Unlike restaurants and hotels, outfitters on multi-day trips spend long periods of time with their guests and get to know them personally. We love receiving thank you letters or web reviews but have made it a company policy not to solicit reviews for TripAdvisor out of respect for our client’s privacy and their time. We believe the review solicitation (culling) process produces an artificial result rather then a balanced portrayal of the company or the trip. Below you will find a number of letters sent to us throughout the years. We also have a handful of unsolicited reviews on TripAdvisor (under the general Fualeufu rafting section). Perhaps the most comprehensive look at our Futaleufu trip can be found by reading the articles in our library where in most cases the writer actually did the trip.
Eric / Robert--
Chicago Sun Times, January 3, 2012
Some people go to Florida, Arizona or Mexico over Christmas break. Others go skiing. Most stay home and celebrate with family and friends. Not Chicago’s new first family. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, his wife, Amy Rule, and their three children — Zach (14), Ilana (13) and Leah (11) — spent an exotic holiday exploring South America. Tanned, rested, but no less driven, Emanuel returned to work on Tuesday and offered up an oral report: “Every year, we try to take the kids to a different part of the world. The family went to Chile and Argentina on a white-water rafting trip. We did about 70 miles of whitewater on the Futaleufu [River] down in Chile with Earth River Expeditions. We went fly fishing and hiking and then spent New Year’s Eve in Buenos Aries,” the mayor said. When a reporter asked the mayor to “tell us about your vacation,” Emanuel was initially tight-lipped. “It was good,” he said. Pressed to “tell us more,” he said, “It was really good.” Pushed further, he said, “It was unbelievably good.”
Dear Earth River;
I could write the most amazing letter and it still wouldn’t do this experience justice. The days I was with Earth River on the Futaleufu had to have been the best 7 days of my life. It´s hard to describe, but there are so many categories in which to grade a trip; scenery, accommodations, activities, food, staff and so many other facets. Every category scored so high above anything I could have imagined. It was just a jaw dropping, mind blowing experience. I told Robert and the other guides, probably to the point that they were tired of hearing it, I was having the greatest time of my life. In just one day´s experience a person would be hard pressed to do and see as much in a week. The Earth River camps were incredible. The locations are stunning. Where you ate and slept each night, beyond belief. I know Eric mentioned to me before I came down, that you had a number of groups each year that just hiked from Camp to Camp and never set foot in a raft. I now understand why.
"I want to thank you again for the wonderful experience you made possible for ABC Sports on the special we shot on the Futaleufu. Your guide team in Chile could not have been more helpful, professional and enthusiastic. You have brought together quite a group of people. During our week of shooting, we worked hard and accomplished a tremendous amount, but also had a great time. Personally I can't wait till I have a chance to return."
Dear Earth River;
Early this morning, the river trips of my life suddenly started cascading around in my mind with such intensity that I though I’d better write you. As I’m sure we’ve talked about before, whitewater rafting has been “my thing” over the years. It’s a marvelous way to see wild country and there’s always a fine group of folks who are nearly always like minded about their enthusiasm for river running.
Earth River and the Futaleufu stand out in my memory as the very best of the best. I’ve been on nearly all the challenging, commercially run rivers in the world and I must say that your group on the Futaleufu gets the very highest laurels. The scenery could not be grander, nor the water swifter, clearer or more pristine. The spectacular camps were superior, the food a camping gourmet’s delight and the river guides and their safety precautions of superb caliber.
It was my good luck to select the Futaleufu and Earth River Expeditions for my “swan song” as a river runner.
Fred Wiedemann,Co-founder Outward BoundVeteran of nearly 50 outfitted trips
Thank you for the incredible experience
Dear Earth River,
Even though I’m a correspondent for Outside Magazine—I’m on the masthead—I am frightened of everything. That’s my baliwack at the magazine. In fact they send me to do things that scare the hell out of me (for some sick comedy effect). But nothing seemed as terrifying to me as rafting the Futaleufu. The minute I accepted the assignment, I regretted it. I spent the weeks leading up to the departure, crossing Manhatten streets a little less energetically, in hopes that a cab might hit me and break my leg and get me out of it.
