Up to date June 17th, 2019.
The town of Tena is a place which tends to lure backpackers for one cause and one cause only: whitewater sports activities! The spectacular jungle rivers supply not solely superb views but in addition the prospect to identify uncommon and vibrant wildlife – in the event you can spare the time to search for them! In addition to whitewater rafting, perhaps the preferred of the Ecuadorian water sports is kayaking and in Tena, everyone seems to be into it. Properly, you understand what they are saying, when in Ecuador…
- 1 What to convey on your whitewater kayak journey?
- 2 Our expertise whitewater kayaking in Tena, Ecuador
Kayaking trips – How do I choose?
There’s definitely no shortage of tour operators in Tena and they will be falling over each other to promote you a kayaking trip. Variety is great however it makes it an entire lot more durable to determine which company to choose. Journeys range massively in finances, which is clearly a consideration, particularly for backpackers.
One thing you must do is resist the urge to select the most cost effective choice. All things thought-about, any sport on whitewater might be dangerous and you’re placing your life in the arms of your chosen tour company.
Saving a couple of bucks all the time feels good on the time however you’d in all probability wished you paid just a little extra in case you come again with a broken arm. With that in thoughts, listed here are my recommendations for choosing an excellent kayaking company.
- Examine whether or not the instructors are certified
- Ensure you know whether or not the gear rent value is included
- Look for operators who cater to all talents
- All the time examine whether or not they embrace food (you’re doing a sport and you’ll get hungry)!
While I was looking for a kayaking trip with my boyfriend Tim, we found the company Kayak Ecuador who ticked all of my ‘must-have’ packing containers and came complete with superb critiques. The corporate was based by Ecuadorian and traveller, Santiago, who has guided kayak excursions all over South America and only employs certified guides.
With Kayak Ecuador’s emphasis on security and experience, I used to be eager to see what they might train a beginner like me! We organized the whitewater kayak full day journey.
How do you choose a Kayak?
From the outset, Kayak Ecuador have been great communicators who did all the things to maintain each me and Tim informed concerning the structure of the day and what to anticipate. They tell us in advance what time they might decide us up from our accommodation and sent us literature relating to the tour and its itinerary. Any questions that I had relating to the logistics of the decide up have been dealt with shortly and efficiently by way of e-mail.
What to convey on your whitewater kayak journey?
- Bathing go well with
- Change of clothes
- Bottle of water
- Closed-toe footwear – these must not come off simply and can get wet!
- Insect repellent
- A dry bag
- Telephone/digital camera for pictures
What gear is offered?
- Life jacket
Kayaks of all colours!
Our expertise whitewater kayaking in Tena, Ecuador
Gear selection and safety
We have been picked up promptly by our driver and guide for the day, Philip. He was pleasant and welcoming, to not mention massively skilled so I immediately felt reassured about our selection of firm.
From our lodging, we travelled to the Kayak Ecuador warehouse, the place we have been assigned our gear. Kayaks, helmets and life jackets have been all sized up and given to us by Philip. We have been also provided with a kayak skirt which fits around you and over the opening in the boat to stop excess water from getting in. I had no concept these even existed!
Safety gear in the back of the truck.
After we had been allotted our gear, Philip sat and went via the purpose of every piece of kit and coated the security info. Having had a hair-raising expertise with kayaking as a toddler, I was doubtful about getting again on the water. That is why I had been so targeted on selecting a company who promoted a protected surroundings from which to study. Having listened to the security speak by Philip and understanding that all the kayaking guides are members of the American Canoe Affiliation (ACA), I was feeling confident concerning the day and desperate to get on the water.
We had explained to Philip that while we had some expertise kayaking on lakes (and going round in circles mainly) that neither of us had ever kayaked on whitewater earlier than. With this in mind, he chosen a Class II river for us to study on.
Class II – That is one of the best river sort for novices. It is straightforward to keep away from formations but there’s additionally some motion inside the river from which to study.
