Rivers Chile – Raft or Kayak 5 of the Best Rivers in Chile
One of the great parts of traveling to Chile is that in just over a week we can run 5 rivers from Santiago to Temuco in rafts, duckies or kayaks covering three distant bioclimatic zones and a wealth of experiences. Starting in Santiago, we’ll explore the rich wine producing valleys of the Maipo while challenging either class 2-3 or class 4-5 of the Maipo River. Nights will be spent in deluxe lodge accommodations with wine tasting, hiking, and optional horseback riding. From here we head south to the Nuble River valley and explore the warm azure blue calls 3-4 waters of Rio Nuble and experience an authentic Chilean asado. Arriving later in Pucon, we’ll quickly see that the region is dominated by massive volcanoes and glaciers. Paddling the exciting Trancura or Maichin Canyon (class 2-3 or 4-5) , you will soon see why this is a whitewater Mecca beyond compare. Staying in deluxe riverside domes complete with en suites, makes for comfortable nights and gives participants much needed rest for our full day of adventures on the San Pedro or Fuy rivers (class 3-4). Canyoning, zip lining, roll clinics, horseback rides or volcano hikes are available.
|Trip Length||8 days|
Contact us for dates
|River Rating||2-5 options|
- Itinerary at a Glance
- Arrive Santiago and transfer 45 minutes to our lodgings
- Welcome reception and optional hike or canopy tour upon arrival
- Raft, kayak or IK the Maipo River (class 1-3 and 4-5) available depending on abilities
- Wine taste, horseback ride, lounge poolside
- Raft or kayak the Nuble River, indulge with a classic Chilean asado, campfire under the stars
- Raft, kayak, or SUP the Trancura, Machin, Fuy or San Pedro rivers
- hike, bike, zip line, canyoning, or horseback ride
- enjoy deluxe riverside domes with private bathrooms
- Detailed Itinerary
Today you will met by a ROAM representative at the Santiago Airport and transferred to our deluxe lodgings in Maipo. Once settled in your spectacular rooms, we’ll have a welcome reception, lunch and organize activities for the afternoon. We’ll dine that night overlooking the Maipo Canyon and river.
Today we’ll run either the class 2-3 section of the lower Maipo River or the challenge the “stout” class 4-5 section above the lodge. Both rivers offer non-stop excitement and in the late afternoon, we’ll drive up the canyon for glacier views and cocktails. Tandem paragliding is also an “option” if the winds are right.
After a delicious breakfast, we are on the road to the Nuble River valley. Upon arrival, we’ll break camp and enjoy a traditional asado under the stars. The Río Ñuble drains Cordilleras Los Tabanos and La Ventana, as well as the north side of Nevados de Chillán (3212 m). Somewhat reminiscent of the Bío-Bío’s Cien Saltos Canyon, the Ñuble is a favourite among rafters.
The Ñuble is a beautiful turquoise blue river offering class 3 and 4 action with pauses of flatwater in between. Its boisterous, whitewater and great camping make it a delightful raft and kayak trip.
Today, coming off the river we’ll travel and sight-see en route to Pucon in Chile’s famous Lakes District. Upon arrival you will see the region is dominated by mountains and volcanoes. With so many drainages in this part of the Andes, the options for paddling are staggering. Overnight in deluxe domes on the banks of the Trancura.
Today we’ll have options for the Upper and/or Lower Trancura and/or the Maichin. The choices are seemingly endless. Today there are also options for horseback riding, zip lining, canyoning and yoga. Kayakers will certainly want to try an evening lap on the Palguin River, which offers a classic multiple waterfall boof session while others may want to SUP on a warm lake and watch the sunset of Volan Villarrica. Tonight we’ll celebrate in our funky pagoda with outrageous food and terrific Chilean wines and microbrews.
Today well travel to the Fuy or San Pedro rivers. Both vivid blue, classic Chilean whitewater runs, the Fuy is steeper and more technical while the San Pedro offers warm waters and Futa-sized waves. Depending on our timing we will cap the week off at one of our favourite eateries and celebrate the amazing week of rivers. Overnight Pucon
Today is our transfer day to Temuco. Being a Saturday, we will have an opportunity to stop at shops and markets for souvenirs while en route to the airport and connections back to Santiago.
