Estancia Huechahue riding holiday in Argentina - Far and Ride
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Estancia Huechahue, Argentina




Programmes


• Estancia Based Riding

• Pack Trips

 

Reviews



Jane & staff were wonderful - it was very enjoyable, tiring at times but not overdone in any way. The lodges were great, comfortable - the last night hotel was a bit tired. There were too many good memories to pick a favourite.

Peter B - Estancia to Estancia
Variable long rides with a mixture of long gallops and very steep trails in stunning countryside. Excellent accommodation at the ranch and the tents were also very good. Very good food (and wine) with all meat coming from the estancia.

Mark S.
One of my ambitions for ages was to cross the Andes on horseback. I looked at a couple of options but opted for this one because it started with a few days at Huechahue and they have a great reputation for good fast riding (small child in me loves that!). Well deserved reputation, those few days before and after the crossing were fantastic. Her horses are really keen and responsive and Jane is a no-messing host- it’s all about riding. I’ve been on quite a few riding holidays and the riding here blew me away. So glad I didn’t opt for the other mountain crossing option!

Sue M
I had a brilliant time at Huechahue - I found the setting absolutely stunning and the riding really showcased the best of it. The lodging and food were fantastic and it felt very warm and friendly, like being a visiting friend rather than a tourist. My room was very comfortable (and huge!). It was more luxurious than I expected. The food was fantastic - great quality and variety. I rode two horses and was glad in the end to have swapped as my second horse was a dream. They all looked very happy and healthy and the tack was great. (The guides) ...Were both lovely and friendly and always checking I was ok and comfortable. I had a great time riding out with them both. (Favourite memory?) My day herding cattle with the Gauchos. It was fantastic. In the afternoon I also went on a nice fast ride with a gaucho and we ended up having to herd some stray cattle. A long but tremendously fun day. I thought the service I received throughout was fantastic - Cathy provided excellent information and guidance and was always available to answer questions and check everything was ok with my stay. A first-rate service!

Sophia B.
Indescribably perfect! The hostess and staff were warm, friendly, funny and I felt as if I was staying with long lost relatives who were thrilled to have me there. (Favourite memory?) Definitely the time on horseback. The riding was the free-est, totally unrestricted ride I have ever experienced in countryside that only got more beautiful daily. The surprises of cave visits, condor watching, rounding up and herding both cows and horses, is something that I will always remember with a smile and a twinge of excitement.

Carol L.
 

Horses



Type of horses:

Criollo crosses, part anglo-normando

Nature of horses:

Generally sure footed and well behaved

Height of horses:

15 - 16 hh

Weight limit:

15 stone/210lbs or 95kgs

Tack type:

Traditional Argentine saddles which comprise a basic frame covered with sheepskin

 

Travel Advice



Please ensure you read the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice before you travel.
 

Ride Description

Estancia Huechahue (pronounced 'way-cha-way'!), situated in Argentine Patagonia, is an adventurous destination for the keen horse rider and nature enthusiast. This working cattle ranch is set in 15,000 acres of Patagonian Steppe and offers a rugged setting for a traditional Argentine riding holiday. Horses and cattle roam freely across the land and the gauchos work the animals in keeping with their long time customs. The estancia offers comfortable accommodation within the guest lodges and is also virtually self-sufficient in terms of food. Pork, eggs, dairy products, beef, venison and wild boar are all produced on site, as are a large variety of fruit and vegetables with bread being freshly baked each day.

The landscape here comprises of rolling hills and the narrow gorges of Andean streams. The mighty Andes rise up around you and as you explore the vastness of Patagonia, the condors and eagles soar overhead. Riders can enjoy galloping across the open water meadows or visiting the Indian burial caves with their ancient drawings. The riding is more suited to those experienced in the saddle but novices who are fit, confident and up for a challenge can survive. The seasoned rider will be delighted as there is plenty of scope for fast and challenging riding.

Jane Wood Williams has been running the estancia since 1990 and is an experienced host with a selection of around eighty Criollo crosses for guests to ride. The horses live 'wild' in the water meadows as much as possible and the large selection of mounts means that all riding abilities and confidence levels can be catered for. The gauchos keep with tradition and are fully equipped with their lassos, gaucho knives and boleros, a fascinating reminder of the strong equine culture present in Argentina.

Cathy from Far and Ride has been lucky enough to ride here and will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

There are three guest lodges just a stroll across the lawn from the main farm house. All ten double/twin rooms have ensuite bathroom and there are communal sitting areas in each cabin. All rooms have WiFi

Meals are usually served in the dining room of the main house and guests gather for drinks in front of the open fire in the dining room. There is also a function room with an open fire pit which is perfect for 'asados' and dancing if the occasion arises.

There is a laundry service available on the estancia for c.$20 per bag.

When not tucking into 'asados' (BBQs) out on the estancia or picnics by the river, you will be served delicious meals in the main dining room. Lunch and dinner are large meals in Argentina and the estancia is virtually self sufficient.

