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Hiking, Biking and Rafting Patagonian Rapids in Chile. 9 Days

Hike, bike, kayak and raft along the rapids along the Futaleufu in Chile. Help protect wild rivers against dams. 9 days.


Trip Ref #9459

Adventures / Adventure Tapas

Hiking, Biking and Rafting Patagonian Rapids in Chile. 9 Days

Hike, bike, kayak and raft along the rapids along the Futaleufu in Chile. Help protect wild rivers against dams. 9 days.

El Tepual Airport

A true Patagonian adventure exploring Chile’s Futaleufu River. Along the way, you will raft and kayak down gushing rapids, hike to blue mountain lakes and mountain bike along winding forest tracks. After each day’s epic adventure there’s some equally epic accommodation, a luxurious cliffside lodge, a woodland cottage and a lakeside cabin. All come with mountain scenery and a hot tub to admire it from.

Your hassle-free adventure includes:

  • 8 nights accommodation
  • Full board
  • Flights from Puerto Montt to Chaiten
  • Experienced river guide
  • All adventure activities

Perfect for: Anyone looking for a serious Patagonian adventure with a touch of class. A moderate level of fitness is required for this trip.

Adventures for Good: Your host is dedicated to the conservation of some of the world's last great white-water, wilderness rivers.


Day 1: Arrival and welcome dinner

Your adventure begins when you check into your hotel in the lakeside city of Puerto Varas. Spend the afternoon exploring this striking Chilean city, set against a backdrop of the snow-capped Vulcano Osorno rising out of the blue waters or Lago Todos Los Santos. In the evening meet your guide and fellow travellers at the welcome dinner.

Day 2: Getting to Futaleufu

Travelling round Chile is an adventure in itself. The day starts with a 45-minute flight along the rugged Patagonian coastline to Chaiten. From there it’s a 3-hour transfer to the start proper in Futaleufu. After a safety talk, it’s straight down to business as you hop aboard the rafts for your first taste of a class 4 rapid. Before dinner, you will also have time to explore the town of Futaleufu.

Day 3: Bike, hike and kayak

A quick five-mile mountain bike ride gets you to the start of the kayak. Here you have the choice of individual kayaks or a small guided river raft. Once afloat, you’ll run a series of class 2-3 rapids for 3 hours downstream. Back ashore, it’s a 20-minute hike up to the spectacular cliffside Uman Lodge, your home for the evening.

Day 4: Class 5 river rapids

Today is a proper adventure. You’ll be running the class 5 rapids of the Infierno Canyon. Where you pause for lunch there’s an optional cliff jump, you can warm up with the 10-foot jump and work your way up to the monster 45 footer. The afternoon is spent running a series of class 4 rapids before a quick transfer to your next accommodation. Class 5 is optional.

Day 5: Mountain biking and river rapids

The day starts on the mountain bikes, winding along narrow dirt roads through dense Patagonian forests to the start of the day's kayak. It’s a great series of class 3 rapids, perfect for building confidence in your individual kayak. Along the side of the river, granite spires rise straight out of the water. A small river raft is also available if you prefer. After four hours riding the river, it’s just a short 15-minute transfer back to your accommodation.

Day 6: Canyons and river rapids

A 45-minute downhill mountain bike ride back to the river rafts is a joyous way to start the day. Hoping back aboard, your skilful river guide will you through the depths of the Rio Blanco, hiking, climbing and rafting a series of class 3+/4 rapids. Awaiting you after the canyon are two of the most famous and exhilarating rapids on the Futaleufu River, the Terminator and Himalaya rapids. Then a quick 10-minute transfer gets you to your next accommodation, Peuma Lodge.

Day 7: Hiking and SUP on a mountain lake

A challenging two and half hour hike 1000 vertical metres out of the Futaleufu is rewarded by a sight not often visited by visitors to Patagonia. Lago Obsession is a hanging lake surrounded ancient Lenga trees and granite spires, and what better way to explore it than by stand up paddleboard? If that sounds a little too strenuous then horse trek or fly fishing are also available.

Day 8: Last day on the water

Your last day on the river starts with a quick 15-minute bike ride back down to the rafts. It’s action-packed right till the end with a dozen more major rapids including two big class 5’s. Along the way, the dramatic Patagonia scenery doesn’t disappoint with glacier-capped mountains towering over green forests.

Bid a fond farewell to your trusty raft and hop aboard a motorboat for an 18-mile journey across Yago Yelcho to your next accommodation. If time allows there is also a short hike to a glacial vent, where blue glacial ice meets rainforest. In the evening a celebrate a true Patagonian adventure at a farewell dinner.

Day 8: Travelling back to Santiago

It’s time to head home. A hours transfer gets you to Chaiten airport. From there, it’s a flight to Puerto Montt where a transfer will be waiting to get you to the domestic airport and a flight to Santiago airport where your epic journey ends.

