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Old 09-24-2010   #1
st.gallen, switzerland
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 5
Kayaking in Chile


I am heading to chile for 3months this november for kayaking! I hope somebody can help me, I have some questions!

Would you rent a car or buy one? (two months) where?

Where did you got your kayak? rent or buy a used one?

Do you no some usefull chilian forums where I could get some more information!

thanks in advance


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Old 09-24-2010   #2
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BZN, Montana
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This was posted on the buzz just a few weeks ago.


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Old 09-24-2010   #3
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2004
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I would use buses for transportation. I've been there for 3 surf trips, total of about 6 months, and I did fine on the buses with a huge quadruple board bag that was bigger than a kayak. I guess kayaking is different because you need to shuttle every day but I'd just pay a guide for shuttles or hitchhike if I were you. 3 months isn't long enough to buy a car and it is way too long to rent one.

The buses are dirt cheap and they go everywhere. It helps if you speak Spanish because you need to get your tickets in advance and you need to tell them you have a boat that will need to go on the bus. They will make up a fare for your boat on the spot, but it will only be a few dollars. I don't remember exactly what the bus fares were, but they were insignificant.

If you get on a bus in Santiago that is going to a far-away location then make sure that you get on at the first terminal at which they load up. Some of the buses load at 2 or more terminals in the capital and if you try to load at the 2nd or 3rd terminal with a boat then you could be screwed because the cargo holds under the bus will be full.

I used the Lonely Planet book for Chile to figure out where the bus terminals are (there are several of them in Santiago). It worked out fine... never had any significant problems. Chile has their stuff together and I love that place. Oh.... I guess one of my friends did get mugged and the cops came and weren't even going to write anything down until we asked if they planned on reporting it... but I forgot about that
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Old 09-24-2010   #4
carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
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be carefull trying to travel on the buses with a kayak. a lot of times they say they cant take them. especially during peak seasons when all the buses are full.
buying a car works great, you just need time to buy and sell it. also getting your RUT #. this can really interrupt kayaking time. same with buying a boat and selling. both very good, inexpensive ways to do it though. many times selling are car there is difficult because most just want to trade another car "parte pago".
if you have some people to paddle with fron santiago. it's worth getting the car there, renting or buying. then traveling south. boats are easy to come by now. contact kayak chile or kayak pucon and they will sell or rent u a boat and even send it to you in santiago.
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Old 09-26-2010   #5
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crested butte, Colorado
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.......great destination for boating.....just avoid a guy(robby dastin) that doesn't speak in full sentences....."run rapid"...."eek a mouse"....."catch eddy"......that's about all you'll get out of him regardless of how rowdy the rapid/river is.......although he is the SHIT, still bags the shit and firsties down there, BEWARE.......years ago i was to follow him down the PUESCO.....i was like ''ok robby, what's up?"......."run rapid, catch eddy" we dropped was a bit high i think.....when i finally got an eddy, he was smilin' away....."you think it's a bit high?" he asked....."don't know, first time down" i say.....he says"fuuuuuck"......then i ask "what's up with this next bit?".....all i can see is total fukin chaos...."RUN RAPID, CATCH EDDY"....."i need more than that robby"...."I GUESS I DIDN'T EXPLAIN MYSELF, RUN RAPID CATCH EDDY".....then off he eeking it out, trying to stay on his tail.....which i failed to do......great day, great run.....oh yea, find a car or truck......AVOID THE CLOWN SUITED STRANGLER........milo
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Old 09-27-2010   #6
Ft Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1973
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I live in Futaleufu during the season and have lots of contacts. Been going for 10 years. contact me by my email for more info
thanks bryan
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Old 09-27-2010   #7
st.gallen, switzerland
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Sep 2010
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@ture I guess getting around with a bus when surfing is easier than with a kayak! the rivers are not always on a main road!
hm got already lot's of information....will check it! thanks a lot
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Old 09-29-2010   #8
st.gallen, switzerland
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Sep 2010
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somebody knows another good whitewater kayakforum like this?
haven't got the needed information yet!
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Old 09-29-2010   #9
carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
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Originally Posted by vada View Post
somebody knows another good whitewater kayakforum like this?
haven't got the needed information yet!
what do you need to know??
i dont think there is a better chile kayaking forum than this one
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Old 10-11-2010   #10
Cowtown, AB
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 1

