White Water Rafting in Patagonia


As a top destination for white water rafters from all over the world, Patagonia's lush, green Lake Districts on both the Chilean and Argentinian side provide fantastic rivers for this adventure sport. You don't have to be an expert to enjoy white water rafting in Patagonia. We work with a number of operators that provide easy, medium and difficult trips so that you won't feel out of your depth.

Many of the operators we work with also provide luxury riverside lodges or tents to come back to after a day of rafting. There you can relax in a hot tub, have a cocktail or enjoy a leisurely walk.

Here you can find out more about the key landmarks in the area, how to get there & where to stay.

White Water Rafting the Rio Manso

White Water Rafting the Rio Futaleufú

White water rafting in Patagonia - your questions answered

How do I get there?

The Chilean Lake District is serviced by the airport of Puerto Montt, a port city some 656 miles south of Santiago. However, the Futaleufu River is closer to the Argentinian border so you can reach the Futaleufu most easily by flying from Buenos Aires to the Argentinian town of Esquel which is just a 2 hour drive to the Futaleufu.

The Manso River is about a 30 minute drive from the alpine town of Bariloche in the Argentinian Lake District. With 108,000 residents & a booming adventure travel trade, Bariloche has it's own airport (BRC) with regular flights to and from Buenos Aires and El Calafate in Southern Patagonia. White water rafting operators typically pick their clients up from their hotels in Bariloche before transporting them into the vast Nahuel Huapi National Park.

What do I need to bring?

Aside from your essentials, most operators advise that you bring a swimming costume, flip flops, warm clothes & a synthetic t-shirt. Generally, they provide most of the technical equipment such as a wet suit & boots, a helmet, life jacket, dry jacket and towel.

How much experience do I need?

Most operators do not require you to have prior experience of rafting as you'll receive instruction before your adventure on the river. However, operators do ask that you're fit and healthy to avoid any problems once you've started rafting.

If you're planning to raft on the River Futaleufu, please bear in mind that the rapids on the Futaleufu are graded from River class Grade III to V+ Boat type Oar-paddle assisted raft. This means that they're classed as moderate to challenging as you need to be able to paddle for three hours a day. Plus, the River holds 64km of raftable white water, divided into an upper section called Inferno Canyon (four Class V rapids) and a lower section that starts from Terminator Rapid and ends at Casa de Piedra. Expect lots of toing and froing, bumps and fast-moving water, at the same time being surrounded by breath taking scenery.

The Manso River is a regarded as a class III/IV River as its two sections vary in difficulty. The first section Manso Inferior is a class III and goes from Steffen lake. It has also parts of still waters and ponds where you may enjoy swimming.

The next section, Manso Inferior to the Frontier (Chilean border) is class III/IV is more adrenaline pumping as the river drops into a canyon as it flows to the Pacific.

Is it suitable for children?

Our partner operators offer family activities which start from a day of kayaking up to a week or so of rafting, horse riding, trekking & kayaking. These trips are not strenuous and enable the whole family to relax, enjoy the outdoors and try out some great adventure activities.

Maps showing key rivers for White water rafting in Patagonia

About Swoop Patagonia

We've spent 15 years exploring Patagonia, and we've arranged holidays for over a thousand customers. We have a network of trusted guides, lodges, and local operators across the region and delight in helping people plan and arrange a great holiday.

You can book directly with our local partners in Chile and Argentina, or with our ATOL certified company here in the UK.

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