Grab Your Paddle! 10 of the Best Places to Kayak in Latin America Chloe Nevitt February 17, 2017 Adventure Travel, South America This blog post was updated on December 18, 2019. Sports-wise, kayaking is uniquely wonderful in its own way. You can do it alone or as part of a group, usually right in the middle of some picturesque scenery, and it can be as challenging or effortless as you want. Oh, and you can pretty much kayak anywhere around the globe…as long as there’s a place to rent the equipment. Unless, of course, you’re willing to bring your own kayak! And if there’s one region worth of a kayaking vacation, it’s Latin America. A vast hub of kayaking spots and routes, with options for both beginners and experienced kayakers alike. Want to discover some of the best ones? Then join us and be ready to hit the water! The Futaleufú River, Chile Image via Flickr – CC BY 2.0 – Zachary Collier A true hotspot for global kayakers, the Futaleufú River — or Fu as some of the locals call it — is a great place to get to know the Latin American kayaking scene. The river runs through Chile’s Patagonia region and is known for its appeal to more experienced kayakers. The icy waters are Class IV and V and great for those craving for whitewater experiences. If adrenaline-rushes are your thing, then the Fu is a place you should check out. With lush riverbanks and wonderful opportunities to relax and meditate, the Fu goes beyond just kayaking — it is an opportunity to connect with nature and other similar explorers and adventurers. Sea Kayaking, Patagonia Image via Flickr – CC BY 2.0 – Javier Rubilar Patagonia is known as the go-to place for everything outdoors. The water route that spreads across the Andes opens up to an active volcano on the coast of Vulcan Chaiten. Paddling in open seas can be physically exhausting but ultimately it ends up being an incredibly rewarding experience. The weather in the area can also be daunting, but being able to kayak amongst glaciers and islands of ice is like nothing else in the world. Sea of Cortez, Mexico Image via Flickr – CC BY 2.0 – Zach Dischner The Sea of Cortez is great for those who are just getting their feet wet with kayaking. The waters are crystal clear, calm, warm, and filled with amazing wildlife. The area is famous for its impressive whale watching opportunities, and the Bahía de Loreto National Park is actually a blue whale sanctuary. The park itself is made up of 5 islands off the coast of Loreto and kayakers will most definitely be able to catch a glimpse of a whale, a dolphin, or a sea lion. Kayakers also have plenty of opportunities to hop off their boats and take some time to snorkel through the water to check out the diverse marine life. For a family and animal-friend kayak tour, the Sea of Cortez is definitely the place to go! Lake Titicaca, Peru Image via Flickr – CC BY 2.0 – Millie0418 One of the largest lakes in South America, Lake Titicaca is located at the border of Peru and Bolivia. Visitors can check out the Uros Floating Islands, amazing man-made isles made of intertwined reeds that feel like walking on a giant sponge. After the visit, kayakers are welcome to explore many of the cities that dot the shoreline. Lake Nicaragua, Nicaragua Image via Flickr – CC BY 2.0 – Cordelia Persen Perhaps one of the best reasons to visit Lake Nicaragua is to spend some time in Granada. Las Isletas, an archipelago formed by a volcanic eruption that occurred thousands of years ago, is located right off the coast. Kayaking through the isles feels like cutting through a floating jungle. Many of the islands are owned and inhabited by very wealthy foreigners, and kayak tours throughout them is a watery and natural version of Beverly Hills. Las Isletas are filled with monkeys, colorful birds, and flowers. The water is quite calm so kayakers can jump in and out of their boats to fully enjoy the experience! The Pacuare, Costa Rica Image via Flickr – CC BY 2.0 – José Pablo Orozco Marín If lazily floating down turquoise waters isn’t what you’re looking for in your kayaking adventure, then taking time to visit the Pacuare River is in order! The river crashes and turns revealing vertical drops and exciting waterfalls. Because the surrounding areas are so diverse, many tours feature animal-themed trips where you can see jaguars, toucans, and monkeys. But if straight ride-and-drive is more your thing, the river is also home to Class III and Class IV rapids that pull visitors through the Rio Pacuare gorge. The Apurímac River, Peru Image via Flickr – CC BY 2.0 – Mark Rowland The Apurímac River is nestled in the middle of Peru’s Cuzco region and acts as a source to the Amazon River flowing for almost 500 miles until it becomes the Ene River. Kayakers are welcome to join in the fun at various spots along the Apurímac which can require varying levels of expertise. For those who booked flights to Peru looking for a more relaxed experience, visitors have the opportunity to visit thermal baths in Konoc just west of Cuzco. If, on the other hand, you’re up for a challenge, you’ll find it when the frothy, unforgiving side of the Apurímac becomes the Acobamba Abyss. The water here has crazy vertical drops, huge boulders, and tons of jungle vegetation. Similar to Grand Canyon rapids, the Abyss is definitely not for the faint of heart! Damas Islands, Costa Rica Image via Flickr – CC BY 2.0 – kansasphoto In contrast to the adrenaline-pumping kayaking of the Pacuare, the Damas Islands feature an easy-going trip through the mangroves. The islands are known for their amazing wildlife, and because the waters are so calm, trips can be taken at night to see animals that are only active after-hours. The estuaries are home to black-tipped sharks, playful monkeys, and sloths that will smile you back as the kayak pass. Nohoch Che’en Park, Belize Image via Flickr – CC BY 2.0 – Craig Nagy Also known as Caves Branch, Nohoch Che’en is a network of limestone caves that visitors can dip and dodge into using their kayaks. Although the area is open to free kayaking, booking a guided tour offer the chance to learn more about how these caves were assimilated into Mayan culture. The caves sure feel outworldly, with white crystals coating the walls and ceilings of its tunnels. Many tours offer visitors the opportunity to live in the jungle and spend time creating their own shelters, studying plants, and kayaking through the park to get a better understanding about how the Mayans survived in this region. Paraná Delta, Argentina Image via Flickr – CC BY 2.0 – Maximiliano Kolus Most kayaking adventures in the Paraná Delta begin in Tigre, the small city about an hour from Buenos Aires. The Tigre Delta in particular is famous for its boating scene, and visitors traveling down are privy to seeing into the lives of the open homes that dot the area. The Paraná Delta itself is composed of almost 200 miles of waterways that make up a network across most of central Argentina. After a day of kayaking around the Tigre Delta, nothing’s more rewarding than eating some local food. Asado, the regional barbecue, runs as freely as water here and most homes double as mini-restaurants from foreign and local tourists alike. Tigre is known for being a hotspot for weary Buenos Aires locals (or porteños) to come and relax. Most homes and restaurants in this area are one with nature, and a lot of stuff is only accessible by boat. Did we miss your favorite Latin American kayaking place? Do you have an amazing memory kayaking at one of these locations? Let us know what it is in the comments below!