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Discussion Starter #1
:confused: Hi, I'm researching of the possibility to travel to these countries to paddle between Jan to March. Ideally, I would like to hitch hike with my playboat, lay down in my hammock & eat my own food etc, to keep the overhead low.

I'm looking for a winter paddling country that is easy to get around to paddle with small budget. One that has areas where paddlers congregate. Places like put-in/take-out campgrounds, just like the dam put-in campground of the gauley or ocoee, that all I have to do is to show up and live there for a while, then move to another river campground when I'm bored of it. Or some kinds of park N play N camp along a river that runs every day, like those in Colorado.
 

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NZ is pretty tough to do on a budget, especially when you consider most of the ultra-classic creeks are heli access only. It's also expensive to get around because the paddling is clustered around either the West Coast South Island and Central North Island. These zones are far apart with an expensive ferry ride in the middle. That said, NZ also has some of the best paddling and scenery I've ever seen. Just not as cheap as Ecuador.
 

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well, as of right now, I'm not so stoked of creeking, I just need an upgrade from the south east playboating in winter to a warmer one, although I don't mind creeking in my playboat if the rivers are so good, as long as it's not high volume.

I hear that the buses go everywhere in Ecaudor making it easy to shuttle, but will there be kayakers around on rivers, or most of the time I'll be soloing ?
 

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go to ecuador and paddle in either Tena, or the Quijos valley. paddlers are easy to find in Tena. shuttles are easy using taxis and/or buses. stay in a shitty hostel. drink lots of jugos naturales.
 

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I wouldn't take a playboat to NZ the creeking there is so good, and it has stuff that gets stout. Agree with the above responses about it being pricey and lots of Heli boating.

Haven't gone to Ecuador (attempted to put together a couple of trips there) and sounds like it's doable, starting in Cusco?

Chile was nice, though if you're hitching around I'd make sure you have plenty of time. Lots and lots of creeks and rivers, though my limited experience there was often spent with lots of driving time between locations. Occasional snow in July further south, then the next day may be 90F degrees.

Thought about looking into Costa?
 

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The Colorado Kayak Chronicle: Motivation: New Zealand

The Colorado Kayak Chronicle: Costa Rica: The Goods Part I
The Colorado Kayak Chronicle: Costa Rica: Going bigger

The Colorado Kayak Chronicle: Sanity in the South: An Ecuadorian Winter Vacation

My take: NZ is the sickest and most scenic and most expensive, but easiest to travel around. Costa is second IF you hook it up just right and flows cooperate. Ecuador is awesome, probably cheapest, probably best for the class III-IV boater. NZ and CR are more fun if you're a solid V boater.
Joe
 

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Joe,
You should check out Panama for some quality class 3-5 paddling. Most of the runs are located within 1-2 hours of Boquete, Panama. Steep creeks, warm water, very affordable and really easy to tie in with a Costa Rica trip. Our season is typically late August thru November.
 
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