td html 4.0 transitional//en"> kayaking Chile - the rivers of Chile Big Thompson
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kayaking Chile - preparations for kayak trip to Chile 
This page is not much of an official site of any kind..
this is just one way of looking at going kaykaing in Chile, hopefully to succeed in spending more time boating
than searching for boating while in country.
pack list     -   maps of Chile
Who to go with? Expediciones Chile!
Chile... Chile's physical geography averages 120 miles wide, and runs 1800 miles long.
Chile is the land of sik rivers, tasty wines, and wonderful people.

Los Siete Tazas
The rivers of Chile are unlike any in the world.
In Chile's Central Region, you will find a major whitewater river every 30~40 kilometers
The rivers of Chile are winding their way from the Andes to the Pacific Ocean all up and down the country.

(From Los Andes to Los Angeles there are about 12 major rivers.)

Puerto Montt is a common gathering place - near camping and accomodations in Puerto Varas.

When traveling to the Rio Futelefu, most travel from Puerto Montt to Chaiten by small aircraft.

Rio Palena  - Class 3 section on the Argentine border.
near Santiago
Rio Maipo:
40 miles of runnable whitewater- kayakexpeditions - bugs  - cascadas - surf birds
cerca a Santiago, rio grande, large volume river, brown with glacial runoff with warm temperatures. 
The Rio Maipo is near the town of Santa Barbara - Three hour run (Class III-IV)

Three runnable tributaries to the Rio Maipo: Rio Colorado, Rio Yeso and Rio Volcon

Rio Claro - Los Siete Tazas
- just outside Santiago

North out of Santiago:
Los Andes and Rio Aconcagua - good at +/- 800cfs
East of San Fernando Rio Tinguiririca - grand canyon like, but with more rapids - best at/near 8000cfs
x location to Puente Negro - 15 mile run done in about two hours
Rio Tinguiririca has about 55 miles of whitewater
section one: Rio Portillo 125ft/mile- cacti, desert climate, hot springs nearby
south of Santiago

near Los Quenes

Rio Teno: one drainage south of Tinguiririca, smaller and more mild than Tinguiririca, begins Class V, braided section Class III with Class IV at the end - good three hour run.
run finishes at Los Quenes
Rio Claro: small tributary of Rio Teno, crystal clear

Rio Lontue: guilded by private land, great whitewater run, must deal with private land owners, excellent Class III-IV run, unspoiled and clean, great playspots, outstanding scenery.
near Pucon:
(sometimes driving into Argentina to get to headwaters runs of the Pucon is necessary)

Hotel Econ
Trancura Alto Alto: 6 miles long, Class IV and V-, portage involved
Rio Alto Trancura: Class IV-V with portage
Rio Bajo Trancura: (heavily rafted) Class III - Pool drop 1000cfs
* fun fact: Volcan Villaricca lurks above spewing smoke and fire.

Rio Palguin: taxi to put-in and take out
15 foot seal launch put-in and ropes required for portage

Upper Palguin - short, popular creek run near Pucon
Middle Palguin - (1km) - less-frequently run (3 Major drops)
Lower Palguin -(2km)
Upper Rio Fuy - two hours from Pucon

Rio San Pedro: somewhere between Los Lagos and Osorno
Class III , 10 miles, big water, pool drop from Lago Rinihue to Pucono.
*Notes: warm water from Lake Riñihue, (2 hours out of Pucon) long day trip

Rio Cisnes: class IV-V

Rio Gol Gol HW 215 from Osorno to near the Argentine border.
Notes: jungle boating all the way, lots of scouts, big drops and consequences for the unprepared
region X
The Lakes District
camping: Cara Del Indio (owned by the family of Louis Toro)

town of Choshuenco - base for the Rio Fuy

returning: express bus to
Chaiten, a small plane from Chaiten to Puerto Montt, another plane to Santiago, and then the international flight home.
Rio Petrohué located 66km NE of Puerto Montt
run is from town of Petrohue to Saltos del Petrohue
Great views of Volcano Orsorno

Rio Alto Petrohué (near Puerto Varas) Class IV
Rio Bajo Petrohué (near Puerto Varas)
Rio Alto Fuy begins on Lake Pirihueico near town of Puerto Fuy, smaller river than the Rio Bajo Fuy. Technical and junky. Final three miles: 30' waterfall, 15' ledge, and 15' ramp, 12' ledge and 15' waterfall.
Good place to do laps and spend time.

