Why Earth River

Why Earth River (29)

Thursday, 07 September 2017 00:00


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Hi Eric,

I've been wanting to drop you a line since we returned but things have been much too busy. First, the trip was incredible, not enough can be said about the experience. We were really impressed with all of the guides. Paulie was our main guide and he did fantastic, we would definitely raft with "Smooth Operator" again, of course he had ton's of experienced support. Ty, Cameron, Teal, Cade, Jess, Camila and some others who I'm sure helped out behind the scenes worked very hard for our small group made for an incredible adventure. I can't say enough about how impressed we were with the attitudes and experience of all of the Earth River personnel.   

Margaret and I were going to send them a small care package and I wanted to ask you for the best address to send it to them. Please advise and Thanks again!

-Mark (Feb., 2017)




First of all thank you!

What a trip. The guides were perfect. Caring for our safety, enjoyment and comfort.  And your sons, Cade and Teal !!!  What a great job you and your wife did. I had a chance to get to know Teal on the hike and must tell you that you have a lot to be proud of. The itinerary was full and engaging. It was just hard enough to make it extremely satisfying.

The accommodations were excellent. The Uman Lodge was over the top.  The B&B in Futaleufu you set me up with after the trip was perfect.

Teal and I thought the attached picture would make a great camp site for Earth River.

Again thank you for introducing me to a magnificent corner of Earth.

Best regards,

Isaac (Feb. 2017)



Hi Eric

Now I'm back in the UK and life has got a little back to normal, I wanted to drop you a line and just thank you and your team for a completely amazing trip in Chile - I was in the 9-19th February group and had an utterly fabulous time. 

I think I mentioned to you when we first started talking about me coming on the trip that I had read about Earth River and the Futaleufu nearly 20 years ago - a happy coincidence of a National Geographic (I think) on a plane when I was flying over to the US - I read about it, and I promised myself I'd do it one day.  The trip had stayed in my mind over the years, and whilst over the years there were always good reasons why I couldn't make it, after a thoroughly wretched 2016 I decided that this was the time to get it booked.

As you can probably appreciate, after such a long time wanting to do this trip, anticipation was running high before I arrived.  I tried to talk myself down from that a bit before I came, thinking that nothing could possibly live up to it.   Well your team and this trip delivered - more than delivered.  Whilst my expectations (despite my best efforts) were sky high, they were massively exceeded by my time down in Patagonia.  The grin hasn't left my face since my first day down there, and I suspect it will stay with me for some time.   

I should also ask you to pass on my massive thanks and respect to your team... and it's worth particularly mentioning those who I spent most time with over the trip.  In Ty you have an absolute star, someone who commanded everyone's instant respect but who also made everything a great deal of fun.  When he spoke everyone shut up and listened but he managed to do it all with a light touch.  It's a tough balance to strike so well and he did it perfectly.  I would gladly jump into any raft that he was guiding any day of the week Cade was incredibly helpful with time, advice, and the (much appreciated!) loan of a head-torch!  I should also say that his patience and ongoing courtesy in the face of another guest who was probably best described as "challenging" was pretty impressive.  Teal was a real beacon of energy and good humour - I had a special gift for getting stuck on rocks in the duckies - and he saved me from myself many times!  The rest of the guys were also great and it was clear that all of your team had a massive passion for the river and huge skills for what they do.

I now keep finding myself looking at the dates for the Magpie trip on your website... I think you have got me hooked!!  Just before I start turning the world upside down here - do you still have spaces available this year?!

One last thing to say - all the environmental work you are doing in terms of trying to preserve that perfect, pristine place is wonderful, and you have my full admiration for it. I gather that there are a few legal challenges and I wish you all the very best for a good outcome.   I don't know if you have any kind of mailing list set up, both for environmental updates and trip info - but if you do please can I ask you to add me onto it?

And thank you again - I had the best, best two weeks.
Kind Regards,

Helen (Feb. 2017)




Good morning!  I just got back from my epic Antarctic and South American travels on Wednesday and am trying to acclimate back to NYC.  What a change!

