between Santiago and Curicó
river is accessed from Rancagua via Coya. The approx. 12 km section
between the dam and Coya has Class IV to V rapids and a 12 m/km
gradient, however, it often does not have enough water (when it
is pumped to the El Teniente copper mine, which then returns it
full of chemicals lower down.) Below Termas de Cauquenes the Cachapoal
is suitable for beginners' classes.
river is not recommended for rafting, it offers kayak enthusiasts
some technical challenges. To get there, follow the bumpy gravel
road from San Fernando to Termas El Flaco (80 km) which is one-way
only, up in the morning and down in the afternoon. About 12 km
before you get to the hot springs, the road crosses the river;
at this bridge is a good put-in.
a deep gorge offers 40 km of whitewater distinguished by the fact
that it gets harder rather than easier, and that you cannot get
out on some sections. The river is rated Class III to IV; and
there are several portages. The gradient on the first 20 kilometers,
which are entirely above the treeline, is about 24 m/km. The river
is guarded by high mountains on either side. It doesn't take much
luck to spot condors here.
this section, there is another 22 kilometers at 13 m/km to the
Negro bridge. The last section down to the Panamericana consists
of about 15 km of easy paddling between Class II and III while
still offering very scenic views.
East of Curicó,
a good gravel road leads to the resort of Los Queñes. About
17 km upriver, Río Teno squeezes through an enormous gorge.
Below these cascades is a good place to put in to do a few kilometers
of Class III to V rapids and a few portages. After that, the river
runs at Class III to IV to the bridge located about 4 km beyond
Los Queñes. The gradient should be around 15 m/km.
In its upper
reaches, Río Teno is forced through a narrow valley in
between rugged mountains, its lower reaches are partially lined
by trees. Its clear tributary Río Claro, that joins in
Los Queñes, is also worth checking out for whitewater enthusiasts.
West of the
Panamericana the Teno flows into the Lontué and continues
as Río Mataquito to the Pacific. Because of its slow current,
it can easily be navigated with a canoe. This scenic section that
is easily accessed at several bridges is well suited for one-
or multi-day tours of the river. Its wide valley can be very windy.
Beware at its mouth on the Pacific: High waves and a strong current
can easily create dangerous situations.
is hard to get to, but it's worth a nice kayak tour. There is
a road that runs from Curicó southeast towards Upeo; before
it turns north, stay on the river and try to put in from one of
the properties across from Culenar. 17-20 kilometers of Class
III-IV in clear water, through vast fields.
Claro (one of many with the same name) is known for the famous
cascades of Siete Tazas and the Nature Preserve of the same name.
There is a good gravel road from Curicó via Molina. These
cascades are navigable - but only for professionals. The objective
is not so much running the river as plunging down the waterfalls
without breaking one's neck. Put-in is either directly above the
highest waterfall (at 8 m) or 500 m above that. A sign-posted
trail goes from the road to the best take-out by the lowest "Taza".
A visit to
the adjacent Nature Preserve is an absolute must. Southern Beech
forests with pictureque gorges provide opportunities for several
days of hiking.