Personally, I spend most of my time in Bariloche when I travel to Argentina. Bariloche is located in Patagonia, in a region of mountain and lakes, southwest of Buenos Aires, on the border with Chile. You get there via a 2.5 hour flight from BA. Golfing, flyfishing, hiking are just a few of the summer activities available. For a fun day trip, consider white water rafting with Aguas Blancas. I went on the Class III/IV Rio Manso rafting trip .
It starts with the Aguas Blancas crew picking you up at your hotel early in the morning, in their spacious vans. You’re on the road for about an hour and a half. The views are beautiful and the guides keep you entertained by sharing some mate (the tea of the gauchos) and by pointing out the notable sights along the way. When you arrive at the launching site, you’ll be served a breakfast of pastries and coffee. You’ll need the energy, so enjoy plenty of it. Next, you’re provided with wet suits, helmets and life jackets and given rowing and safety instructions. Most of the guides speak English and they’ll make sure you and your friends are assigned to a raft where instructions are given primarily or exclusively in English. Then you are off!
The trip starts calmly enough. After all, Rio Manso means “tame river” so you would expect this smooth ride. The Aguas Blancas team includes guides on kayaks, in case anyone falls out of their rafts or the raft guides need extra help. Enjoy the calm while it lasts. Soon enough the white water appears and you’re in for a thrilling ride!
You’ll raft for about 2 hours, arriving at the border with Chile, where the Aguas Blancas vans meet you. After you change back into your clothes you’ll all pile back into the van and be driven to the initial starting point on the Rio Manso. Mmmmm… an asado (barbeque) is waiting for you, and you are ravenous. After the late lunch, you’re on the van back to Bariloche. On the way, half the van is chatting and the other half is snoring. It was a long, thrilling and unforgettable day. Aguas Blancas provides a photographer so you can focus on the experience and still leave Bariloche with photos – the team will have a CD ready for you in a day or two.
The guides are a significant part of the experience. Our guide Juan had unlimited energy and was hilarious. Also, you’re most likely sharing the experience with visitors from all over the world and you’ll get a chance to know them better during meals and drives.
Aside from this outing, Aguas Blancas also has a Class II/III trip and 2-day excursions that combine rafting with horseback riding or mountain biking.
“Row, you bunch of lazy grannies! ROW!”, yells Juan.
We can’t help but laugh and enjoy the rapids.
Our team, the blue raft, celebrates the end of a great ride, on the Chilean border.