Java, Indonesia is an incredible island to explore, especially if you enjoy nature and unique geology. A highlight of our time in Java was body rafting in Green Canyon near the city of Pangandaran. A mix between canyoning, white water rafting and hiking, body rafting is a unique adventure, and body rafting in Green Canyon is a one-of-a-kind experience.
The Green Canyon is easily accessible from Pangandaran, a city in south central Java. There are regular busses and private van transfers available from Jakarta, Bandung or Yogyakarta, among others. If you want a quieter, off the beaten path experience, I recommend staying in the small fishing village surfing mecca of Batukaras, about 45 minutes from Pangandaran. You can get there by private van transfer from any of the other cities in Java, or take a public bus to Pangandaran and then a taxi to Batukaras. Cost varies depending on where you’re coming from, but expect to pay in the ballpark of $15 to $30 USD per person for your transfer.
How to Book
This region of Java is still very much off the main tourist trail. While there are definitely international travelers that come to Pangandaran and Batukaras, it’s a pretty small number. Because of this, there isn’t a website in English (at least that I can find!) where you can book a trip body rafting in Green Canyon. Instead, I recommend arranging it through your accommodation. Expect to pay about $30 USD per person for the trip.
There are several hotels and guesthouses in both Pangandaran and Batukaras. We booked this great guesthouse in Batukaras on Airbnb.
You may have noticed we stay in a lot of Airbnbs. We find they are often the best value for money, and most have kitchens and laundry facilities which makes our backpacking hearts so happy. Click here to save $40 on Airbnb accommodation on your next trip.
How to Prepare
Wear a swimsuit or clothes you don’t mind wearing in the water. Bring a dry bag for anything you plan to carry with you (but really aside from sunscreen and water, you don’t need to bring anything into the canyon itself). If you want photos, bring a waterproof camera.
What to Expect Body Rafting in Green Canyon
Your trip will probably start with a short safety briefing at the shop. The staff at your accommodation will advise on how to get there. You’ll recieve water shoes, a helmet and a life vest.
Then, you’ll get into the back of a pickup truck with your guide and make the bumpy drive 20 minutes up a hill. They’ll drop you off near the river and then it’s just a short walk down into the canyon.
Once in the water, you’re off! You’ll be floating most of the way down the river, but there will also be times you’ll need to walk, climb over rocks, or jump.
Depending on the time of year, you might see millions (literally) of tiny gray crabs crawling all over the rocks. We were there in May and they were everywhere. They are harmless, but can be unsettling for anyone who is skittish around small critters. There will be times on the trip that you’ll have to place your hand on or near them, because they number so many that they cover every bit of the rock surface. If they crawl on you, it’s OK. They don’t hurt, but you will feel a light tickle.
You might also see monkeys or monitor lizards during your trip, in addition to the usual jungle bugs.
On top of all that, we also saw a lot of bat guano in the caves as well as a pit of maggots I had to walk through (you read that right). This trip is not for the squeamish, so if that’s you, hang out on the beach and drink a nice fresh juice instead.
For us, the stunning scenery and moments of peaceful drifting on my back more than made up for the challenges. Even better, this canyon is off the international tourist trail. I can’t find a website describing the tour in English, and everyone else in our group was local to Indonesia.
It was one of the most exciting days on our RTW trip so far, and we felt that unique satisfaction that only comes when you’ve challenged yourself and stepped outside your comfort zone.
Have you ever body rafted here or elsewhere in the world? Tell me about it in the comments!