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Southern Patagonia Kayak Safari
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Southern Patagonia Kayak Safari

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 15 day(s)
Group Size: 1 - 16 people
Destination(s): Chile  
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 trip takes us into the most remote regions of Chilean Patagonia. We will start in the south of Chile hitting some of the best “classic runs” in this area of Patagonia. During the week we will head north and work our way toward the Futaleufu River Valley. The week's progression will build from easier to harder as we paddle the: Rio Simpson, Rio Manihuales, Rio Cisnes, Rio Figueroa, Rio Azul, Rio Espolon, and Rio Futaleufu.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival and introductions

Arrive in Balmaceda, Chile on the early afternoon flight where you are greeted by the Expediciones Chile guides and staff. You will spend the late afternoon traveling to the city of Coyhaique, buying last minute items for the trip, checking our outfitting and gear, and warming up our whitewater kayaking skills on a nearby Class II/III stretch of the Rio Simpson. Tonight's lodging will be our cabanas located on the banks of the Simpson.

Day 2: Rio Simpson

Today you get your first attempt at real Patagonia whitewater kayaking on the Class III+ section of the Rio Simpson. A relatively small volume river, the Simpson offers incredibly clear water, great play-waves and play holes, and some challenging, but not to serious, technical moves. The scenery will be spectacular as we paddle through the steep canyon of the Rio Simpson.

Lunch will be set up by the side of the river - a typical paddler's river lunch, with some Chilean additions. We will spend the rest of the afternoon paddling and playing on the Simpson before heading out to the town of Villa Manihuales. We will spend the night in our hospedaje managed by a local Chilean family in this very small and remote pueblo of Southern Chile.

Day 3: Rio Manihuales

We'll have an early breakfast and head out to the the Class III/IV section of the Rio Manihuales. The Rio Manihuales is a step-up in volume from the Rio Simpson. The river is drop-pool in nature with many boulders and interspersed ledges. The river traverses a lush green valley of temperate and bamboo forest. There will be numerous play waves and opportunities for technical paddling –- however, the lines to stay out of trouble will be easy and wide.

Today's riverside lunch will be located by one of the play waves and we will spend the rest of the afternoon surfing and eddy-hopping through the boulders. Afterward we will take advantage of the long hours of Patagonia daylight and drive on to the pueblo of Puerto Cisnes. Our lodging will be in cabanas along the shores of a spectacular Patagonia fjord. Puerto Cisnes is the real deal, a small Chilean fishing village encircled by snow capped mountains and surrounded by water.

Day 4: Lower Rio Cisnes

After a relaxing night's sleep, we drive back over some of the roads we came in on - the bridge over the Cisnes will be our destination. We will put-in at the bridge, have a riverside lunch and paddle the river back to the end of the whitewater section, where we will meet our shuttle bus. The Lower Rio Cisnes is a Class III/IV section of spectacular, turqouise-clear water that is located in a wide canyon surrounded by snow-capped mountains and glaciers. This river is a step-up from the Rio Simpson and the Rio Manihuales – the rapids are longer, more continuous, more hazardous, with numerous boulders and offset holes, and no clear lines to guide you. There are a minimum of four rapids on this run that will require definite scouting from shore, including an awesome 3 meter cascade. We will return to the comforts of our cabanas on the shores of Puerto Cisnes.

Day 5: Upper and Lower Rio Cisnes

Today we will get an early start and repeat our run of the Cisnes but start up higher in the “Class III/IV+ canyon section . Here the river is narrower and more constricted producing more challenging drops, most of which we will scout prior to the run. With the experience of the previous day, our passage through the lower section will be faster. An early afternoon take-out will give us plenty of time to travel to the headwaters of the Rio Figueroa and the small village of Lago Verde. Here we will stay at a cabana located on the property of a working ranch overlooking the spectacular turquoise waters of Lago Verde.

Day 6: Upper Rio Figueroa

The Rio Figueroa, a Class III/IV river, runs from Lago Verde to Lago Rosselot, and has the largest volume of water flowing through it than any of the rivers we have encountered previously. This river is a Patagonia Classic with incredible scenery, wilderness terrain and turquoise blue water - a perfect tune-up day for the upcoming Rio Futaleufu. There are two big rapids that will need to be scouted from shore and possibly portaged. The entire run is about 60 kilometers long and we will do half of it on this day. We will have lunch riverside and meet our shuttle vehicle at the mid-point. After take-out, we will return to our cabana at the working ranch overlooking Lago Verde.

Day 7: Lower Rio Figueroa

Today we will return to the previous day's take-out and finish our run of the Rio Figueroa. The lower section of the river is less intense than the upper section, characterized by continuous sets of Class III and III+ rapids. Altogether, a non-threatening day of paddling that will allow you to enjoy the incredible Patagonia landscape and scenery. At the end of the day we will paddle across Lago Rosselot to our waiting shuttle vehicle, for our drive to the town of La Junta at the confluence of the Rio Palena and Rio Figueroa, where dinner and our comfrotable rooms are waiting.

Day 8: Travel to the Rio Fualeufu

After a good night's rest and hearty breakfast we will travel from La Junta to the spectacular Tres Monjas Eco-Camp on the banks of the Rio Futaleufu. The rest of the day can be spent setting up your camp, relaxing on the beach and exploring the Futaleufu River Valley. If the group desires we can paddle Schoolhouse Rapid next to the camp or try the lower play section of the Rio Azul.

The following Futaleufu 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 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 Chaitén, 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. One way transportation between Futaleufu and Puerto Montt or Esquel.

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South America   Chile   Outdoor: Water Drifter   Canoeing/Kayaking/Rafting