Maximum adrenalin, rafting in Futaleufú

Every day intrepid travelers defy the challenges of nature, whitewaters for kayaking or rafting and much more.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009  
rafting en Futaleufú Rafting en Futaleufú (Photo:Sebastián Alvarez /

The Futaleufú River, or “Futa” as it is known colloquially, flows through a box canyon, with powerful currents and turquoise-colored waters, that plunges down a mountain relief through woody vegetation. Its natural beauty is undeniable, as is the force of its torrential waters that are considered one of the great challenges in the world for kayaking and whitewater rafting lovers.

It was discovered some 20 years ago by foreign sportsmen who saw in Futa a rough diamond. Its fame grew steadily, as did the tourist services that began to spring up in the beautiful town of Futaleufú, 420 kilometers north of Coyhaique.

Purgatorio (Purgatory), Terminator, Danza de Los Ángeles (Angels’ Dance), Escala de Jacobo (Jacob’s Ladder) and Infierno (Hell), are some of the names of the Futa rapids. These are not random names, because the river has a level IV-V rating on a maximum scale of VI – i.e., it is a river to be feared. For this reason, those who dare take up this challenge always experience a maximum adrenalin rush.

The route includes a first stretch through Cañón del Infierno (Hell’s Canyon) between gigantic walls of basaltic rock; it continues along the level V-2 to V-3 level Valle de las Escalas (Ladder Valley), ending in a series of level IV rapids. In the middle stretch there are countless level III and IV rapids, all very long, which make this one of the most entertaining spans. The last stretch goes to Lake Yelcho flows out into an alluvial plain in a valley of glacial origin.

If you still have a taste for more, the natural surroundings of the area offer much more. Varied treks, canyoning, mountain-biking and the nearby presence of pristine sites such as the Futaleufú National Reserve or Lake Espolón provide experiences that will leave an indelible mark.