Ben May at is a useful guy to talk to. He, Tyler Curtis and Marianne Saether have a new guidebook out. I understand it is better for the rivers closer to Pucon though. was a chilean car sales website

You will need a RUT #. If you purchase a car (it's cheaper to purchase and resell if you are there for 3 months if it works out- it came to a little less than renting when we did it despite getting burned a bit on both buying and selling it) get written permission from the owner (and possibly get it notarised too) so that you can cross into Argentina with it and drive south that way. Buy insurance for Argentina at the border or some towns close to where you cross to Argentina. The Carretara Austral (the only road south through Chile) is not the fastest route and if the ferries don't work out (overbooked etc.) you could be waiting a week or or so for a boat.

Parc Pumalin is pretty cool but do you want to wait for a week when you could be boating?

The more remote areas (anything south of Temuco) hitching doesn't work that well because there is not much traffic.

Buses from Santiago don't take your kayak but "may" put it on a service bus which "may" be there a day or so later.

There doesn't seem to be such a thing as free camping. It's pretty right wing in that respect.

November is a good time to go.

The UKRGB forum is another source of info: put up a post there

and some notes from 2008

The Lonely planet guide to Chile and Easter Island is not their best publication by a long way. It seems to be written mostly by someone who took a trip and just found out who the tour operators were, rather than the old style Lonely Planet where people actually went out and did the stuff without resorting to a tour operator at every opportunity.
A much better publication is Josh Howells Travel Guide Chile Experience published in English, ISBN 978-956-309-028-4 which actually has some rivers in too and relatively accurate grading.
It is possible to get to some of the rivers of Chile using public transport but things are much easier if you have your own vehicle, either rent (from about $40 per day) or buy. Vehicles in South America are expensive. Check to get an idea of the price. Car dealers in Santiago are in the Avenida Ossa and Avenida Bilbao.
The vehicle will require the ownership title, the revision technica (MOT or inspection), the seguro obligatore (compulsory insurance), the XXXXXXXXXX (can't remember what it was) and emissions certification. Collectively they are referred to as papels el dia, the carabineros never seemed to ask for them all but regularly requested to see driving licenses. They were suitably confused by Heathers Canadian license and IDP but my old EU paper license with its 2038 expiry date provoked complete bewilderment.

Chile, whilst trying to be the United States in Spanish, has still to realize that life is not television. Just because it is portrayed on MTV doesnt mean that its real and how the world really is. Being a whiteman with a kayak means feeling like a dollar bill with legs.

Some of the runs we did, despite turning up later in the season than was ideal were the
Rio Blanco, near to Hornopirien
Rio Futalefu,
Rio Azul, very pretty class 3
Rio Baker, not close to anything other than maybe Cochrane and possibly to be dammed soon. Amazing big water canyons.
Rio Chacobusco, a tributary of the Baker
Rio Liucura, near Pucon,
Rio Palguin, near Pucon,
Rio Trancura near Pucon,
Rio San Pedro, 150 km from Pucon

Rio Manso, near Bariloche, Argentina
Rio Limay, playwave near Bariloche, Argentina
Rio Mendoza, near Potrerillos, Mendoza, Arg. Ran at least 4 times
Rio Vacas, flows off side of Aconcagua.
Rio Juramento, A couple of days playing in the Juramento

Rio Maipo

We drove 10000km through Chile and Argentina in three months, but it worked out we paddled about two days out of every three.

If you get chance get across to Bariloche in Argetina and do the Manso. There is also a run on the Manso below the one that ends just over the Chilean border but that takes three days and you either have to hike back with your boat and gear or use packhorses. There is also a museum of chocolate in Bariloche.

Hope that helps


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