SUNSET & SUNRISE
Futaleufú is a magnificent region located in northern Patagonia.
This area has a lovely quaint town, stunning valley, and breathtaking river. Futaleufú is in fact, one of the premier whitewater rivers in the world, not only because it is located in a wild and rugged environment but also because the water is to die for.
The river is fed by glacial snow melt in the Andean lakes giving it its impressive colour and acceleration. This is fitting considering the name Futaleufú is the indigenous Mapuche word for ‘Big River’.
WHY WE LOVE
Futaleufú has quickly become one of Chile’s greatest adventure travel regions. The mighty Futaleufú River, or Fu for short, begins in Argentina’s Amutui Quimey Lake and flows west through Chile until reaching the Pacific. This rocky waterway thunders its way out of the Andes and across Patagonia in a breathtaking manner while hugging rocks, crashing against the beautiful green banks and speeding past the majestic mountains. Fu is one the world’s last great white-water wilderness rivers.
Futaleufú is notorious for its 120-mile-long magnificent coloured turquoise waters. Fu´s clear water creates an inspiring contrast between the surrounding wilderness and the slate grey rocks. The river’s diversity is also famous among whitewater rafting aficionados. The 47 rapids found within this waterway ranges anywhere from Class II (relatively easy) to a very channelling Class V. The river is for nature-lovers, thrill-seekers, and adventure travellers alike. Every turn found within Futaleufú manages to give you spectacular vistas. Every bend seems to be better than the last. Awe-inspiring sights include the deep colours of the steep canyon walls, the ginormous granite boulders that speckle the area, the crisps blue Andean glaciers, snow-capped mountains, and the grace of the untouched forest. Fu is unlike any other river we have seen, the area’s perfect whether combined with excellent water levels leaves one feeling high and totally inspired.
Lastly, we love this region because of its presence and representation of Nature’s wild beauty. Locals and many activists have taken it upon themselves to protect Futaleufú from corporations who have wanted to capitalize and profit from the areas natural resources. Fu reminds us that not everything is up for sale and that respect can triumph over greed.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Chilean locals refer to the Futaleufú Valley as ‘un paisaje pintado por dios’ which translates to ‘a landscape painted by God’.
- The Futaleufú River’s world-famous turquoise colour is produced by a phenomenon known as glacier till or unsorted glacial sediment.
- There’s a documentary entitled “Fighting for the Futaleufú” directed and co-produced by Stephanie Haid which discusses the complex battle occurring between hydroelectric companies and those who wish to protect the region from exploit, it also draws attentions to the effects the hydro-dams would have on the watershed as well as the people living in the region. The film was released in 2013 and has had many international showings.
- The town of Futaleufú was formally incorporated as a town in 1929 and didn’t build its first commercial road until 1983!
- Chris Spelius, an Olympic Kayaker, was one the first people to kayak the river back in 1985. He states that Futaleufú was part of the rugged wilderness where "there was no electricity, no phones, and no bridges." He ran the first commercial rafting trip there in 1986.