Trancura River - Lower

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Quick Facts

General Description

The Rio Trancura (sometimes referred to as the Rio Pucón or Rio Minetúe by the locals) is situated east of the village of Pucon in the Chilean Lakes District. The headwaters of the Trancura River drain the southeastern region of Villarrica National Park, including the slopes of Volcanoes Villarrica, Quetrupillan and Lanín. The Rio Trancura flows initially to the north until it joins with the Maichín River, then it turns to the west and discharges into Lago Villarrica past the village of Pucon. Other major tributaries of the Rio Trancura are the Rio Carileufú, Rio Turbio and Rio Liucura.

The Trancura river (since 1987) is one of the top commercially rafted and kayaked rivers in Chile along with the Rio Petrohue, Rio Maipo and Rio Futaleufu. The Rio Trancura is divided up into two sections, the Upper (Alto) and the Lower (Bajo), offering something for beginners and experts alike.

  • The Lower Trancura: The Lower Trancura is a classic Class III whitewater run that will take you about an hour to complete if you do not stop and play. The Lower Trancura is higher in volume than the Upper Trancura because of all of the tributaries emptying into it. It is also is cloudier (blue/grey) than other rivers in the region. The Lower Trancura is drop- pool and most of the rapids can be boat scouted with the exception of the last rapid before the take-out at the Pasarella (bridge) Quelhue. Expect big waves and features.


The Rio Trancura is commercially run by rafters, kayakers and body boarders so it is usually clear of debris during the peak summer months. The last rapid of the Lower Trancura (second after the Rio Liucura confluence) is worth studying, especially your first time down.

River Flows / Gauge Information / Season

The Lower Trancura River is the biggest in the Pucon area with flows usually in the 2000-4000 cfs (57 cms - 115 cms) range, depending on what is coming in from the tributaries. The Rio Trancura commercial season is typically December through March, but the river can be run year round.

Rapid Descriptions

The river is drop pool and has about a half dozen named rapids, all of which can be boat scouted but the last rapid before the take-out. Some of the more memorable are Fishermen's Rapid, The Wall and Lioness.

Put-Ins and Take-Outs

  • Put-in: Head out of the village of Pucon toward the town of Caburgua. This road will cross the Rio Trancura at a bridge, Puente Metrenehue. Put-in here.
  • Take-out: To run shuttle head back to the village of Pucon, just past the airport, and look for a road (Camino a Quelhue) heading north to the village of Quelhue. Head up this road until you come to the Pasarella Quelhue (Quelhue bridge). This is the take-out.


From the city of Freire, on the Pan American Highway (Route 5), take Route 199 (southeast) to the town of Villarrica and onward to the village of Pucon. The trip from Freire to Pucon is 80 kilometers. If coming from the south on Route 5, head east to Villarrica after passing through the city of Loncoche.

Places to Stay / Campgrounds

There are numerous campgrounds in the Pucon Valley even along the Rio Liucura itself. In the high season finding a quieter one can be difficult as they are often full of outdoor enthusiasts visiting the Pucon area. You can also find plenty of non-camping lodging options in the resort town of Pucon.

Maps & Outside Links





Pucon Outdoor Center


Municipality of Pucon

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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