Horse Ride Across the Andes _7_

Horse Ride Across the Andes

Duration: 14 days
From: £4,477.00

Horse Ride across the Andes during a 14 day 'Grande Traversée' adventure through a remote and stunningly beautiful area of northern Patagonia. A remarkable journey for adventurers and horse lovers alike.

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.

This horse ride across the Andes is an incredible opportunity to travel 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.

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

Not got 14 days? There are shorter ride options available from 7 days.  Enquire today to learn more.

Why you'll love this adventure

  • A true slow travel experience
  • A wonderful A to B journey
  • Cultural immersion
Start
San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina
Finish
Puerto Varas, Chile
Trip Duration
14 Days
Group Size
Groups from 2 to 8 people
Private Departure
N/A
Activity
Horse Riding
Style of Travel
Guided Group, Private Departure, Solo Traveller

Dates

STARTEND

Monday

4 November 2019

Sunday

17 November 2019

Monday

2 December 2019

Sunday

15 December 2019

Monday

6 January 2020

Sunday

19 January 2020

This trip can be tailor made for your perfect travel dates. Please make a booking enquiry for more information.

Itinerary

This fascinating immersive adventure with local guides is a chance to experience the gauchos’ style and the cultural diversity of Argentinian and Chilean Patagonia from the virgin steppe up to the Valdivian forests of Chile. The trip includes 11 days of riding on Creole and Chilean horses visiting ‘Estancias’, exploring the Patagonian pampas and crossing clear blue rivers.

What's included

  • All private terrestrial transfers as specified
  • transfers on motorized boat and ferry-boats
  • all meals as detailed in the itinerary
  • included one bottle of wine per 3 persons, only at dinner during the riding days. Dinner at restaurant on nights 1,6 and 13 (wine not included). Bilingual guides, local guides (baqueanos), VHF communication radio. Saddle horses; pack horses and additional horses according to the number of riders in the group.

Articles that are not specified in the detailed description.

Trip notes

From 5,880 USD dependent on size of group.

There are 13 nights’ accommodation, including 2 camp nights (in an area close to streams and rivers with a wood stove available and home cooking), 2 nights in the refuge El Sapucai, 4 nights in a local inhabitant’s houses (Days 9-12). It is an excellent occasion to share in their lifestyle. Houses are very cosy although rustic, with shared bedrooms and facilities. There’s 2 nights on Las Bandurrias Island and 3 hotel nights in Bariloche (1st night), El Bolsón (6th night) and Puerto Varas (13th night) (single room supplement available for USD $55 per person per night).

El Sapucai, mountain refuge (Nights 4 and 5)

This Patagonian refuge is located at the edge of the Chubut River, a remote area in the heart of the foothills. The house is provided with a traditional wood stove, two bedrooms for two persons each, a bathroom with a wood fuel water heater system and a living room with a fireplace. Everything is made in this place to make your stay a unique experience. Outside, a river separates two tepees, situated in front of the Chubut River. Every tepee has a wooden floor and comfy beds. Made from quality construction, this cosy refuge will allow you to enjoy a well-deserved rest.

Las Bandurrias Island (Nights 7 and 8)

A unique experience to live on an island that offers very nice services. The island offers a main house and a wooden cabin for guests (cabaña). From the cabin’s terrace, you will enjoy a scenic view over the lake. Inside this warmly decorated cabaña, there is a luminous dining room on ground floor, a living room and a bathroom. Upstairs, you will find a charming bedroom that has several single beds as well as a bathroom.

The main house’s decoration is a subtle combination of French and Chilean culture. You will appreciate the warm living-dining room on the first floor. Upstairs, bedrooms can welcome up to 4 persons. The house is surrounded by a pretty garden, which has a greenhouse on one side and a diverse flower garden on the other, where birds come to nest.

During the trip, Chilean creole cuisine is the typical fare. A traditional wood stove gives the dishes a special flavour. Depending on the season, you will be able to taste delicious rainbow trout or brown trout. The creole or “on the spit” barbecue is served at several meals. It consists of delicious wood-fired lamb slow-cooked outdoors. As a typical dish, it is prepared in different ways and served with salads, potatoes and, of course, a good Argentine or Chilean wine. Green vegetables and fruit are excellent and the diversity of the regional berries is impressive. Vegetarian meals also are a delicious option; let us know your preferences when making your reservation.

