Reasons We Hear Kayakers Are Timid About Kayaking in Pucon Chile
For good reason intermediate kayakers have safety check-boxes they need answered before allowing themselves to paddle down the unknown. The fear of developing your kayak skills with professional instructors on Chile’s lesser known safe-fun class II to III rivers reminds us of the classic horse before the cart conundrum.
Assumption #1 – “I’m not good enough to paddle Chile rivers.”
This misconception makes sense because for decades kayakers have been promoting media of themselves hucking bigger and bigger Chilean waterfalls. Kayak schools and universities have been leading class II to III Chilean rivers for years, but those programs aren’t as effective promoting class II to III trips.
Did you know Pucon area has 15+PLUS development whitewater sections (II to III+)?
Lower Trancura (II to III+), Middle Liucura (II), Lower Liucura to Trancura Beach (II to III), Trancura Delta (II to II+), Lower Maichin (II to III), Tolten (II to III), Upper Liucura (II to IV), Lower-Lower Palguin (II to III), Lower-Lower Fuy (II to III), San Pedro (II to III+), Liucura Wave (III), Sollipulli (II to III), Lower Truful Truful (II to III+), Cautin (II to III), Allipen (II to III).
Assumption #2- “I need to get better at kayaking.” (Before I can participate in a program that helps me get better).
This horse before the cart is a mindset preventing kayakers from ever getting better. A Chile kayaking trip is about having fun, progressing your skills at your pace, bonding with guides and friends, having access to world class instruction and river features, and just exploring the magnificent volcano and river laden geography. Kayakers are amazed at how good they get with just one week of instruction at Pucon Kayak Retreat.
Are you good enough to kayak Chile’s class II to III?
We will make sure you are, and align you with the proper features, and fun – safe sections.
Want to get better and experience Chile’s best II to III whitewater kayaking rivers?
Annually, Pucon Kayak Hostel upgrades demo kayaks with the kayak industry latest and greatest designs. We are proud to announce our shiny new plastic from brands Jackson Kayak, Pyranha Kayaks, Waka Kayaks, and Zet Kayaks. We believe a commitment to new kayaks is a commitment to our loyal kayaker guests. Plus, we love to paddle the new designs.
22 New Whitewater Kayaks 2018 – 2019 Pucon Chile Season
Pucon Classics (II to III+), DEC – MAR. Now beginner to intermediate kayakers can explore over 15 class II to III+ sections of rivers. Claro PLUS, (III+ to IV+), NOV. This advance kayak program takes kayakers to the world’s most iconic runnable waterfalls. Explore a 57,000,000 year old basalt waterfall wonderland. Pucon Creek Week, III+ to IV+, NOV – DEC. Pucon Creek Weeks compliment our Claro trips allowing kayakers to explore Chile’s two best waterfall regions. Road to Futa PLUS (III to IV+), FEB – MAR. Target the Futa’s optimum season for sunny days, glorious turquoise waves, and the road trip of a life time.
The best time FOR YOU to kayak in Chile depends on two things: the type of kayaking you want to do and the Chilean climate. Chile’s diverse, four-season climate has defining impacts on when to kayak depending on location. It’s important to remember Chile is as long as the United States is wide, so you’ll experience a range of weather around the country at any given time. Where the U.S. is divided up into states, Chile is separated by region. In the extreme north, you’ll find dry, desert-like conditions (and the Atacama desert). As you move south towards the central valley and the capital of Santiago, the climate remains warm and arid, but includes a rainy season that has eroded some of the country’s basalt river beds into picturesque canyons as water makes it’s way from the Andes Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. Then there’s Pucón, which is located in the aptly named Araucanía (or ‘Rivers & Lakes’) district. And what about the world famous Futaleufu?
Three Chile Kayak Trips Determined by Weather and Season
This is the world’s best kayaker destination for waterfalls and rivers. Kayakers drop into the remote Teacups canyon to ride the cleanest waterfalls on the planet. Combine this road trip with Pucon’s best cascade and creek season and you are guaranteed a remarkable whitewater experience.
