Our Italy Favourite: Canyoning in Bodenga 3

Say 'yes' to new adventures. 

Nothing quite compares to an adrenaline-fueled experience, that allows you to immerse yourself in nature. We've tried our hand at caving and rapelling in Waitomo, biking down Death Road, skydiving in Portugal, paragliding in Fethiye and hiking Acatenango in Antigua.

As we journeyed north from Venice in our home on wheels, we made a beeline towards Lake Como where Dan had done some mountainbiking on a previous trip. The Italian lakes are home to a plethora of outdoor sports and adventurous activities.  After debating over how we could best spend our time, we decided to try our hand at canyoning in Como.

Meeting a canyoning expert.

After poring over canyoning blog posts, I noticed that the name Pascal was dropped frequently and that he came highly recommended. I reached out to Pascal via whatsapp with our dates and he invited us to join himself and two free-divers on an expert-level canyoning trip through Bodenga 3. We cringed at the 200AUD per person price tag, but decided that sometimes you have to live a little.

Visiting Paestum, Italy on a Budget
Visiting Paestum, Italy on a Budget

Feel the fear and do it anyway.

In the small town of Gordona (north of the lake) we met our guide Pascal, the pair of italian free-divers and a german couple who were a last minute addition to our group. This would be the Italians' third canyoning trip through Como with Pascal, but the german couple confessed they'd never done anything like this before. 

With nervous smiles we donned layers of wetsuits, technical gear and made our way down to the river to start our intense 6 hour trip through the Bodenga 3 Canyon. Not for the faint hearted, it was an extremely intense (and wet) day of waterfalls, slides, rappels and jumps. Disclaimer: On this trip you will be submerged in freezing water for much of the day, Dan lost feeling in his hands for part of it.

Dan's fascination for launching himself off things definitely out-ranks mine, so there were many moments of shaky knees as I teetered on the edge of a jump. But when everyone else is jumping off and there's no way back, you aren't left with much choice! 5 hours in my energy levels started to drop, so it was with a real sense of accomplishment that I leapt off the last waterfall and swam to the shoreline.  Bone weary, it was an experience for the memory books and money well spent.

High point.

Being the first to abseil down a 70metre waterfall. The drop was so long that I had to unclip and connect to a second line. What a way to take in the panoramic views and enjoy the springiness of the rope. I'd do that again in a heartbeat!

Low point.

Shooting out from a towering water slide, with a huge drop and having the wind well and truly knocked out of me. I was at the rivers mercy and my landing was not graceful by any means. It took a full minute to regain my composure.

Canyon Bodenga 3.

Get in touch with Pascal Van Duin of Top Canyon. He has written all the guide books on the region and is immensely skilled and knowledgeable. Even if it's your first time, I recommend going all out on the Bodenga 3. You are in good hands!

We recommend staying in Chiavenna. It's a lovely spot to walk around and we found it less pretentious than the other spots bordering the lake.

We are on the lookout for our next adventure. Do you have any suggestions for us?