Calafate Adventure Travel & Tours...
Cleaving difficult waters on rubber dinghies (of up to 10 people each) specifically designed to deal with each torrent. No previous experience is required and it may be practiced on Santa Cruz or Dos Vueltas rivers, always in organized groups.
RAFTING IN SAN MARTIN
DE LOS ANDES
San Martin de los Andes Adventure Travel & Tours...
Rafting on Hua Hum River
An activity rapidly gaining popularity is rafting, the navigation of river rapids on a specially conditioned rubber raft.
At 46 kilometers from San Martín de los Andes city, on the shores of Lake Lácar, one arrives at the district of Hua Hum on Nonthue lake. At the Hua Hum International Pass there are rapids with a difficulty level of only two points, making them accessible to the whole family.
This is the source of the river we are going to follow downstream; this river provides drainage for the waters of Lake Lácar, one of the few Argentine lakes emptying into the Pacific Ocean.
We will embark on the rubber raft, and start our adventure on a fabulous trip down emerald-green waters, among giant ferns (typical Valdivian forest flora that grow in this region, with its annual rainfall of 4,000 mm), waterfalls and thermal springs (their over 20° Celsius temperatures providing a contrast with the river water) appearing at the riverside.
Constantly zigzagging, we shoot by the mountain base, blanketed with vegetation up to the point where the eternal snows take over. The speed of the descent is a dizzyingly indescribable sensation leaving those who once tried it with a taste for more.
The force of the current varies as much as the surroundings. In many sectors, the rock walls win out against the greenery. Rapids follow on each other thick and fast, and the crew members begin to synchronize their efforts, enabling the overcoming of obstacles and fun at the same time (while getting soaking wet) in time to the swerving of the raft, providing food for many fireside anecdotes.
Obviously, all you need is a spirit of adventure, a bathing costume, sneakers and a change of clothes available. At Pirehueico on the other side of the Andes (don't forget your I.D.) you will be feted with a pisco, and a vehicle will be waiting to bring you back to San Martín de los Andes.
Duration: 3 hours
Attraction: Downriver rafting in a special river environment, crossing the Chilean border.
Total duration of the excursion: 6 hours
Rafting on Aluminé river
The practice of rafting on the Aluminé has become a popular activity of tourists visiting this area. Over the last few years there has been a noticeable increase in demand, with over 2,500 people enjoying this unforgettable experience last season, compared with 1,000 the previous year.
The activity starts in springtime in the turbulent Aluminé waters‚ and culminates when summer is over, water levels drop and navigation becomes impossible.
The descents are in well-defined areas: one circuit in Abra Ancha, some 6 kilometers from the locality, and the upper Aluminé, near the lake. For the experts, this last stretch is one of the best in Argentina, not only because it is highly technical and full of obstacles, but also because of the magnificent natural frame provided to the sport by the Andean Cordillera in this area.
The Abra Ancha circuit is suitable for all ages, as it is the simplest. However, the upper Aluminé requires previous experience since avoiding all the many obstacles requires passengers to help the oarsmen.
Downriver rafting can be done in two ways: the first, used mainly in the less obstacle-ridden circuits involves work by only the rafting guide.
The other is a more interactive option, involving total participation of passengers in the oar work alongside their guide.
The rafts carry from 6 to 12 passengers, who are given all the indispensable safety equipment.
Aluminé river is classified by rafting experts as one of the best in the country, bearing in mind its high rate of flow and very narrow, obstacle-ridden navigation channels, making it a prime attraction for enthusiasts of this sport.
Some kilometers from Junín de los Andes (barely 100 km) and 140 km from San Martín, one can find Aluminé. It is a typically enchanting mountain village, framed by the Cordillera and surrounded by woods and stone quarries. Its population has made a science of hospitability. Here one finds no noise, pollution or chaos reminding one of so-called "progress".
Through this landscape flows its namesake river, the Aluminé. This is one of the rivers of greatest water volume in the province, fed by the Quillén, the Pilo-Lil and the Nahuel Mapi, among others, and reaching the Collón Cura, where all its arsenal of beauty seems arranged to overawe visitors. Gently sloping Cordilleras with an imposing framework of the Andes, lakes and rivers tempting one to fish, and a welcoming cozy micro-climate make it a perfect spot for the most demanding of tourists.
On the river banks, the guide will give us a short talk explaining how to follow the navigation orders, for example: "those on the right to the back", "straight ahead", "all together", "the left to the front", or "hold tight!" No sooner have we boarded the raft once it is in the river, it starts an upwards-downwards pitching movement in the waves, letting us know "who's the boss". We will be driven forwards so fast that we need only use the oars as rudders to correct our course. We will also understand the importance of the protective gear (helmet, waistcoat, tying ropes) and of taking along a change to dry clothes.
We will go through the rapids more scared than actually in danger, and will overcome them by skirting huge rocks cropping out from the frothy waters. Magically, each of these thrills is followed by calm translucently deep pools.
Once our descent is over, we will seek the shade of one of the many willows that overhang our landing place to have a well-earned banquet.
The driver, who will return us to Junín de los Andes on this occasion, may not understand the inscrutable expressions of joy on our tired faces.
Once again the pictures of our adventure will fly thrillingly through our minds like an accelerated video clip, and we will relive the adventure again and again.
Duration: 3 hours
er rafting through typical transitional Andean forest to Patagonian steppe landscape.
Total duration: day-long
Navigating the Lácar
Our excursion leaves from Hua Hum port, only a stone's throw from the Chilean border. The vessel (seating twelve passengers) has the advantage of being able to moor on beaches that are almost inaccessible to the rest of the tourists. Afterwards, the boat will stop at Santa Teresita Isle, where there is an old and beautiful wooden chapel.
Catritre Beach, Mt Abanico, Quila Quina Peninsula, Yuco, Santa Teresita Isle, Mt Vizcacha Caves, Ruca Ñire, Pucará, "Angostura" of Lácar and Nonthué lakes - these are the exclusive spots that are only accessible to passengers of the Súper Gomón (Great Raft).
Our return is set for approximately 7 p.m., but this schedule is often delayed by passengers who request permission to land on some remote beach, turn off the engine and succumb to the enchantments of Mother Nature.