Float Camping in Patagonia: Not Exactly Roughing It

float camping in Patagonia

Float Camping in Patagonia conjures images of roughing it in the wilderness in the minds of many city dwellers back in the world, and there are surely outfitters and guides who can create that experience for you, if that’s what you’re looking for. But a lot of visitors come here wanting to experience the best fly fishing in one of the most scenic places in the world, without having to suffer through it.

I’m right there with you. I spent six years testing my mettle against the elements and braving the harsh wilderness in Alaska when I was a younger man. Sleeping on the ground, eating slightly warm beans from a can and cold, soggy ham sandwiches, and slugging my gear on my back to every new campsite.

I’ve evolved now. Maybe, just matured into a more cultured sportsman.

Nowadays when I decide to take on a multi-day trip down an exotic river, my go-to friends at Andes Drifters get the call.

Gustavo Hiebaum has built a reputation for taking the sting out of float camping in Patagonia. All you need bring are your rods and gear, and they’ll take care of the rest. Your watertight bags with clothing and whatever gear you choose to bring will take off ahead of you with a dedicated camp team. You spend your day comfortably floating, fishing, taking photos, or drinking beer if you want. Your guide tends to the oars, keeps you in the fish zone with the proper fly, and gives you a nudge here and there to place it where he knows there’s a huge pig laying in wait.

Around midday you arrive at a nice spot on the shore, and while you stretch your legs the guide will set up a table and chairs and lay out a chef prepared meal, with a bottle of vino or cold beverage, real knives and forks and plates. You’ll feast and then nap for a while before your fishing duties resume and put in a few more miles down the river.

float camping in PatagoniaYou’ll probable smell the fire and Asado cooking at the main campsite long before you get there. You’ll find the camp crew has prepared large private tents (big enough to stand in), with comfy cots, thick pads, and warm sleeping bags.


Your gear and clothing bags will be waiting for you under the awning with a chair waiting to sit and comfortably peel off your waders and boots. And whenever the call of nature arrives, there’s a special little tent and facility just for that too, a short walk from camp for a little privacy.


float camping in Patagonia

There’ll be a pit fire and grill going with empanadas for appetizers, and all sorts of fresh Argentine meats and sausages slow cooking for dinner. You can just grab a cocktail and sit by the fire and tell lies about the big fish lost; or show photo evidence of the big ones you put in the net.

When the dinner bell rings, you and your friends will stroll to the dining tent and eat a gourmet meal like civilized adventurers. Save room for desert, it’s coming after everyone has paused from the 3rd or fourth course.


It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway; this isn’t exactly roughing it. Float camping in Patagonia has taken on the style of cultured adventure that I used to read about when I was a kid, in novels by the explorers and great hunters who ventured to the plains of Africa and around the world. The Hemingway types of old.

float camping in PatagoniaSo venture to the End of the World sometime and don’t be afraid of the notion of float camping in Patagonia. Call Gustavo at Andes Drifters, and he’ll take good care of you.

And if you need an interesting companion on the river, ask him if Memo’s around, and maybe I can sneak out for a few days.


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