My 3-day rafting trip to the Apurimac River was an awesome part of my travels, but definitely got off to a rough start. I returned from Machu Picchu to Cusco at about 10pm after leaving at 4pm because the train was delayed due to engine issues. I was feeling pretty sick at this point—I was exhausted from travel, my throat was sore, I was starting to get a fever, so I just wanted to get to sleep. When I found out one of my roommates was an Australian girl who had been bed-ridden from sickness all day, I knew I was in for a long night. I was further vindicated when I went to go take a shower, and there was a schwasted girl sitting down on the ground with her friends all around her trying to get her to drink water. Sigh… oh Loki Hostels. It was like undergrad all over again.
I woke up the next morning feeling like total crap. I had been sweating all night, so was really dehydrated, my head hurt, and I ran a fever too. As I lied in bed suffering before committing myself to get up, I seriously considered not going even though I had already paid for the trip—I really felt that awful. Luckily, I packed rehydration salts, a magical elixir which instantly got me well enough to go on the trip when I drank it at breakfast.
After packing everything, I moved my stuff to be stored at Ecopackers Hostel, where I booked a room for after the rafting tour. I brought a very limited amount of stuff to the rafting tour—just a drybag with some clothes, swimming trunks, toiletries, sunscreen, my go pro, phone, and bug spray. I didn’t even bring my passport along (leaving it admittedly made me a bit nervous, but I would also have been nervous about bringing it on the trip since there was a danger for a loss of stuff if the cargo boat flipped).
After meeting up with the tour group at the MayUC main office, we had a four hour drive to the Apurimac River. Our group ended up being really small…there were 10 of us and 6 guides. We unloaded all the equipment from the vans, ate lunch and loaded up into the rafts. The first day of rafting was pretty easy—mostly level 3 rapids, which was good because we were mostly just learning the basics. I was still a bit sick though, so getting wet (especially when we practiced a boat flip) was not fun at all. We made camp before it got dark, ate a delicious dinner, and passed out.
We woke the next morning at 6am for our main day of rafting. I felt much better than I did the day before, despite waking up every hour or so. Luckily neither of my tent-mates caught my sickness. The rapids we went on today were more intense, and pretty fun (mostly level 3’s and 4’s). The worst part of the day was when we had to get off the rafts and walk over rocks on land because the rapids in the water were too dangerous. It was really crappy for me because I only brought my Rainbow flip flops, which are 4 years old and have no traction at all. I was super afraid of slipping, so ended up just doing it all barefoot, which was not very fun:
Camp on night 2 was the same drill as the day before—tea, dinner, then passing out. This time, however, we were a lot smarter about picking a good tent location and preparing the ground before setting it up. Since we got there a bit before sunset, I made a checkers board out of rocks, and a bunch of us played a few rounds (I never lost a game I played ;D). We also made a nice little fire, where I was able to complete my sketch for the day, haha. I think the very worst part of the trip for me though, being eaten alive by mosquitoes when I was doing number two at camp. I counted 41 bites… luckily they didn’t itch or hurt initially. Some of them started to itch a day or two afterwards though. I guess my 100% DEET spray wasn’t effective after being wet all day.
The third day was pretty much the same as the second, except we had some really big level 5 rapids. Unfortunately though, there was a whole lot of still water too, so we ended up doing a LOT of paddling. We only rafted for about a half day, and got back to Cusco a bit before dinner time. All in all, a fantastic trip that I would highly recommend. I actually felt really safe throughout the entire trip (except for climbing over the rocks on the shore) despite the fact that our guide kept on pointing out the places where people had died or come close to dying on the river before us.
MayUC, the rafting company I went with was really fantastic overall. We didn’t need to bring anything because they provided all of the equipment, there was tons of food, and they even compiled a video for us! My only disappointment was that one lady there tried to rip me off by trying to make me pay $480 instead of 500 soles for the trip. Luckily, I got it for the right price :).
Here’s their video that they made of us:
Here’s a compilation of the GoPro footage that was taken with my camera. I wasn’t wearing the camera the entire time because I wasn’t always sitting in the best spot for footage (front of the boat). The footage includes highlights from the video above like Roelant falling off the boat from his perspective and my view from jumping off the cliff: