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Yavero River Expedition Itinerary

Fly from the U.S. to Lima.

This morning we take an early flight (on your own) to Cuzco. We arrive in Cuzco and are met by the Earth River guide and begin the drive to the river. We drive a few hours through beautiful mountain scenery, past Inca settlements VIEW and along roaring rivers to the wonderful town of Lares where we stop for lunch. Much of the population in Lares dresses in brightly colored native clothing and the town has a festival feel to it. It also produces woven goods that are sold to tourists throughout Peru. In the afternoon we drive two and a half hours to the town of Quebrada Honda where we either camp or stay in a primitive hotel.

This morning we switch from the bus to four wheel drive vehicles.VIEW Cresting the top of the Yavero Canyon we get our first glimpse of the thin green and white ribbon of water 8,000 feet below. Beyond the lush Yavero Canyon, with densely foliated mountains unfold as far as the eye can see as they penetrate into Manu National Park. On no more than a windy, barely one lane cart trail, we descend another 6,500 feet down to the put in on the river where we have lunch. Just below our starting point, a trail crosses a narrow wooden suspension bridge over a dramatic gorge.  It is believed that the Inca used this trail to escape the Spanish at Machu Picchu and access the Lost City of Gold. After a safety talk, we board the rafts and continue down river running a series of moderately challenging class 3 - 4 rapids. 

For the next five days we will paddle nearly 100 thrilling class 3 & 4 rapids VIEW through a gorgeous 7,000 foot deep canyon with multiple tributary waterfalls. Macaws, monkeys, Giant Otters and countless birds and butterflies. Spring fed seeps adorn moss covered walls. The whitewater is similar in difficulty to the Pacuare in Costa Rica only there are many more rapids. The Yavero’s most impressive rapid, Tobogan, is one of the longest commercially run class IV rapids anywhere . Here the converge and the water surges through a series of crashing waves and sweeping bends for over two kilometers. VIEW When the rapids change from class 4 to 3 we will switch from rafts to inflatable kayaks and after a kayak lesson, paddle the swimming pool temperature water through some of the best class 2 -3 beginner kayaking in the world. From the boats we will see giant otters playing in the eddies and multi-colored Macaws soaring through the old growth jungle canopy that overhangs the river. The remote canyon VIEW opens up to beautiful camping cut into the jungle engulfed in giant old growth trees VIEW The canyon’s eastern boundary is the four million acre Manu National Park. With over 15,000 different flowering plants, 1,000 species of birds, 200 different mammals including 13 different kinds of primates and hundreds of butterflies species, the Manu Biosphere Reserve is considered to be the most diverse region of the Amazon Rain Forest. There will also be the opportunity to visit with the Machiguenga Indigenous community that lives along the river and see first hand how they carve massive trees into dugout canoes in order to transport their crops down river. VIEW On day 8 (Our 6th on the river), we raft and kayak the Yavero’s final class 3 rapids and reach the confluence with the the much larger Urubamba. After running five exhilarating class 3+rapids on the Urubamba, with waves as high as 10 feet, we camp on a beautiful beach just upstream for the fabled pong Manique sacred waterfall canyon.

Early this morning, we board the rafts and kayaks and within minutes canyon walls close, and rise hundreds of feet above us as we enter the mysterious and breath takingly beautiful Pongo Mainique Canyon. This 3 kilometer, slot divides the upland cloud forest with the Amazon Jungle. Here the mighty Urubamba takes a final plunge through one last mountain range before entering the flat Amazon basin. This canyon is an important spiritual place for the Machiguenga native people who believe that the souls of their dead reside in the Pongo. In 2001 the Wildlife Conservation Society did a survey of the Pongo Manique and the immediate area around it and said, “The lowland rain forests and mid-mountain cloud forests within a radius of five miles of the Pongo Mainique possibly comprise the single most biologically diverse site on the face of the earth. “ Beyond its cultural and biological significance, the Pongo Mainique is one of the most enchanted places in South America. Upon entering the Pongo, we paddle past smooth, water scalloped walls, VIEW covered in iridescent, emerald moss with delicate seeps of water collecting into dozens of tiny waterfalls. Around the bend, the symphony of water grows as dozens of impressive waterfalls cascade into the river from as high as 100 feet in heart of the Pongo, over a dozen significant waterfalls can be viewed at once.  The chorus of water grows deafening as we run an exciting class 4 rapid framed within this cathedral of falling water.  Then suddenly we round a bend and the canyon walls give way to the open plane of the Amazon basin. We pull over at a trailhead and take a wonderful 1.5 hour hike to the top of the canyon where we are afforded a spectacular view of the Pongo Manique and beyond to where the green carpet of the Amazon spreads out as far as the eye can see. After the hike, we are met by a large, motorized wooden dugout canoe that transports us 2 hours back up river to the road to the road at the town of Ivochote where we baord the bus for a two hour drive to the jungle town of Kiteni where we spend the night at a promitive hotel.

