Torres del Paine National Park

Futaleufu, one of the Chilean capitals of Adventure Tourism

Tourism in Futaleufu, Chile.
Image: Ilustre Municipalidad de Futaleufu
 The town and municipality of Futaleufu are located in the Province of Palena, Región de Los Lagos (Region of the Lakes), also known as the Tenth Region of Chile. Its estimated population of 2000 inhabitants is engaged in livestock, agriculture, handicrafts and since the last decades also in tourism, which has experienced enormous growth. This is due to wonderful landscapes and the rafting and kayak descents of the Futaleufu River, considered among the three best rivers in the World for its Class V rapids. The sources that feed this water course are lakes Amutui Quimei and Futalafquen, located in Los Alerces National Park of the Argentine province of Chubut. Futaleufu also has the best white waters ideal for the practice of Fly Fishing. 
 
The intricate geography of the area also favors the Photographic Tours and the practice of other activities such as horseback riding and hiking through different trails, mountain biking, canoeing along the Rio Espolon, canyoning in remote gorges, kayaking in the various lakes, mountaineering and flora and fauna watching. You may have the opportunity to visit the Futaleufu National Reserve, one of the most attractive areas near the Carretera Austral, located 10 km of the homonymous village, in the place called Las Escalas, created for the protection of the mountain range cypress (Austrocedrus chilensis) and the Huemul (South Andean Deer), a mammal in danger of extinction, which together with the Condor, is part of the Chilean National Coat of Arms. 

The tourist activity in the town is relatively incipient, however there are several agencies with experienced professionals and high safety standards, to choose the excursions that interest you most.

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How to Get to Futaleufu

Image: otroaireaventura.com
  
Futaleufu is a remote area of Southern Chile, but even so, access can be by air, sea or land.
  
1. Fly to Puerto Montt: Take a flight to Puerto Montt, which is the nearest Chilean airport to Futaleufu. There are direct flights from Santiago to Puerto Montt, operated by LATAM Airlines, Sky Airline or JetSmart low-cost airline.

From Puerto Montt, you can take a bus to Chaiten. There are daily buses from Puerto Montt to Chaiten, costing approximately US$ 20. Once in Chaiten, you can catch another bus to Futaleufu, which takes about 3 hours and passes through scenic landscapes, including lakes, glaciers, waterfalls, and the Andes Mountains
 
2. By ferry/ land: You can take a ferry from Puerto Montt to Chaiten, which takes about 10 hours. After arriving in Chaiten, you can catch a bus to Futaleufu.

3. By land Chile/ Argentina/ Chile: You can travel by land from Puerto Montt to Osorno, and then head to Argentina, arriving in San Carlos de Bariloche, from there, continue south to El Bolson, Esquel, and Trevelin, and then cross the border back into Chile to reach Futaleufu.

4. You can also hire a private light aircraft flight from Puerto Montt directly to Futaleufú. This is the easiest way to reach the Chilean side without entering Argentina.

What to do in Futaleufu

 
Image: Diario El Huemul - Palena
  One of the main attractions of Futaleufu is the Futaleufu River, which is considered one of the best rivers in the world for whitewater rafting and kayaking. 

The river has rapids ranging from class II to V, offering different levels of challenge and excitement for beginners and experts alike. You can also enjoy fishing, canoeing, and swimming in the crystal-clear waters of the river.

Another way to explore the beauty of Futaleufu is by hiking or horseback riding. There are many trails that lead you to amazing places, such as the Piedra del Aguila, a huge rock formation that offers panoramic views of the valley; the Rio Espolon, a calm and scenic river that flows into the Futaleufu River; the Laguna Espejo, a tranquil lake surrounded by mountains and forests; and the Las Cascadas, a series of waterfalls that cascade down the hills.

Futaleufu is also a picturesque village where you will find cozy accommodations, delicious restaurants and friendly locals. The town is nestled in an amphitheater of rugged, snowcapped mountains and sits at the confluence of two rivers. You can visit the Plaza de Armas, the main square where cultural events and festivals are held; the Mirador de La Virgen, a viewpoint overlooking the town and the river; and Cerro La Bandera, a hill with a flagpole and monument honoring the Chilean flag.

Futaleufu National Reserve, whose main feature is the scenic beauty of its surroundings, with viewpoints from which you can enjoy the waterfalls and neighboring valleys. Within its 12,065 hectares there is a virgin vegetation and a rich fauna, we can find protected species such as the "Huemul" (South Andean deer), represented in the Chilean coat of arms, there is a network of hiking trails in the midst of the cypress forests of the Cordillera. Lago Espolon, 8 km. from Futaleufu, where you can camp, fish and make boat trips, with campgrounds and cabins available; Rio Espolon, besides being one of the tributaries and the quieter brother of Rio Futaleufu, is characterized by the tranquility and transparency of its waters.

In short, Futaleufú is a destination that will make you fall in love with nature and adventure. It is famous for its breathtaking natural landscapes and exciting outdoor activities. 
 



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