White Water Rafting in Argentinian Patagonia
Argentinian Patagonia is one of the most picturesque natural regions in the world. From dominating mountain ranges to expansive forests and lakes it has everything you could want from a natural landscape. Adventure experience seekers flock to Patagonia from all over the world to experience the full spectrum of adventure sports on offer. Hiking, rock climbing mountain biking, white water rafting and kayaking are just some of the experiences you can find. Here’s your guide on how to experience one of the most exhilarating activities this region has to offer, white water rafting in Argentinian Patagonia.
How to Get There
Patagonia is a vast region in the South of Argentina and Chile and can be accessed from a number of directions depending on your arrival port into Argentina.
Buenos Aires is your best departure airport offering the widest range of destinations. Return flights from Buenos Aires to El Calafate range between $500-$800 USD (depending on the season you’re travelling) which is in the South of Patagonia and fairly typical of the flights to the above mentioned destinations.
For white water rafting, you can’t look further than the town of Bariloche. It’s in the Northern part of Patagonia and a 2hr, approximately $400-$700 USD return flight from Buenos Aires. Bariloche is a beautiful small lakeside town which resonates the architecture and design of a Swiss European village. Beautiful timber log buildings surround the main square and car-free pedestrian street. Local artisans ply their wares at street markets nearly every day of the week and the town is popular with craft breweries and great quality Argentina Parilla restaurants (Argentinian BBQ) and pastry and chocolate shops.
You’ll take a picturesque drive to the Nahuel Huapi National Park through the region with winding roads skirting Andean mountains, lakes and forests before arriving at a typical Patagonian ranch for coffee and pastries.
Once all the gear is ready to go you’ll get changed into your wetsuit, booties, helmet, jacket and lift vest. All essential on this trip! Especially the wet suit as the water can get absolutely freezing cold. Make sure you take off any jewellery including necklaces and rings as you don’t want to lose anything to the river if you end up in the water!
After a short drive to the river and a safety briefing you’re all ready to go! Jump into the raft with your fellow rafters and enjoy a 1-2hr expedition down the rapids of the Rio Mansur river to the Chilean border. the first section of the Rio Mansur river is quite tranquil with some low level rapids to get the hang of things. Enjoy the pure beauty that is surrounding you as the raft cruises down the river!
This tranquillity doesn’t last long though as the river starts to really get exciting and the level 3 & 4 rapids present themselves. The lead guide, equipped with GoPro to capture all the wild footage, will expertly lead you through the first couple as you and your crew get the hang of the raft and the rapids. Listen closely to the directions as teamwork is the key to a successful adventure through the rapids. Once through the first couple the more challenging rapids come quickly as you adjust to the jolting and kicking of the river.
After getting clear of the rapids and hopefully having not capsized or fallen in, you’ll come to a part of the river that enters into Chile. You’ll disembark here and enjoy a beautiful walk to a small ranch that is straddled right on the border of Argentina and Chile. The house is in Chile and the barn is in Argentina! There is a border post in the middle of the front yard to snap a photo with. Ever wished you could be in two places at once? Well here is your opportunity!
The van will pick you up from the border and transport you back to the ranch for a well-earned Asado lunch and red wine! Soak up the food and wine, relive your adventures on the river with your crew as the afternoon turns to evening. After you couldn’t possibly eat any more you’ll jump back in the van to head back to your hotel in Bariloche for a well-earned rest before your next adventure experience in Patagonia the next day!