Whitewater sports fans? Come and discover rafting, canyoning and hydrospeed in the Basque Country this summer !
Whitewater sports: a bouquet of fun sensations
In the Pyrénées-Atlantiques region, the Basque Country is THE ideal destination for whitewater sports such as rafting, canorafting, canyoning and hydrospeed. Your playground? The Nive Valley, with its river, rapids, waterfalls and unspoilt natural sites. Head for the mythical “Pas de Roland” gorges, near Itxassou, then Bidarray, the most challenging part. In all, almost 75 km of whitewater are available for adventure from Bayonne to Bidarray, via Ustaritz, Jatxou and Itxassou.
Rafting: the most fun of all whitewater activities
Of all white-water sports, rafting is undoubtedly the most popular. The activity involves descending rivers and maneuvering through rapids aboard a 4 to 8-person inflatable raft. Rafting is always supervised by an instructor.
Because of its size and reputation for being unsinkable, rafting is the safest way to challenge the rapids with family and friends. Team spirit is important for maneuvering the raft and paddling in a coordinated fashion. The activity is accessible from the age of 8, provided you know how to swim.
Where can you go rafting in the Basque Country?
The River Nive (in Basque: Errobi) is one of the most beautiful rafting routes in the Basque Country. Its gentle gradient makes it a family river, ideal for beginners. In the commune of Itxassou, the legendary Pas de Roland gorges, between the Mondarrain and Artzamendi mountains, offer a rafting adventure accessible to beginners and families with children. Water sports enthusiasts can also cross Cambo-les-Bains and Ustaritz to finish in Bayonne.
Canoraft: the easy way down
More stable than a traditional kayak and smaller than a conventional raft, the canoraft (also known as a hot-dog or mini-raft) is a 2-seater inflatable canoe steered with a double paddle. A small boat that’s easy to handle, the cano-raft lets you approach the gliding sensations of whitewater kayaking with ease.
Canorafting is a fun activity accessible to all, supervised by a state-certified instructor. Children as young as 8 years old can try their hand at canorafting (adapted sessions). The only prerequisite for canorafting is the ability to swim.
Where to go canoeing in the Basque Country?
Discover the Nive river by canoraft from Itxassou or Bidarray, between Lower Navarre and Labourd. This pretty river in the inland Basque country reveals magnificent landscapes of green valleys, high hills and mountains.
Canyoning: water fun and thrills
Canyoning (or canyoneering) is practised in an aquatic environment, without a boat. This adventure sport involves crossing steep rivers, gorges or narrow ravines using a variety of techniques: walking, swimming and climbing.
A fun aquatic activity par excellence, canyoning can be enjoyed in a group or with the family, supervised by a professional. Children as young as 12 can take up canyoning. You must be able to swim and not be afraid of the water.
Where can you go canyoning in the Basque Country?
Vacations in the Basque Country are the perfect opportunity to discover canyoning in the Nive Valley, near Cambo-les-Bains, Ustaritz or Hasparren. On the program: a fun-filled nature trail featuring jumps, slides down natural waterfalls and abseiling down waterfalls in a grandiose, safe setting.
Hydrospeed: go down the river like… a salmon in the water
Hydrospeed, also known as whitewater swimming (or river sledding), is the most physical of all whitewater sports. This involves swimming down streams and rivers, equipped with fins, a neoprene wetsuit, helmet, lifejacket and foam float held at arm’s length.
Technical, physical and still little-known, it’s the ideal activity for thrill-seekers. The minimum age to start hydrospeeding is 12. All you need to do is know how to swim.
Where can you go hydrospeeding in the Basque Country?
The Nive offers an exceptional, lively and fun hydrospeed course in theAteka-Gaitz gorge, on the way to Artzamendi. Practicable from April to July, with high water levels.
Ready to take the plunge?
Are you interested in white water sports for your next vacations in the Basque Country ? Come and try your hand at rafting, canorafting, canyoning or hydrospeed with the Évasion 64 leisure center in Itxassou, a partner of our Lou P’tit Poun campsite. A team of qualified and experienced instructors awaits you to share their passion for whitewater sports in complete safety. Don’t hesitate to ask us about it when you book!