Cascadas Maipo Canyon – this incredible resort sprawls up the Maipo Canyon an di ssuituated at the put-inor take out for the Lowe rand Upper Maipo. There ar egorgeous gardnes, a delightful pool area and both horseback and zip lining activieis on site. We stay in deluxe lodging and will have all of our meals either in the fild or overlooking the river
One night Camping: we will spend on enight under the stars when we ar ein the Nuble Valley. Our camp and timing will be determined by the lwaterlevels and we paln to have a traditional asado to immerse you inot patagonian culture
Pucon Paddle Retreat: ROAM has partnered with local kayak legend, David Hughes, to develop a series of deluxe riverfront domes complete with french doors, deck and ensuite bathrooms, this new oasis offers a plethora of conveniently located activity options in a breathtaking location.
- About the Region
Don’t judge a district by its name. The Lakes District, Los Lagos in Spanish, only tells part of the story. While turquoise, blue and green glacial lakes dominate the landscape, they’re hardly the only attraction. Play on towering, perfectly cone-shaped, snowcapped volcanoes. Visit charming lakesides and hot springs. Admire the green umbrella of national parks like Parque Nacional Huerquehue. A long list of outdoor adventures and a unique, German-influenced Latin culture make for a cinematic region that appeals to all. Pucón is firmly positioned on the global map as a center for adventure sports; its setting on beautiful Lago Villarrica under the smouldering eye of the volcano of the same name seals its fate as a world-class destination for adrenaline junkies.
Huerquehue National Park is located in the foothills of the Andes, in the Valdivian temperate rainforest of the La Araucaníaregion in southern Chile. It lies 145 km southeast of Temuco and 33 km east of Pucón, between the Villarrica National Reserve to the west and the Hualalafquén National Reserve to the east. The park encompasses 125 square kilometres (12,500 Ha) of mountainous terrain east of Caburgua Lake, and has an elevation range of 720 to 2,000 meters above sea level. Huerquehue is a Mapudungun word (the language of the Mapuche people) that means “the messenger’s place”. One of the most noteworthy features of the park are its ancient Araucaria forests, the tree commonly known as “monkey puzzle”. These are the backdrop for the clear lakes and lagoons that dot the park, including Tinquilco Lake, which lies in the lower portion of this protected area.
Pucón boasts the best small-town tourism infrastructure south of Costa Rica. That means hundreds of activities and excursions, vegetarian restaurants, falafel, microbrews and hundreds of expat residents from the world over. Its popularity can be off-putting to some but benefit by the services available while our retreat is based outside of Pucon on a tranquil acreage on the banks of the Trancura River.
This region is teaming with rivers. Here’s a few that we may explore, depending on participants ability levels:
Maichin: The best stretch of boating on the upper Maichín consists of a section of a class III-IV rapids where the river flows through a long-columnar basalt gorge. The drops are straightforward and boat scoutable from eddies. The cold, clear river flows through a bucolic countryside of small farms, well-grazed hillsides, and araucaria trees standing sentinel over the valley floor. The lower Maichin is equally as impressive in its beauty rather than technical rapids and ideal for paddlers wanting to work on skill development or simply enjoy the canyon.
Upper & Lower Trancura: The Trancura river is the main drainage for the snowpeaks of Parque Nacional Villarrica. Given clear weather the three volcanos Quetrupillan, Lanín and Villarica can be seen while descending the river. The lower Trancura is Pucón’s local playground and sports the most popular day raft trip in the country. This section of river is also popular with kayakers and inflatable kayaks (a.k.a. duckies). Mostly read and run class II-III, the notable rapids are “El Pescador” which has pushy wave train at entrance leading into a river wide hole at hi flows. Below the Confluence (“ La Junta”) with the Liucura River the flow doubles and the largest rapid of the trip is encountered called La Leona. The Upper Trancura is class III-V and has some mandatory portages but is a stout backyard run of no parallel.
Rio Palguin: There are four distinct drops on this classic waterfall run. The first is called “Tres Huevones” and consists of 3 drops with part three ending in a 3 meter falls. The second rapid, “Eva Luna” is a 5-6 meter falls at the end of a slot canyon. The third rapid is another falls called “Ecstasy” and has a 7 meter vertical drop with runs on on either the left or right of the center rock island. The fourth drop is called “feet first” and is run in the center slot which is a sloping 6 meter sluiceway whose width is slightly more than that of a kayak.
