You truly won’t be able to find a better itinerary that encompasses the rough and rugged beauty of Argentina’s Patagonia region while being brought to life with the local gaucho culture.
Your guide, Jakob Von Plessen, is one of Globetrotting’s most famous guides. He has one foot in Kenya, where he guides for half the year, and the other foot in Argentina for this seven night ride. Jakob has over 20 years’ experience escorting guests on horse riding adventures, so he knows a thing or two about putting together the ideal itinerary that has a splash of adventure, ruggedness, good laughs and comfort.
So if you’ve always wanted to travel to the horse-loving nation of Argentina then NOW is your chance. We couldn’t think of a better way to delve beneath the surface of Argentina than jumping on a Criollo horse, drinking mate with a gaucho and singing folklorica around a blazing fire under a starry night sky.
- Horse Breed:In Patagonia the horses are locally born and bred, predominantly the Argentine ‘Criollo’ breed but some with Quarter Horse, Thoroughbred and even Percheron influences.
- Pace:Generally a walking pace due to the climb and descent nature of the mountains and terrain. There will be some opportunities to trot and canter, but these will be limited.
- Weight Limit:A maximum of 95kg / 210lbs.
- Type of tack:Traditional Argentine ‘recado’ saddles with sheep skins. These saddles are composed of many layers of blankets, pieces of leather, and sheepskins placed on the horse’s back in a particular order. The last layer of sheepskin serves as a seat for the rider, making it very comfortable to ride.
- Seasons:November to February.
- Group size:A maximum of 10 guests.
- Time in Saddle:Between 4 to 8 hours per day.
- Riding Ability:Suitable for intermediate to advanced riders. You should be comfortable at all paces, but please note, the majority of the ride will be completed at a walk (as per above explanation).
*Please be aware, if you suffer from vertigo you will find parts of this ride VERY challenging. Not sure what your riding ability is? Watch THIS video to find out.
- Accommodation:The Patagonia Trail consists of three different types of accommodation - Base Camp, mountain fly camps and a gaucho’s farm.
Base Camp is formed of luxury African-style tents with ensuite bathrooms. The tents are spacious but cosy, with wood-burning stoves lit morning and evening.
Mountain Fly Camps are basic, made up of dome tents each with sleeping bags, cots and mattresses. There are no showers but fresh mountain springs to wash your face and hands in.
Felipe’s House is only accessible by horse or boat and in terms of luxury it’s between fly camping and Base Camp. There are spacious and comfortable safari-style tents and shared bathrooms.
- Ride Length:7 nights.
The price includes transfers to and from regional airports (or local hotel accommodation) in Patagonia, all food, drink and accommodation, daily riding, guides and staff tips.
The price does not include international or domestic flights, and travel insurance.
DEPARTURE DATES & RATESNEW! Secure your saddle seat NOW with a 10% deposit - as part of our 10x 10% payment plan!
There is a single supplement charge of $350 USD per person per night for guests not willing to twin share with another rider of the same gender.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
The price includes transfers to and from regional airports (or local hotel accommodation) in Patagonia, all food, drink and accommodation, daily riding, guides and staff tips.
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
The price does not include international or domestic flights, or travel insurance.
Accepted payment is by credit or debit card only. There is a 2% surcharge on all card payments. Click HERE to read our recommendations on which cards are best to use to avoid international transaction fees.
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.
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*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.
Dependent upon your travel plans and budget of course, we recommend arriving a few days early and spending two nights in Buenos Aires to explore this vibrant city and recover from jet lag.
Fly to San Martin de los Andes (specific flight to be confirmed and booked closer to departure) where your hosts will meet you. We recommend that you travel in your riding clothes, as the luggage will go directly to camp while you go a separate way by mini bus, where we offer a little snack and drinks. After a two and a half hour drive, you will arrive at the shores of Falkner Lake to meet the motor boat in which you’ll cross to the other side, where the horses will be waiting. Travel light with little to carry – just your camera is enough, as the ride into camp takes just over an hour: long enough for you to get a feel for your horse and the gaucho saddles, which you might not be used to.
Once in Base Camp, you’ll be allocated a tent and get settled in before cracking open a nice Malbec for the first sundowner. The tents are very spacious and beautiful, with built in bathrooms. There are plugs for charging devices, but no lights; instead you’ll have rechargeable lanterns. The dining room is a very cosy log cabin overlooking the beautiful Filo Huahum River.
Please note that in the case of bad weather, the arrival will be directly by car from the airport, as the lake is too dangerous to cross when the water is choppy.
