Day 1: Lake Steffen - Piedra Pintada Ranch
This section is ideal for anyone who wants to discover the fun and passionate sport of whitewater rafting. We head to the southern reaches of Nahuel Huapi National Park, passing the shores of Gutierrez, Mascardi and Guillermo lakes as we proceed to Lake Steffen. In a valley known as Pampa del Toro, we turn west for the final 10km of the trip, towards Lago Steffen.
The mouth of the Lower Manso River is at the south end of the lake. This is our put-in. First, we’ll listen to the safety talk from our guides. Then we gather our gear, climb onboard the rafts, and head down river. The first section is tranquilo, which gives us a chance to discover much of the local flora and fauna living in this National Park wilderness.
Some of the birds that may greet us along our trip include the red-headed woodpecker, Huet-Huet and maybe even a Chucao. We’ll have lunch on a sandy beach on the side of the Manso. It’s a light lunch, with sandwiches and fruit, to replenish our energy.
After lunch, we head into the more active section of the river. Rapids on this part of the Manso are considered “Class II” difficulty. In summer months, we can swim through the transparent waters. The last section of our journey is after the meeting of the Manso with the Villegas River, and it’s the most fun part. “Forward hard!” the guide will say, as our rafts blast through white-caped waves, leaving all onboard drenched with crystal clear mountain water.
In the afternoon we’ll arrive at our campsite. After changing into dry clothes and enjoying a snack and tea, we’ll get busy preparing camp. Around the fire pit, after dinner, we’ll relive the day’s adventures.
Meals: Lunch, dinner
Day 2: Piedra Pintada Ranch – John’s Ranch
After a hearty breakfast, we resume rafting in a quiet section of the river, which offers some great fishing spots. Making our way through the waters surrounding by Mt. Santa Elena until this point, we'll leave the mountain behind as we reach the confluence with the Foyel River at midday. Here, we can catch sight of one of the region's most impressive hanging glaciers - that of Mt. Ventisquero.
We'll spend our second evening at the John family's property, based at the foot of the imposing Mt. Bastión. After relaxing and enjoying a warm shower, we'll tuck in to a dinner of Patagonian asado (grilled meat).
Meals: Breakfast, dinner
Day 3: John’s Ranch – Chilean Border
The day starts with a delicious breakfast at our camp. Then, we’ll get ready to run the last section of the Manso in Argentina. The first part of today’s section of the Manso heads through a narrow canyon, with the Cerro Bastión peak and its many waterfalls at our side.
The “Velvet Canyon” is the last peaceful section; as soon as we’re through it, we’ll be welcomed by “The First Rapid” where it’ll become clear that calm is behind us and action lies ahead! With short breaks in between, we’ll start dropping through rapids such as the "Ozone Hole", "Screaming Turn Left" and "Little Toboggan".
After a break on a beach with a beautiful sight of a waterfall, we go back on board to run another chain of rapids, with features including the "Deep Gorge" and even "Scrambled Egg". “Forward,” the guide instructs, and the team paddles without ceasing as we fall into a hole that sends us rocking and rolling, and shows us clearly the power of the Manso in its last bounces towards the international border with Chile. The Safety Kayaker is always at our side providing optimal safety.
The “International” Rapid is a Class II that announces our arrival at the international border and the end of the day’s rafting. We load the gear and return to John’s ranch, leaving the imposing Mt. Bastión behind. The unmistakable smell of a tasty asado invites us to sit around the table, accompanied by fresh salads grown by, and traditional desserts prepared by, the John family. Revelling in the stories of adventure and adrenaline, we head back to Bariloche.
Meals: Breakfast, dinner
Prices, Departures and Inclusions
Price from USD $2500 per person. Please get in touch for information on departures.
- Meals: 2 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners
- Accommodation: 2 nights camping
- Camping equipment
- Waterproof clothing and dry bags
- Watertight boxes for photography equipment
- Expert guide
- Meals not indicated in itinerary
- Any extra/optional excursions
- Personal expenses and equipment
- Travel insurance
- Any visa, passport and vaccination expenses
- International and domestic/in country flights