Canyoning Rio Blanco – More fun and less fashionable than expected

Baños, Ecuador

With so many waterfalls and rivers around Baños, it’s no wonder that every tour agency in town offers some sorts of water related activities, like canyoning.

Loads of Fun

It was the first time Jack and I went canyoning – which basically is a combination of rappelling and sliding down waterfalls.

Our first choice of river, Cashaurco, was not available due to heavy rain in previous days, so we opted to go on Rio Blanco instead.


I had my doubt about this whole canyoning thing at first. Rappelling is just a fancy name ‘Don’t let go of that brake hand or you’ll get in serious trouble.’ When we go rock climbing, anything that requires rappelling down a cliff is usually a chore I happily relegate to Jack. Chore with capital C.

But as I later found out, if you add waterfalls to the equation it suddenly becomes a lot more exciting.

Canyoning Rio Blanco, Banos
Canyoning Rio Blanco, Banos

A lot more.

It was harder than we both expected

The combination of the force of the waterfall, and water spraying in your face (don’t look up – always look down) was disorienting. Not to mention how slippery the rock was from the water and the moss.

I’m not going to lie, there were some scary times. We saw a guy from a different group who slipped and got knocked about by one of the waterfalls. Luckily, he didn’t let go of his brakehand and came down fine.

Never underestimate the power of waterfalls, however small it seems like.

But it was exciting to feel out of our elements. And who doesn’t like playing in water anyway?

My embarrassing moment

On the last part in Rio Blanco, we were supposed to slide down a mini cascade on our butt, with a rope attached to our harness, just in case we start careening out of control.

I asked the guide to keep me tight but not too tight, but somehow I ended up being lowered like a rag doll down the rock.

On my butt. With water pouring down my back and harness cutting into my fleshy hip. Arms open wide and legs spread eagled ready for the thrill that never came.

Down the slope. Inch by bloody inch. Like a claymation movie in slow motion.

I was laughing/screaming and yet with every jerk of the rope, I involuntarily warbled something like ‘Hoack!’

I’d never felt so ridiculous. I’d never seen anything more ridiculous. I’ve seen the video. Jack, being the kind loving husband that he is, was laughing his arse off the whole time and videotaping the whole thing.

I wish I could show you the video, but I do have an image to protect 🙂

But for a consolation price, you get to see the ridiculous harness/diaper we both got to wear. Can anybody seriously look good with this on?

Our diaper/harness for canyoning Rio Blanco
Believe it or not, Jack actually looks even more ridiculous with his. Unfortunately no photo to prove it, so you just have to believe me.

I don’t think so.

Other than that, it was serious fun

I ended up with a rope burn on my finger (hurts like hell) and Jack ended up with a video he could probably blackmail me with, but I already can’t wait for our next canyoning adventure.

Info box
– We went with ExplorSierra and had a great experience.
– The cost of canyoning Rio Blanco was $20 pp, compared to our volcanic mud bath in Colombia (that costs about the same), this is a much better deal.
– Don’t forget (like we did) to bring towels and dry clothes.

Valuable Resources

  • Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders, for those who love anything weird and offbeat.
  • Resource Toolbox: How I find cheap flights, accommodations, and other travel hacks.

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14 Replies to “Canyoning Rio Blanco – More fun and less fashionable than expected”

  1. Just went canyoning on the Casahurco yesterday – so much more fun than straight rappelling! And you're right, it's not possible to look good in those "diapers" – but at least everyone is wearing them! Keep enjoying the adventures

  2. Looks like you guys had an amazing time!!! Did Guido (from explorsierra) go with you guys? I love him…he's so awesome…I used his agency for all my adventure stuff! Next up…JUmping off the San Francisco bridge ya? Can I get a video if you guys do that!? 🙂

    1. He did! We had a great time, he was a really cool guy. Bridge jumping? Ha… maybe 🙂 It seems to be over way too quick.

  3. Hey great site! I really love hearing about people who bail on their jobs and take off for extended travel. Good luck, and if you get to Huanchaco, Peru – we're hosting couchsurfers now!

  4. Sounds a lot of fun! It must have been the same stupid like when I did rappel for the first time 3 months ago, I felt like a clown not knowing what to do and feeling like a total idiot 😀

  5. This sounds really cool- I would love to do it (even though I'd kind of be a little scared)! I want to see the video too!

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