The mornings here are so beautiful that it’s worth getting up early. Breakfast is ready at 7am, but the wake-up call won’t be given until 8am, so if the sunrise isn’t enough to coax you from your bed, you can enjoy a bit of a sleep-in. Normally your guides will aim to have you in the saddle at 9am, but you’ll see that packing the saddle bags, readying the pack horses, rolling ponchos and fitting them to your saddle all takes a bit longer on the first day. Once mounted up, you will ride down the Filo Huahum Valley and border the lake to have a nice Argentine asado (barbeque) on the other side. Argentina is well known for its Malbec and good meat, and you’ll have a lot of it! Don’t worry if you’re not a meat eater, though – as long as you informed Globetrotting of your dietary requirements prior to departure, you’ll be very well catered for.
The morning ride is easy and only about 3 hours. In the afternoon you ride for the same amount of time, but it is slightly more challenging as you’ll have a little climb and descent to get the hang of mountain riding. It is important to keep an eye on your saddles when climbing. Your guides will always check on them and often stop to adjust tack, but it helps if you are aware of it. Saddles can slide back or forward on the steep slopes. You get back to camp at about 6pm, in time for a nice shower to shake off the dust and another sundowner in the cabin or at the river shore.
Today you leave for fly camp – you won’t come back to base camp until the next day. You can leave your luggage in your tents -just pack what you need for one night away. The sleeping accommodation in fly camp is a little two-man tent with a good mattress and a good sleeping bag provided by your guides. Remember that there are no showers at fly camp, but there’s enough water to wash your hands and face, of course. At breakfast your guides will give you a little bag to put in your saddle bag, which contains all the basics: a little towel, wet wipes, some chocolate, nuts, lip balm and soap. Remember to pack your swimming gear,because for lunch the following day you will stop and have another asado by the river, with lots of time for a refreshing swim.
As for riding, this is an important day. You will face the ‘Pass of Tears’: possibly the most amazing scenery on the whole ride, but for the faint of heart and those prone to vertigo, it can be very challenging. You will ride up the mountain in the morning, pass the tree line, then have lunch among the rocky slopes without untacking. After lunch you’ll ride for three more hours to reach fly camp. This is a long day, so make sure you drink lots to stay hydrated. Fly camp is in a spectacular spot overlooking the ‘Buque’ mountain. Once you have arrived and settled into your nomadic homes, you can relax and join the gauchos around the campfire. Hannibal, our main gaucho, is the cook tonight and you’ll get to taste his delicious stew.
Today you will ride back down into the valley to a lovely spot by the river where you can swim and enjoy another delicious asado. The ride today is not long, about three hours in the morning and an hour in the afternoon, which you’ll welcome with open arms after clocking up some serious mileage on the previous days. When you return to base camp you will notice that everything feels, looks and tastes better. The little things that we take for granted suddenly become amazing.
This is a day to recover your strength for tomorrow’s ride. Day five varies depending on the weather, the horses and what your group feels like, but typically you’ll go for an easy ride in the morning, sometimes to check on the herd of horses and sometimes to visit Domingo’s place. Domingo is the owner of the property and sometimes he’s there, sometimes he’s not. Lunch is at base camp and there is plenty of time for relaxing, siesta, swimming or walking in the afternoon.
Today you leave base camp for good. You won’t meet your luggage until two days from now, so pack a change of clothes and don’t forget your swimming gear. After a long day in the saddle with spectacular scenery and views over the volcanoes in both Chile and Argentina, you will arrive at Felipe’s fly camp, where you’ll settle in for the night with more Argentine cuisine before snuggling into your sleeping bag.
Scrambled eggs and bacon will fill you up at breakfast, then you’ll leave camp and ride about four hours to Felipe’s house on the shores of Lake Traful. You will have a light lunch and get settled in at Felipe’s barns, which have been converted into comfortable sleeping accommodation. The barns are simple but clean, with shared showers. Felipe is a third generation settler. His house and old barns and corrals are like something out of a fairy tale. The only access to the property is by boat or horseback. For dinner, Felipe will cook a delicious lamb ‘al asador’.
After breakfast, you will walk 20 minutes to the lakeshore where a boat will be waiting to take you to Villa Traful, a small community on the other side of the lake and the closest road access to Felipe’s home. You will say goodbye to your gauchos and guides on the shore, before crossing the lake to meet your luggage and the car that will take you to Bariloche Airport for your journey home.
Fly fishing for brown and rainbow trout is an optional activity and can also be done in place of riding at an additional cost. If you wish to go fly fishing, please inform your hosts before the beginning of the ride so that the necessary licenses, rods and guide can be organised.
