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Savor the thrill of kayaking in Ecuador with an extraordinary blend of nature, culture, and adventure. As you paddle through crystalline waters, your senses will be awakened by vibrant flora and fauna. You’ll be mesmerized by the immaculate beauty of the scenery at every destination, while also engaging with natives, delving into their rich culture, and gaining a deeper understanding of their unique lifestyle.

Prepare for a memorable journey through the country’s diverse regions: from the Amazon rainforest, where you’ll marvel at the biodiversity, to the Andean highlands, where untouched mountain scenery awaits; and finally, to the paradise that is Galapagos, where every stroke of your paddle leads to exhilarating expeditions amid marine life.

Such a dynamic exploration promises fresh perspectives on Ecuador’s natural and cultural treasures. Come dive into the wonders of this biodiverse wonderland!

Adventures on a budget

Get ready for an outstanding adventure filled with various activities and captivating experiences! Hike exotic trails, snorkel alongside endemic species, kayak in crystal-clear waters, and bike through untouched mountains. Enjoy wildlife observation, and encountering iconic species that call these regions home.

Delve deep into the heart of the Amazon on exhilarating jungle treks and serene canoe rides along its rivers. Expert guides lead informative tours, sharing fascinating knowledge on ecosystems and wildlife. After exploration, find relaxation amidst tranquil surroundings.

Lace up your hiking boots to explore trails off the beaten path, glide serenely through dazzling lakes, pedal through picturesque destinations, and visit lively artisan markets.

Galapagos blue-footed booby

Galapagos blue-footed booby

Top 5 Best Kayaking Tours

Seize the chance to venture into uncharted waters and reveal the countless wonders of this diverse country via our meticulously crafted kayaking adventures.

8-Day Galapagos Multisport

Enjoy a tour full of activities in the water and on land. Explore the Galapagos Islands and its many wonders while snorkeling, biking, hiking, kayaking, and paddleboarding!

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7-Day Hidden Treasure Galapagos

Uncover the hidden treasures of the Galapagos Islands, where breathtaking landscapes, unique wildlife encounters, and captivating experiences await. Immerse yourself in the wonders of this pristine archipelago and create lifelong memories.

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5 Day Woarani Yasuni Kayak Expedition

5-Day Waorani Yasuní

Join us on an unforgettable adventure to the Waorani indigenous people’s home, an untouched area of the Amazon. This tour is featured in the National Geographic Luxury Collection, showcasing their fierce protection of nature and cultural identity.

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6-Day Multisport Ecuador

6-Day Ecuador Multisport

This tour takes place in two different regions, the Andes, with their spectacular volcanoes, and the mighty Amazon. This is the ideal combination for guests who enjoy adventures with a wide variety of activities.

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top 7 Day Galapagos Luxury Safari

7-Day Galapagos Luxury Safari

Treasure of Galapagos cruise around the great outdoors of the wonderful Galapagos archipelago! Each day you will anchor at two carefully selected visitor’s sites and organize at least two excursions.

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What Can You Expect From a Kayaking Tour With Rebecca Adventure Travel?

Unlock access to some of the most pristine destinations on Earth with thrilling kayaking experiences that showcase Ecuador’s multifaceted landscapes. Each journey offers an opportunity for kayaking in diverse, captivating aquatic environments. Glide through crystal-clear waters among volcanic islets, Andean lakes, and Amazon rivers, embracing the serene rhythm of your kayak.

As you paddle and explore, the wondrous locations unveil their secrets. Journey to hidden treasures, from dramatic cliffs and dense forests to remote coves and enchanting beaches. Focusing on sustainability, these tours also foster an appreciation for the fragile ecosystems visited, making for an enriching and responsible travel experience.

Take a glimpse

These expeditions encompass a spectrum of activities, each offering new perspectives on Ecuador’s natural and cultural treasures. Delve into thrilling snorkeling sessions, hike amid lush flora, and bike along scenic trails to witness elusive fauna in their natural habitat. The tours also offer the chance to explore vibrant communities, connect with indigenous cultures, and experience their unique way of life.

Kayaking in Galapagos

Kayaking in Galapagos

Whether it’s the serene beauty of the Amazon rivers, the dramatic Andean charm of the highlands, or the captivating biodiversity of the Galapagos, these kayaking adventures promise unforgettable encounters with Ecuador’s natural wonders and thriving native villages.

