Patagonia Gap Year Trips

New River Academy will be continuing educational and kayak adventure programs via our university age transition program “Patagonia Study Abroad.” New River Academy’s kayak high school now continues under World Class Academy.

For more information about New River Academy’s and World Classes new strategic partnership click here, "New River and World Class Academies Align High School and University Programs."

If you are interested in the best kayak high school program in the world click here for World Class Academy.

If you are interested in learning more about our kayak study abroad and gap year programs click here for New River Academy’s Patagonia Study Abroad.

New River Academy's Gap Year is available to High School and Secondary School Graduates of ANY NATIONALITY.


Early Bird Discount!  Apply before May 15 and save $1,000!

Email David Hughes to learn more,

Patagonia Gap Year Fall Semester 2012

An exploration of the world's most fascinating whitewater destination and your own self-discovery.

Dates: October 18 to December 20

Arrivals and Departures: Our travel agent will arrange international airfares to Temuco and returning from Santiago, Chile.

Tuition: $13,800

Early Bird Discount: Apply before May 15 and save $1,000!

grand canyon shadows
Learn photo or video, Spanish, a course refresher,
and leadership by applying to gap year.

"Can I earn college credits?"

Yes.  There are two options for earning collegiate credits.  The easiest option is to enroll in an online course.  For Spanish we like the University of Nebraska program.  This route allows credits to transfer easily. Our instructors will work with you teaching your through the course.

The second option is to request a course through your current university program.  Many universities are keen on this idea when you propose.


Gap Year Itinerary:  October 18 to December 20

October 18 Fly to Temuco, Chile

Begin your trip at one of the world's best creeking destinations in the middle of the prime creeking season!


October 19 to November 15 Pucón Base. You'll stay at the world's best kayak destination hosted by Pucon Kayak Hostel.   Here in Pucón you'll have over 20 options for daily kayaking.  Plus, tons of other adventure and cultural activities to complete your experience.

Rio Nevados is a world class creek for advanced kayakers.Pucon Area: Upper and Lower Palguin, are perfect waterfall runs for beginners to advanced boaters. Los Nevados is an epic creek run for advanced paddlers, Coilaco and Ojos del Relax in the Quincho at Pucon Kayak Hostel, our base in ChileCaburgua offer the ideal park and huck waterfalls. Upper and Lower Trancura, Puesco, Maichin, are classic river runs, sure to entertain paddlers of any skill level. Upper and Lower Fuy are a destination all their own boasting beautiful waterfalls and warm water. Llancahue is just o n the other side of the volcano and offers class 4 to class 5 rapids. You will never run out of things to do in Pucon, and when you aren't busy on the river, you will be studying spanish at our base or taking a media class in order to improve your video/photo skills.

There is a reason why we keep our base at Pucon Kayak Hostel, it is the worlds best location for whitewater kayaking.


Contact David Hughes at, he will warmly answer any questions you may have.


November 16 to Nov 21 Gappers Exploration Trip. Your team will research and plan your own destination.  Chile is full of adventure in every direction.  Learn how to plan and lead your own program.  You'll also be responsible for negotiating your food, lodging and transportation on a budget.


Rio Trancura Overlooks The Villarica Volcano and is in the backyard of Pucon Kayak Hostel, our Chile Base!Trancura and Liucura Rivers, III-IV- Both runs have park and play spots where you will be coached now on moves including: how to spin, initiate loops, back loop, mcnasty, blunt, cartwheel, and helix. Not to mention they are absolutely beautiful rivers. With crystal clear water and majestic scenery.

The Trancura will be your backyard run when you stay at your Chilean base, Pucon Kayak Hostel. There will be a playspot 20 meters from your door as well as the takeout for the Upper Trancura. This is a staple run for Pucon are boaters. Soon you will find out why!


Rio San Pedro, III: This may be your last opportunity to paddle the San Pedro as damming projects have begun. Words cannot do this river justice. The run actually is one of the seven lakes overflowing to its Rio San Pedro drainage. Surprisingly and soothingly the water is clear. You will paddle a mile and be amazed as you gaze to the bottom of multi-depth pools, pass cascades, and approach the rapids.



November 22 to Nov 26 Rio Nuble Fest.  This festival is held to promote eco-tourism to a river on the chart for big hydropower.  The Nuble has over 50 miles of free flowing whitewater.


November 27 to Dec 4 Rio Achibueno - is a remote wilderness run.  You will have to hike your bags into a high-Andes lodge for horse trips.  Here you'll be on the banks of the river and at the foot of towering snow-capped peaks.  Internet and TV will be replaced with card games by fire and baking bread.


New River Academy Student boofs on the AchibuenoLos Quenes Area: This whitewater hub of Chile is just south of the Siete Tazas. Here you will learn logistics for day trips with longer shuttles. Note, the shuttles in Chile are as amazing as the runs. Options are Rios Achibueno, Lontue, Nuble, Claro, and Teno. Pucon Area- While, in Pucon we will stay at the Pucon Kayak Hostel designed for kayakers on the banks of the Rio Trancura. Your base hosts it’s own Upper Rio Achibueno is granite boulder playground!play-wave/hole.

Depending on water levels you will have a variety of runs to choose daily ranging from clean waterfalls, river runs, and park and play training. The Palguin is a waterfall river with three sections: Upper, Middle, and Lower Palguin. Your kayaking will be on the clean waterfalls and creek lines of the Upper Palguin. You will run a 20-foot cascade; apply yourself in challenging rapids, and a series of waterfalls of 20 feet, 16 feet, and 10 feet high.


December 5 to Dec 15 Seven Teacups National Park has over 70 clean cascades.  This will be a highlight for everyone as you explore the world's most photogenic waterfall wonderland.


