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RIDING ACROSS THE ANDES AWA

  • Summary
  • Trip Notes
  • Dates & Rates
  • Operator
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Horse Riding Across the Andes

This is one of our favourite trips – a true bucket list adventure for travellers that love the journey as much as the destination. 

Ride across the Andes during a six, eight, or 14 day (what is known as the Full Grande Traversée) adventure.  You’ll be riding through a remote and stunningly beautiful area of northern Patagonia.  Travel along old smugglers routes while you criss-cross rivers, explore ancient forests, skirt around brilliant blue lakes – stopping to fish or swim in the calm and crystal clear waters.horse riding across the Andes Patagonia Chile Argentina

This ride across the Andes is an incredible opportunity to horse ride through the mountain range via the pioneer trail in the quaint and rural Pueblo Valley – the very same route frequented by smugglers in the distant past.

Discover rural gaucho (cowboy) culture as you ride into the many hidden valleys in this region.  From the Chilean lake district to the beautifully preserved Argentine National Park you’ll be enjoying and remembering the adventure long after you’ve dismounted for the last time.

This can be a challenging ride and you’ll be expected to keep a steady pace.  There are relatively few places to canter along the winding tracks and the terrain does get steep.  You don’t need a great deal of riding experience though but you must be confident in the saddle.  Each day will consist of no more than seven hours of riding between morning and afternoon.  Accommodation is the cozy “communal” kind with shared bathrooms.

Because there are few options for a single room, you’ll bond not only with your horse, but with the rest of the group as well – creating a sense of team as you work your way through the mountains.

This is a stunning ride.  You will enjoy every turn around every corner.

  • Experience a peaceful and laid back life maintained by the mountain folk
  • Enjoy incredible view after incredible view.
  • Bond with a loving and well behaved horse
  • Be a guest at several farm stays and enjoy country cooking – South American style
  • Learn about gaucho culture and the legendary exploits of famous gauchos
  • Experience the local way of river crossing and the fun of your horse teaching you how it’s done

There are three different routes depending on the amount of time you have.  You’ll love the 14 day Grande Traversée if you have the time.  Enquire today to learn more.

“We had a wonderful, fantastic trip! Our group loved every bit of it …The scenery is incredible, horses so well behaved and surefooted, farmstays warm friendly and great food! … Culturally I felt that we observed a peaceful way of life for the mountain people.” Leelee

Horse Riding Across the Andes2

Trip Notes

You have three options when thinking about this trip – the creme de  la creme is the 14 day Grande Traversée but if you only have eight or six days off there are options for you too.

1) Andes Grande Traversée is 14 days, 13 nights

2) Puelo Ride is 8 days and 7 nights

3) The Andean Crossing Ride is 6 days and 5 nights

“The trip was truly one of the travel high points of my life! ….I have taken some kind of a progressive horse trek every year since 1985, and this was one of the best ever.” Rick, past rider Across the Andes.

 

Andes Grande Traversée

Itinerary & Trip Notes

Day 1 – Bariloche

Arrive to Bariloche International Airport. Group transfer to your hotel. Bariloche, located on Nahuel Huapi Lake’s shore, is a big touristic ski town surrounded by mountains. Depending on your arrival flight, you will have the chance to explore the area and get great views from the Cerro Otto or any last minute shopping before the ride. Meet your guide for the holiday and full briefing for the following days. We will all go for a traditional barbeque dinner at a local restaurant. Back to hotel

(D)Day 2 – Bariloche / Estancia La Costa
After an early breakfast, a minibus will take us 25 kms from Bariloche, to the starting point of the ride at Estancia Las Buitreras. Check gear and horses. We will start our ride and pass the Las Buitreras Hill a place where Condor are nesting and because of this a scientific area.We will follow the river, Arroyo la Mina from where we will reach our first valleys and become away of everything. Lunch stop and afternoon ride to Estancia La Costa, our first night in the comfortable house. (B, BL, D)Riding time: 4 to 5 hrs.Distance: 20 km.Day 3 – Estancia La Costa/ Cerro DavidThis morning, a great breakfast and then, pack. Ride will cross from the Pichileufú Valley to La Bayas. We will discover a typical transition Landscape between the steep and the high Andes Mountains. Around here there is snow during the winter and in the summer farmers bring their cattle to feed them with good grass. There are green prairies and it’s a good spot to watch condors, eagles and it’s plenty of wildlife, some time foxes and dears. Some nomad shepherds still spend some time here. We will set up a great camping in the middle of nowhere at 1500 a.m. Delicious meals wait for us tonight! (B, BL, D)Riding time: 4 to 5 hrs.Distance: 25 km

Day 4 – Cerro David / Pico Quemado river

Today we will start the ride, crossing unbelievable valleys. Pico Quemado means “burned pic” and it use to have some mining industry activity. Now is the place of an abandoned lead mine. This place shows the remains of the past when adventures came to find gold here. Pure open areas and the endless steppe. Camping. (D, LB, C)

Riding time: 5 hrs.

Distance: 30 km

Day 5 – Pico Quemado River / Montoso area

After breakfast and putting down the camp, the horses will take us onto the area in the Andes mountain range called Alto Chubut. We will continue being in an altitude of 1500 m. crossing the “Veranda” of Fitalancao and then across a secondary and very narrow Valley. Rock shapes around this rocky area finally take us to the open Montoso Valley. This will be just before the dry steppe where the vegetation changes. The trail will guide us to an old and traditional working Estancia. For dinner we will enjoy a delicious asado with local veggies and Argentinean wine. Night at Estancia.

Camping (D, LB, D)

Riding Time: 5 hrs.

Distance: 30 km

Day 6 – Montoso area / Fitalancao train station / El Bolsón

Today is the last day with the Argentinean Creole horses. This morning we will pack all our stuff and abandoned the Estancia. We will follow a path that leads us to a small abandoned train station named Fitalancao. The path takes us to the immense steep, with dry grass and big pampas areas. After passing by other estancias on the way, we will reach the gravel road where we have lunch. After that we will farewell the horses and the baquianos. Transfer on private minibus to the town of El Bolsón. This is an attractive growing town surrounded by mountains where many craft men show their products at a flea market. Night at Hotel. (B, BL, D)

Riding time: 3 hrs.

Distance: 10 km.

Day 7 – El Bolsón / Las Bandurrias Island

Late breakfast. Private transfer to Lago Pueblo’s dock, load the boat and continue our adventurous trip. The turbo-jet boat will take us across two lakes, thereby passing the immigration control. After having complied with the custom procedures, we will cross the rapids that join the countries of Argentina and Chile. Lunch. A local guide will be waiting for us and will take care of our luggage. After the custom control in the Chilean side we will have a 10-minute walk to Las Rocas Lake where a motorboat will take us to Bandurrias Island. Great views of the surrounding mountains. A warm welcome and a nice rest will be waiting for you in your exclusive cottage on the Island (B, BL, D)

Timing: 30 minutes bus from El Bolsón to Lago Pueblo’s dock; Motor Boat, 2:30 hrs.

