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Old 11-02-2006   #1
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 342
Boating in Chile

I have a little time off and I'm thinking about going down to Chile for the first time. Is anyone else headed down there within the next month? I've heard really good things about the Futalefu and paddling in general down there. Any advice on these questions would be great. Thanks in advance.

Is it better to fly into Buenos Aires than Santiago? I've heard that you have to pay a $100 fee upon departure from the airport in Santiago. The plane tickets are also $300 cheaper to go to Buenos Aires, but is it worth riding the bus accross the continent?

What are the best towns to go to for paddling? What are the costs like eg. motel rooms/hostels, river trips with outfitters, food, and bus tickets?

Should I bring my own boat? How hard is it to transport a boat on a bus?

Who are the best outfitters in the country for kayaking?

Are there any must see type things (non-whitewater related) that you recommend.

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Old 11-02-2006   #2
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 16

hey i am going down there mid december and have never been there and am just looking for potential people to paddle with

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Old 11-03-2006   #3
ski_kayak365's Avatar
Mountains on the river!!!, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 702
Talk to Chad
Talk to Chad

cheeper to stay in Arg. Head for Pucon and then to the Fue. Bring your playboat, rent a creeker.

Talk to Chad
Talk to Chad

Come on Curtis, you should know better, you lived with him. He'll talk for you for days on the topic.

Jan5-Feb7 costa, come with us instead!!!
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Old 11-05-2006   #4
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 9
Kayaking in Chile


To get from Santiago to Pucon is a ten hours busride, but if you time so that you land at night and get the night bus it is really no pain at all..My experience is that Tur-Bus is a good ride, they charge a little extra for the kayak, but notthing too bad. I have taken the bus from Buenos Aires to Santiago, with a kayak, and thought it is not a bad ride, I thik I would pay the 300 dollars extra to get to Santiago right way.

If you have a kayak with you then it is quite easy to pay a little for shuttle with the raft companies in Pucon, or head over to KayakPucons little shop and rent a guide for a few days.

Of course this whole trip depends on your river skills, are you a good kayaker that can go on class four rivers? Because Chile is a heaven for that stuff... Especially around Pucon. If you enjoy the class fives, well even better. You can rent a creek boat in Pucon, but if you can get one on the plane I would rather just bring my own... After all, you could even sell it at the end of your trip down there.

now if you really want to do it nicely, then you rent a car in Santiago for your stay... A Pick up is usually 80 to a 100 dollars a day, so if you are a few people together it would be the best. You can camp a lot of places for cheap.
Food and accomodation is not that cheap I find.

Chile is one of the most amazing countries in the world, and I highly recommend going there. The futaleufu is amazing, though can be cold and running high well into January. Better go with someone that knows it!

I am happy to supply as much info about this amazing country as needed, so please drop me an email at if something is unclear. After eight years of travelling in Chile I have learned a few tricks... And if not, I might see you guys down there, I leave for Chile on Thursday...
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Old 11-05-2006   #5
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 342
Josh- So do you really think that I should TALK TO CHAD? Just kidding.
I've tried to call him lately, but he's been really busy trying to get a house in GJ. I'll probably try to call him again. I would really like to go to Costa Rica. It would be great to go with the old crew, but the timing is bad. January is really late in the year. If it goes well with work, I'd go to Costa.

Mariann- Thanks for the advice! I'm all about the class IV water. I might do a little class V too. If I go to Chile, I'll probably go within the next week or so. I'll hold on to your email address. Maybe we can do a little paddling together. My email is mtkayaker1 at yahoo dot com. Have a safe trip and a good time in Chile.

kayakgawd- Good luck with your trip! I think I'll probably go down earlier than December. Otherwise I'd be stoked to paddle with you.
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Old 11-08-2007   #6
Palisade, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 23
You will have to pay $100USD when you get into Chile, regardless of whether you fly into BA or Santiago, so you might as well fly directly there. As far as getting to Pucon, you should take a Salon Cama, which is basically a bus with bed-like chairs. Well worth it. Pucon has great paddling, though it's a little too touristy for me....
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Old 11-10-2007   #7
carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 165
Originally Posted by Gtwo View Post
You will have to pay $100USD when you get into Chile, regardless of whether you fly into BA or Santiago, so you might as well fly directly there. As far as getting to Pucon, you should take a Salon Cama, which is basically a bus with bed-like chairs. Well worth it. Pucon has great paddling, though it's a little too touristy for me....
if you take the bus to chile they don't hit you up for the $100 cash
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Old 11-10-2007   #8
raleigh, North Carolina
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 3
I would go first to Buenos Aires...

I would go first to Buenos Aires, take a bus to San Rafael(11hs) (before having a great argentinian steak), Mendoza and paddle the Diamante river. It is a mini-futaleufu in the middle of the desert, continuos class 4 and some 5 , big water, amazing playboating. is a video of the diamante...

You have some creeks in that area too. You should contact the Valsecchi brothers that have a rafting company (ExoticAndes) and could give you info an probably rent you a kayak.
From there you could go to Santiago (right across the mountains) or start going down throw the argentinian side and cut across the Andes to get to pukon, or go straight to Bariloche, relax and try to hit some of the runs there, and keep going to the futaleufu and hit pukon on the way up.
Just a suggestion from an argentinian...
i know someone down there that has a brand new Jefe for sale if you want to avoid the hassle of traveling in a plane with the boat.
Take a look to a video I edited long ago...rivers and creeks in northern patagonia (Bariloche and Pukon areas, and the Futaleufu).

send me an email if you need more info

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Old 11-12-2007   #9
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 16

I would fly into either one. The $100 fee is a one time deal as long as you keep your same passport. $100 every 10 years not bad. I would also contact Kayakpro great company to get boats from and great people.
::::KAYAKPRO::::CHILEAN WHITEWATER EXPERIENCE:::: they will hook you up!!
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Old 11-12-2007   #10
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 342
Thanks, but this post was a year ago. However since the subject came up, I'll just say that my trip last November was an experience that I'll never forget. Ben and Adam of KayakChile in Pucon were excellent guides, and I would highly recommend them to anyone planning to do anything from class III to V. This is highly unusual in Pucon because many of the locals only want to take people down beginner runs or hair runs. These guys provide unbelievable kayaking at a very reasonable price, with great food. I always felt safe, even on really tough whitewater because I know they had our backs. Additionally I met some of the world's best kayakers who happened to be very humble, great people. Adam made a video of our crew running the goods, which I watch occasionally to remember the good times. It seems like all my computer wall paper pictures are of Chile these days. Some day I plan to return to Chile to paddle the goods and tour the country more extensively with my sweet girlfriend.

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