Ancoa River

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Quick Facts

General Description

The Rio Ancoa is tributary of the Achibueno River, in the Linares Province, of the Maule Region of Chile. The runnable section of the Ancoa River is about eleven kilometers long and is an action packed whitewater experience. The Rio Ancoa receives its water through a tunnel from Rio Melado that seems to deliver a steady 800-1000 cfs (~36cms) of water all summer long, intended for irrigation of the agricultural fields in the Ancoa River Valley. The most memorable thing about any kayak trip to the Rio Ancoa is usually the condition of the road to get to the put-in, described by some as, 'the most terrible road in all Chile'.


Undercut rocks and sieves will probably require you to portage at least twice on this run. This is not a river to take lightly and is worthy of its class IV/V reputation, especially in the upper sections. Should a swim occur it is easy to lose a paddle or a kayak. You can make it easier by putting in and taking out more selectively.

River Flows / Gauge Information / Season

The typical kayak season for the Rio Ancoa is November - February. The river is fed from a diversion tunnel from the Rio Melado and typically runs all summer long between 800-1000cfs (~36cms). Catch higher flows, if you dare, earlier in the season.

Real-time Steamflow Data

Reporting Stations:

  • Ancoa River: 07355002-5 Ancoa El Morro, Region VII

Rapid Descriptions


Put-Ins and Take-Outs

  • Put-in: The most popular put-in is at the Tunel El Melado Outlet in Hornillo.
  • Take-out: Take-out either at the diversion dam or continue on down to the second bridge.


From the city of Linares head out toward the village of Llepo but take the left fork of the road that follows the Rio Ancoa instead of heading into Llepo itself. Follow the Ancoa River through Capamento Ancoa until you get to the put-in at Hornillos. Here you will find the outlet of the tunnel that runs through the Andes to the Rio Melado. The total trip to Hornillos is about 50 kilometers from Linares, but they will be some of the most difficult driving you will ever encounter in Chile.

Places to Stay / Campgrounds

It is possible to camp riverside almost anywhere along the Rio Ancoa but you may want to head back to town for a more comfortable and service oriented campground.

Maps & Outside Links

  • Maps:
  • Outfitters:
Chile Climbing Page - Rio Ancoa
Andes Connection Adventures

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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