A two week multi-day self-support kayaking expedition through some of the worlds best and deepest canyons coupled with the Inca culture, famous for its creativity in farming, textiles and of course Machu Picchu.
This is Peru’s Incas and Canyons Kayaking Adventure!
On arrival in Lima it is a short internal flight to the Inca capitol of Cusco. Situated at some 3300m above sea level our first day is spent checking out the sites, acclimatising and watching the world go bye at the Plaza De Armas.
With our equipment packed we head to the Rio Apurimac for 3 days of fantastic whitewater set in a beautiful canyon. With plenty of Class 3-4 rapids and few portages it is one of our favourite rivers in the world and holds a steep tradition within the Inca culture.
We head from the Apurimac to the Sacred Valley and the Rio Urubamba. The following day we kayak in the morning on the Rio Urubamba and enjoy the Class 3-4 rapids while also floating past various Inca terraces and sites. In the afternoon we take the train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes and the gateway to the stunning citadel of Machu Picchu. Early next morning we go to the lost ancient city and enjoy the truly amazing architecture in spectacular surroundings. In the late afternoon we head back to Cusco and our next city of Arequipa.
The colonial city of Arequipa is stunning. With its white walls and warmer climate it has a very different feel and flavour to that of Cusco. We spend the morning relaxing and getting our gear ready for the next adventure, in the afternoon there is the opportunity to kayak the Rio Chili which is a short run just outside of the city.
The following day we start our journey to the deepest canyon in the world - the Cotahuasi Canyon. Crossing a 4800m pass on the way and with views of the Coropuna Volcano which at 6400m is Peru’s second highest, this is where they discovered frozen mummies in the ice on the summit - a gift from the Incas to their Gods! Cotahuasi is a sleepy little village but with hot springs scattered along the upper valley it gives us a chance to rest, relax and sooth our aching muscles.
Our journey the next morning to the Rio Cotahuasi is made easier by a new road to the put-in and now it is a 5 day odyssey into one of the most spectacular canyons on the planet. The river itself is Class 4 with some bigger rapids spread throughout the canyon. Every camp we stay at is an archeological site with Inca textiles, pottery, terraces and even bones scattered around. In the evening we see condors soaring high above the canyon walls looking for their next meal. We paddle through the heart of the canyon, twice as deep as North Americas Grand Canyon and with so much more whitewater it is truly an expedition kayakers dream!
Our last night we spend in the canyon before it opens out and the Rio Maran joins. The river is still fun to kayak for an hour before it completely flattens out and this is where we meet our private jeep for the journey back to Arequipa - let the celebrations begin.
This multi-day self-support kayaking trip is one of its kind and contains 2 of our favourite rivers in the world. Peru is a special place with amazing culture and there really is no other country like it for rivers, canyons and the Incas!
David and Steve form a fantastic partnership that not only gives you the opportunity to kayak amazing rivers but will also get a distinct flavour of the region, its people and customs. Steve has been guiding and leading expeditions to Peru for over 7 seasons and has made over 50 descents of the Rio Apurimac. Throughout his time in Peru Steve has run ALL the whitewater the Rio Apurimac has to offer including the Acobamba Abyss! David has also guided and lead trips in Peru, it is where they first met back in 2002. For more about Steve and David please check out Our Team page on the website.
You should have plenty of experience of kayaking Class 4 whitewater including canyons such as the Giarsun or Ardez Gorge in the Engadine Region of Switzerland. Your roll should be solid and though you do not need experience of multi-day self-support kayaking it would help. We will be kayaking on average for 6 hours a day and though you do not need to be an Olympic athlete you should have a certain amount of paddle fitness and stamina.
Our ratios are extremely low here at the Kayak School and we will be kayaking with 1 guide/coach to 3 clients. We will not take more than 6 clients on this trip with gives you plenty of whitewater action and the opportunity to become a much more all rounded kayaker. We keep the groups small giving you a safe environment thus leaving you to nail that line or style that drop.
On the river we will sleep under a flysheet on the Rio Apurimac and in the Cotahuasi it is a dry desert making it a million star accommodation! In Cusco, Urubamba and Arequipa we will stay in a mixture of locally owned hostels and colonial style guest houses.
Food & Drink
On the river Steve and David will be preparing tasty and filling meals. Our water we will filter from the river. In the cities of Cusco and Arequipa there are plenty of restaurants and cafe’s serving great local food such as Quinoa, Alpaca steaks, ceviche and even cuy (guinea pig). Of course there are plenty of other options and the cakes in Arequipa are not to be missed. Pisco is the local firewater, Cusquena is the local beer and the open markets have some fantastic fruit juices made from a fresh delivery of tropical fruit from the Peruvian Amazon.
There is an option to run the more committing Colca Canyon. This is an expedition like no other and requires not just good whitewater skills but the attitude and mental ability to deal with a deep and very committing canyon. This is not a river to underestimate and we would have liked to kayaked with you before even contemplating such an expedition.