Ham and bacon from the pigs are cured in the smoke-house, eggs come from the chicken run, milk and home made yoghurt from the dairy cow and beef, venison and wild boar are all served.

Fruit juices are in abundance courtesy of the orchard and all preserves are homemade. There is a large vegetable garden and all bread is baked fresh daily.

Argentine wines have, in recent years, begun to achieve the international recognition they truly deserve and wherever possible, provincial wines are served. Beers and spirits are also served, usually accompanied by a long, lazy siesta!

A range of different dietary needs can be catered for but please notify prior to arrival. Vegetarians must be happy seeing meat prepared and cooked over the open fire.

Please note that it is traditional for meals to be eaten late in Argentina, so it could be 9pm before your evening meal is served, however, the mornings are more relaxed.

 

Activities

The estancia is a 15,000 acre working ranch so you will never be short of something to do. You can experience some traditional Argentine life by visiting a neighbouring Indian reservation or help the gauchos work the cattle; you can even learn to use a lasso.

The more adventurous amongst you might like to take part in a game of polocrosse. Wildlife lovers will marvel at condors and eagles floating above them. You can also visit Indian burial caves where ancient drawings can still be seen.

The Estancia lies on the river Alumine, perfect for swimming, fishing or even barbeques along its banks. Take a stroll to the river in the evening or spend the day rafting. Juan de los Andes is famous for fishing and the river contains good populations of wild brown and rainbow trout.

One to three pound trout are common with some three to five pounders. Fishing is mostly wet but there is some fly fishing. It is on a catch and release basis and the season runs from mid-November to mid-April. We can arrange a fishing guide for keen fishermen (at extra cost).

Golf lovers will be impressed that a spectacular and challenging Jack Nicklaus 18 hole course has recently opened in Chapelco, only 45 minutes away.

You can also take a trip to San Martin or Lanin National Park. The estancia is also ideally suited to enjoy the 'Seven Lakes Route', a natural wonder of the world.

This is all available to the non-rider and with such a huge area to explore and range of activities to enjoy, you will never be waiting for your partner to return from a ride.

This estancia is a working ranch and many of the guests are fascinated by its self sufficiency from the water driven turbine to the home grown produce. However, in amongst the hustle and bustle of daily ranch life it remains an oasis of green surrounded by orchards planted by the family.

 

Further Details

Languages: English and Spanish

Health requirements: Riders must be fit and healthy as you are a long way from decent medical facilities. There are some long hours in the saddle.

Age limit: No specific age limit but see health requirements

Tuition: No

Included: Accommodation, meals, drinks (including wine, beers and spirits), riding, English speaking guide.

Not included: Flights, transfers, insurance (essential), items of a personal nature and gratuities. Fishing in local rivers.

 

Travel Information

Aerolineas Argentinas (www.aerolineasargentinas.com.ar/home.asp) flies daily from Buenos Aires to Chapelco at San Martin de los Andes. The transfer from Chapelco to the estancia is approximately 40 minutes and costs c. $70USD each way per car (up to 4 passengers).

Both Aerolineas Argentinas and Lan Argentina (www.latam.com) run several flights a day to Bariloche approximately 2 hours away. Transfers can be organised from here at an additional cost of c. $230 USD each way per vehicle (up to four passengers).

For those who want to experience some of the vast open spaces of Argentina, a bus journey runs from Buenos Aires to the ranch - please contact us for information. Buses are also available from both Bariloche or Junin de los Andes.

Airport: Chapelco

Alternative Airport: Bariloche

 

Programmes


Estancia Based Riding



From September to April there are daily rides based on this 15,000 acre estancia in the foothills of the Andes mountains. The condors are particularly spectacular during the months of Sept, Oct, Nov, Mar, Apr. Swimming is best during Jan/Feb. There is plenty of cattle work to be done throughout the year.

You can stay for as long as you like, and arrive/depart on any day, but there is a minimum stay of 3 nights. For guests who stay for a minimum of five nights, it is also possible to add a pack trip in Lanin National Park (see separate itinerary below). 

Whilst the itinerary varies depending on the guests wishes, below is a sample of a weeks riding at the estancia:

Day 1: You will be met at Chapelco airport, San Martin de los Andes and driven to Estancia Huechahue (approximately 30 minutes). After lunch there will be an afternoon ride with a chance to familiarise yourself with the horses, the tack and the style of riding.

Day 2: A full days ride on the Estancia with an "asado" lunch. Follow the Huechahue stream through its basalt canyons, riding as fast as you want across the water-meadows. Return over the top of Chenque Hill, where the Andes rise up behind you and the vastness of Patagonia stretches out before you.

Day 3: A day spent working cattle with the gauchos. Lunch with the gauchos is strips of beef ribs threaded onto a stick and cooked over an open fire. Enjoy a siesta in the shade before the chance to separate the cows on horseback or try your hand with a lasso.