For the sixteen of us who just returned from Patagonia Chile, there have been a myriad of questions from friends and relatives. I will do my best to give you a flavor of this incredible country and trip.
There are truly no words to describe what we experienced on this journey. Even though the time change was only four hours, it took almost 30 hours to reach our destination. It was, without a doubt, the most adventurous and aggressive trip in the most remote area we have ever taken…quite different from a cruise in the Med! On the other hand, it was a trip we will never, never forget...a trip of a lifetime bonding with wonderful friends where nine adults and seven teenagers all got along and no one complained or quarreled once.
As vacations wind to an end I normally get geared up for return to my daily life. In other words, I start to look forward to returning home. But this did not happen on the Futaleufu trip. Home did not seem inviting. What a fantastic trip. Back a week and can’t get it off my mind. I don’t need to tell you about the river and the camps, you’ve heard it all before. What I will say is I was super-impressed with Robert and the other guides who made this trip what it was. These guy’s are fantastic and great to be around. Their attitude and ability is exceptional. With these guys I’d feel comfortable dropping over Niagara Falls.
Moreover, the logistics for the trip were nothing short of stupendous. Everything worked perfectly. The amazing Earth River camps (stunningly beautiful), the local transportation arrangements, the Chilean folks who helped (including the masseuse and videographer), the itinerary, the activities, the planning, the safety... I could go on and on. For all these reasons and more, the Futaleufu with Earth River must be the premier river trip in the world.
Although I doubt anything could match the Futaleufu, I’m already thinking about other adventures.
I loved the trip, Eric. Use me as a reference. I hope to hear from you soon.
With Kindest regards,
Hunt L. Charach
This is long overdue & I apologize. We came home to some challenging things and I am just settling down and catching up.
Eric, The Futaleufu is so beautiful, so magical a river, with its incredible azure water, surrounded as it is by snow-capped mountains that Larry and I will from now on compare all other rivers to it and find them wanting. It was everything you said it was and then some and I can’t thank you enough for encouraging us to go do it. The rapids were certainly the most challenging we’d ever done, yet with your tremendous emphasis on safety there was that complete security - that no matter what happened we’d all be fine. The guides and crew that you have assembled were world class. It was a privilege to raft with them and a joy to get to know them individually. My problem is that I would like to do this trip every year. I know Larry wants to do other rivers too - we’ll just have to duke it out, for the Fu is my Bali Hai. I simply have to go back many times over.
Suzy and Larry Calof
We just wanted to write you and let you know how much we enjoyed our trip on the Fu! Everything was great and MORE than we could have ever dreamed. Of course that means the country was more beautiful, the river was more intense, the camps more amazing, the guides and other workers more helpful; but it also means the hills were much steeper as well (more steep just couldn’t get by the grammar checker). Had we known how much exercise we’d get going to and from the river to the camps we might have hesitated in coming and had major concerns about out ability to do the trip.
We cannot think of words to express our thanks to the professionalism of the staff. The trip leader, Robert, and all the guides conducted themselves beyond all expectations. We are looking forward to joining you on another trip in the near future.
We loved the trip and am extremely glad we didn’t know in advance that mountain goat skills were a prerequisite for joining.
Ken and Johnna Ferguson
What a magical, extraordinary, wonderful trip I had on the Futaleufu with Earth River Expeditions. It was such an all around intense experience with all the senses; sight, touch, smell, taste and hearing. I don’t have to tell you that the Futaleufu Valley is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Your camps were like fairy-tale-like settings with amenities and comforts commonly reserved for resort areas. I guess I spent more time in the hot tubs than most of the guests but how often does one get stupendous views while soaking in a hot tub.
