Futaleufu Yoga

9 Days from $3600 plus r/t flights between Puerto Montt and Chaiten ($200)

Awakening the Soul: Yoga and Multi-Sport Retreat in Patagonia, Chile.

Featuring: amazing teachers, delicious organic cuisine, deluxe riverside adventure camp, massage, hot tubs, sauna, wine tasting, salsa and tango lessons, shamanic breath and energy work, and heart-opening multi-sport activities in the most beautiful setting in the world!

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Futaleufu Yoga

Awaken your soul in the heart of Patagonia!

This 9-day immersion into deep yogic practice features dynamic yoga teachers, 2 yoga sessions daily, Yoga-Flamenco Fusion, shamanic breath and energy work, delicious organic cuisine, our beautiful riverside adventure camp, incredible heart opening adventure activities, our amazing staff of guides, and the prana of Patagonia.  This is a yoga retreat like no other!  As one of the premiere adventure travel companies in the world, we are delighted to offer a yoga retreat at our signature destination in Chile.  The Futaleufu River is the place where we discovered and developed that magical alchemy of adventure, rivers, culture, camaraderie, and unique touches that have come to represent who we are at Bio Bio Expeditions.  Blending a yoga retreat into our signature trip truly unites everything we stand for and will be your Yoga Adventure of a Lifetime!

THE YOGA –  We will “Awaken the Soul” through yoga practices designed to open your awareness and your energetic and physical bodies to the abundance of prana (life-force) in nature and in you.  We will focus on improving our ability to be relaxed, mindful and centered with daily meditations and pranayama (breathing practices).  Strengthening and stamina-building, flow-style yoga as well as gentle practices will be offered. Although attention to alignment is always given, the emphasis of our practices will be on awakening the soul and reconnecting to our essence ~ that lovely and highest aspect of ourselves that is in harmony with all of life and nature.  Whether practicing on the outdoor yoga deck which is perched on a cliff overlooking the turquoise river and glacier capped peaks, or inside the golden hued “FutaFlow Yoga Loft” with huge windows letting in the views of mountains and forest, or meditating in the riverside yoga pagoda.  There will be a variety of styles and levels offered for a vibrant, well-rounded retreat.  To complement the yoga asana practice, there will be additional heart opening, soul awakening activities such as:  guided meditation, shamanic breathing and energy practices, Native Andean-American fire ceremony, floating meditation, permaculture discussions, Yoga-Flamenco fusion classes and salsa and tango dancing.

THE ADVENTURE – Working symbiotically with these spiritual practices are the amazing adventure activities we specialize in, such as:  whitewater rafting and inflatable kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and fly-fishing.  During all of these activities you are in the skilled hands of our multi-talented, safety oriented, nurturing, and incredibly gifted guide staff.

THE AMENITIES – The retreat takes place at the Bio Bio Expeditions Adventure Camp in the Futaleufu River Valley, the heart of northern Patagonia.  You will wake up under a cozy down comforter to the sound of the river flowing by and a hot cup of coffee or tea will be delivered to your river-front tent bungalow.  In between activities ,relax in one of two riverside hot tubs, luxuriate with a professional massage, curl up with a book in a hammock at the open-air library, or enjoy our wood fired sauna.  Meals are gourmet affairs featuring organic produce from our own garden and prepared by our professional chef.  Evening amenities include wine tasting at the sunset bar, salsa dancing under the Southern Cross, or just chilling out around the campfire with a cup of tea!

THE TEAM – In addition to our beloved long time guide staff, we are pleased to introduce our Yoga Team.  Our teachers have years of experience, hundreds of hours of training, are accomplished outdoor athletes in a variety of sports, and are fun-loving, incredibly gifted, and eager to facilitate Awakening the Soul in Chile!

 

Evaluna Ramirez de Arellano – 

Eva Luna is a native of Chile, yet more so, a resident of planet Earth!  She has lived, worked, and studied in Chile, the US, Canada, Costa Rica, Peru, Argentina, Spain and New Zealand.  Eva has a strong yoga practice and has created a fusion of the primary Ashtanga series with basic Flamenco techniques.  This fusion brings strength, flexibility and endurance to the body and stillness to the mind while connecting your inner dancer with the ongoing rhythm of the universe.  Eva Luna will guide you through the fundamentals of Ashtanga yoga, sun salutations, uijayi breath, energy locks and vinyasas as well as flamenco posture, arm and hand work, balance, and four count rhythm.  Eva Luna is also an accomplished gardener exploring the permaculture ethic at her two farms in rural Chile.  Eva Luna is an artist, mother of two, and one of the pioneer Class 5 women whitewater kayakers in Chile.

