Peru’s Rio Apurimac rafting is one of the best white water rafting trips in South America.

With exhilarating rapids and awesome, wilderness scenery, the Rio Apurimac mixes grade 3, 4 and 4+ rapids.

The Apurimac is justifiably gaining a reputation as one of the world’s top rafting holidays.

It can be rafted in 3 days from Cusco, and no acclimatisation is needed so you can head straight into the adrenaline-pumping waves.

More on Rio Apurimac rafting

We provide everything you need for the river, and spend evenings camping on sandy beaches, sharing drinks and food underneath starlit skies.

You can help with setting up the tents while your guides prepare sumptious and plentiful meals to enjoy around a camp fire.

As night falls, we swap stories and experiences of the day as well as looking ahead to more fun and frolics on the river the next day.

Try our shorter 2-day Black Canyon Apurimac, for something less demanding or more family friendly, but no less fun.

Trip Highlights

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  • Apurimac is one of the best white water rafting rivers in South America.

  • No previous experience necessary - open to all levels.

  • Beautiful riverside campsites, camping under the stars.

  • Best guides ensure safety and maximum fun on grade 3 and 4 rapids.

Fun from the first rapid, excellent guides told us what to do, when, and we had a blast.

Only shame is that it had to come to an end.

T. Shearman, Apurimac

Full Itinerary

Day 1: Pick up from hotel in Cusco, drive to Apurimac canyon, rafting, camp (L,D)

We pick you up at your hotel in Cusco for the spectacular drive to the Apurimac canyon. En route, we hope to glimpse the snow-capped Vilcanota mountain range before descending into the canyon to our starting point on the banks of the Apurimac.

Here we inflate our specialised rafts, load up with provisions and, following a full safety talk and instruction in the art of white water rafting, then head off into the canyon in search of adventure.

Day 2: Rafting Apurimac, camp (B,L,D)

For the next two days we challenge the rapids of the mighty Apurimac. “Apu – rimac”, in Quechua, means “The Great Speaker ” – Inca nobility and priests would often ‘consult’ the river on route to the city of Cusco.

The rapids are pretty much non-stop and at times the huge boulders that block our way force us to the bank for further scouting.

At several points we have to portage unrunnable falls. At night we camp on beautiful sandy beaches and explore the amazing rock formations. Andean foxes, otters and pumas have all been sighted on the banks of the river.

In between the harder rapids there is plenty of time to take in the awesome scenery and marvel at the near sheer sided gorge down which we are travelling.

Top rapids include:

  • Batman’s Cave
  • The Z
  • Three Hail Mary’s
  • Purgatory

Purgatory is an incredible foaming, high-sided canyon, with waves surrounding and pushing the boat forwards.

Many of the unnamed rapids provide as much fun and challenge, with chances to make the boat ‘surf’ into waves, spin the raft around with your new paddling skills or head to the front of the raft for some up close and personal wave action.


Portages (scheduled)

Day 2:  The rapid called “The portage” – it’s a monster class 5 that is totally un-runnable with clients. The walk round takes about 15 minutes and then you have to wait for the guides to bring the rafts around which might take another 25 minutes or so.

Day 2:  Space Odyssey – another big class 5 rapid. A 10 minute walk and 15 minute walk to bring rafts around.

Day 2:  Gates of Purgatory – we run the first part of this big class 4+ and then have the clients walk the final 20m.

Day 3: Rafting all day, afternoon return to Cusco, tour ends (B,L)

Finally we reach a break in the canyon walls, and head down the last named rapid, the Last Laugh.

It’s far from the last one though, as some of the remaining rapids offer big waves, or on the gentler ones, a chance to swim a rapid or two.

At the end of the trip, we lift the raft to our waiting bus and hopefully a chilled beer! From here it is a short, two hour bus journey back to Cusco, passing on route the towering snow-capped Salkantay mountain.


Portages (scheduled)

Day 3:   Tooth Ache rapid – a monster class 5. Total walk time 15 – 20 minutes, then you have to wait 30 minutes for the guides to bring the boats down.


On arrival in Cusco we drop you off at your hotel for a well earned hotel bed, hot shower and perhaps you will join us later to explore the delights of Cusco’s nightlife and celebrate your successful descent of through the mighty Apurimac canyon.

Prices From $915 / £732 per person

Enquire about booking

What's Included?

All meals and water on rafting trip, rafts and equipment, domestic transportation, guide, camping 2 nights, communal camping equipment (tents, cutlery etc), wetsuit and boots, helmet, lifejacket, spleash jacket, thermarest sleeping mat, waterproof duffel bags, dining tent.