Got back from the trip on Sunday. Of all the aspects of the trip, the thing that was most impressive to me was the people who provided the leadership, Aaron who was the trip leader, Robert, Abner and Peter. This group provided the kind of expertise, commitment, respect, thoughtfulness and caring about people that I have never seen anywhere in any organization. In the realm of professional endeavors, these are the kind of people who would excel in any field they might undertake. It took me 20 years in my own practice to find a partner who had those kind of qualities. I’d take on someone like these guys as a partner anytime, but unfortunately they’re almost impossible to find.
Please feel free to convey my experience to future expeditioners.
Many thanks for everything,
Que Tal? I hope the rest of your season went well. I’m sure after you finish reading this letter you will be able to tell what an incredible time I had. After the trip was over I was wishing I could go back to the beginning and start all over again.
Okay, now for the reason I’m writing: Your extra effort on this trip meant a lot to me - it showed how much you wanted everyone to have an enjoyable and safe trip. It takes a special person to do the extra things like your refusal to give up on my lost airline luggage and it was appreciated by everyone.
Dear Eric and Robert,
All I can say about the fu trip is WOW, awesome... It truly exceeded all my expectations. Well, maybe I did expect warmer, dryer weather, but then it would have been too perfect.
Congratulations on putting together an exciting, challenging rewarding adventure on a river that one has to see to believe. Now I’m back in Oregon and I think half the population knows about your company and your camps.
It was truly a pleasure getting to know the two of you. Eric, your energy and creativity in envisioning those camps are more than I’ve ever known any one person to have. Robert, what a cool, calm strength you exude. Many times I was paddling into the wild white water, I was assured you were downstream in your cataraft looking out for swimmers! I enjoyed the conversations about your work saving the Fu from damming and am still serious about knowing more about what I can do to help.
Would you please send me information about the Land Trust organization you’ve set up? I’d like to see if contributions are tax deductible. Let me know if you think I could help. Thanks again for providing an experience of a lifetime.
The Futaleufu River is something that can not be explained - from its amazing turqoise color to its almost life like power. Your campsites; Tree Tops, Mapu Leufu and my favorite, Cave Camp with their “relative” luxury and remoteness, all blended into the environment allowing one to feel a part of - instead of separated from, Patagonia. I initially thought Cave Camp should have signs as its easy to get lost in its vastness, but I soon came to realize that there shouldn’t be signs - that’s why we were there.
The second most dominating thread on the trip are the guides you hire. They combine extreme professionalism with great personalities. I have been on numerous trips and these guys are the Rolls Royce of guides. I always felt safe and they went out of their way to explain the safety procedures to me. For someone who has a problem with heights, I even amazed myself jumping off a 40 foot cliff into the water and rappelled down the tower muttering every cuss word I could think of!
The whole experience was OUTSTANDING!
Just returned from the Fu/Bio double header and wanted to say what a great time it was. The Fu reminded me of the Eastmain in Quebec, before it was damed: heart pounding, powerful and adrenaline pumping. Both the Bio and Futaleufu are so beautiful, I'm very thankful I made the choice to go.
For me, part of the overall pleasure of the trip was the service of Earth River. As an experienced river runner it was evident that safety was never overlooked and the guides, top to bottom were incredibly capable and excellent leaders. I especially appreciated the umbrella of respect and environmental concern shown to the local people who work with the company on the Futaleufu.
Onward to the environmental battles which hopefully save the Bio.
Chris White, Sands Point, Idaho
I am not one for writing letters, but the experience I had on the Fu in February warrants one. To say it was incredible would be an understatement. From beginning to end, there was an air of professionalism and organization that allowed me to relax immediately. The guides really made us feel at home and earned my complete respect from the start.
Robert, it amazed me how you could take care of all the logistics while leading and being such an integral part of all of our experiences. Your dedication and obvious love and enjoyment in what you do made my trip that much more memorable.
This was a premium trip. There are companies that tried to sell me similar trips at lower prices, but I can’t imagine any of them attaining the level of safety, care and guide interaction with the guests that I experienced, let alone the camps.
I hope I will have the opportunity to travel with you again.
