Chile is an absolutely stunning country not only to visit but especially to kayak! With the Andes forming a natural barrier towards Argentina it also holds the precipitation that comes off the Pacific Ocean on the west coast. This gives Chile an unrivalled reputation as one of the worlds best kayaking destinations!
A two week adventure road tripping and kayaking some of Chile’s best rivers, be it waterfalls, glacier melt, steep creeking, big volume and of course all set in some of the most dramatic scenery in the world: This is Classic Chile Class III - IV.
We start our kayaking adventure in Santiago and after meeting you at the airport we head straight to the Rio Maipo, a glacial fed river from the 5000m peaks of the high Andes. We enjoy the warm hospitality of Nelson and Tami at their adventure camp on the banks of the Rio Maipo.
Then we start to head south running rivers such as the Rio Teno and the ultimate classic waterfall runs of the Rio Claro such as: the 7 Teacups, 22 waterfalls. Next stop is the stunning Rio Nuble where tourists seldom visit. The dam releases on the Rio Bio Bio are a great way to break the journey up before arriving at the Rio Laja, a thrilling but short continuous paddle with views of the Antuco Volcano on the drive up!
We now head down to Chile’s kayaking mecca and South Americas adventure capitol - Pucon. Pucon has built up a big reputation as a world class kayaking destination and rightly so. The quality of whitewater around Pucon is fantastic, with different styles of rivers all set in some stunning scenery. It is part of the Lake District Region that combines huge deep blue lakes with imposing volcanoes scattering the skylines. The region covers both Chile and Argentina and contains some of the best whitewater Chile AND Argentina has to offer!! In Pucon there are plenty of restaurants, cafe’s, bars and of course discos to dance the night away! The town also gives you the opportunity to relax after some mega kayaking, with hot springs giving your body a chance to recover and sooth those aching muscles.
With such a variety of whitewater around Pucon there is something for every kayaker. The Upper Trancura has nice Class 4 pool drop rapids with some dramatic backdrops of the Villarrica Volcano. The Upper Palguin is waterfall heaven, a great days kayaking is to include the Lower Palguin as-well. The Rio Machin is a sweet little river set in a beautiful and lush forest where you get the feeling of being in the Amazon. The Lower Trancura is big and bouncy at the start of the season and provides plenty of hits. And this is just a flavour of what Pucon can offer!
From Pucon we continue our journey south to the Rio Fuy. The Lower Fuy provides fantastic big water action in the beginning of the season and as we stay with Cristian at his camp on the banks of the Fuy we get to run laps of this great section. The Upper Fuy is also a must run if the levels are good and with great drops providing plenty of action and amazing photos! Not too far from the Rio Fuy is the Rio San Pedro which is often regarded as a Mini-Futaleufu. It has probably the clearest water we have ever encountered. You can just roll over and see the volcanic rock, river bed and fish as you float on bye. The action soon picks up and we kayak some big waves and rapids with the feeling that we are in the middle of nowhere. It is a firm favourite of the whole team!
From the Rio San Pedro we now head to the Rio Petrohue. We stay on the shores of Lake Llanquihue at Fredy’s place and the following day we kayak the Lower Petrohue with big waves, fun rapids with the chance of a great surf in front of the imposing Osorno Volcano. We go and check out the Upper Petrohue in the afternoon with the possibility of running it the following day.
After the Petrohue we start what is one of the most stunning trips in this part of Chile and the gateway to Patagonia and the seldom visited Rio Puelo. The drive to the Rio Puelo is an adventure in itself as we drive past Cochamo, and the granite peaks that attract climbers from all over the world. It is a short ferry ride to get into the valley and from now on we are on gravel tracks, with no wifi or even a telephone signal, just a stunning emerald blue river and unbelievable scenery - this is Patagonia! Our quest is the Lower Puelo and its amazing canyon, the sense of being in the wilderness is pure and the friendliness of the locals is second to none. They are so happy to see foreigners coming and especially kayakers. We spend our time off the river talking to the locals, sharing stories over a local “mate” tea or a glass of wine!
We finally say goodbye to the stunning Rio Puelo and make our way to Puerto Montt and the end of our trip. We drop you off either at the airport for the internal flight back to Santiago or the bus station for the overnight journey up north.
It is an incredible adventure and one that you will cherish with fond memories of fantastic whitewater and waterfalls, incredible scenery, amazing food, world class wine and warm, welcoming locals who will treat you like a long lost cousin this is a Kayaking Road Trip like no other and that is why it is our Classic Chile trip!
David and Steve form a fantastic partnership that not only gives you the opportunity to kayak amazing rivers but will also get a distinct flavour of the region, its people and customs. David’s knowledge of Chile’s rivers is second to none and coupled with their experience of leading and running trips you will not find a better team to show you the wonders of Chile. Want to know more about the Steve and David please check out Our Team page on the website.
You should have plenty of experience of kayaking Class 3 and Class 4 whitewater such as the Sanna, River Inn and River Oetz in Austria. Your roll should be solid and you do not need any experience with kayaking waterfalls as we gain this on our journey from Santiago to Pucon. Chile’s river classifications tend to be solid so if you are only kayaking Class 3 we suggest you check out our mellower kayaking adventure in Chile! We will be kayaking for around 6 hours a day so though you do not need to be an Olympic athlete you should have a certain amount of paddle fitness and stamina.
Our ratios are extremely low here at the Kayak School and we will be kayaking with 1 guide/coach to 3 clients! We will not take more than 6 clients on this trip which gives you plenty of whitewater action and the opportunity to become a much more all rounded kayaker! We keep the groups small giving you a safe environment thus leaving you to nail that line or style that drop.
We spend our nights between rustic camping by the side of the river, staying with our friends at their adventure camps and some quaint and natural wooden cabins. This gives us the perfect blend of watching the stars in the clear skies at night to a lovely log burning stove when the weather comes in and the rain arrives.
Food & Drink
Food can be a real highlight in Chile, markets are full of vegetables and fruits of the season plus some great restaurants serving Spanish and German influenced cuisine and lets not forget the Chilean asado - a grill laden with various meat and sausages. Of course all of this can be washed down by a cold beer, fruit juices, spring water, great South American coffee or a traditional “mate” tea that is more than a drink, it is a culture in its own right! Of course Chile produces some quality red wine and there is more to Chilean wine than just Gato Negro.
If you would like to extend your trip by a week then we head further into Patagonia kayaking the amazing Azul waters of the Rio Blanco before making the journey by ferry and road to the Rio Futaleufu. This world class river has a great reputation for whitewater and rightly so. We then drop you off at the Argentine ski resort of Bariloche to fly out via Buenos Aires or you can stay with us for the journey back to Pucon.
Dates & Prices
We have tours planned on the following dates:
- 25 Nov - 07 Dec 2018 (13 days)
- 23 Dec - 04 Jan 2018 (13 days)
EUR 2850 per person.