see + do
Rafting and Kayaking in Chilean Patagonia
Concierge.com's insider take:
Rafting aficionados who know little else about Patagonia have heard of the "Fu"—Chile's Río Futaleufú, whose adrenaline-pumping Class V rapids have become the embodiment of Patagonia's extreme outdoor challenges. The rapids themselves, with technically demanding "wave trains" that were long considered too dangerous to navigate, were conquered in 1990 by Earth River Expeditions. Today the company runs multiday expeditions linking five camps set on private stretches of river. (The camps are somewhat rustic and include lodgings in caves and tree houses—however, they do have flush toilets and showers.) Not for beginners or the faint of heart (800-643-2784; www.earthriver.com). Other Patagonian rivers offer less-stomach-churning adventures: The Lake District's Río Petrohué affords classic Class III runs through old-growth forests, while even sections of the roaring Palena and Baker rivers in Aisén province can be tackled with comparative ease. Increasingly, outfitters combine river rafting with sea kayaking in the fjords among sea lions and dolphins.