Trekking Hellas was started in 1986 by two Greek mountain guides who wanted to promote adventure and sports tourism in Greece, while creating an appreciation of the local culture and landscape to tourists who enjoy active holidays. Since the company’s humble beginnings in Athens, they have grown to franchise branches in all the outdoor hot spots of Greece, including Santorini, Crete, and Ioannina. The formation of the Rhodes branch was led by Maria Efstratiadou, a long-time Trekking Hellas tour guide, who was offered the opportunity to lead the growth and development of Trekking Hellas Rhodes.
Our Rhodes kayaking tour began at Kathara Beach in the town of Faliraki, a 20-minute busride away from Rhodes Town. After a safety and paddling briefing, as well as some simple stretches, we took off in our tandem kayaks and started paddling the beautifully clean, clear, and blue waters of the Mediterranean. On the day we went, there were three couples in tandem kayaks, and two guides — one of which was Maria.
We took a safe route that hugs the beach and cliff-filled coastline, yet took us to a few sights only accessible by water. The ‘WOW’ moment for me was when we paddled into a seacave, a small hole in the cliffs that opens up to a cavernous clearing with a stream of daylight coming down from a hole at the top. About an hour into the paddle, we had a swim break at Anthony Quinn’s Bay, an island named after the late actor who loved Greece so much he tried to buy the bay. We swam, while our guides held our kayaks together, and helped us get in and out of our kayaks.
The Trekking Hellas Rhodes kayaking tour was well organized without being inauthentic— the guides paddled alongside us the whole way, leading and advising us, yet also conversing with us like friends. Maria would sponteneously point things out to us as she saw them: schools of fish, goats on the cliff, the exact spot where the water changes colour from depth, and other natural sights. It felt like we were being taken on a tour by a friend who was excited to show us her town, not a tour guide on a script. “Look Steve, there’s the cliff that’s popular for rock climbing! Hey Vanessa, if you clap your hands the seagulls will fly off and make an amazing photo opportunity.”
Our lunch stop was at Traounou Beach where we had an hour to swim and snorkel; masks are provided. Because the water is so clear, partially because it’s a stone beach, you can see really far in the water. We also enjoyed a refreshing, healthy and delicious picnic lunch — the food was kept cold from icepacks. We ate in a cave to escape the hottest part of the day!
One unadvertised perk of this tour is that the guides take photos of you throughout the trip, including underwater ones with a go-pro, and send them all to you after the trip. Here’s how ours turned out:
Overall, I thought the half-day tour was really well-balanced and organized. In total we paddled about 10km at a leisurely pace. It was enough exercise that we felt like we got moving, saw a few beaches, schools of fish, goats on a cliff, went swimming, snorkeling, had lots of photo opportunities, and a fresh and healthy lunch in between.
The tour is priced at €85 / person, for a 5 hour excursion which includes a British Canoe Union (BCU) certified guide, all kayaking, safety, and snorkling equipment, a picnic lunch, and digital photos. Other outdoor recreational activities offered by Trekking Hellas Rhodes includes: stand up paddle boarding, guided hikes, and cycling tours.