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Top 10 Coolest River Rafting Destinations

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands
Who’s ready for a wild ride? Welcome to MojoTravels, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Coolest River Rafting Destinations. For this list, we’re looking at some of the most thrilling, beautiful and unique places in the world for some seriously fun river rafting. Thanks to Getty Images for the pics and videos!
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Top 10 Coolest River Rafting Destinations
Who’s ready for a wild ride? Welcome to MojoTravels, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Coolest River Rafting Destinations.

For this list, we’re looking at some of the most thrilling, beautiful and unique places in the world for some seriously fun river rafting.
#10: Squamish River
Canada
Through the awe-inspiring wilderness of Canada’s westernmost province, British Columbia, snakes the Squamish river - a wide, roughly 50 mile long river that has become popular destination for rafting enthusiasts of all levels of experience. There are a number of respected rafting companies in the area that offer guided rafting experiences - both day trips and overnight including camping. The nice thing about Squamish river is that its two most-rafted tributaries offer totally different experiences. The Cheakamus River is a smooth ride perfect for the whole family, whereas the Elaho River offers the sort of white rafting adrenaline junkies crave.

#9: Ganges River
India
Paddling into a very different sort of environment, we travel to India, home of the famous Ganges River. Here you will live a rafting experience like no other. The river offers up some serious fun, boasting class IV and V rapids. Though the Ganges can compete with the best of them in terms of excitement, it’s between its periods of intense activity and raging whitewater that this particular waterway destination truly shines. When the water is calm, it is absolute stunning, and passing through the foothills of the Himalayas, you’ll find yourself lost in the majesty of your surroundings, including temples and other such snapshots of local life.

#8: Pacuare River
Costa Rica
In this Central American country, the Pacuare River flows from its mountainous source, Cordillera de Talamanca, down to the Caribbean where it lets out. These roughly 67 miles of winding river take you into another world entirely. Deep in the jungle, you’ll be immersed in a wild, exotic and beautiful environment. From tropical plant life to the numerous animals you’re likely to spot - including but not limited to monkeys, ocelots and brightly-colored birds and sloths - you’ll have a hard time keeping your eyes and mind on the task ahead. That being said, you will want to pay attention, because Pacuare River is home to both class III and class IV rapids.

#7: Sun Kosi River
Nepal
Don’t let the inviting name fool you! Rafting on the Sun Kosi river will indeed be an enjoyable experience, but it’s not exactly a “cozy” one. This is actually a tributary to the aforementioned Ganges in India, but trust us, Sun Kosi is a destination unto itself. While the Ganges is all about wide open spaces and local culture, Sun Kosi feels far more wild and untamed. Should you believe yourself up to the challenge, you’ll be snaking through gorges and holding on for dear life as crash through class III, IV and V rapids. Of course, there’s calm water too, and here you’ll find yourself lost in sights and sounds of the jungle.

#6: North Johnstone River
Australia
Rafting this river in North Queensland is not for the faint of heart. Nor is it an easy undertaking. Given that the put-in point is only accessible via helicopter, you’re also going to want to save up for the pricey experience. But what you get in exchange for the trouble, planning and cost… is a once-in-a-lifetime rafting experience unlike any other you’ve ever taken on. Snaking through Palmerston National Park, North Johnstone River is your gateway to untouched Australian rainforest, where you will see some of the oldest trees on earth, waterfalls, basaltic cliffs and incredibly varied wildlife. It’s truly otherworldly.

#5: Salmon River (Middle Fork)
U.S.A.
Idaho might not be the first state to leap to mind when you’re planning a trip, but if you’re interested in rafting… it really should be. Idaho is home to Salmon River, and its famed “Middle Fork” which is frequently cited as being among the best rafting destinations in the world. Over its 100-mile run, you’ll drop a staggering 3000 feet. This is some of America’s most untouched wilderness - you’re literally travelling through an area known as “River of No Return Wilderness”. But don’t worry, the rafting expeditions are relatively safe - the name is a reference to the fact that early settlers used the stream to move goods, but couldn’t move upriver due to the mighty current.

#4: Franklin River
Tasmania
If you’ve got a passion for river rafting, it can carry you to some truly awe-inspiring places! Back in Australia, the Franklin River takes you through Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area and Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. These rafting expeditions tend to be a serious commitment, with most companies offering 5, 7, 9 10, and 14 day trips. Hard as it is too imagine, this wonderful rafting experience through an untamed landscape almost disappeared a few decades ago because of a proposed dam project. Thankfully, the Franklin River remains intact and unblemished for nature lovers and rafting enthusiasts to appreciate!


#3: Colorado River
U.S.A.
The mighty Colorado river is a living testament to the power of water, erosion and time. Snaking its way across the southwestern United States, it is 1,450 miles long and crosses through 7 states. That being said, we’re not suggesting that you try rafting the whole thing. No, the best rafting to be found on the Colorado is in the heart of the river’s greatest accomplishment - the world-famous Grand Canyon. You can make this a one day trip, but, for true wildernesses enthusiasts, there are companies offering rafting trips up to 18 days long! However long you’re down there… you’re sure to be blown away when you see the grand canyon from the bottom.

#2: Zambezi River
Zambia
This river rafting trip is not for the faint of heart - so consider yourself warned! It’s widely considered to be one of the world’s wildest rafting experiences. Across the 15-mile run, which starts just shortly after the iconic and breathtaking Victoria Falls, you’ll be facing off against a gauntlet of 23 class IV and V rapids. It’s been nicknamed the “Slambezi” and it’s not hard to understand why when you look at the river. On these big drops, and amidst the churning whitewater, it’s not uncommon for people to fall out, or for the raft to flip. But hey, it’s all part of the experience. Whitewater rafting is supposed to be thrilling, and the Zambezi delivers.

#1: Futaleufú River
Chile
As we’ve seen, there are incredible river rafting experiences to be found all around the globe. But if there’s one river that should be on every rafting enthusiast’s bucket list… it’s Futaleufú River in Chile. This river looks like something out of a dream; the water is pristine and the surroundings . . . simply breathtaking. The Futaleufú offers a fantastic mix of challenging drops and rapids (up to class V), as well as long stretches of calm water, during which you can relax and appreciate the stunning wilderness all around you. Make a proper multi-day trip out of it and you’ll be rewarded with a truly life-changing experience along the Futaleufú.
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