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Whitewater rafting in the Andes Mountains of Peru

Posted by on September 23, 2011

Next up was for some fun in the mountain river waters – white water rafting in the Urubamba River. This was also in the Sacred Valley but I found that having a physical part to this trip in the midst of all this people-herding-like sheeple was refreshing to say the least. I got picked up at my hotel by a guide in his van where I encountered a newly-married couple who were on their honeymoon along with an older couple from Europe. I thought that doing a honeymoon in Peru was a great idea. I don’t know whose idea it was but I can tell you that it sure beats out doing the boring sit-in-the-sand-all-day beach ones because both spouses will be able to do something that they’ll remember and cherish for a long time.

Whitewater rafting group, Urubamba River, Sacred Valley, Andes Mountains, Peru

Getting ready to go whitewater rafting

Once we got to the river, we all had to change into wetsuits as the water was going to be cold. We would get this chance to test them out when the guide offered us the chance to jump off this ledge and into the deep part of the river before we started our rafting adventure. The European couple didn’t want to do it but the three of us younger ones said why not? We crossed this bridge and initially the newly-married wife didn’t want to do it. I guess she got the jitters after realizing how high the jump was. Only after being assured by the guide that it was safe and us two guys prodding her to “jump, jump, jump,” did she finally do it. She made it alright as did her husband but for me… well, I did the jump but apparently, I jumped “incorrectly” as I got drifted away by the currents of the river and moved away and downstream from the group. That’s when I realized that I was going to be in trouble if I didn’t start swimming to the coast. My guide was screaming and yelling at me, “Get to the side! Get to the side!” in Spanish and then took off with the group in a boat to retrieve me. I had some fun with this “accident” and it was just the beginning of the whitewater rafting.

Whitewater rafting boat, Urubamba River, Sacred Valley, Andes Mountains, Peru

After my "jumping blunder," the group came out to fetch me

Whitewater rafting, Urubamba River, Sacred Valley, Andes Mountains, Peru

Getting started rafting

The whitewater rafting trip wasn’t anything amazing in terms of rapids. Parts of the river were not that strong as this was the dry season so it felt like at most Class 2 (maybe 3?) river but what made it memorable was when the guide would tell us to look up because there was an Incan structure nearby. It seemed like there was always a piece of history nearby while the rest of us paddled along. But the best part of all this in my opinion was that my digital camera was water-proof up to 10 feet (3 meters) as I knew I was going to be the popular person around. I don’t know why but on this trip there was no designated cameraman like they do on other whitewater rafting trips. I guess I was “it” and I got some great shots on the water.

Whitewater rafting, calm waters, Urubamba River, Sacred Valley, Andes Mountains, Peru

It was nice just sitting there on the water...

Just a great change in pace from all that touristy stuff.

Whitewater rafting group pose in middle of water, Urubamba River, Sacred Valley, Andes Mountains, Peru

Our guide knew exactly where to be in the midst of the rapids to take this picture.