Achibueno River

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Quick Facts

  • Class: III/IV (lower), IV/V (middle), V (upper)
  • Distance: ~20 kilometers (all sections)
  • Average Gradient: 75 - 150 (estimate, upper, middle, lower sections)
  • Maximum Gradient:
  • Temperature: cold, run-off river
  • Water Quality: silty blue
  • Character: small and large riverbed boulders, granite canyons
  • Nearby Rivers: Ancoa River, Nuble River

General Description

The Achibueno River, is a tributary of the Rio Loncomilla, in the Province of Linares, Maule, Chile. It serves as the demarcation line between the municipalities of Linares and Longaví. The river’s source is two small lagoons off the northern flank of the dormant Volcano Nevado de Longavi (3242 meters). The volcano itself has never historically erupted but there is fumarole activity still present. The meaning of the word “achibueno” is unclear, but may mean “good brother/branch” when compared to the Rio Ancoa its nearby twin. Much of the river is carved through granite which reminds some of Yosemite National Park and other rivers in California. The most easily accessed section of the Rio Achibueno is class III/IV with the great class IV/V action in the middle reaches. The upper, class V section, is far more difficult to get to. The river can be best accessed from the city of Linares.


The Achibueno River is not often run by kayakers, so be careful on all sections especially as you move higher in the river valley. This area is known to be seismically active which means that the riverbed can change at any time with debris coming off the canyon walls.

River Flows / Gauge Information / Season

The Achibueno River is a run-off river that is fed by the snow covered slopes of Volcano Nevado de Longavi. There are two small lagoons that also feed the river, with Laguna Del Achibueno being the largest, but they do not contribute significantly to its flow. The best months to kayak the Achibueno River are usually December and January with November and February making up the 'iffy' shoulder season where the Achibueno may be too high or two low. When planning a trip to the Achibueno keep an on on the local percipitation levels as this river can rise rapidly.

Real-time Steamflow Data

Reporting Stations:

  • Achibueno River (below the kayak runs): 07354002-K Achibueno Recova, Region VII

Rapid Descriptions


Put-Ins and Take-Outs

Lower Section:

  • Put-in: Below the footbridge at La Mula. La Mula is located about 10 kilometers above the Vado Azul (Blue Ford) which now has a bridge crossing the river and is shown as Las Puentes (The Bridges).
  • Take-out: At the Vado Azul bridge which is about 12kms from Pejerrey. (If you miss this bridge you will run into a Class V section for a few kilometers)

Middle Section:

Put-in: The Upper Achibueno is a class IV/V river that needs to be approached with caution and plenty of time. The river valley road pretty much ends at the confluence of the Estero las Animas (Creek of the Spirits) and the Rio Achibueno. Here you will find a small outdoor education center called Centro Las Animas. Put in about a kilometer upstream of the the Estero las Animas.

  • Take-out: At the footbridge at La Mula.

Upper Section:

  • Put in: There are numerous put-in options above Estero Las Animas including the usually runnable side creek of Estero La Gloria. However the roads and pathways this far up the valley are rudimentary at best. If possible make arrangements with the locals for a mule ( or oxcart) porter assist to get your boats and gear up to whatever put-in you can manage. Walking up the valley, which could take hours, is just not worth the time and effort. Possible put-in locations include the confluences of Rio Portillo or Rio de Los Patos.
  • Take-out: Estero Las Animas or continue on to La Mula.


From Route 5 (The Pan American Highway) head east through the city of Linares toward the village of Llepo. (You will cross over the Rio Ancoa on your way.) Continue on up this road (Camino a Pejerrey) through the village of Quebrada El Nabe to the village of Aduana Pejerrey. The total distance from the Route 5 will be about 45 kilometers. The put-in for the lower section is another 15 kilometers or so up the road from Aduana (Lastimas) Pejerry. Don't plan on taking anything less than a 4-wheel drive vehicle on these roads. The last half of the journey up the Rio Achibueno Valley is often no better than a river bottom path.

Places to Stay / Campgrounds

The Achibueno River valley is very remote, so wilderness camping spots are plentiful. However, there are a few commercial outfitters now in the valley that may be able to assist you to find more service oriented campsites. Plan on stocking up on provisions in the city of Linares, as getting anything but the essentials will be very sketchy once you enter the Achibueno River Valley.

Maps & Outside Links





Andes Connection Adventures

Andes Achibueno Adventures

Achibueno Natureza Eco Adventura

Copyright & Terms of Use

  • Copyrights: (Copyright © 2006, Expediciones Chile) All photos, maps, diagrams, text and computer code is the copyrighted property of Expediciones Chile with all rights reserved.

  • Terms of Use: Any type of reproduction, republication, or re-transmission for commercial use is prohibited without the expressed, written permission of Expediciones Chile. Users of this Wiki guidebook may print copies of the text, images and diagrams for personal river running use only. Users may not alter the diagrams or text without expressed written permission of Expediciones Chile. Users must read and acknowledge the disclaimer before printing. Printing implies acknowledgment of the disclaimer.


  • Disclaimer: Under no circumstances should paddlers substitute the information and diagrams in this guidebook for their own sound judgment on the river and their collective experience running rivers. The diagrams, maps and descriptions found here are only approximations of what paddlers will find on the river once they get to Chile or Argentina. They are not to scale and nor are they completely accurate. Water levels change, rocks move around, landslide debris can enter the river at any time making the diagrams obsolete. Expediciones Chile also reserves the right to update these diagrams and descriptions at any time as we find better ways to illustrate and discuss the rapids. Use this guidebook at your own risk.

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