Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-27-2015   #1
Flying_Spaghetti_Monster's Avatar
Farmington, Utah
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 707
Kayaking the Futa?

I am looking for info on the Futa, and Rio Baker. I am mainly a north fork payette boater that wants to head down for some bigger water experience. Where do you fly into? What is the best time to go? Should I bring all my gear including boat? Sell it when I leave because of lack of boats down there? How long should the trip be to be able to spend adequate time on the Futa before moving to the Rio Baker. Traveling around should I buy a car, and sell it when I leave? And any other info you got. I am getting serious about getting down there. What will an average trip set you back.

Flying_Spaghetti_Monster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-2015   #2
DanOrion's Avatar
Indian Hills, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,448
Having not kayaked the Futa, but having looked into it and ended up on Pucon, here's what I can tell you:

Through Chile, you'd fly into Santiago and then fly to Puerto Montt. From there, you'd take a ferry and a bus to Futa. I understand it's easier to get there via Argentina.

The Futa, like western rivers runs on snow melt. When I was there, Nov/Dec, the Futa was "real big and cold," so I opted to go to Pucon. I understand that January-March is prime Futa season.

In so far as gear, I brought a dry top only and had no problem renting gear in Pucon (actually ended up in Fusilli's old boat). Everything was good quality. I'm not sure if gear is as accessible in Futa. I suggest reaching out to Rodrigo at Kayak Pucon: Kayak Pucon. He's the fucking man and was super helpful with gear and pretty reasonably priced guide services (I was there alone for just a few days while on vaca with wifey). I strongly recommend reaching out to Rodrigo to see what his advice is regarding gear. He might be able to set you up with someone in Futa.

FWIW, Pucon was amazing. Truly stellar whitewater and worth visiting. I'm itching to go back to get on Futa though...I like big.

A few words on Chile: Great country. Food is cheap, bus service is great, very safe, lovely people. Chilean spanish is very hard to get used be ready for that. One thing that really caught me by surprise was Chilean bureaucracy. I'm not sure what the rules are about buying and selling a car, but it may be far more complex than you expect...for example, you could spend a day or two at a government office waiting for some paper to get stamped by four different people. In any case, just be ready for really complex bureaucracy.

And pisco sours too. That's all.

DanOrion is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2015   #3
carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 165
The fastest way to get to Futa is to fly into Futa. Anyway you go starts with SCL, then go to P Montt. You can fly from P Montt to Futa, or take a ferry to Chaiten. Then bus/van to Futa coming in low by casa piedra instead of Futa town.
You could fly to Bariloche or Escuel, Arg. then bus into Futa from the town side.
Take everything but a boat. Plenty down there. You can by new boats cheaper in Pucon than in Glenwood springs.
To get to the Baker overland is two long days on a gravel road from Futa. Or Fly from SCL to Coyaique.
Both rivers are not the Payette. Though Futa and Baker both are usually considered play runs. The Futa canyon goes fine in a play boat boat people seem to use longer faster boats lately. The 2nd and 3rd canyon of the Baker should not be done in a playboat. Though it's has been done.
Buy a car then sell it if you have the time. You'll need an address and Chilean RUT #,
Buying a car is the way to go but it's not for someone with time constraints.
onefatdog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2015   #4
Flying_Spaghetti_Monster's Avatar
Farmington, Utah
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 707
What is a good time frame to paddle there. 3weeks? one month? more?
Flying_Spaghetti_Monster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2015   #5
carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 165
There as in where? Futa 3 weeks is nice. Baker 1 week at least. Chile as a whole you want as much time as possible. 1 month plus...
Don't think of buying and selling a car with less than a month, would be a waste of time. However sometimes boaters sell cars to boaters. If you arrange that prior it would help your cause.
onefatdog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2015   #6
DanOrion's Avatar
Indian Hills, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,448
If you go to Chile, I strongly encourage you to visit the big north, El Norte Grande, and have your own vehicle to drive around. San Pedro del Aticama is a good home base. Amazing exploring to be done in a moon-scape environment.
DanOrion is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2015   #7
Pucon Kayak Hostel's Avatar
Pucón, Chile
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 41
Futa Logistics and Links

Spaghetti Monster you ask some big logistics questions that as the owner of Pucon Kayak Hostel I answer for kayakers each year. Chile is not the easiest logistics destination so hopefully the links and resources provided here will help you make Chile happen.
Your big questions seem to be A. Buying a Vehicle, B. Kayaks, and C. Futa and Baker Logistics.

A. Buying a Vehicle in Chile -
I wrote a how to blog to help kayakers a few years back titled, "Buying your dream kayak vehicle in Chile."
I've bought no less than a dozen vehicles in Chile and this is comprehensive list of what you need to make it happen. An added must - I can not emphasize enough you must get a person to help you buy a vehicle. I pay my guy $US100/day and he has saved me thousands. He researches the vehicles and when I arrive we drive direct to look at them and negotiate. Then he takes care of all paperwork. Since, you will need a RUT number (equivalent to social security#) you will likely need an additional day. Expect minimum of 3 days to buy your wheels. I am happy to refer my guy to help you as he is reliable and he appreciates the work. He can also help you sell it when you have ragged it to Patagonia and back.

