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Patagonia International Kayak Safari - Chile & Argentina
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Patagonia International Kayak Safari - Chile & Argentina

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 15 day(s)
Group Size: 1 - 16 people
Destination(s): Chile   Argentina  
Specialty Categories: Canoeing/Kayaking/Rafting  
Season: December - April
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 2495 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 2495 US Dollar (USD)

The ultimate international kayak safari trip. This trip starts out in Puerto Montt, Chile and travels through Chile's famous Lakes District and over the Andes Mountains to Argentina. We will hit the Rio Fuy, Rio San Pedro, Rio Manso on our loop from Chile to Argentina and back into Chile. We will spend the last week on the Futaleufu.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival and introductions

Arrive in Puerto Montt, Chile on the early afternoon flight where you are welcomed by our staff. It will be a four-hour drive to the small village of Panguipulli, known as The Village of Roses, on the shores of Lago Panguipulli. Our hotel this night is a quaint lodge located lakeside providing awe-inspiring vistas.

Day 2: Rio San Pedro

Today you get your first taste of Chilean whitewater and it is BIG. We drive outside town and put-in at the Rio San Pedro. We paddle the San Pedro with its clear water, play waves and play holes. Lunch will be set up by the side of the river - a typical paddler’s river lunch, with some Chilean additions. Kayakers are free to play to their hearts content. Afterwards we drive two hours on a winding gravel road to the remote lakeside town of Choshuenco. The village takes its name from the volcanic snow capped peak overlooking Lago Panguipulli. Our inn is situated on the sandy beach of this sparkling warm lake. Dinner is served on the porch overlooking the beach and lake.

Day 3: Rio Fuy

Today the river is narrower and steeper. Our put-in is at the bridge above the Lower Fuy. This Class IV section starts off in whitewater frenzy. The most difficult rapid is within 500 meters, an 3-meter ramp followed immediately by more Class IV action! After lunch and as we approach Lago Panguipulli, the pace eases up and you find yourself in a scenic river valley surrounded by volcanic peaks. The river swirls into Lago Panguipulli from where it is only a short paddle across the warm lake back to our black sandy beach and our inn.

Day 4: The Upper Fuy

This action-packed day is the perfect blend of a steep river, lush exotic trees, turquoise water, and challenging defined drops that need to be scouted. This is Chile kayaking at its best! After an action packed 8 kilometers, we stop and scout the 10 meter high Las Leonas Falls, to see if the section below is something we may want to do at this water level. We take-out and put-in again on the Middle Fuy and paddle back to the lodge on the lake. Paddlers return to the lodge in time to enjoy Pisco Sours on the native wood terrace.

Day 5: The Upper Fuy and Los Leones Falls

We return to the Upper Fuy, feeling a little more comfortable on our second run and looking forward to the optional Las Leonas Falls section. This is perhaps the most impressive steep whitewater in Chile or Argentina. We return to dinner overlooking the beach.

Day 6: Crossing the Andes

Today’s drive will take us between two environmental extremes. We depart our sleepy village early to a remote ferry crossing on Lake Fuy high in the Andes surrounded by lush forests. After getting our passports stamped, we drive down off the mountain into San Martin de los Andes, an Andean resort town. Here we eat lunch and take a turn down a rarely traveled gravel road through a dry desert in the rain shadow of the Andes. The bizarre eroded formations will plead with you to take photos.

Departing this unusual area, after crossing the Rio Traful and Rio Limay we arrive on the shores of Lago Nahuel Haupi. The energetic city of Bariloche sparkles in the distance. We check into our hotel in the city center and eat at one of the best restaurants in town. This night you are set loose to experience the infamous Argentinean nightlife.

Day 7: Argentina Kayaking: Rio Manso & National Park Nahuel Haupi

After breakfast, we drive south alongside other undeveloped crystalline bodies of water. Today, we paddle the stunning frontier section of the Río Manso, a narrow gorge with carpeted rock formations. The walls are covered with a dense moss hence the name “The Shaggy Carpet Canyon”. The run is Class III-IV with plenty of opportunities to surf, frolic, play and see ancient Alerce trees, before we reach the border of Chile. No border guards can be found here! You can straddle the international boundary with a foot in each country.

We arrive at a ranch as guests of a Swiss family that immigrated to Argentina before World War II and has been ranching in the Andes ever since. Antonio John, the older gentleman, will charm you with his dashing looks and traditional dress. Here we have an early dinner and afterwards we drive deeper into Patagonia to the artistic community of El Bolson on the banks of the Rio Azul. After checking into our lodge, we will have the opportunity to visit the arts and craft fair located at the town park.