Day 8 – Bandurrias Island / Lago Azul

Breakfast. This morning we will enjoy 2 hrs ride visiting the Azul Lake with its crystal clear waters and abundant fish life. The majestic peaks and stunning landscapes will not escape your attention! Picnic and relax on the shore of the lake. After lunch we will ride on steep passes across the forest along the mountains passing through typical cold jungle or Valdivian-type rainforest. You will enjoy its ancient Alerce trees (Fitzroy Cupresoide) as well as other local “giants” such as the “Coihue” and “Arrayanes” (the cold tree). End the ride at the Palenque. Sail back to the Island. (B, BL, D)

Riding Time: 5 to 6 hrs

Distance: 22 km

Day 9 – Las Rocas / Las Rosas

After breakfast, a motorboat will take us back to the other side of the lake. Horses will be ready to go! Cross the river using a traditional method. The path goes close to “Segundo Corral” the last settlement close to the border. Then follow the trail at the side of Puelo River just in direction to the Pacific Ocean. We will cross the Ventisqueros River horse riding and will enjoy again Tito’s house where we stayed on the first night. Dinner and night at a cozy house in front Rio Puelo. (B, BL, T, D)

Riding time: 5 to 6 hrs. Distance: 23 km.

Day 10 – Las Rosas / Ventisqueros Nice

Nice breakfast, saddle up and cross again the Hanging Bridge and follow the west side of the Ventisqueros Valley. Enjoy the remote and green landscape. Ride into the Ventisqueros valley where we will stop for lunch and relax. In the afternoon, the ride will get us to a little house where the owners are lodging us for 2 nights. (B, BL,T, D)

Riding time: 6 to 7 hrs.

Distance: 29 km.

Day 11 – Ventisqueros

After breakfast and packing we embark on a gentle ride, crossing the river once more to join the other valley and approach its glacier. This little Valley turns wild and remote, with incredible flora and devoid of habitants. We will arrive close to the Alerce forests on this occasion. Box lunch and ride back to our guest farmhouse. Later there is a chance to go for a walk around the area or simply relax with a glass of wine. Again, an unforgettable day. (B, BL, T, D)

Riding time: 4 hrs

Distance: 13 km.

Day 12 – Ventisqueros / Rio Puelo

Homemade breakfast at the farmhouse. Back on the saddles! This morning the trail takes us across beautiful ancient forest, clean pampas and the unique opportunity to cross several times the Ventisqueros River. Enjoy a pleasant box lunch at the shore of the river. In the afternoon, ride to a place where we will probably see farmers working on their land, looking after the cattle and making a living through family agriculture. Is amazing to see how fertile these mountains can be!! At the end of the day we will cross the river just as the locals do: on a public little motorboat with the horses swimming by the lead. Last night accommodation at a cozy farm cottage. (B, BL, D)

Riding time: 6 / 7 hrs.

Distance: 31km.

Day 13 – Llanada Grande / Puerto Varas

Homemade breakfast. Last ride, horses will take us through the forest and along the Puelo River to the hamlet of Llanada Grande. Minibus will be waiting for us. An hour drive to the ferry that will cross us to the other side of the Tagua – Tagua Lake. Picnic lunch and drive to Puerto Varas. The road goes at the side of the Reloncaví Fjord. You will enjoy the beautiful sight of the river’s mouth flowing into the sea. On our way to Puerto Varas, we will be able to contemplate the colours of the sensational virgin nature of Vicente Perez Rosales National Park, skirting Lake Llanquihue and the Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes, all around the beautiful town of Puerto Varas. (B, BL, D)

Riding time: 3 hrs.

Distance: 9 km.

Transfer to Puerto Varas: 4 hrs

Day 14: Puerto Varas / Airport

Breakfast and transfer to the local airport

How many days: 14 days and 13 nights, 11 days riding.

Route from/to: From Bariloche, Argentina ending in Puerto Varas in Chile on the shore of the Pacific Ocean across the Andes.


 

Included

All full board meals (including 1 bottle of wine every 3 participants at dinner while riding), dinner at restaurants on 1, 6 and 13 nights (wine not included), local guides, baquianos or “Huasos” and tour leader (French & English), VHF radio communication equipment, saddle horses, packhorses, all In/out private group transfers, transportation by minibus & motor jet boats, ferry crossing.

Not included

Everything not mentioned on the main program.

Accommodation

There are 13 night accommodation including 4 nights camping, 4 nights at local house farms consisting on basic but clean rooms mostly in twin, triple or dorm rooms with shared facilities and hot showers, 1 night accommodation in early twentieth century fully refurbished traditional estancia and 2 nights at our fabulous and private retreat: Las Bandurrias Island. The living and dining areas and great sundeck overlook the small beach next to the quay. Here you will get stunning views of Las Rocas Lake and the surrounding peaks. The cottage offers accommodation for up to 6 people and the main house features two further guest rooms with original French country decor. It is a very cosy and warm place where we’ll share pre-dinner drinks and meals with Françoise Dutheil, our island hostess. The program also includes 3-night hotel accommodation in Bariloche, El Bolsón and Puerto Varas. Single supplement is available only on these three nights at a cost of U$55 per person per night. Food is organically grown and sourced from farm orchards. Meat will be cooked on a delicious Argentine and/or Chilean Asado (BBQ). You will have the opportunity of tasting some great Argentine meat on the first and the 6th night, in Bariloche and El Bolsón. In Puerto Varas, some delicious seafood at a restaurant.

Guides

Opentravel believes that tour leaders are the key for a successful and memorable trip; we use only experienced guides with a great knowledge of the area. They are all friendly, great fun and highly passionate about the Puelo Valley. She or he would be able to be a step ahead to give you all the help and assistance in any unpredictable situation, ensuring the trip runs smoothly. Local Huasos or “Baquianos” will be there at any time to help with saddles, horses and to look after you; they are a great support for the whole group and they even have an amazing ability to predict the weather! They also enjoy making wooden handcraft.

Season

The expedition runs all the first Mondays of each month, from November to March. Remember that horse flies will be around from December to January and yellow jackets (wasps) in the end February and March. Nature is perfect!!

Hours riding

Between four hours in the morning and three or four more in the afternoon, depending on the day.

Riding difficulty

The trip is an exciting but not demanding one, though some days the terrain will be more demanding and difficult. Also some days will be longer than others, especially when we have to cover a particular distance. Lots of river crossings, which are great fun and allow riders to experience the local way of travelling. Some steep up hills and undulating terrain could turn just a bit more demanding if the weather is not good. This adventurous ride is an excellent way of managing lots of different terrain and being able to ride one of the toughest horse breeds in the world. Clients may canter on open ground, trot in the forest, or simply enjoy the ride at their own relaxing pace.

Visa

A valid passport document with visa for both Argentina and Chile is required. Check the current advice for nationals of your country.

Health and Vaccinations

No special vaccinations are required for this area of South America. Clients with special medication should bring enough for the trip. It is advisable to get your own first aid kit. No chemists after day 1.

Flight Connections: Daily flights depart either from Santiago international airport to Puerto Montt (Chile) or from Buenos Aires Jorge Newbery local airport into San Carlos de Bariloche (Argentina).

