Tierra del Fuego riding holiday in Argentina - Far and Ride
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Tierra del Fuego, Argentina




Programme


• Mitre Peninsula Expedition

 

Reviews



Spent ten beyond wonderful days in Mitre peninsula. Riding along the coast line with Fuegian wilderness on one side and the huge blue Atlantic ocean on other - truly makes you feel you've come to the end of the earth. The entire trip was well organised. Horses were treated with kindness and were a pleasure to ride. Vegetarian catering was delicious. Guides Adolfo and Natalia were amazing: so passionate about conserving Mitre peninsula and just fun to be with. Could not have wanted for anything more from this ride. I would recommend this ride for wilderness and wildlife lovers who have a tiny bit of adventurous spirit. You will not regret going on this trip, it's worth every penny. (2018)

Piia S.
 

Horses



Type of horses:

Argentine Criollo

Nature of horses:

Calm, brave and hardy.

Height of horses:

c. 15.2hh

Weight limit:

100kg / 220 lbs / 15.7 stone

Tack type:

Typical Argentine "cangalla" saddles which comprise a basic frame covered with a sheepskin for comfort. Small saddle bags are provided.

 

Travel Advice



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

Ride Description

Tierra del Fuego (translated as Land of Fire) is located at the southernmost tip of South America. The archipelago consists of the main island - Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego and a group of smaller islands, including Cape Horn. The island is divided between Chile and Argentina, with Argentina occupying the eastern half and Chile the western half together with the islands south of the Beagle Channel. Our adventurous new ride is situated on the Mitre Peninsula which is the most eastern point of the main island. This is the End of the World, with only Antarctica further south.

Leaving civilisation behind, horses are the most traditional mode of transport and allow you to share the same experiences as the heroic explorers of Patagonia. Follow in their footsteps and marvel at landscapes which are largely unchanged and still wild and natural. Your journey is dictated by the tides of the Atlantic Ocean and you may be picking your way around jagged coasts or cantering down endless deserted beaches. Your Criollo horses are extremely sure-footed and adapted to the terrain - they can pick their way safely through peatfields and then quicken along the sandy beaches. Whilst small of stature, they are certainly large of heart.

The wildlife is diverse - numerous sea birds and impressive condors, penguins, seals and sea lions, herds of guanacos and wild horses. You may discover the skeletons of whales washed ashore alongside shipwrecks of those who dared to challenge the dangerous waters. There are the remains of shelters abandoned long ago, and traces of native Indians which once lived in the area.

Due to the remoteness of this fascinating and rarely visited corner of the globe, the only accommodation option is camping, and all your belongings are carried on pack horses. The weather can also pose a challenge and so this is a ride for adventurous souls who wish to experience the harsh beauty of this region.

Your guides are all certified as SAN-WFR (Socorrismo para Ambientes Naturales - Wilderness First Responder). They have been running rides in this area for more than 26 years and are passionate about their horses as well as preservation of their landscapes and wildlife.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

For the first and last night in Ushuaia you stay in a hotel.

Once on the ride you will most likely camp, sleeping in tents which are set up near to remote shelters. The tents are provided but you need to bring your own sleeping bags.
Sometimes it is possible to sleep inside these gaucho huts (at La Chaira and Policarpo) - they are very basic with no electricity or running water and simple wooden bunks, but they can provide shelter if the weather is not great. The shelters at Rio Bueno and Bahia Thetis are smaller and sleeping inside is dependent on group size.

Your belongings are carried by pack horses and appropriate saddle packs are provided. In bad weather you can dry clothes in the shelters and dine in there too, but in good weather there will be a fire outside to sit around.

All meals are included whilst on the ride and your guides try to give you an insight into gaucho culture, so traditional Argentine food will be served. All food has to be carried on the pack horses and there are no options to stock up along the route, and so there is no choice - but there is always plenty of food and you will not go hungry.

Breakfast could include tortas fritas (traditional estancia breads) with cheese, dulce de leche or jams. There is always coffee, tea and yerba mate on offer too.

Lunch could be empanadas or some picnic snacks carried in your saddlebags. Tea, coffee and yerba mate are offered too.

Dinner is often an asado (traditional BBQ), beef steaks or perhaps guiso, which is a traditional meal with beef, vegetables, salsa and pasta. Soups may also be served. Wine is available with dinner - approximately two glasses per person per dinner.

