The dirt road from the thermal springs to Futaleufu took us past scattered settlements, lakes and flowers, before we arrived at Futaleufu, a town known for its rating and kayaking on the the eponymous river. The Futaleufú River is fed by the lakes in the Los Alerces National Park in Chubut Province, Argentina, before crossing the Andes into Chile.
The river has the deep blue waters characteristic of glacier melt. And as the river squeezes through narrow openings in the mountains the strong white water currents attract rafters and kayakers from around the world. The Chilean government has recently mooted a hydroelectric dam, which would stop the free flow of the river. This project could start in 2012 when the Endesa Power company wish to build a dam on the Baker river South of Futaleufú.
The town of Futaleufú, Chile is close to the Argentine border and has a population of about 2,000. We tried to get a raft trip, but at short notice proved impossible. I would warn anyone to try to avoid an American "expert kayaker" there who runs his own rafting business. He was extremely rude, nay gratuitously rude, to us when we tried to find out about his rafting trips. He seemed intent on impressing the journalists he had in tow.
|Wooden buildings along the Carretera Austral||Wooden buildings along the Carretera Austral|
|Then up into the mountains||along dirt roads|
|Past more wooden buildings||Along more dirt roads|
|Past blue lakes and snow capped mountains||Pause for lunch|
|Continue to climb up into the mountains||Flowers|
|More flowers||Tumbling streams|
|And more flowers||To get to Futaleufu|
|El Barranco Hotel, Futaleufu||El Barranco Hotel, Futaleufu|
|Main Street, Futaleufu|
El Barranco Hotel, Futaleufu, Chile The hotel's web site probably makes it look much more "civilised" than it really was. The rooms were real log constructions, awesomely authentic! The pool was empty and they were not doing dinner that night (I suspect they never do dinner). But it was a nice spot to stop for a couple of days.