We have become extremely accomplished at thumb twiddling, learning how to stay positive about the future of travel (even when we were not so sure about it ourselves!). We’ve been trying to reduce and streamline costs, while at the same time trying to look after local guides who have had no income. It is like running a rafting trip with many balls in the air, but in an office.
I have to say, I’m not a massive fan of the office and love the river a whole lot more, so when we had the opportunity to run our first trip in 14 months to the Rio Cotahuasi in Peru, I jumped at the chance. There were going to be challenges and we accepted those and shared them with our guests.
The first challenge was that we could only take American Guests on this trip. There was still a travel ban on British Travellers at that stage going to Peru, requiring them to quarantine in a hotel costing vast sums for any Red List countries. Even our American guests had to get a PCR Test 72 hours prior to flying from the US and a Pre-arrival Affidavit.
We have our travel app to share with guests, so there was always updated information regarding flights, rule changes and even the weather and restaurants to eat at, sent to them before they travel. But even so, with the nature of the past year, we knew things could change at a moment’s notice.
For example, on arrival initially, the Peru Government stated that all customers would have to get a lateral flow test and if positive would have to quarantine in their hotel for 7 days. Fortunately, this was removed a week or so before the trip started.
Masks and hand sanitising were essential in all hotels and vehicles, but once we hit the river, we were pretty much on our own. And once we were out there, everything was just perfect. There is nothing like camping in the Cotahuasi Valley with its incredible stars, along with the sound of the river to rock you to sleep.
It is hard to put into words, the freedom you feel on a river trip. The world becomes such a simple place on the river. No news keeping you on edge, no e-mails, no mobiles, just us and Mother Nature in all her glory. Seven days of world-class white water, starry skies, great food, awesome people and expert guides. Our guests were even able to take in the joys of Machu Picchu after their trip. With no crowds at the moment, it was a rare traveller experience.
This past year has taught us to be patient, very patient, something I admit I was not great at in the past. But with the first trip done, we are excited to move forward with more of our trips! Coming up and confirmed, we have trips to California, The Zambezi and Greece. With demand for travel now increasing for 2022, there’s never been a better time to plan and book your trip with a deposit to your dream destination.
Whilst only Americans can currently join us, we can’t wait for the rest of the world to be able to travel again and share all those awesome laughs and stories around the campfire. Keep the faith you wonderful humans, the fun will return. See you on the water.
by Hamish McMaster
Hamish McMaster is the Water By Nature owner. He has spent the past 25 years exploring and playing on the world's great rivers. He still loves nothing more than getting out there and sharing adventures.
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