This expedition has few difficulties in general; the distances to be covered will be longer on some days than others. River crossings are considered as milestones in this journey and offer a range of contrasts while giving the opportunity to the rider to experience new terrain with the horses. It will also allow us to put ourselves in the “gauchos’” shoes who cross-valleys on horseback. Depending on weather conditions, some ascensions and descents as well as some hilly passages may be harder.

On days of diverse terrain, we will advance at a walking pace. We will follow the gaucho guide’s pace when riding between different estancias. The adopted pace is a long stride alternated with a sitting trot. In rain, the paths become more difficult and we might walk some stretches. Regardless of the situation, our specialized guides can always assist you at any moment of the crossing.

The itinerary might be modified due to exceptional weather circumstances.

Length of the trip: The expedition takes 14 days and 13 nights, including 11 days on horseback.

Departure / Arrival: From San Carlos de Bariloche in Argentina to Puerto Varas (Chile), at the edge of Llanquihue Lake, crossing the Andes mountain range.

Distances: 205 km on horseback in total.

Extra: The sleeping bag is not included for the 2 camp nights. We recommend that you bring one comfortable for temperatures down to -5°C.

If you don’t have a sleeping bag, you can rent one at Andesluna for USD $20, including an inner cotton bag liner and a fleece cover.

 

Internet and Telephone

Enjoy the complete disconnection from phones and Internet during this journey. (Communication only via VHF radio) except on day 6, where you would be able to get access.

Riding hours

The time on horseback varies from day to day: about approx. 3 hours in the morning and 3 to 4 hours in the afternoon.

Season
The season runs from early November to late March.

 

 

Custom Documents

A valid passport document and visa for both Argentina and Chile is required. Check the current advice for nationals of your country before you travel. If you are an Australian or Canadian citizen, you will need to pay a “reciprocity fee” before you enter Argentina. This fee may vary depending on your nationality. Check full information here:

http://www.migraciones.gov.ar/pdf_varios/reciprocidad/Online_payment_instructions.pdf 

Safety and communication

We use qualified staff with safety equipment. During our journey on the Argentinian side and in remote areas, we will have a satellite phone, which is the only means of communication in case of emergencies. On the Chilean side, we will always have an access to direct telephone lines through a VHF radio system.

On boat crossings, life jackets are provided. As a company, we have international adventure tourism insurance. However, clients are obliged to have their own travel insurance that covers them for the activities on the tour. We will always bring a first aid kit and guides with the necessary safety skills.

Health and vaccines

No special vaccine is required for this part of South America. Clients with special medication should bring enough for the whole trip since you will not have the possibility to buy medicine during our journey. It is very important that you state on the information sheet if you have suffered from heart disease; if you take diabetes medicine, if you have some kind of blood illness, etc.

Luggage and clothes

What we suggest you to take:

  • Trousers (for riding, jeans etc.) and mid-calf or high leather chaps for the best protection from dense and spiny vegetation.
  • Long sleeves shirts to protect from the sun
  • Shirts or short-sleeves t-shirts (useful if it’s hot or in areas where the temperature is highly variable).
  • Comfortable shoes or riding boots. They must be suitable and safe for riding as well as for walking and crossing rivers. Trekking or Timberland boots style (if not too large) or leather boots are perfect if you use them with chaps. Whatever the boots are, preferably choose those with anti-slip soles, as there will be several areas where you must get off your horse and walk. Riding boots are not recommended, as their boot soles are very smooth and the ground can be steep.
  • We recommend that you waterproof your boots before coming.
  • Remember that the weather can be very hot some days so rubber shoes or boots are not recommended.
  • A windbreaker and a sweater are perfect for the nights around the campfire.
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers. The temperature in the Andes is unforeseeable and very inconstant. On the Argentine side there is semi-arid terrain subject to strong winds, on the Chilean side there is thick vegetation and cold Valdivian rain forests.

On the whole ride, temperatures can vary from -3°C up to 30°C.

