Peru Kayaking and Rafting

Whitewater rafting in Peru © NeilsPhotography

Peru is home to the source of the mighty Amazon River and a number of other powerful rivers, and provides many opportunities for kayakers and rafters to enjoy world-class whitewater. There are options to suit all levels of experience, with gentle runs for novices and extremely challenging stretches for experienced paddlers (rapids range from Class II to Class VI). Whitewater rafting is particularly popular in the Colca and Cotahuasi canyons, in the Urubamba Valley, on the Rio Santa River, and the Tambopata River, which winds through the Amazon jungle. There are many wonderful whitewater stretches near Arequipa, which makes a great base for kayaking and rafting holidays. Apart from being an incredible adrenalin rush, whitewater rafting - especially multi-day expeditions - allows travellers to access landscapes which might otherwise be very difficult to explore. Many of the steep desert canyons, and overgrown jungle valleys are best traversed by boat and sometimes wildlife can be spotted along the banks.

The best months for whitewater rafting are May through September, when water levels are low. During the rainy season (summer) rivers can become very dangerous. There are many good tour operators offering whitewater trips in Peru.