Link to Chile's version of Auto Trader-

B. Kayaks
Buying new kayak
Onefatdog pointed out the prices of buying a kayak in Pucon. Rivers, Lakes and Oceans ships containers of kayak gear to Chile and distributes to everyone. I am amazed that you can get kayaks in Chile same price as states. If you are buying retail I recommend pre-ordering your kayak as the post Christmas months may not have your model in stock and it takes RL&O shipping time to restock. Expect to be able to sell your new kayak used at end of trip for $US750-ish. If you buy new and want to sell used send me a message as I often buy first season boats.
Renting a kayak - Chile market rent rates is $US20/day. Pucon Kayak Hostel is proud to state we have the largest rental kayak fleet in South America. PKH annually sales all old and broken kayaks and replaces them with fresh designs. If you decide you want to rent a kayak I would be happy to offer you an extended stay rental. Link to PKH Kayak Rental Fleet.
Note- if you buy or rent a kayak in Pucon you are going to have a logistics challenge getting it south to the Futa. I'll try to demo logistics in a moment.
Renting kayaks at the Futa - I know Nate Mack has a hostel in town of Futa but when I asked him to rent to guests he preferred to just guide and not rent.
Does anyone know whom or what companies rent kayaks at the Futa? I think Cara del Indio has some old designs from back when Liquid Skills based there.
Buying a Used Kayak - Chile is a sellers market. Meaning if you have a kayak you can expect to be able to sell it at the end of your trip. But finding used kayaks is a challenge as guides, companies and kayakers buy them on the spot. PKH has a couple of used kayaks we are selling, see kayak list.

C. Futa and Baker Logistics
If you are just going to Futa then go direct to Puerto Montt or Esquiel Argentina and bus to Futa.

If you need to rent or buy a kayak in Pucon or buy a vehicle in Santiago then you are going to face the great kayaker dilemma to get from north to Futa. The challenge is because at Puerto Montt the Gulfo de Ancud circles up next to the steep walls of the Andes spine. In this short stretch around the gulf the roads do not connect the north to the south of Chile.

Kayakers getting from the north to the south has been the source of some of the greatest and worst roadtrips in kayaker history. Your options.

A. Drive through Argentina - You can not drive from Puerto Montt direct to Argentina. Most kayakers cross near Pucon or Osorno and drive to Bariloche to Esquiel to Futa. This is a big big single day or two day trip. Pointers-
1. Argentina charges a $US160 reciprocity fee. Some kayakers are now opting to spend that money on a ferry boat ride fee south.
2. Driving through Argentina requires some paperwork. At PKH I rent 4 door pickup trucks and each year have to sign notario papers giving permission to drivers to cross the border and you also have to buy an insurance policy covering Argentina. This will likely require you to hire or know someone to help you.
B. Puerto Montt to Chaiten Ferry - Link to ferry and schedules.

I personally like taking the ferries. You can drive from Pucon 4 hours south to Puerto Montt shop at the fish and crafts markets and stock up on food and gas supplies for Futa. The overnight ferry is relaxing a scenic. And you can drive 4 hours the next day from Chaiten to Futa. Downside is that it costs per vehicle and per person. Puerto Montt to Chaiten = 88,000 pesos/vehicle./700 pesos = $US125.71. That's cheaper than the $US160 Argentina reciprocity fee.
Other ferry options:
Drive and take 3 ferries around the Gulf for the roadtrip of a lifetime. PKH actually designed an all-inclusive guied trip called the Road to Futa that cruises through this spectacular section of the world. I know you are not interested in our trip but feel free to look at the itinerary and use it for your own trip. After 15 years of exploring Chile I discovered it last year and will continue to do it every year.
Here is a link to the series of ferries and drive through Parque Pumalin around the gulf -
Hornopiren to Leptu to Fiordo Largo to Caleta Ganzalo Ferries/Drive
A third option that is most often used when kayakers are too late to book their ferry tickets is Puerto Montt to Chiloe (island) to Chaiten. Each of the ferry options tend to add up to about the same cost.
C. Fly Puerto Montt to Futa - this sounds awesome but I don't have experience with it. Does anyone know the cost to fly to Futa?
Can you bus to Futa from the north?
I think bussing from Chaiten to Futa would be a challenge as those are small buses typically jam packed. But if you tried even if the bus denied you I am sure you would eventually get there as it is a trekker hitch hiker rich area of the world. And I think a truck would give you and your kayak a ride. You should give yourself an extra day and food supply though.

Tips - Stock up in Puerto Montt or Esquiel on food supplies and gas/diesel. Futa petro is expensive. And food supplies in town of Futa are scarce due to heavy competition from locals and commercial outfitters. The mercados are small and limited. Staples like produce and bread may just be out of supply until the next truck arrives in 3 days.

Futa from Pucon - PKH had about 6 groups head to the Futa last season. I think we had two groups of kayaker guests self-organize and rent one of our trucks for private Futa missions. Pucon can be a good spot to hop in on or get your kayak delivered to Futa.

