After 10 hours on the bus last night we spent the morning catching up on sleep until our white water rafting booking at 11.30am. This was a first for both of us and something we had been strongly recommended to do in Arequipa. The whole package only cost the equivalent of £15 and it lasted for almost 3 hours - brilliant value.
It started with a free pickup from the city centre to the river. The river is the same one which runs through Arequipa itself, though we drove to a spot further up, away from the city. The scenery was excellent, with snow capped mountains and volcanos in the distance, despite it being around 25 degrees where we were.
Once we arrived, we were kitted out in some rather unflattering rafting attire. First we had to put on a wetsuit, then baggy protective shorts and jacket, then a life jacket, then a helmet. As you can imagine, this resulted in us being very hot, and looking forward to getting down to the river. Before we could do that though we had to have a brief training/safety session so we knew what we were actually doing on the water. Since I was the only English person in the group I had to learn the commands in Spanish. These consisted of row forward, backward, hold on, cram inside the raft. The latter was particularly useful on the rapids!
Kitted out and fully trained, we headed down to the river and started our 6km adventure. It was great fun and we went down a number of rapids, including two level 4 rapids (the maximum being 5), which saw reasonable drops and some big splashes. Our rowing skills improved along the way but it was still hard work – no doubt I will be aching tomorrow. Along the way we stopped off at a small (approximately 5m) cliff jump which we all had a go on. Numerous photos were taken by the professionals along the way, and they will apparently be online in the coming days – no doubt some panicked faces will be on show.
The trip finished at a large open grass area where we were given free drinks and snacks (just in case £15 wasn’t cheap enough). Afterwards, we headed back to the city in order to see one of the main squares. Here we sampled a local dessert which translates to ‘cheese icecream’, though it was much nicer than it sounds.
Photo of the day: unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me during the rafting, but here is a snap from my phone of Marc after the trip.