Jen and I had to drop you a line thanking you for such an amazing experience on the Futaleafu!  Oh my... we had a trip of a lifetime with Michelle, Barbara and the other folks joining the trip 2/2-2/12.  

The entire staff of Earth River was fabulous - Caid and Teal couldn't have been nicer or more knowledgable, and we loved Camille, Ty, Paulie, Brock, Cameron, Jess and Maria.  Everyone went out of their way to make sure we felt safe, we had fun and we pushed ourselves to an appropriate limit.   

The river... words cannot explain!  It's beauty and power is intoxicating.  I think it's safe to say your team turned city girls into rafting and kayaking lovers.  We also so appreciate the work you're doing to preserve and protect the Futuleafu.  It's safe to say you've now recruited four ambassadors to support your mission. 

Jen and I have been separately considering buying places in the Catskills/Hudson Valley to be able to escape the city.  This trip made us realize even more we need to spend more time in nature!  Caid and Teal were great about sharing tips on the Catskills, and needless to say, we'll both likely be spending time up there exploring the area hiking and home looking. 

If you're ever in NYC or Brooklyn - please let us know.  Jen and I'd love to meet you in person.  The apples couldn't have fallen far from the tree!

Amy, (Feb. 2017)


Hi Eric,

"Loved our trip to the Futaleufu !!  Here's something for the guides.  Hopefully we make it out to the Magpie at some point

Please let us know if there is any way we can ever help you out - reviews, referrals, etc. We had an incredible trip and will be telling all of our friends.

All the best,
Dan and Alex (Dec. 2016)


Hi Eric,

I wanted to express our family’s thanks for the fantastic trip we had over the Christmas break, and to say that we think you’ve assembled an incredible crew of guides in a very special place in the world!  Individually and collectively, Ty, Brock, Cade, Camilla, Colo, Cameron (Wrangler!), Maria, Paulie and Teal were gracious, attentive and best of all, simply all-around nice people.   Kudos to you and your team for creating such wonderful experiences for us to enjoy (and for coercing the sun to make a very welcome appearance during the last days of our trip!)

Kira and I caught some more sunshine and showed off our lovely hand knit Futaleufu hats in Snowbird, Utah this past weekend

All the best,

The Mesman- Family - Kip, Sherry, Kira, Derek and Kai (Dec. 2016)





I received the lost wallet. Thank you all for helped with this.

I definitely hope not to do that again. 

I will definitely visit Southern Chile and Argentina again, it was a magical place and an amazing experience. When I try and explain to my friends and family how it was, I tell them imagine a land that is like Alaska, Wyoming, Yellowstone, and Yosemite put together, remove animal predators, and annoying bugs, but add a bunch of birds. Your team was very professional, knowledgeable, engaging, and made everyone feel comfortable and safe. I will definitely recommend your trip in the future.  The Uman lodge experience, Ty Smith playing music on the Tineo lodge deck in the eve, next to the wood barrel hot tub, rafting down the Terminator class V section of the river, and riding the horses along the Azul river were highlights of my Earth river expedition trip.


Nathan (Jan. 2017)




Hi Eric,

We had an incredible trip with Earth River, the rafting, duckies, canyoneering and accommodations were just awesome. Our kids and the Hunt family had an experience of a lifetime and will forever remember the beauty and the moments!

We loved the Lodges!  The Tineo was everyone’s favorite! The Uman was spectacular but the Tineo felt more like home and we loved the atmosphere as it had a more suitable feel for our group! All our kids agreed!

The staff at both Lodges were great but at the Tineo exceptional. Our 20 something kids enjoyed their company in the evenings along with the company of the guides and their expertise during the day.

We thought that Ty was a great leader and kept everything on track, was responsible and open to suggestions. He was great about accommodating

a hike to Obsession Lake!  We hated to have to choose one or the other but weather created that at the start of the trip.  All the guides under Ty were awesome. We appreciated their attention to safety at all times.  Our kids (adult kids) thoroughly loved hanging out with the guides as I am sure you will have heard.

Rafting was phenomenal, both in the big boats and duckies. Everyone felt safe and trusted their guides in the boats and we felt so fortunate to see the Futaleufu in places few people get to experience.   