Safety

We use qualified staff and safety equipment including a portable radio with available connections to radiotelephone networks; in case of emergencies we have access to direct telephone lines through 2-way radio links. Although communications are much better than they were before we still rely on radio type and good weather conditions for sending messages. Life Jackets are provided for river and lake crossings while sailing. We use international adventure tourism insurance but clients are obliged to have their own travel insurance that covers them for the activities on the tour.

Packing and Clothing

You may need…: Jodhpurs OR full length leather chaps trousers underneath OR comfortable jeans or trousers preferably with leather half chaps*, long sleeved shirts for sun protection, t shirts (useful if it is hot and to wear as layers for changing temperatures), comfortable riding shoes / boots – these should be suitable & safe for both walking & riding – an ankle length jodhpur or ‘Timberland’ style (if not too wide) boot is ideal, worn with half chaps for riding; boots should have soles with good grip as there will be several occasions where you dismount to lead the horses – smooth soled riding boots are not advisable; remember also that it can be hot so long rubber boots are not ideal), warm windproof fleece and / or jumper particularly for evenings around the campfire, good waterproof jacket – the weather in the Andes is unpredictable and varied, and you should be prepared. Whilst the Argentine side of the range is semi-desert, the Chilean side is rainforest. Waterproof trousers, wide brimmed hat (which stays on – make sure it has a string!) or hard hat if preferred**, sunglasses with string to attach around your neck (wrap-around for contact lens wearers), sun block / high factor sun cream (the sun is very strong), lip protection, riding gloves if required, small day pack / money belt / bum bag / cotton photographer’s waistcoat***, scarf / bandana (it can be dusty), socks and underwear, NB Two full changes of clothes are usually enough.

For afternoon /evening/ night

Shorts / cotton trousers
Change of shoes / gym shoes / deck shoes
Swimming costume & towel (sandals / plastic shoes for bathing in rivers / lakes)
Warm wind proof fleece / Jumper
Other items

Plastic bags for organising / packing clothes / sun creams etc.
Good insect repellent
Tissues / ‘Wet-Ones’ or similar travel wipes
Small alarm clock
Camera, film and spare battery / memory card
Binoculars can be useful
Washing kit (bio-degradable soap/ shampoo etc), personal medicines****, contact lenses etc. if required
Torch (head torches are ideal when camping)
Books / reading / writing material
Spanish dictionary / phrasebook
Basic first aid kit for personal use
Notes

*If you ride in jeans or loose trousers, we suggest you also wear knee length half chaps (or long chaps) to stop rubbing and for protection when riding through bamboo and bush;

**A hard hat is not compulsory but we recommend that all clients wear one for their own protection; these are not supplied and you will need to take your own.

***Saddlebags are provided but are not waterproof. You are requested to bring plastic bags (such as bin bags or dry bags available at camping and sailing shops) to protect your belongings in your saddlebags in case of persistent rain. Sometimes extracting small items from a saddlebag ‘on the go’ can be difficult and it can be useful to have something more easily accessible in which to carry personal items such as sun cream, sunglasses, small cameras etc. You can use a small daypack, ‘bum bag’ or money belt but may find a cotton photographer’ waistcoat a useful and more comfortable alternative. You can buy this sort of thing in camping / outdoors type shops, some mail-order clothing companies or army surplus stores.

****If you plan to carry any medicines that are not easily recognisable or are available only on prescription, it is wise to take a letter / prescription from your doctor confirming what they are. This is also important if you plan to carry homeopathic medicines / tablets which may not be commonly recognised – to avoid any potential problems taking these through customs you should check requirements with the relevant consulate before you travel.

You will need your own water bottle for the ride – two half-litre bottles generally work better than one larger one as they fit more easily into pockets etc. Water is from local supplies and streams, rivers etc. It is clean (very close to the source) and perfectly safe to drink – but if you are nervous about drinking the water you should take your own purification tablets, as bottled water is not available.

Packing

The day before the ride, your guide will visit you at 6PM at your lodgement to give you a briefing and explain you how the next days will be. He will give you a waterproof bag and will ask you to separate luggage for the first days from your main luggage. The main luggage will go with you but will continue direct to El Bolsón. You will meet it in the 6th night. He will also give you some saddlebags so you can take them like a daily pack. Please pack luggage in a soft holds all or roll – a good quality duffel bag with strong zips (waterproof ideally) will be best. Hard suitcases cannot be carried by packhorses and rucksacks with frames are not ideal. Your bags will be packed into protecting sacks / bags that make up the pack. There is a weight limit of 10 kg. It is possible to do laundry if you are staying in any one place more than one night.

Weather

Please remember that the temperatures in the mountains can fluctuate a great deal and it might be cold (down to freezing) 0 or minus in the early mornings and in the evenings, but up to 28 / 32° C at midday. It can also rain at any time! To cope with changing temperatures, it is a good idea to wear layers, which you can gradually take off, remembering that several thin layers are warmer than one thick one. Silk or thin thermal underwear (or a close fitting polo neck jumper / long sleeved T shirt and leggings) is a good idea if you feel the cold and is useful for sleeping in.

Please also remember to take a good waterproof and that space for luggage on the ride will be strictly limited – please only bring essentials!

Important Notes

In January, horse flies proliferate in the whole southern part of Chile and Argentina. They do not harm but are a nuisance and are attracted to dark clothing. Take this into account when selecting your clothing. You can review with us any points that will affect your travel plans – for example where the trip starts or whether it includes a Pre-Trip Option or Post-Trip Extension.

Delicatessen

The cuisine on the trip will be a mix of a special blend of flavours and ingredients consisting on an ethnic variety of gastronomic Andean Creole-Chilean style. A traditional wood stove gives its special flavour to those dishes. Depending on the season, it is possible to taste the delicious rainbow trout, fontinalis, or salmon trout. The Creole barbecue “Asado al palo” or “Asado al Asador” is served during several meals. It consists on delicious lamb cooked with plenty of embers and firewood. As the main local dish, people cook it in many different ways, usually accompanied with green salads, potatoes and, of course, Chilean red wine. The island also has a personal collection of a good variety of wines. The vegetables and fruits are superb and the variety of the region’s berries is impressive.Vegetarian dishes are also a great delicious. While you are booking, let us know if you prefer vegetarian options, as they are also a very great choice. Water is crystal clear, safe to drink and tastes delicious.

Chilean Horse

Did you know that the Chilean Horse is the only American stock horse that has maintained a closed registry that has not been purposely crossed with any other breed before or after its formal registration started in 1893? Like many other Creole breeds across Latin America, the Chilean Creole is extremely strong. It has a low metabolism, a high threshold for discomfort, a great immunity to disease and a remarkable rate of recuperation.

Their hooves are strong and their thick double hair coat makes them well suited for both cold and dry/hot weather. It is doubtful any other breed surpasses their productive energy level. Although abundant manes, tails and forelocks are characteristic of all Iberian breeds in the Americas, none can compare with the volume and thickness that typifies a good Chilean Creole specimen.

All breeds of Iberian origin also have some incidence of semi-convex facial profiles, but the Chilean Creole breeders proudly state their preference for this characteristic. It is truly ironic that a breed like the Chilean Creole is virtually unknown to anyone outside of the meridian South America. The fact is that this breed is the oldest registered Creole breed, the oldest registered horse breed of South America, the oldest registered stock horse breed in all the Americas and the third oldest horse breed of any kind in all the Western Hemisphere.

