The Best Whitewater Rafting: 6. Futaleufu River, Chile

Enjoy the amenities at permanent camps built along the river

Jul 2, 2012
Outside Magazine
Futaleufu River

Take in the gorgeous Patagonian scenery from the Futaleufu    Photo: ECHO River Trips

This Class III-V roiling mass of whitewater is one Patagonian river that hasn’t been dammed—yet. Raft it before Chilean hydroelectric companies run a massive (and ugly) power transmission line through the valley.

This classic ride is singular not only in Patagonian scenery, but the Futaleufu is also unique in that the guiding company that pioneered it, Earth River Expeditions, has built permanent river camps into cliff dwellings with riverside stone hot tubs, hot showers, treehouses, and beds.

While it’s not necessary to portage any of the rapids, a horseback and hiking trail follows the entire length of the river, so at any point the option to walk is always there. And when you’re not rafting or kayaking, there’s horseback riding, rock climbing, rapelling, and canyoneering.

U.S.-based operators like ECHO River Trips offer trips on the Fu, but they are operated in conjunction with Earth River. $3,400; best time to go is February.

Filed To: Rafting, Travel, Patagonia