Santiago Ibañez

Santiago Ibañez was born and raised in the southern Peruvian city of Arequipa. “Santi” was born into the illustrious, adventurous family of whitewater pioneers that first started exploring Peru’s rivers in the 1980’s. Along with brothers Diego and Alvaro (both Bio Bio guides as well), Santi began exploring rivers as a young boy and fell in love with whitewater kayaking as a young man. He started guiding and kayaking on the Chili River in Arequipa, then graduated to the Class 4-5 Cotahuasi River. He worked on the most popular rivers in Peru and the Diamante River in Argentina. In 2004, Santi hitchhiked his way south to the mighty Futaleufu River and fell in love with the powerful whitewater and beautiful valley. He has been returning ever since, working his way from safety kayaker to now one of our head guides and respected trip leader. Professionally, Santiago is part of the ECSI (Emergency Care and Safety Institute), is a Swift Water Rescue Technician and is wilderness medicine certified. He was a member of Team Peru in the Pan-american Rafting Championship in 2008 and was a safety kayaker for the World Rafting Championships in Costa Rica in 2011.
Besides kayaking and rafting, Santi is an accomplished rock climber and mountain biker, although his biggest passion is Class 5 kayaking! He leads trekking trips and loves bird-watching, bringing binoculars wherever he goes. In the summer of 2013 Santi came to the United States and spent a month kayaking many of the classic Class 5 rivers of California. He rowed baggage boats down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, guided the Rogue and the Klamath River in Oregon and the Main Salmon in Idaho, kayaked all over Colorado, Idaho, and Alaska, and capped off an amazing summer with a week in the Black Rock Desert. After leading two treks up Mount Kilimanjaro (Tanzania) in the fall of 2013 and kayaked the Zambezi River in Zambia (southern Africa), then back to the Futa.
Santiago is always quick with a helping hand and a smile. He has a great laugh, loves to dance, and makes everyone feel special. As you are about to drop into one of the biggest rapids you’ve ever seen, you will hear Santi say one of the best mantras you’ll ever hear on the river….”PADDLE HARD, SMILE…and…ENJOY!”

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