Day 1 - Arrive Puerto Natales
Riding: No riding.
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 Hostel El Establo or similar.
Day 2 - Boat to Balmaceda
Riding: 2 hours
After breakfast you will transfer c. 10mins to the pier and hop onto a 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 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.
First you will walk to the Serrano glacier, which is a circular trip of c. 1 hour. Then you hop into a zodiac boat for a short, 5 min journey to reach your horses. Have some lunch before mounting up for your first introductory ride of about 2 hours. Follow a beautiful trail though thick forests passing pristine rivers and streams in the shadow of the Chacabuco and Balmaceda range of mountains. Dinner and overnight at Hosteria Balmaceda.
Day 3 - Balmaceda to Rio Serrano
Riding: 6 - 7 hours
Todays ride is a fairly slow but long one which gives you the opportunity to find your riding stride while enjoying the dazzling scenery on your route into Torres del Paine national park. Towards the end of the trail you cross the Nutria River and come out onto the pampas to approach your hotel for the night - Hotel del Paine. This hotel offers comfortable rooms and great views of the Paine Massif. A large living/dining area with a log fire and a comfortable bar and good restaurant. For early risers it also offers some of the best sunrises in all of Patagonia!
Day 4 - Ride to Glacier Grey & Lake
Riding: 3 - 6 hours
After breakfast you meet your 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 Rio Grey 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. 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 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 del Paine for the night.
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$140 per person. After the boat trip you are transferred back to the hotel.
Day 5 - Ride to Laguna Amarga
Riding: 7 - 8 hours
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. Here you will have a chance for some cantering as the light fades and the shadows lengthen until you arrive at Laguna Amarga. Here you will find some charming but tiny houses which are your accommodation for the night.
Day 6 - Ride out to Salto Las Chinas
Riding: 5 - 6 hours
Today you ride from Laguna Amarga to the north-east. You may spot flamingoes that reside on Laguna Amarga and the area is full of guanacos - the hills ring with their alarm calls as you ride by. There are chances to canter until reaching the dramatic Las Chinas waterfall where you stop for lunch. After lunch cross Las Chinas river and onto Estancia Tercera Barranca for the night.
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.
Day 7 - Cerro Guido
Riding: 5 - 6 hours
Today you will hop into the van for a 20min transfer to Estancia Cerro Guido - a large working estancia of approximately 110,000 hectares, 37,000 sheep, 2,500 cattle and 400 horses. After checking into your rooms you meet your new horses and head up the mountains behind the estancia and into the surrounding hills. The Sierra Baguales are a stark contrast beside the rolling landscape of the pampas below. After lunch continue to an Indian burial site - no artifacts remain at the site, but later at the estancia you will be able to see photos of the site and learn more about it.
After your ride you return to Cerro Guido for a welcome dinner.
Day 8 - Ride to Lake Sarmiento
Riding: 7 - 8 hours
Today after breakfast, riders will once again be saddling up for a full day’s ride. This time, you will be heading south to Estancia Entro lagos. 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 blue waters of Lake Sarmiento and take some time to photograph the Torres del Paine mountains from the lake's edge. After, ride back via Flamingo Lake to Estancia Cerro Guido where the huge roaring fire and big, soft sofas will invite you to relax and reflect on your holiday so far.
Day 9 - Ride to Estancia Las Flores
Riding: 7 - 8 hours
After breakfast you find your horses, check your saddles and begin your last, full day of riding to the Sierra Baguales mountain range. Today will give you a view of the vast glacial valleys carved by the glaciers thousands of years ago. You will be mesmerized by the huge skies and long stretches of pampas. Start by traversing the mountain behind Cerro Guido, along the track called Paso Guitarra. Pass the lovely but deserted Estancia Las Flores where you will see the only original adobe building left in the area. Stop for lunch in the middle of the valley where you may be able to see condors soaring above you.
After lunch continue riding to Vega Nash where there are opportunities to canter across this large vega - a typical pampas of the area. This takes you back to Cerro Guido where a farewell asado dinner will already be cooking. Wine is included with dinner tonight.
Day 10 - Departure to Puerto Natales
Riding: No riding.
Transfer to Puerto Natales. Breakfast included.
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.