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Andean River Odyssey - Bajo Palena
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Andean River Odyssey - Bajo Palena

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 9 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: 2095 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 2095 US Dollar (USD)

This remote Chile sea kayaking expedition combines everything you could want in a wilderness experience: wild and spectacular landscapes, wonderful campsites, warm local people and abundant wildlife. This sea kayak vacation is intended for intermediate kayakers with some experience on open water.

Our trip begins in Puerto Montt, gateway to the fjords and archipelago of Chilean Patagonia. From here, our group catches a flight or ferry south to the village of Chaiten, then continues by van to a cozy hosteria near the banks of the mighty Rio Palena. Over the next four days, we sea kayak this majestic green river, passing beneath the glaciated high peaks of the Andes and visiting with local settlers. One night finds us camping near some of the most idyllic hot springs to be found anywhere.

Following the river's winding course, we eventually emerge on the wild Pacific coast near the tiny, isolated village of Raul Marin Balmaceda, where curious pods of dolphins approach to within feet of our boats. Here we spend another three days, camping or lodging in cabins as the weather dictates, sea kayaking the serpentine fjords of the Pitipalena Estuary and the sea lion colonies of the offshore islands. Our Chile sea kayaking trip ends with a farewell dinner and a return to Puerto Montt for the next stop on your itinerary.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival and introductions

Arrive at either of our entry points in Puerto Montt, Chile or Esquel, Argentina, the gateway to Patagonia. Connect with our representative and travel to the remote riverside town of Futaleufu, surrounded by majestic mountains. You will find your accommodations at our comfortable inn and town cabins, and unwind from your trip with a hearty welcome dinner at the Futaleufu Adventure Center. Tomorrow we’will prepare for your sea kayak Chile expedition!

Day 2: Travel and Preparation

After breakfast you choose from one our Adventure Center activities by either joining a rafting trip, horseback riding excursion, mountain biking trip or a day trek near town. Later, we will help you prepare for your up coming Patagonia sea kayaking adventure by arranging , gear, food, and going over logistics of our sea kayak journey. In the late afternoon, we board our shuttle to the Palena Valley.

Along the way, we cross the mighty, emerald-blue Rio Palena, which comes surging west out of the Andes from its headwaters in Argentina. Our destination on this day is a charming guesthouse situated on a hilltop overlooking the Palena valley. Your comfortable rooms are waiting your arrival, along with a hearty meal to prepare for the upcoming sea kayaking adventure.

Day 3: Sea Kayaking – Rio Rispatron

Loading our gear into our single or double sea kayaks, we slide into the waters of Lago Rispatron, which receives the chalk-blue waters of the Rio Figueroa. After a brief paddle in the lake, we head down river on the Rio Rispatron – a sizeable river in its own right – before sea kayaking into the main flow of the Palena. The river flows through open country, past active homesteads making their space in the Patagonia frontier. In the afternoon we take out and camp near the home of a local settler who provides us with a delicious lamb asado – a fitting welcome to the wilds of Patagonia Chile.

Day 4: Sea Kayaking, Hot Springs and White Sand

After we break camp today, we will enter the strong current of the lower Palena River. This day’s paddle is a short one, marked by a towering glaciated peak called Volcan Melimoyu. Just past mid-day we will camp on a white sand beach across from a virgin hot spring, giving us the opportunity to relax our sore muscles and enjoy the scenery of this spectacular site. This is one of the most idyllic camps you probably will ever experience. Sea kayaking in Chile doesn’t get much better than this!

Day 5: Sea Kayaking, Nearing the Ocean

Departing our sandy campsite, we will sea kayak through huge bends in the river as it starts to slow in its journey towards the Pacific. Here the water really rises, with the high tide backing the river up. The forest is nearly impenetrable and we understand why Darwin called this the "Green Desert". We will find a nice little place to camp on river right, with a little shelter to cook under. Here we will set up our tents, as the enormous peaks rising straight up from the water's edge look over our shoulders.

Day 6: Raul Marín Balmaceda

In the morning we sea kayak for twenty minutes where we'll find a narrow channel overhung by dense vegetation, which will lead us to the Pitipalena estuary. If you were not in Patagonia Chile, you would think there would be crocodiles in this jungle channel. We will continue paddling to the isolated village of Raul Marin Balmaceda.

Accessible only by boat, this storybook village is unplugged from the “real” world. It is built on a broad sand spit between Palena and the Pitipalena estuary. Porpoise's may play with us as we approach the town beach. The tides will determine if we are paddling against the current or if we get a free ride into town. We will get pampered with a stay in the village's comfortable cabins, and enjoy fresh seafood and Chilean wines.

Day 7: Sea Kayaking around Raul Marin Balmaceda

To day we'll explore the stunning marine environments of the estuary and the Pacific Ocean beyond. Weather permitting, we'll sea kayak to the offshore islands to visit sea lion colonies and kelp goose rookeries, or head up the estuary to visit more hot springs near the base of another glaciated volcano; otherwise, we'll explore the area in day trips, returning to our cozy cabins and feasting on fresh seafood every night. This is Chile sea kayaking at its best!

Day 8: Day to Relax in Raul Marin Balmaceda

We will explore the surrounding area and relax in the town’s hot springs. We depart at 3:30 pm from Marin, taking a 1-hour boat ride, with sea kayaks on board, to where the road and our Expediciones Chile vehicle is waiting. We drive the five hours to Chaiten, check into our Bed and Breakfast where our sea kayaking Chile celebration dinner awaits, along with out comfortable beds, enjoying a good nights sleep to be ready for tomorrows trip back home.

Day 9: Departure

After breakfast, explore Chaiten for a few hours. A quick shuttle takes you to the airport for your flight back to Puerto Montt, unless you decide you just can't leave and want to return to Futaleufu for more fun in "The World's Greatest Playground!" You will have just experienced in one week what some folks won't experience in a lifetime.

Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Included: All local transportation, shuttles, food and lodging while in Futaleufu. Round trip transportation between Chaiten and Puerto Montt or Esquel. One night of lodging in Chaiten at the end of your trip. All sea kayaks and equipment specified in the packing list. The cost of finding alternate activities for your sea kayaking vacation week should your trip be prematurely terminated due to inclement weather.

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