Rafting down rapids and calm pools is a great adventure to share with family or friends.
Added to the scenic beauty of the Hua Hum River, an exciting rafting trip provides the chance to share a group adventure near San Martín de los Andes
The transfer of the tourist agency we booked drove along a road whose vegetation became more and more luxuriant as we approached the Valdivian rainforest, where the rainfall regime is significantly higher.
At the end of Lake Nonthué, from the wooden quay, we delighted in the different shades of green as the calm water reflected the surrounding forest. We then reached Hua Hum, a melt down river running between rocky walls. The double prow raft and the colorful water proof clothing awaited on the beach. Everything was ready for our adventure to begin.
‘Rafting is a team sport in which everyone paddles and shifts their weight in unison to clear the rapids and keep afloat. Usually there are between six to eight people on board,’ were our guide’s first words. José Luis then gave us a very brief ‘safety clinic’ for us to learn the commands we would be given during the outing. Paddle away
We were equipped with a life-jacket, a helmet and a paddle added to the backpack with dry clothes we were already carrying. Calm but expectant, we boarded the rafts to face the rapids.
What first impressed us was the contrast between the bright green foliage and the turquoise water. A large number of native species, whose names we learned during the outing, populated the coasts. José Luis told us exactly when we entered neighboring Chile.
The river has five rapids and four runs and behind every bend a different scenery surprises you. We found the last rapid, the one at the hot springs, the most enjoyable and left the rafts to swim in the pools.
‘This is a safe river there is no undertow to suck you down or keep you under. Besides, it is difficult to crash into big rocks so it is really good for family rafting,’ our guide explained.
Both grown-ups and kids enjoyed splashing around and diving into the river, laughing and shouting until we were told it was time to get back on the rafts to continue our adventure.
The water was still for a few minutes, but the adrenaline soon returned as we shouted in excitement going through Cabeza de Indio (Indian Head) and Piedra Tumbadora (Tumbling Stone) rapids. Once back in calm water we spotted a heron and a king fisher on the coast as we neared our destination.
Happy and relaxed, we all had tea together. We commented on the guides’ experience and pitched in to take the rafts apart before returning to San Martín de los Andes.
The water flowed on, to merge with other rivers, go by the City of Valdivia and finally reach the Pacific Ocean. We realized that to us, Hua Hum meant so much more than a river in an unbelievable natural setting, it was a synonym for rafting and adventure.
Difficulty: Class II / III rafting.
Duration: three hours.
Opening hours: To be arranged with the travel agency.
Tour type: Rafting
How to get here: There are two alternatives to get to Hua Hum. The first one is to hire an excursion with shuttle service. The other one is to go on your private vehicle to the point where the rafting starts. In order to do that, visitors must leave San Martín de los Andes through paved Route 234 in the direction of Junín de los Andes, and go along 2 kilometers till they reach the crossroads, where they will take the paved and rubble road on the left, which leads straight to Hua-Hum.
Bear in mind: These are class II and III rapids which can be enjoyed from December to April.
The outing including transport may be booked at a tourist agency or else, it is possible to drive out to Hua Hum along Route 48.
Going through migrations and customs is compulsory so make sure to bear the required documents. We recommend checking with the agency or Gendarmería Nacional (Gendarmerie).
Equipment must be approved by Prefectura Nacional (Coast Guard).
We recommend bringing something to eat, mate, tea or coffee as you will most probably be hungry by the end of the adventure. A spare change of clothes is also necessary.