Best Time – Because the Teacups are located in the arid Central Valley you must get there during the November snow melts to catch the waterfall wonderland with proper flows.
For whom? Class IV Kayakers with excellent rolls and fit conditioning.
Tips – Kayakers get the most out of this trip by coming with both experience and physically fit to hike your kayak into and out of canyons. Bring your camera. Most kayakers want to do the Teacups +PLUS Pucon. Ask about a discounted Trip Extension.
Anyone whom has ever dreamt to whitewater kayak the Rio Futaleufu will enjoy the Road to Futa road trip of a life time. Road to Futa not only embraces the challenge of just getting to Patagonia’s world famous Futaleufu River we highlight every kayaker’s mission to get to the remote Futa Valley. PKH arranges logistics via Chile’s famous Carretera Austral, Southern Highway, taking kayakers along a series of ferries, fjords, volcanoes, glaciers, and Patagonia magnificent en route to the Futa. Once there kayakers fall in love with one of the world’s most magical rivers. Ultimately, kayaking the Futaleufu is every kayaker’s dream come true.
Best Time – With rugged Patagonia weather we recommend late January to mid March for best levels and sunny days. Pre-season the Futa is often dangerously high and flushed out and kayakers are smattered by heavy weather.
For Whom? Most kayakers think the Futa is only for experts. And the river certainly keeps the best kayakers in the world happy. But it also has remarkable sections for beginners and intermediates.
Tips – Bring your camera, good coffee, and winning attitude. Ask about adding a Pucon leg.
As the rivers to the north of Chile’s whitewater epicenter dry the rivers to the south warm and come in a perfect levels. PKH perfectly combines the best of Pucon with a remarkable road trip to the magical turquoise waters of the Rio Fuy. Add an overnight raft support trip on the San Pedro and you have yet another epic Chile kayak experience.
Pucon Rule of Thumb: When the rivers of Chile are too dry Pucon still has options. When everything is running in Chile, then Pucon has the most options. It always goes.
Best Time – Every month is great. But the core months are from November to April. And the peak sunny day months are January, February, and March.
For Whom? Whether you are an expert seeking clean waterfalls or a beginner hoping to learn and improve your roll Pucon is your best option.
Tips – Bring your camera, sleeping bag and tent, and be prepared to kayak, kayak, kayak. Want to kayak more for less? Reserve the Pucon Classics Trip with a discounted Trip Extension.
Know Chilean Geography
As you travel north to south you go from the warmer arid regions to the cooler temperate rainforest regions. Keeping these facts in mind, the ideal kayak adventure can be planned allowing you to hit rivers at their optimum flows with optimum weather conditions. And in Chile, water levels make all the difference. Basically, you’ll be moving from north to south OR from south to north — depending on what time of year you plan to travel (more on that in a second).
Santiago lies at the northern end of Chile’s central valley and wine district. There is notable whitewater to the west of Santiago, in the Maipo Valley, but 99% of Chile’s whitewater remains to the south. The Andes spine has annual snowmelt flowing west to the Pacific. Traveling south from Santiago looking east to the Andes it’s hard not to imagine what rapids lie hidden upstream. As you travel south, the weather cools and moisture increases, meaning the snow pack lasts longer into the season. Pucón has one of the longest whitewater seasons in Chile, with quality rivers running year-round.
Kayaker Tip: Pre-December you’ll find the rivers in Pucón and anywhere to the north offer warmer climates and plenty of water in smaller creeks and classic, larger volume rivers. River flow becomes less and less reliable throughout December, with many tributaries running dry by new year. Guides from the Futaleufu and surrounding area travel north to Pucón, and even the central valley, during this time of year. We recommend the Maipo, Seven Teacups National Park, Nuble, and Achibueno Valleys.
