Inter Patagonia - Home Page Patagonia, Saturday, December 20, 2014  
Inter Patagonia - Tours and Activities
  Back to Tours in San Martín de los Andes Español  English  

Rafting in Hua-Hum River

   
 Estimated reading time: 3 min. Texts Marcelo Sola   Photos Santiago Gaudio y Marcelo Sola
Rafting along the Hua Hum River - San Martín de los Andes

We crossed the Andes on board a rubber boat that led us through the Valdivian forest. Rapids, pools and fun with the family took hold of the moment.

A beautiful day and feeling like making contact with the Valdivian nature led us to go on a rafting adventure along the Hua Hum River. As hours passed, we discovered that such activity would include much more than that, as the vertiginous rapids, in addition to the incredible possibility of enjoying them with the entire family, would give us beautiful memories.

The setting for the adventure is located 30 kilometers from San Martín de los Andes, within a spectacular environment across which the Hua Hum River runs between steep banks, with milky turquoise waters, typical from thaw, heading for Chile and ends with a different name into the Pacific Ocean.

We went on the travel agency shuttle to Hua Hum –“hole in the sky” in the mapuche language– thus starting the excursion. During the journey, we observed that the vegetation around us started to change. We passed from the Andean Patagonian forest onto a more perennial and brighter area characterized by the large amount of rainfall during the year, known as the Valdivian forest.
Rafting along the Hua Hum River - San Martín de los Andes
We went on the travel agency shuttle to Hua Hum –“hole in the sky” in the mapuche language– thus starting the excursion. During the journey, we observed that the vegetation around us started to change. We passed from the Andean Patagonian forest onto a more perennial and brighter area characterized by the large amount of rainfall during the year, known as the Valdivian forest.

We were about to cross the Andes on board a double prow raft steered by expert rowers that would lead us across rapids, thermal waters pools and all the splendor of nature.

José Luis –our guide– took advantage of the moment of concentration to tell us about what we were about to do. “Rafting is a team sport, in which all the members of the raft crew row and move their weight with coordination in order to cross the rapids and stay afloat. The standard amount of people on the boat ranges from six to eight, according to size.” To make us feel calm, he told us that he is familiar with every detail of the river and that he himself would be leading the movements of the craft. We got into this fluvial stream in the Lake Nonthué outlet.

On the Shores of Adventure

We arrived. We made out an aged wooden pier and headed towards it. Standing on the rustic wooden boards, we watched the crystal-clear quiet waters of the lake. The Andes mountain range, reflecting on them as if they were a looking-glass, granted the ideal setting to rest our senses.
Rafting along the Hua Hum River - San Martín de los Andes
A call from our guide interrupted the moment of beholding. We had to listen to the safety chat. A five-minute talk was enough for us to learn the commands and thus guide the craft in the direction José Luis would indicate. We were provided with life preservers, oars and dry jackets. As the degree of difficulty was between II and III, it was not necessary to wear a safety helmet. Besides, the rafts that would transport us have been authorized by the National Prefecture and are equipped with rescue bags in case somebody falls overboard.

Charming natural path

We set sail. We left the Nonthué behind and in a few minutes we were on the waters of the Hua Hum River.

“The morphology of this river causes it not to present any hydraulic absorbing effect downwards, or to retain people at the bottom. Furthermore, in the areas where there are rocks, it is very difficult to crash violently into them” –our guide explained– “so it is turned into an ideal torrent to enjoy rafting with the family, as it practically does not present any kind of risk” –he added.
Rafting along the Hua Hum River - San Martín de los Andes
The Hua Hum, its turquoise or emerald waters, the deep greenness around it, are images that we will keep forever. The river changed in every turn.

Little by little we got deep into the sheer cliffs. We breathed quietness. Coihues, myrtles, ferns, nalca leaves, aljabas, ñires and lengas seemed to multiply everywhere as we advanced. Almost without noticing, we passed by the milestone that marks the boundary with the neighboring country.

During the eight kilometers of adventure, we went through five rapids and four pools. The terma rapid was the most beautiful. There we had a swim.
Rafting along the Hua Hum River - San Martín de los Andes
Water games, splashing, turns, jumps and screams turned the quietness of the place into a very amusing group experience.

The voice of our guide indicated that we had to continue. Torrent ducks, herons and a kingfisher greeted us as we passed by. We soon passed by the cabeza del indio rapid (Indian head) and, some kilometers ahead, we came across the piedra tumbadora, where the adrenaline reached its culminating point. We gladly went through the natural way running between steep banks till the end of the tour, three kilometers before reaching Lake Pirihueico, in Chile.
The group arrived safe and sound and the hurrahs were repeated unceasingly. We unassembled the raft in the blink of an eye and soon started our way back to San Martín de los Andes, previously passing by the customs and migrations office to carry out all the corresponding proceedings.

It was still a splendid day and everybody was more than pleased by the experience they had just gone through. Meanwhile, the Hua-Hum River continued its solitary course to its end in a sequence of rivers and lakes, passing by the Calle-Calle River in the city of Valdivia, to finally culminate in the infinite waters of the Pacific Ocean. Undoubtedly, Hua-Hum is a synonym for rafting and adventure in Patagonia.
Useful Data
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.
 
Timetables
to be arranged with the travel agency
 
Recommendations
it is ideal to be enjoyed with the family or those who practice this activity. We recommend that beginners choose their location in the center of the rubber boat, where there is less movement. Those who are somewhat experienced and prefer to row may occupy the front part, while experts generally are located at the back.
Remember that you will enter Chilean territory while going on this excursion; therefore, it is necessary to carry the corresponding documentation in order to make all the customs and migrations proceedings: identity card and authorizations for minors, in case one of the parents is absent. It is advisable to carry some kind of snack, mate equipment, coffee or tea, as when the experience ends, it is highly probable that you are hungry. Lastly, carry a change of dry clothes.
 
Contact
Destino Andino
Av. San Martín 555 L.l 2 (8370) San Martín de los Andes - Neuquén - Argentina
Tel: +54 2972 41-1300  Cel: (0294) 15-4516892  
e-mailwebsite
 
 
Inter Patagonia

Videos
Rafting in Hua-Hum River
More Videos of Patagonia
Characteristics
Level of Difficulty
class II / III rafting
Duration
three hours
Tour Kind
Rafting
Useful Data Useful Data



Location



The Viewpoint



“The tour down the Hua – Hum is special. We start in Argentinian waters but the largest stretcht crosses the Chilean Valdivian forest, which contributes with spectacular sceneries to the excursion. As well, the morphology of the river does not cause any hydraulic effects that might cause absortion or retain you in the bottom. In the spots where there are rocks, it is quite difficult to make a strong impact. This makes the river an ideal torrent to enjoy rafting with the family, as it is practically free of any risk.”

José Luis
Rafting guide



Back to Tours in San Martín de los Andes Top  

InterPatagonia - Touristic Information about San Martín de los Andes, Patagonia, Argentina: Tours and Activities
© 2002-2014 Total or partial reproduction forbidden. Derechos de Autor 675245 Ley 11723

Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter InterPatagonia Videos on YouTube Follow us in Google+