Chile’s Patagonia was explored, foundered and traversed by horse. So it seems only fitting for a visitor to discover this unruly and dramatic country by horse and ride shoulder-to-shoulder with the true Patagonian cowboy – the Baqueano (bac-e-ano). This ride leads you through Torres del Paine, Chile’s most prized national park. It’s 180,000 hectares of diverse scenery and wild landscape on the edge of the southern ice fields and is one of the largest sources of temperate- zone glaciers in the world. The park was created in 1959 and was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1978. Before that, it was part of a huge sheep estancia.
The type of horses used on this ride are the Criollo breed. I have the utmost respect and admiration for these caballos. They are extremely willing, stocky in shape and tough as old boots. The breed is one of the oldest registered horse breeds of South America and is known for their high threshold of discomfort, great immunity to disease and remarkable rate of recuperation. In short, direct one of these horses towards an impassable river crossing or a steep cliff climb and they will not hesitate, once the trust is earned they will become a loyal friend.
- Horse Breed:Criollo, Criollo x German Warmblood and Criollo x Arabian.
- Pace:Whatever your heart desires! There will be periods of walking due to the terrain, but plenty of trotting and cantering as well.
- Weight Limit:Maximum of 95kg/210lbs.
- Type of tack:Traditional Chilean tack.
- Seasons:October through to March.
- Group size:A minimum of 2 and a maximum of 8 guests.
- Time in Saddle:Between 5-8 hours in the saddle each day.
- Riding Ability:Strong intermediate to advanced. This is a fast-paced ride with some very long riding days. Fitness and experience are important. Not suitable for beginner riders.
- Accommodation:Comfortable estancia accommodation.
- Ride Length:10 days, 9 nights with 8 full days riding *there is also a shorter 5 day, 4 night itinerary with 3.5 days of riding on offer as well.
- Inclusions:The price includes transfers to and from Puerto Natales, accommodation, meals and riding.
- Exclusions:The price does not include international or domestic flights, or travel insurance (compulsory).
DEPARTURE DATES & RATES
The ride price will reduce based on the number of riders booked on each departure. For 10-day estancia rides, the pricing structure is as follows:
$6999 USD per person for 2-3 riders; $6499 USD per person for 4-5 riders; and $5999 USD per person for 6-8 riders
*A single supplement is available at $990 USD for guests not wishing to twin share.
For 5-day estancia rides, the pricing structure is as follows:
$4199 USD per person for 2-3 riders; $3799 USD per person for 4-5 riders; and $3599 USD per person for 6-8 riders
*A single supplement is available at $490 USD for guests not wishing to twin share.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
The price includes transfers to and from Puerto Natales, accommodation, meals and riding.
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
The price does not include international or domestic flights, or travel insurance (compulsory).
Accepted payment is by credit card only. There is a 2% surcharge on all credit card payments.
Why is the price quoted in USD?
With our riding destinations, the currency is dictated by our ride partner in that country. Therefore due to fluctuating exchange rates we have to quote in the same currency.
ItineraryExpand AllCollapse All
*Please note, this is a suggested itinerary only and subject to change at the discretion of your guides due to weather and other influencing factors.
Arrive into Punta Arenas airport. The complimentary transfer from the airport to Puerto Natales departs at 15.00 so guests will need to ensure their flight arrives prior to this. Once in Puerto Natales, guests will have time to settle into their hotel before being escorted to dinner by their guide for the trip briefing. Night in Hotel If or similar. Dinner included.
In the morning clients will take a transfer of approximately 20 minutes to Estancia Perales where they will have their first encounter with Criollo horses. This Estancia is still the home of the Eberhard family who have much history in Magallanes.
From this lovely Estancia clients will ride along the fjord and ride through Magallanic forests. After the ride clients will transfer to Estancia Perales and will enjoy a welcoming meal and be able to relax next to the waters of Last Hope Sound. Night in Estancia. All meals included. (Wine/drinks not included).
After breakfast, guests will say goodbye to Estancia Perales and hop on the boat which will dock especially to take them for a great ride up the Last Hope Sound. Guests 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 or the southern ice field itself, it remains a remote and pristine corner of our planet. It also contains the third largest mass of ice on earth after Antarctica and Greenland, so the climate is understandably extreme.
We will disembark our boat here and enjoy the stunning views which combine 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. We will take a short, 5 minute, zodiac boat ride to where we will meet our new horses and have some lunch before setting out on a beautiful trail through thick forests passing pristine rivers and streams in the shadow of the Chacabuco and Balmaceda range of mountains.
A fairly slow ride today gives us the opportunity to find our riding stride while enjoying the dazzling scenery on our route into the Torres del Paine National Park. Towards the end of the trail, we will cross the Nutria river and come out onto the pampas which marks the end of today’s ride, as we approach our 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!
All meals included. (Wine/drinks not included).