What's Not Included?

International flights (we can look for prices for you), other meals, snacks and drinks, personal expenses, extra entrance fees, tips, alcoholic or soft drinks, laundry, personal clothing, sleeping bag, personal medical kit, sun cream etc.


Camping on riverbanks.

Tour Staff

All the guides on this tour come to us as recommendations from our current guides. They are very careful who they recommend.

Training is a vital investment in our guides to ensure the security and safety of all our trips.

All the guides are all qualified in first aid, taught by instructors brought over from the UK.

River guides: All our white water rafting and kayaking guides hold the internationally recognised “Swiftwater Rescue Technician Advanced” qualification.


Evening meals are usually pasta or rice dishes served in the dining tent, and almost all dietary requirements can be catered for – please enquire.

After eating, you can choose to socialise with team members, relax in your tent take in the views.

You usually wake early, around 07.00. Your meals are prepared and served to you and will be a mix of hot drinks, cereals, fruits and toast with jams.

Lunch will be either sandwiches or meat and cheese, with snacks etc.

Activity Level

For anyone who doesn’t mind getting wet!

Experienced and qualified guides are on hand to keep you (mostly) the right way. We are more interested in your ‘water confidence’ than your ability to swim. The only parameter is that you are mobile enough to help us get you back in the boat.

People of almost any fitness can enjoy this trip – you need to be able to paddle for short bursts, with pauses, over a few hours.

Enquire about booking

Practical Information

Introduction to Peru

Peru is the perfect holiday destination for adventure travellers that want an amazing variety of activity, geography and cultural travel experiences.

The breadth of travel experiences in Peru is breathtaking – from trekking in the Andes to Machu Picchu to the tropical jungle of the Amazon, and plenty in between.

The people of Peru make it a special destination too, with its colourful and traditional street life and friendly locals.

Kit list

Good kit is vital for every trip.

Book with Andean Trails and get 15% off Páramo’s fantastic ethical and high performance outdoor gear.



Rafting means you are frequently being cooled by river water and may not notice how strong the sun is.

Good sun cream, a hat and sunglasses are vital.

Give plenty of thought to kit selection, and try to keep weight down.

Below is a more detailed guide.


Detailed kit list – rafting:

  • A pair of Chacos or similar sandals – trainers are also okay, but be prepared for them to be soaked through.
  • A pair of River shorts or swimming costume.
  • Long-sleeved business shirt / t-shirt to wear under your life jacket. A business shirt gives added protection to your neck from the collar.
  • A baseball cap for under the helmet to keep sun off.
  • Wide brimmed sunhat and/or baseball cap.
  • Sunglasses, with chums/strings so they attach to your head.
  • Nalgene or similar water bottle.
  • Carabiner for fastening water bottle to your boat.
  • Thermal top for warming up once out of the water.
  • Waterproof sun cream (factor 30+) and lip balm factor 15 minimum.


If camping, for evenings:

  • Lightweight long trousers.
  • Lightweight long-sleeved shirt.
  • Fleece jacket.
  • Ladies should bring a long skirt or sarong to cover your legs whilst in the company of locals.
  • Underwear.
  • Glasses or contact lenses, disposable lenses are ideal.
  • 3-season sleeping bag.
  • Travel pillow
  • Daypack (at least 30 litres). Comfortable and with waterproof lining or cover.
  • Personal first-aid kit to include: painkillers, plasters (band-aids), moleskin, anti-biotic cream, general antibiotics (ask your GP), after-bite (tiger balm), anti-diarrhoea tablets, throat lozenges, re-hydration salts & personal medication.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Towel & wash-kit.
  • Wet Wipes/antiseptic hand-wash cream.
  • Head-lamp (plus spare bulb and batteries).
  • Penknife.
  • Travel alarm clock.
  • Plastic bags – ‘Zip-loc’ & tough bin liners.
  • Trainer for walking around camp.
  • Camera and film / memory cards (take at least twice the amount you think you will need!). Print & slide film is available locally. Polarising filter is recommended for SLR cameras.
  • Book, e-book, mp3 player/ipod or other to help pass the time.
  • Binoculars.
  • Spanish/English phrasebook.
  • Extra snacks i.e. cereal bars or favourite chocolate bars.


Miscellaneous others

  • Money belt.
  • Passport.
  • U.S. dollars cash, mixed-denomination notes, undamaged and unmarked.
  • ATM cash/credit card.
  • Any inoculation certificates.
  • Personal & medical insurance certificates.
  • Presents e.g. Postcards from home.
  • Comfortable clothes for travel, smart clothes for night life, especially in big cities.

