Boating With SWA in Ecuador
I would like to compliment SWA for the great VACATION they provided Bill, David and myself last month. If you want a low stress, quality kayaking trip in a short period of time, pay to go with professional guides who are fluent in Spanish and know the rivers, transportation systems, and culture of Ecuador from their many years of experience. Is it possible to paddle down there on your own? Of course it is, just be prepared to take at least twice as long to do many things, such as getting to and from the rivers and moving around the country. The more Spanish you know, of course, the easier it would be. Don, Darcy and Larry of SWA were very accommodating to the abilities and desires of our small group and often tailored the runs to the individual by splitting our group up.
My original plan was to put together a small group of my local boating buds and spend a couple of weeks down there on our own, just like I have successfully done in CR (20 days) and Chile (40 days) years ago. But alas, the buds all dropped out like flies and I was left with the prospects of heading down there on my own with my very rusty Spanish, going to Tena, renting a boat, and finding others to boat with. The first two items would have been relatively easy, I suppose, but when we were paddling down there, other kayakers to team up with seemed pretty scarce.
So, I am glad I paid for the quality experience of good food, GREAT river-front accommodations, a good selection of kayaks, and fun, professional guides.