Class III kayaking in Ecuador!
Tarquino admiring the beauty of his homeland on the Lower Jondachi
For years people have had the misconception that kayaking in Ecuador is only for people who want to run the “gnar.” This myth is constantly perpetuated by spectacular photos of hard whitewater coming from the jungles of the Amazon Basin (we are guilty of this ourselves).
Doesn’t get any better than the smooth granite boulders and clear waters of many of Ecuador’s creeks
But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Ecuador is a kayaker’s paradise no matter what level of paddler you are. It is an ideal place to learn kayaking as the rivers and air are warm, access is easy and there are a plethora of runs in the Class I and II level.
Devon Barker surfs a sweet wave in the sunshine on the Rio Quijos not too far downstream of SWA’s lodge
Moving up to the Class III , III+ and even IV- range, you can base yourself in the bustling jungle town of Tena and have a handful of world class rivers at your disposal. The Rios Jantuyacu, Misahualli, Anzu, and the Lower Jondachi are all perfect training grounds for the Class III boater. What’s more is that you’ll probably see monkeys, parrots and maybe even a toucan while paddling these gems!
A monkey chilling out at the take out of one of Tena’s great Class II/III runs the Upper Napo
Then, once you’ve warmed up in Tena, you can move on over to the Quijos Valley. Basing yourself out of Small World Adventure’s riverside lodge you’ll lack in nothing pertaining to your daily comforts and can focus on the new challenges of the Upper Cosanga and the Quijos Rivers. The Upper Cosanga is a technical boater’s delight as you make you way through boulder gardens set down in a beautiful basalt canyon. Bird watchers from all over the world come to the Cosanga area to look for rare bird species so keep your eyes open as you make your way downstream.
Paddlers stoked on the Class III boulder gardens around Tena
Then, when you are ready for the Pica Piedra run on the Quijos, you can just wake up at SWA’s lodge, have coffee and breakfast and then put in right in front of the lodge. This medium volume run has a great variety of character. It starts out technical and also has a few constricted places to give you a super fun, big water feel!
Beautiful skies and scenery are the back drop to the exciting, pool-drop rapids of the Jatunyacu
After a few hours of Quijos fun, you can come back to the lodge and celebrate your amazing Class III kayaking vacation in Ecuador with a beer on the porch.
Larry and Jennifer enjoying hot weather on the Misahualli. Please note the shorty tops!
So, all you Class III boaters out there, toss your mistaken beliefs behind and come see for yourselves all that Ecuador has to offer you!
Everywhere you look in Ecuador there are vibrant colors and cool critters!
Your “gnar” friends will all be jealous when you bring home photos of spectacular waterfall-ridden canyons, awesome Class III rapids, and smiling faces of the Ecuadorian kids you meet along the rivers.
Here’s to a great week of paddling in Ecuador!
We brought both creek boats AND playboats for this crew’s last day on the river so they could do it all before heading home.