Futaleufu River, Chile
The main shelter here, referred to by locals as the “house of stone,” is not actually a cave. It is formed by a massive overhanging slab of white granite that rests on two boulders. There is a sand floor below, a natural sky light above, and a giant fireplace against the rear wall. The most popular places to put your sleeping bags at Cave Camp are in 18 open-air cliff platforms perched in the massive boulders and cliffs above Zeta Rapid. Each platform is open-air on the river side, offering an amazing view of the tumultuous water. Just downstream from camp is a smooth, heart-shaped pothole filled with fresh water whose waters we heat to 105° with a wood fire, making it a natural hot tub. With its smooth, sloping walls, it is an ideal place for a relaxing soak beneath the brilliant stars of the Southern Hemisphere. In front of the main stone shelter is spring-fed Laguito Azul (Little Blue Lake), set in an amphitheater of granite towers surrounded by lush vegetation. Its brilliant blue water is so clear you can see the giant German Brown trout swimming 30 feet down.