This morning we drive three and a half hours to the jungle city of Quillabamba where we have lunch. In the afternoon, we over a high mountain pass with dramatic views of the snow-capped Andes to a trailhead at Hydro-Electrica. From here we walk two spectacular miles along the Urubamba River with soaring cliffs rising two thousand feet over us. VIEW We reach the town of Aguas Calientes in the middle of the afternoon and hop on the next bus leaving for Machu Picchu. Surrounded by formidable peaks this ancient mountain-top Inca City stands sentinel over the Urubamba Valley 2,000 feet below. This is an extraordinary time to visit this wonder of the world because the crowds have left. Dominating the site are massive stone walls, buildings and courtyards interconnected by stone steps and access doors. Some of the carved stone blocks that make up the walls weigh 150,000 pounds and are 18 feet high. How this Herculean union of stones was assembled without the use of cement is a mystery. Instead of moving with a throngs of tourists, we are able to discover this architectural masterpiece of man and nature in relative solitude. It is even possible to take sweeping photographs and video of the complex without anyone else in them. We watch the sun set over the imposing mountains and take the bus back down to Aquas Calientes where we baord the narrow gauge train for the two hour ride to the town of Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Vaslley where we check into a hotel dinner and spend the night at a hotel. That evening we have our farewell dinner.

This morning we drive 1 hour to the Cuzco airport and board our flights to Lima and then on to the United States.

Gear and Clothing List

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General Information




The following information on weather, health and physical conditioning is extremely important and should be read carefully. If you have any questions after going over it, please contact our office.


CANCELLATION INSURANCE: If there is any chance you may have to cancel your trip, you must purchase travel insurance for your protection. Insurance will cover every aspect of your trip including: your deposit, lost baggage and unforeseeable medical emergencies and evacuation. It will also cover additional transportation costs in case you have to be caught up to the expedition due to delays with your international flight.  We recommend the company Travel Insured International. 

ARRIVAL , MEETING TIME & PLACE: People often arrive into Lima on different days and at different times. If at all possible, we highly recommend leaving Thursday and spending the night in a hotel near the Lima airport. Not only does this break the travel time up, but it guarantees you will be on an early flight to Cuzco the following morning. You will be responsible for getting yourself from the United States to the Cuzco, Peru by 9:30 AM Friday. An Earth River guide and the bus will meet you at the Cuzco Airport, with a sihn, when you arrive. The guide will help you pack for the trip. Your extra gear will be safely stored in Cuzco until the trips conclusion.

WHAT IS INCLUDED: Ground transportation from Cuzco at the start of the trip, back to Cuzco an the trip’s conclusion. It also includes food, hotels the last two nights, Machu Picchu fees and the train back to Cuzco.

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED: International air to Lima and inner country air to Cuzco and other travel related expenses such as, but not limited to: entry fees, insurance, visas, passports, medical costs, airport taxes or other transportation costs resulting from a deviation from our itinerary are not included. Guide gratuities are also not included. If you are delayed for any reason (missed flight) and unable to reach Cuzco by the set meeting time, you will be responsible for any extra hotels and meals as well as the ground transportation necessary to catch you up to the trip (an Earth River agent will help you arrange these things). Note: Trip insurance will cover these additional expenses. Leaving a day early and staying in a hotel the night before in Lima is the surest way to avoid problems.

 Airfare from the US to Cuzco, Peru is not included in the trip price and must be arranged independently. You can contact our travel agent, Gilda if you would like help arranging your flights. She finds very good deals and gives great service. She can be reached at: 786-206-0710 or 1-866-498-0530 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  As soon as you have secured your flights down to Lima and connecting flight to 
Cuzco, please e-mail this information down to Earth River’s office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so we know your schedule. The e- mail should include; Yavero trip date, date leaving US, flight # and arrival time into Cuzco as well as the flight # and departure time leaving Cuzco at the end of the trip. Remember you must arrive in Cuzco by 9:30 AM on the arrival date and should book your flight out of Cuzco at the trip’s conclusion after mid day (12:00). 

