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Chilean Patagonia

Overview

Torres del Paine national park is renowned for its beauty and spectacular landscapes. Situated right at the bottom of Chile it is characterised by the impressive granite "Towers" and "Horns" which rise out of the pampas lands. The park is traversed by rivers and lakes, many of which are fed by glac…

Highlights

  • Ride in the majestic Torres del Paine national park
  • Canter across pampas under the granite "Towers"
  • Take a boat across Grey Lake to view the glacier
  • Experience the wild beauty of Patagonia on horseback
  • Look out for local wildlife like guanaco and grey fox

Essential Facts

  • 1 itinerary available
  • Max 6 riders per group
  • Average of 6 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 90kg /198 lbs / 14 stone 2 lbs

Description

Torres del Paine national park is renowned for its beauty and spectacular landscapes. Situated right at the bottom of Chile it is characterised by the impressive granite "Towers" and "Horns" which rise out of the pampas lands. The park is traversed by rivers and lakes, many of which are fed by glaciers, the crystal clear waters of which create a multi-hued effect. Much of the park is only accessible on foot or horseback and the wild landscapes are home to many species of wildlife, including guanaco, grey fox, and the elusive puma.

Criollo horses have lived in this environment for many years and are the ideal partners to explore the sometimes harsh beauty of Patagonia. These unique trails take you through some wild places that very few people will ever get to visit, as well as to some of the more popular 'highlights' of the Torres del Paine national park.

Your guide, Osvaldo, was born and raised in Puerto Natales on the doorstep of Torres del Paine National Park. He has spent most of his working life in and around the park, but also some time abroad - in Canada and Australia - working with horses and learning English. He is, therefore, a very knowledgeable and interesting guide. Throughout his travels, Osvaldo's heart has remained in Patagonia and now he wishes to share his home and his family horses with his guests.

Horses & Riding

Tack

The saddles are "cangallas" which are the traditional gaucho saddles used in this area. They are designed for riding up and down mountains while keeping the rider in good balance and for comfort over long days in the saddle. They are mostly handmade by the gauchos using animal leather and sheepskin.

Horses

The horses used on these rides are all Chilean Criollo. They live out all year round in thousands of hectares of pampas and grazing. They are fit, strong and although small in stature, they are perfectly adapted to the terrain that you will be riding through.

These Criollo horses originated form Spanish stock bought over to South American by the conquistadors and released to adapt to the harsh environments of this continent. They have a specialised musculature enabling them to be fast over short stretches but with plenty of stamina to survive in remote mountainous areas. Their double coat acts as a perfect rain barrier, which is long in winter to shield them from the cold and short and glossy in summer, allowing them to be comfortable in hotter temperatures too. They are incredibly sure-footed across the rocky terrain of the national park.

Riding

There is 1 itinerary:

  • Seven Day Trail Ride is a trail ride

Ages

18 years and older

Health

You should have a good level of physical fitness for this ride as there may be some areas where it is necessary to hike. General good health is also a requirement as you will be travelling to some remote areas with limited access to health facilities. Altitude does not usually cause any trouble for visitors to Patagonia as the elevation is relatively low (below 3000m).

Weight

90kg /198 lbs / 14 stone 2 lbs

Food & Accommodation

Food

Meals are traditionally Patagonian, designed to keep you warm and energised for a full day in the saddle. Dishes typically will include a lot of meat (in particular lamb) and fish, such as salmon which is easily caught in the numerous clear rivers of the region. Meals will include some drinks (typically a selection of soft drinks, some wine or a beer per person, per meal), but others are available to purchase locally at a small extra cost.

Lunches are usually simple sandwiches in a lunchbox that you carry with you on horseback.

Vegetarian guests can be accommodated with advance notice, and some other dietary requirements may be possible to cater for as well - however, please check with us on booking to confirm your needs will be met.

Accommodation

You will stay in a variety of accommodations throughout these trails, which can range from comfortable and wild glamping domes to much more traditional estancia homes. Rooms and tents are either twin or double bedded generally with private bathrooms.

Some of the accommodations used include;

Baguales Glamping domes, built onto wooden platforms with proper beds inside. These domes have private showers and toilets, as well as wood-burning stoves for heating. Estancia Cerro Guido and Estancia Tercera Barranca are both working estancias that feature on-site guestrooms. These allow guests to experience the true working gaucho culture of Chile. In Rio Serrano there is a choice of quality hotels on offer for guests - the exact one will be booked once the dates have been confirmed, depending on what is available at the time. These will always be of a good standard and will include en-suite or private bathrooms.

Itineraries

Seven Day Trail Ride Standard accommodation.

Other Activities

The Torres del Paine National Park is a renowned hiking destination and we would recommend taking some time to explore the local area independently if you can before or after your tour.

During the riding tours, there are some non-ridden activities included already in the itinerary, such as a boat trip across the majestic Glacier Grey Lake. There is no purely non-riding alternative offered to this tour, so non-riding friends and family will need to make their own arrangements for transport if they wish to join.

Travel

The nearest airport is Puerto Natales Teniente (PNT). There are no direct flights and you will have to route through Santiago de Chile (SCL) and likely another major hub airport too. LATAM routes through Brazil and is a good option.

You should ideally aim to arrive before midday so that you can take part in the farm presentation that afternoon. You may need to plan to spend a night in Santiago to facilitate catching an earlier flight to Puerto Natales that day.