We Loved, Loved, Loved our trip with Earth River in Patagonia. Loved the itinerary and we felt so fortunate to experience the Futaleufu River Valley and all its grandeur.  We hope it will never be dammed. It was a trip of a lifetime that all our kids absolutely loved! We don’t know how we will top this!  Happy New Year and Thank you for an exceptional experience.

Wendy (Dec. 2016)

Some feedback - the horse back riding was probably the least exciting and that’s not even a fair word. We shared this with Ty.



"Hi Eric,

All back safe and sound and buzzing with the experience!!  Our family had an amazing experience!

Thank you.

Tracie (Dec. 2016)




Hi Eric,

We want to thank you and the Earth River team for an incredible trip to Chile. It was a really special 9 days. The guides that you have recruited are outstanding. We could not have felt in better hands. Please pass along our sincere appreciation and gratitude for how hard they work to make all run smoothly. Time to save up our pennies in hopes that a Magpie trip is possible in the future!


Mary Charles & John (Dec. 2016)




Dear Eric,

Sorry for being slow to get back to you about our trip.  We have been regrouping and catching up since our return.

We had an absolutely spectacular, special trip with Earthriver in Patagonia!!!  It really was a blast on so many levels.  Our 20 something Hunt sons and nephew had a fantastic time and loved all the wilderness activities and especially the rafting!  These kinds of experiences also build such special bonds for young people and the Brown and Hunts will be tight as family forever now.  This trip will always be memorable for the 12 of us!

As you have heard, after our first day we had fantastic weather and are grateful for that - it really could be cold with the river activities when overcast, drizzly or rainy. I have many thoughts about our trip and some feedback for you - given in the spirit of offering suggestions to help create successful experiences for future guests- I hope you are comfortable with the feedback.

We loved the guides you have on the team!  The were all so very professional and skilled as well as being warm and friendly AND FUN.  It was great to have closer contact with different guides in various activities to get to know each other and also to be able to hang out socially in the evenings.  It was great to meet your sons Cade and Teal who were very understated about being sons of the boss while letting us know of their love of and history with the Futaluefu.  Ty was just a wonderful trip leader with his quiet humor, calm authority and attention to detail.  We also especially appreciated his willingness to be flexible and adjust the plans for the last day so that some of us could do the hike we missed the first day and others could complete rafting the rest of the river.  All were very happy!! I personally particularly appreciated Paulie who was my rafting guide.  He did a great job building team work and confidence in our paddle group and we were impressed with his understanding of the river, how to read each rapid and plan a safe line.  This engendered much trust which I, for one, really needed given what we also heard about the possible dangers on the river and the risks if you popped out of the boat! I had a great experience that week of facing fears about the rapids and finding confidence and joy and really enjoying rafting. We also greatly appreciated your safety protocol with the cat rafts ahead of us for rescue assistance if we should need it. That was so reassuring!!!

Wrangler was great with the horseback riding and canyoneering and Brock was a reassuring all around backup and part of the safety team.  Although I had less contact with Colo, he was friendly and clearly very competent and it was great to have a local as part of the team. Camilla was a fun and enthusiastic member of the guide team too, even though she was more in the background most of the time.  She told us she was looking to buy some 5/10 water tennie shoes and was having trouble finding the women’s sizes. Please let her know that Eastern Mountain Sports carries the women’s shoes so she can buy them on line. REI may also carry them but not in the Boston store. Maria was a nice greeter in Puerto Montt after our delayed flights and we definitely appreciated the pick up in the van to get to the Hotel Cumbres. 

We were so exhausted and sleepy we really needed that escort, particularly since we were a large group. You might want to continue to include that in the trip for large groups traveling from the states the night before.

I thought it was particularly nice that we had not only rafting, but the duckies, the hike up the slot canyon, horseback riding and the hike to the lake on our itinerary. This gave us a special wilderness experience and our kids really loved it all!

