Patagonia riding holiday in Chile - Far and Ride
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Patagonia, Chile





Reviews



Good length of rides through beautiful and variable terrain, back to basics in terms of accommodation (camping), but this allowed us to access areas that could not otherwise be seen. My favourite memory was the ride through the forest to Dickson lake.

Mark S. (Glacier)
I am back in one piece and it was fantastic!! The camping was great, but I had done enough of sleeping on the ground, never the less I would do it all again. Great holiday adventure and I will look forward to the next one!!

Carol H. (Glacier)
Just to let you know that we are back from our trip with Vicki and the Patagonia Estancia ride and it was fantastic. We lucked out on weather as it has been pretty wet and cool this summer for them but we had great weather. Vicki really runs a great trip and I would highly recommend it for any adventurous rider. She and those with her met all our needs and everything went off perfectly, the horses were great and the guide (Jorge) and the gauchos were terrific. Thanks for all your help in getting this together at the last minute - we could have stayed another month!

Greg A. (Estancia)
Not for the faint-hearted! Challenging and tiring riding but worth every ounce of pain and drop of sweat. Riding like we've never experienced before, in some of the most magical and remote settings on earth. Really takes everything back to the bare essentials and you quickly realise that is the best way for it to be. Excellent company, excellent horses. Christian was the best guide - gave you a real sense of the culture and history of Chile. Was perfect to share a bottle of wine with and listen to his stories. Very competent rider and guide to boot.

Pete V.
I really enjoyed my holiday, the horses were very good, so sure footed and so easy to ride. Very comfy saddles. The scenery was spectacular. It didn't rain once, it was just windy. The trip exceeded my expectations.

Marjorie R. (Glacier)
 

Horses



Type of horses:

Chilean Criollo

Nature of horses:

Surefooted, hardy, forward going, gentle nature

Height of horses:

14 - 15 hh

Weight limit:

95 kg/ 210 lbs

Tack type:

The tack is Chilean 'huaso' and comprises of metal framed saddles onto which is layered felt, sheepskin and leather. Rope, rawhide and leather form the bridles, girths, straps etc. Most of the horses are ridden in simple snaffle bridles.

 

Weather



 

Ride Description

The Anglo Chilean family who run this fabulous riding operation have over 40 years experience working with horses, cattle and sheep at Rio Serrano. They have over 15 years working in tourism organising rides and they have a vast knowledge of Torres del Paine and the surrounding areas. The magnificently located family estancia has spectacular views of the Paine Massif. On the estancia the family raise beef cattle which are rounded up twice a year and taken to Puerto Natales for sale. Until six years ago the cattle were taken to town, some 90 kilometres away in the old fashioned way - by horseback. As the family is Anglo-Chilean they have an appreciation of local culture in addition to understanding the expectations of foreign guests and, of course, fluent in the English language.

This superb Chilean destination is suited to adventurous types, looking to ride "off the beaten track". On the Gauchos & Glacier Ride you will have the company of Chilean horsemen in addition to your guide - you ride into some remote areas where the only access is on foot or horseback.

On the Estancia Ride you will have more comfortable accommodation but still have diversity of rides across open, pampas, rides to wild glaciers and iceberg filled lakes.

The Criollo horses offer strength, willingness and honesty whether they are carrying clients or their supplies - these horses are fairly small by European standards but are extremely hardy and regularly checked for injury, lameness or fatigue (and swapped if necessary). Horses are swapped at various times throughout the trips.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

Accommodation on the Estancia Ride is comfortable, authentic, cosy and welcoming. All the estancias having been chosen for their beautiful location, great views and cultural appeal. The campsites on the Glacier Ride have been chosen with much care and they are all very different, very special and very beautiful. Some of them are wilderness sites with no 'facilities' at all.

Whether you choose to camp out in the wilderness or stay in comfort at one of the hotels or estancias you can be assured of plentiful, fresh and wholesome meals. Vegetarians can be catered for with advance notice and the diet and seeing the preparation of food can be challenging. (It should be noted that the culture in Patagonia is largely founded and based upon the farming of sheep).

Meat, especially lamb is the staple diet for most people in the area and guests are very likely to enjoy a lamb or meat asado during their trip. We respect that it may be difficult for vegetarians to travel in a very meat based culture. Although alternatives for vegetarians are available this trip may not be suitable for those who are offended by the sight of meat being prepared (as this is not easy to disguise).

