Tena is a reasonably big town, on the edge of Ecuador's Amazonian jungle. After a week in Baños, it's a big change in climate: very hot, and very sticky. Due to its abundance of perfectly-suited rivers nearby, Tena is also the place to do rafting and kayaking in Ecuador. I'm not particularly enamoured of the town: but I just came here to do the rafting, so it's the rivers that matter.
Yesterday's Class III rafting on the Jatanyacu was a good warm-up, but today's Class IV rafting on the Jondachi was the real deal. Not quite as much pure, blood-pumping excitement and splashdowns; but lots of good technical challenges, lots of fun waves and turbulent spots, and lottts of breathtaking scenery. And all with the very friendly and experienced company, The River People. Rafting in Tena has definitely been worthwhile: possibly the best that I've done so far on my trip.
For my first full day here in Tena, I decided to go rafting on the Upper Napo River (otherwise known as the "Río Jatunyacu"), with the fine folks at Ríos Ecuador. This was an all-day trip, with breakfast and lunch included, and with about four hours of river time, battling the straightforward but intense Class III rapids on offer. This is one of the best rafting trips that I've been on so far: professionally organised; most satisfying adventure-wise; and a big and a very interesting group of people on the tour.
Welcome Break is a great little guesthouse, near the centre of Tena, in a quiet street off the main road. It has a charming atmosphere, with its leafy garden environs, its tranquil rooms, and its very inviting hammock area. It's also the first place listed in my LP: for once, they actually got it right. Quite reasonably priced, and generally not full. Gets a tick in my book.
Despite Patrick's decision to return straight to Baños yesterday, I've decided to stick to my original plan, and to go to Tena today. Patrick reckons that they're currently not offering the good stuff in Tena (i.e. Class IV rapids), due to weather conditions: but I'm prepared to take whatever they've got, which is hopefully something reasonably good — because yesterday's rafting in Baños has left me unsatisfied. Patrick also reported the road from Tena to Quito being closed at the moment, due to flooding and landslides: hopefully that will be cleared up, by the time that I'm ready to leave Tena.