Argentina to Chile, Across the Andes
These rides start from Estancia Huechahue, a working estancia in the Northern Patagonian Lake District of Argentina and follow a route across the Andes, ending north east of Pucon in the Chilean Lake District at Puente Basas, about 60kms (37 miles) from Pucon. They are organised by Jane Williams, who owns Estancia Huechahue, in conjunction with experienced Chilean guides and are a wonderful way to explore the two contrasting sides of the Andes. The rides are in the true pioneering style of Patagonia; they take you across wild, open plains that lead to forests of monkey puzzle and southern beech, then into the mountains past isolated farms and remote homesteads in a region that once provided refuge to the infamous outlaws Butch and Sundance. Starting and ending at Huechahue, nights en-route are in simple camps and cabins along the way.
Riding: 5-8 hours a day over varied terrain.
Horses: Criollo cross.
Pace: moderate to fast, although varies with terrain; slower days on Chilean side
Riding ability: confident intermediate to experienced riders.
Weight limit: about 95kg (15 stone) but please contact us to discuss if you are 90kgs (14st 2lbs) or over.
Accommodation: 3 nights comfortable estancia, 6 nights simple camps/cabins.
Group size: max 12.
Season: Late November to early March
Horses: For the first part of the ride you will use horses from Huechahue - mostly Criollo (the local Argentine breed) and Anglo-Normand crosses of between 15hh and 17hh. You swap horses at the Chilean border and for the second part of the trip use horses owned by your Chilean guides. These are generally smaller, averaging 14hh to 15hh and are mainly Criollo, Chilean Horse and Chilean Horse crosses (similar to a stocky Arab!) All the horses, having been bred and trained locally for working cattle, are strong and sensible yet also extremely responsive, athletic and forward going, so a real pleasure to ride. They are ridden western style and are used to neck reining. Saddles are similar to a western or Maclellan style army saddle, with a comfortable sheepskin on top.
Hours: There is usually about 6 hours riding a day with breaks for rests and lunch though the first day may be up to 8 hours to cover the miles to the first camp site.
Pace and experience required: These rides are geared towards fairly experienced and fit riders who are relaxed and secure in the saddle at a walk, trot and fast canter in open country. Particularly on the first few days there are plenty of opportunities for long fast canters and, on some days, hours are long over quite tricky terrain.
Estancia accommodation is in twin bedded guest rooms in three lodges in the garden of the main house, each with private bathroom. On the route to the Chilean border nights are spent in two-man dome tents. On the Chilean side, two man dome tents or simple cabins are used. There are no washing facilities in camps - the clear mountain rivers and lakes are used for washing. Meals when camping are cooked by your guide/the gauchos over an open fire and are usually eaten sitting on the ground around the campfire.
|Rates 2017||Across the Andes (9 nights)
From USD 5240 (based a group of 10 riders)
Single supplement USD 875 - this is only charged if you are not prepared to share a room
Rates include - all riding, twin accommodation (single rooms for single travellers paying the supplement or otherwise only if available), meals, drinks, guides, camping equipment and transfers from / to Bariloche airport at set times on the first and last days.
Rates exclude - flights to Buenos Aires / Chapelco, personal medical insurance (compulsory), any visa fees and extras such as tips, laundry etc. Prices are quoted in US dollars. Payments to us can of course be made in pounds sterling if you wish and we can give you a sterling rate at the time of booking.
|Dates 2017||Dates on request for private groups
Itinerary in brief - Across the Andes
|Day 1||You will be met at Bariloche airport and driven to Estancia Huechahue. Lunch or tea when you arrive then meet the horses and a short afternoon ride to try them and the Argentine tack, returning to the Estancia for dinner and the night.|
|Day 2||Breakfast, then set off on a full day ride to explore the Estancia, stopping for a typical 'asado' barbecue lunch out riding. In the late afternoon return to the Estancia for dinner and the night.|
|Days 3-6||Breakfast and set out from Huechahue on the route to the Chilean border. Four day's riding across water meadows and rivers, through an Indian reservation over ridges and through dramatic rocky gorges with many chances for long fast canters. Overnight in simple camps set up on river banks.|
||Final morning ride on the Argentinian side to the base of Lanin Volcano and the Argentinian/Chilean border in a forest of Monkey Puzzle trees. Meet your Chilean guide and new horses then start the route down the western slopes of the Andes into Chile. Overnight in camp.|
||The western slopes of the Andes are much steeper than the eastern with southern beech forests covering the hillsides, thus the vegetation and scenery contrast dramatically with the country ridden through over the last few days and the riding is necessarily slower. Stop for a picnic lunch and then ride on in the afternoon to reach Puente Basas, where your Chilean hosts have been farming for generations. Dinner and overnight at Puente Basas.|
||Breakfast before transferring by car back to Estancia Huechahue in Argentina. Lunch and afternoon ride on the Estancia. Overnight Estancia Huechahue.|
||Breakfast and farewell ride before transfer to Bariloche Airport.|
|Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on tel (+44) (0)1837-82544 / 825440 for further information, detailed itineraries, dates and answers to questions.|
The meeting point for the rides is Bariloche airport and meeting / transfers will be arranged at set times on the first and last day. You need to fly to Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, then take an internal flight to Bariloche. For flights from London budget around £950 to £1050 economy return (varies with season and availability).