On the camping trips you will enjoy evening meals of local fish, pasta, chicken, beef, lamb and local Chilean meals served with fresh salad and accompanied by Chilean wine. Breakfast usually consists of hot and cold cereals, toast, jams, marmalade, coffee tea and juice. Occasionally a cooked breakfast is served. Packed lunches are provided to guests at lunchtime and consist of sandwiches, (ham, cheese, tuna, salami), fresh fruit, chocolate biscuits and snacks. Weather permitting, guests sometimes choose to eat in a camp 'shelter' or around the camp fire although a dining tent for eating and cooking is also carried on the trip.

Meals served in the restaurant consists of lamb, beef, chicken, or salmon and are served with fresh vegetables or salad and accompanied by rice or potatoes. Wine and beer is available at a reasonable cost. Breakfasts include toast, coffee, cereal, ham/cheese, bread rolls, juice and occasionally eggs.

Meals in the estancias are fresh, home-cooked Chilean dishes.

 

Activities

As well as the amazing riding, this is an area fabulous for hiking and kayaking. There is an opportunity to take some fabulous boat rides. This is a great place for the photographer - the spectacular sunsets, the granite moniliths, the turquoise blue lakes, the condors and the guanacos and nandus which you can photograph from the back of your horse.

 

Further Details

Languages: English & Spanish

Health requirements: You must be fit and healthy.

Age limit: 12-70

Tuition: No

Included: Please see individual itineraries.

Not included: Flights or travel insurance.

 

Travel Information

Chile's International Airport is in the capital Santiago de Chile. Flight times are about 13 hours from Europe and 11 hours from the US. To get to Patagonia from Santiago, you take a domestic flight into Punta Arenas which takes three to four hours. It is possible, if you fly into Santiago in the morning, to continue with the domestic flight the same day but a stop over in this remarkable city is worthwhile.
Please contact the office for further information of how to arrive in Puerto Natales. There are buses between Punta Arenas and El Calafate going to Puerta Natales. We can also recommend accommodation in those towns.

Airport: Punta Arenas

 

Programmes


Five Day Estancia Ride



The programme is 5 days (6 nights) and will suit experienced riders wishing to combine some local flavour and comfortable accommodation on their riding adventure. It is designed for those who prefer not to camp and who enjoy some fast riding. There are some days of approximately 8 hours in the saddle. Riders will experience a first hand view of Patagonia estancia life.

The route offers plenty of diversity with rides across open pampas, rides to wild glaciers and iceberg filled lakes and peaceful rides through valleys and ancient beech forests. Throughout the long days in the saddle, the snow capped mountains are never far away.

Day One: Arrive Puerto Natales

Arrive into Puerto Natales. You will need to arrive before 4pm. Meet in the comfortable café Spacio Kau for the trip briefing. Afterwards you will take a transfer to Estancia Consuelo where you will have a 2 hour ride in the area. Afterwards transfer to Estancia Perales. Dinner will be served in the Estancia and the night will be spent in the Estancia.

2 hours riding.

Day Two: Boat to Balmaceda.

After breakfast you will say goodbye to Estancia Perales and hop on the boat which will dock especially to take you for a great ride up the Last Hope Sound. You will enter the Bernardo O'Higgins National Park. Shared by the regions of Magallanes and Aysen, this is the largest National Park in Chile and one of five of the most expansive in the world (over three million hectares). With access only via the water, the mountains or the southern ice field itself, it remains a remote and pristine corner of our planet. It also contains the third largest mass of ice on earth after Antarctica and Greenland, so the climate is understandably extreme.  You will disembark the boat there and enjoy the stunning views which combine old growth forests of evergreen and deciduous southern beech, fire bushes and cypresses - a stunning contrast to the snow capped peaks and glaciers in this region. You will meet your new horses and have some lunch before setting out on a beautiful trail through thick forests passing pristine rivers and streams in the shadow of the Chacabuco and Balmaceda range of mountains.  A fairly slow ride today gives you the opportunity to find your riding stride while enjoying the  dazzling scenery on your route into the Torres del Paine National Park. Towards the end of the trail, you will cross the Nutria river and come out onto the pampas which marks the end of today's ride, as you approach the hotel for the night, Hotel Rio Serrano. The hotel is only a few years old and offers very comfortable rooms and great views of the Paine Massif. It offers a large living/dining area with log fires and a comfortable bar and good restaurant. For early risers it also offers some of the best sunrises in all of Patagonia.

 8-9 hours riding.

Day Three:  Ride to Glacier Grey and Lake.