This “antiquity” comes from the fact that the Chilean Horse registry was officially inaugurated in 1893 when formalizing breed status was still a new concept in the Americas. The maximum stability in the huaso seat comes from pushing the heels down against the extended stirrups, while pressing the lower back against the cantle. It must be remembered that the allocation of weight in huaso equitation is balancing pressures in front and behind the centre of gravity, rather than concentrating all the weight distribution in a column over it.

The modern Chilean saddles now offer more support for the body so that the rider can make these opposing pressures that secure his position in the unpredictable clashes with the pinned steer.

Argentinean Criollo Generally small in size, the characteristics of the horse from the pampas demonstrate its ability to adapt itself to the environment, a capacity that has ensured the survival of the Creole breed. Coming from the Barb and Andalucian horses imported by the Spanish conquerors, he went back to the wild before being used and raised by the Indians from the pampas. He served all the partisans in quest of their freedom: the Gauchos, the Indians and the armies of the European settlers

Puelo Ride

8 days / 7 nights

This ride takes us to one of the little known areas of the valley. Preserved as the early settlers knew it, we’ll cross narrow paths, virgin forests and encounter very few people on our way. The day to tayt life along the river Puelo will show us different faces, curious smiles and wonders of this place embraced in magic as we get lost in the mountains.

Itinerary & Trip Notes

Day 1

The trip will start at your hotel where you will meet your tour leader and driver, load the minibus and drive for three hours, crossing the Valdivian forests along the Reloncaví fjord. When arriving to the Tagua – Tagua Lake, time for picnic before crossing the lake. A ferry will take us to the other side where will drive for another half an hour. Meet the baqueanos and the horses. Pack all our stuff and off we go! We will ride till we get to the shore of the river. Here the horses must cross swimming and us on a motorboat. Arrive to our lodging place. (B, LB, T, D)

Timing: 4 hrs by car and approximately and 1,30 hrs horseback.

Day 2

After a good breakfast and organizing packhorses, we will start our day riding in direction along the Puelo River. Untouchable ancient forests and straight passes will be our scenery, a wild trail to experience how the first pioneers travelled in the area. Lunch box. Afternoon arrive to our accommodation with a nice view of the valley.

(B, LB, T, D)

Timing: 5 hrs horseback riding.

Day 3

Today will be a long day riding. Some difficult terrain. The only way of knowing this isolated and unique corner of Patagonia is by horse. You will continue discovering how amazing your horses are and feel a close relation with them. In the afternoon we will arrive to Puerto Urrutia and say good bye to the first team of baqueanos and horses. From here on a we will get new horses and “baquianos”. A second team will take us in the last part of this day. Enjoy these fantastic landscapes and watch how the horses cross the river just as the locals do: on a public boat while the horses swim alongside. A half an hour ride to a cosy cottage where we will spend one night. Amazing views of the river and mountains. Dinner and accommodation. (B, LB, T, D)

Timing: 6 hrs horseback riding.

Day 4

Today, after breakfast and preparing our luggage for the pack horses we will beging our day ride to the end of Ventisqueros Valley. Ride into the Ventisqueros valley where we will stop for lunch and relax. In the afternoon, the ride will get us to a little house where the owners are lodging us for 2 nights. (B, BL, T, D)

Timing: 6 to 7 hrs horseback riding.

Day 5

After breakfast and packing, we embark on a gentle full-day ride, crossing the river once more to join the other valley and approach its glacier. This little valley turns wild and remote, with incredible flora and devoid of habitants. We will arrive close to the Alerce forests on this occasion. Box lunch and ride back to our guest farmhouse. Later there is a chance to go for a walk around the area or simply get relax. Another unforgettable day. (B, BL, T, D)

Timing: 4 hrs horseback riding.

Day 6

Breakfast and then set off on a full-day ride towards “la Pasarela del Rio Puelo”, an important local hanging bridge crucial for the communication between the local inhabitants and the nearest cities. This area is particularly spectacular due to its huge waterfalls and rapids. Stop for a picnic lunch near the bridge. Ride crossing the wild ancient forest. We reach Lago Las Rocas. 10 minutes boat trip to Las Bandurrias Island. Accommodation, tea and a great dinner at this enchanting and remote cottage. Two nights here. (B, BL, T, D)

Timing: 6 to 7 hrs horseback riding.

Day 7

Breakfast and depart. This morning we will enjoy 2 hrs ride visiting the Blue Lake “Lago Azul” with its crystal clear waters and abundant fish life. The majestic peaks and stunning landscapes will not escape your attention! Picnic and relax on the shore of the lake. After lunch our ride follows deep and straight paths along the forest reaching the south part of this lake. Passing through the typical cold jungle, Valdivian-type rainforest with its ancient Alerce trees (Fitzroy Cupresoide) as well as other local “giants” such as the “Coihue” and “Arrayanes”(the cold tree). After leaving the horses in a safe place, we will return back to the Island to enjoy the rest of the afternoon there. (B, BL, T, D)

Timing: 6 hrs horseback riding.

Day 8

After breakfast, say goodbye to our hostess and depart. We will sail back where the “Huasos” and the horses spent the night. Today we will ride for just half the day. Having passports at hand we will reach the Mountain Police Station, “Retén de Carabineros”. This leads to the border crossing, close to the edge of the Puelo River. Great view of the Inferior Lake. Clear Chilean customs and immigration by horse. Continue to the shore of Lake Puelo in Argentina. Say good bye to the baqueanos and horses, last boat trip into the Argentine territory. Sail Lago Puelo in the National park . On arrival we will go through the Argentine border formalities. Private transfer to El Bolsón. Lunch at a great local restaurant and time to buy some souvenirs or explore the area. Transfer to San Carlos de Bariloche. (B, L)

Timing: 4 hrs horseback riding, 30 minutes motorboat, 20 minutes private transfer to the town of El Bolsón and two more hours to the town of San Carlos de Bariloche.

How many days

The expedition lasts 8 days and 7 nights. 8 days riding.

Group size

Min 2 / Max 10 People.

Route from/to

From Puerto Montt in Chile on the shore of the Pacific Ocean across the Andes, ending in Bariloche Argentina.

What’s included

All In/out private transfers, transportation by minibus & motor jet boats, ferry crossing, full board meals (including ½ bottle of wine per person per dinner), saddle horses, pack horses, 7 nights accommodation including 2 nights at a fabulous retreat on Bandurrias island, local guides, “Huasos” and tour leader (French & English), VHF radio communication equipment.

Food

B:Breakfast

BL:Box lunch

T:Tea

D:Dinner.

Accommodation

Nights 1 to 5

We are invited into the home of local pioneers for a unique opportunity to experience their way of life. The extremely charming but often rustic houses offer basic accommodation mostly in twin, triple or dorm rooms with shared bathroom and hot shower. Sometimes, great room with mattresses. Food is organically grown and sourced from local gardens; Dishes are cooked deliciously on fire stoves as well as the Chilean asado (BBQ).