Itinerary Snapshot

Day 1

Arrive in Santiago,Chile.  After completing customs, transfer onto a domestic flight to Puerto Montt.  Transfer to the scenic town of Puerto Varas on Lago Llanquihue. Overnight in Cabanas Del Lago Hotel. (D)

Day 2

Drive to Aerodromo Marcel Merchant in Puerto Montt to take your short scenic flight to Chaiten. We drive through the temperate rainforest, passing countless waterfalls and hanging glaciers surrounded by jagged mountain peaks! We will pause for a short hike and a picnic lunch in Pumalin National Park. Arrive early afternoon at camp; camp orientation, swim, hot tub, and welcome happy hour. (B+L+D)

Day 3

Start the day with a Yoga class, or catch up on some sleep after long international travel. Breakfast of champions and get ready to raft the Futaleufu river! Todays introduction and “warm up” is complete with safety briefing and paddle training on the famous Bridge to Bridge section. In the afternoon you may choose from mountain biking, hiking, fly-fishing class and our popular intro to hard shell, river kayaking clinic. (B+L+D)

Day 4

Step-up the rafting today! Raft from camp through Bridge to Bridge again and add on class V Mas o Menos and  Casa de Piedra rapids – class V.  After the tough rapids, we switch gear and Kayak Clinic part II starts, you can fish or just ” booze cruise “ as we drift into lunch which is served off the grill on a remote island where we will relax. After lunch resume the kayaking and a most scenic mellow float for 5 kms to Puerto Ramirez take out. Short drive back to camp for hot tubbing, massage, relaxing and dinner!  (B+L+D)

Day 5

Short drive up the Rio Azul side valley for an exciting class 3 descent in inflatable kayaks! (doubles  and singles!) (B+L+D)

Day 6

Horseback ride deep into the pristine wilderness of the Rio Azul Valley.  Stop for lunch and you will enjoy a quick hike to La Cascada –  a beautiful multi stepped 200 ft + waterfall! (B+L+D)

Day 7

Drive to the Pueblo of Futaleufú. Raft the class V Inferno Canyon from the Rio Espolón to Rio Azul. A  three mile canyon of class V whitewater, Entrance, Wall shot, Dynamite, Flight of Angels and Exit rapids!!  Then float down to Zeta and Throne Room rapids which we walk around, only to resume paddling the exciting “Wild Mile “- four miles of class IV fun rapids. There is the option to only raft the rapids below Inferno Canyon. (B+L+D)

Day 8

Summit day! Raft from the Rio Azul through the Terminator, Kyburz, and Himalayas rapids. Lunch at camp. Raft from camp again to below Casa De Piedra. Optional hiking, mountain biking or fly-fishing activities available as well. Last night in camp: lamb roast/Chilean “asado feast” and wine tasting! (B+L+D)

Day 9

Early morning drive back to Chaiten and 45 min. flight back to Puerto Montt. Take connecting flights home or to next destination!

Some of the activities can be interchanged depending on your preference for the day.

(Legend: B = Breakfast included , L = Lunch included, D = Dinner included)

Awakening the Soul – a Yoga Retreat into the Heart of Patagonia!

Below, you will get a sense of the general itinerary. There will be ample yoga sessions – morning and evening, as well as opportunities for meditation in nature during the adventure activities. The day-to-day itinerary may change depending on weather and water levels, but, everyday will feature multiple yoga sessions and outdoor adventure! Our specialty is custom-creating your adventure trip of a lifetime – if any of the activities doesn’t appeal to you, we have many others to choose from and many amazing guides to accompany you. A note on food: our professional chef can cater to any diet request or need. Please let us know your preferences and allergies and we can assure you a gourmet experience you will never forget!

Day One
Arrive in Santiago, Chile. Collect your luggage, pass through Customs and then re check in for your domestic flight to Puerto Montt – gate way to Patagonia!

Please look for a BBX representative to transfer you 30 minutes to the beautiful town of Puerto Varas, Located on the shores of Lago Llanquihue which is Chile’s second-largest lake! You may experience stunning views of Volcano Osorno weather permitting. Enjoy strolling the streets, famous for its wooden homes built by German immigrants. Depending on your arrival time, rafting, fishing, or a tour to Lago Todos los Santos and Saltos de Petrohue can be arranged. (Not included in trip price)

We will meet at 7:00 pm in the hotel lobby bar for introductions and a welcome briefing to be followed by a group welcome dinner at one of our favorite restaurants where you can indulge in a steak off the parilla or try Chile’s famous seafood! Overnight in the lovely Cabanas del Lago Hotel right on the lake.

Day Two
After breakfast we will board our private vehicle for a 20 minute drive to the La Paloma Airport, where we will board one of the most scenic flights imaginable. In only 30 minutes we will arrive Chaiten, a small fishing village and a gateway to Patagonia. Here you will get an immediate sense of wild and scenic Patagonia! Depending on time, we will take a short hike in Pumalin National Park; one of the largest and most diverse conservation efforts in South America. The 715,000-acre Pumalín Park is located in the Palena Province of Chile, and stretches from the heart of the Andes to the fjords of the Pacific Coast. Protecting a pristine Valdivian temperate rainforest, this is one of Doug Tompkins Conservation Initiatives.

Along our 2 hour drive to Bio Bio basecamp, we pass beautiful Lago Yelcho, multiple hanging glaciers, jagged glaciated peaks, and temperate rainforests. Soon we’ll arrive at the Bio Bio Base Camp, where your private tent bungalows sitting upon raised platforms, complete with river views and comfortable beds, will be waiting for you. Our enthusiastic guides will lead you to your sweet new “home away from home” on the river!

After a short hike or a swim, you may want to soak in the riverside hot tub or enjoy a hot shower. Then, we gather in the sunset bar for our first welcome happy hour. We will introduce the entire BBX crew and go over the week’s agenda. After happy hour, a hearty dinner will be served. It does tend to cool down quite a bit when the sun sets below the peaks so we dress warmly in the evenings.