After breakfast you will meet the horses and prepare for the pampas ride to Grey Lake. The view will be dominated by the jagged peaks of the Paine massif as you ride out along the Grey river to the largest glacier in the park, Glacier Grey. On reaching the trail head you will tether the horses and walk out across the swinging footbridge through the forest to Grey beach. The view that greets you is memorable - the pebbly shores of the beach form an almost surreal contrast to the blue of the floating icebergs that have calved off the nearby glacier. Glacier Grey protrudes off the southern ice field and is quite simply a wonder of nature. Measuring 28 km in length and covering a total area of 270 square km with its frozen walls of blue ice towering almost 35 metres high, it never ceases to impress. After some walking along the beach and enjoying your picnic lunch you will walk back to the waiting horses for the ride back to Rio Serrano. 

For those who would like to get up closer the face of this marvel of ice, we can arrange a trip out onto the lake in the Grey II boat. This is an optional excursion available at a cost of approximately USD130 per person. You will return to the Hotel Rio Serrano for the night.

3 hours riding (with optional boat trip) otherwise 6-7 hours riding.

Day Four: Ride to Laguna Amarga

After breakfast in the hotel you will pack up and start your ride eastwards towards the heart of the park. You will now be riding directly towards the Paine Massif mountain range, the views are dramatic and beautiful. Your trail skirts the southern edge of the mountains on a rarely trodden path as you pass azure and turquoise lakes with the huge granite mountain peaks standing behind. After a picnic lunch taken in one of the pretty valleys you will continue east onto the beautiful soft pampas of the Patagonian steppe. Arriving at Laguna Amarga a private transfer will be waiting and will take you to Hotel Tres Pasos.

7-8 hours riding.

Day Five: Ride to El Puesto

After breakfast you find your horses, check your saddles and begin your last day of riding to the beautiful Laguna Figueroa where you will have great views of the mountains around you. By lunch time you will let the horses rest and you will have a nice lunch. After these lovely views you are ready to return to Hotel Tres Pasos, where you will take a transfer to Puerto Natales. Breakfast and lunch are included.

3 hours riding.

Please note that hours in the saddle are approximate and depend on the speed of the group.



Accommodation: Comfortable, authentic, cosy and welcoming estancias and lodges - all of which have been chosen for their beautiful location, great view, authenticity and cultural appeal.
Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: Strong Intermediate to advanced - this is a fast paced ride with some very long riding days. Fitness and experience are essential. Absolutely NO beginners please!
Type of ride: Trail.
Total riding time: 5 days/4 nights. 4 full days riding and a short ride on day one.
Departure dates: No scheduled dates, rides to fit in with clients requirements and subject to availability.

12-16 December 2016: Confirmed with 2 riders
 
Pricing: 2016 - 2017:

2 - 3 pax: £3278 per person
4 - 5 pax: £2966 per person
6 - 7 pax: £2810 per person
8 - 10 pax: £2576 per person

Single supplement: £383

Price does not include flights or travel insurance.




Ten Day Gauchos & Glaciers Ride



This ride will give you a great Patagonian experience from Puerto Natales in the south, crossing the Torres del Paine National Park further north and then riding southwards back towards Puerto Natales. You will experience lush green areas through to the typical dry, flat pampas, camping throughout and eating and drinking with the people whose families originate in this region. The last night will be in a rustic refugio. 

On this trail you will experience a first-hand view of Patagonian nature and life, which includes the joys. threats and difficulties posed by farming cattle and sheep in the area. The route offers plenty of diversity with rides across open pampas, rides to wild glaciers and iceberg filled lakes and peaceful rides through valleys and ancient beech forests. Throughout these long days in the saddle, the snow-capped mountains are never far away. 

Itinerary

Day One: Arrival Puerto Natales

You will arrive into Puerto Natales and in the evening you will be escorted to dinner by your guide (dinner is not included) for the trip briefing. Overnight in the comfy Hostel Amerindia. 

Day Two: Boat to Balmaceda

You will take a boat from Puerto Natales to Balmaceda. This fabulous boat trip travels up the Last Hope Sound passing cormorant nesting crags, dolphins and the Balmaceda Glacier before docking at the Serrano Glacier. You will enter the Bernordo O'Higgins National Park. Shared by the regions of Magallanes and Aysen, this is the largest National Park in Chile and one of five of the most expansive in the world (over three million hectares). With access only via the water, the mountains or the southern ice field itself, it remains a remote and pristine corner of our planet. It also contains the third largest mass of ice on earth after Antarctica and Greenland, so the climate is understandably extreme. 

You will disembark your boat here and enjoy the stunning views which combine old growth forests of evergreen and deciduous southern beech, fire bushes and cypresses - a stunning contrast to the snow capped peaks and glaciers in this region. 