Night 6 and 7

You will stay in our private island. Island Las Bandurrias has a woodland path circumnavigating the shore, small private beaches and two charming cottages. Guest stays in a comfortable and well-equipped 2-story cottage heated by firewood; the same system heats water for showers. The bathrooms offer a splendid view of a southern “coigue” forest while from the living, the dining areas and the great sundeck you can see the small beach next to the quay. Here you will find stunning views of Lake Las Rocas and the surrounding peaks. The cottage offers accommodation for up to 6 people and the main house features two further guest rooms with original French country décor up for 3 or 5more guests . It is a very cozy and warm place where we will share dinner and appetizers with Francoise Dutheil, our island hostess. The main house is surrounded by a flower garden that includes butterfly bushes, fuchsia and camellia and it is adjacent to the main house. This garden is one of Françoise’s prides.

Hours riding

The time spent riding daily is not more than three hours in the morning and three or four more in the afternoon, depending on the day.

Season

The expedition runs any time from November to late March.  There is a big chance to get horse flies in January.

Riding Difficulty

The trip is an exciting but not demanding one, although some days will be longer than others when we have to cover a particular distance. Some days, lot of river crossings which are great fun and allow riders to experience the local way of travelling. Some steep up hills and undulating terrain could turn just a bit more demanding if the weather is not good. This adventure ride is an excellent way of managing lots of different terrain and being able to ride one of the toughest horse breeds in the world. Clients may canter on open ground, trot in the forest, or simply enjoy the ride at their own relaxing pace.

Guides

Opentravel believes that tour leaders and host/hostess are the key for a successful and memorable trip; we use only experienced guides with great knowledge of the area. They are all friendly, great fun and highly passionate about the Puelo Valley. Guides are trained to stay a step ahead and offer all the help and assistance to ensure the trip runs smoothly. They all have a WFR certification. Local “Huaso” guides or “baqueanos” will always be there to help and look after you. They are a great support for the whole group and well attuned to the regional climate. They have an uncanny sense of predicting weather!

Safety 

We use qualified staff provided with safety equipment including a portable radio with available connections to radio networks; in case of emergencies we have access to direct telephone lines through this 2-way radio. Life jackets are provided for river and lake crossings. We use international adventure tourism insurance but clients must have their own travel insurance that covers them for the activities on the tour such.

Health and Vaccinations

No special vaccinations are required for this area of South America. Clients with special medication should bring enough for the trip. It is advisable to get your own first aid kit. No pharmacies after day 1.

Packing and Clothing

You may need: Jodhpurs OR full length leather chaps trousers underneath OR comfortable jeans or trousers preferably with leather half chaps*, long sleeved shirts for sun protection, t shirts (useful if it is hot and to wear as layers for changing temperatures), comfortable riding shoes / boots – these should be suitable & safe for both walking & riding – an ankle length jodhpur or ‘Timberland’ style (if not too wide) boot is ideal, worn with half chaps for riding; boots should have soles with good grip as there will be several occasions where you dismount to lead the horses – smooth soled riding boots are not advisable; remember also that it can be hot so long rubber boots are not ideal), warm windproof fleece and / or jumper particularly for evenings around the campfire, good waterproof jacket – the weather in the Andes is unpredictable and varied, and you should be prepared.

Whilst the Argentine side of the range is semi-desert, the Chilean side is rainforest. Waterproof trousers, wide brimmed hat (which stays on – make sure it has a string!) or hard hat if preferred**, sunglasses with string to attach around your neck (wrap-around for contact lens wearers), sun block / high factor sun cream (the sun is very strong), lip protection, riding gloves if required, small day pack / money belt / bum bag / cotton photographer’s waistcoat***, scarf / bandana (it can be dusty), socks and underwear, NB Two full changes of clothes are usually enough.

For afternoon /evening/ night

  • Shorts / cotton trousers
  • Change of shoes / gym shoes / deck shoes
  • Swimming costume & towel (sandals / plastic shoes for bathing in rivers / lakes)
  • Warm wind proof fleece / Jumper

Other items

  • Plastic bags for organising / packing clothes / sun creams etc.
  • Good insect repellent
  • Microfiber towel
  • Tissues / ‘Wet-Ones’ or similar travel wipes
  • Small alarm clock
  • Camera, film and spare battery / memory card
  • Binoculars can be useful
  • Washing kit (bio-degradable soap/ shampoo etc), personal medicines****, contact lenses etc. if required
  • Torch (head torches are ideal when camping)
  • Books / reading / writing material
  • Spanish dictionary / phrasebook
  • Basic first aid kit for personal use

Notes                                                                       

*If you ride in jeans or loose trousers, we suggest you also wear knee length half chaps (or long chaps) to stop rubbing and for protection when riding through bamboo and bush;

**A hard hat is not compulsory but we recommend that all clients wear one for their own protection; these are not supplied and you will need to take your own.

***Saddlebags are provided but are not waterproof. You are requested to bring plastic bags (such as bin bags or dry bags available at camping and sailing shops) to protect your belongings in your saddlebags in case of persistent rain. Sometimes extracting small items from a saddlebag ‘on the go’ can be difficult and it can be useful to have something more easily accessible in which to carry personal items such as sun cream, sunglasses, small cameras etc. You can use a small daypack, ‘bum bag’ or money belt but may find a cotton photographer’ waistcoat a useful and more comfortable alternative. You can buy this sort of thing in camping / outdoors type shops, some mail-order clothing companies or army surplus stores.

****If you plan to carry any medicines that are not easily recognisable or are available only on prescription, it is wise to take a letter / prescription from your doctor confirming what they are. This is also important if you plan to carry homeopathic medicines / tablets which may not be commonly recognised – to avoid any potential problems taking these through customs you should check requirements with the relevant consulate before you travel.

You will need your own water bottle for the ride – two half-litre bottles generally work better than one larger one as they fit more easily into pockets etc. Water is from local supplies and streams, rivers etc. It is clean (very close to the source) and perfectly safe to drink – but if you are nervous about drinking the water you should take your own purification tablets, as bottled water is not available.

Packing

Please bring your luggage in a soft bag – a good quality duffel bag with strong zips (waterproof ideally) will be best. Hard suitcases cannot be carried by packhorses and rucksacks with frames are not ideal. Your bags will be packed into protecting sacks / bags that make up the pack. When arriving to your hotel, the day before the ride begins, you should separate your luggage in two: one bag (this will be provided by Opentravel ‘s guide in the briefing on the arrival day) no more than 10 kg that will be with you on the first 5 days of the ride. Your main luggage will be transported straight to “Las Bandurrias” Island, our lodging place on the 6th and 7th nights. The packhorses will especially appreciate your consideration. Our ethic is to protect our horses and not to cause them unnecessary strain. Besides the riding clothes you will be wearing, a complete change of clothing will be plenty enough. A fleece pant or comfortable and warm changing clothes for the afternoon at the little farm houses we will be, plus sort of Teva sandals, or comfortable shoes, sleeping clothe and personal medicines. You must bring less than 10 kgs per person to the first 5 days of the ride. It is possible to do laundry if you are staying in any one place more than one night. Most of our clients realize after doing the ride how much extra luggage they brought. It is important to say that you can bring anything you feel will need on this journey.

