The experience of a lifetime awaits you in Chilean Patagonia; climb into a raft, set off down the aqua-marine river and leave the rest behind. Welcome to Futaleufú, a town nestled in the Andes just eight kilometres from the Argentinian border. Not only can you face the Futa river head on with various tour guides, but there’s something for everyone including family floats, trekking, bike excursions, as well as river-bugging down the glacier-fed Azul river.

Highlights

  • White-water rafting in the Futaleufú river – Bound through a trajectory of rapids ranging from class three to beyond class five. Come prepared to get wet as you slam into towering waves throughout the famous Futaleufú river. You’ll be invited to do a bit of cliff-jumping in between to complete the experience. A number of operators offer various tour options. For example, Bochinche has three rafting excursions to choose from all of which come with equipment, a professional guide, insurance, transportation and snack.

-Bridge-to-Bridge: A 12km journey filled with class III to IV rapids. This is the most-popular rafting excursion with a duration of four hours in total.

-Bridge-to-Macal: A 15km journey starting from the same point as the “Bridge-to-bridge” journey and continuing until Sector Puerto Ramirez. During this trip, you will experience class IV, V rapids and beyond. Duration: six hours.

-Azul-to-Macal: A 25km journey not for the faint-hearted. Starting from Sector Azul you will have a breath-taking view of the “Tres Marias” mountain-range and continue down the glacier-fed river finishing at Macul like the previously-mentioned trip. Class IV, V rapids and beyond. Duration: eight hours.

***For a more laid-back option or if you have children in-tow, consider a “Flotada Familiar” down the tranquil Espolón river.***

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  • Tandem kayak and classes – Whether it’s your first time or you’re a river-pro, there’s lots to choose from. The abundance of rivers throughout Futaleufú make it the perfect place to learn and let-loose. Most lessons take place on the gentler parts of the Espolón river with a warm-up session in the lake. If you’re still rearing to ride some rapids there are two possibilities depending on your level: solo or tandem. Going in a two-person kayak with an experienced instructor can give you the rush you crave with added safety and security.

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  • River-bugging – Bochinche is the only place in South America currently offering river-bug excursions. This innovative way of riding the rapids will have you howling with laughter and excitement. It might sound strange at first: slipping on a pair of flippers and frog-hands while sitting in a donut-shaped inflatable but it’s great fun for all ages. Excursions take place on both the Espolón and Azul rivers with special pricing for children.

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  • Bike excursions – If getting wet isn’t your thing but you want to see Futa’s incredible nature, hop on a bike and follow a guide to the zone’s hidden gems. Excursions vary in length and difficulty but all allow you wild-life viewing opps and breath-taking views. From trips to the National Reserve to Futaleufú’s annual cycling route, you won’t walk away disappointed.

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  • Trekking excursions – One of the best ways to see Futa packed with snow-capped mountains, hidden waterfalls and pounding rivers, is on foot. Bochinche’s professional guides are here to give you the most and leave you with a deeper understanding of the zone’s ecology.

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Prices

Activity Price Additional info.
White-water river rafting From $80USD Trips range from half-day to multi-day
Kayak classes From $50USD Classes range from three hours to multi-day
River-bugging From $30USD Special prices and excursions for children
Bike excursions From $40USD Half-day and full-day excursions available
Trekking From $60USD Full-day hikes available
Flotada Familiar From $30USD Various trips to choose from

Tips

  • Pick-up and drop-off – Companies, like Bochinche, will provide pick-up and drop-off services at an additional cost to and from neighbouring towns such as El Bolsón, Esquel and Trevelin. This can be an especially useful service when the bus schedule doesn’t line up with your planned arrival/departure day. Cabins available too.
  • Appropriate dress – If you’re going for a day at the river, all you really need to remember is your bathing suit and courage. A warm change of clothes and towel are recommended for after the trip as adrenaline, and therefore body temperature, drop quite rapidly.
  • Bring a friend or two! – The easiest way to fill a raft for a half or full-day journey down the Futa is to bring some people with you. This will guarantee zero waiting time for others to sign up and fill the boat before setting off on your adventure. The minimum number of people needed for a trip is four. Different map under excursions.
  • Take your time– There’s a saying in Patagonia which is “El que apura, pierda su tiempo” which translates to: He who rushes, wastes his time. It might sound bad, but it’s a different lifestyle at the end of the world. Roads are sometimes blocked, buses may not run, communication lines go down for a few days etc. just remember you are in a beautiful part of the world, take advantage of your surroundings.

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Transport

Arriving to Futa may be a bit long but well worth the effort. If renting a car, you can arrive at your leisure either from neighbouring Chaiten or across the border from Esquel, Argentina (borders close at 8pm).

  • Bus – Buses run everyday between Chaiten and Futaleufú at various times. If coming from Esquel, you will need to catch a bus on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday. The journey from Chaiten is approximately three hours and from Esquel approximately two hours with border crossing.
  • Bike – The Carretera Austral has become a popular route among cycling enthusiasts and Futaleufú is just a small detour (about 70km). If you plan to arrive by bike be aware that road conditions change rapidly so good gear is a must.

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History

The idea of Bochinche was born four years ago in Italy between current owners, Daniel and Ricardo. They chose Futaleufú as they are both from the zone and had been working there for over ten years as river-guides. The primary goal was to work in unison with their beloved community and increase appreciation of its natural beauty among tourists and locals alike.

About Bochinche Tours

  • In the native language of Mapudungun “Bochinche” means happy people; this vibe is what the company hopes to emit to its valued clients on every excursion.
  • Bochinche is the only place to offer river-bugging excursions in South America. Ricardo and Daniel, both owners, were certified as river-bug guides during a trip to Austria.
  • Bochinche is made up of talented people from all over the world: Italy, Canada, Spain, Chile, Costa Rica and more! Languages are a breeze!

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