Rafting and kayaking
The rivers in Cusco are ideal for descending, either by rafting, in a kayak or in a canoe. Currently this is known as either canoeing or rafting indistinctly; however, I should point out that rafting is done in an inflatable raft and canoeing starts as a discipline practiced in canoes. Then the kayak carne along and canoeing was divided in two. The canoe consists of a small boat that is impulsed by human force with piddles. A kayak is a small, semi-closed boat where maximum speed is achieved in tranquil, currentless waters. From April to November, the white waters await rowers offering an experience full of adrenaline and excitement.
The activities offered in the Urubamba and Vilcanota Rivers are ideal for a recreational family or group adventures. It has class 2 and 4 rapids (on a scale of 1 to 6, 1 being the smoothest): these rivers have turbulent waters with a medium-high level of difficulty that could require complicated maneuvers and techniques. Because of this, it’s vital to go to a licensed tour agency with qualified guides; never accept the services of informal guides just because they charge less. No kidding, it could be a matter of life and death.
The Apurímac River, which has crystal-clear waters and green surrounding areas, has higher difficulty rapids (class 3 to 5.) There are areas in the river where the water is very strong and dangerous. In these cases it is necessary to get off the canoe and carry it overland; this operation is more commonly known as portage. In a boast of false bravery, l’ll mention that I’ve done canoeing twice in the Mainique Canyon, in the waters of Urubamba Middie, and in the Megantoni National Sanctuary which is located in the northern jungle area of Cusco. An unforgettable experience, but it destroys your knees.
The descent in kayak is less common and you have to be well trained to practice. River kayaks are short single-seated vessels that are stable and not very fast. Before hitting the river, you’ll have to start by taking some classes in a lake, in addition to practicing swimming, rowing and the Eskimo roll (a safety roll). The water levels in these rivers increase a lot during rainy seasons (December to March), so it is recommended to do these sports from April to November.