Rebecca’s Top Picks

Struggling to decide on the perfect kayaking destination? No worries! Rebecca is here to lend a hand. Dive into her preferred trips and discover which one aligns seamlessly with your desires!

2 Day Otavalo Community Experience, Includes Paddle and Biking

2-Day Otavalo Community Experience

Otavalo’s beauty lies in its people and surroundings, the Otavaleños, and the towering volcanoes that surround the Andean town. The Andes is the longest continental mountain range in the world!

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5 Day Woarani Yasuni Kayak Expedition

5-Day Waorani Kayak

Join us on an unforgettable adventure to the Waorani indigenous people’s home, an untouched area of the Amazon. This tour is featured in the National Geographic Luxury Collection, showcasing their fierce protection of nature and cultural identity.

View Tour

8 Day Galapagos Multisport Best Choice

8-Day Galapagos Multisport

Enjoy a tour full of activities in the water and on land. Explore the Galapagos Islands and its many wonders while snorkeling, biking, hiking, kayaking, and paddleboarding!

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Cruising Through Ecuador

Ecuador offers a kaleidoscope of kayaking experiences across its distinct regions. In the Galapagos, the clear ocean brings you close to iconic species. The Andean highlands beckon with serene lakes and stunning mountain vistas amidst vibrant birdlife. Meanwhile, the Amazon basin reveals its mysteries through paddling journeys along winding rivers, providing glimpses of elusive creatures.

At each destination, expert guides provide insights into the unique ecosystems, geology, and natural history, so you’ll leave with a deeper understanding of all the remarkable places you visit. Interactions with Aboriginal communities will enrich your experience with a real taste of the local lifestyle.

Galapagos Oceans

In the enchanting realm of the Galapagos Islands, sea kayaking lets you observe the captivating marine life beneath, while land excursions promise encounters with iconic species like the Galapagos giant tortoise. Savor the islands’ beauty as you glide through crystalline turquoise waters!

Cruise Deals

Because the Enchanted Isles are a protected area, all animals inside the Park and the marine reserve are completely unafraid of humans. In fact, they’re curious about people visiting them and will often come near. This archipelago is probably the only national park on Earth where you can get up close and personal with the animals inhabiting it. Just remember to keep the mandatory 7 ft (2 m) distance, though!

Sea kayaks provide access to secluded coves, hidden beaches, and other remote locations that larger vessels can’t reach, letting you explore pristine areas away from crowds. While you could get there on panga (dinghy), kayaking causes minimal environmental impact, presenting a sustainable choice that also offers a healthy dose of physical activity.

White-tipped reef sharks in Tintoreras

White-tipped reef sharks grow up protected from predators in Tintoreras’ underwater channels.

Near Isabela Island, a small islet is renowned for its incredible marine life. Tintoreras is filled with sea lions, marine iguanas, penguins, and a variety of fish species. The shallow waters make it easy to spot them from your sea kayak when you’re not snorkeling!

Past volcanic activity shaped black lava formations that created underwater channels, which provide a safe environment for young white-tipped reef sharks to develop before venturing into the open ocean. This natural nursery is a definitive highlight of any kayaking tour.

At San Cristóbal island, Playa Mann beach is also home to sea lions and marine iguanas, along with sea turtles, frigatebirds and blue-footed boobies. Named after American scientist Charles Mann, this site is a great place for children to enjoy the beach and observe marine life in a safe environment. Researchers often visit this beach to study the behavior and habitat of marine creatures in a controlled environment.

The Highlands’ Lakes

In the Andean highlands, we take the kayaking to dazzling lakes nestled in dramatic volcanic craters. Here, travelers can explore indigenous villages and revel in the rich culture of the Andean people. Two favorite destinations are the Quilotoa Lagoon and the San Pablo Lake.

Situated in the Cotopaxi province, the lagoon was formed within the caldera of the Quilotoa volcano after a massive eruption happened around 600 years ago. The water in the crater is of a striking emerald-green color due to dissolved minerals. Sitting at approximately 12,841 ft (3,914 m) above sea level, this is one of the highest crater lakes in the world.

