Whitewater rafting is a wildly popular adventure sport and traveling to a new destination makes the experience just that much better. The view from your raft provides unique perspectives on the landscape around. Plus it offers a chance to see parts of the place you are visiting that most average tourists don’t get to experience. We’ve rounded up eight of our top picks for international rafting locations to get you excited about traveling and enjoying your favorite river sport.
1. The Zambezi River, Zimbabwe
Our list of international white water rafting spots has to start with the Zambezi River. Beginning just below the 360 foot thundering Victoria Falls, the Zambezi River offers Class IV and V rapids that you just have to see to believe. Within a 15 mile stretch, there are 23 rapids and plentiful opportunities to spot native wildlife including hippos and crocodiles.
2. Rio Upano, Ecuador
Surrounded by dense rain forest, the Rio Upano gives visitors the chance to experience Class IV rapids in an exotic, remote setting. Paddle through the stunning Namangosa Gorge where towering cliffs and reckless waterfalls dominate the scenery.
3. Magpie River, Canada
Located in eastern Quebec Province, the Magpie River is often touted as Canada’s best whitewater rafting experience. Start the adventure with a float plane flight to Magpie Lake followed by a 6-8 day trip down the river. Pass through pine forests that have been virtually untouched by humans (and maybe catch sight of Sasquatch?). Tackle Class V rapids and camp under the stars with your fingers crossed to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
4. Pacuare River, Costa Rica
Spread out over 67 miles, the Pacuare River boasts three whitewater sections and 38 individual rapids. Class III and IV rapids rush past luscious rain forests teaming with native birds and monkeys. Catch sight of the Talamanca Mountains that line the horizon and immerse yourself in a vibrant culture.
5. Chilko River, Canada
Canada’s rivers earn a second spot on our list with the 47 mile long Chilko River. Located in British Columbia, it is renowned for its seemingly never-ending string of Class IV rapids. This river is fast and without mercy but don’t be deterred- it is incredibly fun and surrounded by spectacular scenery.
6. Futaleufu River, Chile
Patagonia is breathtaking and an obvious choice for adventure seekers around the globe for good reasons. Rafting the Futaleufu River and its Class III-V rapids give you one of the best ways to explore the famed wilderness. The Andes Mountains provide the perfect backdrop for deep blue river water that is fed by glaciers and lakes in the Patagonian highlands.
7. Nice River, Italy
If you are headed to Europe, don’t skip out on a trip to raft the Nice River whose icy blue waters are sustained by glacier melt off from the Dolomites. Expect Class IV and V rapids while you paddle through the stunning gorges of Mostizzolo and enjoy 16 miles of spectacular Italian peninsula scenery.
8. North Johnstone River, Australia
A helicopter ride is the only way to access the North Johnstone River. Once your chopper lands, raft through the untouched rain forests and volcanic gorges found in Palmerston National Park. The river is studded with Class IV and V rapids and most trips take 4-6 days to descend the river so you’ll get the chance to camp in dense Australian forests overnight.
What are you waiting for? International white water rafting is calling your name. Book a flight, pack your bags and go chase those rapids! A top notch adventure on an international river will make for incredible memories you’ll never forget.
Not quite ready to catch an international flight? Book a trip down the Ocoee and get ready for some of the best rafting Tennessee has to offer!