ATOL holiday protection

Andean Trails has two decades of experience of dealing with South America holidays.

We pay a fee to the CAA for every licensable passenger we book since we hold an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. In the unlikely event of our insolvency, the CAA will ensure that you are not stranded abroad and will arrange to refund any money you have paid to us for an advance booking.

We also offer ATOL (Civil Aviation Authority) protected holidays to give our customers peace of mind when booking and travelling.

When you buy an ATOL protected air holiday package from Andean Trails Ltd you will receive a Confirmation Invoice from us confirming your arrangements and your protection under our Air Travel Organiser’s Licence number 6275.

You can read more about ATOL, who is covered and what protections you have if not ATOL-covered, on our ATOL page.


What is ATOL?

The CAA’s ATOL scheme offers protection to your money and your holiday if you book with us. Not everybody is covered (see ‘Who is covered?’ for more), as you must purchase an ‘air package holiday’ with Andean Trails to be protected.

And  ‘air package holiday’ is defined as including a flight and some ground services (hotel, transfer, trek etc). This is also known as an ‘ATOL-protected holiday’.


Who is covered?

To be covered by ATOL, you must book a flight and some ground services with us and be from the UK. If you are from the UK and only book ground services and no flights, you are not covered by ATOL (see below for more on how non-ATOL clients are covered).

If you are outside the UK and buy flights with us, you will be ATOL protected IF any of the flights booked with Andean Trails touches/stops in the UK at any point during your holiday package booked with us.

If you buy your flights elsewhere, please check with that agent if you are ATOL protected. Be careful with online flight purchases and make sure you know what protection you have, if any, before paying for flights.

Not all holiday or travel services offered and sold by us will be protected by the ATOL scheme. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking.

For land only holidays not involving any air travel, in accordance with “The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992”, all UK passengers booking with Andean Trails Ltd. are fully protected for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all money paid to us, arising from cancellation or curtailment of travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Andean Trails.


I’m not ATOL covered, what protection do I have?

If you are not ATOL covered, any payments you make to us go to a Trust account.

We can only access this money once your tour has been completed, meaning that if anything happens to Andean Trails Limited while you are on holiday, then your money is secure and you can either complete the trip or be able to make it home.

If you pay for your holiday with a credit card, some offer payment protection – please check with your cardholder.

You also should have cancellation protection written into your insurance (which we recommend you have at the time of booking) in case you need to cancel.

Food and drink in Peru

Read some of our blogs about food and drink in Peru:



Palta rellena Avocado filled with chicken salad.
Palta reina Avocado filled with mixed salad and mayonnaise.
 Papa a la huancaina  Cold potatoes with a rich egg-and-cheese sauce.
 Rocoto relleno  Stuffed green peppers (often very hot).
 Tamales or humitas  Ground maize steamed in banana leaves, filled with meat or cheese; sometimes they are sweet.
 Sopa criolla  A creamy spiced soup with noodles and a little chopped meat.
Chupe de mariscos A very rich and creamy shellfish soup.
 Causa  A cold dish made from mashed yellow potatoes, avocado & peppers.



Main dishes (meat)    

Churrasco and Lomo            Fillet or rump steak.

Apanado                                Breaded meat cutlet.

Chorrillana                           Meat smothered in tomato & onion sauce.

Adobo (Cusco speciality)      Chopped, marinated pork in a richly seasoned gravy.

Piqueo                                    A very spicy stew with meat, onions and potatoes.

Sancochado                           Lots of meat, vegetables and garlic.

Lomo saltado                        Chopped meat in a sauce containing onions, tomatoes and potatoes.

Picante de …                        Meat or fish with a hot, spicy sauce.

Parrillada                             Grilled beef, sausage and offal.

Chicharrones                        Chunks of pork, deep-fried with roast potatoes and corn.

Chaufa                                  Chinese-style fried rice.

Cabro or Cabrito                  Goat meat.

Antichuchos                          Beef-heart shish kebab.

Pollo a la brasa con papas           The ubiquitous spit-roast chicken and chips.

Pachamanca                         Typical highlands festival/Sunday treat. Meats and vegetables cooked underground on hot stones.


Fish dishes (mainly coast)  

Chorros a la chalaca                    Mussels with tomato and onion sauce (cold starter).

Conchas a la Parmesana             Scallops with melted parmesan (hot starter).

Ceviche de pescado/mariscos      Marinated fish/shellfish.

