Three kayakers paddling on the Futaleufu River in southern Chile

Kayaking the "Fu"

Chile's beautiful Futaleufu is known for its vividly colored waters and for its roiling rapids, which attract rafters from around the world.  The river's isolation in a very remote part of southern Chile, surrounded by volcanoes, glaciers, and forests, has left it a pristine environment.

Photo by Londie G. Padelsky

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Futaleufu Adventure route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $4695  
Length: 8 days
Arrive: Puerto Montt, Chile
Depart: Chaiten, Chile
Lodging: 1 night hotel, 1 night in wilderness lodge, 5 nights in exclusive private camps with flush toilets
Meals: All meals included
Activity: Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level: Moderate to strenuous hiking, 2-6 hours a day, numerous optional multi-sport activities
4

Highlights

  • Spectacular mountain trekking alongside a translucent turquoise river
  • Virgin hardwood forests, snow-capped Patagonian towers
  • Five exclusive camps all to ourselves, complete with hot tubs and treehouses for sleeping
  • Choice of activities: hiking, kayaking, rafting, canyoneering, rock climbing, rappelling, zip line, and Tyrolean traverse


The camps along the river were phenomenal. Being able to sleep in the shelters, with a view onto the river or lake was wonderful. You could just open your eyes in the middle of the night and look at amazing stars. Having wood-heated hot tubs at every camp was a decadent luxury. And Champagne on New Year's Eve!Maria S.—Yardley, PA

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Departure Notes

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

Imagine grander rapids than the Colorado, scenery on a scale rivaling Alaska, no bugs, and summertime from December through March! The Futaleufú adventure in northern Patagonia is a marvelous journey along a translucent ribbon of aquamarine water flowing through a primeval forest below snow-capped peaks and soaring Patagonian towers. Recently trip members have been describing the scenery of the Futaleufú as “right out of Avatar.” Our unique multi-sport adventure uses a gorgeous trail system to connect five exotic, remote camps and the multitude of activities they offer, from rafting and kayaking to hiking—and we have these camps all to ourselves! This exotic Patagonian trip just might be the world’s wildest, most comfortable camping expedition—camp amenities include flush toilets and hot showers. Stunning views abound, and all multi-sport activities are designed for novices, opening up this amazing part of Patagonia to anyone in reasonably good shape with a spirit of adventure.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-2
Puerto Varas, Chile / Puerto Montt / Chaiten / Terminador Camp

Fly to Puerto Montt, where you are met and transferred to the nearby town of Puerto Varas on the shores of Lago Llanquihue. The next day, we fly over fjords and rainforest to the small town of Chaitén and drive to our trailhead for a hike to our first camp, Terminador, with its mile of private riverfront on the roiling Futaleufu.

Days 3-5
Tres Monjas Camp / Cave Camp / Treehouse Camp

We hike to Tres Monjas Camp, set near the confluence of the Rio Azul and the Futaleufu, continuing the next day along the Futaleufu River to spectacular Cave Camp, feasting our eyes on the turquoise waters of the roaring river and the backdrop of Alps-like snow-capped peaks. At times, our trail is carved right out of a cliff face hundreds of feet above the Fu. From this camp, we offer an optional climb of Torre de los Vientos (Tower of the Winds), a 300-foot granite tower. On Day 5, our trails bring us to Treehouse Camp, suspended above the forest canopy with fantastic views, with an optional hike up Condor Mountain.

Days 6-8
Campo Mapu Leufu / Lago Yelcho Lodge / Puerto Montt

Our last hike brings us to Campo Mapu Leufu (either by hiking or a whitewater rafting). On Day 7, a 1.5-hour kayaking journey on a placid section of the Futaleufu is our farewell to the river, and we overnight at Lago Yelcho Lodge on beautiful Lago Yelcho, a world-class trout-fishing lake. The next day, we drive to Chaitén, fly to Puerto Montt, and onward to Santiago for departure

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extension:

What the Trip is Like

The trip is Level 4, Moderate to Strenuous. Hikes range from two to six hours, and there are additional hiking options available at most of our camps. Although the hiking is at low elevations (never above 2,500 feet), some of the route is on rough trails, so trip members must be fit, in good condition, steady on their feet, and able to negotiate steep, rock-strewn ascents and descents. In Patagonia, rain is possible any time and can make some trails muddy and slippery. Because of the unpredictable weather, we may adjust the itinerary and hiking options when necessary.     

