Chris T. Enjoying an "fluffy" run down the Oyacachi River
Don and I leave in 6 days for Ecuador, and instead of packing,
After getting over the initial home-coming from the Grand
Canyon and realizing that, “oh crap, we leave really soon and I have SO much to do,” I’m now super
stoked to be getting back to Ecuador.
Don't under estimate the Ecuadorian jungle--it's thick out there!
I’ve been lucky enough to travel all over North America and
the World in the pursuit of paddling; and sure, there is excellent whitewater in other places in
the world—California, Washington, B.C to name just a few—but none have the
complete package like Ecuador does. Ecuador has
great boating, a super friendly and laid back culture, monkeys, rainforest and
just all and all good living.
Tarquino leads a crew into "Menage-a-Rodeo" on the Cosanga River. The take out for this run is at SWA's riverside lodge, so even if you get a little rodeo action, you won't have to wait too much longer for your take out beer!
Just a quick count of Ecuador’s awesomeness:
In the Borja
Valley alone there are
more than 150 kilometers of whitewater spread between 6 major and “classic”
rivers and a handful of lesser known rivers.
Borja, site of Small World Adventures’ riverside lodge, has seen quite
a few changes since Larry first recognized the valley as the boating Mecca of
Ecuador, but all and all retains its sleepy farming town charm. The heaviest traffic on the road to the lodge
is still farmers walking down to tend the cows and the biggest “noise
pollution” is all those damn Inca Jays and Oro Pendula birds singing their
I still haven’t
gotten tired of a lap down the Oyacachi, then a quick stop in the town of El Chaco to stock
up on beans, rice, fresh tomatoes, avocados, pineapples, bananas, and berries,
then back to the lodge in time to enjoy a cold Pilsiner on the porch while
watching a myriad of brilliantly colored hummingbirds compete for the flower
Larry doing a little silhouette art during the Fiestas de Borja
Then, branching out to Tena, where we spend at least 2 of our
days with all of our trips, you bring the count up to over 300 kilometers of
whitewater spread amongst Class II, III, IV, and V rivers. Those heat-seeking people in the world will
love Tena! The air temperature is a
pretty constant 80-85 degrees (that’s roughly 25 degrees Celsius) and the water is
warm enough to break out the shorty paddling top (you can get away with just a
rash guard if you don’t mind the extra water in the boat)! While our lodge is in the transitional forest
around 5,000 feet in elevation, Tena is true jungle and will have you thinking
of Bagheera the Panther and Baloo the Bear in no time!
Jason has blurry vision in Tres Huevos on the Upper Jondachi
You don't always get to choose which kind of day it will be, but Ecuador offers the chance for a chill, "controlled" ay on the river, or an epic adventure. Adventure-seekers, you'll have no problems finding your thrills in Ecuador. And, for those of you who choose the normal outing on the river, you'll more often than not get it; but don't be too surprised if Ecuador throws a bit of craziness at you every now and then just to keep you on your toes!
Whichever kind of day you get, once you are done paddling all this amazing whitewater, Ecuador offers you a laid back, warm and welcome lifestyle I’ve found
no where else in the world.
Darcy stares into the maw at the "Tunnel" #2. Adventura Maxima!
Want to drink a cold 20 ounce Pilsiner or a Coca-Cola out of the bottle with the locals at a
roadside bar? Or an Orange Fanta with
the kids? No problem! Even if you don’t speak Spanish, they’ll love
communicating with you in whatever means possible. Charades-like sign language is a favorite and
you are guaranteed to come away smiling.
Larry watches on as the "Sheriff of Nottingham"styles Pica Piedra Rapid on the Quijos
Or perhaps a solo walk at dusk is more your style, watching
the innumerable bird species get active.
There are awesome, curious animals in Ecuador too. This guy was trying to hitch a ride on our Sprinter.
Need a break from kayaking and want to climb a 20,000 foot
peak, hit some hot springs, go surfing in the Pacific Ocean, look for Pink River Dolphins in the jungle
or visit the Galapagos? Also no
while only the size of Colorado (or just
slightly smaller than Germany), it pretty much has it all.
The kids love to play on the river too
So, I asked myself throughout our travels, what’s not to
love about Ecuador? It’s kept Larry happy for 20 years now, Don
for 17, me for 11; and the country captivated Guy so much in his few weeks of
traveling here in 2010 that he just couldn’t hold back and had to have a piece
A crew of solid boaters hiking into the Cheesehouse section of the Quijos River
So, even though life is frantic now and I’m rushing around
answering emails, buying solar lights for the lodge, packing my personal gear,
I know that in less than a week, I’ll be chilling on the front porch of Small
World’s lodge. I’ll probably just have
paddled the Papallacta or Cosanga and I’ll be basking in the knowledge that I
still have 5 more months of the good life!
Ecuador is so pretty, you can get stellar photos out the window of the moving van!