Day Three
Awaken on the banks of the Fu and enjoy your first morning in camp! One of our multi-talented guides will serve as your “tent captain” for the week and will gently wake you with a cup of hot coffee or tea. The yoga retreat will begin with a grounding, yet invigorating practice by one of our teachers. Our yoga goal for the day is to ground our energy here, at our home in Patagonia, after all the traveling, so we can set the stage for fully embracing the present moment throughout the week. Depending on weather, the yoga will take place either on the cliff-top yoga deck overlooking the river and mountains or in the “Futa-Flow Yoga Loft” our beautiful indoor space. Mornings tend to be crisp and dewy so prepare to dress warmly – a fleece is perfect. A sumptuous breakfast follows – fueling up for an active day! Today is a multi-sport day, starting with a warm-up section of rafting. We will launch our rafts from base camp after a thorough safety briefing. In a safe ‘eddy’, a short distance downstream, we’ll do a set of practice rescue drills. This allows the crew in each raft to hone their skills and prepare to raft as a team.

We use a cataraft combined with ace safety-kayakers as part of our “safety net.” Each raft is captained by a highly trained and intuitive river guide, who guides the boat from a stern-mounted oar frame. Guiding with oars does not detract from the paddling experience. The advantage to the oar frame is greater control in pointing the bow straight through bus size holes and 15-foot high “haystack” wave trains. High siding is also an actively used “paddle” command. This style is consistent with any high volume, strong current river – this is the Futaleufú – one of the world’s most famous whitewater rivers!

The first section that we raft, from camp down to Puente Futaleufú (the Futaleufú Bridge), is only 10 km, but offers more rapids per 1000 meters than anywhere else on the river. It is the perfect warm-up run and it is non-stop fun! The rapids of note are “El Cojín”, the Cushion, and “Mundaca”, a local family name.

At take-out, we meet our vehicles for a 20-minute ride back to camp. When we get to camp, you can choose to go fly-fishing, take a hard shell kayaking lesson, go for a fun mountain bike ride, nap in a hammock, enjoy the sauna, have a massage, go for a hike, or soak in the hot tub. We will gather together again, in one of our yoga spaces, for “Happy Hour Yoga” to unwind after an active day of adventure. The days in January in southern Chile are very long – it isn’t dark until almost 11 pm! After yoga there will still be time for a hot shower or hot tub. Taking a hot shower, either indoors or under the big sky, feels very luxurious while camping in the remote wilderness of northern Patagonia! Of course, for the hardy, the river provides a cold bath and refreshing swim. While waiting for dinner to be served enjoy a glass of wine or juice at the sunset bar – an open bar always stocked with beer, wine, soda, water, and juice. Then, we gather together in the open-air kitchen/dining area, the “Galpon”, for a candlelight sit-down dinner featuring a true “farm-to-fork” dinner with organic produce from our very own garden and fresh-baked breads from the farm adjacent to our land. After dinner, enjoy the campfire and the stars before retiring to your cozy tent on your private platform. The sound of the river will lull you to sleep and send you off dreaming of the next day of adventure in Chile.

Day Four
We will begin the day with either a guided meditation or shamanic breathing exercise followed by an invigorating yoga practice. After breakfast, we will launch our rafts from camp and run the same section as Day 1.  After we pass the Puente Futaleufú (yesterday’s take-out), we immediately round the corner to meet a big stomping continuous cascade of waves known as “Mas o Menos”, translated, “More or Less”. This is a good stepping-stone towards our first true blue class V technical rapid, “Casa de Piedra” (House of Rock) which is right around the next corner. We will get out of our rafts to scout this massive boulder choked rapid from the banks of the Fu. For those who are not interested in running this short class 5 stretch of whitewater, there is an “elegant out” to get out at the bridge, step into the bus, and drive the short distance around the two difficult rapids, getting back on the river just below them.

We will stop for lunch, change into dry clothes, then prepare for the afternoon mellow float down a nice, calm 3 miles of scenic river. Often, condors soar overhead. Those who want to continue with the hard shell kayaking lesson will do so, this time on gentle moving water with abundant safety around. This calm section also offers perfect fishing opportunities. Or, you may just want to relax in the raft and enjoy the beautiful scenery. We will stop at a white sand beach, halfway down, and enjoy a yoga session on the beach, digging our toes into the sand. Upon return to camp, we will continue to celebrate the day, enjoy the hot tubs, get a massage and get ready for another fabulous dinner prepared by our jovial crew and talented chef. After dinner either enjoy the campfire with a cup of tea, or, gather in the sunset bar for a salsa dancing lesson, then practice, under the Southern Cross.

Day Five
We are really getting “into the Flow” as we become one with the rhythms of the river and nature. Our souls are awakening to the prana of Patagonia and the joy of living in the moment! In morning yoga we will be celebrating our independence and finding our center of confidence. We will touch that place of trust – trust in our abilities, our boundaries, our desires. Based on that theme, today we become experts at navigating our very own river crafts, known inflatable kayaks or IK’s. We venture up canyon to the source of the Rio Espolon as it cascades out of the Lago Espolón to find gin clear water and gentle class 2 and 3 rapids that offer a perfect learning opportunity to become a great captain of your own boat. Those who are not interested in the inflatable kayaking may instead do a great mountain bike ride loop through a wilderness preserve habitat of the rare, endangered pudu – the world’s smallest deer. This mountain bike ride meets up at the same spot that the river crew will take out at. (see below)

If there is interest, before we paddle or ride, we will have a chance to stroll around the quaint little town of Futaleufu. There is something deeply satisfying paddling your own boat down river, knowing that your destiny is in your own hands. Of course our highly trained guides will be there to coach you, watch over you and provide safety should you need to be rescued. The Rio Espolon is one of the major tributaries to the Futaleufu river. We will take out at a farm that is a burgeoning permaculture center in the valley. We will get a tour of the farm, organic garden, and have a talk about permaculture by our Chilean friend and guide, Eva Luna. Happy Hour Yoga back at camp, another delicious dinner, then Eva Luna will teach us the the basics of Tango, the sensuous dance of Argentina.