Vegetarians can be accommodated with advance notice, but other special diets could be challenging on this trail. Please enquire.

 

Activities

This is a riding tour and not suitable for non-riders - even your belongings and camping equipment are carried on horseback.

There are many interesting sights along the way, however. Shipwrecks from many ages lie on the shores and there are artefacts from ancient Indian colonies to discover. In the middle of the trail there is an optional 7 hour hike to a remote lighthouse as well as a rest day with some shorter hikes and a chance to observe the numerous wildlife and birds.

 

Further Details

Languages: English and Spanish

Health requirements: Nothing specific, but this is a very remote area and so general good health and fitness is imperative.

Age limit: No specific age limit, but children would have to be capable of riding for 6-7 hours per day and used to camping, with a spirit of adventure.

Tuition: No

Included: Accommodation (hotel for 1st and last night; tents whilst on the ride), all meals and drinks on the ride, saddlebags for luggage, pack horses, airport transfers, riding

Not included: Flights, insurance, sleeping bags, tips, meals in Ushuaia

 

Travel Information

There are no direct flights to Ushuaia from the UK and so you will have to change at least once. Most flights will route through Buenos Aires, although it is also possible to arrive from Chile.

Transfers are included from the airport to your hotel in Ushuaia.

Airport: Ushuaia

 

Programme


Mitre Peninsula Expedition



Ride to the End of the World on this expedition to the south-eastern tip of Tierra del Fuego. Explore this remote and wild landscape with pack horses and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife both on land and in the ocean. This is a trail for riders with an adventurous spirit.

Day One: Arrival

On arrival at Ushuaia airport you will be collected and transferred to a hotel in Ushuaia. In the late afternoon/evening there will be a ride briefing with the guide where you will be given your saddle bags for your belongings during the ride. This will be an opportunity to ask any final questions you may have.

Day Two: Ushuaia - Estancia Maria Luisa - La Chaira

After breakfast you are transferred by car 230km to the starting point of the ride - Estancia Maria Luisa - a typical Patagonia cattle breeding farm. Your route takes you through some of the most iconic landscapes of Tierra del Fuego including the Garibaldi Pass and past Lake Fagnano. At the estancia you are introduced to your horses and after loading the pack horses you set off on your adventure. 

The first day of riding is an easy one to allow you to get to know your horse and the equipment. You ride through some grassy hills to the first river crossing, where you take advantage of a low tide. River Irigoyen is world famous for being home to large trout. You then ride along a long beach to reach Puesto La Chaira - your first shelter on Estancia Policarpo. Your tents are set up outside the shelter and this place is the last spot where you may meet other gauchos - for the rest of the ride you will only meet wildlife!

Day Three: La Chaira - Rio Bueno

After breakfast you leave all traces of civilisation behind to discover the wilder side of Tierra del Fuego. You will pass several shipwrecks such as the "Barca" - an old wooden boat which has been buried in the sand for centuries. There are also many abandoned shelters - some having been built from the remains of shipwrecks. You may spot curious foxes, herds of guanaco, majestic condors, beavers and many birds - or if you're very lucky, marine mammals or penguins. Traces of the native Haush Indians can also be found. 

After passing the Leticia river you follow a trail which will mainly be along the beach if tides allow. Your destination is Puesto Rio Bueno where you spend the evening beside a fire whilst listening to the sounds of the ocean.

Day Four: Rio Bueno - Estancia Policarpo

Today you will cross two rivers - Rio Bueno and Rio Policarpo - en-route to the remains of Estancia Policarpo which has been declared a National Historical Monument. The terrain is similar to yesterday with the addition of peatlands where your horses will amaze you with their skills in finding their way through safely. You may meet herds of wild horses, colonies of sea lions or possibly some solitary king penguins. You will also visit the most famous shipwreck on the Mitre Peninsula - the British Clipper "Duchess of Albany".

Upon reaching a wide hill you will be able to see Caleta Falsa bay - your destination. The centre of the bay used to the heart of Estancia Policarpo which was established at the beginning of the 20th century and abandoned in the 1960's. Traces of history can be found around every corner - sprockets, saws and various tools. Nature is taking back the landscape, creating nostalgic views for your sunset.

