Learning to kayak is about taking trips to the rivers of Chile, learning a progressive series of moves like the eskimo roll, and giving kids a sense of Huckleberry Finn style exploration.


Students from Chile’s Nido de Aguilas have a blast learning to whitewater kayak. Join us for up to 3 weeks at Kids Kayak Camp this January and February. 

For Parents – Today’s social media culture can leave your child missing out on the sense of active adventure and exploration. In other words, many parents want their child to get off the couch and learn in a safe environment. Exploring rivers and safety decision making from a kayak gives youth a sense of accomplishment and confidence. +PLUS, we add our own model of positive reinforcement recognition to every youth development camp. Families can choose one week, two week or three week options. The longer you stay the better you get at kayaking and the bigger the discounts. 

NOC Paddlesports ACA certified instructors are the leaders in the whitewater industry. And we are proud they chose to partner with PKH. So, students learn from the best various paddle strokes to turn, move and navigate their kayak. Instructors keep the learning exciting and fun with group kayak games and skills challenges. And before you know it you’ll be spending those hot Santiago summer days playing in the blue Pucon rivers. 

Youth kayakers learn to eskimo roll a kayak in Pucon Chile.
Learning to eskimo roll is an incredibly rewarding experience. If your child loves to play in the water – this is the camp for them.

Experiential Learning.

Campers will learn river safety and how to scout rapids for both safe passages and what to avoid. They will bond with each other in team building exercises and river rescue scenarios that include our introductory swift water rescue training. These are invaluable lessons students will carry with them. And parents can feel proud about their child’s enthusiasm for a safe program where campers exercise leadership skills and safety lessons daily.

Camp Criteria.

Age:  12 – 17 years
Experience: No experience needed. Beginners and Intermediates are invited.
“I love water!”: Youth whom love playing and swimming in the water love playing in kayaks in the lakes and rivers. Try it. It’s fun. 
Got a Friend: We offer Refer a Friend DISCOUNTS. Email David@puconkayakhostel.com to learn more. 

Camp Dates.

Do you really want to learn how to whitewater kayak this summer? You’re going to need more time in your kayak running rapids to progress. We recommend kayaking for two or three weeks. We even offer a DISCOUNT for multiple camps. 

  • WEEK 1:  FEB 9 – 16
  • WEEK 2:  FEB 16 – 23

Camp Pricing (CLP)

One Session – 650.000 CLP
Two Sessions – 1,150.000 CLP

Deposit is 25%.  We accept payments via bank to bank transfer (BCI), Paypal, or cash.

Price Includes: Dormitory lodging, kayak equipment, 3 meals/day, transportation, instructors and counselors, photo slideshow of trip, learn to whitewater kayak, best camp experience ever!
*Students are expected to pay for one dinner out for our Pucon afternoon. 

Refer A Friend DISCOUNTS! 

Discounts are non-transferrable and only apply to friends enrolled in the same camp session.

4 Friends Total: All 4 campers receive a 10% DISCOUNT. 
5 Friends and More Total: All campers receive a 15% DISCOUNT. 

Camper Pick-up & Drop-off. Airports and bus stations. 

Pucon Kayak Hostel will transport campers to either the airport or Pucon bus station on schedule dates. We will contact parents upon arrival and drop off. Parents often opt to travel with the campers and reserve a room at PKH. Let us know if you’d like to stay with us. 


By Bus (most popular) – Buses from Santiago arrive to Pucon each morning. We’ll pick up the student with breakfast and activities for them at our base. Plus, we’ll call you upon their arrival to confirm they are in safe hands. Often, one parent will bus with a group of friends. 

By Plane The Pucon airport is just 3 minutes from our Rio Trancura base. Flights arrive and depart Pucón during January on Sundays and Fridays. *There is a 70.000 Temuco Airport Shuttle which can be split by groups.

By Car Email david@puconkayakhostel.com for directions. Suggested arrival time is 4:00 to 6:00 pm.


By Car – Plan on departing at 12 am if you are driving.
Flights and Buses send us the schedule and we will arrange the proper shuttle.

By Bus (most popular) – Buses from Santiago typically arrive each morning. We’ll pick up the student and have activities for them at our base.

By Plane The Pucon airport is just 3 minutes from our Rio Trancura base. Flights arrive and depart Pucón during January on Sundays and Fridays. *There is a 70.000 Temuco Airport Shuttle which can be split by groups.

Family Day Adventure on the Rio Tolten is perfect for everyone. Kayak, standup paddle, inflatable kayak, or even fish with us.
Family Day Adventure on the Rio Tolten is perfect for everyone. Kayak, standup paddle, inflatable kayak, or even fish with us.

Camp Itinerary:

Itinerary is subject to change based on river levels and weather. 


AM: 8:00 – 9:00 AM Bus Arrivals.

After a morning bus pickup PKH will provide students with a hearty breakfast and base camp orientation tour. Kayaking begins with some video introduction about rivers, what is kayaking, equipment, and eskimo roll techniques. Campers will get introduced to their own kayaks and equipment.

