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Everything you need to know about Canyoning in Chile!

By: Chile Travel | Date: 27 December, 2019 | In: Adventure , Nature ,

“The water from the falls purifies the soul and brings you peace“… This is how lovers of extreme adventures describe canyoning, an adventure sport that invites you to descend waterfalls and discover hidden caves. It’s a new challenge in the world of tourism and our country has the advantage. Get to know the southern part of the planet and the adrenaline rush from canyoning in Chile.

This sport was created by and is especially for nature lovers. It is also known as “barranquismo”, which could be translated into “cliffing”, because this full-on adrenaline experience principally consists of descending canyons and narrow rivers with low flows of water and steep drops, in which one has to advance through obstacles using different techniques with only the help of your body, ropes and climbing equipment.

If you dare to try, let us tell you a bit more about it.  One generally starts by walking to the entrance of the canyon selected for descent, and once there you begin to Rappel down the waterfalls and cliffs, jumping off of rocks of different heights into pools of pure water, where you can swim!

Other times, you can slide down natural toboggans formed by water erosion and use zip lines and other rope systems which help you get passed the different obstacles. Most of the time you’ll be in the water or hanging on a rope right off a waterfall! How exciting does that sound?

But no worries! Canyoning in Chile is an activity that is apt for everyone and anyone looking for an adventurous voyage, or who likes being in contact with nature and has no fear of heights or of the water. Everyone, from 8 year olds, who can swim, to seniors, who want try new experiences.

How safe is Canyoning?

Just like all adventure sports, Canyoning implies certain risks, however, doing it with trained guides, and after being completely instructed yourself, and using high quality equipment, are all things that considerably minimize the risks. So, if you want to go canyoning in Chile be sure to choose guides and services registered in the National Tourism Service  (SERNATUR).

The most important factor for this new adventure is to have confidence in your own abilities, especially those needed to face new challenges, even if in all these activities you will be wearing a life jacket and a wetsuit that give you safety in the water.

And if you’re worried about heights, this is the best way to overcome your fears since the safest and most entertaining part of the adventure is when you’re hanging from a controlled rope system whose resistance is much greater than your weight.

There you have it!  The best advise we can offer is that you hire a certified guide trained for this sport and that you are given individual equipment that includes, as a minimum: a helmet, wetsuit and booties, footwear especially designed for rock climbing, harness, anchor bags, a type eight descender, HMS type carabineer hooks, a pocket knife, a whistle, backpack and waterproof canister.

Imagen de un hombre flotando en el agua en uno de los ríos del sur de Chile en medio de la practica de canyoning

The History of Canyoning in the world

The world’s pioneer of Canyoning was the Frenchman, Lucient Briet, who in 1904 began to look for and catalogue cliffs in Sierra de Guara and throughout the Pyrenees, finally publishing the information in “Beauties of the High Aragón”.

Another famous person in the history of canyoning was Alfred Martel, who carried out the first explorations and categorization of cliff in the Pyrenees. However, it wasn’t until 1933 that canyon descents were done as an actual sport, since there was a lack of materials and techniques.  So at first, when the sport begun, cliffs were done in reverse, that is by ascending instead of descending.

There are many participants of this sport in our country, and every year there are more people interested in it. Additionally, the south of Chile is an ideal wonderland full of waterfalls, rock formations and crystal clear ponds, lakes and rivers perfect for swimming.

The best time of year to enjoy this sport in Chile is between October and April, before the rainy season, and even though there are those who love canyoning in the rain, it’s best to begin in Spring-Summer.

Best Canyoning Places in Chile

Attention! The following are the best places for Canyoning in Chile

Cajón del Maipo: Not far from Santiago there are a number of places, in the Río Maipo sector, where one can go canyoning, ride horses and do rafting for  4 to 6 hours at a time.

Imagen del río Maipo corriendo entre las montañas del sector del Cajón del Maipo

Potrero Grande: located in the foothills of Curicó, in Maule, in the south of Chile, Potrero Grande has a circuit that includes trekking and Canyoning, which last for about 4 to 5 hours.  Its biggest attraction is a 35 meter waterfall!

Around Chillán: Ñuble is a beautiful area in the south where there are different tourist agencies that offer canyoning in several places with very diverse terrains, some with abundant vegetation and others almost desert landscapes, some open wide spaces or confined between canyons, with high flows or low flows of water.

Imagen de una turista en el Valle Las Trancas

Nevados del Caburgua: This is one of the most sought after areas in the south of Chile, in the Pucón area, because it has routes that include smooth-rock toboggans, hiking, zip lines, rock diving and rappel, and it is an adventure of an entire day.

Imagen de un turista realizando canyoning en Pucon

Futaleufú: Another beautiful location in the south of Chile which is known for the Las Gemelas waterfalls.  This place has it all, fresh air literally at the very south of the world, full of dark canyons full of abundant, slippery vegetation making the sport extreme and underscoring the importance of having expert supervision.

Imagen de la naturaleza de Futaleufu

There you have it! Everything you need to know before sliding down rivers and waterfalls.  Now just go for it!  Be one more of the hundreds who have dared to be in intimate contact with the wonders of nature, and as written at the beginning of this article, experience the sensation of peace that is sensational! Dare yourself to enjoy canyoning in Chile.


Written by: Chile Travel

Guía para descubrir los destinos excepcionales que se encuentran de norte a sur en Chile, compartiendo información y valiosos datos con todos los viajeros que aman su naturaleza indómita, paisajes llenos de contrastes y, por sobre todo, la calidez de su gente. // A guide to discover extraordinary destinations from north to south of Chile, sharing information and important data with travelers that love its untamed nature, landscapes full of contrasts and, above all, the warmth of its people.

Guía para descubrir los destinos excepcionales que se encuentran de norte a sur en Chile, compartiendo información y valiosos datos con todos los viajeros que aman su naturaleza indómita, paisajes llenos de contrastes y, por sobre todo, la calidez de su gente. // A guide to discover extraordinary destinations from north to south of Chile, sharing information and important data with travelers that love its untamed nature, landscapes full of contrasts and, above all, the warmth of its people.