Rio San Pedro: About 1.5 hours away from our base, this is a wonderful outing for those doing the full 8-day program. Draining Lago Rinihue and flowing out the Pacific the San Pedro has crystal clear turquoise waters and offers trout and salmon in addition to 16 kilometres of fun roller coaster rapids that remind us a lot of the Futaelufu in both colour and style.
Rio Fuy: Flowing warm and transparent out of Lago Pirehueico deep in the heart of Chile’s Lake District, the Fuy’s astonishing clarity is a sight to behold. With a dense canopy of coihue trees overhanging its banks, the river has an exotic, even ethereal feel to it. In the Chilean spring, the river’s continuous, eddy-hopping, boulder-garden rapids get big and pushy, offering quite a contrast to the waterfalls upstream. Kayakers love this run, although for some unknown reason, we are the only rafters to rarely drop in on this beauty. Since the Fuy is threatened by hydroelectric development, get to know this river before ENDESA takes it away from you. More on this later…
- Trip Planner
Planning Your Trip
We have prepared this trip planner to help you get ready for the adventures ahead in this truly unspoiled part of the world. We have tried to anticipate questions you might have concerning travel arrangements, what to bring, and getting in shape. We are also providing some basic information about these diverse regions. If any of your questions remain unanswered, please don’t hesitate to call. We strive to fully prepare you for what to expect on your trip so you can spend your vacation hiking, exploring, indulging and relaxing rather than wondering whether or not you brought the right pair of shoes.
Getting in Shape
Our trips are designed for people who enjoy the out-of-doors, rather than for fitness fanatics. Still, they are active holidays. Age is unimportant when it comes to your ability to do the rafting, walking, and/or hiking-the more important consideration is your physical condition. If you haven’t attempted the kind of exercise levels required by our trips within the last couple of years, please be aware of the sort of trip you’re taking. It’s an active one, and you’ll enjoy it more if you’ve been doing some exercise before you go. No previous river experience is required.
Your guides will give you an orientation to expedition practices and teach you all the basic skills that you’ll require to enjoy the different aspects of the trip. Our prime consideration is to provide you with a trip that is as safe and comfortable as possible while still maintaining the integrity of a wilderness experience. Activities that involve aerobic conditioning, such as swimming, walking, jogging, squash, and tennis are great for overall physical conditioning. Keep in mind the relative topography of where you live compared to the region you will be visiting. If you live in flat country, for example, consider supplementing your training with artificial hill training on a treadmill or stair-master.
A Thumbnail Training Program
- Two-three months before the trip starts: try to do exercises that involve aerobic conditioning three times each week-swimming, walking, jogging, squash, cross-country skiing, tennis, biking.
- One month before the trip: go for a couple of longer walks each week.
- The week before your trip: try to go for three long walks.
- Be sure to stretch after exercising-it reduces the chances of injury, muscle pain, stiffness, and fatigue.
We utilize state-of-the-art self-bailing rafts and inflatable kayaks. Our hard shell kayak selection is the best available in Chile. Wetsuits and paddling jackets are provided along with PFD and helmets.
You can fish pristine waters for massive rainbow trout. Rods are provided on day trips but if you plan on fishing a lot, you may want to bring your favourite 5- to 6-weight rod with case along with an assortment of appropriate dry and wet flies.
The Lakes District is a mountain environment so variable weather is to be expected. Daytime highs can reach 90 degrees F but the temperatures will drop quite a bit during the evenings. While we don’t expect rain, it is always a possibility so be sure to follow our recommended equipment list, as our experience suggests a multi-layering approach with a range of temperatures and conditions in mind.
What to Take
While we encourage you to travel light, you’ll also want to be sure you pack all the essentials and prepared for both land and water environs. The personal equipment list will address what you will need to wear in conjunction with our gear. At the same time, weight and volume restrictions come into play so please follow our recommendations closely.
