international kayak travel advice - The Factors That Matter? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 08-10-2015   #1
SLC, Utarr
Paddling Since: 08
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 68
international kayak travel advice - The Factors That Matter?

Hey all,

I speak fluent spanish, and have the itch to try some south or central american kayaking. Class Fun paddler (IV), and my all time favorite run is the Roaring Fork's Slaughterhouse.

I'll probably bring a close friend who loves doing logistics as frankly i forget stuff in bus stations more than usual and wonder why the train didn't arrive at 3 when i was supposed to be there at 2.

So, international kayak travel advice re: 4 points below?

I've noticed from other travel that trip factors that really make it memorable aren't the rivers necessarily but:

1) The folks you meet randomly and form bonds with whether 1 night at the bar or 4 weeks in a language program.

2) The stoke is high when the guide is not concerned with getting all in the party at a comfortable skill level. I'll go with a small group of 2 to 4 higher level boaters i know are mellow and flexible with trip hiccups.

3) I prefer to do just enough planning not too much, alloweing for the spontaneity of the trip to deliver
For ejemplo, problem solving how to get a goat and 4 chickens out of your creeker while strapped to the top of a bus is where the hilarious absurdity and memories are made.

4)All that covered, why doncha recommend some specific class III and IV boulder garden/technical rivers in Ecuador, Peru, or any other hotbed of Rios that look like Slaughterhouse of the Roaring Fork.*

*Portageable waterfalls highly preferred. Drops bigger than 10 aren't my jam. Scorpioned my L4 vertebrae off a straightline at Alta years ago.

Any other advice? I do struggle with logistics so any advice on how to lessen that struggle would be swell. Other than delegating to friends.

Gracias a todos! -TMNTT

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Old 08-10-2015   #2
carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 185
Go to Pucon, Chile. You'll have a ball..
Lots of people and guides to paddle with.
Lots of excellent rivers around. Not many like Slaughterhouse though. Sorta
Chile will put your fluent Spanish to the test Cachay...
Get a copy of "How to Survive in the Chilean Jungle" for some kicks.
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Old 08-11-2015   #3
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Apr 2007
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Guatemala...based out of Antigua..Pac coast many III -IV options...totally agree with point 3...check Rios Guatemala and Mayanwhitewater...too bad you don't like falls ,many low consequence travertine falls around Chiapas,BZ,and parts of Guat.....
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Old 08-11-2015   #4
SLC, Utarr
Paddling Since: 08
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 68
Love Guatemala. I've not seen the Peten but yes, that country's gorgeous. Never yaked it. I'll look into that. Airfare could be cheaper then all the way to Peru.

I know I'd love big drops. Skiing there's nothing like a nice 30 ft boost. But sadly, too much framing and that scorpion maneuver at Alta has warded me away from them if I want to continue kayaking.

Any other tidbits or especially boulder garden rios? I see a ton in the ads for and so Ecuador may be the place for me.
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Old 08-12-2015   #5
SLC, Utarr
Paddling Since: 08
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 68
bump for any other words of wisdom. cheers
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Old 08-13-2015   #6
Pucon Chile Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 133
Kayak Travel Tips and Chile

First, I am the owner of Pucon Kayak Hostel and am understandably biased to Chile. But I'll be honest with general travel tips and river specs.

My experiences in Central and South America are Ecuador, Costa Rica, Argentina, DR, and Chile. And each of these can offer all of the adventures you described.

You mentioned bus stations. My first advice is to be your most protective at the bus stations and on the buses. All of these destinations use the "distract and snatch" method of petty theft. I've had friends lose their camera while they snoozed on an Ecuador bus. A girlfriend have her window broken in Costa Rica. And I personally have chased a bandit from my bedroom at 5 am on Christmas morning in Chile. If I am in a bus station I tie my bags together, or to my body, or to a table. Tying bags to things is a preventative of the snatch and run. I also suggest the Clint Eastwood method. How would Clint protect himself in those classic cowboy movies? Sit in the back of the bar with your back to the wall looking like a badass. By making your bags hard to get to and hard to escape you've already helped yourself.

I think what you described for busy water boating sounds like Ecuador would be a hit. Chile has lots of waterfalls but there are even more runs without cascades too. Pucon Kayak Hostel is based right at the takeout for the Upper Trancura and putin for the Lower Trancura. Other runs in the area without cascades would be Puesco, Maichin, Sand Pedro, Middle Fuy below the 50 footer canyon, Lower Fuy. To the north would be the Maipo and Nuble rivers. And to the south the Futaleufu attracts lots of annual kayakers.

PKH offers everything from show-up and do-it-yourself by renting a boat and shuttle to all-inclusive guided trips to destinations like the Futa and Teacups. We'd be enthusiastic to host you and happy to offer free logistics advice.

What other travel tips do you need help with?

Keep Kayaking.

Owner, Pucon Kayak Hostel
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Old 08-13-2015   #7
SLC, Utarr
Paddling Since: 08
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 68
Badass, sir! And a 2nd bump for Pucon Kayak Hostel. That's excellent that you guys outfit for the whole range of boaters from DIY gypsy boaters to folks lookin for the whole package.
I'll post questions if I think of any. Most helpful are just knowing some of these rivers so thanks for throwing those out there! I'll suggest your Hostel to friends and family. Cheers!
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Old 08-13-2015   #8
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Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 122

Go to Ecuador! It is awesome. It was described to me by a very respected paddler as the highest concentration of high quality, easily accessible whitewater in the world. I have yet to find another place that compares. Endless boulder garden rivers, warm water, incredibly cheap. The shuttles are all very easy, great paddling communities that are easy to link up with in Baeza, stay at Gina's for $5/night and get free moonshine and home cooking. You can fly to Quito and paddle the same day. Its not the blue waters of Chile but its a lot cheaper, more accessible, really fun, less pretentious, lots of great people and definitely a fun place to practice your spanish. Abe Herrera is the Boof Sessions guy, he is a great resource and is connected with Small World as well.
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