Hiking along the rugged terrain down to the rim of the crater, visitors can take kayaks onto the lagoon. With Quilotoa being part of the Kichwa community, several indigenous villages are located nearby, giving travelers the chance to interact with natives.

Guests visiting the Quilotoa crater lake.

Guests visiting the Quilotoa Crater Lake.

Another crater lake that beautifully lends itself to water sports is Lago San Pablo. Formed within the caldera of the dormant Imbabura Volcano in the Imbabura province, it sits at approximately 9,200 ft (2,800 m) above sea level. The volcano is a prominent natural landmark in the region. The lake’s calm waters provide an inviting setting for kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding

Approximately 2 mi (3 km) southeast of the lake is the town of Otavalo, whose renowned indigenous market boasts aboriginal handicrafts aplenty. Located near Otavalo, the rural indigenous Calera Community opens three different artisan workshops to visitors to exhibit their hand embroidery, tagua necklaces, and hand-woven ponchos, shawls, and scarves: Alli Maki, Sumak Muyo, and Milma Wasi.

Paddleboarding in San Pablo Lake

Paddleboarding in San Pablo Lake

This group has preserved their cultural traditions, including language, customs, and clothing. Many community members offer homestays and guided tours as part of community-based tourism programs. Travelers can experience the rich heritage of the Kichwa people while supporting sustainable tourism initiatives. Cultural experiences, such as traditional dance performances, music, and rituals, provide profound insights into native peoples’ customs.

Amazonian Rivers

The Amazon, a realm of exuberant rainforests and exotic wildlife, offers a glimpse into the heart of the jungle. Here, kayaking enthusiasts can paddle serenely along winding waterways, catching glimpses of elusive creatures, like monkeys and colorful birdlife. The Napo River’s intricate network winds its way through dense jungle concealing a staggering array of animals.

Yasuní National Park encompasses parts of three provinces in Ecuador: Napo, Pastaza, and Orellana. Within the Napo province portion of the Park, you’ll encounter a rich mosaic of ecosystems, including lush tropical rainforests and wetlands. There are also areas influenced by seasonal flooding, like oxbow lakes and riverbanks, characterized by Varzea forests.

Canoeing in the Ecuadorian Amazon

Canoeing in the Ecuadorian Amazon

The nutrient-rich soil here provides essential breeding and foraging grounds for waterfowl and amphibians. Microclimate variations create microhabitats within the Park, where you can encounter jaguars, tapirs, and giant river otters. The wetlands feature caimans and anacondas, and towering kapok trees that rise above the canopy. Other plant species in the Park include an astonishing variety of trees, orchids, and medicinal plants.

The park is renowned for its birdwatching opportunities, with over 600 avian species, such as harpy eagles, toucans, and parrots, gracing its canopy. Birdwatchers will delight in the spectacular parrot clay licks, natural formations that provide birds with essential minerals like sodium that are not readily available in their regular diet of fruits and nuts.

As parrots and parakeets gather in large numbers, you’ll be amazed by the riot of colors in the plumage of these birds, from the vivid green of the Amazon parrots to the striking reds and blues of the macaws.

Amazon parrot clay lick

Parrot clay licks are a colorful sight!

Besides the Napo River, those looking for an Amazon kayak adventure have two particular destinations to look forward to: the Pañacocha Lagoon and the Piraña Lagoon. The first gets its name from the combination of two Quichua words, meaning ‘dark lake’. The second gets its name from the Spanish spelling of piranha.

The surroundings of Pañacocha Lagoon are inhabited by iconic Amazonian creatures such as pink river dolphins, giant otters, black caimans, colorful macaws, toucans, and kingfishers. Plenty of fish species make the lagoon a prime spot for freshwater fishing. Ceiba and kapok trees dominate the landscape, with orchids and bromeliads adding to the botanical diversity.

While kayaking through Piraña Lagoon, adventurers can spot howler monkeys, capybaras, and squirrel monkeys in the surrounding towering trees, like mahogany and ironwood. Between the ferns, mosses, and aquatic plants, you may also encounter aquatic birds like herons, kingfishers, and hoatzins.

