Kayak down the Chone River

The Chone River, near Canoa, Ecuador

An undiscovered adventure right in Canoa’s back yard

Visitors to Canoa, Ecuador have many options for activities away from our world famous beach. Just twenty minutes away is the Chone River, a beautiful stretch of water that is ripe for exploration. You’ll drift past mangroves teeming with several species of birds. You’ll spot an occasional campo house situated by the edge of the river. And you’ll enjoy the peaceful tranquility of a gently flowing river.

Mangroves and shrimp farms around Canoa

This section of the Chone River was once surrounded by thick, deep mangrove forests. However, several decades ago large portions of the mangroves were cut down to make room for commercial shrimp farms. Luckily the developers recognized the importance of the mangrove root systems to prevent erosion on the edges of the rivers, so they left most of the river banks alone. The shrimp industry is an important economic driver for the region, and while it came at the cost of a large portion of the mangrove ecosystem, there is still enough left to provide for spectacular birdwatching on the tree lined river. As a visitor to the area, you’ll find the mix of shrimp farms, locals’ houses, and the remaining mangrove forests to be an interesting window into a unique way of life.

The route down the Chone River

We access the river just below the dam by the town of Barquero. From here you can float about 10km downriver to the town of Salinas, where we usually take out. The passage takes around 3 or 4 hours depending on how hard you paddle and speed of the current. Additionally, once you get close to Salinas you will feel the effects of the ocean tides on the river’s current. Therefore we time our departure with the outgoing tide so you don’t end up paddling against the flow. For experienced paddlers and a perfectly timed departure it may be possible to go all the way to San Vicente, however this almost doubles the total distance.

Give it a try next time you’re in Canoa!

Stop by the Hostel Coco Loco on the malecón of Canoa and we’ll be happy to organize this activity for you. It can be done with or without a guide, depending on your experience. It’s a fun, beautiful way to spend a few hours enjoying nature. And when you get back to Canoa, stop by the bar at the Coco Loco and tell us how it went!


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