5 Reasons to Never Kayak Chile

As the leaders of NOC Paddlesports and Pucon Kayak Hostel we are avid promoters of kayaking Chile’s rivers. Funny enough we more often than not hear a series of objections why to not kayak Chile. We’ve decided to address the most popular objections to never kayak Chile.

#5 – “Why go to Chile to paddle with other Americans?”

Kayakers from Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, US, Chile, and Slovenia merged into one kayak trip and hot spring pool. PKH attracts kayakers from around the globe.

Hahaha… Tip – You might want to refer to yourself as a North American when in Central or South America.

“It’s common to see 8 different countries represented having dinner together around the fire after a day on the river.” – Pro Kayaker Clay Wright observing dinner at PKH

Pucon Kayak Hostel attracts kayakers from around the globe including Japan, Russia, Germany, the UK, Canada, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Austria, Spain, France, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and the list goes on. It’s a whitewater hub of excitement, logistics coordinating, story swapping, booty beer chugging, and international kayaker games and bonding. And yes, kayakers from the US come too.

 #4- “I’m not good enough to kayak Chile’s rivers.”

Rio Liucura has a beginner section, a class III development section, and a world class play wave great for mastering loops or your combat roll.

Most kayakers realize Chile’s rivers and turquoise waterfalls attract pro kayakers like flies to a porch light. But beginner and intermediate kayakers may not know that Chile’s Lakes and Rivers District is congested with rivers full of excellent development features flowing from the Andean and volcanic peaks to the Pacific. We would even go far as to say that the rivers reliably guarantee year round flows  and Pucon has the world’s best development rivers for beginners and intermediates. Heck. If it’s too cold we’ll just go do a roll session in the hot springs.

“We chose Chile over destinations like Ecuador and Costa Rica because of the number of remarkable development rivers. Our (NOC) kayakers are middle aged seeking great instruction on safe beautiful rivers. Chile has it all.” – Tosh Arwood, NOC Kayak Program Director

#3- “Chile cost more than Ecuador or Costa Rica.”

Yes. Chile logistics of getting to the waterfalls and road trips can be expensive. PKH offers economical solutions.

“If it weren’t for Pucon Kayak Hostel’s economical options I don’t think our program would be able to do Chile.” – Capo Rettig, Director World Class Academy  

What if we get creative and give kayakers options that make Chile affordable? Here are a few options that make Chile trips affordable.

  • Regular trip guests can opt for a DISCOUNTED Trip Extension at 40% DISCOUNT.
  • Refer a friend and group organizer discounts make it so cheap that we’ve seen organizers earn a free trip.
  • Choose the camping option and save even more on any of our trips. Campers get all the trip benefits of 3 meals/day, daily kayak instruction, select kayak usage, transport to world’s best rivers, and access to the ambiance and community of PKH.
  • Email to discuss DISCOUNT options.

#2- “It’s not easy to find cheap Chile airfares.”

It’s true that Chile, for US kayakers, is twice the distance as destinations like Costa Rica and Ecuador. But we’ve learnt a few budget saving airfare tricks of interest. We’ve seen Chile tickets as low as $US700. Some budget saving tips:

  • Know the cheapest airports to get to Chile. US cheap ports include: Washington Dulles -Copa Airlines, JFK, Houston, Dallas, and Miami.  
  • Try Air Canada. Shocking. Flying through Air Canada can be cheaper than US routes.
  • BEST TIP – Try our recommended travel agent. After researching online for hours, being frustrated by the airlines bait and switching prices we reluctantly went to our travel agent. She first locked in lowest airfares giving her time to research even more.

“Mary Jo got my ticket for $300 less than I found and I didn’t have to do a thing. +PLUS, she knows kayaker travel needs. So, I’ve got a lifeline if I need to change ticket or anything happens.” Email – david@puconkayakhostel.com for travel agent referral.

#1- “We’re going to kayak Chile next year.”

You’ve worked hard. Everything is aligned for you to kayak Chile this year. Haven’t you earned it.

Really? Why does it take some kayakers 2 to 3 years, if ever, to make the mental leap? Why not advance your passion for kayaking, desire to become a better paddler, and attraction to explore beautiful rivers with great people? Come on… this is your invite with everything setup for your kayaking vacation. 