 If you are delayed on your international flight and unable to make a national flight that arrives in by 9:30 AM Friday morning, you will still be able to do the trip but we will have to hire a taxi to catch you up. Please call the Earth River emergency number at 845-626-4361 and we will arrange for the vehicle and driver to meet you
 at the Cuzco airport to take you to the river which can cost $650 as the journey for the taxi which will need to travel 16 hours round trip.

CONDITIONING: Paddle rafting class 4 whitewater is somewhat demanding as is inflatable kayaking class 2 & 3 rapids so it is a good idea to be in good physical condition. If you are not currently in good condition, you should become involved in an exercise program prior to the expedition. Safety aside, being fit will improve the quality of your experience.

EXPERIENCE: It is absolutely fine for non experienced rafting guests to join us the Yavero Expedition. The whitewater is class 4 and the (optional) inflatable kayaking is also suitable for first timers.

PASSPORTS: You will need a current passport for traveling in Peru but do not need an additional visa. 

ADDITIONAL TRAVEL WITHIN PERU: If you have a few extra days you might want to spend a day in the Inca City of Cuzco and or possible an additional day at Machu Picchu hiking up Huayna Picchu. 

FINAL PAYMENT: The final trip balance is due 75 days prior to the trip’s departure. Those people who paid their deposit with a credit card will be automatically billed for the balance on the card we have on file unless you call the office 75 days before the trip’s departure with another credit card or send in a personal check. If you would like the final payment handled another way please call our office.

SINGLE ROOMS: There is no single supplement charge for people traveling alone as long as you are willing to share with another guest of the same sex. If you request single accommodations for the hotel nights on the trip, it must be done in advance when the balance of payment is due and the additional charge is $250.

GEAR: Please see the gear list.

ADDITIONAL MONEY: Generally, $500 per person will be adequate for any shopping, airport taxes, and river guide tips. You will be able to exchange money at the airport when you arrive in Lima or Cuzco.

GRATUITIES: Gratuities for the guides are not included. If you think the guides and help have done an outstanding job, -10 percent (approx. $350) of the expedition cost per person is considered a generous tip. Usually a member of the group will collect the tip and hand it to the trip leader (head guide) who will distribute it evenly among the guides and employees.

GEAR STORAGE: Because space and weight are limited in the baggage rafts and dugout canoes you will be allowed one bag river bag, which can weigh up to 30 pounds. The Earth River representative in Cuzco will give you a medium size river dry bag for the trip. Your suitcase and other belongings will be safely stored in Cuzco until you return. We would like you to pack your passports, wallets and other valuables in your river bag.

*IMPORTANT PACKING TIP: Each year a few people (approx. 2 %) of our clients end up in a foreign country without their belongings due to the airlines misplacing their bags. By the time they receive them from the airline, often the trip is nearly over. Because this is a real possibility we highly recommend the following steps to protect yourself. Pack all necessary river gear (paddle jacket, river shoes, hat, sun glasses, bathing suit, etc.) into the largest legal carry on bag you can find and don’t check it. Pack everything else in a duffle bag. This way if you become separated from your checked bag you will have the most important things for the river as well as the clothes on your back for camp.

WEATHER: We will be traveling in the dry season. Most of the rain in Peru falls between October and April. The climate is mild enough that even if it rains it is not cold although it is possible to have a sudden cold front (60’s) at any time throughout the year. The upper part of the river will have daytime highs in the mid 80’s and nights will be in the lower 70’s. When we get down to the Urubamba near the Amazon Jungle, daytime temperatures will be in the upper 80’s and night time will be in the high 70’s. Machu Picchu is up at 8,000 feet and daytime temperatures there could be in the high seventies. The water will be in the upper 60’s on the Yavero and the lower 70’s on the Urubamba. There is always a chance of rain so you should come prepared with rain pants and a rain jacket or paddle jacket. The water on the river is warm enough that wet suits are not necessary.

