We speak to accomplished Argentinian kayaker, and founder of SDK Kayaks, Ricardo Kruszewski on the most extraordinary kayaking spots in Argentina and how to be a part of it.
For adventure seekers, the Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires is a gateway to diverse landscape that's ideal for outdoor pursuits. One popular pastime is kayaking, with the province's network of waterways to explore. Ricardo Kruszewski is one of Argentina's most accomplished kayakers, leading tours and taking part in expeditions all over Argentina, as well as the icy waters of Antarctica. Ricardo gives us his expert tips on the best places to kayak in Argentina and how to be a part of it yourself.
WHERE TO GO
The Paraná Delta
The greater province of Buenos Aires is the setting for one of the world's biggest deltas, a network of rivers and streams, splitting the land between into islands. The Paraná Delta was created over thousands of years by the water flowing from Río de la Plata between Argentina and Uruguay.
"The delta has hundreds, if not thousands, of secluded rivers, canals and brooks, which are navigable throughout the year," Ricardo enthuses, "The protected environment has calm waters and great biodiversity, in a quiet and seemingly remote place, even though the city of Buenos Aires is just minutes away. The delta is my favorite place to kayak, because it's so close and accessible, and besides, it always looks spectacular, no matter what time of the year it is."
"The delta has hundreds, if not thousands, of secluded rivers, canals and brooks."
The town of Tigre - named after the wild cats that used to hunt there - is a popular spot to head for in the delta with its network of canals and colonial mansions. Elsewhere in the Delta, stilted houses can be found, as well as the an abundance of wildlife. "Over 200 species of birds have been sighted in the delta," Ricardo explains, before continuing, "and the landscape is always changing here, depending on the water levels, as well as each season."
BE A PART OF IT
Tours with SDK Kayaks
The trips Ricardo leads to the delta are not just for expert kayakers. "There are almost no requirements of kayaking experience to be part of a tour," Ricardo says assuringly, "When we have novices in the group we put them in a kayak for two. These are stable and safe, and the other person on board is always a seasoned kayaker."
The Paraná Delta is the ideal spot for both beginner and advanced kayakers too, with areas of calm water, as well as the option of setting yourself more of a challenge. "If I'm looking for difficult conditions, I only need to wait for the southeast wind to blow. Depending of the intensity of the wind, the water can become extremely challenging to navigate, even impossible." Ricardo's tip for beginners is to be positive, while giving absolute priority to safety. This is the same piece of advice Ricardo gives to both novice and seasoned kayakers.
By travelling south, kayakers are rewarded with some of the most spectacular scenery the country has to offer, and the possibility of truly unforgettable moments. "Argentina is a very large country, where you can find all kinds of landscapes and climates, from big rivers and great lakes, to the entire Atlantic coast, starting in Buenos Aires and going all the way south to Patagonia, the Straits of Magellan and Tierra del Fuego."
"Go kayaking in Peninsula Valdez during the Right whale mating season," Ricardo advises, "and the Andean lakes for their perfectly clear waters and the beauty of the landscape. Then there's the Beagle Channel, in Tierra del Fuego; a magnificent place that has it all, with its wonderful stretch of ocean, great biodiversity, imposing landscape, and history."
"You can find all kinds of landscapes and climates, from big rivers and great lakes, to the entire Atlantic coast."
Ricardo's company SDK Kayaks leads tours in Peninsula Valdez, Patagonia, and in the Beagle Channel of Tierra del Fuego. "These are areas extremely rich in marine life," he says, "You can find penguin rookeries, orcas, different species of whales, elephant seals and spectacular birds like the albatross and giant petrels."
"Perito Moreno National Park is the most spectacular place to go kayaking."
Inland, tours are led on several of the Andean lakes. "These are mostly in Patagonia, where the flora and fauna, and the vast landscapes, are a big part of the pleasure of being out on the water. Perito Moreno National Park is the most spectacular place to go kayaking, for Lake Argentino's glaciers. These are a big draw for tourists."
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
Having learnt to kayak from a young age, Ricardo was always comfortable on the water. "Kayaking always seemed like a normal thing to do," he says, "and then it became my profession, almost by accident. I started kayaking more seriously, by improving through trial and error, then I enrolled onto a kayaking course in Wales."
"I was determined to promote kayaking in Argentina, as people didn't know about it."
"When I returned to Argentina, I began my campaign to popularise the sport here. I was determined to promote kayaking in Argentina, as people didn't know about it. At that time there was absolutely no culture of kayaking in Argentina. I got increasingly frustrated by not being able to find a company that could manufacture quality kayaks, so I came to the conclusion that if I wanted good kayaks, I would have to make them myself. That's how SDK Kayaks began."
"We were surrounded by humpback whales, with giant orcas swimming under and around us."
Ricardo's achievements include kayaking around Cape Horn - the southern most headland of Tierra del Fuego - from Ushuaia, and being a part of expeditions to Antarctica where he faced extreme conditions. "My most memorable moment was kayaking for days on end in Antarctica," he tells us, "We were surrounded by humpback whales, with giant orcas swimming under and around us. Although, my biggest challenge was navigating the enormous seas and gigantic waves around Cape Horn."
These kayaking tours can become a part of a bigger adventure trip around Argentina and beyond.