You should make a concerted effort to get in top physical condition for the trip by engaging in regular exercise that may be well beyond your normal routine. A brisk 30-45 minute walk every other day over moderately steep terrain can do wonders for your conditioning. Practice hiking with your loaded daypack (full water bottle, camera gear, jacket). A program of regular hikes is the best way to get in shape for an active trip and a great way to break in your boots.

Explanation of Trip Levels

 

Departures

Future dates have not been set for this itinerary. Please contact us if you would like to be notified of trip dates once they are available.

Trip Cost

Prices valid through Spring 2015
$4695 (13-15 members)
$4895 (10-12 members)
$5095 (6-9 members)
Single supplement: $400
Forced single supplement: $200
more on pricing

Extension Costs
Paine National Park Extension
   from: $2495

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides
  • Accommodations in hotels, comfortable cabins, and camps
  • Land and boat transportation
  • All meals included
  • Sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and flannel sleeping sheet sacks
  • Sightseeing as noted in the Full Trip Brochure

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare, internal flights between Puerto Montt and Chaiten, transfers for independent arrival or departure, airport departure taxes, any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Full Trip Brochure, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, additional hotel nights that may be necessitated by airline schedule changes or other factors, pre-trip expenses of medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance, passports and visas, and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20%
60 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule

More than 90 days prior to departure: No charge!
46-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

Cabanas del Lago

Cabanas del Lago

Day 1 (1 night), Puerto Varas, Chile

The Cabanas del Lago has unobstructed views of the lake and the surrounding volcanoes, and it's just a five-minute walk into town.  Rooms are ...
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Terminador Camp

Terminador Camp

Day 2 (1 night), Futaleufu River, Chile

This camp, which we have all to ourselves, as we do our other camps, has a mile of private riverfront on the Futaleufu and sits on a dramatic bluff ...
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Tres Monjas Camp

Tres Monjas Camp

Day 3 (1 night), Futaleufu River, Chile

This beautiful camp offers us private, hand-hewn log cabins and a wood-fired hot tub. Meals are taken in a dining cabin, and there is plenty of hot ...
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Cave Camp

Cave Camp

Day 4 (1 night), 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 ...
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Treehouse Camp

Treehouse Camp

Day 5 (1 night), Futaleufu River, Chile

A deep lake shrouded in an ancient hardwood forest is the centerpiece of this extraordinary camp. There are eight hexagonal, gazebo-like structures ...
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Mapu Leufu Camp

Mapu Leufu Camp

Day 6 (1 night), Futaleufu River, Chile

Situated on a secluded bluff over the river with 360-degree views of glaciers and towering mountains, Campo Mapu Leufu’s cliff dwellings and ...
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Lago Yelcho Lodge

Lago Yelcho Lodge

Day 7 (1 night), Yelcho En La Patagonia, Chile

The lodge, with its splendid location on the shore of Lake Yelcho, features eight guest rooms, all with private bath. Lake and mountain views are ...
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Extension Accommodations

If you would like to view the accommodations offered with our extensions option:

Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extension:

Chile

Paine National Park Extension

Granite Towers, Huge Glaciers, Iceberg-Dotted Lakes

Hiking / Trekking, Wildlife & Natural History
5 days  -  Level 2

Client Comments

The camps along the river were phenomenal. Being able to sleep in the shelters, with a view onto the river or lake was wonderful. You could just open your eyes in the middle of the night and look at amazing stars. Having wood-heated hot tubs at every camp was a decadent luxury. And Champagne on New Year's Eve! Maria S., Yardley, PA It was extremely well done. Well organized, well executed, the food fantastic, the campsites great. We all agreed that this was the best trip we’ve taken. It was really spectacular. Charles H., Greensboro, NC The variety of experiences was excellent, from hiking to horseback riding to whitewater rafting and canyoneering. Ann K., New York, NY The best organized trip I’ve ever been on. Our group became a team and a family. I’m sold on WT! John C., Indianapolis, IN The camps on the Futaleufu were truly heaven. The hot tubs were an awesome surprise! Jane N., Emerald Hills, CA
It was a marvelous trip, extraordinary country, beautifully and discreetly organized, wonderful care for all trip members. It was all due to the generosity and experience of Robert Currie and his family. And on top of all that - what a landscape. Mason S., Cambridge, MA The food was very good—I loved coming into camp and being greeted by a whole lamb on the spit! Jolie M., Park City, UT The camps were extraordinary, the highlights of the trip. Camp food was also excellent—fresh vegetables and fruits every day. David N., Mountainville, NY Wonderful trip. Itinerary was well paced, the remote locations were fabulous, and the staff helpful and knowledgeable. It was great to get unplugged! Sandra S., Palo Alto, CA The best adventure trip ever! Paul T., Evergreen, CO