Day 4: A full days ride on the Estancia to visit the Indian burial caves. The caves were formed when the glaciers carved the valley, opening an entrance to the lava flow tunnels, which were formed during previous eras of volcanic activity. The Tehuelche Indians laid out their dead, surrounded by their weapons, and always somewhere where they could see their enemies coming. They decorated the walls with designs and although the remains have disappeared, the petroglyphs and the view are still there.

Day 5: A morning's ride to see the resident stallion with the mares and new foals, and a chance to herd horses. After a late lunch there will be an evening ride to the cliffs, where the condors and eagles nest. While you have a cocktail and the sun goes down, the condors return, they soar above and below you before settling for the night.

Day 6: A days ride through the neighbouring Indian reservation. Riding over the top of the mountains there is a chance you may see guanaco, deer, wild boar or peludos (small armadillos). Lunch beside the river with the opportunity to swim for those who wish to. Return to the estancia alongside the river with lots of birdlife to observe.

Day 7: Today's ride heads over the ridge and into town for a look around the shops. Race along the top of the ridge with huge views on both sides. Have lunch on a neighbours estancia, watched over by Lanin volcano before crossing the Chimehuin river and into Junin de los Andes.

Day 8: A farewell ride on Huechahue before transferring to the airport.



Accommodation: There are three guest lodges just a stroll across the lawn from the main farm house. All eight double/twin rooms have ensuite bathroom and there are communal sitting areas in each cabin.

Meals are usually served in the dining room of the main house and guests gather for drinks in front of the open fire in the dining room. There is also a function room with an open fire pit which is perfect for 'asados' and dancing if the occasion arises.
Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 12
Ability description: Intermediate and experienced riders will love the freedom of riding here, with the chance to long and technical canters. Novice riders are also welcomed but must be fit to cope with the number of hours in the saddle, however, you can choose not to ride one day if you wish.
Type of ride: Centre based with mainly trail rides each day
Total riding time: 5-8 hours per day
Departure dates: September - April, including Christmas but not New Year.

FULL from 15 December 2019-3 January 2020
 
Pricing: Sept 2019 - Apr 2020:

Double room : £359 (per person per night)
No single supplement if willing to share.

There is a 30% discount for children 16 years and under.

The rate includes all accommodation, food, beverages (including wine, beer and spirits) and riding with English speaking guide. Airport transfers are available at extra cost.

Access to all the fishing on the Estancia is included in this rate, but a permit is an additional c. USD 35 per day. The cost of a professional fishing guide is c. £317 per day - a guide can accompany 1 or 2 fishermen. This can include floating and wading but does not including fishing permits and equipment hire.

Price does not include flights or travel insurance.

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.



Pack Trips



If staying for a week on the Estancia based ride then you can choose to include a 3 day pack trip. This is an opportunity to visit the heart of the high Andes and experience the dramatic scenery of the Lanin National Park. Here you can enjoy riding through dense beech forests and bamboo thickets to the tops of mountains revealing breathtaking scenery.

Day 1: You will be transferred from the airport to Estancia Huechahue. After a late lunch there will be an afternoon ride, a chance to familiarise yourself with the horses, the tack and the style of riding. 

Days 2, 3 and 4: Day rides based on Huechahue, which may include the following: 

A full days ride across barren rolling hills, through narrow rocky gorges and galloping across water meadows with a picnic lunch.

A full days ride to visit Indian burial caves and see ancient petroglyphs.

A day spent working cattle with the gauchos.

You may see guanacos, deer and armadillos whilst you climb to the tops of the mesas where the mighty Andes rise up behind you and the vastness of Patagonia stretches out before you, whilst eagles and condors float high above.

Days 5, 6 and 7: An hour long road transfer takes you to Lago Huechulfquen where your guide will be waiting for you for your 3 day pack trip in Lanin National Park. The exact itinerary will depend on the time of year and weather / snow conditions. You will ride through the spectacular scenery of the southern Andes with its snow capped volcanoes, crystal clear lakes and pristine forests of southern Beech and Monkey Puzzle trees.

Nights are spent camping in carefully chosen, picturesque campsites by a lake shore or at a stream's edge. These are rides into the wilderness. Everything is carried on pack horses and the camping is simple. The terrain itself dictates a slow pace but the scenery is worth it! At the end of the trip return transport will be waiting to bring you back to Estancia Huechahue for baths, dinner and good beds!

Day 8: A farewell ride on the estancia before transferring to the airport.

NB: The exact itinerary will depend upon the time of year and weather conditions. 



Accommodation: Nights en route are spent camping in carefully chosen, picturesque campsites by a lake's shore or stream's edge, with tea brewed over the fire or a traditional 'mate'. When you arrive, there opportunities for a refreshing swim before dinner and an evening spent relaxing around the campfire. You will stay in two man tents in good quality, clean down sleeping bags. The camp staff arrange all the setting up of the camp, the cooking and care of the horses.
Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 12
Ability description: Riders must be experienced and prepared for 5-8 hours of riding per day.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 5-8 hours per day.
Departure dates: September to April, subject to availability
 
Pricing: Prices as per the Estancia based ride.

Price does not include flights or travel insurance.

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.