Chile Kayak Vacation with ESCAPE - What are these trips all about?
Camp Puesco (October 1st – December 31st)
Going into our 3rd season, <ESCAPE> will continue to offer rafting and SUP tours, however our focus is gravitating towards whitewater kayak clinics and guided kayak trips. We began the Camp Puesco program in November of 2013 in order to provide a full-service, all-inclusive kayak vacation for those looking to get off of the beaten path, while improving skills and challenging themselves on harder whitewater with the safety and knowledge of an experienced guide staff.
What makes the program unique in Chile (and the world) is our location. Rather than hanging out with a bunch of other gringos and tourists, we are able to share the cultural experience of immersing ourselves into the Chilean Patagonian lifestyle with the Quintun family, staying in their hand-built riverside cabins, and we have the opportunity to share with the surrounding community of native, Mapuche people who are friendly enough to welcome us into their mountain paradise. Guests not only kayak on world class whitewater, but they experience real, rural South American culture. We put a lot of energy into providing the most fun on and off of the water, with healthy and abundant meals, all while keeping a friendly, down-to-earth vibe that fits well with the environment and with the local people.
The cabin resort in Puesco is located just 12 miles upriver from the town of Curarrehue, but it is a real mountain escape which offers all guests the opportunity to truly unplug from the “system” and the hustle of their daily lives while they plug-in to the power of the natural surroundings. The cabins are known in the local and international backpacker community for their position at the base of the craggy granite spires of the Cerro de Las Peinetas, one of the sacred mountains of the region, and for their proximity to the trails of the alpine wilderness of the Villarrica National Park. The cabins are known in the kayak community for their convenient position at the take-out of the challenging Class V section of the Upper Río Puesco, featured in the Whitewater Grand Prix, and at the put-in of the Class IV-V Lower Río Puesco.
Guests are not limited to paddling such demanding whitewater. We can lap the Class III rapids next to the cabins, we utilize the riverside swimming pool for roll practice, we do boof practice on a perfect Class III-IV creek training run on the Lower Lower Puesco just minutes downstream, and we are the closest outfitter to the magical canyon of the Río Maichin, which has several sections of fun Class II and arguably the most beautiful stretch of Class IV whitewater in Chile. For those looking to push their game, we have the Puesco by our side, we are just 25 minutes from the world famous Palguin, 25 minutes from the put-in of the mighty Upper Trancura and 45 minutes from the granite slides of the Río Nevado. There are dozens of other runs from Class II-V that are all within a an hour or two from Puesco.
Camp Fuy (January 2nd – March 31st)
One might ask, “Puesco sounds too good to be true! Why would you ever leave?” Well, unfortunately the rivers around Puesco and Curarrehue tend to dry up in the Chilean summer months (January-March). If there was good water all summer, I wouldn’t move for anything, but the lower levels make kayak vacations less exciting with less variety, so why not follow the water? The Río Fuy has long been on “the map” in the kayaking world as one of the best kayak destinations in Chile, but surprisingly there is currently no infrastructure tailored to the traveling kayaker’s needs, and <ESCAPE> is about to change all of that in January of 2015. We plan to be the first kayak school and guide service on the Río Fuy.
We are going to take the Camp Puesco model to the Fuy valley, where we will offer full-service guided trips and clinics, as well as a la carte lodging, boat rentals and shuttles for more independent travelers. The Fuy is really the ultimate winter getaway for whitewater enthusiasts from the northern hemisphere because it is fed by two large lakes which keep the river pumping at a healthy flow all summer long. The lake-fed river runs warmer than most with its transparent, calypso-colored waters plunging through the Huilo-Huilo Reserve at the base of the glaciated Volcan Choshuenco.
In the spring months while we are at Puesco, the Fuy runs big, and the high volume limits paddlers to the powerful waves of the Class III-IV section of the Lower Fuy. However, as it drops into summer flow, the Fuy’s Upper section with its marquee 25’ waterfall turns into a playground for skilled river runners, and the Fuy’s Middle section challenges even the world’s best kayakers with its committing canyon full of complex, multi-stage rapids and a must-run 40 foot falls. The Lower Fuy provides a safe but exciting training ground for intermediate paddlers looking to get more comfortable with higher volume river running, and the Lower Lower Fuy is an excellent classroom for the novice paddler. Boaters of all skill levels will be challenged and entertained by the variety of whitewater the Río Fuy has to offer.
The nearby Río San Pedro is known as the “Mini Futaleufu,” and this classic run is a short drive from our base. Just 2.5 hours from Curarrehue and 3 hours from Puerto Montt, the Fuy is also a great jumping off point for the rivers of Pucon, those of the Lago Ranco region as well as those to the south into the Lakes District of Patagonia.
Staying true to our mission to support the local community, and with our commitment to provide a real Chilean immersion experience for our guests, we will be basing out of a large house on a Mapuche family farm, conveniently located halfway down the Lower Fuy and walking distance from the lakeside village of Choshuenco. Here we will offer guest-house style shared bedrooms and camping and private cabins for lodging options. There is even a ski resort open during the summer on the glaciers of the nearby volcano for those who want to shred a few corn turns before or after a river trip.
Contact Us for more information or to make a reservation. ESCAPE 🙂