World’s Best Kayak Waterfalls – Chile’s Seven Teacups National Park?

With so many remarkable clean runnable waterfalls in the world it’s hard to say which destination wins the world’s best waterfalls title. For our purposes, we’ll share a few factors why Chile’s Seven Teacups National Park has been attracting the best pro kayakers but also intermediate to advanced kayaker’s seeking to experience the magic of the Claro canyon for 40 +PLUS years. 

World’s Best Kayaker Waterfall Destination Criteria 

Iconic Waterfalls –

Rio Claro’s “Throat of the Devil” spirals into Lucifer’s basalt chasm giving kayaker’s the ride and celebration of a lifetime. Nowhere else does a waterfall so smoothly bank 180 degrees giving the perfect ride. For decades’ kayakers skipped past this section lying between the Seven Teacups and Twenty Falls sections believing nothing was within the canyon. Once opened the section attracted the world’s best kayakers seeking to “get the shot” and ride of a lifetime.

Interested in experiencing the Chile’s Teacups. Click for Teacups +PLUS Trips Dropping this November. 

Accessible Yet Cool Location –

Four hours south of Santiago in Chile’s arid vineyard district you drive high into the Andes where the road ends at the Seven Teacups National Park. The roads are still the way we like them, rough and rugged, and the area is lacking phones, electricity and internet. Chileans live off the land here and the thousands of annual tourists visit to gaze at the waterfalls and hike to the melting snow peaks.

Just getting to the Teacups is a cool road trip experience. You’ll need four wheel drive to make it up the steeps.

For kayakers, the namesake Seven Teacups National Park are amongst some of the easiest waterfalls on the planet to run. Heck, PKH owner David Hughes at low water has both swam and SUP boarded the section. Due to tourism, there is a boardwalk above the falls creating great photo angles. Yet, kayakers still feel remote down in the canyon. 

What most kayakers did not realize was that there are another four +PLUS sections of clean waterfalls upstream including: Twenty-Two Falls Canyon (IV), the Between Falls (III with portages), Five Teacups (III), and Throat of the Devil Canyon (V). Actually, there are more waterfall sections yet to be opened, but we’ll leave that for the pros. 

“It’s easy to get lost hiking into the canyon sections. If you are going to do proper safety in the canyons you should have ropes and vertical Evac training. I’d rather loan rope equipment to young chargers than to see them go in these canyons without the ability Evac.” – PKH owner David Hughes

You can feel the high-energy build as you approach the park passing vineyards, four-wheel drive steep inclined rugged roads, flocks of free range sheep and livestock, Chileans working the land on horseback with their fleece chaps, and of course the clear blue river. 

Stoke Factor –

Kayaker’s at the lip of Throat of the Devil… heart pounding, lean forward, lock… YYYAAAHHH!!!

The 57 million-year-old basalt canyons have carved, milled and polished to perfection via draining super high flows from the annual Andean snow pack. Just looking down into the giant crack gets your adrenalin going. For added stoke we advise camping next to the drops under the wide open southern hemisphere celestial bodies. Hiking into the canyons is intense, hot, and tiring. You’ll need to know the hard to find access points and use ropes to both lower and extract kayaks on different sections. Once in the canyons there are two ways out: kayak drops or vertical Evac. The feeling of the desert heat is washed off by the cold clear water and the drops begin immediately. Every waterfall is a celebration that echo’s through the canyon with “whoops and hollars and hi fives.” This is a kayaker’s playground like no other. STOKE FACTOR. CHECK. 

Is it Safe – 

Stoke factor is high within the fire formed basalt canyons. Imagine approaching the lip. Stroke. Tuck. Brace. Celebrate.

Nomadic kayakers could argue this point depending on section and more importantly levels. For our purposes, we want a destination that is within the reach of medical support and every river point being run is accessible for proper rescue. The first line of rescue is the actual team of kayakers within the canyon. Their biggest safety asset is their group experience both knowing the levels of the Teacups sections and their own whitewater rescue experience. 

The sections can be dangerous if the levels are too high or too low. Too high and some of the walls that are normally just eddies make non-rescuable caves. The most famous is when pros opt to not run the Throat of the Devil section due to its high-water danger. But at perfect flows it may be the best rapid of your life. Twenty-Two Falls section also has some similar high-water dangers. But at high water the remaining three sections become more exciting offering kayaker’s new options. So there is always something thrilling to do with proper experience. 

Two low and the normally fun waterfalls are akin to a seal launch into a green pool. We’ve heard of fractured spines on what would normally be a class III ten-foot cascade. Experience is key to good decision making.

