By Dorien Boxhoorn, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The city of Rio de Janeiro has a lot of options when it comes to thrill seeking, from rappelling down high cliffs, to spear fishing and of course plenty of surfing. Outside the city though, one can find adventure near the border of Minas Gerais, two hours driving from Rio de Janeiro city, were the wild Paraibuna river has several rafting outfits operating.
The part of the Paraibuna River that is usually rafted down is about 25 kilometers long with an equal amount of rapids between Class three and four during the summer and Class two and three during the winter months. The time on the water is usually around three hours.
The Paraibuna river flows past the town of Três Rios, which is past Petrópolis about two hours driving by car. Here the three rivers, Piabanha, Paraibuna and Paraiba meet each other, while they meander their way through the hilly region.
Some say the summer (October to February) is the best time to go rafting, while the rivers are running higher and faster than during winter time. For those looking for a more smooth water rafting experience might prefer the calmer and cooler Brazilian winter months though.
Leo, who wished to remain anonymous, participated in the trip explains: “It was definitely worth overcoming my fear and experience the rapids and waterfalls of the river.”
The minimum number of people in the boat is six, and it is important to book well ahead to be sure that there is availability. Another tip is to bring extra clothes with because everyone ends up soaking wet after coming face-to-face with the river.
Leo describes: “Some parts of the river are really relaxing where other parts you have to hold your breath and paddle as hard as you can or just hold on tight to the raft.”
There is also the possibility to sign up for the special full moon rafting trips, which take place all year round and provide a special feel to the whole experience of navigating a wild river. On these trips the descent down the river starts after sunset and ends around midnight.
When contacting the organizations that offer rafting trips on the Paraibuna river, prices range from R$100 to R$180, depending on optional lunches or churrascos (Brazilian style barbeques). Transportation to get to Três Rios can be arranged by the tour operators, including hotel or hostel pick up.