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There are some brilliant rivers for whitewater rafting in the Cusco region. From Chuquicahuana as a one day blast, the Apurimac as a 3 day superb river trip to Tambopata as the best way to experience Wilderness, wildlife and whitewater. What more more can the adventurous traveler want?
The Chuquicahuana day trip is a level 3-4 whitewater experience depending on the water level, though when the river level is too high to safely run Chuqui then the next section down Cusipata is a fantatsic grade 3-3+ river.
The Apurimac known as one of the top 10 mutli day whitewater rafting trips in the world is an experience everybody will savour, well if you're the adventurous sort that is. Camping on sandy beaches every night with a roaring fire reliving the experiences of the day what more could you want.
The Tambopata again a multi day trip involving a drive through the Andean mountain range before arriving at the headwaters of the Tambopata river. Initially grade 3-4 after a few days it gently levels out and then you find yourself sitting in the perfect wildlife watching platform. Gently drifting down the river in complete silence the animals you see have to be seen to be believed. Camping in the jungle every night might not be the dream of everybody but if you've got a sense of adventure and are prepared to rough it a wee bit this trip will probably live in your memory for ever.
Those who wish to have a go themselves can try out the Pinipampa section in one or two man inflatable canoes. It is a one day trip and suitable for one and all going down the grade 1-2 section of the Urubamba river.
Note - although in Cusco there are many so called rafting operators there are very few that put safety as a high priority, many run incredibly cheap trips and with that you get what you pay for. Do you want equipment that has never been replaced? A buoyancy aid that won't even float on its own? A guide who's not been trained properly (but he's cheap)? Do your research and ask questions to get an operator with proper equipment that regularly replaced and guides with experience and qualifications.
In the rivers around Cusco there have been a number of deaths in the last few years and all of them have occurred with the cheap companies, these rivers are perfectly safe to raft so long as the correct precautions are taken and up to date funcional equipment is used.
Please DON'T go with the cheapest!!!