PM – Lago Caburgua Strokes, Games and the Eskimo Roll 

After lunch we’ll be off to Lago Caburgua to get to know our kayaks and begin learning strokes, how to roll, and some fun group games in the water.

ABOUT LAGO CABURGUARumors of names like President Bachelet and Pamela Anderson owning second home getaways overlooking Lago Caburgua are indication of the remarkable beauty. While we won’t see President Bachelet we will see lots of excited tourists envious of our kayaks and standup paddle boards. Just ten minutes from our basecamp we use the clear warm waters of Lago Caburgua often to play and learn our kayaking fundamentals.


AM: River safety, decision making, and scouting lessons. Lago Caburgua learning the Eskimo roll, wet exits, kayak games and fun. 

PM: Kayak the Rio Liucura to Freestyle Wave. 


AM: Students will practice throw ropes and safety lessons. Roll practice and run the Rio Tolten. 

Rio Tolten is a unique river experience because you actually begin your trip where the volcano formed Lago Villiarrica. The lake actually overflows like a tub into the newly forming Rio Tolten. This river source location is stunning with Volcan Villiarrica towering above our kayaks. Just down river is a great location to practice rolls and even cliff jump from a tree.

The river features are fantastic for beginners learning to roll their kayaks. The stretch is great for stand up paddle boarding, fishing and inflatable kayaks.

PM: Pucon ice cream party. Tour Pucon’s beaches, plaza and shopping district after kicking back with some artisan craft ice cream.  


AM: Trancura Delta – Paddle this class II – III stretch into the Trancura Delta / Lago Villarrica estuary. We’ll have roll practice right in the lake. 

PM: Liucura Play Wave – Did you know kayakers can surf river waves? We’ll use the power of the wave to teach us how to ferry and “Combat roll” in current. 


AM: CULTURAL MAPUCHE PRESENTATION. The group will visit a Mapuche village where the community spokesperson will share the Chilean history of the Mapuche. The Mapuche organized an anti hydro power protest to help save the Rio Maichin. This cultural presentations is an unique glimpse into Mapuche culture and history. 

PM:Lower Maichin Canyon Paddle – Your first canyon experience will be down this class II – III mellow whitewater stretch. Expect to see plenty of trout and cascades coming into the canyon. 


Return to Rio Tolten

AM: Morning Rolls, Strokes, and Fun Games at Rio Tolten

PM: Rio Tolten River Run & Bus Home.  


AM: Student evaluations. Group vote on return river options. 

PM: Afternoon Turbio hike, ice cream and explore Pucon. 


Pack for bus rides or plane home. Adventure activity for students that have night bus ride. 

The Kids Camp Experience: What to Expect.

Whitewater kayaking is about having fun playing in the water and exploring. The learning and exploration part are what makes whitewater kayaking such a great adventure. January and February are hot months in Chile making it super fun to get in the water and learn how to maneuver your kayak.

Days begin with campers being part of breakfast cook teams that teaches responsibility on top of how to function in a kitchen. That’s right. Students actually learn how to chop veggies and help cook breakfasts. Although, lunches and dinners are prepared by our cook staff. Soon to follow we venture out to Lago Caburgua for the clear warm water eskimo rolling and paddle strokes practice. We’ll play several kayak games and races to make it even more fun.

After a lunch back at the Pucon Kayak Hostel base camp the big adventure of the day happens, the river run. Daily, you will explore a different section of river learning to paddle your kayak, read the rapids for where it is safe and what to avoid, and even roll your kayak in whitewater. Also known as the “combat roll.” The camp keeps a focus on safety and rescue too. As you learn about the river’s features we’ll have some team bonding activities teaching swiftwater rescue. And if you are keen you can even try to surf a kayak on some river waves.

What to Bring.

Once students enroll by paying their deposit, PKH will send families a welcome letter and pack list, waivers and contracts for attending camp.

Enrollment Process.


Step 2 – Submit your $100.000 CLP deposit via bank transfer, credit card, or PayPal.

About Our Base in Pucón: Camp Lodging & Staff

Campers stay in our secure and exclusive to campers dormitories with each room having a chaperone instructor. Girls and boys quarters are separated with both female and male staff for the private dorms. The Pucon Kayak Hostel base is right on the beautiful Rio Trancura. Meals are eaten in a one of a kind open-air quincho designed by Cajon de Maipo architect Sergio Andrade Astorga. There is also a movie and class room dome for playing games and relaxing.

The Youth Kayak Camp bases right on the Rio Trancura in our hostel designed for student kayakers. Pucón Kayak Hostel designed for family and school groups has a small soccer field, obstacle course, slack line, riverside access, movie dome, and communal quincho. Students stay in our Treehouse Dormitory with live in chaperones. So the kids have a fun safe place to learn and experience camp life. Daily, we keep the students active with morning cook teams followed by adventure and game activities. The focus of course is playing in the water and learning how to whitewater kayak.

PKH owner David Hughes has coached Olympians and world champions from over a dozen countries. David has been a youth camp consultant and leader for groups like Colorado’s Youth Downstream Edge, the Whitewater Symposium, World Class Kayak Academy, Canada’s Ottawa Kayak School “Keeners Camp”, UK’s National Student Rodeo, and Huge Experiences Teen Kayak Leadership Camps. Today David still leads school groups as he teaches and directs a program for university age kayakers, Patagonia Study Abroad.

