The Best Whitewater Rafting: 2. Rio Cotahuasi River, Peru

Experience remote Incan ruins

Rio Cotahuasi

Experience ancient Incan ruins on this trip     Photo: Global Descents

The Cotahuasi is one of the last old-school river expeditions left on earth, with sheer canyons three times the height of the Grand and ancient Incan ruins accessible only via the river. From the town of Cotahuasi, it takes a full day just to trek to the put-in.

On the river for seven days, you’ll paddle 100 miles of stunning, intermittent class IV-V whitewater and canyons measuring 11,587 feet from river to rim. On some nights break camp near Incan ruins with potsherds and old masonry walls that only a handful of people have ever seen. One night you’ll stay in an Andean village adjacent to a local hot springs. Be sure to bring friends: The trip requires teamwork, from punching through tough rapids to lining the rafts around impassable ones. $2,950; best time to go is June and July.

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