Is 2 weeks long enough for Chile?

Inland paddling
Post Reply
User avatar
Posts: 3316
Joined: Thu May 05, 2005 11:37 pm
Location: Harrogate, Yorkshire
Has thanked: 4 times
Been thanked: 3 times

Is 2 weeks long enough for Chile?

Post by banzer »


Before I get too old I'd love to do the Rio Claro. Tentatively thinking Nov 2020. Spend two or three days there.

From what I gather, Nov is a good time for Pucon, a bit low in Jan. Is the Claro similar? If it was a choice of catching Pucon at ideal levels or the Claro, I would opt for the Claro. Dec is probably out due to family commitments (I think there's some sort of religious festival stolen from the pagans or something).

Are you best arranging it all via one of the Pucon operators and travelling up to the Claro with them, or doing the Claro first as it's nearer Santiago (is there a local operator?) then heading south to Pucon after?

I have the guidebook so keen for a bit of Fuy and (some of) the Palguin. Probably won't have time for the Futaleufu, not overly bothered but nice if time.

Any suggestions gratefully received!
A. Boater wrote:It's all Pierre's fault

Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 6:25 pm

Re: Is 2 weeks long enough for Chile?

Post by BobbyR »

A group of us went to Chile for 2 weeks last year. Last week Nov and first week Dec. A road trip from Santiago to Puerto Montt with a main stop at Pucon. Going to Rio Claro (the other one), Rio Teno, Rio Claro (famous one), Rio Nuble, Rio Bio Bio, Rio Trancura, Rio Palguin (couple of times), Rio Fuy and Rio Petrohue. We had a few days off boozing in Pucon, lovely place. Very diverse whitewater but a lot of road travel. We went with Kayak School Arlberg. I can imagine self-organised trips being a pain with finding put ins and getting access (through locked gates). Spanish speakers in the group are very handy.

Rio Claro is quite a distance between both Santiago and Pucon. So best to plan on paddling some in between places as well. Bio Bio was fun if you like massive wave trains.
Honestly though I could spend a week in Pucon drinking ale and just paddling the Palguin.

And what is too old? Rio Claro was my first waterfall and I was 39.

Posts: 295
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2005 9:08 am
Location: Geneva

Re: Is 2 weeks long enough for Chile?

Post by Myles »

It's an amazing place and definitely possible in 2 weeks. I went the 2nd and 3rd weeks in November (2015). Went on my own as plans for Nepal (Thuli Bheri) fell through, so signed up last minute to a trip with the Pucon Kayak Hostel. November seems to be a good time for both the claro and pucon but I think it can depend a little on the season.

We flew to Santiago, got picked up from the airport and spent a few days on the Maipo before heading to the Claro. This was a bit high so we only got the section with the 7 drops in but it's a beautiful river. Then headed back to Pucon via the Nuble and spent some time on the local rivers. I then flew back to Santiago from near to Pucon.

I think I was lucky as we had a great group (mix of youngsters and oldies). Even spending 3-4 days off the water after hurting my shoulder didn't dampen my opinion of the trip, but I guess it can depend on the guides etc.

I'd give these guys a shout to see what they suggest

If you do go to Pucon try to get on the Nevados, it's amazing.

Peter Brown
Posts: 258
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 10:59 am
Location: Glasgow

Re: Is 2 weeks long enough for Chile?

Post by Peter Brown »

The further south the later the season. We got a little low levels in Pucon in Jan, further south towards Patagonia was better, but all good fun. If your guidebook is Whitewater Chile (whatever edition was out in 2014) then it's not great for finding get ons and offs. We flew into Pucon, got driven around by them for a while then hired for a roadtrip south, worked quite well. You could do same but go north. It would be a struggle to do it yourself with no Spanish as plenty of locals don't speak English. A really great place all round, I would def go back.

Posts: 5884
Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2002 12:12 pm
Location: Sometimes Sunny Somerset
Has thanked: 8 times
Been thanked: 51 times

Re: Is 2 weeks long enough for Chile?

Post by jmmoxon »

Short answer to original question: No, but then neither is a month! As suggested, you will want to book a guide who can supply boats to make best use of such a quick trip - they can meet you in Santiago & tour down the rivers to Pucon (or further south).

Claro will always be hit or miss as to whether you get levels to run anything but the Seven teacups & could well be too high in November - bit like planning a trip months ahead to paddle something in Wales.

If you have more time then it is perfectly feasible to find other paddlers around Pucon, the Maipo (especially at weekends - the local run for Santiago), or do a rush trip (flying) to the Futa (last time I was there I paddled 20 out of 21 days, but that involved taking the ferry or driving through Argentina). Anywhere else you will be lucky to find boaters, as they tend to just pass through for a day or so.

Region 14 was created 12 years ago between Regions 9 & 10 (south of Pucon, north of Puerto Montt), so is a bit confusing in the guide - especially as all of it's pages are labelled 12 !

Laja is another stunning river...

There is also this online guide:

Mike Links to websites with info on white water, touring, sea & surf.

Post Reply

Return to “Whitewater and Touring”