Day 8: Patagonia and National Park Los Alerces

This day consists of a drive south towards Parque Nacional Los Alerces. It is this area (Cholila) that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid hung out when they were on the lam. Parque Alerces covers an area of huge snow capped mountain with a series of pristine lakes interconnected with rivers. It is known for an ancient Alerces reserve on the far side of a lake. There are numerous trekking options in this park. At the southern edge of the Park, we enter a huge range of mountains through a valley that was carved by the water of the Río Futaleufu. We arrive at our Adventure lodge shortly before dinner.

The following itinerary is scheduled for Class IV-V Paddlers. Class II-III paddlers will follow the Kayak Chile Week itinerary. Class III-IV paddlers will follow the Futaleufu River Valley itinerary.

Day 9: Terminator Section

You wake to the brilliance of life along the shores of the Futaleufu, with the jagged Three Nuns (Tres Monjas) peaks standing sentinel over the river and camp. After a delicious breakfast, you outfit your kayak and put-in at our beach for your first taste of the big water of the Futaleufu, the “Terminator” section. You will have the opportunity to warm up on numerous class III rapids, and then have the option of walking, sneaking (IV+), or running the huge and impressive Class V “Terminator” rapid.

From the Terminator, we will continue downstream on the Futaleufu to the Class IV “Kyber Pass”, and on to some giant wave action in the Class IV “Himalayas”. Here you will surf some of the biggest standing waves in the hemisphere! We will return to camp to relax in the hot sauna or on the naturally formed white sand beach.

Day 10: El Corazón - Heart of the Futaleufu

This day is filled with the big exploding waves for which the Futaleufu is world famous. We put-in at the “Zapata’s” swinging bridge and run the “Corazón” – the Heart of the Futaleufu - previously named "The Continuous Section". Here you will find plenty of Class IV big water action, including “Entrada”, “Pillow”, and “Mundaca”, one of the largest breaking wave holes in the world. This nonstop Class IV section will keep your adrenaline pumping and the evening air filled with good cheer.

Day 11: El Corazón, Más o Menos & Casa de Piedra

Like the previous day, we put-in at the swinging bridge at “Zapata,” but we will pass the Futaleufu Bridge take out and continue on to the Class IV+ “Más o Menos”, and the technical Class V “Casa de Piedra”. Finally the river eases off for the beautiful and playful Class III “El Macal” section. After a big day on the river you will be ready to slip into the wood-heated sauna and ease your tired muscles. Our camp masseuse will be available for any of your sore muscles and joints.

Day 12: A La Carte Kayaking - Repeat & Play More!

The group takes its pick for the day’s run. Return to “Pillow Rock” and “Terminator Wave” for some surfing and flat spinning? Or go back to the exploding chaos of “Mundaca”? Maybe after so many days of paddling you are ready for a hike up to Tres Monjas, or a horseback ride to the Upper Futaleufu? How about a day lounging on the beach, or reading a book? This day is yours to enjoy!

Day 13: Kayak the Río Azul

Today, if water levels permit, we take a break from the big water of the Futaleufu and explore a spectacular side canyon. We drive to the footbridge put-in on the Río Azul—a tight, crystal clear creek that runs through a lush micro canyon. Here you get a chance to relax and paddle the technical drops, surf and cartwheel at some excellent play spots, and enjoy the scenery. We take-out at the Tres Monjas Camp, where the Río Azul meets the Río Futaleufu.

Day 14: Upper Futaleufu & Infierno Canyon

For an exciting finale, we head to the remote and spectacular upper section of the Futaleufu. Those paddlers who are ready for the committing Class V Infierno Gorge will put-in above the mini-gorge just outside of the town of Futaleufu, or on the Río Espolón. Others will take a spectacular shuttle drive and enter the river below the Gorge. This visually spectacular section of river includes the Class V rapids “Zeta” and “Throne Room”, which will test even the strongest of kayakers.

Or, take the well-worn footpaths around the two rapids, and head into the “Wild Ride Home”: four miles of continuous whitewater action, which takes us right back to our tents and dry clothes at camp. After a full day on the river, you can begin to pack up, and enjoy a farewell barbeque and fiesta arranged by our chef, specialized in international cuisine.

Day 15: Departure

Wake up for an early breakfast and drive back to Chaiten, Chile and your flight to Puerto Montt, or relax for a couple of hours and take our shuttle to Esquel, Argentina. As you catch a final view of the Río Futaleufu; surrounded by hanging glaciers and snow capped mountains, take a moment to reflect upon all of the amazing sights and experiences of this past week. After all these years we are still stunned that views like these exist.

Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Included: All meals, lodging, transportation, guides and kayaks while paddling with us. Round trip transportation between Futaleufu and Puerto Montt or Esquel.

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