious home-cooked meals, professional guides, safe drivers and comfortable lodging sound good to you, you’ve come to the right place. Are you a serious paddler looking for a seriously awesome kayaking vacation? We get that, and that’s why we work so hard to make sure that you get the most out of your week of kayaking in Ecuador. SWA owners spend four to five months each winter kayaking in Ecuador, and most of our guides live in Ecuador. After so many years of paddling Ecuador’s rivers, we know each run at each water level ridiculously well, which means we’ll get you seven days of the best whitewater that Ecuador has to offer. After all, we wrote The Kayaker’s Guide to Ecuador, so you know you’ll be in good hands. Come join us!

Testimonials for Kayaking in Ecuador.

“With Don paddling here since 1993 and Darcy since 2001, they’ve both done wonders in growing the local paddling community. They, along with company co-founder Larry Vermeeren, are the de facto Godfathers of kayaking in Ecuador, even writing its guidebook The Kayaker’s Guide to Ecuador. Now in its third edition, the definitive book details the 77 different runs they’ve paddled.” –Eugene Buchanan Men’s Journal, Torrents Class IV trip

“I love that Don and Darcy have hired an all-Ecuadorian team. It made the trip special to get to spend time with their local staff. And seeing all the cool Ecuadorian initiatives that SWA supports–from a ex-farmer turned birder reforesting his land to a food lab bringing indigenous foods to local markets, to a whitewater kayaking kids club in Tena–made me feel like my trip money was getting put towards causes that I could really get behind.” –Chris Torrents Class IV trip

“I’m absolutely blown away by your level of passion, professionalism, and knowledge. Every day felt like an incredible adventure with a trusting team. I felt like I could really explore and push myself while also being expertly cared for.” Tenney, Class II/III trip and Class III+/IV- trip

“I have been to Ecuador without guides and spent much of our time scouting, arranging logistics and wondering what was around the next corner. SWA took all of the guess work out and led me to paddle better and stronger over the week. The experience was absolutely worth the minimal extra cost versus my DIY trip.” Andy,  Torrents Class IV

“Everything about this trip was perfect. I felt confident each day that the section of river we were running was the best option for the conditions and that we would get down safely. SWA is made up of incredibly well organized, kind and humorous people.” Mac, Class IV Torrents

“That was a special trip!  Thanks so much for showing us all a great time navigating the rivers through the jungles of Ecuador; what an adventure!  I’m impressed, you and Don have quite an operation going on down there. With all the variables, challenging logistics and scheduling concerns to contend with – in a foreign language, you manage to run a tight ship while being flexible and adapting to the changing nature of the business.  It’s obvious you have a passion for what you do, and it shows in everything from the delicious, home cooked meals, clean comfortable accommodations to the daily speeches clarifying what the day has in store, but where it truly shines is on the river.  It was so fun paddling with you guys.  Being a guide is much more than being a strong kayaker and you and the guides you have trained are super cool, kind and pleasant. It really added to the group dynamics.” Jim, Torrents IV

“Just sign up!  Don and Darcy’s river knowledge in Ecuador is incredible and well worth every penny.” Eric, Mucha Agua IV/V

“An amazing combination of 20+ years experience and new guide enthusiasm!  SWA is absolutely the people to kayak with in Ecuador, or any place in the world!” John, Torrents Class IV

“The instruction was superb and I’m definitely leaving as a stronger paddler.  Thank you!” Stephanie, Intro to Creeking trip IV-

“Our trip with SWA was nothing short of spectacular. Don and the crew did a great job of keeping everyone engaged on the river without scaring us. The paddling was world class, and the accommodations and food were top notch. A perfect blend of adventure and vacation.” Jack, Mucha Agua IV/V

“I have taken various trips for kayaking outside the USA, and this one BY FAR has been the best. It was a great boating experience and cultural experience. Our guides Don, Larry, and Andres were 10 out of 10! Darcy was extremely helpful for any questions that came up. I couldn’t ask for a better trip.” Jamie, Winter Whitewater III/IV

“I couldn’t be more happy with my experience with Small World. Best kayak trip in Ecuador of my life!” Ryan, Torrents Class IV

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Who’s in Charge?

As of 2016, Don and Darcy are back as owner-operators of Small World Adventures. SWA has been guiding whitewater kayaking trips in Ecuador since 1993 and we are honored to carry on the tradition that we started with whitewater kayaking pioneer Larry Vermeeren. Come let us show you the amazing rivers of Ecuador. If you come in November, you can also paddle with Larry–SWA founder, guide, badass and ambassador-at-large.

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1% For The Planet

SWA is a proud member of 1% for the Planet. As a business, we know our actions impact the world, and we are doing our best to make sure we leave a positive legacy.




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