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Rafting the Urubamba River in Peru 2024

This adventure is quite extreme, but its beauty is well worth it

Best time: May–October

Rafting the Urubamba River

The most famous white water rafting place in Peru is Urubamba River, as it combines various levels of difficulty, beautiful natural scenery, and even some hints of mystery related to ancient tribes.

The most drastic difference of difficulty levels occurs at the end of the rainy season when medium-high water levels in the river reach about 300 cm to start; 600 cms near Quillabamba, and up to 1,700 cm at the Pongo de Mainique.

When rafting along the calm river, you can enjoy rocky formations hanging overhead, settlements of native communities near the river banks, and rich rainforest fauna and flora—including parrots! This is possible, of course, only during the dry season and on some specific sections, like the one between Huambutio and Pisac.

Much more difficult would be to visit the part of the river between Ollantaytambo and Chilca, as rafting there requires some basic skills and physical strength. Usually, this experience is combined with hiking the Inca Trail, which reaches the Urubamba River here and goes right to the Golden Gates of Machu Picchu.

The most challenging white water rafting can be done on sections Quiquijana, Chuquicahuana, Huaran and the whitewater gorge the Pongo de Mainique. Despite their difficulty, they attract many visitors with their beauty.

Light class rafting is possible between May and October, class III and higher is usually organised by only some operators and between June through September, so it is better to check the dates beforehand.

Practical info

When is the ideal time to engage in white water rafting in the Urubamba River?

Between the months of May and October, which is the dry season, is the best time to take up white water rafting in the Urubamba River. During this time, there is room for light and moderate rafting, but for class III and more difficult classes, only a few operators organise them from June through September. Interested parties are advised to check the dates before rafting to experience higher class level rafting. Show more

What are some of the challenging sections for white water rafting in the Urubamba River, and what are the requirements for rafting them?

Rafting in the Quiquijana, Chuquicahuana, Huaran, and the Pongo de Mainique whitewater gorge sections of the Urubamba River is challenging yet beautiful. It's essential to note that rafting these sections requires physical strength and some basic skills, so it is recommended to follow the advice of professional operators. Despite their difficulty, these sections are famous among visitors. Attractive natural scenery adds to the challenges of rafting in these sections. Show more

What are the various grades of difficulty that one can encounter while white water rafting in the Urubamba River?

In the Urubamba River, rafters can encounter different levels of difficulty. Light class rafting is possible during the dry season, while only a few operators organise class III and higher during June through September. Be prepared for the most challenging rapids when rafting Quiquijana, Chuquicahuana, Huaran and the Pongo de Mainique whitewater gorge. Rafters need to possess physical strength and some basic skills to navigate through these sections successfully. Show more

How can one combine white water rafting in the Urubamba River with hiking the Inca Trail and what does it entail?

Combine white water rafting in the Urubamba River with hiking the Inca Trail by accessing it from Ollantaytambo, and following the trail to the Golden Gates of Machu Picchu. Rafting between Ollantaytambo and Chilca is an ideal challenge for those with adequate physical strength and basic rafting skills. Hikers will be walking along the Urubamba River and can opt to raft in some sections. This tour combines adventure, historical immersion, fascination with nature and exploration. Show more

Which section of the Urubamba River is best suited for light class rafting, and what is the class level?

The section of the Urubamba River that is ideal for light class rafting is between Huambutio and Pisac. This part of the river is only accessible during the dry season and is moderately challenging, with Class II rapids. Light class rafting is perfect for beginners or families looking to have a leisure time rafting. Even for those who choose to take it slow, beautiful scenery such as overhead rock formations, native settlements, and beautiful rainforest flora, abound. Show more

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