Rio Upano, Ecuador
Tame the Roaring Rio Upano in Ecuador
Rainforests as far as the eye can see and a roaring river waiting to be challenged is a must for any white water river rafting freak.
The Rio Upano, which translates to the River of Sacred Waterfalls, located in Ecuador, is a white water river rafting adventure filled with rapids ranging from grades three to four. This journey will start in the Amazon Basin from an isolated village called Macas and you will find yourself surrounded by the Amazonian jungle and its green beauty.
Culture is something you will be swamped by. This region is home to the Shuar Indians and history dictates that neither the Incas nor the Spanish could penetrate this region due to its inaccessibility. The Shuar Indians were known as the head-hunters of the Amazon and it is the tribe famous for shrunken heads.
On these trips, a Shuar guide will join you and you will be able to visit the villages and experience the way in which this tribe survived for hundreds of years. The Shuar guide will take you to a village where he will explain and share the traditions of his fascinating people. Families will show you how they survive in the Amazon and how they use nature without killing the ecosystems found within it. Furthermore, you will become an explorer, discovering their belief systems, hunting techniques and even building methods.
The journey on the Rio Upano will take you through wide valleys and narrow canyons. You will be surrounded by water, boulders and jungle, allowing your mind to get lost in a time long forgotten.
When moving through the Namangosa Gorge, you will be captivated by countless waterfalls pouring down the side of the gorge while battling grade four rapids.
Due to Ecuador’s rich culture, many white water river rafting tours will take you to a colonial town called Cuenca, after battling the rapids, of course. By population, Cuenca is one of the biggest towns in Ecuador. As one of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage sites, here you will be able to delve further into the cultures and history of Ecuador. You can visit old cathedrals and the Church of Santo Domingo. Surrounded by historical buildings, there are quite a few museums as well, including the Museum of Aboriginal Cultures, the Municipal Museum Remigio Crespo Toral and the House of Ecuadorian Culture.
The white water river rafting season for the Rio Upano is in December and this great test of human strength and survival lasts a total of eight days. Of course you can extend your stay in the small villages and cities of the surrounding areas.
Another nice inclusion is that of camping and other equipment. Those who arrange these tours provide all that is needed and you do not have to carry everything with you all the time.
It is quite pricy, costing quite a lot for the river journey alone, but, considering the experience, it is well worth it.