Amazon pink dolphin

Amazon pink dolphin

As you unveil mysterious wonders, canoe rides open a window into the remote Waorani people, allowing you to gain insights into their ancient traditions and rich heritage.

The Waorani, also known as the Huaorani or Waodani, are an aboriginal Amazonian people native to the Ecuadorian jungle. They are an isolated, relatively small group residing in the provinces of Pastaza, Napo, and Orellana. They offer a glimpse into a deeply traditional and harmonious relationship with the natural world, making them an intriguing and culturally significant group within the Amazon basin.

Canoeing in the Napo River

Canoeing in the Napo River

The Waorani are renowned for their intimate connection to nature and intricate knowledge of medicinal plants and shamanic practices, which they use for healing and spiritual purposes. One notable aspect of Waorani culture is their traditional communal way of life.

In recent years, the Waorani have faced significant challenges due to deforestation and encroachment on their ancestral land by oil companies. Their fight for land rights and the protection of their territory has gained international attention, as they strive to preserve the Amazon’s natural diversity and their lifestyle.

Waorani man with guest

Exploring with the Waorani

Hitting the Water

Though being fully equipped for a tour of this kind might sound daunting, it’s all about packing smart. Let’s look at each location’s necessities.

Dive in

Kayaking in Galapagos

In the Enchanted Isles, bright-colored clothing tends to attract wasps and other insects. It’s a good practice to dress in muted, neutral tones when exploring any visitor sites and steer clear of dark colors to minimize heat absorption. Essentials to pack are:

    • Breathable, moisture-wicking clothing.
    • Versatile hiking pants and windbreaker jacket.
    • One or two changes of clothes and bathing suits.
    • Buffs and caps for headwear.
    • Hiking boots, sneakers, and water shoes or closed-toe sandals.
    • Specialized snorkeling gear if you have prescription goggles.
    • Sun protection: wide-brimmed hat, sunblock, and sunglasses.
    • Water bottle or Camelbak for hydration.
    • Daypack for water, snacks, and lightweight travel towel.
    • High-quality camera with zoom lens.
    • Appliance adapters if needed (outlets are US-style 110V).
    • Dry bags for electronics to safeguard them from water.
    • Personal medications, like EpiPens. 
Galapagos sea kayaking

Galapagos sea kayaking

Kayaking in the Highlands

While the Andes are known for being mostly cloudy and overcast, sun exposure is very much an issue, because altitudes reach points closer to the sun than in other parts of the world. The weather up in the mountains has sudden, drastic changes throughout the day. Essential packing items include:

    • Lightweight clothes for lower altitudes.
    • Warm layers of clothing for higher altitudes.
    • Rain gear: waterproof pants and jacket.
    • Sturdy waterproof hiking boots.
    • Scarf and gloves.
    • Sunscreen, sunglasses, and hat.
    • Reusable water bottles and snacks.
    • Personal medications, like EpiPens.
    • Camera and optional binoculars. 
Kayaking in the Quilotoa crater lake

Kayaking in the Quilotoa Crater Lake

Canoeing in the Amazon

Because the rainforest is highly humid, you’ll want to center your packing around clothing that will adapt to the temperature and items that will protect you from insect bites and critters. If jungle animals make you nervous, trust that your guide can take care of anything–they always carry a first aid kit with them. These are the essentials to bring:

    • Breathable, quick-dry clothing.
    • Versatile hiking pants.
    • Rain poncho or Gore-Tex jacket.
    • One or two changes of clothes.
    • Two pairs of anti-slip socks per day are ideal.
    • Sturdy waterproof hiking boots.
    • Flip-flops or waterproof sandals, like Tevas or Keens.
    • Lightweight travel towel.
    • Sunscreen, sunglasses, and hat.
    • Non-chemical insect repellent.
    • Camera and optional binoculars.
    • Flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries.
    • Dry bag for electronics to protect them from humidity.
    • Reusable water bottles and snacks.
    • Personal medications, like EpiPens. 
Indigenous woman Amazon canoe

Native Amazonian communities

Let’s plan your trip

Build Your Own Trip

Our Destination Experts are dedicated to creating a kayaking adventure that allows you to deeply experience Ecuador’s unique biodiversity. If you seek a personalized kayaking experience tailored to your interests and preferences, get in touch with us today!