Köprülü Canyon is a beautiful national park located 1.5 hours outside of Antalya. It is well worth the visit for those wanting to get into nature, eat lunch by a river, and experience activities such as rafting, ATV/Quad rides, zip-lining, swimming, and hiking. You don't have to go as part of a tour - you can rent your own car and spend the day exploring the beautiful national park, or you can book a tour such as the one detailed below. We went on the tour and here was our experience:
Booking a tour
When you decide to go on a tour, you have to reserve your place at least one day before the trip. You can easily book it online. There are tours that require online payment, while others ask you to pay on arrival. Once you reserve your place, they will contact you to decide on a location that is close to where you are staying and pick you up in the morning around 8 or 9.
Extra shorts and a t-shirt (wear or pack a swimsuit/swim trunks)
Sneakers or closed shoes
Waterproof phone case
For those who are going to do ATV Quad or Buggy Safari;
Collar, mask, or fabric to block the dust
Once everyone is picked up, you have a journey of 80-90 minutes, depending on the traffic. While on the way, the bus will stop once at a rest place for those who want to buy something to eat or drink and fulfill their needs. As it’s very touristy, and every tour bus stops there, snacks and drinks are overpriced. For those on a budget, I recommend you pack your snacks before leaving for this tour.
Arrival and getting ready
Once you get off the bus, the tour operator will inform you about the program and requirements. After giving a quick description, they advise you to buy plastic water shoes, as flip flops or other sandals might be too slippery. Instead of agreeing to their promotions, you can take your sneakers or durable water shoes with you. Although you can go rafting with open-toed shoes, its your liability. Apart from this, you can also buy (or bring) a waterproof case for your phone, which can be quite nice if you want to capture your rafting experience. After you are ready, put on your lifevest and helmet, and you are ready to depart. First, they bring you to the beginning of the rafting track, and from there you are separated into groups of 8 and get into a boat.
Rafting - pros and cons
First of all, I have to say that it wasn’t a very extreme journey with large rapids. If you are a thrillseeker expecting an adventure, you won’t be very satisfied. But it’s a great option for families and for children to experience rafting.
Each tour has about 6 or 7 boats, but don’t expect to be in competition with them. As we kept moving on the boat, the captain constantly reminded us to stop or go slower and didn’t really allow us to approach another boat. You might wonder why. As we kept moving, there was a photographer running along the river to capture every single boat separately, which is why we had to stop and keep our distance from the other boats. It felt like another example of a business venture. Of course, you will be asked if you want to buy the pictures at the end of your trip, and it is excluded from the cost of the tour.
ATV Quad Safari
As you keep going down the river there are certain spots where you stop and give a break. Those who signed up for ATV Quad disembark and transfer to the ATV facility. First, they give you a little info and suggest you buy some plastic glasses and a collar to protect against the dust. Then you are ready for the ATV tour.
To be honest it was not a pleasant experience. We were a group of 10 people, going not more than 10 km/h (6 miles per hour). Judging from its name, we all expected to get at least a little more of a safari vibe, but it wasn’t even close to it. We kept turning in circles for 30 minutes, and that was what we had paid for. Moreover, because we didn't buy any extra equipment, we were suffocated by the dust, and we could barely open our eyes. I’m not sure how I managed, as my eyes were closed for much of the time. After getting coated in dust on this anticlimactic tour, we headed back to the rafts.
Food & Tour End
Most tours have lunch included. After an overall disappointing experience, we at least had a good meal. They usually serve chicken (şiş) shish kebab, with pasta, salad, and bulgur, which was quite nice and filling.
While rafting down the river, you also stop at a place where you can have some gözleme, corn, and beverages. They don’t tell you the cost unless asked, but know that it is not included in the tour price. If you have purchased anything during the trip, once you arrive at the end, you will be asked to settle the bill.
The only thing I liked about the tour was that it was well-organized. The fact that you kept moving between the attraction facilities by your rafting boat, was quite nicely thought out.
I wouldn’t say that it was a terrible experience, but I felt disappointed after reading the material and having higher expectations. Still, it can be a nice getaway for those who want to do something different.