Rather than using roads and vehicles to reach the day’s activities, this unique multi-sport expedition uses a wild river to connect Earth River’s four private camps and the myriad of adventures they offer.
Evening flight from U.S. to Santiago, Chile.
Morning flight from Santiago to Puerto Montt. Our first evening is in the town of Puerto Varas, located on the shore of Chile’s second largest lake, Llanquihue. Standing sentinel over the town and seen from everywhere, is Volcano Osorno, it’s Mount Fuji like, snow-capped crown rising nearly 9,000 feet out of the water. We spend the night at the beautiful, lake shore Cumbres Puerto Varas Hotel.
The following day we take a spectacular commuter flight, over the fiords of Northern Patagonia; the ice-capped, Patagonia Andes rising from the east as far as the eye can see. We then board the bus for a gorgeous three hour ride, past hanging glaciers and rain forest wilds to the river. If time allows, we will break the drive up with a stunning 2 hour hike to a glacier.
Our first evening is at the Terminator Camp. Hidden in a forest, along mile long Terminator Rapid, the camp’s broad 50 foot bluff affords a birds-eye view of the surging river as it spills over giant, sculpted white granite boulders creating over a dozen waterfalls in a mesmerizing arrangement of colors from turquoise to white. The camp has a 16 person hand-hewn hot tub. Below the hot tub, at water level, is a river carved stone couch with an unparalleled view that gives one the feeling of being out on the water. There are also 14 hand hewn wooden cliff dwellings with stunning views of the wild maelstrom.
The next morning we raft a series of class 4 rapids training for the more challenging water like Terminator later in the trip. That afternoon we take a beginner kayak lesson on a deep, crystalline pond.
The following day we kayak the class two Espolon River which ends at the rafting put in. In the afternoon we raft the sheer-walled, class 5 Infierno Canyon running four major rapids including; Infierno, Purgatorio, Dance of the Angels and exit. Later that afternoon, we exit the canyon and float down to Cave Camp for the evening. Located at the Futaleufu’s most dramatic rapid, Zeta, this magical, wild landscape is one of the most diverse and wondrous river camps in the world. A series of trails and aerial sky bridges connect a rugged landscape of striking natural features like; native stone shelters, river-carved stone hot tubs and granite towers with the camp amenities and half a dozen, world class adventure activities. The camp derives it’s name from a sixteen hundred square foot native shelter with natural sky lights and a fireplace that is used for dining in inclement weather.
The next day we do a dramatic Tyrolean river crossing across class 6 Zeta Rapid. Followed by a gorgeous 3 mile trail that connects Cave Camp to the Tree House Camp. A primeval wonderland, tucked into a fold in the Futaleufu Canyon, with thousand foot walls, impressive waterfalls, and a deep miniature lake shrouded in a vast expanse of ancient Coyway Trees. Perched high in the trees overlooking the lake and the snow-capped mountains are 8 hand-hewn tree houses for sleeping. Cloaked in old growth on three sides with soaring mountains on the fourth, the intimate body of water is like a giant swimming pool. Cut by the glacier, in a wind free bowl, the glass-smooth water reflects the trees and mountains while never missing a sunrise or sunset.
That afternoon we hike up to Condor mountain, a towering bluff overlooking the river canyon, Cave Camp and Zeta Rapid in one direction and Lake of the Frogs and the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the other. Condors are often seen gliding in the thermals. At dusk each evening, when the final rays of color fade from the lake, almost on cue, a chorus of frogs welcome in the night.
The final leg of the return from Tree House Camp to Cave Camp, is a down hill, high wire glide over the river and a plunge into the deep blue pool below Zeta Rapid. Once on the other side, there is an optional 10 to 45 foot cliff jump into the relatively soft aerated water below the rapid. The 106 degree stone hot tub is a welcome reprieve from the 58 degree river.
Later that day we climb the Tower of the Winds, a soaring granite monolith that rises abruptly from the north shore of Azul, a crystal clear, Japanese garden like, blue pond. This 300 foot granite climbing, rappelling tower requires a 3 part, technical rock climb. Once on top, participants clip into a cable in order to safely venture out on the Knife’s Edge; a sheer 300 foot granite flake with a striking 360 degree view. To get down from the tower, we do a two-stage rappel off the sheer 300 foot north wall. A guide waits on a ledge, 150feet down, to switch participants to a second rope.
That evening we eat out at the Zeta cliff-side dining area which is set on a giant natural stone terrace with tables, benches and stunning views of Zeta Rapid and the Tower of the Winds. From this vantage point we can clearly see the massive 250 foot Indian head etched into the tower’s north face.
The following morning we raft a series of class 4 rapids down to the confluence of the Turquoise Rio Azul. A short hike takes us up the Azul to our kayak put in and we spend the next few hours kayaking the class 3 Azul and Futaleufu down to the Mapu LeufuCliff Camp. A manual cable car river crossing connects the camp to an extensive trail system and a number of multi-sport activities including Canyoning. A combination of hiking, climbing and swimming is the only way to explore this enchanted place; a world of crystal clear blue pools, waterfalls and white sculpted boulders enclosed within sheer 300 foot walls. That evening we eat at the cliff-side dining area where tables overlook the river and Alp like mountains.
Our final day on the river is one of the most impressive days of whitewater rafting in the world. Dubbed “Big Friday”, the major rapids include; Terminator, Himalayas, Mundaca, Maso Menosand Casa Piedra.
Today we drive to the airport, fly to Puerto Montt and then on to Santiago.
This morning we arrive in the U.S.
"Multi-camp" expedition highlights:
- - Night in gorgeous Cumbres Puerto Varas lodge and welcome dinner
- - 4 exclusive, outfitted, remote camps (See Camp's Spotlight)
- - Group size limited to 16 guests
- - Hand-hewn cliff dwellings & tree Houses
- - River carved stone hot tub
- - Hand-hewn wooden hot tubs
- - Secluded, private beaches
- - Cliffside dining areas
- - Miles of private camp trails
- - Stone couch (Terminador Camp)
- - Penisula overlook (Terminador Camp)
- - Lost beach (Cave Camp)
- - Laguito Azul (Blue lake) (Cave Camp)
- - Tower of the Winds (Cave Camp)
- - Native sone shelter with fireplace (Cave Camp)
- - Lake of the Frogs (Tree House Camp)
- - Condor Mountain overlook (Tree House Camp)
- - Rio Blanco slot canyon (Mapu Leufu Cliff Camp)
- - Inflatable kayaking on class 2-3 Espolon and Azul Rivers
- - Glacier hike (depending upon weather and time)
Multi-sport adventures :
- Rafting class 4 rapids (Class 5 option)
- Cayoneering in Rio Blanco slot Canyon (Mapu Leufu Camp)
- Inflatable kayaking class 3 Rio Azul & class 2/3 Espolon
- Rock climbing up Tower of the Winds (Cave Camp)
- Rappelling 300’ off Tower of the Winds (Cave Camp)
- Knife’s Edge traverse on Tower of the Winds (Cave Camp)
- Tyrolean crossing over Zeta Rapid (Cave Camp)
- Zip line river crossing below Zeta Rapid (Cave Camp)
- Mountain biking at Mapu Leufu Camp
- Horseback riding at Mapu Leufu Camp
- Cliff jumping at Cave Camp