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I'm heading down to Ecuador for a week or two in November and wonder if anyone has any beta about the rivers and river scene there. Is it easy to hook up with other paddlers since I will be traveling alone? What sort of boat is best? Any information would help.
 

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ecuador beta

Well, you are about to get a somewhat unobjective opinion here since I work for Small World Adventures, but here is a bit of a low down on the paddling in Ecuador.

Nov./Dec. are great months to paddle in Ecuador (really the prime season is Nov. through March). It's technically the "drier season" in the region where most of the good paddling is, which is good. Flooding rivers are much more of a problem than dry rivers. Having said that, it still can rain a lot during these months so come prepared for anything!

If you had to pick one kayak to bring to Ecuador, I'd say bring one of the cross over river runners/play boats. There is tons of good creeking in Ecuador (much of which can be done in a "tweener" boat), but there is also a great abundance of fun, big water play runs. So if you want to sample a little of everything a "do it all" boat is good. If steep creeking is your style, bring a creek boat as long as you won't mind missing out on the play runs (or, come on a trip with us and use a creek boat for the creek runs and switch to a play boat for the play runs:)

Now, I'm not just saying this becuase I'm biased, but if you only have 1 week, I'd seriously think about doing a guided trip. Mainly just because if you come with us on our weeklong trip, you'll get 7 great days of paddling, you get to stay at our awesome riverside lodge, have your choice of over 60 kayaks, and we take care of all the logistics. All you have to worry about is having fun paddling. In one or two weeks it really is tough to do it on your own and get in as much quality paddling.

If you have more time (3-4 weeks) doing it on your own can be fun too, as long as you speak some Spanish and can be patient with challenging logistics!

Either way, you should check out our guidebook. You can order it online at www.smallworldadventures.com

You can also check out our blog at www.smallworldadventures.blogspot.com and look at some of the trip reports to get an idea of what sort paddling Ecuador has to offer (it has a great variety of Class II through Class V runs both low volume creeky and big volume, so really a little bit of everything).

Ecuador is really an awesome place to paddle, so I'm glad it's come under your rader--I'm sure you'll love it!

We do rent kayaks as well if you decide you do not want to bring your own.

Oh, and did I mention that we run kick ass kayaking trips (kayaks are provided on our trips)?

If you have any further questions, please feel free to e-mail me at [email protected]

Whether you go with us or on your own, have a great trip down there, hope to see you on the river, or at our lodge for a beer.
 

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If you're going alone, and want to get in alot of paddling in a short amount of time, I'd say go with Small World. We did it on our own (with boats rented from Small World) and had a great time, but didn't see too many other paddlers. You might have some down days for lack of paddling partners. Being busy with work and short on time, next time I go back it will be with Small World.

Casa De Rodrigo seems to be the kayaker hangout in Baeza. We hooked up with some Italian kayakers there for a day. Rodrigo is a great guy and speaks fluent English and really caters to kayakers. He'll set you up with shuttle drivers, etc. In Tena check in with Rios Ecuador. We boated with Eduardo one day. The Play Hole is a bar on the river by the main bridge where you might run into some boaters too.

The best way to get beta on rivers is to get Small World's guide book. And go for the ones with a high fiesta factor. My favorite runs were the Quijos (Bombon and El Chaco runs) and the Lower Jondachi. Upper Jondachi probably would have been up there but it rained and tripled in flow while we were on it in playboats and it was a handfull.

I boated an EZG which was great for most of it. But I would have liked to have a creek boat on a few of the days (like Upper Jondachi while flooding).
 

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Small world is great to rent boats from. right near baeza. Rodrigo is the mack daddy of Baeza, and his casa is a true collection point for the more dirtbagged kayakers. a great Restaurant next door (ginas) and the best pizza you have ever eaten by a dutchman living in Equador a block away. Rodrigo can hook you up with shuttle drivers in town (pepi lives across the street and knows all the get ins/outs). rodrigo also has plenty of beer on stock and more cane sugar moonshine than youll ever want to admit you drank. Then onto Tena for more of a city life and different paddling scene. "A welcome break" hostel is located a couple blocks from downtown and the river, clean and caters to boaters as well. safe restaurants are more abundant here in Tena as well as more seedier charactors, "mota" is fairly available if your interested in such things. But be VERY VERY VERY VERY careful because it is highly illegal and can be severerly punished. there is a great vid of Demshitz in equador here and it shows the colonial baeza scene around rodrigos YouTube - Ecuador 2007

also you can check out my birthday bullfight last jan in baeza. YouTube - Ecuadorian kayaker/bullfighter "El Toro"

Shoot me an private message if you want to know more. Im going back this year late dec early jan.

Trevar B
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the information, now I am really getting stoked. The Small World deal sounds like the way to go for my short trip. Are there any web sites that post water levels in Ecuador?
 

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Jen and I went with Small World. It was a deal considering what you get for the money. Don and Darcy are the best guides and boating partners you could ask for. Staying at the lodge was amazing.
I could spend lots of time writing but the bottom line is SWA is the way to go.
 

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Make sure you go to Canoa and Montanita! I love Banos just for fun not so much the boating, but for the scenery and people.
 

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I've been to Ecuador several times and Small World is definitely the way to go if you have limited time. I agree that Rodrigo is the "mack daddy," but it can be tough if you aren't with a group of paddlers. On my first trip there in November of 2005, I was solo and couldn't find anyone else to paddle with. I spent my two weeks there either not boating, or doing easy Class III runs that I didn't mind paddling alone. The next year I just decided to do a trip with Small World, and it was well worth it (given that my job gives me limited vacation time, I want to maxamize my kayking, and going with Small World was a great way to do that). We paddled everyday, ate amazing food, had a nice quiet clean place to stay.

Small World's guides are great, professional people, and Lily, Eduardo and Memo will rock your world with the food, shuttles, and accomodations!

If/when you go to Tena, make sure you go to the Arana Bar and the Hole bar. Both serve up great drinks at great prices, and the techno music just adds that final touch you need for a night of drinking after a good day's paddle.
 

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Can't agree more with what's been said above about SWA. I've been down there twice with them and can't wait for the next time. They've got the runs totally dialed in and everything is setup to be easy from the the moment you get off the plane. If you've got less than a month to spend down there you are guaranteed to get more paddling in with them than on your own. Try to check out the Coca, the Due, and the Cosanga (not sure about spelling) they were three of my favorite runs (so far!).
 

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I went down with Small World last winter and it was just an amazing trip. I wouldn't even think of going down there without staying at their lodge.

I had high expectations going down there from everything I had heard and they were surpassed at every step of the trip.
 

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SWA rocks. As said, they make everything easy and comfortable. I would also say that you should go to Tena. It's warmer - more of a jungle town and you'll get a bit more out of your comfort zone and into the local scene there. Also try to check another of our local CO boy's joint in Canoa. It'll be the beach scene, but he's been known to run Cool World twice in a day, so he just might take you paddling.
Joe
 

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Does Small World or anyone else down there rent oar rigs for long trips? I don't mind being part of a guided group - I just like to row.
 

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Does Small World or anyone else down there rent oar rigs for long trips? I don't mind being part of a guided group - I just like to row.
Small World doesn't do any oar rigs (we don't do any over night trips either--we just love our lodge too much)!

We do week-long paddle rafting trips, but again, we do day runs then come back to our lodge each night.

There are a couple of local companies that run multi day trips on the Upano River. I'm not 100% sure how they run things, but I think it's mainly paddle boating as well.

Oars and oar frames are a little hard to come by in Ecuador.
 
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