Kayaking the Futaleufu

9 Days
December - March
From $4,500 plus $250 r/t flight

Kayaking the Futaleufu

The Futaleufu River, located in northern Patagonia in Chile, is without a doubt one of the world’s best rivers for white water kayakers. Leave the cold winter behind and pop your kayak into the azure Futaleufu River only hours after you step off the plane. Our deluxe camp’s riverfront location on the Futaleufu River gives us a unique put-in for kayaking just upstream of the non-stop action of the “bridge-to-bridge” section on the Futaleufu and just downstream from the world-famous “Terminator” rapid.   Kayak and paddle all day and then relax at our sunset bar and hot tub in the evening.

The Futaleufu River is ideal for strong beginner kayakers, intermediates, or advanced kayakers and we can tailor a Futaleufu white water kayaking trip to meet your specific needs. We are one of the original outfitters on the Futaleufu and have attracted top international kayaking champions to our guide team in Patagonia. Our international staff of kayakers are happy to coach you along and help improve your playboating moves or just show you the best lines and provide solid safety. Leave shuttle worries to us and forget about the hassle of flying with your boat! We have a huge selection of kayaks to choose from, from the latest playboats to classic big water riverrunners.  As a kayaking guest of Bio Bio Expeditions you also are able to partake in all the multi sport activities our adventure camp offers!

Class II-III Kayakers
If you don’t yet consider yourself a Class IV kayaker but want to become one, please call us about our Class II and III kayaking schools on the Futaleufu, Azul, and Espolon Rivers.

Class IV/V Kayakers
Our 10 day Futaleufu Kayaking trip includes as much paddling as you like and is all inclusive.

A sample day might include a “Bridge to Bridge” run in the morning, surfing “the Himalayas” in the afternoon (just upstream from our camp) and then a quick happy hour run through either the “Terminator” section or the “Bridge through Casa” section. Our advanced kayaking program allows you to kayak as much as you desire, whenever you want. Our location on the river and our 5 different shuttle vehicles allow you to enjoy the most of the Futaleufu!

Most everyone needs to take a paddling break at some point and Bio Bio Expeditions has more off-river activity options than you can imagine! You can horseback ride, mountain bike, enjoy a massage, soak in our hot tub, go for a hike, do yoga in our beautiful indoor or outdoor yoga studios or simply relax around camp.

If your spouse, friend or partner is not a kayaker, not a problem! They can join you on the river in one of our rafts, or, if they are not keen on rafting, they can still have a magical vacation exploring Patagonia and enjoy the comforts and beauty of our base camp.

All the following is available on every Futaleufu River 10 day trip:

Mountain biking
Fly-fishing equipment and guides
Horseback riding with guides
Yoga classes and massage
Hot showers
Hot tub and wood sauna
Sunset bar with incredible river views
Fully equipped tents with comfortable mattresses and cozy bedding
Private tent platforms with river views
Gourmet meals
Chilean wine tasting nights
Traditional Chilean asado and much more!
Our Futaleufu River trips are from early December – late March:

Please call for a price quote –

Come join us for a kayaking trip on the world famous Futaleufu River!

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:

2021/ 2022 season
December 19-27, 2021
December 28, 2021 – January 5, 2022
January 8-16, 2022
January 17-25, 2022
January 27 – February 4, 2022 – Wilderness & Travel Medicine CME
February 5-13, 2022
February 14-22, 2022

Trip Length: 9 Days
Trip Price:

From $4500 plus $250 r/t flight between Puerto Montt and Chaiten, per person, based on double occupancy
Price is dependent on how much personal instruction you need. $3200.00 is for solid class IV and V kayakers.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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


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

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.


  • 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


  • 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.

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.

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.

Bio Bio Expeditions recommends that you purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. For your convenience, we offer travel protection through Travelex Insurance Services. For more information on the available plans or to enroll, click here or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 05-8655. Travelex Insurance Services, Inc CA Agency License #0D10209. Travel Insurance is underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company, NAIC #22276. 55Y

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


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”.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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

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)

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.


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!

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.

Add a review

3 reviews for Kayaking the Futaleufu

  1. Best week of kayaking I have ever had!

  2. There is nothing better than following Marc Goddard into the non stop rapids of the Futaleufu! He must be psychic for he can find the sweet lines even when you can’t see them!

  3. Hi,
    As the one of the company owners I can only say that we have hosted Tyler Bradt, Nouria Newman, Ben Stookesberry, Scott Lindgren, Brad Ludden, Benny Marr, Willie Kern and are frequently joined on the river by Mariann Saether, Frabzika Biechler and other amazing kayaking gurus. Even Alex Nicks still paddles with us! Look up any one of these amazing paddlers and see what they say about the bio bio team and our camp on the Fu. At least in the guest book they wrote nice things!

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