Best times for Futa - The past few years the Futa Fest has been the last weekend of February. This means lots of folks are driving south the 2 weeks prior to Futa Fest. I had no less than 10 kayakers ask if I could transport their kayak with our trailer for Futa Fest. January to February and even early March are idea months with best weather and great boating. December and early can be rugged weather and maybe too high for some of the play.

Of note- Pucon area has a remarkable creek season surrounding November.

Logistics to Baker - If Pucon is the spot to catch a ride to the Futa then the Futa is the spot to catch a ride to the Baker. Estimate 12 to 15 hour rugged drive south of Futa. When I say rugged it is hard to understand how harsh these roads are on vehicles. A handful of Futa guides tend to goto the Baker after their Futa season. They've got a pocket full of guide cash and their big water skills are keen after a season on the Futa. I'd suggest getting to Futa in February and asking every guide and kayaker who is headed to the Baker. If you are good enough someone will likely let you pay gas for a seat.
You are awesome welcome to post on the PKH facebook page and offer to pay gas for a seat or whatever.

This is a lot of info and I hope it helps you plan your trip. Feel free to email me David(at) if you have specific questions.

Keep Kayaking.
Pucon Kayak Hostel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2015   #8
GWS, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 133
^^ Holy shit talk about over complicating the process.

Step 1, find four friends.
Step 2, fly to puerto montt with your kayaks.
Step 3, rent a new toyota hilux in puerto montt, flat rate $1100 a month this January. Book ahead of time.
Step 4, get a free road map of patagonia at your first gas stop.
Step 5, drive south. You'll be paddling on the futa in less than 24 in the country.

Avoid pucon like the plauge.
Shitouta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2015   #9
carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 165
Ummm yeah, not that simple...
If you fly into P Montt and "drive south" you'll never get to Futa. As David points out, there is no road from HWY 5, Chile mainland to futa. You'll need to schedule a ferry. David can help you with that.
If you rent a truck, be aware that you will not be able to cross into to arg in the rental. Big deal when dealing with logistics.
If you fly with your kayak, be prepared to ditch it when the airline clerk denies you a boarding pass. Really bring someone to the airport just in case.
I'm pretty sure the Copec and YPF maps are not free. cost about 2500 chp. definitely get one. copec is the best.
Pucon Jan and Feb is a zoo. But if you like to party it's the place to be.
If you're there in nov or dec you'll be around the best kayaking on the planet.
onefatdog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2015   #10
Pucon Kayak Hostel's Avatar
Pucón, Chile
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 41
You can't just drive south from Puerto Montt

Shitouta - point received and apologies for the long answer but Spaghetti Monster asked 3 loaded questions that require serious logistics. All three of his questions if properly researched each require a full blog dedication.

The solution you provided of renting in Puerto Montt I actually like and think is an economical option better than buying if a month or shorter. The more I think about it the more a month long Futa to Baker trip with the Puerto Montt rental option is brilliant. If SM wanted to indeed buy a vehicle then the provided resourceful links to auto prices and a how to buy vehicle link would help. It's not easy.

Due to the ferry you can't just show up to Puerto Montt and drive south to Futa. And first time travelers in Chile are interested in knowing why the challenges and all the options. At peak season (FEB) you at a minimum need a 3 week advance ferry reservation. To which I provided a resourceful link to not one but two ferry options giving the option to take a road trip around the gulf or go direct Puerto Montt to Chaiten or Isla Chiloe to Chaiten. Many kayakers have missed the ferry by not having a reservation and found themselves hustling on one of the other ferry options I listed. As the owner of a Chile business if I leave out logistics info that seriously screws someone's trip or costs them unexpected loss of days or finances then that's a big deal. Trust there are some helpful links and resources in that text.
Making reservations with the ferries online is a challenge within itself.
No need to harsh on Pucon? Pucon is a beautiful place with remarkable rivers and community of kayakers. Please keep in mind it is home to some of us. I invite you to stop by the next time you are in Chile for a beer or a cup of mate or a lap on the Palguin or Trancura.
Keep Kayaking.

Pucon Kayak Hostel is offline   Reply With Quote


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Topic Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Chile in March - Futa and what else? thatguy Whitewater Kayaking 1 12-24-2009 08:51 AM
Anybody going to Futa this year Brian McKnight Whitewater Kayaking 14 11-16-2009 12:00 PM
Futa Chile boating Feb - March 09 alisongodlewski Kayaking | Trip Planner 2 12-04-2008 04:35 PM
Futa Volcano Relief Fund j.tipton The Eddy 0 05-18-2008 08:17 AM
Remember Futa... kayakerkev Whitewater Kayaking 2 02-18-2008 02:20 PM

» Classified Ads
Wavesport Diesel 60

posted by pattimiller747

Cool colors - purples, black and greys Lightly used two...

Demo 2016 Jackson Side...

posted by 4CRS

Used 2016 Jackson Side Kick kid's whitewater kayak -...

Fiberglass Slalom boat

posted by Krynn

Glass Slalom Boat. Great edges. Fast boat. Snapdragon...

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2012 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:56 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.