Why go with Expediciones Chile?
Variety of Trip Options:
We offer everything from single-day Chile sea kayaking adventures to epic multi-day expedition trips in some of the most exotic locations in Patagonia, Chile.
Years of Experience:
We have been running whitewater kayak trips in Chile since 1986 and pioneered many of our Patagonia sea kayak routes in the early 1990s.
We guarantee departures on most of our Chile sea kayak trips! We won't cancel a trip at the last minute due to lack of sign-ups. We can also accommodate last minute bookings on many of our trips and have run trips with as few as one or two people. If you are planning a trip in our area that is not guaranteed departure (participation dependent) keep Expediciones Chile in mind as a back-up. We might be able to save your vacation. Our Andes
to the Ocean, Patagonia River
Odyssey, and Journey Back in
Time - Lago Espolon are all guaranteed departures. On our other trips we will do our very best to see that your spot is guaranteed.
Our guides are professionally trained and certified with many years of international guiding experience on their resumes. We hire only the most personable
guides who are gregarious, well-informed, supportive, patient, conscientious, clean-cut, and safety oriented.
For those who want to learn how to
develop a solid eskimo roll, or just improve
their skills, we have a world class Paddling
School based in the village of Futaleufu.
Multisport Options for Non-Paddlers:
For those non-paddlers in your group check out our extensive multisport menu for yourself, or for your non-paddling companions.
Because we are based in the United States in Sun Valley, Idaho and Futaleufu, Chile, we take care of you every step of the way! Our
staff will get back to you within a short time of your call or email - no matter where you are in the world!
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of guests go on your sea kayaking expeditions?
Our guests come looking for an off-the-beaten path adventure and want to experience a spectacular untouched place that the normal travelers will never see. They have camped out before and enjoy the rewards of a challenge. They come from all over the world to visit us, most often from Europe, North America, New Zealand and Australia.
I am traveling solo... do people come by themselves on your trips?
Our kayak expeditions usually include an assortment of both single guests, couples, groups of friends and families. Trips with shared challenges bond quickly and you will quickly feel a part of the team. Before you know it you will be exchanging addresses at the end of the trip!
How do you pronounce Expediciones Chile? and Futaleufu?
The correct pronunciation is: "Ex-ped-ish-she-oh-nays". "Expediciones" is the Spanish version of the English word "Expeditions". In North America we are inclined pronounce "Chile" the the same way we pronounce "Chili" but the correct pronunciation is "She-lay". Futaleufu is pronounced: "Foo-tah-lay-oh-foo". Futaleufu is a Mapuche indian word meaning Big Big River - the two "fu"s, one at the beginning and one at the end, connote this meaning.
Do I need to know how to sea kayak?
We have trips designed for both beginners and experienced expedition sea kayakers alike. Some of our guests come with a significant amount of sea kayaking experience and others are new to the sport. We like to ensure that all of our guests have the appropriate skills for the trip they want to go on. Most often we will talk to you over the telephone before you book with us and we also ask that you fill out an online skill evaluator, which will help us understand your sea kayaking background and skill level. If you are completely new to the sport, let us know and we will get you with the right group and in the correct boat. You can also pick up excellent skills in our kayak school.
Is my sea kayak likely to flip over?
The kayaks we use are highly stable and seldom flip, especially the doubles. It is an extreme rarity that someone on one of our expeditions manages to accidentally turn their kayak over. Our guides are expertly trained in rescue techniques and in the rare event of a capsize they will have you back in your boat quickly. But more significantly, our guides are taught to exercise prudence to avoid conditions that might cause an accidental flip.
Can a sea kayak be Eskimo rolled?
Yes. Anybody with a solid whitewater
combat roll can roll a single sea kayak. However,
a sea kayak is less forgiving of errors in rolling
technique because of its size. Double sea kayaks
can be rolled also, assuming both paddlers are
practiced at it. Rolling a kayak is not a requirement
of our sea kayak trips. If you are interested
in learning to roll we suggest you try one of
our rolling clinics in the Hot Springs of Volcan
Can children come on your chile sea kayak trips?
Yes, we have had families on our
expeditions with children as young as 10 years
old. In many cases a child can share a double
kayak with one of the parents or one of our experienced
guides. However, not all of our trips are appropriate
for children. Please call our office if you have
any doubts about selecting a trip for your family.
What is the maximum age for guests on your Patagonia sea kayak vacations?
We have hosted paddlers in their sixties and seventies. All that matters is a good fitness level, a spirit for adventure, and some previous kayaking experience. Some intermediate to advanced experience is required if you are going on one of our more difficult trips.
Do you provide solo or tandem sea kayaks?
We have single kayaks available, but we recommend tandems to most of our guests on expedition trips for a number of reasons. If you have a desire to be in a single kayak, rather than a double, this can be arranged providing you have the experience and we consider it safe to allow you to do so. We recommend tandems for the following reasons:
Tandem kayaks allow you to share the work between two paddlers and are generally more energy efficient and less fatiguing in a headwind where there is twice the power and the same resistance.
Tandem kayaks are longer than doubles and therefore are faster than solo kayaks. With the speed difference, single kayaks can fall behind tandem kayaks, a real concern should a group encounter inclement weather and waves.
Tandem kayaks have a greater beam (width) and are therefore more stable than singles. Stability is a great asset when the waters turn choppy.
Tandem kayaks allow us the flexibility to pair paddlers with different physical abilities, if necessary, so that a group keeps a steady pace and no one gets separated - a big plus on a long expedition trip.
Where will we spend the night?