After a short sodiac (RIB) ride you will meet your new horses and have some lunch before setting out on a beautiful trail through thick forests passing pristine rivers and streams in the shadow of the Chacabuco and Balmaceda range of mountains. A fairly slow ride today will give you the opportunity to find your riding stride whilst enjoying the dazzling scenery on your route into the Torres del Paine National Park. Towards the end of the trail, you will cross the Nutria river and come out onto pampas which marks the end of the days ride, as you approach your campsite for the night. The cook will be preparing your dinner so you can enjoy a glass of Pisco Sour while you wait. 

The campsite belongs to the Astorga family who were the first settlers in Rio Serrano, nearly 50 years ago. Still farming a few sheep and cattle the Astorga family still work in the traditional manner. For early risers, it also offers some of the best sunrises in all of Patagonia! All meals included with wine while camping.

8-9 hours riding.

Day Three: Ride to Grey Beach

After breakfast you will meet your horse and prepare for the pampas ride to Grey Lake. Your view will be dominated by the jagged peaks of the Paine massif as you ride out along the Grey river to the largest glacier in the park, Glacier Grey. On reaching the trailhead you will tether your horse and walk out across the swinging footbridge through the forest to Grey beach. The view that greets you is memorable - the pebbly shores of the beach form an almost surreal contrast to the blue of the floating icebergs that have calved off the nearby glacier. Glacier Grey protrudes off the southern ice field and is quite simply a wonder of nature. Measuring 28km in length and covering a total area of 270 square km with its frozen walls of blue ice towering almost 35 metres high, it never ceases to impress. 

After some time walking along the beach and enjoying your picnic lunch, you will walk back to your waiting horses for the ride back to Rio Serrano. 

* Note* For those who would like to get up closer to the face of this marvel of ice, we can arrange a trip out onto the lake in the Grey II boat. This is an optional excursion available at the most of approximately US$130 per person. 

You will return to the campsite in Rio Serrano for the night. All meals included with wine while camping.

3 hours riding (with the boat trip) otherwise 6-7 hours.

Day Four: Estancia Laguna Amarga

After breakfast you will pack up and start your ride eastwards towards the heart of the park. You will now be riding directly towards the Paine Massif mountain range so the views will be dramatic and beautiful. Your trail skirts the southern edge of the mountains on a rarely trodden path as you pass azure and turquoise lakes with the huge granite mountain peaks standing behind. 

After a picnic lunch taken in one of the pretty valleys you will continue east onto beautiful soft pampas of the Patagonian steppe. Your riding destination for the night is the Estancia Laguna Amarga which has spectacular views of the Towers of Paine. All meals included with wine while camping. 

7-8 hours riding. 

Day Five: Lago Paine

After packing up camp you will set off north on an exciting ride towards the Torres and Lago Paine. After skirting Laguna Azul you will be heading north towards Laguna Stokes where a large natural vega or pasture exists and which attracts wild criollos from the surrounding hills to graze in the summer. With luck you may get to see these horses but please note the viewing is not guaranteed. There will be many excellent photo opportunities on this route as you pass through forests, pastures and the lake where Lady Florence Dixie first camped having sighted the Towers. 

Eventually you will arrive at your remote campsite with beautiful mountain views, soft flower filled meadows and the mirror clear waters of Lago Paine close by. No showers. All meals included with wine while camping. 

5-6 hours riding. 

Day Six: Dickson Glacier

After breakfast, you will ride out to Lake and Glacier Dickson. Dickson is one of the more remote and rarely visited glaciers in the Park due to its inaccessibility but it is one of the prettiest. The ride will take you past the northerly peaks of the Paine chain where one of the peaks is topped by a black, craggy rock in the shape of a Tuhuelche Indian Face where the "headband" is decorated with snowdrifts even in summer. 

The trail then heads north passing ancient southern beech forests and scattered lakes before reaching your solitary perch and viewpoint above this beautiful lake and glacier. This will be your picnic spot for lunch - a truly memorable destination. In the afternoon you will ride back to Lago Paine. No showers. All meals included with wine while camping. 

6-7 hours riding. 

Day Seven: Estancia Tercera Barranca 

After breakfast you will say goodbye to your horse from Rio Serrano and change to a new, fresh horse from Estancia Tercera Barranca. From here you will ride from your campsite towards Laguna Azul. The trail will take you across pampas, past lakes and the River Paine. Meadows of flowers and may be foxes, upland geese, magallanic woodpeckers, hares and a plethora of flora can be seen. Riding up Sierra Masle you will have a view of the Torres del Paine Massif and eventually arrive at the beautiful Laguna Azul, where the views are breathtaking. 

After lunch you will continue, following Rio Las Chinas towards your final destination of Estancia Tercera Barranca. Typical of the estancias of the area, Estancia Tercera Barranca is a working sheep ranch situated in an enviable position on the park border offering fantastic views of the granite mountains and of the Paine Massif. With land extending for 6,454 hectares it offers quality accommodation close to Torres del Paine National Park in addition to its continuing work as a Patagonian ranch. All meals included with wine while camping. 

