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Futaleufu is a small town in the Andes, 10km from the Argentine border.

The useful tourist information centre is on the south side of the main square. They have free maps of the town and the surrounding area (with marked hikes and mountain bike routes). Also on the main square there is a bank (east side) with an ATM; they accept Maestro, Mastercard and Visa. They also exchange currency. If you're coming from Argentina, spend or change your Argentine pesos there, as the rate in Chile is not good (they use the street value for the Argentine peso instead of the over-inflated rates the Argentinian banks use. [3]

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

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. 4 hours (by bus).

By bus[edit]

Buses from Chaiten: DailyVilla Sta Lucia) (2000 pesos, 4 hours), daily leave at 6 am. In Chaiten you can take a boat to either Puerto Montt (daily, night ferry) or to Chiloe (some days). The tickets can be bought in Futaleufu already. Ask the tourist info where to buy them.

Buses from Esquel: (4500 pesos, 3 hours) From Esquel's main bus station a bus to the border leaves 3 times a week (mon/wed/fri) at 8 am. Ticket price 72 pesos. At the Argentinian side of the border there is a bus waiting to bring you to Futaleufu (50 pesos).

Buses from Puerto Montt/Osorno via Argentina: ? (12 hours including 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.

Get around[edit]

The village is very tiny. Walking is the best option.

See[edit][add listing]

The village itself very scenic, situated in a fairytale valley 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 from 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 viewpoints described in the "Do" section.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Rafting/Kayaking (November to March). There are class IV and V rapids here. Many companies. Around 45000 pesos for half a day. Beautiful river and surroundings. Rival if not better ANYTHING in all of Latin America. (Yes I know bold statement, but true). Many companies: * Futaleufuexplore, [1].  edit; * Cara Del Indio, [2].  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.

  • Hiking

There are 2 viewpoint hikes near the town (see below). Full day hikes are also possible from town. Inquire at the tourist information.

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). Unfortunately this is the only sign and you have to find the way by yourself afterwards. And of course 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 thousands 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 fairytale) 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.

Another hike from town is to Piedra del Aguila (3-4 hours). See tourist map for directions

  • Mountain Biking

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.

On the north side of the main square there is a shop who rents out bikes for 3000 peso and hour, 6 hours 14000 peso. Bikes are not to great.

Buy[edit][add listing]

There are many small supermarkets in the village. If you'd 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 what they are doing. Recommended!

Laundry: As described above. This tiny shop on Calle Sargento Aldena, between Perdo Aguirre Cerda and Bernado O'Higgens, is less than half of the price (2000 pesos per kilo) as the most expensive laundry on Perdo Aguirre Cerda at the main plaza (4400 pesos/kilo), which also rents very expensive mountain bikes. Last one is not recommended!

Eat[edit][add listing]

You will find many small supermarkets where you can buy food. However, note that away from high season nearly everything is closed (even in December), and fast-food or restaurants are VERY limited during this period.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Lots of hospedajes have camping spots.

  • Hostal y Cabanas Los Abuelos. Highly recommended on Calle Pedro Aguirre Cerda 436: phone="0056 65 721424" price=7000 CLP w/o breakfast. 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.
  • Hostal frontera. Best equipped hostel with kitchen is on Jose Manuel Balmaceda, (one block north and one block east of the main plaza. 8000 pesos per person).
  • Camping Laguna Espejo Near the laguna, price="4000 CLP. Has WiFi and kitchen access. Some tent spots are well shaded.
  • La Cascada another good hospedaje on Piloto Carmona near the lake. There is a sign at the front. Room with shared bathroom and full board (3 meals) for 17500 peso. Wifi available. Nice family, no English spoken.

Get out[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 Dec., 2012). Ask at the tourist information.

Buses to Esquel: 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, 6000 pesos at the time of Dec., 2012.