Lontue River

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Quick Facts

  • Class: III/IV
  • Distance: 12 miles (20 km)
  • Average Gradient: 60 feet / mile (12 m/km)
  • Maximum Gradient:
  • Temperature: cool/cold
  • Water Quality: excellent, usually clear
  • Character: drop pool rapids, gravel bars, boulders
  • Nearby Rivers: Teno River, Claro River Seven Tea Cups

General Description

The Rio Lontue River is located in the Maule Region, Region VII of Chile. It begins life as the Laguna de Mondaca and flows some 55 miles (90 km) to join the Rio Teno and become the Mataquito River just west of the city of Curico. The Rio Lontue drains the northern slopes of the still active volcano, Descabezado Grande (Big Flattop) which last erupted in 1932.

For non-kayakers the Lontue River Valley is best known for its viticulture and wine making. Many of the slopes along the river are dotted with vineyards of Pias, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon and Merlot grapes. If possible stop by one of the vineyards on your way through for a tour and tasting.

Because land is so prized along the river almost all of it is in private hands making it problematic for whitewater kayakers trying to find a put-in. However, once you are on the water the Lontue River offers a great class III/IV kayak run with friendly drop-pool rapids. On some stretches you even may encounter beginners from some of the Kayak Schools from Santiago de Chile who are learning the sport.



River Flows / Gauge Information / Season

Real-time Steamflow Data

Reporting Stations:

  • 07112001-5 Colorado en Junta con Palos, Region VII
  • 07115001-1 Palos en Junta con Colorado, Region VII

Rapid Descriptions


Put-Ins and Take-Outs

Lontue River

  • Put-in: Put-in on the northern bank of the Rio Lontue across from the settlement of Culenar. Put-ins are on private property, so obtain permission first.
  • Take-out: Take-out options are numerous depending on how far you want to paddle. The Rio Lontue is more easily accessed from the southside along the road (Ruta K16).


From the city of Curico take Highway K65 (Ruta K65) southeast of the city toward the village of Los Niches and Upeo. It is easy to get lost on your way, so pay attention to all road signs and forks. On your way the road will change to Ruta J65. After Los Niches the road will cross the Estero Upeo (Upeo Creek) and continue on Ruta J65 through the settlement of Protrero Grande. After Protrero Grande the road forks again. Take the right fork going back toward the northern bank of the Rio Lontue. From this road, on the opposite side of the settlement of Culenar you should try to access the Lontue River. Unfortunately, all of the land along the river is privately owned so you will need to ask permission and/or pay an access fee to get to the river. At the end of the road is a privately owned and gated eco-reserve that you will also need permission to pass. It is best to inquire about river access in the municipality of Curico before trying to put on the Lontue River without permission.

Maps & Outside Links

  • Maps:
  • Outfitters:

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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