Rivers of Patagonia III-IV

Sample Itinerary:
Day 1: Arrival to San Carlos de Bariloche
Day 2: Manso River Frontera, Argentina
Day 3: Hielo or Corcovado River, Argentina
Day 4: El Tigre River, Chile
Day 5: Azul and/or Futaleufú River, Chile
Day 6: Futaleufú River, Chile
Day 7: Futaleufú River, Chile
Day 8: Return to San Carlos de Bariloche

On a class III-IV Rivers of Patagonia trip we can explore rivers in both Argentina and Chile. Along the way you will also experience the culture and beauty of Patagonia. A sample journey may begin on the rivers in the foothills of the Andes Mountain range. Continuing south, we paddle canyons that cut deep into the flatlands of the “Esteppe” before we cross the Andes into Chile and paddle the immense waters of the world-renowned Futaleufú River.

Day 1:
Welcome to San Carlos de Bariloche the gateway to Patagonia! There are a few flights a day into Bariloche and once everyone has arrived we begin our journey south via the scenic “circuito chico” passing through the famous Lake District including Lago Nahuel Huapi and Lago Guillermo towered over by the Andes mountain range. Just before reaching the town of El Bolsón we will turn off the highway and start making our way down an exciting 4×4 road, arriving in time for some vino Argentino and a hearty dinner at our remote eco-lodge nestled in the mountains. Dinner is included.
Day 2:
After a hearty breakfast at the lodge we outfit our boats and head to the first river of the week. We’ll be heading north to do some paddling inside the Nahuel Haupí National Park. The Manso Frontera is the classic section on this river. We paddle high volume class III-IV+ in crystal-clear turquoise water with some good surfing opportunities. The river takes us right up to the Chilean border – but we are not crossing today because we’ve got a few more gems to show you in Argentina first!
Day 3:
Today, we say good-bye to our eco-lodge and we continue our Patagonian journey further south. After an early breakfast we head to towards the town of Corcovado stopping first to run the little known Hielo River.
Over centuries, the waters of the Hielo have carved a canyon deep into the Argentinean “Esteppe” (flat lands). The canyon walls of the Hielo tower over us and almost never open up throughout our descent. This is a hidden gem of Argentinean whitewater with impressive non-stop class III-IV action! We spend the night in Corcovado.
Day 4:
This morning we pack up with our passports in hand as we cross the border at the small town of Palena into Chile. Today we will do a run of the crystal clear Tigre River just inside the Chilean border. The river flows from Lake Engaño in Argentina then crosses the mountains before connecting with the Azul River in Chile. We’ll be running the Chilean section before continuing our journey onto Futaleufú! Tonight we’ll settle into our eco-camp cabins in a stunning location on the confluence of the mighty Futaleufú and Azul Rivers. A hearty dinner, hot sauna and river-side hammocks are the plan for the evening tonight.

Days 5-7:
For the next few mornings we’ll wake up to the sounds of the mighty Futaleufú River rushing by our cabins. After eating a big breakfast at Campo we will begin to explore the variety of class III-V options and sections that the Futaleufú river valley has to offer. Options will include the Azul River a steep continuous class III+ run that takes us right back to our camp as well as the endless options offered up by the Futalefu River itself! Our goal is to run the ultimate classic of Patagonian runs, the “Bridge to Bridge” section of the Futa, a class IV+ continuous run where you can choose the big lines or some class III sneak lines with must-make moves. The water is beautiful and clean (we drink right from the river here!) with breathtaking views at every turn. On our final evening we’ll celebrate with a traditional “Asado” (barbecue) on the shores of the river where we can toast to the week’s paddling adventures.
Day 8:
We breakfast at Campo before the drive back to San Carlos de Bariloche and have lunch en route. We will drop you wherever you like in Bariloche. Breakfast and lunch are included in your trip but dinner will be on your own. Alternatively, we are happy to drop you off in Esquel or El Bolsón if you wish.

Please note that this is a sample itinerary only. Your trip will most likely be customized to your group and paddling conditions. Accommodation and river choices can vary from trip to trip!

Play hard, rest easy.
Most Paddle Patagonia trips stay in comfortable and clean lodges and cabins where you do not need to bring any bedding. There is no camping required although it could be an option if requested by your group. Some locations where you will stay have saunas and/or hot tubs which are a real luxury after a long day of paddling! Ask us about the accommodation options for your trip!