HEALTH INFORMATION: If you should need medical attention, there are hospitals in Quillabamba and Cuzco. There have been only a few yellow fever cases reported in Peru in a number of years but the Peruvian government never-the-less recommends a yellow fever vaccination for trips to the rainforest. We do not feel this is necessary. This vaccination is requested for visits to most rainforest areas around the world. If you decide to take it, the vaccination is only effective starting 10 days after it is administered so that you would need to get the shot two weeks before your trip’s departure.  A prophylaxis against Malaria is recommended by many outfitters who take people to Manu National Park (near the Yavero River) but the area we will be traveling does not have a malaria problem. The United States Public Heath Service recommends the following health precautions as well for traveling in Peru. These are only recommendations and not required: a tetanus shot if one has not been received in the past ten years and Hepatitis shots. If you feel more comfortable, consult your doctor for his or her recommendations. It is important to avoid drinking water directly from hotel taps rivers, lakes or streams. Drink soda or bottled water. Avoid salads and fruits that you cannot peel yourself and make sure that all food has been properly cooked. We will be treating the water on the river. Strict food and water precautions are essential not only for your own safety and well-being, but for other members of the group and the success of the expedition as a whole. Because everyone will be in close quarters throughout the trip, intestinal problems can easily be passed from one person to the next, which could jeopardize the entire expedition. Unsanitary food preparation is the most common way to spread disease. Anyone coming in contact with community food should make sure hands are washed first. If you see someone who has not washed and is helping with a meal (including guides and safety kayakers), please remind them. If you are feeling even the slightest bit ill, stay away from community food until you have fully recovered.

EMERGENCIES: We carry a satellite phone. Because the area we are traveling in is so remote,  it could take a helicopter a full day to get someone to a hospital.

ALTITUDE: You will be flying into Cuzco which is at 11,600 fee. The river starting point is 4,000 feet. Machu Picchu is at 8,000 feet.

POLITICAL CLIMATE: The political climate in Peru is stable but you should be careful with your wallet, passport, camera, and belongings. Get a belt pack that you can tuck under your shirt, and do not let your belongings or camera out of your sight.

EVACUATION: We will carry a sat. phone and it will be possible to contact a helicopter in the event of an emergency. This is a very remote river without roads so it is imperative that you are extremely careful and do not take unnecessary risks or chances. It is important also important that everyone keeps their life jacket and helmet on during scouts and portages.

EMERGENCY CONTACT INFORMATION: In case there is an emergency at home while you are away the following phone number should be given to a relative or friend: 845-626-4361. The person should ask for Troy or Eric. It will not be possible to get information while you are on the river expedition but we can reach you the final three days of
the trip.


Sign up Information

What's Included:

The Yavero expedition trip price includes: everything from the Cuzco airport, back to the Cuzco Airport including all ground transportation, hotels, meals, guides, Machu Picchu fees, instruction and equipment required for the described trip.  

Not Included:

International air to Lima and inner country air to Cuzco. Other travel related expenses such as, but not limited to: entry fees, insurance, visas, passports, medical costs, airport taxes or other transportation costs resulting from a deviation from our itinerary are not included. End of trip gratuities to the guides are also not included. If you are delayed for any reason (missed flight) and unable to reach Cuzco by the set meeting time, you will be responsible for any extra hotels and meals as well as the ground transportation necessary to catch you up to the trip (an Earth River agent will help you arrange these things). Trip insurance will cover these additional expenses. Leaving a day early and staying in a hotel the night before in Lima or Cuzco is the surest way to avoid problems.

Securing space:

To secure a trip space, an initial deposit of $600 per person is required. You can make this payment by credit card (Visa or Master Card) or by check payable to: Earth River Expeditions. Your deposit should be mailed to the Earth River office (180 Towpath Road, Accord, New York, 12404), along with a completed registration form, signed liability release and signed terms and responsibility release and medical form and send back in the regular mail to the Earth River office. The Balance of Payment is due 75 days prior to the trip’s departure and may be paid by check or credit card. For your convenience, we will charge the balance to your credit card 75 days prior to trip departure.



Yavero Letter

Dear Trip Participant:


Thank you for joining us on this exciting new expedition that has only been run by a few handfuls of groups. Every effort will be made to make your trip safe and enjoyable.

Please go to the very first page of the Earth River web site, (with photo of sunrise), scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the small (©) in copyright 2005 Earth River Expeditions. Then click on Yavero in the index. The registration form, releases and medical form should be filled out, signed and sent back in the

regular mail (not faxed) to our office along with the $600 deposit. (Earth River Expeditions, 180 Towpath Road, Accord, New York, 12404.) Please carefully go over all the information in the hidden link section and if you have any questions please contact our office.


