Chile Kayaking Adventure
Our adventure in Chile with two kayaks and one child.
Chile was on our “must to go” list already for a few years. We really wanted to visit this country and paddle that great rivers. So when we were deciding where to go this winter Chile was a perfect choice. Chile is a large country and when you want to go to all these great places you have to be there at least four weeks. We didn’t want to leave our son with grandma for too long and therefore we decided to take our four years old with us. The program was clear - paddling, hiking, exploring and having a great time in nature with family.
Our flight to Chile was a bit long and exhausting, but fortunately our kayaks made it easily with us. I couldn't say this about my bag including Petko’s and my clothes. First stop after arriving was a river called Maipo. From Santiago It was only about two hours to drive. Compared to 24 of traveling before that was an easy part. The region of Maipo river is close to border with Argentina and surrounded with mountains and volcanos. In the next morning we were ready to hit the river and tried a various sections of it. Maipo is funny, chocolate river and specially during November because it has a great flow. After few days of paddling we were ready to move to our next destination.
On the way to Rio Claro we stopped by at the ZOO so Petko had fun as well. Rio Claro is well known because of it’s amazing drops and waterfalls. Most of them are easy and runnable in the beautiful gorge, but you have to know where exactly is the take out and put in. The National Park Siete Tazas or “Seven Teacups” is an amazing place for all outdoor lovers. You really feel the nature around you. Guys run this amazing river and I was so jealous. Some of you may know I had a back injury and I am still not 100% right so I can’t risk jumping waterfalls. There is a big risk of stiff landing which would be really bad for my spine. For this reason, I took Petko and my camera and we went for a hike bearing to wait for the guys. The river looked even from the ground so amazing. Clear blue water flowing deep in canyon with tall black walls. Clear drops and endless fun. Oh dear, I wish to get back once to paddle it.
Our next stop was in the area of the BioBio river. This place is not visited that much by kayakers specially because the main part of the river is dammed. I got a message from local kayaker that we should came arounf and paddle with them. No sooner said than done. We were really surprised how beautiful this place was. On the Biobio big volume river are still few rapids left and you can run two other creeks as well. We tried some local food as soup, casuela there, and enjoyed paddling with our chilean friends. After this we were ready to head to Pucon, the most visited place by kayakers and tourists as well. We paddled all the rivers around, visited volcano caves, made super tasty steaks and visited hot springs. For the first half of our trip in Chile we were four adults and three kids and Pucon was a really great place to stay. The kids had so much fun and we had even bigger fun. We still had on our list Futaleufu river, but on the long way down the South we first stopped at the river Fuy. This place is well known because of the Huilo Huilo national park and spectacular hotel in this biological reserve. Rio Fuy had super high level so we run only the lower section which was funny by this water. Continuous big volume with huge holes and waves.
We continued to Futaleufu and our friends went another direction slowly to airport. From now it was only me, Peter and Petko. We decided to go straight to Futa even we had few rivers still on our way down, but it took a bit of time to drove there so we hurried up. After two days of driving and three ferries we finally went to Chaiten. From there it was just about three hours to Futa. Dirty roads and no cell phone signal was just a normal thing. We felt a bit strange at the beginning. Not because of the no signal, but sometimes you didn’t meet any car or people for any hours and the only thing you could see was just the beautiful wild nature. We found a nice cabaňa in the town with it’s own fireplace. Sometimes it was quite cold during the night so we really appreciate it. The weather used to change a lot. Sometimes we felt like in the middle of summer and sometimes we were freezing. Futaleufu river was probably the biggest volume river I ever run. Maybe Zambezi was similar, but Futa seems to me much wider and more continuos. It is a long river divided into four parts, but you can run it at once as well. Then we had to change with Peter to babysit Petko so we couldn’t paddle it together. Fortunately there were enough kayakers to find on the river. We spent few amazing days at Futa and really enjoyed it.
On the way back home we stopped in Chaiten and did a hike on the Chaiten’s active volcano which had erupted in 2008. It was an exiting experience to see the active volcano closely. You could see the smoke and even smell it. After this hike my legs were hurting for the next few days, but it was worth it! At least I didn’t have to carry Petko on my back as Peter did.
Next few days we spent on the beaches and in the car slowly driving back to Santiago. One of our stops was at the Cobquecura. This small town is famous because of hundreds of seals living on the island just few meters from the beach. It was really amazing to see these wild animals in their natural habitation. We even saw the penguins to swim close to us. As we moved more to the north the weather became hotter, but next to the ocean it was quite windy and the water was so cold. Therefore, we rather went for a walk as to went swiming. We spent in Chile one month and had perfect time. We came to paddle this great whitewater, but at the end we experienced much more. We saw a big part of the country, drove over 6000 km, hiked a lot, met great people, saw lots of interesting things, tried local foods, slept on the beach and in the car, in the crazy scary house, improved a lot in Spanish, but most of all we had a wonderful time together and this great moments will last in our memories forever.
I really love traveling!