Weather

Please remember that the temperatures in the mountains can fluctuate a great deal and it might be cold (down to freezing) in the early mornings and in the evenings, but up to 28 / 32° C at midday. It can also rain at any time! To cope with changing temperatures, it is a good idea to wear layers, which you can gradually take off, remembering that several thin layers are warmer than one thick one. Silk or thin thermal underwear (or a close fitting polo neck jumper / long sleeved T shirt and leggings) is a good idea if you feel the cold and is useful for sleeping in. Please also remember to take a good waterproof and that space for luggage on the ride will be strictly limited – please only bring essentials!

Visa

A valid passport document with visa for both Argentina and Chile is required. Check the current advice for nationals of your country.

Flight Connections

Daily flights depart either from Santiago international airport to Puerto Montt (Chile)

Important Notes

In January, horse flies proliferate in the whole southern part of Chile and Argentina. They do not harm but are a nuisance and are attracted to dark clothing. Take this into account when selecting your clothing. You can review with us any points that will affect your travel plans – for example where the trip starts or whether it includes a Pre-Trip Option or Post-Trip Extension.

Delicatessen

The food on the trip will be a mix of a special blend of flavors and ingredients consisting of an ethnic variety but mostly Creole-Chilean cuisine. A traditional wood stove gives a special flavor to the dishes. Depending on the season, it will be possible to taste a delicious rainbow trout or fontinalis. Vegetables and fruits are superb and the variety of the region’s berries is impressive. Vegetarian dishes are also a great delicious option but we do need to know if you prefer this option at the time of making your booking. Drinking water is crystal clear, safe to drink and tastes delicious. The island also has a personal collection of a good variety of wines.

Chilean Creole Horse

The horses are of the Chilean Creole breed and are very gentle, strong and tame. They have a firm step, are in good health and well trained for the Andean terrain. Saddles are the same as the ones traditionally used in the region by locals, completed with a sheepskin cover. They are really comfortable and excellent for long distance riding.

 

The Andean Crossing Ride

6 days / 5 nights

Immerse yourself in this adventure across the Andes, through remote valleys. Explore the cultural Patagonian Puelo River Valley pioneers sharing their old ways of life, immersed in a unique experience within pristine nature.

Itinerary & Trip Notes

Day 1

The trip begins at your hotel where you will meet your tour leader and driver, load the minibus and then, start a three hours drive, crossing the Valdivian forests along the Reloncaví Fjord. Arrive to the “Tagua Tagua” Lake. Here, time for a great picnic lunch before crossing by ferry. Once we get off the ferry, we drive for another hour or so. By the end of the road we will meet the baqueanos and the Creole horses. Enjoy the outstanding landscapes and cross a river just as the locals do: On a public boat while the horses swim alongside to the other side of the Puelo River. Load the horses and go! Accommodations at a local farm. (BL, T, D)

Timing: 4/5 hrs by car, 30 minutes by ferry and approximately 1,45’ hrs horseback.

Day 2

Today, after a homemade breakfast, we the “baqueanos” will prepare the packhorses. Around the barn we will be fixing the last details of our saddle and stirrups to adapt it to our needs and making our ride comfortable and save. Our direction today, is into the Ventisqueros valley.  We will be crossing amazing forests and self-sufficient little farms during the morning. Stop for lunch and relax. In the afternoon, we will cross riding the big Ventisqueros River before a safety chat. The ride takes us to a remote farm, where the owner will lodge us for 2 nights. (B – BL – T – D)

Timing: 6 to 7 hrs horseback riding.

 Day 3

After breakfast and packing, we will embark in a gentle full-day ride, crossing the river once more to approach a glacier. The Valley turns wild and remote, with an incredible flora and devoid of inhabitants. We will arrive close to the Alerce forests on this occasion. Box lunch here and then, ride back to our guest farmhouse. Later, there is a chance to walk around the area or simply relax. Another unforgettable day. (B – BL – T – D)

Timing: 4 hrs horseback riding

Day 4

This morning we will set off on a full-day ride towards “La Pasarela del Rio Puelo”, an important local hanging bridge crucial for communication between the local inhabitants and the outside world. This area is particularly spectacular due to its huge waterfalls and rapids. Stop for a picnic lunch near the bridge. In the afternoon, the ride will cross a wild ancient forest before arriving to our cottage. We will reach “Las Rocas” Lake and sail 10 minutes to Las Bandurrias Island.  Accommodation and a great dinner at this enchanting and cosy cottage. We will stay two nights here. (B – BL – T – D)

Timing: 6 to 7 hrs horseback riding.

 

Day 5

Another fantastic adventure wait for us today. We will enjoy a 2 hrs ride and visit the Blue Lake “Lago Azul” with its crystal clear water and abundant fish life. Majestic peaks and stunning landscapes will not escape your attention! Picnic and relax on the shore of the lake. After lunch our ride follows deep and straight and gets into the forest along the mountains. We will reach the south part of this lake passing through the typical cold jungle, Valdivian-type rainforest with its ancient Alerce trees (Fitzroya Cupresoide) as well as other local giants such as the “Coihue” and “Arrayanes”(the cold tree). After leaving the horses in a safe place we will return back to the Island to enjoy the rest of the afternoon there. (B, BL, T, D)

Timing: 5 to 6hrs horseback riding.

Day 6

After breakfast, say goodbye to our hostess and depart to the shore of the lake. We will sail until we get the “Huasos” and horses place where they spent the night.  Today we will ride just half the day. Having passports at hand we will reach the Mountain Police Station, “Retén de Carabineros”. This leads to the border crossing, close to the edge of the Puelo River. From there are great views of the Inferior Lake. Then we will cross the Puelo Lake by boat into the National park after going though the Argentine border formalities. A minibus will be waiting to take us to El Bolsón. Lunch at a great local restaurant and time for buying some souvenirs or explore the area. Travel by minibus to San Carlos de Bariloche where the trip will end.

Timing: 3 ½hrs horseback riding, 30 minutes sail on motorboat. Private bus transfer to the town of El Bolsón, 20 minutes, and two and a half more hours to the town of San Carlos de Bariloche. (B, L)

End of our services in Bariloche. Ask for extra transfers and lodgings in Chile and/ or Argentina.

Group size:  Min 2 / Max 10 People.

How many days: The expedition lasts 6 days and 5 nights. 6 days riding.

Route from/to: From Puerto Montt in Chile on the shore of the Pacific Ocean across the Andes, ending in Bariloche Argentina.

What’s included: All In/out private transfers, transportation by minibus & motor jet boats, ferry crossing, full board meals (including ½ bottle of wine per person at dinner), saddle horses, pack horses, 5 night accommodation including 2 nights at a fabulous retreat on Bandurrias island, local guides, “Huasos” and tour leader (French & English), VHF radio communication equipment.

Not included

Everything not mention on the program from day 1 to day 6. Transfer and lodging the day before day 1 of the programme, as well as the last night at Bariloche in day 6th.You can ask us to organise this services. Tips for guide and team. In case of emergency, if a helicopter is needed, the cost of it it’s not included.