6 hours riding. 

Day Eight: Sierra Baguales

After breakfast you will be transferred to the remote Estancia Las Chinas. Close to the Argentinian border the Estancia is positioned deep within the Sierra Baguales, so called for the wild horses that roam in this area. This is your challenge today. You will ride into these mystical mountains where the guanacos make their strange alarm calls. The destinations is the Tetas de las Chinas, a strange rock formation high up in the mountains. It is possible that you may see the wild horses who are curious, maybe they will come over to the group and you can ride alongside these beautiful wild horses. This is not guaranteed as the horses really are wild so there is a chance of not seeing them. 

You will ride back to Estancia Las Chinas where you will enjoy tea with the hospitable couple who manage the estancia, before taking a transfer back to Estancia Tercera Barranca for dinner. All meals included with wine while camping. 

5-6 hours riding. 

Day Nine: Laguna Sofia 

After breakfast you will say goodbye to the gauchos at Estancia Tercera Barranca and the wonderful horses and take an early transfer to Laguna Sofia. Alongside this stunning lake you will be able to choose your comfy bed in the refugio before meeting your horse for the last day of riding. A full day of riding to the Gaucho hut in Vega Señoret. Along the way you will go around Laguna Sofia, bordering the Sierra Señoret, with great views of the mountains around you. Once you get to Vega Señoret you will see views of the Torres del Paine mountains one last time and Cerro Ventana (Window Hill). 

At lunchtime the horses will have a rest and you will have a nice lunch at the Gaucho hut, a small puesto located in the middle of the valley where gauchos stay during the summer time to look after their cattle. Depending on the time available, and the weather, you may go for a further hour and a half to a condor area, where you will be riding at the same altitude as they are flying. 

After these lovely views you will be ready to return to Laguna Sophia where a typical Patagonian asado dinner will be cooking and you can enjoy your final night with the group under the stars drinking vino tinto from a typical bota (a leather pouch used to carry wine). All meals included with wine while camping. 

6-7 hours riding.

Day Ten: Departure

You will be transferred to Puerto Natales for your onward journey. 

During long days riders will be asked not to ride their horses overly hard. Riders are expected to treat the horses as though they were their own. 



Accommodation: The accommodation is camping. Most campsites have facilities although these are usually basic. The last night is in a very comfortable refugio.
Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: Intermediate to advanced. This trip has some fast sections and some technical sections and some long riding days. Fitness and experience are essential.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 8 days of riding
Departure dates: 2016/17:
2-11 October, 2-11 November, 2-11 December, 2-11 January, 2-11 February, 2-11 March.
 
Pricing: 2016 - 2017:

2 pax: £4371 per person
3 - 5 pax: £3903 per person
6 - 7 pax: £3747 per person
8 - 10 pax: £3435 per person

Single supplement: £390

Price includes accommodation (mostly camping), meals, wine with meals while camping and 8 days of riding with an experienced guide.

Flights and travel insurance are not included.



Five Day Gauchos & Glaciers Ride



You will experience the lush green areas through to the typical dry, flat pampas, camping throughout and eating and drinking with the people whose families originate in this region. The last night will be in a rustic refugio. 

On this trail you will experience a first-hand view of Patagonian nature and life, which includes the joys, threats and difficulties posed by farming cattle and sheep in the area. The route offers plenty of diversity with rides across open pampas, rides to wild glaciers and iceberg filled lakes and peaceful rides through valleys and ancient beech forests. Throughout these long days in the saddle, the snow-capped mountains are never far away. 

Itinerary

Day One: Arrival Puerto Natales

You will arrive into Puerto Natales and in the evening you will be escorted to dinner by your guide (dinner is not included) for the trip briefing. Overnight in the comfy Hostel Amerindia. 

Day Two: Boat to Balmaceda

You will take a boat from Puerto Natales to Balmaceda. This fabulous boat trip travels up the Last Hope Sound passing cormorant nesting crags, dolphins and the Balmaceda Glacier before docking at the Serrano Glacier. You will enter the Bernordo O'Higgins National Park. Shared by the regions of Magallanes and Aysen, this is the largest National Park in Chile and one of five of the most expansive in the world (over three million hectares). With access only via the water, the mountains or the southern ice field itself, it remains a remote and pristine corner of our planet. It also contains the third largest mass of ice on earth after Antarctica and Greenland, so the climate is understandably extreme. 

You will disembark your boat here and enjoy the stunning views which combine old growth forests of evergreen and deciduous southern beech, fire bushes and cypresses - a stunning contrast to the snow capped peaks and glaciers in this region. 