Most of our sea kayak trips include camping out in a spectacular wilderness setting. Some trips are focused on returning to a lodge each night.
How far and how fast will we travel?
Our trips range from anywhere between a few to up to twenty kilometers a day, on some of our expedition trips. Our pace is slower on trips to Chiloe Island and Lago Espolon with a faster pace on other trips. On many of our expedition trips we will be paddling down river, with the current – this makes a huge difference. On average we will paddle about 3 to 5 hours a day – expedition trips can be longer.
What is your guest to guide ratio?
Generally we like to have a guest to guide ratio of about 5 to 1, especially on trips with less experienced sea kayakers, but this can vary with the experience of the group. A very experienced group, that has paddled regularly together, like a kayak club, may only require one guide for 8 guests.
What are the qualifications of your guides?
Our sea kayak guides are expert paddlers with extensive safety and rescue training. Many of our guides perform double duty, serving as Class V whitewater rafting and kayaking guides on the Futaleufu river. See our Sea Kayak Guide page for more information.
What kind of bags do I need to keep my gear dry?
We provide the following two options. Our first suggestion is a professionally made roll-down dry bags, which can be expensive, or home-made. Believe it or not, we recommend the second option. We have found that a nylon stuff sack combined with a heavy-duty large trash compactor bag, thick enough to last the week but flexible enough to get in strange spots in the kayak, is ideal. They can even serve as rainwear in emergency! If you bring store-bought dry bags, we recommend bags no larger than 24” by 12” – as the kayak hatch covers are not big enough to accommodate larger bags. It is also easier to stow several smaller-sized bags into the compartments than to try inserting one large dry bag.
What type of meals do you have on your trips?
We provide three meals a day with snacks. In many cases you will be able to help select what foods to bring before departing as we will do a final last-minute food purchase at one of the local stores. Much of our produce comes from our local greenhouses. We like to start with fresh, healthy and natural ingredients. Our meals on trips usually are foods you are quite familiar with – with a Chilean flair. With years of experience in preparing self-contained expedition meals, we have created a variety of trip menus that are second to none. On some trips we may even be able to catch fresh migrating salmon. Wine is served with the evening meal and on fully catered lodge based trips with limited quantities on expedition trips.
I am a vegetarian, will that be a problem?
This is not a problem at all! Many of our guests are vegetarians, or come to us with other special dietary requirements. We specialize in preparing vegetarian dishes. All you need to do is provide us the information about your dietary requirements on our trip application form and we will take care of the rest. If you have special food or snacks you want to bring that can not be purchased in Chile, be sure to bring them.
What kind of tent do you recommend I bring to Patagonia?
We recommend a seam sealed stow-able tent that you are confident will hold up in a twenty-four hour rain storm, if required.
Are showers and bathrooms available on your trips?
Only on our lodge based trips. Otherwise we will be cleaning up on the river. We ask that all guests bring bio-degradable soaps and shampoos, like "Dr. Bronner’s" products. See our packing list for more details. The guides will discuss bathroom procedures with the group on the first day of your adventure. There will be one designated “pit area” chosen by the guides to ensure your privacy.
What is your policy regarding alcohol on your trips?
We do provide a glass of wine or two with each dinner, while on a trip, because we feel it compliments and enriches our meals – but quantities are very limited. We ask our guests not to bring spirits with them because of the hazards that can occur on an expedition. However, if you have an exceptional bottle of spirits that you would like to share with the group, that is fine – just let your guide know about it. There is absolutely no alcohol consumption allowed on our trips prior to the end of all kayaking and on-water activities.
Are there a lot of biting mosquitoes and flies on your trips?
Generally speaking, bugs are not a large problem, but they should not be entirely discounted. You will be in a pristine wilderness areas and should be prepared for the unexpected.
Do you allow fishing on your sea kayaking vacations? Can I bring my own fishing gear?
Our region of Patagonia is a world-class fishery, populated with Rainbow, Brown and Brook Trout as well as non-native species of Salmon (from the Chilean aqua-culture industry) that are now developing into wild populations. Our policy around trout is strictly catch-and-release but we allow salmon to be taken for dinnertime consumption – our guides will help you prepare it. In most cases it won’t be more than a few casts before you land a salmon. If guests have the desire to fish, we encourage them to bring an ultra light pack-able rod and tackle – we don’t provide gear.
How cold is the water and air temperature? What will the weather be like?
Water temperatures range from the 60s and 70s (F) throughout the season – colder in the ocean. The weather along the Patagonia coast can be unpredictable, even in the high summer, storms can roll-in and stick around for few days. It is best to be prepared for all types of weather conditions - please follow carefully the recommendations provided in our packing lists. To read more about the weather and seasons in Patagonia, Chile see our Patagonia Weather page.
What happens to my luggage that does not come with me on the sea kayak trip?
Any luggage not required on your trip (including valuables) can be left in secure storage at our office in Futaleufu or Puerto Montt. On the morning of your departure, your luggage will be transported to meet you at (or prior to your arrival at) the airport.
Other Patagonia Sea Kayaking Vacation options: Andes to the Ocean, Chile Sea Kayaking - Sea Kayaking Chile Custom Expeditions
Other Sea Kayaking Areas:
Sea Kayaking Rio Grey Torres del Paine National Park
Sea Kayaking Rio Palena to Balmaceda and the Pacific
Sea Kayaking Fjords of Parque Pumalin
Sea Kayaking the Island of Chiloe
Sea Kayaking the Lakes of Bariloche
Sea Kayaking Rio Santa Cruz from Calafate to the Atlantic
Sea Kayaking in Perito Moreno National Park