Could this be your new attitude? “I promised myself I’d become a better kayaker. I’m going to make Chile happen this January. Kayaking is my craft for exploration, adventure and meeting kayakers from around the world. I’m going to email my friends and rally…”

Is this the year to kayak Chile?

PKH offers several discount promotions for the 2017-2018 season. Email or call to learn more. David@puconkayakhostel.com or +1-828-788-5135. 

Most Popular Pucon Chile Whitewater Kayak Trips

Teacups +PLUS (III+ to IV+), $US1200 Camping/$US1500 Lodging, November – This waterfall road trip for advanced kayakers explores the world’s most iconic waterfall destination.Rio Claro’s Seven Teacups National Park has 70 +PLUS clean waterfalls in a 57,000,000 year old polished basalt canyon. Make that five canyons +PLUS one of other river valley. 

Pucon Classics (II to III) and (III to IV+), $US1950 Camping/$US2250 Lodging, January and February – This trip offers more rivers and private instruction. Kayakers really wanting to improve their skills and explore lots of rivers love this trip.

Week of Rivers Chile for Clubs (II to IV+), $US1950 Camping/$US2250 Lodging, January 13 to 23 – We took our most successful Pucon Classics model and tweaked it just for clubs and schools. Now, whitewater groups can bring every skill and receive members discounts. 

Road to Futa, (III to IV+), $US1950 Camping/$US2250 Lodging, Feb 21 – Mar 1 – Maybe our guides favorite trip is to drive the Patagon roads to the world famous Futa Valley. Based right in the middle of the Bridge to Bridge section our daily tasks are to eat, drink, kayak, play games, sleep, repeat. We have 50 +PLUS miles of river to explore ranging from beginner to all-you-can-eat. While, some are scared of big water we time for the lowest time of year when the Futa is at playful levels. Still big and exciting making for the kayak road trip of a lifetime. 

KEEP KAYAKING. 

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 David@puconkayakhostel.com 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: David@puconkayakhostel.com 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. 

KEEP KAYAKING. 

What can adults learn from teaching kids to white water kayak? 

Adult Lessons from Teaching Kids to White Water Kayak

This past week I was lucky enough to teach beginner white water kayaking with the NOC Paddlesports Kids Kayak Camp. With a goal to do a great job teaching it was soon learnt that I was learning more from the kids than the other way. Reflecting on the week here are a few lessons kids taught me.

Lesson 1 – Have plan for every kid.

Making wet exits a game makes being in kayaks fun. These guys worked on swimming while more advanced kids worked on running rapids.

The first lesson I learnt on the Cherokee’s Oconaluftee was that kid’s groups can be super diverse in skills. Trip Leaders Andrew Koch and Rachel Dean had divided the kids camp into two van groups based on skills. Even within our development group there was a big difference between gung ho 16-year-old Hugh and timid 11-year-old Reese. Rachel further individualized the instruction assigning instructors to work with the most timid kids, most aggressive, and a group right in the middle. This kept kids in mindsets of both confidence building and being challenged.

Lesson 2 – Are you having fun?

Instructors Mark Taylor and Eli Castleberry play the paddle pass game during a Nantahala shuttle.

It seems obvious to have fun with kids but there are plenty of stressors related to leading kids down white water. And just keeping up with their 16 hours/day of nonstop energy can be a challenge. And short attention spans get bored. Games and having fun were the solution. Even just participating in a splash war kept the days exciting and gave breaks from strokes and lessons. Some of our favorites were splash wars, swimming rapids, rock skipping contests, paddle circle game, sharks and minnows, and kayak ultimate.

Lesson 3 – Recognition is King.

Everyone loves to be recognized. Rachel Dean bought the group ice cream as a recognition reward.

Teaching a group of kids ages 11 to 16 often has an attention limit. I noted that each time the instructors called the group together for kayak lessons we’d see them go out and try the new skills for a limited time. Skills like holding ferry angles, edging, strokes and turning were progressing. But higher levels of excitement were engaged when Eli pulled gummy worms from his jacket and offered rewards. Now, the kids were charging and competing for the penny value candy. Later, Rachel gave points for the kids whom helped load boats most. She even bought 15-year-old Daniel a burger and fries and the group ice cream. And at the banquet every kid was recognized with noted accomplishments and prizes.