Day Six
Awakening to the sound of the river flowing by, you know this will be another amazing day! Morning yoga will be invigorating and focus on hip openers and releasing tension in the lower back. This yoga will be essential as today is horseback riding! Surf and Turf up and down the Rio Azul valley! After breakfast we take a short drive to the stables where we will find our trusty steeds saddled up and ready for adventurous riding. After a safety briefing, we ride alongside some local expert equestrians and our own river guides who will gladly join the posse up a glorious, pristine side valley where the Rio Azul flows unhindered from its glacial headwaters. After a 3 hour ride, we stop for a picnic lunch, take a short hike to a spectacular waterfall, and then trade in our saddles for paddles to test our talents on the challenging and fun Class 3 Rio Azul, a significant step up in difficulty from the Rio Espolon. For those who want help, our river guides are happy to paddle with you, in a double ducky, making for a more relaxing ride. There are other options of coures: those who are not interested in riding horses can instead do the same trail on foot – a great hike! And, those who prefer not to “ducky” can continue back to camp by horse, by bike, by foot or by bus – the options are endless! This is your adventure vacation and we want to custom tailor it to your desires! This is a full biathlon day and you will be glad to return to camp, enjoy the soothing hot tub, a cold beer or glass of wine as you wait your turn to get a well deserved massage! After dinner we will experience a Native American/Andean fire ceremony, where we will have the opportunity to release that which no longer serves us into the flames and call forward our intentions and step more fully into our power and potential.

Day Seven
Our rafts are the “vehicles” that allow us to access beautiful, remote sections of the Futaleufu valley. Today, we will have an early breakfast in camp then travel 25 kilometers up the road to Rio Espolon to launch our rafts for the Inferno Canyon day! Depending on water levels and how the group feels, we have the option of paddling the Inferno Canyon, a short, but intense section of Class 5 whitewater, or, we can put in just below the canyon, still allowing us to enjoy this remote, beautiful section of river, but without having to commit to the difficult whitewater. Either way, we will be practicing yoga on the river – floating meditations through the beautiful calms, and a fun, playful yoga practice on the smooth granite rock while the guides portage the boats around the un-runnable Zeta Rapid. We will be enjoying sections of the river that hardly anyone sees, taking our time to enjoy the views and the camaraderie of your raft team. In the afternoon sunshine we will blast through the “Wild Mile”, a bouncy, fun section of Class 4 whitewater that will bring a big smile to your face!

Back at camp is time for happy hour yoga and some guided journaling….How has this experience begun to “awaken your soul”. What soul stirrings are you feeling, what dreams have been repressed that are starting to re-emerge? Where do you go from here?

Day Eight
Our last full day in the Futaleufu Valley! Our morning yoga session will be the biggest heart-opening practice yet! Our teachers will guide you into an ever expanding awareness and joy. We will open our hearts to let in all the magic of the place and people, soak it in, and live it up! After being gently reminded to live presently throughout the week, we know that upon returning home, this place and this experience will be alive in our hearts forever. We will always be able to recall the sound of the river and Patagonian birds, the joy of accomplishing a good rapid or trotting through the fields on a horse, the memories of laughter with friends new and old. For those who want more river time, there is an option to raft the section just above our camp, one that we still haven’t experienced, through the class 5 rapid, Terminator. Otherwise, the options include: a scenic, moderate mountain bike ride, a beautiful hike, or, just relaxing around camp, enjoying the hot tubs or a luxurious massage. We will gather in the afternoon for a final yoga session, a mellow gratitude flow practice celebrating our week together and ending with some kirtan – joyful chanting in gratitude for all the blessings in our lives. For the evening’s festivities, our Chilean farmer friends will prepare a typical Chilean Asado — lamb roasted over a bed of coals, salad, vegetarian casserole, potatoes and farm fresh bread. We toast the river and give thanks for our safe passage. We toast the land and the people, new friends and old. Under a bright starry sky, we will spend our last night together as a group on the banks of the mighty Fu with the guides and crew.

Day Nine
We start early today as we have to travel back down to the coast to catch the puddle jumper flight from Chaiten back to Puerto Montt for connecting flights either home or to your next destination. You will want to leave a comfortable “window” to make it back in time, so book connecting flights from 14:00 hrs onwards. You may also choose to spend another night in Puerto Varas on your own. (See below if you are interested in the Torres Del Paine Extension.)

We hope that when you board the airplane you will look back upon your time in Patagonia and think of the friends you have made and the beauty of the Futaleufú River and Patagonian wilderness. Ciao amigos! Ciao Ciao Chile!!

