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Why Kayak Ecuador?

I have had the awesome opportunity to paddle internationally in a variety of different countries. However, after spending this Christmas in Ecuador, I would have to say that it is logistically one of the easiest places to paddle. Out of a 14 day trip, we not only paddled all 12 days that we weren’t on a plane, but we also paddled 12 different sections of river.

Part of the easy logistics comes from the access. There are plenty of unexplored rivers in Ecuador but the reason they are unexplored is that they are incredibly difficult to access. They require miles of hiking through deep forests. In contrast, the explored and classic runs are almost all roadside. Taxis know where the access points are and will drive you to the put-in and pick you up again at the take-out. It doesn’t get easier than that.
The other part of the easy logistics came from the help of the owner of our hostel. In Baeza, we stayed at Casa de Rodrigo, and Rodrigo has friends all along the different river sections. He called them up every morning to let us know what the flows were for the different sections. It was great! Some other hostels had similar systems.

One difficult part is bringing down your kayak. There are taxes and fees that make it hard to fly with a boat, especially around Christmas. However, there are multiple places to rent kayaks. I chose to rent through Endless Adventure International because they had a variety of Jackson Kayaks in excellent quality. They even had a Jackson Karma, which is less than a year old! They also give a discount if you rent for more than 7 days.
Another aspect of paddling in Ecuador that I really appreciate is variety of difficulty. You do not have to be a class V gnar boater to enjoy a trip to Ecuador! In fact, there are tons of high quality class III and IV runs that still have very fun rapids and gorgeous scenery. There’s class V also, if you’re so inclined.
The last piece is the easy traveling. Out of the Spanish-speaking countries I have visited, Ecuadoreans are the easiest to understand. They speak slowly and do not use much slang. They are also very helpful and excited if you even try to use some broken Spanish. Ecuador also uses the American dollar, which takes one stressful part of international travel completely out of the equation.

I have now been to Ecuador several times and will continue to go back. The combination of the awesome paddling, beautiful scenery, friendly people, and fun culture keeps drawing me back. If you’re looking for a warm place to paddle in the winter or an easy international trip, Ecuador may be for you! ~ Diane Gaydos