Food

B: Breakfast

BL: Box lunch

T: Tea

D: Dinner.

Accommodation

Nights 1, 2 & 3

We are invited into the home of local pioneers for a unique opportunity to experience their way of life. The extremely charming but often rustic houses offer basic accommodation mostly in twin, triple or dorm rooms with shared bathroom and hot shower (one for the all group) Sometimes, great room with mattresses. Food is organically grown and sourced from local gardens; Dishes are cooked deliciously on fire stoves as well as the Chilean asado (BBQ).

Night 4 and 5

You will stay in our private island. Island Las Bandurrias has a woodland path circumnavigating the shore, small private beaches and two charming cottages. Guests will stay in a comfortable and well-equipped 2-story cottage heated by firewood; the same system heats water for showers. The bathrooms offer a splendid view of a southern “coigues” forest while from the living, the dining areas and the great sundeck you can see the small beach next to the quay. Here you will find stunning views of Lake Las Rocas and the surrounding peaks. The cottage offers accommodation for up to 6 people and the main house features two further guest rooms with original French country décor up for 3 or 4 guests more. It is a very cosy and warm place where we will share dinner and appetizers with Francoise Dutheil, our island hostess. The main house is surrounded by a flower garden that includes butterfly bushes, fuchsia and camellia and it is adjacent to the main house. This garden is one of Françoise’s prides.

Hours riding

The time spent riding daily is not more than three hours in the morning and three or four more in the afternoon, depending on the day. Please note that in day one we will do a short horse ride to reach the first night it will be 1,45’.

Season

The expedition runs any time from November to late March.  There is a big chance to get horse flies in January.

Riding Difficulty

The trip is an exciting but not demanding one, although some days will be longer than others when we have to cover a particular distance. Some days, lot of river crossings which are great fun and allow riders to experience the local way of travelling. Some steep up hills and undulating terrain could turn just a bit more demanding if the weather is not good. This adventure ride is an excellent way of managing lots of different terrain and being able to ride one of the toughest horse breeds in the world. Clients may canter on open ground, trot in the forest, or simply enjoy the ride at their own relaxing pace.

Guides

Opentravel believes that tour leaders and host/hostess are the key for a successful and memorable trip; we use only experienced guides with great knowledge of the area. They hold a certificate in WFR (wilderness first responder) They are all friendly, great fun and highly passionate about the Puelo Valley. Guides are trained to stay a step ahead and offer all the help and assistance to ensure the trip runs smoothly.

Local “Huaso” guides or “baqueanos” will always be there to help and look after you. They are a great support for the whole group and well attuned to the regional climate. They have an uncanny sense of predicting weather!

Safety

We use qualified staff provided with safety equipment including a portable radio with available connections to radio networks; in case of emergencies we have access to direct telephone lines through this 2-way radio. Life jackets are provided for river and lake crossings. We use international adventure tourism insurance but clients must have their own travel insurance that covers them for the activities on the tour such. Our guides are qualified and have done courses of first aids WFR (Wildlife First Responder)

Visa

A valid passport document with visa for both Argentina and Chile is required. Check the current advice for nationals of your country.

Health and Vaccinations

No special vaccinations are required for this area of South America. Clients with special medication should bring enough for the trip. It is advisable to get your own first aid kit. No pharmacies after day 1.

Packing and Clothing

You may need: Jodhpurs OR full length leather chaps trousers underneath OR comfortable jeans or trousers preferably with leather half chaps*, long sleeved shirts for sun protection, t shirts (useful if it is hot and to wear as layers for changing temperatures), comfortable riding shoes / boots – these should be suitable & safe for both walking & riding – an ankle length jodhpur or ‘Timberland’ style (if not too wide) boot is ideal, worn with half chaps for riding; boots should have soles with good grip as there will be several occasions where you dismount to lead the horses – smooth soled riding boots are not advisable; remember also that it can be hot so long rubber boots are not ideal), warm windproof fleece and / or jumper particularly for evenings around the campfire, good waterproof jacket – the weather in the Andes is unpredictable and varied, and you should be prepared. Whilst the Argentine side of the range is semi-desert, the Chilean side is a rainforest. Waterproof trousers, wide brimmed hat (which stays on – make sure it has a string!) or hard hat if preferred**, sunglasses with string to attach around your neck (wrap-around for contact lens wearers), sun block / high factor sun cream (the sun is very strong), lip protection, riding gloves if required, small day pack / money belt / bum bag / cotton photographer’s waistcoat***, scarf / bandana (it can be dusty), socks and underwear, NB Two full changes of clothes are usually enough.

For afternoon /evening/ night

  •             Shorts / cotton trousers
  •             Change of shoes / gym shoes / deck shoes
  •             Swimming costume & towel (sandals / plastic shoes for bathing in rivers / lakes)
  •             Warm wind proof fleece / Jumper

Other items

  •             Plastic bags for organising / packing clothes / sun creams etc.
  •             Good insect repellent
  •             Tissues / ‘Wet-Ones’ or similar travel wipes
  •             Small alarm clock
  •             Camera, film and spare battery / memory card
  •             Binoculars can be useful
  •             Washing kit (bio-degradable soap/ shampoo etc), personal medicines****, contact lenses etc. if required
  •             Torch (head torches are ideal when camping)
  •             Books / reading / writing material
  •             Spanish dictionary / phrasebook
  •             Basic first aid kit for personal use
  •             Microfiber towel

Notes                                                                                                

*If you ride in jeans or loose trousers, we suggest you also wear knee length half chaps (or long chaps) to stop rubbing and for protection when riding through bamboo and bush;

**A hard hat is not compulsory but we recommend that all clients wear one for their own protection; these are not supplied and you will need to take your own.

***Saddlebags are provided but are not waterproof. You are requested to bring plastic bags (such as bin bags or dry bags available at camping and sailing shops) to protect your belongings in your saddlebags in case of persistent rain. Sometimes extracting small items from a saddlebag ‘on the go’ can be difficult and it can be useful to have something more easily accessible in which to carry personal items such as sun cream, sunglasses, small cameras etc. You can use a small daypack, ‘bum bag’ or money belt but may find a cotton photographer’ waistcoat a useful and more comfortable alternative. You can buy this sort of thing in camping / outdoors type shops, some mail-order clothing companies or army surplus stores.

****If you plan to carry any medicines that are not easily recognisable or are available only on prescription, it is wise to take a letter / prescription from your doctor confirming what they are. This is also important if you plan to carry homeopathic medicines / tablets which may not be commonly recognised – to avoid any potential problems taking these through customs you should check requirements with the relevant consulate before you travel.  You will need your own water bottle for the ride – two half-litre bottles generally work better than one larger one as they fit more easily into pockets etc. Water is from local supplies and streams, rivers etc. It is clean (very close to the source) and perfectly safe to drink – but if you are nervous about drinking the water you should take your own purification tablets, as bottled water is not available.

