PADDLING the Río Jondachi
Here’s what people say about the Jondachi
History of kayaking the Jondachi
The Lower Jondachi was first paddled in 1991 by a group of paddlers led by John Wasson. The first descent of the Upper Jondachi was completed in 1995, and it rapidly became a renowned world class kayaking destination.
Kayakers come from all over the world to paddle the Jondachi. Based on an ERI survey, kayakers spend an average of $101 US Dollars per day in Ecuador, and stay for an average of 21 days. In total, we estimate kayakers contribute $1.1 million US dollars to local economies every year, principally in the Tena/ Baeza area.
Sections and Descriptions
The Jondachi is one of the few remaining whitewater rivers in Ecuador that is thus far untouched by human development. The Jondachi is frequently paddled in three sections: The Upper Jondachi (class V), The Middle Jondachi (class IV), and the Lower Jondachi – Hollin (class III/IV).
The Upper Jondachi
The Upper Jondachi is the crown jewel of whitewater paddling in Ecuador. It is what gives the Jondachi its international fame and draws paddlers from around the world to Ecuador. It is a steep creek, known for its exceptional rapids with classic boofs and beautiful scenery. The run is a staircase of interconnected rapids with recovery pools in between.
There are two common put-ins for the Upper Jondachi: either putting in on the Urcusiqui with approximately 2 km of Class IV warm up before the confluence of the Jondachi, or hiking in to the confluence from La Merced de Jondachi. The take-out is at the main road bridge, which crosses the river at km 18.
The Middle Jondachi
The Middle Jondachi is a step down in difficulty from the Upper Jondachi, and offers beautiful scenery through a remote jungle canyon. The Middle Jondachi offers skilled kayakers a practice ground which can be used to train for the Upper Jondachi.
The put-in for the middle section of the Jondachi is at the km 18 bridge, and the take-out is at the put-in for commercial raft trips. Frequently, the lower section of the Jondachi is added on to the middle section for a long day trip.
The Lower Jondachi and the Hollin
The Lower Jondachi has lower gradient and less difficult rapids than the upstream sections of the river, and offers intermediate level kayaking and rafting. It is hands-down one of the best rafting trips in Ecuador. The lower section is known for its lush jungle canyon with numerous waterfalls feeding into the river.
The put-in is accessible by hiking in from the community of Mondayaku, and the take-out is at the road bridge over the Hollin River.