Thank you so much for an amazing trip to the Futaleufu. I had such a great time! I only wish I could have stayed longer. Your camps and the entire operation are excellent. know I can speak for the rest of the group who thought so as well. I was pretty blown away when I saw the first camp on the cliff but then continuing onward and arriving at Zeta to do the traverse over the river and seeing Cave Camp I was even more blow away. The work that has gone into that camp by Earth River and the local people is to be commended.
P.S. Not sure how you can change this, but there weren’t enough hours in the day and a half to do and see all there is at Cave Camp. I can’t wait to return some day! Thank you.
Wonderful Rafting Guides;
Que Tal? I hope you are all doing great and having a blast. I just wanted to let you all know what a fantastic time I had on the trip. It is definitely the adventure of a lifetime! The memories are amazing and still bring a smile to my face! The group was great but I know it was all of you that really made the trip fantastic. You are an amazing group of true professionals who also know how to have fun and make everyone feel great. The campsites are magical and I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to experience them, the river and patagonia.
For a first time rafter, you all gave me the chance to run some great class 5 rapids with the best guides around. You guys are awesome and I’d trust you to guide me on any river. I’ve enclosed some pictures of our run through Terminator! I wish you all the best and hope to see you all on another adventure some day.
Dear Robert and Eric,
The Fu is an awesome river, the color has to be seen to be believed. It is every bit as aqua marine as the pictures you include in your materials but even the pictures failed to (because it just can’t be done) show the total majestic feel to the vistas and scenery. The incredible feeling and atmosphere at the camps further enhanced and already truly fantastic experience. While I was not sure how much I would enjoy all the off river activities at the camps, in retrospect they were the trip’s highlights.
Your guides are excellent, totally top notch. While I know the top priority on the river and during the activities was always safety, it never got in the way of giving me the challenge and adrenaline thrill I was looking for. I would be please to travel with any of them in the future. I could go on and on but I’m sure you’ve heard it before.
Till our paths cross again - thanks for the most wonderful “experience of a lifetime.”
I’ve been meaning to write you to let you know how much the week on the Futaleufu meant to me. I have vivid memories, moments and images and I feel quite certain the special instances will last and last in my mind.
I once thought of making you aware of the odd thing or to that could (in my opinion) be improved upon, but not that some time has gone by, I can only focus on all the incredible things.
For starters the guides were not only educators but were interested in making certain each of us were happy and taken care of. They are quite an impressive group of men, easily at the top of their field and clearly enjoy what they do.
How brilliant of you to carefully build a company that generously allows others to see and experience some of the rarest beauty on the planet. I thank you for that.
I can’t say enough good things about the trip and have been talking it up in the hopes of encouraging others to save up and get down there. Most of the group has managed to stay in touch via e-mail from week #1. Its amazing how close people become when totally sharing new experiences and needing to rely on each other. I’d go back and do it again in a minute.
So thanks, for the happy memories I now have.
All the Best,
A very belated thank you from Gayle and me for the opportunity you gave us several weeks ago to discover river rafting and your operations in Patagonia. We were all very impressed with the arrangements, food, camps and all the effort and care of your staff. Your operation is amazing and the quality of the trip is remarkable, particularly given the inherent difficulties that you must encounter operating in that part of the world. As you know, neither Gayle nor I had any real experience river rafting, but we always felt perfectly safe and enjoyed the class 4 and 5 rapids. AS you already know, your guides are incredibly qualified and even managed to make us feel competent! If you’re ever in Chicago please look us up.
Michael CofmanPresidentDenver Guide Travel Inc.
I feel badly that I have not written before this, as I want to extend our compliments for a phenomenal adventure vacation on the Futaleufu. The rafting, hiking, canyoning, horseback riding, Tree House Camp and Cave Camp were wonderful! Our guides did a superb job during every aspect of the trip. As you know, I had contiplated concelling our trip with you after suffering a terrifying experience last summer when I was tossed into a raging, rain-swollen river, but with your reputation for safety, the “opt-out” option for class 5’s and the variety of other activities at your fabulous camps, I felt confident that I would have a good time. Fortunately, Robert, Abner and Aaron understood my desire to get “back in the fun” in spite of my new found fear of holes, strainers and raging water. They offered detailed instructions, reassurance and support that reduced my anxiety, enabling me to participate in all the activities including the class 5 rapids, re-establishing my enjoyment of rafting. The camps, the food and the guides were all great. They taught us so much about the protection of the river, the Chilean people, their history and customs.
