This weeklong trip packs in a lot of adventure—trekking, kayaking, rafting, and canyoneering—plus sleeping in some beautiful and unique locations. With ample time devoted to training, travelers of all levels of experience will get the most out of this itinerary. From canyons and rapids to hiking in the forest and spending the night in a tree house, experience the best of northern Patagonia.

Highlights

  • Spend a day exploring Chile's thriving capital
  • Raft and kayak some of the most pristine rivers in Chile
  • Stay in a tree house and soak in riverside hot tubs
  • Hike through peaceful Andean forests
  • Go canyoneering through spectacular gorges and canyons

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 Arrival in Santiago de Chile
Day 2 Flight to Esquel - Welcome Dinner
Day 3 Esquel - Rafting training - Terminator Camp
Day 4 Kayaking Espolon River - Trekking to Tree House Camp
Day 5 Trekking - Rafting - Kayaking - The Nuns Camp
Day 6 Canyoneering - Rafting - The Nuns Camp
Day 7 Transfer to Esquel - Flight to Santiago - Departure

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Santiago de Chile

Hike or take a gondola up to the top of Cerro San Cristobal

Welcome to Chile! Upon arrival at Santiago International Airport, a driver will meet you and transfer you to your hotel. You'll have the rest of the day to explore the city at your leisure. 

Suggested activities include:

  • Hike to the top of Cerro San Cristobal, where you can get your bearings by surveying the area from a high vantage point. Pathways lead 2,788 feet (850 m) up this central hill to a series of lookouts that offer wraparound views of Santiago. If you aren't the hiking type, not to worry: catch a scenic gondola instead.

  • Stroll the cobblestone streets of Barrio Bellavista. On the north side of Santiago, you'll find this trendy enclave, at once fashionable and bohemian. Stroll past colorful houses adorned with graffiti art and choose between an eclectic array of eateries and bars—great for people watching. 

  • Visit the Plaza de Armas, a stone plaza located in Santiago's historic center dating to 1541. There's also the impressive Catedral Metropolitana, a neoclassical church dating to 1748 whose towering twin bell towers dominate the north side of the plaza.

  • Snap pics in front of the Palacio de la Moneda. Chile's opulent Presidential Palace (known simply as "La Moneda") is a short stroll from the Plaza de Armas. It was here in 1973 that Chile's armed forces, backed by the U.S. government, overthrew President Salvador Allende, kicking off a brutal right-wing military dictatorship that would last for 17 years. Visitors are welcome.

For dinner be sure to get out of the hotel and enjoy a culinary adventure in the city. In recent years Santiago has emerged as a global foodie destination. Chilean chefs are reinventing traditional dishes like empanadas, cazuelas (stews), and seafood with ingredients harvested all the way from the northern deserts and southern Patagonian regions. You can find great restaurants and wine bars not only in the Bellavista neighborhood but also in the revitalized historic barrios of Yungay and Italia.

Day 2: Flight to Esquel - Welcome Dinner

Esquel in Argentina

After breakfast in Santiago, you'll transfer to the airport for a flight to Esquel in southern Argentina in the foothills of the Andes Mountains

During the day, explore Esquel's streets and get ready to begin a great adventure. In the evening, gather with your guide and fellow travelers for a welcome dinner.

Day 3: Esquel - Rafting Training - Terminator Camp

Rafting on the Futaleufú River

Today's adventure begins with a drive from Esquel to Futaleufú. After a one-hour route, we will arrive at Chilean border and see the dramatic change of scenery between the two countries. Once at Futaleufú, notice how the landscape changes while entering the heart of the Andes. The contrast between the snow-capped peaks, the green vegetation, and the crystalline water of the river is an impressive spectacle.

Later begins a training period. This is a very exciting section of the river with rapids of varying difficulty allowing you to prepare for the challenges of the rest of the adventure. After all the action, we'll head to the camp, located alongside one of the most famous rapids of the river: Terminator. There will be time to relax and enjoy a good meal (and a soak in the hot tub!) overlooking the long rapid.

Day 4: Kayaking Espolon River - Trekking to Tree House Camp

Tree House Camp

The day starts with the enjoyment of taking our kayaks down the Espolon River, a perfect place for beginners. Later, hike up to the Tree House Camp, while enjoying spectacular views all along the way. Upon arrival, we will find ourselves in a unique place. A lake high in the Andes surrounded by forest and a series of tree houses interconnected by bridges will be our playground for the day. Here we will eat lunch and have time to swim in the lake, go kayaking, or relax at the hot tub right next to the lake. You'll also have the option of hiking up to Condor Hill, where sightings of its namesake bird are very common. Native to Chile, condors have a wingspan of over 10 feet!

Day 5: Trekking, Rafting & Kayaking - The Nuns Camp

Rafting down a beautiful Andean river

Start the day hiking down to the banks of the river, enjoying the beautiful views of the valley, its mountains and the river in the distance. After, we will raft an entertaining section of the Fu', with class 4 and 4+ rapids, until we reach our lunch spot. In the afternoon, and after a short hike, we will use inflatable kayaks to go down the Rio Azul, which runs through a beautiful canyon and meets the Futaleufu.  From there, we will keep kayaking until our next camp: The Nuns. Once there, we will have time to relax and enjoy the cliffside hot tub that overlooks the river and its landmark mountains.

Day 6: Canyoneering & Rafting - The Nuns Camp

Rafting some challenging rapids

The last day of our adventure begins with canyoneering in Arroyo Blanco (White Creek). The creek runs through a spectacular canyon of white granite and turquoise water, which we will traverse on foot until we reach a waterfall. Later, we will face the biggest whitewater day of our trip. We will start by rafting one of the most famous rapids of the Fu', Terminator, which you've seen earlier on this trip. We then continue with a series of highly entertaining and challenging rapids.

After lunch, we will keep rafting until the rapids are finally over. It will be an action-packed experience full of excitement, adrenaline, and fun! After an intense day on the water, we return to our camp to relax and enjoy a well-deserved Patagonian asado (lamb barbecue).

Day 7: Transfer to Esquel - Flight to Santiago - Departure

Sit back and enjoy the views on your way back to Esquel

It's time to say goodbye to Patagonia! After breakfast at the Nuns Camp, drive to the Esquel Airport to catch your return flight to Santiago. Upon arrival in Santiago, transfer to the international terminal for check-in to your flight back home.