Class III – These rivers are nicely suited to these at an intermediate degree who’ve experience in whitewater kayaking. Formations in these rivers can simply turn a kayak and subsequently, Kayak Ecuador stipulate that the skimo roll is important to run these.
Class IV – Appropriate for advanced degree kayakers, you’ll need plenty of expertise to run this river class safely. As these rivers could be dangerous, Kayak Ecuador require a expertise demonstration to ensure that kayakers have complete control over their boat.
A great place to test your expertise…
A swim in the river
To start out with, Philip insisted that each Tim and I have a go at swimming in the lake. This wasn’t just to chill us down though, it is crucial to determine that kayakers can swim in the heavy gear that they’re sporting.
Feeling recent and again on the shore, we pulled our boats in and received started. Constructing on the security speak from earlier, we practised getting in and out of the kayak in case we capsized. This helped to build our confidence underneath the water and made positive that we had follow escaping simply in case. As soon as our kayak escape had been perfected, we moved onto the essential movements.
Making an attempt to stability the kayak was a challenge but with some affected person and good-humoured instruction from Philip, Tim and I have been soon paddling across the river in an solely barely wonky line. After we had mastered going forward, we tackled the paddle movement to ship us backwards, before studying how you can turn on the spot.
Before we knew it, hours had handed and it was time for lunch. We walked over to the shaded part of the seashore and sat down with Philip. We loved a couple of warm empanadas and a few solely barely melted chocolate for dessert. As we sat filling our faces, we talked to Philip about his historical past learning to kayak.
As Philip spoke about learning to navigate Ecuador’s rivers and his ardour for sports activities extra usually, it was very obvious that this can be a man who is at his happiest on the water. Once I asked him about why he was working for Kayak Ecuador as an alternative of another tour firm, he reiterated their emphasis on river safety and defined that sadly, there are lots of tour operators around Ecuador that don’t take this significantly.
Apply is over
Feeling very content from our scrumptious lunch, we headed back over to our canoes for a jaunt on the river. After a fast refresh session on the morning’s teachings, Philip knowledgeable us that it was time to run the river. As a category II, none of the rapids can be notably powerful and we might easily select to paddle round them if we didn’t have the arrogance to cross. We approached barely spaced out but still in a gaggle and headed in the direction of the first inklings of a wave.
Like a PRO!!
After a morning of practising and with a full stomach, I used to be raring to go and sailed over the first speedy, shortly after Tim. This turned out to be the primary of many and earlier than lengthy, we have been laughing and whooping as we paddled down the river. My kayaking wasn’t fairly as much as scratch with Tim’s and I ended up crashing into Philip on numerous events however regardless of my embarrassment, he simply laughed it off and earlier than lengthy it had develop into a operating joke.
Whitewater kayaking – The verdict!
Regardless of all of my reservations about kayaking, both Tim and I had monumental quantities of fun on the river with Philip. Unquestionably, an enormous plus about learning to kayak in Tena is the gorgeous rainforest landscape.
As this river was suitable for novices, we had plenty of time to marvel at the setting round us. Philip was nice at stating fascinating wildlife and making the expertise all-encompassing which was an added bonus we hadn’t anticipated!
Regardless that I was a beginner, I felt utterly relaxed the whole time I was on and in the water. The emphasis on security and the fact that our guide was licensed, was an enormous weight off my thoughts and made me benefit from the experience rather more than I might’ve if safety wasn’t prioritised. Having accomplished the course without capsizing, I undoubtedly felt completed in my achievements from the day!
From the inception of our tour proper via to leaving the river, I can’t advocate Kayak Ecuador highly enough. Philip was charismatic, patient and educated concerning the sport. Regardless of both mine and Tim’s talent shortcomings, he managed to make us both really feel assured in our means and succeeded in making the complete expertise not just protected but enjoyable.
This was considered one of two experiences that Tim and I did with Kayak Ecuador during our time in Tena and both experiences have been delivered professionally by massively enthusiastic guides. Whilst Kayak Ecuador shouldn’t be the most cost effective choice for whitewater kayak classes in Tena, it’s certainly one of the best!