River rafting La Frontera on the Manso river, Bariloche, Patagonia, Argentina
Rivers have a big job on this planet. They are responsible for carving out massive canyons all over the world, transport rocks and minerals to be deposited in lakes and oceans, hold ecosystems that depend on the spawning possibilities, and to show us mere humans the power and beauty of their rushing waters. The Manso River is probably one of the most pure rivers I have ever seen.
It has a tropical feel to it when you see the turquoise color of its crystal clear waters. It also does some carving and smoothing of the rock walls that surround it while waterfalls cascade down its banks. It makes a day out rafting really invigorating and magical.
I’ve been twice, and I don’t think I stopped smiling and laughing the whole time as we cruised down the rapids and were amazed by the scenery. The day starts with the rafting company Extremo Sur driving around Bariloche hotels picking up the clients. The guests at Estancia Peuma Hue have the luck that the hotel is on the route South as the van makes its way to the river and they get to sleep in a bit more and not travel as far. As it is, the trip is about 1 ½ hours from the Estancia till you reach a rustic ranch where you get all your safety equipment and wetsuits. Then they take you to the river where a brief instruction on paddling and safety issues ensues. Finally, the river excursion starts! You gently start out practicing the paddling instructions till things pick up a bit. Then there are the rapids, 5 in total I believe. The experienced guides have names for all of them and can tell little stories along the way. The rapids are all different degrees of extreme with some being so gentle you can float down them, and some being quite drastic that they can flip the boats!
At any time when a rafter falls into the water, the guides or fellow raft mates can help you back in. All in all one spends about 3- 4 hours on the river in total. When the excursion is over, you are technically in Chile, the reason the trip is called “la Frontera” or the border. You climb up the small hill, change into your dry clothes that are waiting in the van you rode in on, then head back to the farm where lunch is waiting. On this particular trip, you have the option to purchase an all you can eat asado or Argentine barbeque with assorted salads and grilled meats (very Argentinean food fare), a pasta plate, or just bring your own picnic lunch and pay a sitting fee. The farm is very authentic with animals roaming all around and nice to spend some relaxing time there. Afterwards, everyone loads back on the van to start the journey back. It’s a memorable day for sure!