Cara del Indio

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Quick Facts

  • Class: III plus
  • Type: Constriction and Turn
  • Length: 50 meters (160 feet)
  • Alternate Names: Toro
  • Previous Rapid: S-Turn
  • Next Rapid: Mundaca
  • Interactive Map: Futaleufu River Valley
  • River Section: Lower Futaleufu, Bridge-to-Bridge


A detailed sketch illustrating the key kayak lines of Cara del Indio
A detailed sketch illustrating the key kayak lines of Cara del Indio

After S-Turn rapid the next feature you will see is the Face of the Indian (Cara Del Indio) carved in the river-left side of the canyon wall. After Cara Del Indio, the river makes a radical 90 degree left-hand turn. There is a large eddy up-top on river-right which piles up water before it heads down through the constriction. This phenomenon creates some interesting glassy False Surf Waves up-top that look very inviting. Unfortunately they are so slanted and impart so much right-to-left momentum that they will jet ferry you to the breaking wave-holes at the center of the river. On the river right-side, next to the canyon walls, there a few ledge-holes that need to be skirted.

High and Low Water

At higher water, the main channel of the rapid can become very congested by all the water funneling through it. The volume creates very large breaking wave-holes at river center. Hydraulics form on the river-left side due to the rocks as the water level goes up.


The Face of the Indian on the river-left wall.
The Face of the Indian on the river-left wall.

This rapid can be boat scouted from the top. You can also scout from the Secret Lagoon penisula.


Along the river-right canyon wall there a few ledge holes, but they are difficult to hit as the flow off the canyon wall keeps paddlers toward the center. At river-center there are a few large explosion holes that you can try and surf. During high flows the top river-left side can be problematic as large hydraulics develop when the rocks get covered.

Play Opportunities

Ride the false surf waves to the center of the river and try your hand at surfing the waves and offset wave holes. All play here is catch-on-the-fly.

Where to Swim

Swim toward the river-right side after clearing the main hydraulics of the rapid on river-right.

Where to Rescue

Running the Rapid from below.
Running the Rapid from below.

There is very little time between Cara del Indio and Mundaca so rescue needs to be quick. There is a large eddy on river-right, below the rapid, that can be used to pick up the pieces. There is also an eddy on river-left, which is smaller, that can be used for the same purpose.

Where to Portage

It may be possible to portage on the river-right side.

Running the Rapid

Scout this rapid from your kayak and run down the center of the river. Stay away from the left and right sides to avoid all the hazards and negotiate the large exploding offset wave-holes at river-center. Enjoy the ride!

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. This guidebook is based on Expediciones Chile's twenty years of experience running the Futaleufu River. However, the diagrams and descriptions found here are only approximations of what paddlers will find on the river once they get here. 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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