Is A 1 Day Tour To Urubamba River Rafting, Cusco Worthy?

For my third day in Cusco, it was time for some white water rafting on the Urubamba river, which passes down Machu Picchu among other important former Inca places and current Peruvian cities.

Cusco rafting and zipline adventure

For my third day in Cusco, it was time for some white water rafting on the Urubamba river, which passes down  Machu Picchu   among other important former Inca places and current Peruvian cities.

After a first day visiting the city, another day climbing higher than Mount Blanc to see the Rainbow mountain, it was time for some water sport, and hopefully some sun.

Again, I've booked that tour with Bloody Bueno Peru, which is the tour agency of the best free  walking tour   in Cusco.

Cusco: Find local activities

For S/120 (36$ / 31€), the trip included hotel pickup, rafting trip, and lunch, which is a pretty good price for a rafting day tour, I was actually surprised we could get such prices there – 3 weeks ago, I've paid 3 times more for a similar day rafting trip on Mamoni river in Panama.

White water rafting adventure on Mamoni river Panama

Trip to Pikillacta

Waking up on time, I enjoy a good breakfast at my hotel, which would be necessary to have a bit of energy for the day.

Best rate Cusi Wasi hostel Cuzco

I was the first to be picked up, at my hotel, with a Mercedes sprinter as usual =) After that the whole group arrived together at the next stop, a square not too far from my hotel.

Six other participants joined, which made us a total of seven raft participants, 3 guides (2 on the rafts and one on a kayak), one organizer and the minibus driver.

What a surprise! The last 2 participants to enter the bus, two ladies, enter the bus, see me, and tell me hey! we took pictures of you yesterday on the Rainbow mountain.

Exactly, it was the two Canadian girls to which I asked to take pictures of me on top of the Rainbow mountain the day before, what a coincidence – I also took pictures of them.

With myself, a French, there was Jessica and Samantha, the Canadian girls, Felix, a German and his Peruvian girlfriend, and a couple of American.

Vinicunca rainbow mountain Peru

The first part of the trip was actually the same road as the one we used the day before to go to the Rainbow mountain, with one big difference.

We stopped halfway in Pikillacta, a small village just before a bridge construction, for a toilet break and a tour at a small shop in case we need anything.

That is missing in most other day tours =)

I used the opportunity to get an energy bar, as we wouldn't get anything to eat before the end of the rafting in the afternoon.

Going to Cusipata

After that break in Pikillacta, it was time to go to the mountain in Cusipata, where our base camp was, next to the white water rapid river of course.

We drove for about one hour along the river, and were all wondering how will be the rafting, because the river doesn't seem really... rapid?!

However, we finally arrive at the camp, right next to the river, which will actually be the ending point of the rafting tour.

We were given the whole equipment, first time I get so much: wet suit, some kind of water resistant jacket, life vest, and a paddle.

It was about 10am, the sun was shining, and we were quickly starting to feel very warm with all this equipment.

I couldn't wait to get in the cold water!

Once we all got equipped, the staff had already attached two rafts and one  Kayak   to the van, and we were good to go to the starting point.

White water rafting Cusco

We drove about 20 minutes with the van up the Urubamba river, to get to our white water rafting trip starting point. Another agency was already dropping 2 rafts and one  Kayak   from their van at the same place.

While the staff was preparing the rafts, one of the guides explained us to the security advice again. We've nearly all heard them before, but it's always good and very important to listen to them again, and then change slightly everywhere, also depending on the language and the river specifics.

As we were 7, including 3 couples and myself, we divided ourselves in 2 groups, one group of two couples will go in one raft with one instructor, and the Canadian girls and myself will go in the other raft with the other instructor.

Time to get in the water to start rafting Urubamba river!

Of course starting where the river is very large and doesn't have much rapids, we did try all the security measures: paddle forward, paddle backward, lie inside the raft, and a few more.

We repeated each of them a few times, to make sure we all get them, as it can get dangerous afterwards in the rapids.

Urubamba Cusco rapids class 2

We quickly reached some class 2 rapids, which means that some slights maneuvers are necessary to pass them, however they aren't very dangerous.

And our doubts started to dissipate!

At first, we thought it would be a bit boring, as the river didn't seem much vivid... but that was only an impression, we actually very quickly had lot of fun and great sensations.

The first 10 or 20 minutes of Urubamba rafting were more necessary to setup the group, learn how to paddle together in sync, and also setup the positions on the raft.

I started on front right, with Jessica on front left, Samantha on the middle right, and the instructor in the back middle.

After a few hundred meters of paddling, we exchanged the front positions, to have a better balance on the rafting.

Passing more and more rapids, we started to feel confident and to be able to paddle in sync, ready for even more sensations.

Urubamba white water rafting class 3

And soon, that was it! Our instructor tells us we have to stay focused, because the first rapid class 3 arrives, which means it contains holes, half meter waves, and there is a possibility of capsizing without proper maneuvers, including probability to hurt ourselves badly in the process.

Well, we did follow the instructions to have the raft pass the rapids of the Urubamba river in the best conditions: paddle forward! Paddle backwards! All inside the rafting !!! Back in position, paddle forward !

We did get totally wet, and had a lot of fun, everybody was smiling as wide as it is humanly allowed, awesome time.