ENCHANTING…

Stay on the river in the most exquisite adventure base camp imaginable! Overlooking one of the most beautiful canyons on the Futaleufú River, our base camp proves that camping can be luxurious. Amenities include: our riverside sunset bar where we enjoy Chilean wines, a wood sauna, 5 hot showers, flush toilets, 2 massage studios, a stone riverside hot tub, a fireside sit down dining area where we enjoy delicious meals made with locally grown produce, and indoor and outdoor yoga decks with spectacular river and mountain views.

Your “home away from home” is a private, spacious safari-style tent bungalow with amazing views of the river. You will sleep in a comfy bed with soft linens and fluffy comforters to keep you warm as the river lulls you to sleep and into sweet dreams.

Our camp provides natural areas of private, quiet reflection and beautifully hand built structures such as the open-air library or cozy yoga pagoda. We are ideally situated for river access and smooth shuttle logistics – jump in a raft and float down to the famous “bridge to bridge” whitewater section just a mile downstream from camp. We are right in the middle of the most continuous whitewater on the river! This translates into more river time and less driving time.

The deluxe facilities at our Futaleufu River Camp  include:

  • Open sunset bar overlooking the river with unlimited drinks, relaxing and dancing
  • A hand-crafted wood sauna
  • 2 private spa/massage rooms and professional masseuse
  • Free daily yoga classes with mats on a cliffside yoga deck or the new indoor yoga loft with stunning mountain and river views.
  • River rock hot tub with beautiful river, mountain, and sunset views
  • Hand crafted wood hot tub with river views and downstream from our main camp to offer a place for private soaking and relaxation.
  • Hot showers and flush toilets
  • Private tent bungalows with roofs for shade or rain complete with roomy, walk-in, safari-style tents with river views, coffee table, real mattresses, pillows and sheets, down comforters and morning coffee service by your own personal “tent captain”.

Our camp includes areas for private, quiet reflection, such as our peaceful open-air loft library and cozy yoga pagoda, as well as group gathering places for games, sit-down dinners, and happy hours.

Your adventure vacation on the Futaleufu River also includes:

  • Friendly service from your tent captain who delivers tea or coffee to your tent each morning
  • Free use of our fleet of 14 suspension mountain bikes, whitewater kayaks and catarafts, and a variety of fishing equipment
  • Yoga classes every morning and private yoga sessions on request
  • A full range of multisport adventures…
  • Fly fishing on the Futaleufu River – either from shore, or from a cataraft in the calm canyon in front of camp. First timers and experts welcome!
  • Gourmet cuisine including freshly baked bread and fresh vegetables from an adjacent farm
  • Candlelight dinners in our “Galpon” an open air log structure hand-built by our good friend and talented Chilean carpenter Rolando.
  • Inflatable kayaking on the Azul River and Espolon River – the Futalefu’s two largest tributaries
  • Horseback riding
  • An evening of Chilean wine tasting
  • A sunset “float” downstream to a beautiful beach for a riverside BBQ and campfire
  • Visits to local farms to soak in the Patagonian culture
  • Mountain biking or hiking on nearby scenic trails
  • And, of course, whitewater rafting one of the most exciting, beautiful rivers in the world!
Departure Dates:

2017-2018 season TBD

Trip Length: 9 Days
Trip Price:

$3,600 per person, based on double occupancy, plus $200 r/t airfare between Puerto Montt and Chaiten (we book this for you)

Deposit: $600

PASSPORTS & VISAS
Passports: U.S. citizens are required to have a passport valid 6 months after your travel dates begin. If you hold a passport from another country, it is your responsibility to check with your embassy for details.

Visas: Keep in mind that, while it’s not likely, visa rules and regulations can change at the last minute. It’s always a good idea to check the US and visiting countries’ embassy websites before your departure.Chile: Citizens from Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay can travel with their national identity card. Citizens of other countries need a valid passport to enter Chile. A visa is NOT required to enter Chile for a stay of 30 – 90 days if you are a citizen of the United States

FLIGHTS & AIRPORTS
You are responsible for booking all flights, international as well as domestic. However, if you need help, please feel free to call or email the Bio Bio office. A couple travel agents we often use are:

Americas Travel:
Marcelo Diaz, marcelo@americastravel.net
Office Hours: 10-6pm Mon-Fri (PST) 888-703-9955 or 415-703-9955

G&G Travel and Tours:
Gilda Gutierrez gildagutierrez@comcast.net
866-498-0530 or 786-206-0710

FLYING IN
The trip officially starts in Puerto Montt on Day 1, El Tepual International Airport – airport code: PMC.

LOST LUGGAGE
If you arrive in Santiago and your luggage is lost, please have your luggage sent to Puerto Varas and the Hotel Cabana del Lago: Luis Wellmann 195, Puerto Varas, Chile – Tel: +56 6522 00100.

BAGGAGE WEIGHT LIMITS
There is a weight limit on the Puerto Montt / Chaitén charter flight of 35 pounds for checked luggage. If you are in Chile for an extended time and have extra bags, you can leave them at the Hotel Cabana del Lago in Puerta Varas.

CUSTOMS
Normally you will not have problems with personal belongings as long as you don’t carry the following:

  • Fruits, vegetables, seeds, or unprocessed goods of animal origin
  • Firearms, ammunitions or explosives
  • Illegal drugs

PACKING

BAGGAGE SUGGESTIONS
In order to make your travels and connecting flights easier you might consider bringing only one duffle bag and one carry-on daypack.

