Ecuador has some world-class kayaking locations on both sides of the Andes. It’s possible to do this activity any time of the year – there is almost always water in the rivers but the most popular season in the Oriente is from November to May. It could rain any day but the water levels won’t be dangerously high. In the Santo Domingo region the rainy season is January through August which is the better time to go.
Rivers are graded from I (novice) to V (very steep, technical and only suitable for experts). The main river systems which attract kayakers are the following:
Quijos Valley (eastern slope, Papallacta - Baeza)
Papallacta: class V
Cosanga: class III/IV
Oyacachi: class IV/V
March – September is the wet season and the best time for kayaking.
Near Tena (eastern slope)
Pastaza (eastern slope, near Baños)
Topo: class V
Toachi –Upano (western slope, near Santo Domingo)
It’s possible to learn to white-water kayak or bring your own gear and join a tour which will take you to some really technical stretches of river. It’s even possible to go kayaking in a volcanic crater lake.
The following agencies can help provide information and organise tours:
Small World Adventures
Yacu Amu Rafting
A number of hostels on the coast will rent out kayaks to take out in the ocean. For example from Cabañas La Tortuga in Ayampe you can head for a horseshoe shaped rock that is just within the range of the reasonably fit (and co-ordinated).