Packing

The day before the ride, your guide will visit you at 6PM at your lodgement to give you a briefing and explain you how the next days will be. He will bring you a waterproof bag and will ask you to separate luggage for the firsts days from your main luggage. Please check the packing and clothing list for choosing the luggage you will separate for the first 3 nights. The main luggage will go with you but will continue direct to Isla Las Bandurrias.  You will meet it in the 4th night. Opentravel’s guide will also give you some saddlebags so you can take them like a daily pack. Please pack luggage in a soft holds all or roll – a good quality duffel bag with strong zips (waterproof ideally) will be best. Hard suitcases cannot be carried by packhorses and rucksacks with frames are not ideal. Your bags will be packed into protecting sacks / bags that make up the pack. There is a weight limit of 10kg for the separate luggage you will take for the first 3 nights. It is possible to do laundry if you are staying in any one place more than one night.

Weather

Please remember that the temperatures in the mountains can fluctuate a great deal and it might be cold (down to freezing) in the early mornings and in the evenings, but up to 28 / 32° C at midday. It can also rain at any time! To cope with changing temperatures, it is a good idea to wear layers, which you can gradually take off, remembering that several thin layers are warmer than one thick one. Silk or thin thermal underwear (or a close fitting polo neck jumper / long sleeved T shirt and leggings) is a good idea if you feel the cold and is useful for sleeping in. Please also remember to take a good waterproof and that space for luggage on the ride will be strictly limited – please only bring essentials!

Flight Connections

Daily flights depart either from Santiago international airport to Puerto Montt (Chile)

Important Notes

In January, horse flies proliferate in the whole southern part of Chile and Argentina. They do not harm but are a nuisance and are attracted to dark clothing. Take this into account when selecting your clothing. You can review with us any points that will affect your travel plans – for example where the trip starts or whether it includes a Pre-Trip Option or Post-Trip Extension.

Chilean Creole Horse

The horses are of the Chilean Creole breed and are very gentle, strong and tame. They have a firm step, are in good health and well trained for the Andean terrain. Saddles are the same as the ones traditionally used in the region by locals, completed with a sheepskin cover. They are really comfortable and excellent for long distance riding.

Delicatessen

The food on the trip will be a mix of a special blend of flavours and ingredients consisting of an ethnic variety but mostly Creole-Chilean cuisine. A traditional wood stove gives a special flavour to the dishes. Depending on the season, it will be possible to taste a delicious rainbow trout or fontinalis. Vegetables and fruits are superb and the variety of the region’s berries is impressive. Vegetarian dishes are also a great delicious option but we do need to know if you prefer this option at the time of making your booking. Drinking water is crystal clear, safe to drink and tastes delicious. The island also has a personal collection of a good variety of wines that you can buy at a very good price.

 

What do past riders say about the trip?

The ride was spectacular from beginning to end. It was everything that we had hoped for and more. We had a lovely guide, who spoke excellent English and was fun to be with – she got on very well with our adult children who were around the same age.

From the organizational point of view everything worked like clockwork. All the transport by van, boat etc was all seamlessly in place. The horses were excellent and the gauchos were all most helpful – I only wished we spoke more Spanish -next time. We really enjoyed staying in the farm houses with local people.

The scenery was spectacular and everyday had something exciting like crossing rivers, suspension bridges, steep climbs, staying in unique places like the island and even a rapid boat ride at the end. … such a special time to share as a family.… the weather was superb- hot and dry so we swam in clear cold rivers and lakes.

I would highly recommend the ride and will certainly encourage some of our Aussie friends to do it. Thank you for making it happen it was stunning.” Jenny. 2011.

“ to say the ride was spectacular is an understatement. It took me days to come down, seriously…” Judith

DATES & RATES

Season: November to March

Set date departures: 6, 8 & 14 day trips.

Rides need a minimum number of 2 people to guarantee departure and max of 10 riders per group. The prices are based on a sliding scale getting lower as more people confirm their place.

Rates Per person in American dollars

Andean Crossing Ride

6 days / 5 nights

Prices Please note – as this is a small group adventure the price is on a sliding scale so the more folk in your group the lower the cost is per person.

  • 2 Persons 4020 USD
  • 3 Persons 3610 USD
  • 4 Persons 3250 USD
  • 6-8 Persons 3090 USD
  • 9-10 Persons 2940 USD

Departures 2016/17 – please enquire for live availability and numbers in each group

  • 01-11-2016 to 06-11-2016
  • 23-11-2016 to 28-11-2016 (Private Group)
  • 03-12-2016 to 08-12-2016
  • 28-12-2016 to 02-01-2017
  • 05-01-2017 to 10-01-2017
  • 03-02-2017 to 08-02-2017
  • 20-02-2017 to 25-02-2017
  • 01-03-2017 to 06-03-2017
  • 22-03-2017 to 27-03-2017

Rates Per person in American dollars

Puelo Ride

8 days / 7 nights

Prices: Please note – as this is a small group adventure the price is on a sliding scale so the more folk in your group the lower the cost is per person.

  • 2 Persons 4850 USD
  • 3 Persons 4470 USD
  • 4 Persons 3940 USD
  • 5-8 Persons 3860 USD
  • 9-10 Persons 3660 USD

Departures 2016/17 – please enquire for live availability and numbers in each group

  • 19-12-2016 to 26-12-2016 (as at April 21st 2016 5 riders booked)
  • 23-01-2017 to 30-01-2017

Andes Grande Traversé

14 days 13 nights

Prices per person in USD:
Please note – as this is a small group adventure the price is on a sliding scale so the more folk in your group the lower the cost is per person.

  • 2 Persons 7980 USD
  • 3 Persons 7800 USD
  • 4-6 Persons 6490 USD
  • 7-10 Persons 5910 USD

Departures 2016/17 – please enquire for live availability and numbers in each group

  • 07-11-2016 to 20-11-2016
  • 05-12-2016 to 18-12-2016
  • 05-01-2017 to 18-01-2017
  • 03-02-2017 to 16-02-2017
  • 06-03-2017 to 19-03-2017

Rates per person in American Dollars

Rides need a minimum number of 2 people to guarantee departure and max of 10 riders per group.*Riders over 90Kg/198lb are required to have an extra horse to allow alternation morning and afternoon due to the limited size of Chilean Creole horses. Riders over 90Kg/195lb extra horse price USD 210

Tour Operator terms and conditions apply.
Guests are strongly advised to bring and use their own riding helmets.
A booking is confirmed only upon receipt of the corresponding deposit.
The operator reserves the right to alter the itinerary due to circumstances beyond our control.

Appropriate medical insurance is mandatory and the responsibility of each guest.
It is the responsibility of the individual guest to ensure that participants have the necessary riding skills to take part in the tour chosen.
Guests will be required to sign a responsibility release before starting a tour and if joining a group ride must be experienced riders.

Our local partner for these trips are based in Chile. They are a small group of people passioned by nature and travel and their main goal is to offer sustainable tourism supporting the rural economy. They put local community engagement as high on their list of importance as rivers, lakes, mountains, flora and fauna.

We love that they are true destination experts for journeys to the Rio Puelo valley, with its ancient forests, gorgeous lakes and rivers and hospitable rural inhabitants. Expect to experience remoteness just as they do, traveling on trails and waterways.

Enquiry Form

There are three epic rides in the Andes you can consider – a 6, 8 or 14 day option. Please specify which trip you are looking for more details for and we can send you the full trip notes and live availability. Thank you!

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