Day 1 - Arrival
Riding: No riding.
Arrive at Mendoza's Plumerillo airport and transfer into the city. The afternoon is free for you to relax or explore. In the evening you'll visit a Folklore and Tango Show in one of the best Dinner Theatres in Mendoza.
Day 2 - Mendoza - Las Hornillas
Riding: No riding.
An early departure by vehicle from Mendoza (750m) to Las Hornillas (2100m), which is a journey of 348km and approximately 7 hours. Along the way, you'll see Potrerillos, Uspallata Valley, Pampa del Leoncito and the town of Barreal where you'll stop for lunch. Eventually, you reach Las Hornillas at the foot of the Andes, in Alvarez Condarco, province of San Juan. Your muleteers will be waiting with the horses and pack mules. You'll have time to meet the horses and your companion for the journey but won't be riding today.
After a delicious Criollo-style dinner you'll spend your first-night camping.
Day 3 - Las Hornillas - Manantiales
Riding: 5 - 6 hours
Early in the morning, you'll set off on your first day of riding. Cross the Aldeco river and head into the black pampa until reaching the plains of Manantiales at 3000m. Here you camp beside a stream.
Riding distance: 17km
Day 4 - Manantiales - Paso Espinacitio - Vega Larga
Riding: 9 hours
After breakfast you descend towards Las Lenas river, passing Penon de San Martin.
Today is the most intense leg of the expedition. You'll ride alongside the Las Lenas river gorge and the path will become increasingly rocky. You'll cross the river several times before climbing the spectacular Paso del Espinacito (mountain pass) at 4500m. The panoramic views include Mt Aconcagua and the immensity of the mountain range bordering Chile.
Descend into a valley where you ride across Vegas de Yeso to reach your camp at Vega Larga (3000m).
Riding distance: 31km
Day 5 - Vega Larga - Valle Hermoso
Riding: 8 hours
Set off riding across the Yeso hills until reaching the stunning Valle de Los Patos (Valley of the Ducks), passing by the Argentine Gendarmerie's "Ingeniero Sardinas" shelter.
Continue riding across the plains towards Valle Hermoso where you set up camp to spend two nights (2900m). During today's ride the highest mountain in the Americas, Mt Aconcagua (6962m) should be visible at all times. You'll also see the peak of Cerro La Mesa with its vast glacier at the top.
Riding distance: 22km
Day 6 - Rest day at Valle Hermoso
Riding: No riding.
Enjoy the sunrise as you are in no rush this morning and can enjoy a leisurely breakfast.
You can go fishing in the afternoon, the gauchos will teach you how to throw boleadoras (bolas) and you can go for a walk and take photos of the amazing surroundings. Unlike on the riding days, you'll enjoy a hearty lunch instead of a light meal as you don't need to ride in the afternoon. In the evening there'll be a typical gaucho Asado (BBQ).
Day 7 - Valle Hermoso - Argentina/Chile border - Vegas del Cienago
Riding: 6 - 7 hours
Set off riding west to reach the border with Chile at 1 pm (3518m). There you can visit a memorial that commemorates San Martin's heroic crossing and you can see the boundary marker between the two countries.
You will say farewell to your Paso horses and their gauchos before meeting your new Chilean Criollo horses and muleteers on the other side. Due to phytosanitary restrictions, it is not possible to ride into Chile on horses from another country.
After a snack and drink, you ride along the Rocin river to reach the Carabineros outpost at Vegas del Vienago (2700m). Here you complete passport formalities with the Chilean border control before continuing to ride for a further hour. Your camp at Lagunitas will be waiting for you with a delicious dinner.
Riding distance: 27km
Day 8 - Vegas del Cienago - La Colorada - Maiten Bonito
Riding: 7 hours
Early breakfast before you continue your journey alongside the Rocin river. After leaving the Lagunitas sector you will cross the river twice to reach the pass of La Colorado (3500m). From here you have magnificent views of the Andes mountains, the Coastal Range and the central valleys.
After a rest for you and your horses, you follow the Chalaco river downstream where you'll find typical vegetation of the high Andes with thorny bushes, goat horn and the colourful 'yareta'.
At about 5 pm you'll arrive at Maiten Bonito (2200m) where you'll camp and enjoy another dinner around the fire.
Riding distance: 28km
Day 9 - Maiten Bonito - Los Patos - Santiago
Riding: 6 hours
After a final breakfast in the Andes, you will mount up to continue descending alongside the Chalaco river until reaching Los Patos (1100m). During this morning you will start to see taller trees and the vegetation will become more verdant and lush. At Los Patos, the Chilean police will check your documents and baggage before you say a fond farewell to your horses. Transfer by road to Santiago (c. 2 hours) and check in to your hotel - you're sure to enjoy the hot shower!
Riding distance: 18km
Day 10 - Departure
Riding: No riding.
After a relaxing and slow breakfast at your hotel, where you can recount your adventure, you are transferred to the airport for your flight home.
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.