Paddle Patagonia’s trips travel through several different mountain terrains and at anytime the weather can change often and quickly. In general, the early season may see cooler mornings/evenings with hot days (20+ C°). As we get closer to Jan-Feb, the weather stabilizes into warmer summerlike conditions (25+ C°). The sun in Patagonia can be quite intense and a good sunscreen is advised.

All of the rivers we paddle are crystal clear and clean. Water temperatures will range from 8-15C°. See packing list for details on what to bring.

Packing List

Required personal paddling equipment:

  • Helmet
  • Paddle
  • Lifejacket & whistle
  • Good footwear for paddling (we recommend something with thick soles that is supportive enough on rough terrain, a pair of sneakers will work)
  • Sprayskirt (for kayakers)
  • Water bottle

Recommended paddling layers:

  • Wool, polypro or neoprene tops (at least 2)
  • Wool, polypro or neoprene bottoms (at least 2)
  • Shorts
  • Canoers: Drysuit or wetsuit recommended
  • Kayakers: Longsleeve drytop recommended
  • Wool or neoprene socks

Suggested personal gear:

  • Spring/summer clothing
  • Long pants
  • Warm sweater or fleece
  • Rain coat
  • Baseball or Sun hat
  • Sunglasses with strap
  • Sunscreen
  • Wool or fleece hat
  • Shoes for hiking (either running shoes or hiking boots will do)
  • Sandals or slip on shoes to wear indoors/off the river
  • Personal toiletries
  • Head lamp
  • Light pack towel or sarong for riverside changing
  • Ear plugs & Nose plugs
  • Kayak sponge
  • Throw bag (all of our guides always carry one but it is good practice to carry your own)

It is recommended to make photocopies of all your important documents prior to departure. Keep a separate copy in your checked luggage and carry the originals with you.


  • Passport
  • Travel & Medical Insurance
  • Emergency Contact information

Getting Here:

Option 1:

Fly to Buenos Aires in Argentina, connect to San Carlos de Bariloche.

Most international flights fly into Ministro Pistarini International Airport in Buenos Aires, Argentina (also known as Ezeiza), the airport code is EZE. You will then need to get to the domestic airport called Jorge Newbery Airport (also known as Aeroparque), the airport code is AEP. From there you can take a connecting flight to San Carlos de Bariloche (BRC).

How to get from Ezeiza (EZE) to Aeroparque (AEP):

  • Transport Bus Service: There is an official bus line called “Manuel Tienda Leon” that transports travelers to other locations in Buenos Aires. You purchase a ticket from their booth after clearing customs (they have one inside and one outside). The cost is approximately $16 USD per person and they have departures approximately every 20 minutes. (www.tiendaleon.com.ar).
  • By Taxi: This will cost approximately $50 USD per taxi. Upon exiting customs you will see several official taxi companies. You purchase a standard fare to Aeroparque from one of those stands by cash or credit card, they give you a ticket and you then take that to the official taxi line. This option is faster and one taxi will take up to 4 people. However if you have extra or oversized bags you may want to take the bus service.

Option 2:

Fly to Santiago in Chile, connect to San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina.

You may also choose to fly into Santiago de Chile. The international airport is called Arturo Merino Benitez and the airport code is SCL. From there you can get a connecting flight to San Carlos de Bariloche (BRC), usually via Aeroparque Buenos Aires (AEP).

Arriving into Argentina

Some nationalities now need to purchase a “reciprocity entry fee” online ahead of time, namely Canadian, American and Australians. Most European countries do not have to pay but for the others the cost could be between $70 and $130 USD with varying validity. You must purchase this by credit card online in advance and may be able to choose a single entry or a multiple entry visa. You DO NOT need a multiple entry visa for crossing in and out of Argentina and Chile by land. Only purchase multiple entry if you plan on flying into the country again in the next 5 years. Please check with your local embassy to confirm the regulations for your country of origin.This was accurate at the time of writing but please double check as rules may have changed!

Here is the website link for purchasing your reciprocity fee: http://www.migraciones.gov.ar/accesibleingles/

Make sure you print out the receipt for your reciprocity fee and carry it with your passport.