CLOTHES & WEATHER
Though it will be the height of summer in Chile, we need to be prepared for inclement weather. The “Fu” is located in a region of extreme possibilities. We expect warm sunny days and cool, clear nights. Unfortunately, Mother Nature does not always cooperate and rain, even snow, is not unheard of in the Andes. When packing, think of cold and wet as well as sunny and warm weather and you will be a happy camper. Plan ahead and bring warm clothes and a good rain shell. The following is a descriptive packing list. Of course there are variations on each of these suggestions, but this should give you a good idea of what you should pack.

SPORT GEAR

  • One pair of river shorts: River shorts are quick drying, durable and multi-purpose
  • Wetsuits: We do supply these, but if you have and prefer your own, feel free to bring it along
  • Paddle Jacket: We will supply you with one, but if you prefer your own, please bring it
  • Two Polypropylene long sleeve shirts or some type of synthetic sweater or underwear to wear underneath the paddle jacket. The paddle jacket alone will not work well without something underneath
  • Polypro long underwear: A must! These will keep you warm when they get wet, and they dry quickly.
  • River footwear: Check out the line of toe-protected river footwear. Tevas, Alps, Chacos, Keens, or tennis sneakers with wool socks work well to keep your feet warm.
  • Wetsuit booties with good soles are preferred!
  • Hat, visor or large brimmed sombrero with a string.
  • Sunglasses with securing straps (we recommend “Chums” straps).
  • Camel-Back/Platypus Hydration System: Easy hydration for mtn biking and horse-back riding
  • Jeans: For horse-back riding
  • Bogs (thermal rain boots): Worth their weight in gold if it rains. We have rubber boots in camp for our guest to use when it rains (bring nice warm thermal socks or wool socks if you plan on using them).
  • Loose fitting yoga clothes
  • Padded bike shorts: Nice for mtn biking and horse-back riding.
  • Avid fly-fisherpeople – your own rod and flies
  • Hiking Boots or Walking Shoes: There are great running trails around the camp, so bring the sneaks if you’re a runner
  • Hiking Shorts with pockets and a belt
  • Bathing Suit

CAMP GEAR

  • Rain Gear: Please be prepared with rain gear, such as a Gortex jacket or even one of those inexpensive yellow rain ponchos you wore as a kid
  • Wool or fleece sweater
  • Down jacket: Lightweight and a great insulator. Provides endless joy if it should be cold out, and when the sun goes down around 10 pm, the temperatures can plummet
  • Wool or fleece hat: You can also buy locally made wool goods at our camp
  • Wool socks: Two pairs, so you’ll always have a dry pair to put on — a luxury!
  • Two or more tee shirts
  • One pair of lightweight nylon or cotton baggy pants:  only a suggestion, but they are comfortable to wear around camp after a day of rafting
  • One nice pair of pants or summer dress: For city life upon arrival or departure and wine tasting
  • Camera: A waterproof camera is nice to have to take pictures from the raft. We will bring along waterproof cases and bags to keep cameras dry
  • Lotion and sunscreen: Not much Ozone left in the southern hemisphere so be prepared!
  • Toiletry kit: Shampoo, soap, toothbrush, lotion, bug repellent, medications, etc.
  • Flashlight and/or headlamp with extra batteries
  • Daypack or fanny-pack
  • Water Bottle, with optional carabiner to strap to raft
  • Small Pack Towel: another luxury to have at the river take-out, we will supply a large bath towel for you
  • Books: There is plenty of time for rest and relaxation, so bring along a book and/or journal A favorite poem to share around the campfire is also welcome
  • Songs, mirth and merriment, small musical instruments, etc.

*Remember when packing your carry-on bag to bring any medications needed as well as any toothpaste or lotions in a plastic zip loc bag for security. You may want to bring a toothbrush on your overnight flight as well as a change of clothing.

FAQ’s
Is there internet access at camp?

No. We do not have internet access at camp. However, emergency messages will get through to us if someone needs to find you. We love our guests to have an “un-plugged” experience in Patagonia!

Do the tent cabins have electricity?

We prefer the glow of the headlamp and moonlight to light up the night in your tent bungalow. There is not electricity in the tent cabins, however, we have a few areas around camp where you can charge your cameras, phones, and other devices.

How does polypro long underwear compare to Nike dri-fit polyester?

It has all the properties and more than the now somewhat outdated and generic Poly pro. What you are looking for is something that will retain its thermal qualities even when wet. With that said, it should not be a sponge for water, like thick fleece is. So, it should be thin and stretchy and keep you warm when wet (smart wool is also a good option).

Are there dryers or places to hang things to dry? Will wool dry overnight or do we need enough to give it the extra day? How many changes of clothes do we bring for the river?

We do not have electric dryers. If the weather is inclement, we have a drying room heated by a wood burning stove that is dedicated to drying your wets suits, what you wear under your wet suit and paddle jacket ( your expedition style synthetics or the like; Nike dry fit, poly pro, smart-wool). If the sun is out, hanging paddling gear out on a line is the best way to dry it for the next day paddling fun!

Do we need to bring our own towels, soap and shampoo?

We provide towels and hand soap at all the bathrooms. You will need to bring your own shampoo, conditioner and body wash soap.

