Upano River

20141706121344Rafting the headwaters of the Amazon, the Rio Upano is the “River of Sacred Waterfalls”.

In the western edge of Ecuador, on the eastern edge of the Amazon River Basin lies a world-class rafting trip.  The Rio Upano has great whitewater that is challenging but totally manageable for both beginners and experts, incredible scenery, good hiking trails and beautiful riverside camps.

The addition of the amazing cultural history of the area and contact with the Shuar Indians that live along the river’s banks make for a rafting adventure that is physically, mentally and spiritually invigorating.

In the mountainous Morona-Santiago province of Ecuador, the rugged terrain and fast-flowing whitewater rivers washing down from the Andes kept would-be explorers (and conquerors) at bay for centuries. Neither the Incas nor the Spanish were able to penetrate this land of the Shuar Indians.


The Rio Upano was put on the map of whitewater rafters in 1992 when ROW Adventures make the first descent.

This is one of the finest river trips in the world: within hours of launching we enter a jungle fantasy, accompanied by toucans, egrets, oropendolas, and iridescent butterflies by the score.

At first the river alternates between wide valleys and narrow, intimate canyons, and the boisterous Class III rapids provide plenty of continuous fun-filled roller coaster rides.

On the last two days there is a magnificent towering canyon where spectacular waterfalls cascade hundreds of feet into the river. Constriction caused by the narrow canyon walls and massive boulders grant us numerous Class III and IV rapids—a guarantee of an action-packed ride!  Actual time on the river is four to six days and most trips originate in Quito, Ecuador.