Teacups Tip – Target the best time of year. Late December is going to be too low. Whereas, November is the optimal trip planning time to get those perfect soft landing flows.

Something for Every Kayaker Level – 

With 70 +PLUS clean waterfalls there are easier safer sections too. Safety is relative to each group’s experience with rescue and levels decision making.

By now most kayakers know about the pro-kayaker Throat of the Devil canyon with its kayak porn magazine cover shots and video releases. But class III kayakers have been coming to the Seven Teacups section for 40 +PLUS years.  Nantahala Outdoor Center’s Jon Clark would annually pilgrimage kayak groups to experience the volcano formed anomaly twenty +PLUS years ago. Today, NOC continues the Jon Clark tradition giving kayakers the world’s best waterfall experience.

Adding to Jon’s “give ‘me the experience of a lifetime philosophy” NOC and PKH now spend more time at the Teacups park exploring more canyons and the +PLUS part… well that’s a whole other river valley and new blog.

Interested in experiencing the Chile’s Teacups. Click for Teacups +PLUS Trips Dropping this November. 

Returning PKH Guests Receive DISCOUNTS!

Kayaking Chile Got Cheaper for Returning Guests

Remember laughing and sharing stories in the quincho. Our fire attracts kayakers from around the globe.

Our guests often first choose to kayak Chile’s great rivers with the notion the decision will be a once in a lifetime trip investment. Later, after kayaking in other international destinations we often hear, “We went kayaking in ____ and the whitewater in Chile and instruction at PKH was superior…” Heck. That’s the reason PKH owner David Hughes chose Chile to build his kayaker dream destination.  Whether you are a beginner just learning, an intermediate notching rapids and your first safe waterfall, or an expert seeking to charge the stouts kayaker’s are attracted to world’s best whitewater.

“If Chile was as economical as other kayak destinations.. I would return.” 

We hear your number one concern and proactively have developed economical solutions for our valued returning PKH Guest.  

Economical DISCOUNT Solutions –

  • 15% DISCOUNT on PKH Trips to returning PKH Guests. DISCOUNT average $US225 to $US350.
  • PKH offers DISCOUNTED camping options making trips attainable to budget kayakers.

Our Bombproof Rolling Guarantee –

Returning kayakers can choose a different Chile destination and kayak new rivers. 15% DISCOUNTS.

If you don’t feel you progressed your kayaking skills and enjoyed your Chile experience we’ll refund 50% of your trip cost!!! Now, that’s a bombproof rolling offer! See what we did there with the bombproof rolling wordplay…

Kayaker Concerns We Hear –

“Chile airfares are expensive.” – Good point. PKH owner David Hughes just purchased a Raleigh, NC to Santiago roundtrip for $US1025. Good fares are out there. Email for a list of tips how to find cheaper Chile airfares.

“We’ve done Chile and we’re going to ___ this year.” – We hear this one a lot as kayakers are nomadic creatures by nature. Often, kayakers go to other whitewater destinations and later they agree Chilean whitewater is the better.

Consider a different Chile trip such as:

  • Request a Custom Trip – If you are a group organizer then ask us to develop a custom trip for your group. 

Our group did Ecuador last year and our company seemed like they were winging it. The kayaks were old, the food was not great, and the rivers were good but they weren’t like Chile rivers… -Tony Becker, UK Kayak Group Organizer After Pucon Classics Trip Returned for Teacups +PLUS Trip

Limited Time Offer – Request before September 30, 2017. 

  • Boof on… Paddle the Upper Trancura to base camp for a hot treehouse shower and a cold cerveza.
    Due to spaces available returning guests must request this DISCOUNT by September 30, 2017.
  • Request a Space Hold with no financial obligation giving you time to decide.

Want to learn more. Contact: or Call US Cell: 828-788-5135. 

BONUS DISCOUNT Trip Extensions Available to Trip Kayakers only!! Kayak More. Explore More. Save Budget.

You are invited to return to kayaker’s paradise. To see our new facilities. To kayak with the professional instructors from NOC Paddlesports. And to kayak Chile’s rivers. All at a discounted rate. 

We are grateful for our guests and hope to enjoy a toast with you in the quincho by the fire. 

Conditions and Terms of Discount offer. 

  • Discount is not cumulative with other discounts or promotions. 
  • Discount deadline is September 30, 2017. 
  • Discount applies only to listed PKH Kayak Trips: Teacups +PLUS, Pucon Classics, Week of Rivers & Road to Futa.