Last Updated on October 28, 2020 by

Paddling over whirlpools of turbulent water and watching the landscapes go by can be such an adrenaline rush. Aside from the high energy buzz, white water rafting also makes for an exciting way to explore and immerse deeply in the backcountry.

What better way is there to see the Grand Canyon than by riding along the ebb and flow of the Colorado River? Can you get any closer to the Victoria Falls than by rafting to its base on the Zambezi River?

Here’s a list of 10 of the best whitewater rafting spots. Suit up and join us on this wet and wild ride.

1. Zambezi River, Zimbabwe

White water rafting on the Zambezi River is something every adventure-lover should experience. Enjoying the spectacular African scenery and the warm sunny weather, while bobbing around at the base of Victoria Falls, is definitely the highlight of the trip. You can top off your rafting experience with camping on beautiful white beaches and wildlife viewing that this region is famous for.

White Water Rafting - 14
Flickr photo by christophercjensen

2. Colorado River, Grand Canyon

Many visitors claim that this is one of the worlds’ best trips. The area has a lot to offer, such as 226 miles of rafting, hiking paths up the canyon and to ancient Indian ruins, the view of the Grand Canyon, beautiful camping sites on spectacular beaches and the amazing Colorado River. To search for a Grand Canyon rafting trip from all the top 15 outfitters in one place, visit

"Light and shadow and time" - Colorado River - Grand Canyon
Flickr photo by Al_HikesAZ

3. Rio Pacuare, Costa Rica

Costa Rica is rated to be one of the best white water rafting spots in the world. The rivers range from Class II to Class V rapids, and have something to offer for everyone, from families to adventure junkies. For those who enjoy adrenaline filled holidays, Costa Rica, with its natural exotic beauty and amazing wildlife is the ideal holiday spot.  The Rios Pacuare, Reventazón, Sarapiqui and Corobici are some of the best places to ride in Costa Rica.

Best Caribbean Islands for Families

best white water rafting - costa rica


4. Futaleufu River, Chile

The Futaleufu River is not only known for white river rafting, but also for its unique permanent river camps, which are built into cliff dwellings with riverside stone hot tubs, hot showers, treehouses and beds. If you need a break from river rafting, you can always try out horseback riding, rock climbing or hiking along the river. Be sure to include this into your Chile itinerary!

Turquoise water and beautiful scenery
Flickr photo by Northwest Rafting Company

5. Salmon River, Idaho 

White water rafting in Idaho is a thrilling adventure holiday for the wilderness surrounding the area. You can enjoy the scenic view of one of Idaho’s premier rivers, the Middle Fork of the Salmon River or the Main Salmon River, with its crystal clear water and soothing natural hot springs.

Middle Fork Salmon River
Flickr photo by ConanTheLibrarian

6. Yangtze River, China

Less than 150 people have ever rafted on the Yangtze River in China. The Great Bend runs through canyons that are twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, only a third as wide and the water flow is twice as powerful. If you dare to venture into this unexplored wonder you will be rewarded by an amazing view of mountains with terraced fields and ancient stone villages.

best river rafting


7. Magpie River, Canada

Beginning on Newfoundland’s Labrador plateau and emptying into the St. Lawrence River, the Magpie River flows through hundreds of kilometers of pine forests. You can easily spend a few days rafting various sections of the river, camping out under the stars before jumping back on the raft to explore more.

best white water rafting

8. Ganges River, India

The Ganges, the holy river of India is one of the best places for white water rafting in Asia. Connecting with the wild waters while exploring India and its nature will make your trip worth it. Some of the best places to test your rafting skills are near the Devprayag where two rivers – Bhagirathi and Alaknanda meet and form the Ganges.

Exploring Cenotes in Riviera Maya
Flickr photo by >[email protected]<

9. Rhine River, Switzerland

Switzerland usually known for its chocolate, its cheese, its Army Knives, and its banks, but it also provides great rafting opportunities. White water rafting trips in Switzerland have the extra advantage of the beautiful scenery of the Swiss Alps. Some good spots for rafting in the country include Arve, Lütschine, Rhine, Rhone and Saane rivers.

Flickr photo by Pixel Brain

10. Chiang Mai and Northern Thailand

White water rafting was introduced to Thailand only a few years ago but has become a big hit already. It is an ideal activity for the rainy season, which lasts from May to October. A number of river routes have become well-known for whitewater rafting. The North of Thailand has more rivers suitable for rafting than anywhere else. The best-known rafting route is along the Mae Taeng River in Chiang Mai. Another interesting spot for river rafting in Chiang Mai is on the Mae Cham River.

Class 2
Flickr photo by thebrettburton

Have you tried rafting in any of these places? Did we miss any good rafting spots? Share with us below!