Tiradito de pescado/mariscos      Marinated fish/shellfish in hot sauce.

Corvina/Lenguado                        Sea bass/Sole.

Chicharron de Pulpo/Calamares          Deep-fried Octopus/Squid.

Jalea                                              Dish of deep fried fish & shellfish.

Sudado de pescado                        Steamed fish.


Fish dishes (mainly highlands)

Pejerrey a la plancha             Grilled fresh-water king fish.

Trucha frita                             Fried trout.

Chupe de Camarron                Rich soup of fresh-water shrimp.



Mazamorra morada        Pudding made from purple maize and fruit.

Flan                                 Crème caramel.

Picarones                         Delicious rings of fried batter served with syrup.

Keke or torta                    Cake.



Pisco                                 Grape brandy. Very popular as Pisco Sour cocktail, with lemon, sugar and egg-white.

Chicha de jora                 Fermented maize beer. Integral to many rural celebrations. In Andean villages, look out for houses with bright plastic ‘flower’ tied to a pole above door: this indicates that the householder sells chicha.

Chicha morada                A soft drink made from purple maize.

Cerveza                             Lager-type beer which is very popular. There are several regional brands such as Cusqueña and Arequipeña.

Vino                                   Many local Peruvian wines are very sweet by gringo standards. Tacama and Ocucaje are the best ‘export-quality’ Peruvian wine brands. Good Chilean wines available locally include Undurraga and Casillero del Diablo. Wine is available in smarter restaurants and is served by the bottle (botella) and sometimes by the glass (copa).

Vino tinto                         Red wine.

Vino blanco                     White wine.

Agua mineral                   Mineral water. You need to specify con gas (carbonated) or sin gas (non-carbonated).

Mate                                 Herbal tea. The best known is mate de coca , which is often served to tourists on arrival in Cusco, Huaraz or Puno to ward off symptoms of altitude sickness. Many other herbal teas such as manzanilla (camomile), hierba luisa (lemon grass), hierba buena (mint) and anis (aniseed) are available. Mate is usually served after lunch.

Jugos                                Fruit juices.

Useful Spanish phrases

Learning a few words of Spanish can really ingratiate you with the locals you’ll encounter, adding to the enjoyment of your holiday.

Below are some basics to get you started.



Good morning                                         Buenos días

How are you?                                         ¿Cómo estás?

Good afternoon                                      Buenas tardes

Good bye                                               Adiós


Most frequently asked questions (theirs):

Where are you (plural) from?                   ¿De dónde eres (son)?

What time is it?                                           ¿Qué hora es?

Where have you come from?                    ¿De dónde vienes?

Give me (frequent, unwelcome question)    Dáme / regálame


Most frequent questions (yours):

How much is it?                                      ¿Cuánto vale?

What is this place called?                       ¿Cómo se llama este lugar?

What’s your name?                                 ¿Cómo te llamas?

Do you have a map?                                ¿Tienes un mapa?


In the street / places:

Where can I find a currency exchange?    ¿Dónde encuentro una casa de cambio?

Where is there a cash machine?                ¿Dónde hay un cajero automatico?

Where is the underground/subway station? ¿Dónde esta la estacion de metro/subte(Buenos Aires)?

Where can I find a taxi?                             ¿Dónde puedo encontrar un taxi?

Where can I find a Supermarket?            ¿Dónde puedo encontrar un supermercado?

Where is the hospital?                               ¿Dónde esta el hospital?

Where can I find a restaurant?               ¿Dónde puedo encontrar un restaurante?


In the hotel:

What floor am I on?                                   ¿En qué piso estoy?

Where are the elevators/lifts?                 ¿Dónde están los ascensores?

How do I access the Internet?                 ¿Cómo puedo acceder a Internet?

How do I call for room service?                ¿Cómo llamo para el servicio de habitación?

How do I call down to the front desk?      ¿Cómo llamo a la recepción?


In the restaurant:

A table for two/four please                     Una mesa para dos/cuatro, porfavor

I would like to drink…                             Me gustaria tomar….

May I see a menu?                                   Puedo ver la carta/menu?

I would like to order..                              Me gustaria pedir…

Can you bring me the check/bill please.     Me trae la cuenta por favor



I need help.                                              Necesito ayuda.

I have lost my passport.                        He perdido mi pasaporte.

Someone stole my money.                    Alguien robó mi dinero

I have been robbed.                                Me han robado

I need to call the police.                         Necesito llamar a la policía

I need to call the (country) Embassy     Necesito llamar a la embajada de (country)

Help!                                                           ¡Socorro!


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