  • A large brimmed hat (please ensure it has an adjustable strap, so as not to lose it during the trip because of the wind) or a riding helmet. *
  • Sunglasses with an adjustable security strap to hang around your neck (double strap for those who use prescription glasses).
  • A high sun protection (index 30 at least, the sun can be very strong because of the hole in the ozone layer).
  • A lip balm, to protect the lips against the wind and sun.
  • Riding gloves, should you consider them if necessary.
  • A waist pack for your personal belongings, to keep your money and passport. A sleeveless cotton vest with several pockets, frequently used by photographers, could be a good alternative and more comfortable as well. **
  • A scarf or a headscarf (sometimes it can be dusty).
  • Socks and underwear.

Important: 2 complete outfits are generally enough (one for the day and one for the night).

For the evening and night

  • Shorts or a cotton trouser.
  • One pair of riding boots or shoes and another one for the night.
  • One bathing suit and a towel, as well as plastic sandals, to swim in the rivers and lakes.

Additional items

  • Plastic bags to organize wrap up and protect your clothes.
  • An anti-mosquito (spray) of good quality.
  • Paper handkerchiefs / traveller towels.
  • A small alarm clock.
  • A camera and / or video camera as well as replacement batteries and additional memory cards.
  • Binoculars could be useful.
  • A personal hygiene kit (soap and biodegradable shampoo are necessary during camping, where we bathe in river).
  • Personal medicine if needed.
  • Contact lenses and prescription glasses.
  • A pocket lamp (headlamps are perfect for the campground).
  • Books / paper and a pencil.
  • Earplugs (they could be quite useful to block out undesirable sounds like wind, chatting people or barking dogs).
  • A Spanish dictionary with conversation sentences.
  • A personal first-aid kit.
  • A sleeping bag: The sleeping bag is not included for the 2 camp nights. Bring one rated for -5°C. It will protect you and keep you warm for camping days in the Argentinian side as the temperature drops quickly at night.

If you don’t have a sleeping bag, you can rent one at Andesluna for USD $20, including an inner cotton bag liner and a fleece cover. Tents and sleeping pads will be provided.

Comments
*Helmets: Although they are not compulsory, 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 they are not waterproof. However, we will give you plastic bags to protect your belongings in your saddlebags in case of persistent rain. Sometimes extracting small items from the saddlebag ‘on the go’ can be difficult. So, we recommend that you carry your personal items such as sun cream, sunglasses, small cameras etc. on you.

**To this end, you can use a waist pack or a cotton photographer’s vest or fisherman waistcoat alternative. You can buy this kind of vest in camping / outdoors shops or on some online shops. You will need your own water bottle for the ride – two half-litre bottles fit more easily into pockets.

Water from the cordillera or rivers is obtained at local places or streams. It is clean and drinkable – but if you are nervous about drinking the water you should take your own purification tablets that are available in specialized stores, as you would not be able to buy water bottles in the valley.

The itinerary described here might be modified due to exceptional weather circumstances, which may affect our expedition.

 

Distribution of the luggage

It is very important to notice certain points concerning your luggage:

You can take anything you like, as long as the airports and customs’ standards accept it.

At your arrival day in Bariloche and the day before the ride, your will have a briefing with your guide at 6PM at your hotel. He will give you a waterproof bag to choose and separate among your luggage, the 10kg maximum that you will bring with you for the ride. This bag will travel with us and will be packed on packhorses for the first 6 days of the trip. You will have your main luggage back on Bandurrias Island.

The guide will also provide you a saddlebag so you can take it as a daily pack.

For your primary luggage on the trip, we recommend a malleable and flexible bag (ie duffel). Indeed, your main luggage will have to travel on horseback, on an oxen cart or on a quad and in a motorboat. Obviously, hard suitcases are not suitable for these means of transport.

 

Weather

Please remember that temperatures in the mountains are highly variable. It might be cold (down to freezing) zero degrees or below early in the morning and in the evening, 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. Remember that several thin layers are warmer than one thick one. We recommend that you wear a wind-jacket. A special riding poncho for rain occasions, large enough to protect the saddle, is provided with the equipment. Silk or thin thermal underwear (or a close-fitting polo shirt/long sleeved T shirt and leggings) is a good idea if you feel the cold; it’s also useful for sleeping.

Please also remember to take a good waterproof jacket. Space for luggage during the ride will be strictly limited – please only bring essentials!

