Argentina ~ Patagonia, Andesluna
7 and 13 night rides, October to early April, using simple farmstead, camp and lodge accommodation. Shorter stays at El Sapucai, a working farmstead, on request.
Where In northern Patagonia, from a small farmstead about 3 hours south of Bariloche.
What is it like El Sapucai is a simple, family owned farmstead nestled amongst rough open grassland in the foothills of the Alto Chubut mountains. The area is in the rain shadow of the Andes, so drier than the Chilean side, and riding routes climb the hills to elevated plains, cross rivers and lakes and follow winding paths through native forest of lenga and nire (southern beech). Its no frills, simple living, camping or staying in mountain refuges en-route.
Who does it suit Simple, authentic and welcoming this is for anyone wanting to switch off and re-connect with nature. You can ride out from the farmstead on a sure footed Criollo horse to explore or, as the nomadic Tehuelche Indians did for hundreds of years, head from camp to camp with a pack horse carrying luggage. Riders of all levels are warmly welcomed and its laid back, relaxed and friendly.
Why we love it There is little in Argentina to beat the Patagonian landscape and tuning into a more simple rhythm of life, feels completely refreshing. These rides are also great value!
Riding: 4-8 hours a day or tailored to suit
Horses: Criollo and farm bred crosses
Pace: slow to moderate
Riding ability: novice to experienced; families welcome
Weight limit: about 90kg (14st), please check if you are close to this
Accommodation: 3* camping / teepees / rustic homestead
Group size: maximum 8
Season: October to June
Price: 7 nights trails from USD 2115 (approx £1625) per person
Horses: You will be riding local Creole horses, many of them homebred, well adapted to mountain life and used to the rigours of working with cattle. The horses average 15hh, are strong, sensible, very sure footed, responsive and forward going, so great fun to ride. They are ridden Western style and are used to neck-reining. Saddles are Argentinian style, similar to a western or Maclellan style army saddle, with a comfortable sheepskin on top. On the Grand Traverse ride, you will change horses when you get to Chile. Saddlebags are provided for personal belongings and pack horses transport luggage on 'progressive' rides.
Hours: There is usually between 4 and 8 hours riding a day with breaks for rests and lunch. When based at El Sapucai, hours are flexible.
Riding Experience: Long rides are aimed at reasonably experienced, confident riders. To join them you must feel relaxed, comfortable and secure in the saddle on a well schooled horse at a walk, trot and canter. You should also be used to riding for reasonably long hours, in an open environment, on sometimes challenging terrain. There are occasional interesting river crossings which require riders to be quiet and confident in the saddle. Riders with less experience are welcome at El Sapucai, where riding can be very flexible
A range of accommodation is used. El Sapucai, a small farmhouse owned by your hosts, is the base for homestays and is also used during the place to place rides. It is rustic but reasonably comfortable, with three bedrooms in the house and two cosy yurts which provide additional bedrooms. On other nights camps are set up in the mountains or on farmland, next to the homesteads of local families. On the 13 night Grande Traverse, when in Argentina, 2 nights are in hotels, 2 nights in simple camps and 2 nights at El Sapucai; once you cross into Chile, 2 nights are in a simple lodge on the private 'Isla las Bandurrias' , 4 nights are in local farmhouses / lodges and the final night is in a small hotel. Camps use spacious walk-in 6m x 4m tents with camp beds and inflatable mattresses (usually a 3 man tent for 2 guests) and are set up for you on arrival. Meals are cooked by the 'baqueanos' (the name given to the gauchos in this part of Argentina) over an open fire and usually eaten seated around the fire.
Alto Chubut Ride (7 nights)
Alto Chubut Ride
Average temperature guide
|Itinerary in brief - Alto Chubut Ride. Please enquire for other itineraries.|
|Day 1||Arrive Bariloche airport in Argentina. Meet your guide and transfer with the group to a hotel in Bariloche, city tour if time allows. Traditional ‘asadao’ (barbecue) dinner at a local restaurant. Night at the hotel.|
|Day 2||Breakfast before driving towards the Ñirihuau area about 30 kms from Barlioche. Saddle up and set off, following La Mina river into the wilderness. A picnic lunch before continuing on to to a small outpost. The night is spent in a simple mountain refuge. 4-5 hours riding|
|Day 3||Set off riding to the pass “Paso sin Nombre”, 1,700 meters above sea level. Continue riding to reach an idyllic spot surrounded by native Southern beech forests where the night is again spent in a simple refuge close to an isolated shepherds hut. Dinner and night . 6-7 hours riding.|
|Day 4||Strike camp and descend through remote Southern beech forests. Camp and dinner on the shores of the Chubut River. 5-6 hours riding.|
|Day 5||Continue along the Chubut River valley, passing old silver and gold mines, and learning about their history when you stop for lunch in the wilderness. A few more hours riding before hot showers, dinner and a comfy bed at El Sapucai, a small farmhouse belonging to your hosts on the shores of the Chubut River. 5-6 hours riding.|
|Day 6||Set off riding in the Alto Chubut area, climbing high into the hills and stopping for a picnic lunch with wonderful views of the surrounding mountains. Return by a different route to El Sapucai for dinner and the night. 6-8 hours riding.|
|Day 7||Your last day riding, following an old track with excellent views, that takes you to Puesto Viejo. A last lunch with the gauchos and say goodbye to the horses before a 2 hour transfer back to Bariloche. Dinner in a local restaurant and night at the hotel. 5-6 hours riding.|
|Day 8||Breakfast and transfer to the airport or own arrangements for onward travel.|
The start point for these rides is Bariloche and there are regular daily flights from Buenos Aires Jorge Newbery (Aeroparque) domestic airport into San Carlos de Bariloche.
You can also fly to Puerto Montt via Santiago and take scenic bus/boat route across to Bariloche.
Or there is an extensive network of buses which are comfortable (flat bed seats), convenient and safe from Buenos Aires to Bariloche - the bus journey takes about 18 hours.
The Grand Traverse Ride takes you to Chile, so you will need to fly back from Puerto Montt airport, near the town of Puerto Varas where the ride ends. There are regular daily flights from Puerto Montt to Santiago, Chile's capital.
Again there are also luxury overnight buses - the journey by bus from Puerto Montt to Santiago takes about 14 hours.
Please call us for more flight information.