Carol and Jeff Majewski
My wife and I returned this morning and I thought I’d take a second to pen you this note about the trip on the “Fu”. The beauty and amazing aspects of this trip are hard to put into words. The trip far exceeded our expectations (and we had very high expectations) and we’d do again in a minute. Your accommodations along the river were wonderful and your staff was top notch. Their attention to the safety and needs of all was commendable and their skills were some of the best we’ve seen in many years of adventuring around the globe. The Chilean staff provided us with great meals and the only upsetting thing on the trip is when we couldn’t convince the cook to return home with us to be our personal chef. All in all, we thank you and your great staff for a trip through paradise Earth River style. Bravo.
Jon Marc Jagush
Thanks! The trip on the Futaleufu was one I will never forget. It is one of the most beautiful areas with a fantastic river to go with it. The rapids are amazing. I have river rafted for years and this is by far the best river I have even been on.
The activities a the camp were equally amazing. The rope work and climbing all of us were able to accomplish was awesome. I saw people change right before my eyes as they gained confidence in themselves. I did things I never thought I’d be able to do - but I did it!
There is much more river rafting in my future. Thank you very much.
Just returned from the Futaleufu. Thanks for putting together such an epic trip. The best. The camps were every bit as beautiful as you described and I was happy to see how minimally they impacted the environment. The food was great and I enjoyed the cooks emphasis on using fresh vegetables. I ate better on your trip than I do in New York.
Ultimately I’m convinced the success of trips such as these is almost entirely determined by the quality of the people who run them, and again I can only tell you what you already know. That you have a great group of intelligent, dedicated, hard working people working for you. They are upbeat and enthusiastic and refusing to let up on the pace. Everyone one of them just gets it. Happy to spread the Earth River word. Eric, please give my thanks to everyone who worked on our trip and let me know when your operation needs a middle aged art director with good cleaning skills.
David Harris, New York, NY
I meant to write long before this but the “real” world sort of clobbered me over the head when I got back. I don’t know how many times I have been back tin my mind, especially the Cave Camp but I think I’m going to have to pay a little more attention to work. It’s not going away.
I had such a wonderful time on the trip and more than a great deal of it was because of you. You’re a real pro and we all felt so taken care of. You handled some pretty daunting logistics and diverse personalities easily and professionally, but just as importantly - graciously. When a bunch of us stayed an extra night in Puerto Monnt at the end of the trip, we semi-joked about “trip separation anxiety”. Here we were venturing out on our own and we all somewhat uneasy after all he wonderful shepherding and camaraderie we had enjoyed on the trip.
My experience and memories of this trip are much more vivid than those from other great adventures and I believe they’ll remain so. Thank you , Robert
I just wanted to thank you and Earth River for a superb trip. Greg was everything and more one could have wished for in a trip leader, ably assisted by Abner and Christian and the complete guide team and support staff. Even with some challenging conditions which necessitated changes in plans on short notice, your staff managed to deliver an extremely high quality trip with all the adventure, drama and memories for which one could wish.
The only complaint Karen and I have is that we have not as of yet been able to shake the vivid presence of the trip from our psyches! We awake in the night, still feeling as if we are in Patagonia. A sound is heard and we are propelled back into the trip and that gorgeous scenery. We really appreciate the efforts put in to make this trip truly a life altering experience.
On a related subject, I am a doctor of anthropology with a specialization in the arctic and sub-arctic. I would be willing to set up a trip up there with native involvement just to be able to participate again in one of your Fabulous trips.
I look forward to meeting you in person in the not too distant future.
Howard and Karen Higgins
P.S. Not sure how you can change this, but there weren’t enough hours in the day to do see all there is and do all the activities available at Cave Camp. I can’t wait to return some day! Thank you.
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