 

Important Notes

  • It is also important to consider that once the trip starts until the end at Puerto Varas, you will have no access to a money exchange office. Therefore, we recommend changing your money into Argentinian and Chilean pesos in Buenos Aires or in Bariloche.
  • You will have the opportunity to do your personal laundry in places where we will spend more than one night.
  • In January, “tábanos” (horseflies) hatch in Patagonia; they are harmless but very annoying. Dark colours, mainly blue and black, attract them. We recommend that you wear soft colours like white, rose, light blue, light green, yellow, etc. Please keep it in mind when choosing your garments for the trip.
  • When the horseflies disappear, a wasp species called “chaquetas amarillas” (yellow jackets) appears. If you are allergic to wasp stings, we suggest you to take the treatment required with you and warn us so that we can help in the case of an emergency with adequate medicine.

 

What type of horses do you use?

 

Argentine Creole and Chilean horses                                                             

The Argentine Creole breed descends from the Spanish horses introduced by the conquistadors in the XVI century. Since then, this specimen survived extraordinary conditions and became stronger. They are resistant and adapt perfectly to the environment. In addition to these qualities, we must add their great patience, their adaptability and docility. They have a short and large head, a sharp muzzle, a beefy neck, a large chest, powerful flanks and short and strong legs that make the Creole especially suitable to the hilly countryside. Horses are of a saddle horse variety; balanced and smooth, well muscled and well built, with a low gravity centre, steadfast, agile and fast in movement. This horse is known for its longevity, its physical resilience and its incredible capacity of recovery. The mount is specially designed to be adapted to an “endurance” saddle for long rides. Very useful to saddle and unsaddle. They are large and comfortable for horseback riding.

The Chilean horse is descended from horses brought by Spanish to South America during the colonisation. In every country horses managed to adapt and improve depending on the geography and uses. This animal has roots in Arabian and British horses. Like many other Creole breeds across Latin America, the Chilean Creole is medium size but extremely strong. Sturdy and fast, this horse has tremendous willpower, it is reliable and docile. Walking with a firm step, it is a kind of horse that is ready to respond to demanding situations when required. It also has its proper racial characteristics combining with its saddle abilities and its robustness. Our horses are born and bred in the region so that they are perfectly familiar with the trails. The saddle is a light wooden frame composed of a metal structure with two cantles (front and back). On the structure, there are overlapping sheep skins (pellón), which pad the saddle.

How difficult is the riding?

This expedition has few difficulties in general; the distances to be covered will be longer on some days than others. River crossings are considered as milestones in this journey and offer a range of contrasts while giving the opportunity to the rider to experience new terrain with the horses. It will also allow us to put ourselves in the “gauchos’” shoes who cross-valleys on horseback. Depending on weather conditions, some ascensions and descents as well as some hilly passages may be harder.

The route does not present great complexity but we will cross-mountain pass up to 1800 metres above sea level, as well as paths along rivers.

On days of diverse terrain, we will advance at a walking pace. We will follow the gaucho guide’s pace when riding between different estancias. The adopted pace is a long stride alternated with a sitting trot. In rain, the paths become more difficult and we might walk some stretches. Regardless of the situation, our specialised guides can always assist you at any moment of the crossing.

The itinerary might be modified due to exceptional weather circumstances.

Who guides the ride?

Great guides are the key for a successful and memorable horse ride. All of our guides are bilingual, very experienced and most of all passionate about the region and its local culture. They are qualified with WFR (Wilderness First Responder) and First Aid courses in remote areas. Regarding to our Gauchos (ARG) / Huasos (CH) or “baqueanos” (local guides), they are people that were born and live in the valley and who are used to riding horses. They will be always watchful regarding your safety, the horses, the luggage and the overall equipment. They prepare the gear, get the horses saddled and check the mount. Reliable and experienced, they are essential to safe riding.

Can I charge my battery?

From day 2 to day 5, you will not have the possibility to recharge batteries.

From day 6 and the next night, you will be able to charge your devices at night at our hosts’ houses or at the hotel.

Tour operator

This small local operator based in Chile has over 30 years of experience running horseback adventures in the region.  Passionate about nature and travel and their main goal is to offer sustainable tourism which supports 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.

Hello! If you’d like to chat about finding you the perfect adventure or guidance on what’d suit you then we’re very happy to help. Tori & Larissa 0207 097 1734 • info@anotherworldadventures.com.

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