Simple Recognitions: candy, create a point system for skills, define a skill then recognize it with a pat on the back and a verbal “good job,” publicly group recognize desired behaviors by individuals.

Lesson 4 – Are the kids prepared? And what about your own preparedness?

Brother and sister, Tucker and Reese, team carry their kayaks to the Tuckaseegee “Dip” rapid.

It’s no surprise that kids forget things. So, Rachel made certain to teach kids the 5 essentials. Taking from that lesson each day the instructors would have the kids go get their 5 essentials and carry them to the trailer as a ticket to get in the van. Just in case boss man Tosh Arwood asked, “Can you load an extra set of gear, somebody’s going to forget something.” That would be me forgetting my river shorts in the drier. Thanks Mark Taylor for the shorts.

Lesson 5 – Being Present

Tough girls make the best kayakers.
Annabell Plush at the Chattooga Section 3 putin shooting rock skipping conest.
Did you know you can surf a kayak on a river? It’s fun and easy to learn.
It’s hard to be more present than running your first big rapid on the Chattooga’s Section 3. High Five!
Blog author David Hughes towing one to shore after splash war turns to fun swim.

Are kids resisting activity based on a lifetime of couch and cyber surfing? I can’t quite place my finger on it but it appeared that some kids did not know how to be adventure active. Inviting inclusion of achievable skills, games, and recognition were the best solutions observed. Instructor Mark Taylor kept the most-timid kayaker in the group super engaged on the last two days by inviting Reese to paddle the Dynamic Duo. Reese went from being scared of rapids to surfing and spinning her paddle as Mark called out, “Paddle Twirl.”

Engaging Solutions: invitations to activities, recognitions and rewards, inclusive games, and keeping the event fun.

Thanks NOC Paddle Sports for the learning opportunity.

Interested in NOC Kids White Water Kayak Camp. CLICKITY CLICK here. 

Keep Kayaking.

How to Sniff Out Cheap Chile Flights

As the host of a whitewater dream adventure destination a top priority is to help travelers save funds on airfares. Sniffing out the inside secrets of international flight deals is something every nomadic kayaker should understand. 

Advantages of Following These Tips

  • Your Chile kayaking adventure begins with your flight research.
    By following these tips you will be a well-informed consumer and know the best price when you see it.
  • If you learn just one new airfare purchasing gem you’ll save money. 
  • You may find yourself buying a ticket to your dream kayak vacation. 

Tips for Cheaper Chile Airfares White Water Kayakers Use

Browse incognito to avoid bait and switch pricing.

Just a reminder that kayaking is fun for everyone.

Airlines and booking agencies use a low fare magnet statistically knowing that everyone researches best price points. That’s how they get you… when you return to their site to buy that low cost ticket the price increased by hundreds in only minutes. Each time you search incognito you are in effect resetting your cookies and hence not allowing the sites track your site hits. For the moment you should be able to get the originally published lower fare. 

Know the cheapest day to fly.

Are you ready to fly to Chile and kayak daily? The more you research the more you save. Mark Taylor flying low on Pucon’s Upper Nevados.

Use sites like Google Flights and Sky Scanner’s “Whole Month” feature to see cheapest flights by date. As a rule of thumb Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are cheaper than weekend flights. 
Google.com/Flights – We suggest beginning your research with Google Flights because you can easily see the cheapest days to fly. It’s cool to see the costs illustrated on each day of the calendar. 
SkyScanner.com – Maybe the best comprehensive booking site for finding low fares. The “Whole Month” feature allows you to compare prices by the day equaling hundreds of dollars in savings. Easy to use and fast.

  • Now that you know the cheapest days to fly use the data to search on other cheaper booking engines.

Use price alerts and price bidding.  

Many booking sites have either price alerts or bidding. You can bid your price or by requesting alerts watch prices drop during the following weeks. 

LowFares.com – searches Travelocity, Kayak, Expedia, One Travel, Cheap Flight Now, and Trip Advisor.
CheapFlightNow.com and CheapOAir.com  – Also searches multiple engines. 
SkyAuction.com – While, Priceline.com recently killed their name your own price option SkyAuction still offers a similar service. You have the option to pay the price they publish or why not try naming your price.  

Keep Kayaking. 

Our Most Popular Pucon and Chile White Water Kayaking Trips