Hard Difficulty, whitewater Class III/IV & camping
The azure Futaleufu is still an undiscovered river legend that will soon see many more paddlers. Be among the first to run this spectacular fun river. (Our fourth season) This really is no ordinary river. It is the most glorious combination of pristine wilderness, expansive beauty and explosive untamed white water unparalleled anywhere in the world. it is being considered by Endesa (Chilean energy company) as a possible source of cheap hydro power and may be dammed. We need your help to illustrate that this river should be preserved as a 'wild and scenic" sanctuary to find its place amongst the World Heritage sites. As the locals say "a place so lovely that it must have been "Painted by God"
Arrival in Puerto Montt. Our representative will meet you at the airport. They will transfer you to the charming little town of Puerto Varas and escort you to the Hotel Cabañas del Lago where you can unwind from your journey. Puerto Varas is on the edge of Lake Llanquihue and has a magnificent view across the lake of the perfectly cone shaped Volcan Osorno. The afternoon can be spent swimming, walking around town or going into the fishing village of Angelmo at Puerto Montt.
Transfer from Puerto Varas to Puerto Montt airport where we will take a 17 seater Beechcraft airplane across the straight of Chiloe to the seaside village of Chaiten (40 minute flight). A van will meet us and we will travel on the Carretera Austral (Southern Highway) south towards Coyhaique and Lago Yelcho. The drive is spectacular with magnificent granite cliffs and steep glaciers flanking the lush temperate rain forest valley that we drive through. The Rio Futaleufu flows into Lago Yelcho, a world class trout fishing lake that is also home to the Coho Salmon that swim unimpeded up the Futaleufu to Argentina or back down to the Pacific at Chaitén. We pass a few small farms that are carved into the ancient rain forest and get a glimpse of frontier living Chileno style. We arrive at the base camp in time for a late lunch and a swim in the Futaleufu River. We will hold a pre-departure meeting during happy hour and go over camp procedures. We will be based at this campsite for all but one night of our time in this region.
Our first morning to wake up on the banks of the Fu! The mornings tend to be crisp and dewy and we rise with the warmth of the sun. After breakfast we will launch from our base camp after a thorough safety briefing. The first part of any rafting trip is very much a learning exercise. Our guides will demonstrate carefully the safety and rescue procedures we adopt while on the river. This learning exercise is not restricted to the first day but is ongoing and you will become more confident by the day. Each raft is captained by a highly trained guide who controls the boat from a stern-mounted oar frame. The first section we raft from camp down to Puente Futaleufu is only 10 km, but offers more rapids per 100 meters than anywhere else on the river. It not only is the perfect warm-up run, it is just non stop fun especially with rapids like El Cojin and Mundaca. We will then meet our van and Land cruiser for the 20 minute transfer back to camp. We gather around the camp fire and enjoy Chilean wine or herbal tea as dinner is cooking. After a sumptuous and hearty dinner was tire ready for the next day of big white water.
We now settle into a rhythm that will be employed in order to successfully raft our next few days on the Fu. We paddle past the Puente Futaleufu and immediately around the corner meet a big continuous cascade known as Mas o Menos (More or Less). This is a good step towards our first class five technical rapid: Casa de Piedra which forms like a series of water wheels. After this rapid we have a mellow raft to the Casa de Empanadas - no hair raising white water here, just hot cocoa and oven fresh apple "empanadas" prepared for us by Mrs. Ramirez and her children. We then have a 30 minute drive back to camp where dinner awaits us.
Day 5 (Tuesday) DAY AT LEISURE
Officially lay over day. After two days of intense rafting a day of catching up is in order. There are a variety of optional activities available for those wanting to keep on the move. We offer an introduction to kayaking or rock climbing for those keen. Other activities available are horse back riding, mountain biking, lake kayaking on Lake Espolón or fishing. A guided option will be a day hike up one of gorgeous side canyons. A rather exotic option (that requires a good deal of movement) is going across the border into Argentina to visit a Welsh-Gaucho dairy and horse farm. This can only be done by a small group, as the border crossing can be slow going. Later in the day will leave our base camp for a night and travel 35km up the road to visit the quaint Pueblo of Futaleufu and we will spend the night in a typical Hostería-Inn. We eat out in the town for dinner and stroll around the sleepy little mountain village whose central plaza is richly fragrant with rose bushes and cedar trees.
Day 6 (Wednesday) RAFTING
Our overnight in town offers us the perfect launching opportunity early the next morning on the Rio Espolón. This crystal clear river meanders for four kilometers (2 miles) before it flows into the Rio Futaleufu just above Inferno Canyon. This canyon can be walked around if necessary, however, by this point, most people are eager to build on the previous days paddling experience and look forward to this continuous stretch of whitewater whole-heartedly. As we come out of the last rapid called Exit we enter into a long calm stretch. The current remains swift and we cruise further downstream to arrive at our mandatory portage around the fierce Zeta rapid. We have lunch as the crew ghost boat the rafts through this treacherous section for us. We continue on until our next obstacle, an unraftable rapid named El Trono (The Throne Room). We finish the day with a continuous corridor of fun grade IV rapids that take us to our finishing point for the day at the Rio Azul footbridge. Tonight we leave the rafts on shore and a quick van ride returns us to our base camp early in the evening.
Our longest day of rafting - The Summit Day. After breakfast we return to our rafts and continue on downstream. We soon merge with a blue glacial run-off from the Rio Azul. Our view of snow capped mountain peaks and a jagged ridge continues to be absolutely breath-taking as we pass far below. We have a six kilometer (4 mile) stretch of warm-up rapids before we come to The Terminator - the longest and toughest rapid that we will raft on this trip and which is then followed by a continuous section of whitewater fun. The next enormous rapid of the day is a wave train known as The Himalayas. After all the adrenaline of the day the calm section that follows is welcome and we floating gently our base camp where we shall have lunch. After lunch we raft the entire section from camp to below Casa de Piedra. We make a triumphant return to camp and celebrate our last night on the river with a typical Chilean Asado - lamb roasted over a bed of coals, salad, potatoes and farm fresh bread.
An early start to meet the van that will take us back to Chaiten for our flight back to Puerto Montt.
2004-2005 DEPARTURES
December 17
January 7 & 21
February 4 & 18
March 4
Min. 2 persons
US$ 2.980
Booking domestic flights Santiago-Puerto Montt-Santiago, can be requested in advance to get better round trip rates. Not included in the program.


