“Man overboard, quickly grab the rope”, said our white water rafting guide Roberto to one of our crew who had just fallen into category four strong rapids in the Chili river and was in danger of being dragged under, hitting one of the many big boulders on the way.

white water rafting arequipa boulders

The Chili River

I have tried white water rafting before in Brazil and although it was super fun it was also quite a terrifying experience as our guide only spoke Portuguese, so needless to say the people in our boat didn`t understand any of his commands, which was quite dangerous with hindsight. Having heard so many good things about Chili River Rafting Tours in Arequipa, Chris and I decided to give it another go and we weren`t disappointed.

white water rafting arequipa waving

Camp wave alert!

We got picked up from our hostel at 8:00 and were driven to the office, where we were provided with our high quality wetsuits, rain coats, wet shoes, a life vest and a helmet. I was super impressed with the wetsuits. They even had padding on the knees and shoulders, making us all look like action heroes, which was nice. From the office it was only about a 10 minute drive to the Chili River, where our white water rafting adventure began. Our guide was the owner of the organization. He is an Arequipeñan local and has years of experience as a guide. As a result he knew the river like the back of his hand. We were also accompanied by a safety kayaker and that, plus the fact our guide was so good, made me feel super secure.

At the beginning of the trip the waters were still very calm which gave us time to practise some drills, such as “forwards, backwards, grab the rope and jump into the middle of the boat”. White water rafting can be dangerous if you don`t paddle correctly or if you get the drills wrong, so having plenty of time to practise was essential.

white water rafting arequipa chili riverThe gentle paddling at the beginning was very pleasant, not least as the canyon we rafted through was absolutely beautiful. We even saw the Misti and Chachani volcanoes along the way in all their splendour. After a while the current got stronger and stronger and that`s when the real fun really started. We were finally picking up some speed, and at one stage the speed catapulted us up onto a boulder where we got promptly marooned. It took a few minutes of wiggling and jumping (not to mention giggling) before we were free again. That was until we saw the massive drop we were about to go down, also called the washing machine, where we got absolutely drenched, and where one of the crew next to Chris fell into the water. Luckily Chris and the guide reacted super quickly and managed to drag him into the boat again before he could float off. Despite the shock he was actually still laughing once he was back in the boat.white water rafting arequipa category 4

white water rafting arequipa category 4 vertical

white water rafting arequipa category 4 vertical 2

The whole trip lasted for about 1.5 hours and at the end we could all jump into the water to swim for a bit. The water was absolutely freezing despite our wetsuits and if we weren`t awake at that point we were certainly awake soon after. Once we got out of the water we all got a bottle of water and some cookies before we were all driven back to our hostels. It was a super fun day and not once did I feel too scared. As such, I can highly recommend Chili River Rafting Tours in Arequipa if you ever fancy a bit of watery action while in Arequipa, Peru.

white water rafting arequipa high five

High fives with our paddles after successfully completing the rafting trip

Useful facts:

  • The tour cost 70 Soles (US$25)
  • You can buy photos taken by a photographer for an additional 10 Soles (US$1.50)
  • Wear a bikini or swimming trunks under the wetsuit
  • Take a towel to dry yourself afterwards
  • Try and do the morning raft at 8:00, otherwise you may unavoidably end up with a wet wetsuit from the previous group

Have you ever been white water rafting and if so, did you have as much fun as we did?

About Tammyonthemove

Tammy & Chris are a couple hailing from Germany and England, meaning between them they are efficient and polite, but unable to talk about football. Find out why they stopped pushing pens around the British civil service to travel the world on their blog.

17 Thoughts on “Getting Drenched – White Water Rafting in Arequipa

  1. That looks like so much fun! I’m always freaked out at the thought of falling into the water while white water rafting. Luckily Chris didn’t float off into oblivion 😉
    Justine recently posted…The Nitty Gritty of Finding a Job in IndonesiaMy Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on November 21, 2014 at 7:45 am said:

      Me too! As I was sitting in the back I think I was spared that moment, otherwise I would have probably gone in as well. 🙂

  2. OK so I’m definitelly not adventurous enough to try this but it does look absolutely thriling!
    Shikha (whywasteannualleave) recently posted…The Inspiring Iguazu Falls – Which side is better, Brazil or Argentina?My Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on November 21, 2014 at 7:46 am said:

      It really is, and not as scary as it looks on the photos. If you ever get the chance I would definitely try it out. 🙂

  3. Man, I so wanted to do this in Arequipa! In the end I did little more than lounge by the pool, but that’s okay… I guess it was what I needed at the time 🙂 Still, if I ever go back, I’m doing this!
    Alex recently posted…Ahoy! Sailing the High Seas of the AegeanMy Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on November 25, 2014 at 7:32 pm said:

      At least you went rafting in Ecuador. Sometimes you just need to take things easy when you are travelling, so I don`t blame you at all. If you do come back I can highly recommend it though.

  4. We did white water rafting last year in Costa Rica, amazing! It was our first time and we both loved it. Some how we both managed to stay in the whole time!
    Hannah @ GettingStamped recently posted…El Nido Tour C Review – Palawan PhilippinesMy Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on December 27, 2014 at 1:10 pm said:

      Well done on staying in. I felt a bit sorry for the guy who went in, but he seemed to enjoy his little bath actually. I would do it again. It was super fun!

  5. This looks really cool! Can you remember which company you used?

    • Tammyonthemove on August 9, 2015 at 6:35 am said:

      I don’t I’m afraid Sarah, but all tour operators in Arequipa go with the same main rafting company anyway. It is advertised as Chili Rafting. They were the first company to offer rafting, so just ask for that one and they will know who you mean.

  6. Amazing pictures of rafting tour. After reading your blog i missed my last rafting trip in Arequipa. I would like to go again in this winter. Thanks for sharing this wonderful blog.

  7. Kristaps on March 4, 2016 at 4:55 am said:

    Hey there. Looks like an awesome trip. Me and my friends are going to Peru in three weeks and were wondering what was the name of the rafting company? Yeah, we are students, thus looking for some cheap options.
    Cheers.

    • Tammyonthemove on March 8, 2016 at 2:46 pm said:

      We went with Chili River Rafting Tours. They were great. Can highly recommend them. Enjoy Arequipa- it’s an amazing city!

  8. Recently been through a Great rafting tour in Colorado, United States. The white water rafting experience was really enthralling. At first, I got frightened seeing the tumbling river. But then I Felt better. A superb experience nevertheless.

  9. rISHA on July 30, 2016 at 2:31 pm said:

    What tour agency did you use for this?

    • Tammyonthemove on July 30, 2016 at 2:49 pm said:

      To be honest I can’t remember (something like Chili river rafting), but all tour agencies use the same rafting company anyway I think.

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