river rafting in Futaleufu Chile

White Water Rafting in Futaleufu

White Water Rafting in futaleufu

Whether you’re on a Carretera Austral road trip or have just crossed over the border from Argentina. River rafting is the main draw card in the tiny town of Futaleufu. The area is a mecca for whitewater enthusiasts and thrill-seekers alike with people coming from all over the world to paddle these rivers. If you have some experience or have the time to learn, many companies offer white water kayaking lessons or boats for hire. This is a great way to fully experience the river in a smaller craft that is much more responsive. The rapids also appear much bigger and are more challenging to negotiate in a kayak. But, if you are wanting to jump right in and tackle the biggest rapids with the best adrenaline rush possible. The only way possible is being led by an experienced guide while white water rafting in Futaleufu.

Depending on the time of year and the water level there are generally a few different tour options available. However, it is the bridge to bridge section that the town is known for. Rafting in Chile is very safe and regulated unlike a lot of other countries in South America. We were very impressed with the safety standards, quality of gear and professionalism of the company we chose to go white water rafting with. 

white water rafting in futaleufu

getting on the water

The cost of the half day white water rafting in Futaleufu isn’t cheap. At 50,000 CLP a person, it’s actually quite expensive. However, included in the price is transport, all of the necessary gear and snacks. Photos are also available for an additional cost.

We left town at 8 in the morning and from here it was a very bumpy bus ride to the starting point. When we arrived the guides gave us a demonstration and explanation on how all of the gear worked. Once we were kitted up it was time to hit the river for some white water rafting.

Once on the water we went over a few more safety instructions, practiced flipping the raft and how to get back. So we would know what to do if it happened on a rapid. Given the unpredictable weather in Patagonia, we were thrilled that we got a gorgeous sunny day and couldn’t wait to cool off in the water. 

Each of the 3 rafts had 6 participants with 1 guide. There were also 3 separate safety rafts, each with one guide following us down the river. 


White water rafting in futaleufu

White Water Rafting in futaleufu

Before long, we were off white water rafting and fast approaching our first rapid. Above each rapid the guide gave us a detailed explanation of what to expect and how we were going to negotiate the features. The rapids on this section of river are classified from class 3 to 5, out of a possible 5. They are swift and turbulent and a whole lot of fun. After we successfully navigated our way through each rapid, we would have time to rest and re-group in the calmer waters below, before moving onto the next section.

The journey continued for another hour and half until we reached the finish point. Once off the water and changed into dry clothes we were served a delicious morning tea on the banks of the mighty Futaleufu river. We then hopped back onto the bus and arrived back in town around 1pm in the afternoon.

The river had some fantastic rapids with incredible views of the surrounding glaciers and snow-covered mountains. The guides were great and had a lot expertise and experience. Our day white water rafting in Futaleufu was one of the main highlights of our time in Chile.

How to get to futaleufu

One of the many good things about Futaleufu besides it’s incredible white water rafting is it’s scenic, but remote location. The downside to this is that it can make getting there a bit of an adventure.

There are buses that go directly from Puerto Montt crossing through Argentina to reach Futaleufú. Or Kemel Bus leave from the Puerto Montt bus station at 7:00 AM everyday. Taking around 9 hours to reach Chaitén, where a second bus waits for those wanting to make the rest of the journey to Futaleufú.

Or if you are wanting to travel through Chile making stops along the Carretera Austral or Chiloe Island there are a couple of options. First arriving in Chaiten and then from there making your way to Futaleufu.

The Naviera Austral ferry has runs to Chaiten from Puero Montt or Chiloe Island. It only runs a few times a week, but you can check out the schedule here and Becker transport have buses going to and from Coyhaique .

Where to stay while white water rafting in Futaleufu

There isn’t a great deal of options in town but Hostel Las Natalias is fantastic. They can also organise your rafting trip or any other local adventures for you. Dorms start from 14,000 CLP.

We hope that you will have as much fun white water rafting in Futaleufu as we did! 

Josh & Ruby

two lost feet

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