Futaleufu is a small town in the Andes 10km from the Argentine border.
It's 16km from the border to Argentina and a 1 hour drive - approx. 35km - to the next Argentinian town, which is Trevelin. If you follow the road 231 in the opposite direction, you will get after 157km to Chaiten. It's a ride of approx. 4hours (by bus).
Buses from Chaiten: DailyVilla Sta Lucia) (2000 pesos, 4 hours) Buses from Esquel: (4500 pesos, 3 hours) Buses from Puerto Montt/Osorno via Argentina: ? (12 hours incuding two border crossings) There is also a way from Puerto Montt via ferry to Chaiten and a very scenic ride with a few smaller ferry rides through the national parks along the Chilean coastline. Ask at the tourist information.
The village is very tiny. Walking is the best option.
The village itself is really scenic, in a fairytale valle surrounded by snowcapped mountains. The few streets are clean, houses are mostly well-kept, many with nice little gardens in front. You can see many rose-bushes.
When you are entering the city fom the direction of Argentina, you will pass a little lake. On the waterside is a playground. At the southern side of the village is the river Espolon (which is not the rafting-river).
There are two nice view-points described under the "Do-section".
Rafting/Kayaking (November to March). There are class IV and V rapids here. Many companies. Around 45000 pesos for half a day. Beautful river and surroundings. Rival if not better ANYTHING in all of Latin America. (Yes I know bold statement, but true). Many companies: * Futaleufuexplore, . edit; * Cara Del Indio, . edit
Swimming, walk out of town west along P Aguirre Cerde. After 30 minutes along a gravel road you come to a large bridge. Just on the left is a stony "beach" with a makeshift diving board. Excellent spot for swimming in the crisp clean waters. Better than the swimming areas on the main road into town.
Two viewpoints are beneath the village:
On the eastern side, close to the little lake, lies "Mirador Torre de Agua" with a good view over the village. Although it is mentioned on the official map (you get in the tourist info) there are no signs who help you to get up. You have to follow the little gravel road that goes around the lake. Then you have to enter the first private property on the left (grab a stone before entering in case the dogs will protect the property). Before you get to the house you will see concrete stairs on you left hand. Follow them and you will get to an water reservoir at the top which seems to be a dead end. Now - even more confusing - you have to go THROUGH a barbwire (easy)and follow the trial to the right hand. The trail is visible from the barbwire behind the water reservoir. Don't forget your stones, as this is another private property which - of corse - has dogs. The whole trail, starting from the main plaza, will take about 45 minutes.
The second view point is the "Mirador La Bandera" which means viewpoint "The Flag". The Flag is visible from the village, so you have an idea where you go. You follow Ruta Sector Nortoeste out of the western side of the village. You cross a small bridge and enter the first trail (to the first house) on the right. If you look carefully you can see a sign "Routa de la Bandera" written without spaces between the letters (Routadelabandera). Unfortunatly this is the only sign and you have to find the way by yourself afterwards. And of coures you have to pass private property and climb - first - a gage and than a little fences. Because the hill is occupied by sheep you'll find thouthands of trails on you way, but if you just grab the biggest ones you will reach the top with a breathtaking view on the other side of the village (even more faireytale) and also over the village. It takes about 1h to go up from the central plaza. The view is much better that from the other viewpoint.
Just one company offers Bikes for rent and they are very very expensive: 11000 Pesos for 4h, 28000 for 8h. Why 8h are more expensive than two times 4h is their secret. You will find them on Pedro Aguirre Cerda, on the other side of the central park.
Many small supermarkets in that village. If you like to buy some handicrafts (wood and wool) go to Calle Sargento Aldea. There is a very tiny shop which also cleans your laundry. The door is often locked, so knock on it. Cheap for waht they are doing. Recommended!
As discribed above. This tiny shop on Calle Sargento Aldena, between Perdo Aguirre Cerda and Bernado O'Higgens, takes less than half of the price (2000 pesos per kilo) as the most expensive laundry on Perdo Aguirre Cerda at the main plaza (4400pesos per kilo), who rent also those very expensive mountainbikes. Last one is not recommended!
You will find many small supermarkets where you can buy food. However, note that away from the high saison, nearly everything is closed (even in Dezember) and fast-food or restaurants are VERY limited during this period.
Lots of hospedajes have camping spots.
Highly recommended on Calle Pedro Aguirre Cerda 436: *Hostal y Cabanas Los Abuelos, ☎ 0056 65 721424. checkout: 10:00. Has WiFi and limited kitchen access. Also runs money exchange, rafting, transport to Argentinian border, fast Internet and phone cabins. Very friendly and helpful; nice and clean cabins with 6bed dorms, but no heating at night. Shared bath with hot water. 7000 CLP w/o braeakfast. edit
There are buses to Osorno and Puerto Montt via Argentina. There is also a way to Puerto Montt via Chaiten and ferry and a very scenic ride with a few smaller ferry rides through the national parks along the Chilean coastline (8000pesos at time of Dez.2012). Ask at the tourist information.
Buses to Esquel: TurismoFutaleufu (www.alarechuchua.cl), Monday-Wednesday-Friday at 9:00am and 18:45PM, located in the house of "Hostal y Cabana Los Abuelos", calle Pedro Aguirre Cerda close to the main-plaza. Tel. +56 65-721424. 1,5h, 6000pesos at the time of Dez.2012.