  • Air and land transportation round trip Puerto Montt-Puerto Montt
  • All meals from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 8
  • 1 night accommodation at Puerto Varas & 6 nights in our Base Camp
  • Expert guides and camping personnel - Equipped vehicles for land assistance
  • Camping and cooking equipment
  • Professional equipment for whitewater rafting.


  • Any type of insurance
  • Gratuities and personal extras as communications costs, laundry, meals or alcoholic drinks or transportation out of the program and other personal items
  • Medical expenses in case of illness or injury
  • Sleeping bag and pad.
You should be in good health for these wilderness trips. The minimum age for the trip is 17 years. There is no upper age limit, but older guests should be aware of the rigors of a whitewater expedition. Previous experience is suggested. Oar-rigged (center and stern frame) rafts will be rowed by our staff. You have the option of walking around any of the rapids. Experienced safety kayakers will help to cover all the safety aspects while we are in the river.
What to bring?
" 2 pairs of river shorts. (River shorts as quick drying, durable).
" Farmer John wetsuit. (required)
" Paddle Jacket. If you do not have one, we will supply you with one.
" Polypropylene long sleeve shirt, Polypro long underwear. They will keep you warm when they get wet, and they dry out very quickly.
" River Foot wears. Check out the line of toe-protected river foot wear. (Wet suit booties also work well)
" 1 hat, visor or large brimmed sombrero, with a string. (ole!!)
" Sun glasses with securing straps. (Chums)
" Hiking shorts with pockets, a belt. Shoes for camp, sandals and light hiking boots.
" Toiletry kit, shampoo, soap, tooth brush etc.
" Flashlight and or head lamp, extra batteries.
" Sleeping bag: A 30 degree bag is warm enough. Sleeping pad: This is very important, and not something you want to skimp on. Thermarest makes a good inflatable pad. Thermarest Lounge chair cover, to turn your pad into a great chair!
" Camera: A water proof camera is nice to have.
" Lotion and sun screen: Not much Ozone left in the southern hemisphere!
" Book: There is plenty of time for rest and relaxation, so bring along a book or journal. A favorite poem to share around the campfire
" 1 fleece sweat shirt, 2 T shirts, Baggy pants or fleece sweatpants.
" Travel clothes. Rain jacket and pants.
" Towel: a swimmers chamois towel is used by some and saves space.
" Energy Bars: PRbars, Powerbars, Cliff Bars, pack a handful of these great fuel boosters.
We recommend that you pack using a duffel bag or a back pack. We use a base camp, so whatever you bring to camp will not travel down river. See you in Chile!
A note on weather:
The Futaleufu river valley attracts all types of weather all year round. The Pacific Ocean feeds its moist climate with frequent storms. The sunny months are usually February and March; however, when packing, think of cold and wet weather as well as sunny and warm and you will be a happy camper. Plan ahead and bring warm clothes and a good rain shell. This also means that the river level can change dramatically if an unusual "tormenta" or rain storm passes through. We will only raft when the river is at an agreeable level. Let nature be as nature does and we will heed the beat of our own drummer.
What makes the Futaleufu so special?
Every once in a great while you come across a river that just blows you away in terms of its magical powers. These powers enthrall you and make you feel special and lucky to be alive. The Fu is just such a river. If you have ever stood at the edge of the Grand Canyon, or better yet, looked up at the rim from the Colorado river, or gazed at the Granite Walls of Yosemite, or have sat in quiet revery by the Snake river over looking the Grand Tetons and have been deeply impressed by the magnificence of nature, then you can begin to imagine what it will be like to find yourself in the Futaleufu river valley. It is an amazing place. You might wonder how the force of nature in its raw form can create such places of incredible beauty that you remain stunned and think that we cannot possibly improve upon nature, but can only quietly watch and then spring forth with such energy that you want to sing out and, say 'yes, this is the most beautiful place I have ever been.
Insurance & Medical: we hardly suggest having your own personal travel insurance. This must include: evacuation from remote sites, emergency repatriation and medical & hospital expenses. Also it should cover cancellation & curtailment and personal effects.
Chile requires no vaccinations for entry from any country. There is no malaria or yellow fever, the tap water in most cities is chlorinated and the general standard of hygiene is one of the highest in South America.

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Coyancura 2270, oficina 801, Providencia, Santiago, CHILE
Telefóno: (56 2) 333 1390 - Fax (56 2) 234 9783
Email: info@altue.com