New River River Academy Student on the last drop of Sieete Tazes, Rio ClaroSiete Tazas, III-IV+: Imagine a black basaltic canyon with perfect water carved plunge pools and potholes. The cascades range from 3 to 20 feet in height. You can kayak or jump off these waterfalls. The Siete Tazas is the easiest and safest waterfall run in the world. Any beginner can fall off of these picture perfect drops without worry. These are the most perfectly formed waterfalls to be found.


Viente y Dos Saltos, III-IV- (The 22 falls) is in the same canyon as the Teacups and the same style. If the water permits we will run this section ranging from 25’ to 3’ clean cascades. This is a committing canyon for more advanced boaters, but offers an amazing adventure for intermediate paddlers as well.

The most advanced section of the Rio Claro is the Entre Saltos which is home of Gargantua del Diablo. New River Academy is the only kayak program in the world that will run trips into This unforgettable section of whitewater.


Pichilemu Point Breaks- Pichilemu is regarded as Chile’s best surf destination. Stroll through our flickr photos to see how much air you can catch.


Your base will be two blocks from the beach and a two-block stroll to the local cyber cafes. In Pichilemu you will have several point break surfing options, from the huge swells at Punta de Lobos to the friendier Pichilemu beach point break. You will have plenty of opportunities to hone your freestyle wave moves on big waves and deep water of Chile's coast.

After a long day of surfing epic waves in Pichilemu, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the nightlife that the town of Pichlemu has to offer.




December 16 to Dec 19 Maipo Valley is the perfect ending to a magnificent semester abroad.  You will finish the trip running Rios Maipo and Yesso, visiting the high Andes Pinochet concentratin camp, and volunteering with a local high school.

Maipo Valley, III-IV+: This arid Sierra Nevada style run has both great play and a big water feel. The surrounding Andean Mountains and our Chilean family hosts provide an excellent cultural and adventure start to your trip. Tatan will tell you the history of how his family fled to Ecuador when Pinochet overthrew the government in the 70’s.

Click to view the "Easy to Apply Application."

Read Patagonia Gap Year Student Blogs

Katie Kowalski

David Gorski

grand canyon shadows
The Rio Fuy will be one of your favorite runs to practice waterfalls and boofing.

"What will I learn in the Gap Year Program?"

You will apply three program aspects: Academics, Athletics, and Leadership.


Spanish: Each morning you will take Spanish classes from a Chilean Spanish teacher. You will have an emphasis on interacting with the culture, meeting students your age, negotiating logistics, and mastery of the Spanish language in a fun learning environment.

Video or Photo Media: You will choose either video or photo media as a second academic component. Since, Chile is one of the most photogenic places on earth you will have tremendous opportunities. Past students have produced their own DVDs and published photos for company sponsorship.

College Credit: For an additional fee you may choose our college credit option. You will learn Spanish in a submersive setting while earning college credit. Now, that is cool. Imagine being excited to master your language skills in order to speak with your new neighbors.

Leadership & International Logistics: You will actually be trained under the same program as past NRA instructors. One of the coolest components is learning how to plan, implement, and negotiate international logistics. You will be given a budget and allowed to lead and negotiate different aspects of your Chile adventure. You will also plan a future commercial kayak adventure for clients you may choose to lead on an international adventure.

Athletics: You probably already understand NRA’s excellent reputation for kayak coaching both in freestyle and river running. Chile provides the best in both clean waterfall runs and freestyle. Plus, you will learn how to lead expeditions. Each week one of your team members will plan and lead alternative to kayaking activities including community service projects. Past examples include: visiting and donating to the Pucon orphanage, teaching local students to roll a kayak, cultural exploration at a local high school, hiking the volcano, canyoneering…

About the Culture-

Pucon has been called the “Aspen of Chile.” A variety of eco-adventure tours are offered in Pucon. This adventure hub is surrounded by 3 volcanos and in the heart of the Lakes District. Rivers, volcanos, and lakes are in every direction and the land and people are simply breathtaking. A few kilometers outside of Pucon you will view farmers working with ox and cart. The people are patient, friendly, and the pace is something to admire. You will learn about the political and economical structure, interview Mapuche Indians, and interact with students your age.

Check out your home base at Pucon Kayak Hostel.  Pucon Kayak Hostel is owned by New River Academy and Patagonia Gap Year founder David Hughes.  The kayaker's destination is designed for school groups and kayakers providing the perfect relaxing and learning environment on the river.

Your Pucon Kayak Hostel base provides a view of
Volcan Villarrica and surfing in our backyard play wave.


Chileans grow their crops, provide our food, and respect the environment. Observing the Chilean way of life will give you a new perspective on life. Your trip is more than a tour. You will meet the owners of family owned hotels and restaurants, hire cooks and drivers, negotiate ferry prices to the Futaleafu, and gain experiences you will cherish.

“If you come to Chile then you may find yourself dreaming of living here. The people and their customs, the rivers, and the beauty of the land are equally beautiful.” –David Hughes, Huge Experiences Founder and Director







“Patagonia Sin Represas”

Patagonia Sin RepresasTranslation, "Patagonia without dams."  You will see “Patagonia Sin Represas” billboards and literature beginning in the Lake District. As we travel and paddle some of the most beautiful rivers in the world you will interview leaders against the damming projects. Listening to the communities speak about the river as their means of living will be impactful. Rivers you will kayak that are in jeopardy include: Rio Maipo, Rio San Pedro, Rio Fuy, and Rio Futaleafu.


Don't Wait Any Longer! Apply Now!


Email David Hughes to learn more,

New River Academy Kayak School
4632 Beckwith Rd
Fayetteville, WV 25840
(304)- 574-0403
Fax: (304) 513-2247
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