More rapids came, all of them with great fun.

Suddenly, our guides tells us to stop, the water is too shallow at one point, and we better walk.

While we do, what a surprise, we see a group of sheep just here walking on the river bank with us. Are they wild? We enjoy the show, they are so cute, but, no, they aren't wild, the shepherd is right behind them.

Okay, time to get back in the water for more rapids!

Rafting Urubamba river Peru

We get many more rapids, hard to count them, but several good class 3, and some class 2 as well, one after the other, we hardly have time to rest between two rapids.

Suddenly, we stop, because we have to rest a bit before the more challenging rapids that are coming.

In the small pond where we stop, there are high rocks next to the water. The guides tell us that we can climb them and jump in the water, it is deep enough.

4 of us actually do it, including myself, and it felt awesome, despite my fear of heights!

After this short break, back in position, the difficult rapids are right after.

Following our instructor's instructions, we pass all of them without much troubles, but do feel like we are very close to get ejected from the rafts at more than one occasion.

The rapids are awesome, with holes and waves as high as half a meter, which requires fast and clear maneuvers, that we do manage to accomplish as a team.

We get wet, get tired, paddle a lot, laugh, and smile a lot – the muscle that gets the most tired of all is probably our jaw after so much fun!

And, suddenly, the base camp is in front of us, the rafting trip is over...

Base camp, sauna and lunch

Getting back in the base camp, the sun has taken its retreat, and being all wet, we start to feel cold.

We quickly get rid of our raft equipment, and once in swimsuit, we rush to the sauna, which feels awesome after this rafting trip.

Not the first time I raft, but the first time I get to enter a sauna right after, which is exactly what our hands and feet articulations needs, as we all have troubles to move them with the cold.

We stay in the sauna for about 20 minutes, exchanging good stories and getting to know each other, as the rafting trip has helped us creating some bond.

After the sauna, we change back to normal clothes, and go in the refectory where we quickly get served a warm soup, which is more than welcome.

We also have complimentary tea and coffee, and can buy beer for S/7 (2.1$ / 1.8€), or a cocktail like Pisco Sour for S/8 (2.4$ / 2.1€).

The soup feels great, and while we're having it, the organizers puts on display on a big screen the photos they have taken during our whitewater rafting Cusco trip at some occasions, mostly by the third guide in the kayak.

Then, the main course comes, which we eat pretty fast as we're all very hungry. Chicken with rice and vegetables, tasting very good.

Lunch other, the sun is back, and a surprise awaits us, we weren't even aware of it: it is zip line time!

Zipline Urubamba

Having no idea there would be some real Cusco zipline, we seem to all welcome it with gratitude – especially me, as I did want to do some zipline in Cusco Peru, but didn't have time during this trip to book any zipline tour.

So, we quickly get equipped, get some security instructions, and, one after one, climb the ladder on a tower right next to the camp, on the bank of the Urubamba river, to about 10 meters high, and have a zipline above the Urubamba river, amazing!

I have fear of height, but enjoy it very much, what an awesome feeling.

We then have a second zipline Cusco to cross the river back, which is nearly as good as the first one.

Back on the bank, it's time to pack up and come back to Cusco.

The trip back is pretty quiet, as most of us are tired and us the occasion to get some rest.

Back in Cusco, we say bye to each other, after having had an awesome rafting adventure together in Cusco, Peru.

White water rafting Cusco summary

One of the best things to do in Cusco, and probably the best white water rafting Cusco, the day trips from Cusco for river rafting Cusco and zipline Peru Cusco are amazing, especially this Urubamba river rafting trip!

The trip was organized as follow, for S/120 (36$ / 31€) all included:

  • 9am pickup,
  • 9am to 11am trip to camp in Cusipata with a toilet stop in Pikillacta,
  • 11am to 1130am getting ready for rafting,
  • 1130am to 12am trip to the rafting starting point,
  • 12am to 2pm about 2 hours of great white water rafting action on Urubamba river,
  • 2pm to 2:20pm sauna,
  • 2:20 to 2:45pm lunch,
  • 2:45pm to 3:30 Urubamba zipline,
  • 3:30 to 5:30pm trip back to Cusco.
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The best white water rafting Cusco is going on the Urubamba river near Cusco, in the mountains.

Usually, both Cusco rafting and zipline adventure are included together, as the zipline can be done on the rafting base camp.

Have you tried the best white water rafting Cusco, do you agree with us? Let us know in comments how went your Cusco rafting and zipline adventure.

Best white water rafting Cusco rafting and zipline adventure

Frequently Asked Questions

What unique experiences does a 1-day tour of Urubamba River rafting offer, and how does it compare to other adventure activities in Cusco?
A 1-day Urubamba River rafting tour offers exhilarating white-water rapids set against stunning Andean scenery. It stands out for the adrenaline rush and scenic beauty, offering a different perspective of the Cusco region compared to more traditional cultural tours.

Michel Pinson
About the author - Michel Pinson
Michel Pinson is a Travel enthusiast and Content Creator. Merging passion for education and exploration, he iscommitted to sharing knowledge and inspiring others through captivating educational content. Bringing the world closer together by empowering individuals with global expertise and a sense of wanderlust.

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