JET LAG PRECAUTIONS
When you cross several time zones to reach your destination, you often lose many hours of regular sleep. On arrival, your body then must suddenly adjust to new sleeping and eating patterns. The result is jet lag. Its symptoms are fatigue – often compounded by insomnia and restlessness – irritability, and vague disorientation.

You cannot totally avoid jet lag but you can minimize it. Here’s how:

  • Start your trip well rested. Try to begin a gradual transition to your new time zone before you leave.
  • Switch to your destination time zone when you get on the plane. Attempt to sleep and eat according to the new schedule.
  • Try to sleep on overnight flights. Avoid heavy eating and drinking caffeine or alcoholic beverages right before and during your flight.
  • Drink plenty of water and/or fruit juice while flying.
  • After arrival, avoid the temptation to nap.
  • Try to stay awake your first day until after dinner.

TRIP INSURANCE
Bio Bio Expeditions encourages all clients to obtain travel insurance to cover unexpected events such as trip cancellations, trip delay, lost baggage, medical expenses, etc. Please inform us of your current trip insurance status. We will also forward a brochure from Travelex or click HERE for more information. They have good rates and excellent coverage for international travel.

IMMUNIZATIONS
Although there are no immunizations required to travel to Chile, in addition to your routine vaccinations, the CDC also recommends the typhoid and Hepatitis A vaccines. We advise that you consult your physician regarding recommended immunizations and other health precautions. Bio Bio Expeditions does not take responsibility for which medications or inoculations you and your physician deem necessary for your safe participation on the expedition.

For additional information, call the CDC’s International Traveler’s Hotline: Phone: 1-888-232-4636  or visit www.cdc.gov

TRAVEL PRACTICALITIES

WATER
You will find some of the purest water on earth flowing freely in the Patagonia Andes. The water at camp is treated at all faucets. In the cities we recommend that you drink bottled water which can be ordered at all restaurants. Ask for “agua mineral, sin gas” (non-carbonated) or “con gas” (carbonated). Diet sodas are usually referred to as “light”.

FOOD
You will discover some of the best produce and cuisine found anywhere on the planet! And if you are a meat eater, you will be in heaven! The Chilean seafood is un-paralleled for its exotic variety of fish, shellfish and crustaceans. The wines are amazing, as are the fresh juices commonly served. Gelato ice cream is found everywhere and is well worth at least one visit to a “heladeria”! At the Bio Bio Adventure Camp we have a professional chef and full kitchen staff that can cater to any special dietary needs.

DIGESTIVE WORRIES
Traveling to Chile is not like traveling in Central America or even other parts of South America where water borne diseases are more common. You will feel that that the Chileans are very mindful of cleanliness and hygiene. Despite the many precautions we all take to stay healthy, occasionally one may experience diarrhea. The major problem associated with diarrhea is fluid loss leading to severe dehydration, so it is important to maintain plentiful fluid intake. Avoid milk and caffeine, as it will only further dehydrate you. The best drinks are weak tea, mineral water, and caffeine-free soft drinks. Ideally it is best to let diarrhea run its course, however you may want to bring over-the-counter diarrhea medication to minimize your potential discomfort.

PRESCRIPTIONS
If you currently take prescription medications, be sure to have a plentiful supply and also the doctor’s written prescription in case you need a refill. It is best to carry medications in your carry-on bag in case of lost luggage. Also, if you wear prescription glasses or contacts, we advise that you bring along a spare set.

VOLTAGE
Electric voltage is 220 volts, 50 cycles (220v, 50Hz). The use of appliances or electric devices designed for 110 volts need the use of a transformer. Most travel appliances, like laptops, have an auto-volt (110v – 240v) transformer built in that will adapt to Chilean electricity. We do have access to electricity if you need to charge batteries for cameras, video cameras, and laptops. At many airports universal adaptor kits are available and handy if you plan to recharge cameras and other devices.

SAFETY
Although the Chileans are a warm, friendly, fun-loving people, thievery is a common problem in the bigger cities. Always keep your wits about you and be aware of your surroundings. When you’re with other people, watch out for each other. Large crowds are prime locations for pick-pocketing to occur. Keep your money and important documents in a money belt or hidden pouch around your waist, neck or under your shirt. When purchasing items, do not pull out lots of money. We advise that you leave all valuable jewelry, including watches, at home. Thieves often work in pairs or groups – one tries to distract you (e.g.: by squirting food or paint on your clothing) and in the ensuing confusion, another one takes off with your belongings.

MONEY MATTERS & TIPPING

MONEY MATTERS
We recommend using a combination of your credit card, getting local currency using an ATM machine and having US dollars in several denominations for tips. You can change U.S. dollars into Chilean Pesos in the town of Futaleufu during banking hours of 9-2pm. Some stores accept small amounts of dollar bills if you are making a purchase.

ATMs
Plus, Cirrus and other networks connecting ATMs are available in Chile. If your credit card has been programmed with a PIN, it’s likely you can use it at ATMs to withdraw money as a cash advance. Always ask your bank before you leave home about the number of withdrawals you may make abroad, the limit each day, and also let them know where you are going so they do not put a hold on your card. You may be charged a fee for each transaction.

