Boating with SMA in Ecuador - Mountain Buzz

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Old 12-28-2004   #1
Parker, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 31
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Boating with SMA in Ecuador


My son, David, and I got a chance to boat in Ecuador last week with Small World Adventures (SMA). It was a great trip. Ecuador is a really cool place to visit. SMA did a great job of leading us down the rivers and showing us interesting places to go. I have attached a link to some pictures from the trip. SMA also shot video of us boating and copied it onto a DVD for us to take home. It is nice to have some video to show to friends. If you are considering a guided trip I highly recommend SMA.

Bill Crockett

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Old 12-29-2004   #2
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 59
Do you mean SWA? How much did you pay for all the services and did it include airfare? I want to take a trip to Ecuador and I was wondering if it is worth a program like this or if it is better to just go and figure it out on your own? River beta and legistics are important but is it worth ~$1100. Thanks for any feedback.
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Old 12-29-2004   #3
Parker, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 31
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yep... I meant to type SWA not SMA... I must be lesdyxic

Their email address is [email protected]. The website is

As far as figuring it out own your own, if you can speak Spanish, are comfortable in a very 3rd world environment then you may be able to go it alone. If you have not boated there before it may be worth it to use someone like SWA for the 1st visit. I have boated in Mexico, Costa Rica as well as Ecuador. I think Ecuador has a much better selection of rivers and is a much better place to boat but I think it would be easier to go without a guide in CR or Mexico.

I paid around $1500. I picked the time, arriving on the 17th and departing on the 24th. Airfare was not included everything else including transportation to and from the airport was covered.
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Old 01-04-2005   #4
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 23
Being one of SWA┬┤s guides in Ecuador I have some experience with the question to paddle with us or do it yourself. The short answer is that if you have a fair amount of time to devote to paddling down here and a little Spanish, doing it on your own can be great. If you are short on time, one or two weeks, think about paddling with us. We have guided lots of really strong kayakers that had overseas experience but thanked us tons for getting them on the right rivers at the right water levels during there vacation, We have room on class IV trips Jan.22, 29 and Feb. 12 and 26 as well as a couple open weeks for small charter groups. A rafting trip Jan. 22 as well. If you are coming on your own feel free to contact us for the latest beta or to rent a kayak. By the way the weather is hot and the rivers running!
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Old 01-04-2005   #5
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 74
I went on a SWA trip three or four years ago and it was an incredible trip. It was a group of four friends and there was one other guy from CA on the trip. They picked us up at the airport the day we left Denver and we were on the river the next day! We boated every day until our flight left. They were even nice enough to run two trips on one day so two of us could run a nice scenic class 3 run while the others ran a class 5 creek. They were really well organized and if you're short on time I think you would be unable to get in anywhere near as much boating without them! This trip has to be the one the best trips I've been on! Although- you might want to think twice about spending Fat Tuesday in Tena and boating the lower mishuali (or whatever that huge river was called) the next day...

Just my opinion!
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Old 01-10-2005   #6
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1
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.
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