After breakfast we will be meeting our horses and preparing for the pampas ride to Lago Grey. Our view will be dominated by the jagged peaks of the Paine Massif as we ride out along the Rio Grey to the largest glacier in the park, Glacier Grey. On reaching the trailhead we will tether our horses and walk out across the swinging footbridge through the forest to Grey beach. The view that greets us 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 28km 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 our picnic lunch, we will walk back to our waiting horses for the ride back to Rio Serrano.
*Note The Glacier itself is 17 kilometres from the the Grey beach, so 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 III boat. This is an optional excursion available at the cost of approximately US$140 per person. Those guests who take the excursion will return to the hotel by transfer not by horse.
Return to Hotel del Paine for the night. All meals included. (excluding wine/drinks).
After breakfast in the hotel we will pack up and start our ride eastwards towards the heart of the park. We will now be riding directly towards the Paine Massif mountain range so the views are dramatic and beautiful. Our trail skirts the southern edge of the mountains on a rarely trodden path as we pass azure and turquoise lakes with the huge granite mountain peaks standing behind. After a picnic lunch taken in one of the pretty valleys we will continue east onto the beautiful soft pampas of the Patagonian steppe. Here we will have a chance for some cantering as the light fades and the shadows lengthen until we arrive at Laguna Amarga where you will take a transfer the last few kilometres to the intimate and authentic Estancia Tercera Barranca.
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 nearby wooden quincho. A hot tub also awaits to soak away any aches! All rooms have private bathrooms.
All meals included (excluding wine/drinks).
Ride from the Estancia Tercera to the North-East, close to the border with Argentina. The area is full of guanacos and the hills ring with their alarm calls as you ride by. There will be chances for canters until reaching the uninhabited Estancia Gemitas for a short break. Afterwards follow Las Chinas Valley downhill to reach the dramatic Las Chinas waterfall where you stop for lunch. After lunch cross Las Chinas river and pass by the Estancia Laguna Azul and return to Tercera Baranca. Night at Estancia Tercera Barranca. All meals included (excluding wine/drinks).
Today we will hop into the van and take a 20 minute transfer to Estancia Cerro Guido. A large working estancia with approximately 110,000 hectares, 37,000 sheep, 2,500 cattle and 400 horses. After checking in to our rooms, we will meet our new horses. From the estancia stables we will make our way up the mountain side behind the estancia and into the surrounding hills. The Sierra Baguales mountians are a stark contrast beside the rolling landscape of the pampas below.
After lunch we will continue to the Indian burial site, although no artefacts remain at the site, later, in the estancia you will be able to see photos of the site and also learn about the burial site.
After our ride, we will return to the estancia for a welcome dinner and our comfortable beds. All meals included (excluding wine/drinks).
Today after breakfast, riders will once again be saddling up for a full day’s ride. This time, we 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 our right enables us 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 the afternoon after a leisurely picnic lunch and an afternoon’s riding we will see the blue waters of Lake Sarmiento and have some time to photograph the Torres del Paine mountains from the lake’s edge.
After, we will ride back, via Flemingo Lake, to Estancia Cerro Guido. The comfortable estancia is a place where you will feel warm and at home. The huge roaring fire and big soft sofas will invite you to relax and reflect on your holiday experiences so far. All meals included (excluding wine/drinks).
After breakfast we find our horses, check our saddles and begin our 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 mesmerised by the huge skies and long stretches of pampas.
We will start by traversing the mountain behind Cerro Guido, along the track called ‘Paso Guitarra’. Then we will pass the lovely, but deserted, Estancia Las Flores where you will see the only original adobe building left in the area. By lunch time we will let the horses rest and we will have a nice picnic in the middle of the valley where we may be able to see condors soaring above us.
After these lovely views we are ready to continue on to Vega Nash where there will be opportunities to canter and enjoy this large flat ‘vega’, a typical pampa in this area. This will bring us back to Estancia Cerro Guido, where a delicious Patagonian asado dinner will be cook- ing and we can enjoy our last night together. All meals included (including wine tonight).
Transfer to Puerto Natales. The transfer to Punta Arenas airport leaves at 10:00 and will arrive at approximately 12:30. Tour ends. Onward journey. (Breakfast only included)
Transfers to and from Puerto Natales are included in the cost of your ride. You can arrive anytime on day one and can book departing flights anytime after breakfast on the final day. Please note, if you fly into Puerto Arenas there will be a bus fee.
“I loved it! It was just amazing! Beautiful scenery all day, every day. Being and feeling like you were on the edge of the earth was just amazing!”
“We had a wonderful time. The horses were great, the scenery amazing and each day different than the last. Just when we thought what could possibly top that, there was another incredible vista.”
“We just had such fun, we were very lucky with a) the weather, b) Kris our guide, who was an absolute delight, c) some fab experiences with condors and the gaucho grabbing an armadillo and d) great company, lots of laughs and vino tinto!”
‘The Gauchos were brilliant and Kris our guide was wonderful – so knowledgeable of the area, and he really looked after all of us.”
“The holiday has been the best one of all my holidays so far. I like the type of horses, they were in very good condition. Everybody was friendly and helpful.”