The Tineo lodge was a wonderful “home base” to come back to.  I loved that it was also a farm with the animals and garden and greenhouse.  We loved the staff there and the food ( yeah chef Alex !) We do think however that they need to get the coffee a bit more organized so it is stronger ( was very watery!!) and to inform guests as soon as they arrive how to get the hot water to draw for a nice shower. Of course we loved our night at the special Uman Lodge and could have used 2 nights there to enjoy all their amenities… maybe if we had had a longer trip….

Some suggestions:

1) let guests know that they will be transferring their packed belongings to Earth River duffles when they arrive as that was a bit of a surprise and those duffles are not easy to live out of ( a wide zip bag would be much easier to access what you want) I was lucky to have packed into packing cubes so it was easier for me to unpack and repack as we moved lodges but my kids lost various things along the way with just stuffing their clothing and belongings in the tall bag. It makes sense to have smaller bags like that for people who are traveling with bigger suitcases for longer stays in

S. America but we had already packed to the weight limit and thought we were fine.

2) Helmets- for people - probably mostly women like me and kids- with small heads… the helmets are a real problem.  I kept adjusting mine to lift if off the groove between my ear and head (ouch!) and to try and keep it out of my eyes.  I really could not see at all with the helmet over my eyes in the swim test and flip drill. I tried putting a beanie like hat on underneath which helped some but was not really satisfactory.  I would suggest you have some alternative small helmets on hand or have some pieces of foam to stick on the inside roof of the helmet to alleviate this problem. It is not a good experience to be blinded when in the water and needing to swim!

Thanks to you and your team we had a fantastic, unique family experience in a beautiful wilderness with our dear friends the Brown family!  We wish you all success with the rest of your season and beyond.

Thanks again for creating this special trip for us!

All the best,

Gale  (Dec. 2016)




Hello Eric

We just returned from the Futalefu and wanted to let you know that the whole experience was flawless. The guides were fantastic (a wealth of knowledge) and kept the delicate balance between keeping us safe but allowing us to have fun....and going the extra mile to organize a day of fly fishing for me....it was all perfect.

We knew that the scenery was some of the best but you have managed to package it into the best possible experience. We have travelled a lot and we can say that you have assembled one of the best teams that we have dealt with.

Thanks again.

Calin Pavin (Feb. 2017)



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


Dear Earth River,

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

Deb Jenkins


Dear Eric,

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


Dear Eric.

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.


Diane Byrne


Dear Eric,

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


Dear Eric,

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.

Thanks you!

Carol and Jeff Majewski


Dear Eric,

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 Cofman,


Denver Guide Travel Inc.,


Dear Eric,

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,

Debra Zane



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.”

Marc Kalan

Page 1 of 3
“Eric Hertz has devoted his life and his company’s resources to saving some of the world’s last great white-water, wilderness rivers.".
"Earth River is the premier river runner in the world. Their staff includes the finest guides to be found."
“Earth River is more than a great whitewater outfitter. Their contributions have made a real difference in our efforts to preserve some of the world's most beautiful rivers in Chile and Canada."
"I want to personally thank Earth River for helping us stop the hydro-electric projects on our land preventing the destruction of one of North America's last great wildernesses.
“I’ve rafted with Eric Hertz down some tough rivers—the Futaleufu in Chile, the Colca in Peru. He's one of the best in the business—obsessed with safety."
“Earth River runs the only continuous, top to bottom, multi-camp, wilderness expedition on the Futaleufu. A week without roads, electricity or cell phones.”
“I’ve been on nearly all the commercially run rivers in the world and Earth River and the Futaleufu stand out as the very best of the best.”—Fred Wiedemann, Co-founder
"Earth River is the premier river runner in the world. Their staff includes the finest guides to be found."
“Earth River’s conservation effort on the Futaleufu is Herculean and represents the single largest river land trust endeavor ever initiated by a commercial outfitter."—Ronald Dodson, Pres."
"I want to personally thank Earth River for helping us stop the hydro-electric projects on our land preventing the destruction of one of North America's last great wildernesses.
“Earth River’s Futaleufu trip is an astonishment. The amazing camps, all different from one another, but all surprisingly and ingeniously comfortable”—David Rakoff
"I want to personally thank Earth River for helping us stop the hydro-electric projects on our land preventing the destruction of one of North America's last great wildernesses.
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