A Whitewater guide to the rivers of chile

Río Claro (Tinguiririca)

This tributary of the Tinguiririca features great views of the Cordilleras Rubiana and Huemulina, good class III whitewater, and a wealth of desert wildflowers in the spring. Aspiring intermediate boaters will enjoy this river. On our only run, we had a scratchy flow of 7-10 cms. With more water, its pool-drop rapids would undoubtedly get […]

Rio Cachapoal (Upper)

The upper roars through a chiquitito box canyon 2.5 km below the put-in in Reserva Nacionál Río de Los Cipreses. House-sized rocks that tumbled down from adjacent talus slopes create terminal hydraulics at high water above this seething cauldron of whitewater. The unportagable slot is 2-3 m wide, and no more than 100 m long. […]

Rio Cachapoal (Lower)

The lower Cachapoal flows into the Coya industrial zone. None of the rapids are very difficult, and all are boat-scoutable from eddies. Beware of a collapsed bridge on river left approximately 1 km upstream from the take-out. Because of all the dams. Diversions and mining activity the river does not live up to the standards […]

Rio Clarillo (Tinguiririca)

This description was written by Greg Moore The Clarillo’s clear water, fun class III pool-drop rapids, and lack of flat water make for an enjoyable run. This small drainage only has boatable flows in the spring when the desert is in bloom. For the ambitious boat hiker, numerous other clear water tributaries of the Tinguirririca […]

Río Pangal

Without a doubt, the hydro-developed Río Pangal is one of the most radical whitewater stretches in Chile. The river is only runnable when the right amount of cold, silty water is released from the dam and allowed to churn through its rocky channel. The crux of this formidable run occurs at Cuesta Caracoles where the […]

Río Claro (Los Queñes)

This Río Claro was the former training site of the U.S. Olympic slalom kayak team. The gringos are gone, but a few of the slalom gates remain upstream of Puente Los Queñes. Even if you’re not a racer, it’s fun to eddy-hop your way through the intermittent boulder-garden rapids. If you paddle below Puente Los […]

Río Claro (Tinguiririca)

How many Rio Claros are there in Chile? Quien sabe. The conquistadors could have been a little more creative with their claros. For example, how about: Muy Claro, Tan Claro, Clarito, Clarissimo, or the Mapuche word “Aluminé,” meaning “one sees into it very deeply”? Gringo-style nomenclature isn’t any better. For example, the North Fork of […]

Río González

For ambitious boat hikers, Cajón de González is an outstanding whitewater gem featuring adrenaline packed rapids from start to finish. Below two runnable 3 m waterfalls on Estero de Las Tragedias, the action heats up when the canyon walls narrow. The crux of the trip occurs in the middle of the run, where the gradient […]