Take your Kayak to Quito: A Paddler’s Latin American Adventure

Take it from me, the ideal latin travel kayak trip is to take advantage of Aeromexico’s flights to Quito. Here is why:

  1. Usually a flight to Quito involves a rather long layover in Mexico. You can take advantage of this and make it a multi flight trip and stay in Mexico for a while and head to the Veracruz region to do some sweet layover kayaking.  I have done from 5 days to 2 weeks and just come back to the airport for my second flight to Quito.  (This is done from Montreal).
  2. Aeromexico is super friendly for traveling with kayaks.  I mean super friendly. It has never been a problem for me. Sure the flights might be a little more expensive but if you book in advance they will charge you $40usd for your kayak and put it right in the system so there are no headaches when arriving at the check in.
  3. Aeromexico is super friendly and accommodating on all fronts and a pleasure to fly with. Sign up for Club Premier and it will get you some lounge passes fast. This might pay off on the flight home (layover).
  4. Arriving at the airport for the flight to Quito is a red-eye flight. Try to get some sleep because you can get a day of paddling in. You won’t lose a day to kayaking.
  5. Often Aeromexico has only applied one kayak charge to the itinerary if you book it in advance.
  6. Contact Chris at Endless Adventure to see about getting Wilo to pick you up at the airport. This will run you $80usd but you will have your kayak loaded and on the road in time to catch breakfast in Borja then straight to the river.

Here are some notes I took to pack for both locations:

Clothing (I am a guy)

  • Lightweight Rain jacket
  • Puffy down jacket
  • Tuque and/or hat
  • Shoes:   I like Chaco shoes
  • Sandals or Flip Flops
  • MEC super burl pants
  • 2-3 light socks.  I like Helly Hanson socks
  • 1 t shirt
  • 1 button t-shirt with collar. Never hurts to have a shirt with a collar for a nice dinner.
  • 2 long sleeve button shirts. 1 warm 1 light.
  • 4 underwear
  • 1 pair shorts
  • 2 tanks
  • (most places have cheap laundry services so I might get laundry done midway through the trip)

Kayak Gear

  • Sweet Protection Shambala shorts (eliminates dry pants and neo combo)
  • Neo preen socks NRS
  • River shoes:   I like lightweight shoes with good 5 10 rubber
  • Kayak straps:   NRS
  • Shorty:  NRS
  • Dry top:  NRS (don’t assume that these areas are always hot)
  • Skirt/pfd/helmet
  • Pin kit with flip line (good webbing with a carabiner is so useful for many things)
  • Throw bag
  • Floatation (not that you are going to swim…..)
  • Gear bag  (bring this.  So good to keep gear together and not to forget that important piece)
  • Elbow pads
  • With base layers don’t be surprised with a cold spell in Mexico or stupid hot sun in Ecuador so I bring a variety.


  • 2 books (trade for more)  I like light paperback.
  • Toiletries — mandatory light stuff.  Buy and leave rest at home.  So cheap to get what you need there.
  • No need for prescriptions or med stuff. Buy for cheap if necessary.   
  • Gopro — 1 extra battery and charger
  • Fog inserts
  • Gopro mount
  • Flash light and/or headlamp.
  • Silicone ear plugs. Sleep is important
  • Camera:  for me this is a bit different but for many an iPhone will cut it.
  • Computer only if absolutely necessary. Never hard to find a cafe or someone with a computer. Also, iPhones do a lot. 
  • Gorilla tape
  • Aqua seal 
  • Spare Nalgene
  • Sunglasses with hard travel case. 
  • Small earphones
  • Spare iPhone charger
  • Bonus
  • Noise earphones for loud areas
  • Cabeau inflatable travel pillow.  Don’t make that red eye worse than it is. You want to be paddling that next day! 
  • Lightweight Sleeping Bag:   (Mexico)  It doesn’t add much weight or effect space but you will be happy to have it when you need it.
  • Kayak:   Fill this up with non-essential paddling and travel gear
  • 2 paddles — 1 breakdown
  • Padded paddle bag:   NRS
  • MEC travel bag. I like a duffle over a suitcase because even the rolling suitcases add up in weight. My MEC duffel is 3lbs.
  • Deuter day pack
  • MEC passport book. 

Try not to be tempted to bring more. You will always use less than anticipated. This note was made after 4 weeks of travel to Mexico & Ecuador. 

I totally encourage someone to give this trip a go. I have done it twice and it has been incredible both times!! Let me know if you need anymore beta.