The personal equipment list we provide you with has been developed through years of practical experience. It is important that the clothing you bring will withstand the rigors of the trip. Your personal equipment should not weigh more than 40 pounds and all clothing should be quick drying and be made of synthetics or wool. Warmth and comfort are the main objectives with this outline. Weather conditions can vary considerably so it’s important to dress in layers so that you can maintain a comfortable body temperature no matter what Mother Nature may have in store. The inner layer should move perspiration outside, where it can evaporate. The intermediate layer should insulate while the outside layer should act as a barrier to wind and rain.
Personal Equipment List
* 1 pair of hiking boots with appropriate number of socks
* Casual shoes for town and lodges
* 1 pair river sandals (Tevas) with neoprene socks and/or wetsuit boots
* 5-7 pairs warm wool socks
* 2 T-shirts
* 1-2 collared shirts for lodge nights
* 2 long underwear tops (synthetic or wool)
* 1 pile or fleece jacket (100-200 weight)
* 1 high quality waterproof rain jacket
* 1-2 pairs long underwear bottoms (synthetic or wool)
* 2 pairs of light shorts (quick-drying)
* 1-2 pairs of quick-dry pants
* casual slacks for lodge nights
* 1 pair high quality waterproof rain pants
* Undergarments (ideally 1-2 of them synthetic)
* 1 swimsuit
Head & Hands
* 1 sun hat or visor
* Fleece hat (for early or late departures)
* 1 pair lightweight fleece gloves
* Binoculars: Many people like to have a pair for those great vistas or for bird or animal watching.
* Compass: A fun thing to have for the avid map-reader.
* 1 day pack (20-35 litres)
* 2 1-litre water bottles (or camelback) with securing strap
* Toiletry kit (personal medications)
* Sunscreen, lip salve, insect repellent
* Sunglasses with safety strap and extra prescription glasses (if necessary)
* Small flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries
* Notebook, journal, reading material
* Camera (don’t forget to bring lots of film/memory and store gear properly)
Please pack your gear into soft duffle bags (NO SUITCASES). The gear you’re should weigh less than 40 pounds in total. The airline may charge you for excess baggage or even, in rare circumstances, refuse your bags.
Getting Insured -Trip Cancellation Insurance
R.O.A.M. strongly recommends that you purchase trip cancellation insurance. You risk forfeiture of all monies paid, if you cancel your trip. You have the option of purchasing an insurance policy that meets the specific needs of our travellers.http://www.travelinsure.com/what/imedhigh.htm?32931.
Please make sure you understand what the insurance will and will not cover. Please consult the policy for exact coverage, details of other risks insured, and for other benefits and limitations of the insurance.
Making Your Travel Plans
The following may help you get to the start of your R.O.A.M. trip with a few pleasant adventures along the way. Your trip starts and ends in Temuco, Chile which is accessed easily through Santiago.
Since most international flights arrive in Santiago, this will most likely be your point of arrival, unless you have pre-trip plans elsewhere in Chile or Argentina. Your flight reservations should be made as far ahead of time as possible. As with all popular destinations, space on flights can be limited at peak times, and fares tend to increase as you near the departure date. If you are planning to use a frequent flyer program or other discounted fare, please take extra precautions to make your plans in advance, as airlines allocate a limited number of seats for this type of travel, and may impose restrictions or extra costs on changing travel arrangements.
Surprising, cosmopolitan, energetic, sophisticated and worldly, Santiago is a city of syncopated cultural currents, madhouse parties, expansive museums and top-flight restaurants. No wonder 40% of Chileans call the leafy capital city home. It’s a wonderful place for strolling, and each neighbourhood has its unique flavour and tone. Head out for the day to take in the museums, grand architecture and pedestrian malls of the Centro, before an afternoon picnic in one of the gorgeous hillside parks that punctuate the city’s landscape. Nightlife takes off in the sidewalk eateries, cafes and beer halls of Barrios Brasil, Lastarria and Bellavista, while as you head east to well-heeled neighborhoods like Providencia and Las Condes, you’ll find tony restaurants and world-class hotels. With a growing economy, renovated arts scene and plenty of eccentricity to spare, Santiago is an old-guard city on the cusp of a modern-day renaissance.
Recommended Hotels in Santiago
* Tipping is common in Chile. Of course, there are some exceptions, which we have noted.