Pucón Whitewater Kayak Epicenter
Geographically, Pucón is the epicenter of Chilean whitewater. It lies to the south of Santiago and just north of the famous Rio Futaleufu. The summer vacation destination was originally established as a military trading route to Argentina, making it extremely accessible. Pucón is close to the Pan American highway (Ruta 5) and near a major Argentinian border. During early development the town — surrounded by lakes, rivers, and volcanoes — developed as an elite head-of-state fishermen’s destination. The perfect location with breathtaking beauty makes Pucón one of Chile’s top summer vacation destinations – for locals and foreigners.
Kayaker Heaven on Earth
For kayaker’s, Pucón is Heaven on Earth. Tourism, infrastructure, highways, and roads to river put-ins and take-outs provide something many other countries simply cannot deliver — access. The high annual precipitation and gradient between the Andes and the Pacific make this region one of the most congested whitewater locations on the planet. Now, imagine the Andes slopes speckled with volcanoes, each with their own glacial drainage. Chile’s volcanoes were formed separate from the mountain range, during different geological events — and they exponentially multiply the number of waterfalls and runnable rivers. In Pucón, for example, the Rios Turbio, Palguin, Truful Truful, and Llancahue are all volcano drainages. Surrounded by more rivers than you can possibly paddle in an area that also offers convenience, night-life, grocery stores, infrastructure, medical facilities, restaurants & cafes, and the opportunity to socialize with other travelers or just as easily seclude yourself far off the grid — it’s easy to see why Pucón has become one of the top kayak destinations in the world.
Kayaker Tip – Pucón has one of the longest kayak seasons in Chile. October and November are rainier periods great for notching lots of class IV+ and big drops. Everything is running. December may be the most popular month due to the holidays. The peak months of summer, from January thru March, see many of Chile’s rivers dry up, but Pucón continues to hold flows and attract kayakers. The sun is shining and the rivers are running.
Weather is King!
North is hotter. South is cooler. The weather gets almostunbearable near Santiago from January to March. Chile even takes a month-long national summer break to beat the heat. Chileans flock south to the cooler weather and any sources of water in forms of creeks, rivers, lakes, and lagunas. This is one reason why you see so many tourists in the south of Chile during February. As the weather gets hotter the rivers get lower.
The opposite is true of the south. Even Futaleufu guides avoid the Futa during October to December months due to dangerous high flows and extreme cold weather. But as the rivers of the north get low during summer months the Futaleufu Valley offers the perfect summer climate and an unlimited number of river cooling spots. During these months the river is at perfect flow, attracting kayakers from around the globe.
Kayaker Tip – Go with the flow of Chile’s river levels and enjoy the Patagonia summer weather. Plan your Futa trip for the months of January to March. Since many rivers are dry by this time, many kayakers arrive to Pucón seeking to get on reliable runs like the Palguin, Liucura’s play wave, Trancura, San Pedro or Truful Truful.
You are warmly invited to white water kayak with Pucon Kayak Hostel. Email David@puconkayakhostel.com to learn more.
Four days into our 2016 Teacups +PLUS trip we’re reminded why we first chose to come to Pucon to kayak. It’s the little things that few speak about that we cherish daily in our kayaking lives. Here are a few we identified this week.
#5 – Putting in and taking out at your riverside base.
For kayakers it’s a special feeling to put in just steps away from your bed. Maybe the only thing better is a class IV+ run on the same river taking out at your base to be followed by having a hot tree house shower and a cold beer. Pucon Kayak Hostel’s base is located at the takeout for the Upper Trancura and putin for the Lower (III) section right in the heart of all the local runs.
#4 – Upper Palguin Putin.
Few talk about the Upper Palguin putin, but they should. After driving past vistas of Volcan Quetrupillan you’ll next hike into the Palguin Canyon. At the base of the 85’ boof Salto Palguin is a land bridge seal launch. Slide in and the cascades await on South America’s most popular whitewater creek.
