Tena is Ecuador’s white-water rafting center, and rafting headlines the activities available here. Also possible are kayaking, trekking and rappelling. However, mining around the town is forcing operators to take groups further away to find unspoiled river.


Tena's rafting trips are famous continent-wide.

Trips range from gentle scenic floats to exhilarating rapids and first descents in gorgeous landscapes. Serious outfitters will have everything you would expect – decent life jackets, professional guides, first-aid supplies and throw bags. Many use safety kayakers who paddle alongside the boat in case of capsizings. It’s worth signing up with one of these outfits. Kayakers can hire guides or arrange for transportation and put-ins in town.

One of the most popular local trips is to the upper Río Napo (called Jatunyacu locally, which means ‘big water’ in Kichwa), where rafters tackle a fun 25km stretch of Class III+ white water, suitable for all levels. For more excitement, the Río Misahuallí has wild Class IV+ rapids and includes a portage around a waterfall.