* Taxis – 5% is appropriate for good service and 10% is generous.
* Porters – $2 per bag.
* Restaurants – It is appropriate to leave 15% before tax.
The following hotels have been selected based upon research, guest feedback and represent the best value. Prices do not include 21% tax.
Casa Sur – With extremely helpful staff, lavish cooked breakfasts and personalized service right down to the nameplate welcoming you to your light and airy room, Casa Sur is just as charming as it claims to be. The location on a quiet Barrio Italia side street is equally ideal. Book ahead as this fantastic B&B is rightly popular.
Hotel Boutique Tremo – For those looking for a boutique experience on a realistic budget, this is your best bet. The lovely converted mansion on a quiet Bellavista street has a terrific patio lounge, fresh art deco stylings, decent service and a chilled-out air.
Hotel Magnolia – No two rooms are exactly alike at this artfully designed boutique hotel, which masterfully intertwines old and new within the confines of a restored 1920s office building. Checkered tiles, marble staircases and stained-glass windows pop alongside playful modern light fixtures, geometric furnishings and vertigo-inducing glass floors. Head to the rooftop bar for views over Cerro Santa Lucía and Santiago Centro
Our trips start in Temuco or Santiago, depending on which date you book. You will depart out of the opposite. Temuco is a short flight connection from Santiago. Upon arrival our representative will meet you outside of baggage and transfer you to either Pucon (if you arrive Temuco) or Maipo Canyon,(if you arrive in Santiago).
After Your Trip
We will transfer you to the airport for homeward flights. Most of our trips end on Saturdays so there is time for souvenir shopping en route to the airport.
The monetary unit is the Chilean Peso . I US dollar equals approximately 600 Chilean Pesos. Credit cards are not as widely accepted as they are in North America (especially AMEX). Traveller’s checks, where accepted, are exchanged at rates that thieves envy. Cash is king – so use a money belt. When converting American to pesos, you’ll get the most favourable rates at banks. Most banks are open from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM Monday to Friday. ATMs are everywhere but often limit withdrawals.
Chile is very safe for travelling, but still there is no point in carrying lots of valuables when travelling. Regrettably, tourists are among the most easily targeted, so please exercise some caution. We also recommend that you check your personal insurance policy before travelling to ensure that you are covered for theft and loss while travelling. As a safety precaution, do not travel with excessive amounts of cash or jewelry if it is not necessary.
Chile is officially Spanish speaking. A bilingual ROAM guide will be with the group from start to finish – unless you are traveling with Brian (he generally butchers the Spanish language but will keep you safe and well liquored).
Please make sure your travel documents and passport are in your carry-on luggage. Do not check them with your bags. Americans and Canadians do not require a visa to enter Chile.
On our trip we’ll be travelling through some environmentally and historically sensitive areas. Our excursions are designed to promote an understanding of the delicate ecosystems while preserving their fundamental integrity. We ask participants to share our concern for the environment by practising low-impact touring in this sensitive area.
R.O.A.M. operates on a “leave-no-trace” policy as we believe the survival of the natural environment and the wildlife it supports depends on establishing an economy beyond simple resource harvesting. Our goal is to immerse our clients in vast natural beauty, which, in turn, supports eco-tourism as a viable, economic choice.
Our trip leader carries a cell phone and satellite phone for emergency purposes. Should you need a phone at your disposal, you should make arrangements for your own satellite communication. Because of our remote locale, cellular phones are not always an option.
Our guides are as impressive as the scenery; passionate about their work, they are delighted to pass on their knowledge and skills. They have an intimate knowledge of a region’s wildlife, natural history, culture and folklore. Trained in wilderness first aid and professionally certified to the highest provincial level in British Columbia, our guides are eager to please and will ensure you have a memorable experience.
Tips and Tipping
The tipping of R.O.A.M. guides is entirely discretionary, and we feel strongly that gratuities should not be offered to them if they lead anything less than a great trip. However, we expect that our guides will do a great job in making your trip memorable and, when they do, it is not uncommon for our travellers to offer a gratuity. The guides very much appreciate it. We are often asked what is appropriate. In general, we have found that when our travellers offer a gratuity, it is in the range of a “thank you” to 15% of the trip cost per person. But again, tipping is entirely at your discretion.