email a friend iconprinter friendly iconBest New Trips for 2010
Page [ 7 ] of 26
Photograph courtesy of Nantahala Outdoor Center
Raft to the Rescue

In the far reaches of Bolivia’s Madidi National Park, what stands between villagers in need of medical attention and the care itself are Class V rapids. It’s a textbook case for North Carolina–based whitewater outfitter Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC), which recently partnered with Medicforce to launch a series of rafting trips to riverside communities cut off from aid. The joint effort, called Boaters Without Borders, will offer its first commercial expedition next year and send clients down the Tuichi River into Madidi. With a team of kayakers, health care professionals, and civilian rafters (note: intermediate experience recommended), you’ll journey to the Cordillera Apolobamba in the eastern Andes, where the Tuichi descends into 4.7-million-acre Madidi National Park in the thick of the upper Amazon Basin—an area so remote it takes a week of driving and trekking before you reach the water. Then comes the fun part: seven straight days of Class IV and V rapids through tight jungle canyons filled with howler and spider monkeys. You’ll pull out at four villages along the way to deliver medical supplies, assist with basic physical exams, and teach the locals about common health threats like dysentery (Wilderness First Responder training is required). Your reward at the end of the river—other than a surplus of karma—is a two-night stay at Chalalán Ecolodge, where your cabin comes with a balcony and a hammock, slung beneath the tree canopy.

Outfitter: Nantahala Outdoor Center;
Price: $3,850 ($$)
Length: 22 days
Departs: August

Page [ 7 ] of 26