About SWA

Adventure Kayaking in South America since 1993

Our Passion: Kayaking

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, meeting new people, 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 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.

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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At Small World we paddle each of the seven days you are with us. We realize that you came to the Andes to paddle and that is what we do. We will be out on the water every day while still offering time to relax and enjoy Ecuador. We have the transportation and logistics nailed. Our expert guides will make your trip fun and easy as they use their extensive experience to get you on a great river at a good level each and every day of your trip.

Over the years, Small World Adventures has set the standard for guided adventure kayaking trips. At Small World , we are dedicated to providing expert guidance and instruction on the best whitewater in Ecuador.

kayak ecuador, ecuador kaykaing, kayaking ecuador, kayaking in ecuador We aim to ensure you have the kayaking vacation of a lifetime. We have gathered together an incredible group of guides, and we built a riverside lodge to call home. Our knowledge of Ecuador’s rivers, acquired through exploration, first descents, and tons of time spent paddling here, is unparalleled.

Our owners and guides are committed to Ecuador and committed to kayaking, we spend 4-6 months paddling in Ecuador each year, which means we intimately know each run at each of the varying water levels that we see throughout the season. This is super important since river levels in Ecuador are some of the most dynamic anywhere in the world.  You can be assured that we’ll know the lines on every stretch of river we do whether the water is low, medium or booming! Using our knowledge gained over the past two decades, on over 18 rivers and 35 different sections at our disposal, we’ll get you on the right river for the day.

If your goal is to kayak some of the best rivers South America has to offer, you’ll love a paddling vacation to Ecuador with Small World Adventures!

Kayak Seven Days on Ecuador’s Rivers

We love showing our guests the culture and beauty of the Andes and Amazon basin and we are especially well know for our passion for kayaking. We offer paddling every day of your trip—that means you’ll get 7 days of paddling in your week-long vacation in Ecuador! We guide our guests on over 35 runs on 18 different creeks and rivers in the three best paddling zones of Ecuador. These rivers are all close together, so you won’t spend too much time in the car. But don’t worry, we also make time for cultural excursions such as trips to local markets, evening soccer games with the locals, and Empanada stops on the way home from kayaking.Kayak Ecuador, kayaking in Ecuador, kayak ecuador, ecuador paddling, padding south america, kayaking south america


Our chefs specialize in creating meals to satisfy hungry kayakers, and can cater to virtually any food request from vegan to gluten-free. While paddling with us, you’ll enjoy meals like strawberry-stuffed, baked French Toast, Frittata (a traditional Ecuador Highlands meal that consists of slowly cooked pork in local spices and is accompanied by cheese-filled potato pancakes) and Coconut Curry vegetables on a bed of Quinoa (another food from the Andes).  While we are in Tena, we eat at the town’s best restaurants.  You can have a steak one night and an “Ecuadorian Bowl” the next.


We know that a good, comfortable night sleep is important on your kayaking vacation, so we’ve chosen only the best for you. Small World Adventures bases out of the Luxor hotel in Borja—the nicest hotel in town! The Luxor has large, spacious rooms with private bathrooms. It has brand new, firm mattresses, good pillows, hot showers, and wifi. There is also a hot tub, steam room, sauna and pool at the hotel. If your muscles are tired after a long day of kayaking, a soak in the hot tub will do you good. While in Tena, we stay at the Los Yutzos hotel located right on the banks of the Pano River.  The Yutzos is within easy walking distance of all the “city” amenities that Tena offers such as bars, souvenir shops, ATM machines, local markets, massage therapists, ice cream shops and more! However, the Yutzos is far enough from the city center that it is typically quiet at night. The hotel also has air conditioner which you may want for your stay in Tena were daytime temperatures are typically in the high-80’s, low 90’s with close to 100% humidity.   Read more about our lodging and food here.

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Memo Bonilla is our head driver and you’ll ride in style and comfort in his Mercedes Sprinter. He is a very safe and conscientious driver, an avid bird watcher, a great Spanish teacher and all and all an invaluable member of the SWA team. We’ve taken Memo rafting on many of Ecuador’s rivers which has given him valuable insights for being our driver. He knows if the water rises, to wait at the very next access point, and he also knows how nice it is to have a beer cooler in the shuttle rig! Before driving for us he played professional football in Ecuador and now many of our guests join him to challenge the local football team in the evening after paddling.  He also has made a commitment to improve the river accesses in the Quijos valley and you will find most put-ins and take-outs cleaner because of his weekly efforts.

Modern Kayak Fleet

Our modern fleet is another thing that sets SWA apart. We bring new models down each year to keep our boats fresh so you can paddle in a boat you know or test drive some of the latest kayak models.

Trips of All Levels

Kayak Ecuador, kayaking in Ecuador, kayak ecuador, ecuador paddling, padding south america, kayaking south americaOur specialty is leading kayaking trips of all levels—from Class I through Class V. We lead our trips on Ecuador’s best tropical whitewater, which just happens to be right in our backyard. We also offer rafting trips, or a raft/kayak combo trip so that kayaking and non-kayaking friends or family members can enjoy a vacation together. Our trips have been written up in Kayak Session Magazine, Outside Magazine, Paddler Magazine, and Canoe and Kayak Magazine, and they continue to amaze both our new and return guests each season. Come paddle with the foremost experts on Ecuador’s Whitewater!

We immediately fell in love with Ecuador. The whitewater, the landscape, and the people are simply amazing; we are confident you will love it too. Small World Adventures invites you to look into where you could be kayaking this winter. Take a few moments to check out our information, and you will see our level of commitment to kayaking in Ecuador, it’s what we do.