After a short ride you will meet your new horses and have some lunch before setting out on a beautiful trail through thick forests passing pristine rivers and streams in the shadow of the Chacabuco and Balmaceda range of mountains. A fairly slow ride today will give you the opportunity to find your riding stride whilst enjoying the dazzling scenery on your route into the Torres del Paine National Park. Towards the end of the trail, you will cross the Nutria river and come out onto pampas which marks the end of the days ride, as you approach your campsite for the night. The cook will be preparing your dinner so you can enjoy a glass of Pisco Sour while you wait. 

The campsite belongs to the Astorga family who were the first settlers in Rio Serrano, nearly 50 years ago. Still farming a few sheep and cattle the Astorga family still work in the traditional manner. For early risers, it also offers some of the best sunrises in all of Patagonia! All meals included with wine while camping.

8-9 hours riding.

Day Three: Ride to Glacier Grey Beach

After breakfast you will meet your horse and prepare for the pampas ride to Grey Lake. Your view will be dominated by the jagged peaks of the Paine massif as you ride out along the Grey river to the largest glacier in the park, Glacier Grey. On reaching the trailhead you will tether your horse and walk out across the swinging footbridge through the forest to Grey beach. The view that greets you is memorable - the pebbly shores of the beach form an almost surreal contrast to the blue of the floating icebergs that have calved off the nearby glacier. Glacier Grey protrudes off the southern ice field and is quite simply a wonder of nature. Measuring 28km in length and covering a total area of 270 square km with its frozen walls of blue ice towering almost 35 metres high, it never ceases to impress. 

After some time walking along the beach and enjoying your picnic lunch, you will walk back to your waiting horses for the ride back to Rio Serrano. 

* Note* For those who would like to get up closer to the face of this marvel of ice, we can arrange a trip out onto the lake in the Grey II boat. This is an optional excursion available at the most of approximately US$130 per person. 

You will return to the campsite in Rio Serrano for the night. All meals included with wine while camping.

3 hours riding (with optional boat trip) otherwise 5-6 hours.

Day Four: Estancia Laguna Amarga

After breakfast you will pack up and start your ride eastwards towards the heart of the park. You will now be riding directly towards the Paine Massif mountain range so the views will be dramatic and beautiful. Your trail skirts the southern edge of the mountains on a rarely trodden path as you pass azure and turquoise lakes with the huge granite mountain peaks standing behind. 

After a picnic lunch taken in one of the pretty valleys you will continue east onto beautiful soft pampas of the Patagonian steppe. Your riding destination is Estancia Laguna Amarga which has spectacular views of the Towers of Paine. From here you will take a private transfer to the beautiful Laguna Sofia. Weather permitting you will dine outside with a typical Patagonian-style asado. Overnight in the comfortable refugio. All meals included with wine. 

7-8 hours riding. 

Day Five: Laguna Sofia 

Today you will saddle up your horse and finish your tour with a fabulous ride in the mountains, hopefully with close-up views of the condors that sour at the same level that you will be riding. Your lunch will be taken high up with views of the Torres del Paine which you will say goodbye to from this vantage point before heading back to Laguna Sofia. Here you will collect your things and take a private transfer to Puerto Natales, where the tour ends.

5-6 hours riding

During long days riders will be asked not to ride their horses overly hard. Riders are expected to treat the horses as though they were their own. The hours in the saddle are approximate and depend on the speed of the group.



Accommodation: Accommodation is a mixture of hostel, camping and refugio. Most campsites have facilities although these are usually basic. The first night is in Hostel Amerindia and the last night is in a very comfortable refugio.
Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: Intermediate to advanced. This trip has some fast sections and some technical sections and some long riding days. Fitness and experience are essential.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 4 days of riding
Departure dates: No scheduled dates, rides to fit in with clients requirements and subject to availability.
 
Pricing: 2016 - 2017:

2 pax: £2576 per person
3 pax: £2341 per person
4 - 5 pax: £2107 per person
6 - 10 pax: £1951 per person

Single supplement: £215

Price includes accommodation, meals, wine with meals while camping and 4 days of riding with an experienced guide.

Flights and travel insurance are not included.



Ten Day Estancia Ride



The trip is suitable for experienced riders wishing to combine some local flavour and comfortable accommmodation with their riding adventure. It is designed for those who prefer not to camp and who enjoy and mixture of riding, from technical to some fast riding. There are some days of over eight hours or more in the saddle.

During long days riders will be asked not to ride their horses overly hard. They strive to be a humane company and keep their horses fairly treated. The holiday is a joint experience of the place and the riding. You will be expected to treat your horse as if it was your own at all times.

