In October 2016, we spent almost two weeks in Chile, three days of which were in Cajón del Maipo. We knew that we wanted to spend some time rafting at Cascada de las Animas as well as hiking. We opted not to rent a cabin there, having found a cabaña much cheaper on Airbnb at only a 5-minute walk from the resort. This review is specifically about our experience whitewater rafting.
For those who will be spending the day at Cascada de las Animas, you will have access to picnic areas with tables, grills and fresh running water to use, as well as pools for a small fee.
Upon arrival we were given a pamphlet detailing all of the available activities. Three options were available for whitewater rafting:
We decided on the 5pm option. You raft for about 12 kilometres, which amounts to approximately one hour. The price includes a helmet, wetsuit, watershoes, etc. Basically everything you need so you don’t have to bring anything. Once finished, a vehicle will be there to transport you back to the resort, where you will also have access to a shower, if needed. After getting undressed, you are able to purchase the pictures of your descent priced at $10,000 CLP ($15USD) for the CD. There is no requirement to buy them, so you can simply view them and walk away.
The price for the excursion is fantastic, but you still finish wanting it to have lasted longer. That being said, they can’t exactly control how many rapids are available for rafting.
Before the descent, the guides will collect everyone participating for the chosen departure time and give you all a walkthrough on the safety procedures. Afterwards, you will be assigned a guide and a raft and then you will be supplied with the necessary equipment. Once on the raft, your guide will quickly reiterate the safety procedures and then go through the instructions regarding maneuvering the rafts and the paddle movements. You will practice as a group for a couple of minutes, then you will be on your way.
We had done some whitewater rafting before, but one of our friends had not. Although these types of adventures can sometimes carry a risk, any beginner could easily participate in this descent. The rapids are at most a Class III, so we never felt like we were going to flip or get injured.
From our own experience, the guides at Cascada de las Animas spoke either Spanish, English or Portuguese. Our guide spoke all three. He was knowledgeable, had great energy and appeared to really love what he was doing. His professionalism was matched by his many years of experience, and we felt like he was just as invested in our enjoyment as we were.
It is pretty easy to get to Cascada de las Animas from Santiago on public transit. Simply get to the metro station Bellavista de la Florida and then take a bus. Cascada is such a popular stop, if you mention to the bus driver where you’d like to get off, he’ll motion to you when it’s time. They also organize shuttles from Santiago if you prefer being picked up at your house/hotel for an extra cost.
The descent was exciting, they gave you time to jump in the cold water and swim if you wanted, and they joked around with the other rafts that were on the river with us at the time. One of us can barely catch our breath when faced with cold waters, but the wet gear coupled with the vigorous paddling made the cool water quite refreshing.
The guide as well as the office staff were extremely professional and knowledgeable. If you are an adventure seeker or even if you like trying new things, we would highly recommend trying out the rafting at Cascada de las Animas. Considering the price, you can’t go wrong.