The Chilca section of the Urubamba River is the best short section close to Cusco – at 2,800 metres high and with continuous rapids class 4 and 5 for thirty minutes of paddling.
How to get there
To get to the Chilca section From Cusco you have to go in the direction of Pisaq in the sacred valley, once there cross the entire valley until you reach the junction to the left side after the last village from the sacred valley. Take this road and you are going to drive about ten minutes until you reach an area where they extract sediments. The put-in is on the left side of the train track in an area where they take sediments from the side of the river. The take-out its super easy to find where the rapids are decreasing and there is little village to the right. It’s very important not to cross the suspension bridge as it is a prohibited section that goes to the town of Aguas Calientes (Machupicchu). Take a car to do the shuttle, there is a combi that can take you to the put-in but they do not want to take kayaks (the combi operates until 18:30 on most days).
You can always paddle – depending on the rainfall in the valley on the Cusco area – if the rapid is very strong it’s easy to get out on the train track and walk a bit. It always works, you just have to be willing to paddle hard.
There are many things to do near the Chilca apart from paddling, there is the Inca ruins of Ollantaytambo and Pisaq, two craft breweries of very good quality and a Museum of Inca History in Urubamba … you have plenty of options after a few laps of the Chilca section.