Peru features more than a dozen rivers that are more than 600 km long. The five largest rivers alone total 7,000 km within Peru.
Polish adventurer Yurek Majcherzyck and his friends introduced rafting into Peru, and after several attempts, managed to paddle down the thundering Colca River and its 300 rapids in the heart of Arequipa. Ever since then, a group of Peruvian rafting enthusiasts have made major efforts to open up new routes around the country.
The sport depends on rubber rafts which are powered by paddles and generally steered by the helmsman through the foaming rapids.
Internationally, rapids are qualified on a scale of I to VI according to the degree of difficulty (Class VI rapids are impossible to run, and portage is necessary).
- Hire the services of companies with experience in rafting.
- Obey the instructions of the guides and boat captains and always demand security gear (helmet and lifevest).
- Do not insist on rafting in areas that are excessively difficult or unknown, as this can cause serious accidents.
On the coast:
- Visitors should bring plenty of water and sunscreen
In the highlands:
- Sunscreen is recommended, plus warm clothing. High altitude sickness known locally as soroche can set in at over 2,500 masl. Take precautions by resting the first day, drink plenty of liquids and avoid heavy food and alcohol.
In the jungle:
- Never travel without insect repellent, a raincoat and sunscreen. Long-sleeved shirts and long pants are recommended to ward off insect bites. A yellow fever vaccination is obligatory. There are also vaccinations for malaria, tetanus and Hepatitis A and B, as well as local treatment for leishmaniasis (uta) and malaria.