On departure, you will be back in Puerto Natales c. midday but delays can occur so should book a late evening flight out or plan to overnight in town before departing the next day.

If you cannot find suitable flights to Puerto Natales, then it is also possible to fly into Punta Arenas and take a bus to Puerto Natales from here - the bus takes about 3 hours, so you will have to arrive a day early to accommodate this extra journey time.

Testimonials

Carol P., Jan. 30, 2023

It was another bucket list item with Far and Ride, and like the Botswana trip, it was magnificent. The landscape was otherworldly and seeing it on horseback was definitely the way to go. We hiked for a week after the ride and were able to appreciate the opportunity to really get out and see so much by horseback even more. I think my favourite part of the holiday was the first day in the eco-tents. The landscape was so vast and the location of the tents was so private that it immediately put me in a place of awe. I loved that we were given one horse to ride for the duration rather than switching up. It took a lot of trust to ride up and down some of the hills and I wouldn't have wanted to ride a new horse every day for that. My horse was generous and trustworthy and a pleasure to ride. The trip was quite an adventure and although the description clearly says that there are long rides, I might stress the fact that some of the rides were 10 hours and it really takes a lot of stamina to be in the saddle for the long.


Susan C., Jan. 23, 2023

The adventure of a lifetime! I was up for as much riding as possible. However, you should note in your description that those long days in the saddle are a continuous 8 hours with no opportunity to change your mind! I LOVED it! It was beyond my expectations. But I'm a pretty tough girl who wants to be outside and in motion all day, which is not for everyone. Favourite memory? Exploring new trails with Osvaldo, rescuing a baby guanaco from a wire fence and Baguales Glamping.


Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1

Riding: No riding.

Transfer (c. 2 hours) from Puerto Natales airport to Estancia Cerro Guido where you will have your first experience of gauchos and the traditional country life. You’ll then head to your accommodation at Baguales Glamping - this beautiful glamping site is surrounded by rolling hills and towering mountains located on the northern side of Torres del Paine, right next to the border with Argentina. A Calafate sour (typical Patagonian drink) will be waiting for you on arrival. Dinner at the puesto, before you overnight at the exclusive domes with private bathrooms.

Day 2

Riding: 6 hours

Full day horse ride in Sierra Baguales, exploring the untamed, breathtaking landscapes. Stop for lunch in an old Puesto, a place where the gaucho (Patagonian cowboy) lives. Continue your ride, returning to the glamping site for a second dinner and overnight.

Day 3

Riding: 7 hours

Ride to Estancia Cerro Guido, stopping for lunch en-route before reaching this authentic working estancia. Cerro Guido borders the famous Torres del Paine National park and offers spectacular views from the salon, where you can also watch the gauchos gathering their sheep.

Day 4

Riding: 6 hours

Full day of riding to the waterfall Salto Las Chinas, where we will have lunch cooked by a local family at their place. You’ll then head to Laguna Azul crossing the river Rio Las Chinas and riding on to the Estancia Tercera Barranca. A typical Asado de cordero (lamb barbecue) made by a gaucho will be waiting for us at the Estancia.

Day 5

Riding: 8 hours

Ride from Estancia Tercera Barranca into Torres del Paine national park to the Rio Serrano, passing Lago Sarmiento and enjoying wild landscapes of forests and mountains with lagoons. You’ll enter the park to enjoy your lunch box at a view point. Keep riding through one of the most beautiful natural parks in Patagonia to eventually reach the flat pampas lands. After leaving your horses in a paddock you will be transferred to a hotel alongside the Rio Serrano for dinner and to overnight.

Day 6

Riding: 4 hours

A glorious final day as you ride from Rio Serrano to Lago Grey where we’ll have the opportunity to take a boat to Grey Glacier (3 hours) to admire the Glacier from the Southern Patagonia ice field. Your lunch box location will depend on arrival time. There is a scenic 45 minute hike to get to the boat. After your boat trip you transfer back to the hotel for the last night of the trip.

Day 7

Riding: No riding.

After breakfast you are transferred back to Puerto Natales Airport.

Accommodation

2 nights at Baguales Glamping, 1 night Estancia Cerro Guido, 1 night Estancia Tercera Barranca, 2 nights Rio Serrano hotel.

Experience Experienced

You should be an experienced rider, who has been riding for at least five years and is riding regularly. You should be comfortable riding across varied terrain at all paces.

Minimum group size 2
Maximum group size 6
Departure windows

Oct. 9, 2024 - Oct. 15, 2024

Nov. 2, 2024 - Nov. 8, 2024

Nov. 13, 2024 - Nov. 19, 2024

Dec. 23, 2024 - Dec. 29, 2024

Pricing

2024/2025
Per person sharing, 2 riders in the group
£7300 $9290 €8575
2024/2025
Per person sharing, 3-4 riders in the group
£6515 $8290 €7655
2024/2025
Per person sharing, 5-6 riders in the group
£5725 $7290 €6730
Included 6 nights accommodation, all meals as described, 1 beer or soft drink at lunch, limited wine with dinners, national park entrance fee, Glacier Grey boat trip, 5 days riding, transfers from Puerto Natales airport
Not included Flights, transfers from Punta Arenas airport, personal expenses, additional drinks, tips
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.