Eric Hertz
Earth River Expeditions 

Earth River Interactive Maps



Yelcho Lodge





Type: Remote, 10 room, hand crafted wooden lodge on large wilderness lake.

Location: 2,000 acre property on 30 mile long Lago Yelcho which the Futaleufu River empties into.  

Brief Description: The Yelcho Lodge is located on the shore of spectacular Lago Yelcho with views of soaring glacier-capped mountains rising from it's shore.  

Number of nights: 1 (night 9)

Access: Reached by driving 1 hour and 15 minutes from Futaleufu River take out.  Lodge is located half-way between Futaleufu River and the tiny airport in Chaiten. 

Lodge property: 2  miles of lake shoreline.  

Amenities: Bathrooms in rooms, fireplace, electricity, private cabins.

Multi-sport Activities in immediate vacinity of lodge: Sea kayaking & hiking to where glacier meets rain forest


Infierno Canyon: Hiking trail along lake.  
Yelcho Glacier: Yelcho Glacier trailhead. 
Trails system: Hiking trails along lake and to glacier and waterfalls. 


Uman Lodge




Type: Remote, 14 room, 5 star hand crafted lodge on 350 foot cliff, overlooking upper Futaleufu Valley.

Location: 1,000 acre property on the confluence of the Futaleufu and Espolon Rivers.  

Number of nights: 2  (nights 5 & 6)

Brief Description: The Uman Lodge is perched on a cliff at the confluence of the Espolon and Futaleufu Rivers, with expansive views of the upper Futaleufu Valley and the snow-capped peaks that rise out of it. Stunning views abound from the lodge's  living room, dining room,  spa and guest sleeping quarters. Fresh organic fruits and vegitables are grown at the lodges working farm and served at the Lodge. There are numerous trails for hiking and horseback riding. 

Access: Reached by inflatable kayak on class 3 Espolon River. 

Lodge property: 1/2  mile of Rio Espolon shoreline and 2 miles of Futaleufu shoreline. Expansive beach on Futaleufu River. Working farm with fruit trees and organic vegetable garden used in lodge meals. Property includes right shore of 4 kilometer Infierno Canyon.

Amenities: Bathrooms in rooms, heated cliff-side infinity pool, hot tub, small spa with masseuse, steam room and sauna, fireplace, exspansive deck, electricity, internet. 

Multi-sport activities in immediate vicinity of lodge: Hiking, horseback riding, fishing and river kayaking (class 3), class 5 rafting througb Infierno Canyon.


Infierno Canyon: Hiking trail overlooking sheer-walled class 5 Infierno Canyon.  
Beach: Expansive beach with swimming at confluence of Espolon and Futaleufu Rivers.  
Lower Espolon River: inflatable kayaking (Level 3)
Trails system:  Hiking and horseback riding trails.






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“Eric Hertz has devoted his life and his company’s resources to saving some of the world’s last great white-water, wilderness rivers.".
"Earth River is the premier river runner in the world. Their staff includes the finest guides to be found."
“Earth River is more than a great whitewater outfitter. Their contributions have made a real difference in our efforts to preserve some of the world's most beautiful rivers in Chile and Canada."
"I want to personally thank Earth River for helping us stop the hydro-electric projects on our land preventing the destruction of one of North America's last great wildernesses.
“I’ve rafted with Eric Hertz down some tough rivers—the Futaleufu in Chile, the Colca in Peru. He's one of the best in the business—obsessed with safety."
“Earth River runs the only continuous, top to bottom, multi-camp, wilderness expedition on the Futaleufu. A week without roads, electricity or cell phones.”
“I’ve been on nearly all the commercially run rivers in the world and Earth River and the Futaleufu stand out as the very best of the best.”—Fred Wiedemann, Co-founder
"Earth River is the premier river runner in the world. Their staff includes the finest guides to be found."
“Earth River’s conservation effort on the Futaleufu is Herculean and represents the single largest river land trust endeavor ever initiated by a commercial outfitter."—Ronald Dodson, Pres."
"I want to personally thank Earth River for helping us stop the hydro-electric projects on our land preventing the destruction of one of North America's last great wildernesses.
“Earth River’s Futaleufu trip is an astonishment. The amazing camps, all different from one another, but all surprisingly and ingeniously comfortable”—David Rakoff
"I want to personally thank Earth River for helping us stop the hydro-electric projects on our land preventing the destruction of one of North America's last great wildernesses.
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