#keepkayaking celebrates every kayaker that steps up to a rapid challenge, sticks that roll or boof, and embraces the rivers we love. Join the unsung river heroes and friends that beckon us to KEEP KAYAKING.
Like many retreat kayakers Randy introduced himself at the NOC Guest Appreciation Festival (GAF) and later signed up for a dreamy Chile kayak trip. Sadly, Randy cancelled due to a bout with skin cancer diagnosis. This wasn’t Randy’s first rodeo with cancer as 8 years earlier he fought off colon cancer. That’s when Randy got introduced to one of kayaking’s greatest programs. The First Descents non-profit for cancer patients that uses kayaking and rivers therapeutically. Randy was surprised when more than a year later we reached out to inform his Chile kayak trip deposit was transferrable as trip credits. And he soon signed up for two weeks of fulfilling his kayaking goals.
Randy’s introduction to whitewater was as entertaining as his younger bull riding days. Seeking an instructional class Randy reached NOC’s front line Jae Jackson. Jae asked about Randy’s level of kayaking experience, “Well, I’ve paddled some II’s and III’s and a III+ or two.” What Randy left out was the fact his kayaking experience was actually in a sit on top crafted for flat water. Which we speculate his class III experience may have been a windy day on an Arkansas lake on a windy day. Jae aligned Randy with a class II to III whitewater clinic. After the first day of classes instructor Casey Jones asked, “So Randy. How many times have you paddled that boat?” Randy pondered for an honest response, “Other than today?” Casey nodded as if to say you can tell me, “Once.”
Randy offered to go into a less skilled class but Casey insisted to see how the clinic went. By the end of the clinic Randy was hitting multiple rolls, paddling class III, and best of all was hooked on kayaking. Randy laughs, “I’ve been staying in my boat and Casey has had to put up with me ever since.”
Three years and having survived cancer later Randy spent two weeks paddling in the heart of Chile’s best whitewater. The first few days were dusting off the cog webs a bit, and by the end of the trip Randy was running waterfalls and class IV. Excited for a new season of kayaking with a whole new level of kayak skills and confidence. We salute Randy Sparrow for representing everything we love about rivers. KEEP KAYAKING.
We hear it all the time… I really want to do my dream Chile kayaking trip but the airfares are expensive. Mostly, North America to Temuco flights range from $US1000 to $US1400. Many of our savvy nomad kayak travelers can find fares for as low as $US600. If a lower airfare is your decision maker for a Chile kayak trip then review our tips. And send us an email as we often have an updated gauge on pricing. We are here to help you.
Advantages of Following These Tips
By following these tips you will be a well-informed consumer.
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.
Airlines say they don’t raise prices by leaving and returning to their sites. But we have seen this happen. Each time you search incognito you are in effect resetting your cookies and hence not allowing the sites track your site hits.
Some known cheap US ports.
Try to route through these ports to save your budget.
DC Dulles has a super cheap Copa Airlines flight routing through Panama. JFK surprisingly had the lowest national airfares to Santiago. Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami, Houston, Toronto, and Dallas are all international airports that route direct to Chile.
Know the cheapest day to fly.
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.
About this time in 2017 I was bored by homework and found myself dreaming of warmer days kayaking waterfalls and rivers in some place for the winter. After some impulse decisions and soul searching my friend and I began comparing international kayak trips. We were looking at Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico and Chile. We didn’t want just a paddling vacation possibly beatering. We wanted to learn new skills, progress our kayaking, and kayak lots of rivers. I put in the time comparing guided trips and do-it-yourself destinations, and now I’m sharing why I chose Chile and Pucon Kayak Retreat over other options!
Our Criteria for International Kayak Trips?
Do-it-yourself or Instructional Kayak Trip?
Getting to see new rivers with development features to challenge our skills safely was huge. Pucon seemed to align with our goals to paddle lots of rivers, be challenged safely, get world class instruction, and come back to the same warm bed each night.
Trusting Relationship with NOC.
One of the biggest factors in my decision was the strong partnership between NOC and PKR. If you are a Southeastern paddler you are definitely familiar with the NOC Paddlesports and their reputation. This partnership gave me confidence in not only the high level skill and professionalism of the guides, but also reassured me that the trip I booked would be staffed and not cancelled at the last minute due to limited resources.The NOC guides were all super excited describing different rivers and waterfalls I could run. I already trusted and knew the instructors so that helped too.
Bang for Your Buck.
Most people think you need weeks to enjoy Chile. While I definitely think you should try to maximize your time in the country, a 1-2 week trip still gives you plenty of time for paddling and exploring. My first trip consisted of just over one week at PKR, but it felt like I was there for three. In my opinion it actually makes more sense to book a trip with PKR if you are limited on time. By booking a trip you ensure that the logistics are taken care of, and Dave (owner) and his team work to fit as much as possible into every day. How often do you paddle two or more rivers a day 7 days in a row at home? If you want to do multiple river runs every day that option is always there. If you want to hike up the volcano, do a tandem paraglide, or explore Pucon they make that happen. Or, if you just want to relax in the Quincho, taste some local wines, and make lifelong connections with other guests/staff that occurs every night!
Riverside Location. Location. Location.
If you’re reading this you’ve most likely already seen some of the beautiful Chilean landscapes and the amazing whitewater, but if you can believe it, I’ll tell you the pictures don’t do it justice. Volcanoes, rugged landscaped, untouched areas, pristine waters, glaciers, 15 hours of sunlight a day – it really doesn’t get any better. Some of the most stunning features are the basalt canyons like the Rio Palguin, watching smoke pour out of Volcan Villarrica at sunset, and the clear blue waters you’ll see on the Rio San Pedro. Literally, every turn offers another amazing vista.
Chile’s a Little Harder to Kayak on Your Own.
We thought we could invest to gain skills in Chile with the provided transportation, kayaks, meals, lodging, access and instruction because it seemed harder to do than Costa Rica and Ecuador. Now, that we’ve had some solid international travel experience and our kayaking is upped I feel confident to do other destinations on my own. The truth is Chile’s not cheap to do on your own. We feel good about what we paid as that was an investment in kayaking assurance and our own confidence.
Why I Returned to Work a Chile Season with Pucon Kayak Retreat
Even though my first trip only lasted a week, the improvements I saw in my paddling and especially my confidence were tremendous. The skills I learned and confidence I gained carried over to my local runs once I was back home, and I correctly guessed that returning for a full season would take my paddling to the next level.
The learning didn’t stop in Chile. When I got home I continued to refine many of the skills I learned with PKR guides. I’d tell you more about them, but maybe you should go to Chile yourself to find out 😉
The people I met and travelled with are what really made my time spent in Chile so special. There’s nothing like quality whitewater, beautiful landscapes, and fun-filled adventures to bring people closer together and make lasting memories.
Riverside Location. Location. Location.
I could go on for days about how much I’ve enjoyed traveling and exploring Chile. There’s something about it that just draws people back year after year. Did I mention there’s no poison ivy, ticks, mosquitos, or venomous snakes?
About Tara Blair. Tara is a former John Hopkins Uni student that we at Pucon Kayak Retreat were lucky enough to have return to work, play, guide, and just hangout with. Now, Tara’s off inventing medical engineering tools to save lives. We miss you Tara… come back to your southern home soon.
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.