Day Five: Estancia Policarpo - Thetis Bay

Depart Caleta Falsa bay passing several beaches. At Laguna Centenario you will see an incredibly varied collection of birds including cormorants, southern crested caracaras and the two emperors of the skies - black browed albatrosses and andean condors. You'll pass a sea lion colony, and depending on the season, you may see them with their pups. 

Leave the beaches behind and ride inland through the Fueguino peatlands. In good weather you can see the mythical and inaccessible State Island with the San Juan de Salvamento lighthouse - famously described in Jules Verne's book "The Lighthouse at the End of the World". The peatland (turba) is more boggy here and you have to dismount on several occasions and cross sections on foot. Finally you reach Bahia Thetis where an abandoned factory (loberia) remains where once sea lions were hunted for their skins and fat. There is also another interesting historical feature here - the former Argentina Subprefectura (1889-1896) - a military detachment and rescue shelter for shipwreck survivors. 

Day Six: Thetis Bay - Cape San Diego (optional hike)

Due to the impressive landscape and historical significance of this area, you remain for three nights. Today, an optional hike is offered to the Cape San Diego Lighthouse, on the furthest east end of Tierra del Fuego. The hike takes c. 7 hours (round trip) and is mostly on flat paths, but you would need good trekking shoes. 

You follow the coast and then cross the channel leading to the inner bay - this area is mostly peatlands where you may see guanacos close-up. At Cape San Diego you can enjoy an exceptional 360 degree view of the South Atlantic Ocean, Strait of Le Maire, Staten Island and entrance to the Beagle Channel. You can explore the old lighthouse and have lunch in these spectacular surroundings - there is a seal colony nearby too. In the afternoon you return through this iconic Patagonian landscape, with the typical trees shaped by the wind. 

Day Seven: Thetis Bahia (rest day)

After yesterday's tiring hike, today you can enjoy short walks in the area to observe the wildlife or look for traces of the ancient Indian tribes. Alternatively you can simply relax at the campsite with a glass of wine. Today is a rest day to regenerate before your journey back.

Day Eight: Thetis Bay - Estancia Policarpo

Follow your tracks back from Bahia Thetis to Estancia Policarpo, once again marvelling at your Criollo horses strength and skill through the peatlands. The views from the cliffs offer extraordinary light and colour across the landscape of sub-Antarctic forest, Andes mountains and South Atlantic oceans. Stop halfway for lunch before continuing to the Policarpo shelter.

Day Nine: Estancia Policarpo - Rio Bueno

Leave Caleta Falsa bat and cross peatland to reach the coast alongside Rio Policarpo - this is the widest and most challenging river you will cross. On the furthest bank lies the longest beach of your journey, across Donata and Policarpo Bay. Here you can enjoy long canters and the incredible freedom of being part of this wild natural environment. You may encounter large herds of wild horses here too. Stop for lunch by the wreck of the Duchess of Albany before riding up and over grassy cliffs with herds of wild cows and dropping back down onto the beaches. As your luggage is much lighter now you can enjoy a faster pace with plenty of trots and canters. Eventually you rest by the camp fire at Puesto Rio Bueno.

Day Ten: Rio Bueno - La Chaira

In the morning there is time to walk around Rio Bueno and listen to stories from the legendary "puesteros" who used to live and work here with the cattle. Then you mount your horses to cross the Leticia river and climb to the top of the grassy hill from where you can view the entire region and the route you have taken. Before your arrival at La Chaira there is the chance for one more long gallop along the magnificent beaches. A farewell dinner is taken beside the shimmering bonfire whilst you recount stories of your adventure.

Day Eleven: La Chaira - Estancia Maria Luisa - Ushuaia

Say goodbye to this remote and wild region of Tierra del Fuego. After crossing Rio Irigoyen you return to civilisation. Upon reaching Estancia Maria Luisa you unsaddle your horses and leave them to rest before climbing into your transfer vehicle back to Ushuaia. Overnight in a hotel.

Day Twelve: Departure

After breakfast you are transferred to the airport for your flight home. 



Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: You need to be at least a confident, intermediate rider who is capable in all paces across varied terrain. There are some steep ascents and descents as well as sections where you have to dismount and lead your horse. There are also opportunities to canter, particularly along the long, empty beaches.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 8 days riding. 6-7 hours riding per day covering c. 30km each day (except first and last day, which are shorter).
Departure dates: 2019:
8-19 January 2019, 5-16 February 2019, 5-16 March 2019.
 
Pricing: 2019

£2851 per person