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.
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?”
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.”
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.”
“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 – email@example.com for travel agent referral.
#1- “We’re going to kayak Chile next year.”
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.
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.
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.
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 –
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 –
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 –
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.
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 –
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.
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.
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.