Riders will experience a first hand view of Patagonia estancia life which include the joys, threats and difficulties posed by farming cattle and sheep in the area. The route offers plenty of diversity with rides across open pampas, rides to wild glaciers and iceberg filled lakes and peaceful rides through valleys and ancient beech forests. Throughout these long days in the saddle the snow capped mountains are never far away.

Itinerary

Day One: Arrive Puerto Natales

Arrive into Puerto Natales today and in the evening you will be escorted to dinner by your guide (dinner not included) for the trip briefing. Tonight you will stay in Hotel If.

Day Two: Transfer to Consuelo

In the morning you will leave your luggage, taking only enough for one night's stay and take a transfer of approximately 20 minutes to Puerto Consuelo where you will have your first encounter with Criollo horses. This estancia is still the home of the Eberhard family who have much history in Magallanes. From this lovely estancia you will ride along the fjord. The ride cannot arrive right at the doorstep, so you will have a ten minute transfer to reach Estancia Perales, the neighbouring estancia. Guests will enjoy a welcoming meal and be able to relax next to the waters of Last Hope Sound. Your night will be spent at an estancia.

5-6 hour riding

Day Three: Boat to Balmaceda

After breakfast you will stay goodbye to Estancia Perales and hop on the boat which will dock especially to take you for a great ride up the Last Hope Sound. You will enter the Bernordo O'Higgins National Park. Shared by the regions of Magallanes and Aysen this is the largest National Park in Chile and one of five of the most expansive in the world (over three million hectares). With access only via the water, the mountains of the southern ice field itself remain a remote and pristine corner of our planet. It also contains the largest mass of ice on earth after Antarctica and Greenland so the climate is understandably extreme. You will disembark the boat here and enjoy the stunning views which combines old growth forests of evergreen and deciduous southern beech, fire bushes and cypresses - a stunning contrast to the snow capped peaks and glaciers in this region.

You will meet your new horses and have some lunch before setting out on a beautiful trail though thick forests passing pristine rivers and streams in the shadow of the Chacabuco and Malmaceda range of mountains. A fairly slow ride today gives us the opportunity to find our riding stride while enjoying the dazzling scenery on our route into the Torres del Paine National Park. Towards the end of the trail, you will cross the Nutria river and come out onto the pampas which marks the end of today's ride as you approach your hotel for the night the Hotel Rio Serrano.  This hotel is only a few years old and offers very  comfortable rooms and great views of the Paine Massif. A large living/dinging area with log fire and a comfortable bar and good restaurant. For early risers it also offers some of the best sunrises in all of Patagonia. All meals are included but not wine or drinks.

8-9 hours riding.

Day Four: Ride to Glacier Grey & Lake

After breakfast you will be meeting your horses and preparing for the pampas ride to Grey Lake. The view will be dominated by the jagged peaks of the Paine Massif as you ride out along the Grey ridge to the largest glacier in the park Glacier Grey. On reaching the trailhead you will tether your horses and walk out across the swinging foot bridge through the forest to Grey beach. The view that greets you is memorable - the pebbly shores of the beach form an almost surreal contrast to the blue of the floating icebergs that have calved off the nearby glacier. Clacier Grey protrudes off the southern ice field and is quite simply a  wonder of nature. Measuring 28 km in length and covering a total area of 270 square km with its frozen walls of blue ice towering almost 35 metres high, it never ceased to impress. After some time walking along the beach and enjoying your picnic lunch you will walk back to the waiting horses for the ride back to Rio Serrano. You will return to the Hotel Serrano for the night. All meals are included but not wine and drinks.

3 hours riding (with optional boat trip) otherwise 6-7 hours.

Note for those who would like to get up closer to the face of this marvel of ice, we can arrange a trip out onto the lake in the Grey II boat. This is an optional excursion available at the cost of approximately US$130 per person.

Day Five: Ride to Laguna Amarga

After breakfast in the hotel you will pack up and start our ride eastwards towards the heart of the park. You will now be riding directly towards the Paine Massif mountain range; the views are dramatic and beautiful. Your trail skirts the southern edge of the mountains on a rarely trodden path as you pass azure and turquoise lakes with the huge granite mountain peaks standing behind. After a picnic lunch taken in one of the pretty valleys you will continue east onto the beautiful soft pampas of the Patagonian steppe. Here you will have a chance for some cantering as the light fades and the shadows lengthen until you arrive at Laguna Amarga where you will take a transfer the last few kilometres to the intimate and authentic Estancia Tercera Barranca.