#3 – Canyon runs on the Rio Maichin.
Driving east from Pucon toward Argentina is a pristine class III-IV gem known as the Rio Maichin Canyon. Some parts are reminiscent of the Upper Yough with slots and boofs galore. The run does have three runnable V’s with option for sneaks and portages. This river gives you that deep canyon feel… because it’s a deep canyon.
#2 – Shuttles.
With three volcanoes surrounding Pucon, farmers working the land with ox and cart, and a region known as the rivers and lakes district it’s no wonder Pucon Kayak Hostel maintains a fleet of 4 por 4 trucks for kayakers. Every kayaker knows the anticipation to new river runs and cascades. Your shuttles are grounds for making lifetime friendships.
#1 – Paddling the Rivers.
Pucon Chile has been attracting kayakers to it’s clean river playgrounds for over four decades and for good reason. Kayakers seeking a great winter destination enjoy Pucon’s multitude of cascades and rivers including from class II beginner sections, class III rolling waves and eddies under towering volcanoes, class IV big water and cascades, and even the pros come to test their skills.
Are you a group organizer interested in discounts and promotional tips? If yes, then you’ll be interested in our Group Organizer Tips, Videos, and Promotional Materials. WATCH VIDEO – PKH owner David Hughes relates Purpose of Meaning to kayaking. Organizers can use our videos and tips to help promote your group to kayak Chile. Videos and tips below.
Whitewater Kayak Group Organizer Promotional Tips & Videos
Organizing a group of kayakers can be like herding cats. Kayakers are just all over the place. PKH has found a couple of tools that make it easier than you might have imagined. Step 1, Research which trip is right for your group. Step 2, Promote and Organize Your Group – Facebook offers a “Create a Facebook Event” feature that is easy and perfect for organizing, promoting and communicating with your group. Plus, David can help you by sharing photos, videos and also proactively answering questions. Directions to Create a Facebook Private Event – Ask David for a photo for your event.
Click the “Create a Event” button on your Facebook page.
Event Name – something like “Sarah Beth Kayak Friends Going to Chile January 2 – 10.” Invite every kayaker you know.
Location – Pucon Kayak Hostel
Date/Time – Use the dates from the actual trip.
Description – Make this a fun invitation to kayak Chile. Include links to the PuconKayakHostel.com trip description page. State whom to contact to sign up. Give deadlines for signups.
Promoting Your Event/Trip
Encourage everyone going to share and promote the event.
Periodically share past photos and videos of trips.
Organize a group Skype conference with David Hughes. It’s fun to talk about the rivers and travel in Chile.
Step 3, Email David@PuconKayakHostel.com your group list – in order that David may begin securing group deposits. Once you’ve paid your deposit Pucon Kayak Hostel will do the rest. You’ll receive packing lists and trip details to help make your adventure even better. Step 4, Continually share posts on your Facebook Event – Ask targeted questions and encourage friends to be active. Share Trip Links and Videos on Your Event and Personal Page
Teacups + Pucon (3 to IV+) – https://puconkayakhostel.com/kayak-tour-de-stouts-chile This is a link to the Teacups to Pucon Trips page.
Rio Claro Video – pro edit, https://vimeo.com/82059874 This is a high quality pro edit video of the Rio Claro. Spectacular shots and quality interviews.
2015 Teacups to Pucon Video – Norway guest edit Kristoffer Vansvikk, https://www.youtube.com/watch v=gX5IZifnGfQ&feature=youtu.be Last year Norwegian Kris Vansvikk made this edit of his trip. Needless to say he loved kayaking with us in Chile.
Other Suggestions to Promote Your Trip – Phone calls, word of mouth, group emails… We believe the Facebook Create a Event platform is the easiest and strongest way to promote your trip. Email or call David Hughes to help organize your group. David@puconkayakhostel.com or 304-640-2595. Keep Kayaking.