Rio Bajo Fuy
about 5 miles long, fairly continuous - putin at the meadow above main bridge.
Loads of fun IV/V drops. Good surf.

Rio Futaleufu (south of Puerto Montt)
volume: 15,000cfs +, big drops with long and involved Class V +/-
Upper Section:
The most difficult Class V Inferno Canyon - about a mile long vertical canyon, no hiking out, followed by Zeta, the Throne room (usually portaged)
Lower Section:
Swift moving flatwater to the Terminator (Class V left-hand sneak), followed by a big drop, the the Himilayas (20' breaking waves), easy water, the Kitchen (long Class IV+), Pipeline, Mundaca, Mas o Menos, and Casa de Piedra.

Journeys to the Rio Futaleufu can take three days from Pucon. (three busses and one ferry)
note: Rio Futaleufu joins the Rio Azul

Base towns: Esquel and Bariloche

Rio Azul: a great river in a beautiful region.
December can be rainy - making camping difficult
January is high water month with lots of big water Class V

In the Bariloche area, there is a great five day selfsupport kayak trip on the Rio Manso.

From Hullflyer on Mountainbuzz:
"The magic carpet should be in by early Feb. and usually stays around until it starts raining again in March. May I suggest instead of using expediciones Chile that you call on the services of Aren and Sara Rane who happen to have the best access to a play wave, only a mile from the put-in for the Terminator stretch and Aren is the best kayak guide on the Futa. He's got a great camp way sunnier than Spe's camp a real house to cook in and hot showers on demand and a homemade stone hot tub that absoulutely rocks!

If you are interested in the Futa these are the locals to call upon. Aren and Sarah have been down there for 7 seasons and know the area and if the Futa is too big they will find another river to paddle like the Michamuida or the Azul which is in their front yard. "

Your call, but good beta either way.
region VII Rio Bio Bio (near Santa Barbara) runs North-South
volume: up to 20,000cfs +
Upper Bio Bio Section - 3 days
Nireco Canyon Section - drops: Jugbuster, Lost Yak, and Lava South (Class V, pool drop)
Cien Saltos Section - 100 Waterfalls, big water Class IV thru beautiful canyon

This section is threatened by dams! The Royal Flush gorge is no longer.

9km above the hotsprings (takeout) is the start of the Class IV section
sections above this are Class I~ III

Kayak Surf
Ocean Kayak Surfing at Pichilemu - point break

East of Los Angeles
Rio Laja - 300cfs creek with 300 feet/mile - Good Class IV+
Chile Kayak Pack List
Boat, paddles, skirt, helmet, pfds, pin kit, earplugs, throw rope, lighter colored paddling gear, cam straps, ropes, sunglasses, sleeping bag, bivy sack, mountain gear, winter hat,
cash, passport, cold weather paddling gear and a good handle on spanish
Chile Notes :

When to go:
Different rivers have varying seasons, so the estimates for best paddling season according will vary according to latitude/region.

For most of Chile, December through January will be good to go, extending into Feb /early March.

Rio Futelafu might be best to plan visiting in late February and early March.

- be warned of the Colihuachoes - (large hoorseflies) -
they are attracted to dark colors.  These flies can make life miserable.

February is the Chilean summer, making it paddling prime time

Traveling from Puerto Montt to Santiago (12 hours of travel)  - get tickets on a sleeper bus
There is a freight arm of the bus company that can ship boats from Puerto Montt. (Easy enuff to find - talk to anyone in Puerto Montt.)

én: rain 300 day/year -population 1000 - wide gravel roads, simple buildings
office of ChaiTours - which is the bus to the Futaleufu
Chaiten Hospedaje: Casa de Rita

bring your own cam straps if you're traveling with your boat, will need for taxis/buses/trains/shuttles

Temuco to Pucon - two hours

Rio Azul or Cara del Indio campground - popular gathering point for paddlers

Hiring a driver: can host $135~$150/day - including gas and road tolls - Gas prices avg: $2.11/gal

email     page last updated : 01/2006

Sea Kayaking in Chile

Puerto Montt
Sea Kayaking the Chilean Fjords of Northern Patagonia

Condor Journeys
Outfitters: Kayak International - Chilean River Experience

Cascada Expediciones - Maipo and Futaleufu Rivers

Adventure Whitewater
Chile Maps: (click to enlarge)

full credits for these maps go to the crew at Expediciones Chile

Please visit Expediciones Chile for a new attitude about Patagonia...
Chile and Easter isle