What is whitewater kayaking? Will your child like it?

Playing in your own little boat? You can surf a kayak, gain speed down a rapid, roll in a pool and just play for hours. Learning to roll and paddle a kayak is similar to learning to ride a bike and that’s just the beginning. Learning your “eskimo roll” is a challenge that requires learning with an instructor, practice, and some safety steps. Once you learn the skills you’ll be practicing, teaching your friends, and cooling off at your local pool just to get in your kayak. 

Here are a few excellent indicators for how likely your child is to enjoy kayaking…
  • They enjoy swimming.
  • They enjoy exploring outdoors.
  • They are ready for a break from the Santiago heat. Pucón in the heart of the River’s District and is surrounded by gorgeous lakes, rivers and volcanos. The rivers are cool and perfectly refreshing on a hot summer day.
  • You have a sense of adventure. Well, of course you do. Your a teen ager. Now, let’s convince your parents that it’s OK.

About our Instructors.

The campers will be taught under the leadership of David & Jessie Hughes. PKH hires the world’s largest and most successful kayak school, the Nantahala Outdoor Center, instructors to insure the highest quality of professionalism. Instructors have strict guidelines for safety and modeling proper behavior to the youth. Our instructors are enthusiastic to teach and share their whitewater kayaking knowledge and skills and also develop leaders. The idea is to make learning to kayak fun. So, there will be lots of games that not only encourage learning but just keep the kids active in the beautiful lakes and rivers of the Pucón area. The instructors will teach each student a series of kayak skills and maneuvers that include how to be safe, how to read whitewater, how to wet exit, how to roll, running rapids, and even surfing a wave.

More advanced campers get to do more advanced sections. While, beginners will be excited to first learn their rolls in the warm waters of Lago Caburga. Then they’ll progress to actual whitewater sections on various rivers.

More credentials – Our director, David Hughes, has coached and led teen kayakers around the globe. His programs have produced 4 world champions and as many Olympians. David has been an expert speaker on youth development for the White Symposium, consulted multiple youth program camps during development phases, and was the head coach at both Adventure Quest and the New River Academy. Today, David directs Patagonia Study Abroad and manages operations at Pucon Kayak Hostel.

What’s included?

The camp is an all-inclusive package providing  meals, lodging, kayak gear and standup paddle boards, coaches and more. Students should bring spending money for snacks and after river ice cream in Pucon and Villarrica.

Is kayaking safe?

Yes. We know you see all of those extreme photos. Too bad they don’t show dad teaching and bonding with his daughter in the pool. Your child will be on safe rivers with pools suited for swimming. Add quality equipment, safety training, and professional instructors and your child will walk away from camp with a new safer view of water sports. Kayaking is safer than soccer, biking, snowboarding, paintball and especially skate boarding.  We’ll take you to safe rivers to learn how to read and run rapids.

What are the rivers like?

As you know February is painfully hot in Santiago. The rivers in the south get warm and their moving water provides just enough speed to give the students paddling features like wave trains, eddies to navigate and catch, and even small rapids. We choose the safest rivers that move along in a fashion that allows students to learn and explore. This provides the sense of adventure that makes kayaking so much fun. As you know when the kids are playing in water they are happy for hours. Imagine how excited they will be to be playing in their own little boat with safety instructors.

What will you learn?

  • Wet exit
  • The classic Eskimo Roll
  • Boat to boat rescues
  • How to read rapids
  • Safety procedures via team building
  • How to run rapids.  Now.  That’s cool.
  • Campers have to plan daily breakfast menus and be on a cook team. That’s right! As part of learning responsibility you’ll learn how to make a menu and be on a cook team. Students will have safety education and writing sessions via camp blogging.

What will you need?

We’ll send you a pack list. Bring summer clothes and swimming gear.  If you have river sandals or surf style booties then bring those.  We’ll send you a pack list if you decide to join the adventure. An energetic open attitude.

And… Family Fun Adventure Saturdays in Pucon!

Bring the whole family for a Family Fun Day on the Rio Tolten. Each Saturday we’ll load up all the river toys like inflatable kayaks, standup paddle boards, rafts, and the white water kayaks.

Family Day Package Includes: water craft, river guide, lunch and banquet asado dinner.


If your family is joining us for family day then you’ll likely want to relax for a night at the hostel. Email david@puconkayakhostel.com for availability and prices. 


The Tolten has calm blue water with easier class rapids idea for kids and parents. The stretch is the perfect warm water setting to jump in and relax. We’ll provide you with rafts, standup paddle boards or even funyaks. The kids will be excited to show off their new kayak roll and just play in the water. Towering over the Rio Tolten is one of Chile’s most spectacular volcanos, Volcan Villarrica.

Photo opportunity! We’ll do our best to capture memorable photos of you and your family enjoying Southern Chile.

Ready to Secure a Spot? Have a Question?

email David@PuconKayakHostel.com to have your questions warmly answered.


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