Note: This itinerary and the duration of the activities are subject to change due to group abilities and preferences, and weather conditions and forecasts.

Please Note

All our adventures take place in wild places. Things can go wrong in wild places. Your perfectly planned itinerary may change a bit (or a lot) if the weather turns, someone gets hurt, or a volcano erupts. Usually though, changes make it all the better.

Who says adventure can’t be luxurious? The accommodation along your journey is really quite special, with a collection of characterful and unique places to rest your head. It kicks off with the Cumbres Puerta Varas Hotel fully equipped with pool, sauna and spa. Next up is the Gringa Bed and Breakfast, a cosy and quaint countryside cottage with its own yoga studio.

Definitely in contention for top spot in the trip accommodation rankings is Uman Lodge. An impressive, cliffside wooden lodge with an infinity pool from which to admire those outstanding views. The following two nights are in the chic yet cosy cottages of Loconao in a tranquil mountain setting.

Peuma Lodge is next. The delightful wooden tile cladding adds a unique character to the lodge and cabins. The hot tub is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy the mountain views. Last but by no means least, it’s the lakeside Yelcho Lodge set in its own private grounds stretching to thousands of acres.

All of the accommodation is of a high standard with twin or double rooms available. Accommodation is based in 2 people sharing, a single room supplement is available. All but one accommodation has a hot tub and at others full spa facilities are available. All enjoy spectacular settings.

The Futaleufu River in Northern Patagonia flows from its source in Argentina on through Chile. It is known for being one of the best whitewater rivers in the world and attracts kayakers and rafters from around the globe. The river’s life begins high up in the Argentinian Andes where glacial meltwater flows down to form the river. Because of the minerals in the glacial melt, the river has an incredible turquoise hue.

The river is surrounded on both sides by a steep-sided valley creating a microclimate and offering some protection from the infamous Patagonian winds. There are numerous steep granite spires breaking out from the rich green forest making for a dramatic mountainous landscape. Patagonia is one of the last truly wild places on earth, the perfect place for an adventure.

Start point? Your trip starts at the Cumbres Puerto Varas Hotel in Puerto Varas at 18:30 on Day 1

End point? Your trip ends at 16:30 at El Tepual International Airport in Puerto Montt

Getting there and away?

By air: The closest airport is El Tepual International Airport (PMC) with regular flights run by JetSmart, LATAM Chile and Sky Airline to Santiago. From Santiago International Airport flights are available to destinations worldwide.

It’s about 30km from the airport to the start of your trip at Puerto Varas, a taxi is the easiest way and cost around $25.

Coming back a transfer will drop you at El Tepual International Airport (PMC) to continue your journey.

By bus: There is also a reasonably priced overnight bus service operated by Pullman Bus from Santiago to Puerto Varas and back from Puerto Montt.

Not included in your adventure: Flights to Puerto Montt, the taxi from Puerto Montt to Puerto Varas on Day 1, massages, river paddle jacket, river shoes and hiking boots.

You need to be physically healthy to undertake this adventure. The hardest single activity is the hike to Lago Obsession with 1000m of ascent, if this is too much of a challenge then alternative activities are available.

No previous rafting or kayaking experience is required. All of the rapid sections can be walked should you feel uncomfortable. As the hosts keep the ration of guests to guides low it is also possible to arrange alternative activities in some cases.

Yes absolutely, it’s a great way to meet like mined people.

Your local host recommends:

  • A waterproof paddle jacket
  • Quick drying shirts
  • River shoes (N.B. Shoes with Five-Ten stealth rubber are compulsory for Canyoneering in the Rio Blanco slot canyon)
  • Quick drying shorts to wear over wetsuits (men and women)
  • Water bottle with locking carabiner (N.B. Must be locking to avoid getting caught should the boat flip)
  • Light/medium weight hiking boots (For lake Obsession Hike)
  • Small lightweight daysack (For lake Obsession Hike)
  • Sunglasses with neck strap
  • Flashlight/headtorch
  • Synthetic trousers
  • Wetsuit socks
  • Sunscreen
  • Medium weight jacket

Mountain bike Inflatable kayak River raft

The Futaleufu Valley has its own microclimate and has less rain and wind than other areas in Patagonian Chile.

Daytime temperatures range from between 10-26 degrees Celsius while night time temperatures are between 3 to 15 degrees Celsius. The summer months (Dec-Mar) are dryer than winter months but still receive quite a few days of rain each month.

Food is chef cooked meals at the lodges except for two nights when your river guides will cook for you. Patagonia is famous for its grilled meat, on one evening you will have Chilean Asado, lamb roasted over an open fire.

Yes absolutely, just let your hosts know once you have booked.

You are free to book any flights that fit with the start and end points of the trip

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