Typical of the estancias of the area, Estancia Tercera Barranca is a working sheep ranch situated in an enviable position on the park border offering fantastic views of the granite mountains and of the Paine Massif. With land extending to 6,454 hectares it offers quality accommodation close to Torres del Paine National Park in addition to its continuing work as a Patagonian ranch. Sleeping just 21 guests in 7 rooms, the ranch house has a lovely intimate feel. There is a comfortable living area warmed by the welcoming log fire where you can read and relax before dinner which is served in the adjacent wooden quincho. A hot tub also awaits to soak away any aches! All rooms have private bathrooms.

7-8  hours riding

Day Six: Ride out to Laguna Azul

Todays' ride takes you west toward the peaks of Torres del Paine as you approach the stunning deep blue waters of Laguna Azul framed by the Towers themselves. You ride through native forests and grassy flower filled meadows as you follow the route around this beautiful lake with its stunning mountain backdrop. You then head south crossing  the area known as Canadon Acho with Vega Nandu normally inhabited by large breeding groups of both guanaco and rhea. This is a great area for spotting and photographing wildlife. You then ride onto the south before dismounting and walking out to the beautiful Cascada Paine a very pretty waterfall where glacial water thunders over the rocks in its journey through the park. You will ride past Estancia Laguna Amarga and the salt encrusted shores of Laguna Amarga (Bitter Lake) with its emerald green waters acting as a mirror to the surrounding mountains which reflect in its surface. Continuing on a different  route to our home for a second night at Estancia Tercera Barranca where you will spend the night. Meals included but not wine and drinks.

5-6 hours riding

Day Seven: Drive to Baguales

Today you will hop into the van and for the drive that takes you literally to the end of the road know as Route 9 to a mystical area known as La Cumbre (The Summit) at a height of 850 m. Our destination is Estancia Las Chinas situated in the heart of Sierra Baguales, a wild mountain chain that extends from the north eastern limits of Torres del Paine penetrating the border with Argentina. The name of the mountains Baguales translates to mean domesticated animal gone wild, such as a cow, bull or in this case horses. Its distinctive peaks of basalt are cathedral like in their forms. The area is also famous for its marine and land fossils which document the passing of geological eras. Here you will meet your new horses for the day and ride out into these grand peaks climbing up high toward the Tetas Las Chinas where, with luck, you will spot the famous wild horse herds of Sierra Baguales. After a few hours riding, you will return to the estancia house for tea with our charming hosts before driving back to Estancia Tercera Barranca for dinner and your comfortable beds. All meals included except wine and drinks.

5-6 hours riding.

Day Eight: Ride to Rio Negro

Today after breakfast, riders will once again be saddling up for a full day’s ride. This time, you will be heading south to your meeting point at Río Negro. This is a beautiful open ride across grassy meadows and welcoming pampas. Riding south with the dramatic Paine mountains to your right enables you to fully appreciate the distances that the original pioneers encountered and which the estancieros still encounter to this day. There will also be opportunities for lots of canters on your responsive and comfortable horses.

With the wind in your hair and a smile on your face you will experience the sheer joy that is riding in Patagonia! During late afternoon after a leisurely picnic lunch and an afternoon’s riding you will see the welcome sight of the van come into view. Here you will say goodbye to your trusty steeds and jump in the van for a transfer to Tres Pasos. (Approximately 30 minutes).

The country house is a place where you will feel warm and comfortable. The huge roaring fire and big soft sofas will invite you to relax and reflect on your holiday experiences so far.

6-7 hours riding.

Day Nine: Ride to El Puesto

After breakfast you find your horses, check your saddles and begin your last, full day of riding to the Condor viewpoint. Along the way you go around Laguna Figueroa, with great views of the mountains around you. Once you get to the end of Laguna Figueroa you will climb up the opposing valley where you will see views of the Torres del Paine mountains one last time.

By lunch time you will let the horses rest and have a nice picnic in the middle of the valley where you should be able to see condors soaring at the same altitude. After these lovely views you are ready to return to Tres Pasos where a typical Patagonian asado dinner will be cooking and you can enjoy our last night together.

6-7 hours riding.

Day Ten: Transfer

Private transfer to Puerto Natales. Breakfast included.



Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: Intermediate to advanced. Must be fit and experienced. Definitely no beginners.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 10 days/9 nights - 8 full days riding
Departure dates: 2016/17:
19-28 October, 19-28 November (FULL), 19-28 December (CONFIRMED), 19-28 January, 19-28 February, 19-28 March

19th - 28th of each month from October 2016 - March 2017.
 
Pricing: 2016 - 2017:

2 - 3 pax: £5074 per person
4 - 5 pax: £4684 per person
6 - 8 pax: £4215 per person
6-8 pax: £4059 per person

Single supplement: £773