What Is Canyoning?

Are you thinking about going canyoning? Or just trying to figure out what it even means? Read on to learn more about the meaning of the word, the benefits, dangers, essential gear, ways to become a canyoning guide and even the world’s best places to go canyoning!


What is canyoning?

Let’s start at the beginning. A canyon is a deep, natural gorge with steep sides that has a river flowing through it. The Grand Canyon is probably the most famous of them all, but you can find canyons all over the world in mountainous regions.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, what is the meaning of canyoning? Canyoning, also known as canyoneering in the United States, is an adventure sport that involves navigating down into a canyon. It might sound simple, but there are a lot of skills involved in the descent, including hiking, sliding, swimming, rappelling, climbing and jumping off waterfalls. By navigating down different streams and pools, canyoners get to explore otherwise hard-to-reach areas while going on a fun outdoor experience.

What is Canyoning?


What’s the best thing about canyoning?

Canyoning allows you to be outdoors while exploring the hidden treasures of mother nature. What’s not to like? But the biggest reason people give canyoning a go is definitely the adrenaline rush you feel during the activity. Canyoners really get to test their own limits and feel more alive because of it.

Another great thing about canyoning is that it can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels. There’s a big range of canyoning experiences available, some being easy and perfect for a beginner, to extremely difficult and requiring a lot of techniques and knowledge.


Is canyoning safe?

Canyoning is an adventurous but generally safe activity. However, there are always some dangers associated with abseiling, slippery surfaces and swimming in cold water. These risks can be minimized by having an experienced instructor with you who can show you the ropes.

These are some of our top tips to keep you safe:

  1. Bring a buddy. Don't ever go canyoning on your own.
  2. Check the weather within a 100 mile radius to be aware of flash floods.
  3. Bring a GPS or map, so you know where you are at all times.
  4. Wear a wetsuit and pay attention to your body in cold water to avoid hypothermia.

What is Canyoning?


What to gear to bring for canyoning

If you book yourself a canyoning adventure on a guided tour, you won’t have to worry about bringing any special gear. Just bring some swimwear to wear underneath the wetsuit, all the rest will be provided to you.

Are you going without an organization? Then you should think about buying or renting this gear before you head out on your own:

  • Canyoning shoes
  • Wetsuit
  • Helmet
  • Static rope
  • Canyoning rope bag
  • Waterproof container with first aid kit
  • Descender device
  • Harness
  • Knife
  • Head torch
  • Slings, carabiners and protection


The Word's Best places for canyoning

1. New Zealand

Queenstown in New Zealand is known as the Adventure Capital of the World, and has many thrilling adventures on offer, canyoneering being just one of many. The mountainous area around Queenstown and Wanaka is full of forests, alpine pools, extreme rivers and crashing waterfalls, making it the ultimate destination to go canyoning. As you climb through massive stone walls, you will even get rewarded with views of the scenery that have famously been the backdrop for the Lord of the Rings movies!

Canyoning New Zealand


2. Costa Rica

Imagine rappelling down waterfalls in the middle of a rainforest, where you might even spot a monkey, sloth or colorful parrot on your descent. It’s possible in Costa Rica! Over the course of thousands of years, small streams and rivers have cut into the mountains, creating hundreds of canyons and waterfalls to explore. These make for a great start to your canyoning adventures in the Arenal Volcano area and Monteverde, and anyone with a good level of fitness level can do it!


3. Slovenia

Slovenia offers many great locations to go canyoning due to the deep pools, high waterfalls and fascinating waterslides in the country. The Canyon Gremecica, Julian Alps, Triglav National Park, Sunset Canyon, and Lake Bled are just a few of the locations to experience exciting jumps in river pools. The canyoning experience gets even better because you get to take in the beautiful scenery and natural charms on offer as well!

What is canyoning?


How to become a canyoning guide

Do you want to take it to the next level? You could take your first steps to turn your love for canyoning into a career by gaining the appropriate technical qualifications on a program and becoming a canyoning guide. Pure Exploration offers an Adventure Guide Program in the middle of the impressive landscapes of New Zealand that could make that dream a reality.

You would get to live in one of the most amazing places on earth for 12 weeks, and experience 3 different canyon locations in Queenstown and Mt Aspiring National park. Canyoning will consist of four different modules and at the end of your training you will undertake client days, taking Queenstown locals out to experience canyoning – lead by you!


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