This horse riding through northern Patagonia will take you through one of the little-known areas of the Río Puelo valley. Ride on narrow trails preserved since the first settlers, through pristine forests and clear blue lakes.
Deep in the lakes region of the Andes lies the little known Rio Puelo Valley. Still preserved as the original settlers first found it, the valley is a display of all that is gorgeous about Chile. On this group adventure, you’ll ride horseback through virtually untouched forest on narrow trails and enjoy Rio Puelo at the pace it was meant to be enjoyed. Along the way you’ll meet farmers, receive lots of curious and genuine smiles, and experience the magic of life in this tucked away valley.
- Get an impressive view of four volcanoes from Llanquihue Lake
- Explore Puerto Varas and its remaining German colonialism
- Enjoy the local cuisine in villages like Cochamo
- Ride across the Ventisqueros River – just like the locals
- Stay overnight with local families and enjoy home cooked meals
- See a South American hanging ice glacier
- Travel through an alerce or larch forest – a tree that is considered one of Earth’s oldest varieties
- When not riding, enjoy hiking, swimming, and relaxing
- Discover the ancient Valdivian forest – a very rare occurrence in Chile
The adventure begins in Puerto Varas with spectacular view of the Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes – which are located in the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park. You and the group will make your way to the Reloncaví estuary and the first fjord of the trip. On the far side of the fjord, all phone and internet connections abruptly cease and it’s just you and the natural splendour of the Andes.
In Rio Manso, you’ll meet the baqueanos team as well as the Creole horses that you’ll be riding for the duration of the trip. This trip is wonderful because you’ll really come to develop a personal relationship with your horse over these eight days.
Once on horseback, you’ll cross the beaches of the Puelo River as well as the cultivated fields of local farmers on your way to Traidor’s Trails. These are the same trails used by pioneers and they don’t disappoint. A pristine cordillera and majestic forests dominate the landscape.
As the week progresses, you’ll be able to challenge your horse riding skills with a variety of terrains. Everything from plains, forests, sand, pebble beaches, and more. Several times you’ll cross rivers on motor boat while the horse swim across to meet you. You’ll pass through almost uninhabited tributaries and see wonderful waterfalls as well.
One of the reasons we love this operator is because they rely on local baqueanos or huaso guides. Safety is always a priority and these experts are tuned in to the region, the weather, and the terrain changes. Their nose for changing weather is uncanny.
You’ll find that the trip is exciting and challenging, but not overly demanding. There are a few steep hills, many river crossings, as well as undulating terrain. The Chilean Creole horse is one of the hardiest breeds and you’ll love the process of relationship building. Each day involves anywhere from 4-7 hours of riding.
Enquire today to learn more about this horse riding in Chile adventure.
Why you'll love this adventure
- A remote horse riding trail through a stunning part of Patagonia
- Overnight stay on a remote island between Chile and Argentina
- A chance to experience real Gaucho culture
4 February 2020
11 February 2020
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’ (farms), exploring the Patagonian pampas and green forests and crossing clear rivers.
- 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.
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. Guests 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 “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 decor up for 3 or 5more guests . It is a very cozy and warm place where we will share dinner and appetizers with 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..
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.
Who is this trip for?
You will be part of an exciting adventure. 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 8 days and 7 nights. 8 days riding.
Departure / Arrival: The route starts in Puerto Montt in Chile on the shore of the Pacific Ocean across the Andes, ending in Bariloche Argentina.
LB: Lunch Box
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.
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.
The time on horseback varies from day to day: about approx. 3 hours in the morning and 3 to 4 hours in the afternoon.
The season runs from early November to late March.
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.
Opentravel and Andesluna are convinced that 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.
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.
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.
A most helpful, friendly and knowledgeable travel company!Very helpful and provided lots of research material and excellent personal perspectives on the tall ship sailing trip I was interested in taking.
Excellent thoughtful service.They were prompt and friendly, and so thorough and helpful in connecting me with my adventure.
One of a Kind Service!From the very beginning of reaching out to AWA, they were super helpful, enthusiastic and informative.
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