CREDIT CARDS
Most of the bigger restaurants and shops accept credit cards. If you have American Express, Visa, Master Card and Diners Club, you’re probably equipped for any establishment that takes cards. If you only have one credit card, VISA is the most widely accepted. A shopkeeper may require you to pay the credit card fee for purchases, so for the most ease, we recommend you use cash whenever possible.

PERSONAL CHECKS
Personal checks are not accepted in shops or at your hotels, however it’s a good idea to bring a few for possible emergencies!

SPENDING MONEY
Recommended cash to bring is $400 in various denominations. You will need to have money available for the following:

  • Spending money for gifts and souvenirs ($15 – $50/item) and massages ($60/hour) at our camps. Lunch on your arrival and departure days and drinks when in cities.
  • Tipping money: Your river guide and support staff will accept gratuity for providing good service! Tipping is up to the individual client, but a typical ballpark figure is 10-15% of your trip cost. ($360-$500) The trip leader will collect this and distribute amongst all staff.
  • Airport taxes in Chile: For departing Chile $18 USD (most likely include in the price of your flights)

TIPPING
This is a rough guideline to try and help you work out how much you should tip. Tipping is, of course, entirely voluntary and how much you give depends on how you feel about the service received. Hotel staff porters usually receive $1 per bag as do taxi drivers. In restaurants, 10% is the norm. You should plan to give 10% of your land cost to the trip leader to distribute amongst all the Bio Bio Staff.

COUNTRY INFORMATION

LANGUAGE
The official language in Chile and Argentina is Spanish. The Spanish spoken in South America is similar to the Castilian Spanish of Madrid, albeit with drastically different pronunciation and many vocabulary changes. The good news is that in most places, like restaurants and hotels you might find someone who speaks English – and, of course, all our representatives and most guides speak both English and Spanish. If you do speak some Spanish you will have fun speaking with the locals!

DEMOGRAPHICS
Chile’s long and narrow territory, located on the western side of the southern tip of South America, stretches for 4200 km from north to south between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Chile has an area of 756,096 km on the South American continent and 1,250,000 km in Antarctica. Easter Island, Juan Fernandez Island (of Robinson Crusoe fame), and numerous other islands are also part of the National territory. The current population is just over 15 million, with more than a third concentrated around the capital Santiago. Chile has a highly varied geography as well as numerous climates. In the far north, between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific coast, lies the Atacama Desert, the most arid desert in the world. This area is characterized by its mineral wealth, fishing, and industry, all of which have given rise to its main cities and ports. Its cities and warm-water beaches, the high valleys and towns of the Andes, and old nitrate offices lend this region its greatest tourist attractions. From the city of La Serena south, the countryside begins to get greener due to the sporadic rains that fall over the small transversal valleys that run from east to west between mountain ranges that reach from the Andes to the Pacific Ocean. The beautiful city of La Serena, with its beaches, resorts and other sites of interest, attracts thousands of tourists every year, and has become an important tourist center. The central valley is born slightly north of Santiago, Chile’s capital, and extends south between the Andes Mountains and the Coastal Mountain Range for approximately 1,000 km to the city of Puerto Montt. Most of the country’s population and economic activity is concentrated in this long valley. Tourism is of great importance throughout the central valley, and is centered around its beautiful beaches, lakes and volcanoes, rivers with outstanding fishing, and lovely cities where visitors receive a warm welcome and excellent service. Chile’s geography changes markedly to the south of Puerto Montt, where the continent breaks up into countless islands, channels, rivers, and glaciers, all amidst exuberant native vegetation that reaches to the very ocean shore, offering ideal surroundings for adventure tourism or for simply enjoying an intimate contact with nature. This is the area where we find the Futaleufú!

Finally at the southernmost tip of continental Chile, and reaching across all of Tierra del Fuego, lies the Patagonian Pampa. The city of Punta Arenas, with its old mansions and unique attractiveness, is the natural point of departure for places of particular interest and beauty such as Torres del Paine, Fuerte Bulnes, and the Antarctic continent. The first European to arrive in Chile was Diego de Almagro in 1536. He is called the “discoverer of Chile.” At that time, the territory was occupied by native tribes who put up a strong opposition to Almagro. However, Almagro realized that Chile had no gold or riches like those found in Peru or Mexico, so he ended his adventure. Later, General Pedro de Valdivia sent 150 men and advanced to the south and founded various cities, like La Serena, Santiago (1541), Nueva Imperial, Valdivia, and other minor ones. Pedro Valdivia ran into strong resistance from the Mapuche Indians (whose homeland is in the Bio Bio River region), who never submitted to the Spanish crown until 400 years later. This permanent war occasionally caused enormous losses to the Spanish crown and the Chilean Realm and made it the most expensive of the conquered territories. Only since the end of the past century has there been a tenuous peace between the Mapuche Indians to the point of their being involved in the political, economic, and social life of the country.Bernardo 0’Higgins was proclaimed “Supreme Director” in 1817 after many bloody battles against the loyal forces of the Spanish crown. Chilean independence was signed on February 12,1818. Chile went through a politically turbulent time in the 1970’s when General Augusto Pinochet waged a bloody coup on September 11, 1973. The elected Socialist president, Salvador Allende, was killed and Pinochet ruled as dictator for almost 20 years. He gave up power in 1991 although he is still a prominent, and controversial, figure in the country. Chile has become one of the most solid, stable economies of South America. The tourist infrastructure offers great possibilities to travel and know Chile in every region.

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