Amazon River Rafting – Anzu and Jatunyacu River, 3 Days
Effort: Moderate, class III – IV Rivers
Activities: Rafting, hiking, bird watching, swimming, cultural encounters, hot springs.
Accommodation: Riverfront jungle lodge.
This world-class Amazon rafting adventure takes you down two of Ecuador’s very best one-day whitewater runs. The Jatunyacu is a classic descent through breathtaking jungle scenery with traditional Kichwa homes along the shore. The combined Jondachi – Hollin run is one of Ecuador’s newest and most exciting, cutting through a remote jungle canyon filled with impressive waterfalls. In addition to great rafting, enjoy tranquil evenings in a jungle lodge, a visit to a local indigenous community, and a relaxing finish to your journey at Papallacta’s natural hot springs.
- Raft two of Ecuador’s best one-day river runs with exciting class III-IV rapids
- Pass through spectacular jungle scenery in nature reserves and national parks
- Explore caves and beautiful rock formations, swim in natural river pools
- Relax and rejuvenate in the mineral-rich, curative Papallacta hot springs
- Discover the spiritual world of the Kichwa Indians
- Learn from experienced rafting guides who will make your adventure safe and fun
Our journey begins heading east from Quito through the Inter-Andean valley, then gaining elevation until we reach the continental divide at 4,100 metres of altitude. Here we begin a scenic descent into the Amazon Basin. We enjoy beautiful scenery along the entire ride, from highland paramo to lush rainforest. We reach our put-in just as we enter the Llanganates National Park. Before we start our rafting adventure, we set off on a short hike through the jungle to a nearby group of naturally-formed river pools, where we jump, slide, and swim around incredible rock formations, helping us get comfortable in the water before rafting.
We return to the put-in, and after a brief instructional session, head for the rapids. The Jatunyacu, which means “Big Water” in Kichwa, is considered one of Ecuador’s best one-day river runs. It has lots of big waves and fun features, and offers the perfect balance of challenge and accessibility for the novice rafter. The river is surrounded by spectacular jungle scenery, birdlife, and Kichwa families that live along the shores in small bamboo and thatch houses. After an exciting first run, we head to our riverfront jungle lodge, where we enjoy a gourmet dinner and a relaxing evening amidst the jungle sounds. (L, D)
This morning, we drive toward the Jondachi River to experience Ecuador’s newest whitewater attraction. Today’s run starts with a technical section of the Jondachi, which eventually merges with the Hollin and transforms into a high-volume river with seriously big waves. We hike for 30 minutes to access the river. Before boarding our rafts, we visit a secluded river cave nearby, where we plunge into deep pools and enjoy the amazing scenery of this hidden spot. We return to the launch spot to begin an epic 38 km run through a pristine jungle canyon.
The Jondachi section is tight and technical, requiring careful maneuvering between granite boulders. Once the Jondachi joins the Hollin, water volume increases significantly, creating big waves and demanding a more aggressive paddling style. The high canyon walls that frame the river are covered in lush rainforest and several picturesque waterfalls. As we paddle, we can see kingfishers, egrets, yellow-rumped caciques, and brilliant blue and green tanagers. Above the canyon, we see several wooden foot bridges built by the Kichwa people to access their deep jungle territories. We return to our jungle lodge for another serene evening. (B, L, D)
Today we begin our return trip back through the Andes, with a pair of fun stops along the way. Before leaving the Amazon, we stop to visit the Waira Churis (“Wind Dancers”), a Kichwa family who express their culture’s symbiosis with the rainforest through traditional song and dance. Many of their songs are played with traditional instruments made from jungle animals and plants.
After our visit, we continue up into the Andes, enjoying views of lush tropical valleys and waterfalls. Our next stop is the Termas de Papallacta Spa and Resort, where we relax in thermal pools fed with mineral-rich water from the nearby volcanic hot springs. The resort is surrounded by mountainous cloud forest scenery. We are also happy to arrange other spa services, including massages, aromatherapy, and mud treatments. After a relaxing afternoon, we head back to Quito in the early evening. (B, L)
- Private ground transportation
- High-quality rafting gear and safety equipment
- Jungle lodge accommodations
- All meals as indicated (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
- Professional bilingual adventure guide
- Hotel and restaurant beverages
- tips and personal expenses
**Please note** This itinerary is subject to change without notice due to seasonal changes, inclement weather conditions, water levels, and the discretion of the guide.Important Information
Travel time: One to four hours per day
Rafting time: Three to five hours per day depending on water level
Season: Year-round except June
Altitude: 1,600 ft to 2,300 ft (500 m to 700 m)
Weather: As we change elevation, we will pass through both subtropical cloud forest and tropical forest ecosystems. Depending on altitude, daytime temperatures generally range between 60º F to 95º F (16º C to 35º C), and nighttime temperatures generally range between 60º F to 71º F (16º C to 22º C).
Suggested items to pack: Water sandals, flashlight, sunblock, bathing suit, mosquito repellent