We recommend flying into Buenos Aires at least two nights prior to the start of your ride, so you are not suffering from jet lag when it comes time to throw your leg over the saddle.
You will then need to fly into San Martin de los Andes on day one of your ride. On the final day you will need to fly out of Bariloche (or you could opt to stay in the area and do some further travel). Transfers from both regional airports or your hotel accommodation are included in the price.
**PLEASE NOTE: it is ESSENTIAL you check with Globetrotting before booking regional flights to and from the ride, as specific flights must be booked closer to the departure date.
What our valued Globetrotters say about The Patagonia Trail
‘The Patagonia Trail is one of the best trips I’ve had. The mesmerising views that keep getting better, authentic culture and food, wonderful guides and staff who provide terrific hospitality, and the most amazing horses that let you experience it all from their backs. The whole trip was worth travelling halfway around the world for! Crossing the Pass of Tears was one of my favourite experiences, even though I’m not especially fond of heights – plenty of Type II fun. The views from the top while riding along the spine of the mountain, with steep drops on either side, were phenomenal and absolutely worth it. Having 17 Condors flying around us while at one of the lookouts was a pretty special moment, too.’
‘Words cannot describe how truly fantastic this ride is! It was a real adventure and our guides Jakob, Daisy and Marcos made this ride exceptional – they are so warm, helpful, interesting and fun! The scenery was stunning and the horses were so kind, sure-footed, willing, and matched perfectly to each rider. We loved each day. We rode high over mountain passes, had some lovely canters through valleys, swam in pristine lakes and rivers, and enjoyed incredible, delicious food and malbec at base camp around the campfire. This was our third Globetrotting ride and will be hard to beat! Treasured memories for a lifetime.’
‘The Patagonia Trail was hands down one of the best experiences of my life. The beautiful setting on a trout filled river in a remote valley full of horses deep in the Andes mountains was beyond anything I could have ever dreamed. Luxury camping beyond compare and a world class adventure are just a couple of ways I can think to describe it. The guides were exceedingly gracious and accommodating. I truly could not have been more impressed and grateful. The horses were all beautiful and well suited to their assigned riders. Toro was AMAZING. He carried me safely over the Pass of Tears and for that, he had my heart.
The riding included exciting canters across the valley fields and heart-stopping mountain climbing on horseback. Time out of the saddle was equally enjoyable, spent taking in the gorgeous scenery and enjoying the company of friends by the fireplace in the main cabin or around the campfire by the river. From the five-star worthy accommodations and dining at base camp to the authentic and rustic experience at Felipe’s fly camp, there was nothing not to love! This vacation is one I will never forget.’
‘The Patagonia Trail with Jakob was spectacular. The horses were sound and sure. Miguelito es mi favorito! He was a very forward, careful and comfortable horse. The accommodations were comfy and snug. The cuisine was top of the line. Jakob, Daisy and all the support crew were so kind, supportive, interesting and fun, and very solicitous of our needs. The attention to our comfort was outstanding. We couldn’t sit down without being offered a drink or snack!
This ride stretched me to do things I didn’t know I could. I was exhilarated and exhausted. I will treasure this memory for ever (and brag about it to all my non-horsey friends). Thanks Globetrotting for making our travel simple and safe so that we could enjoy such unspoiled beauty.’
‘Gorgeous blue-green crystal clear waters, soaring mountains and plunging ridgelines combined with surefooted and unflappable dream horses, a bit of cosy luxury camping and delectable food. This ride both challenges your fears and soothes the soul – a veritable feast of stunning scenery. It met every expectation I had and more. I have ridden on so many other speccy trips with their own special features that I have loved, and they seem tame in comparison – for adrenaline, I think this hard to beat.
I rode Moro Negro and I loved him. He was so perfectly behaved and well trained – I couldn’t think of a single thing to improve. Very surefooted over all the rabbit holes and so careful and unflappable on the Pass of Tears. He was perfect for me and the sort of horse I wish I could find at home. The saddles were great – to do those 13 hour days and not get sore is an achievement! The gauchos provided excellent care of the horses and were very accommodating of us – nothing was too much trouble.
All the staff were great, friendly and went above and beyond. Daisy made this ride the fantastic experience it was. Her humour and stories, her consideration and care of each and every one of us, her easy going approachability and the reassurance and communication she provided was so highly valued. She is a talented host and a special part of the team.
The food was divine – some of the best I’ve had. Clean flavours, fresh, healthy but still delicious, and a perfect amount of it. The chef should produce a book of his recipes – I would absolutely have bought it.
Not for the inexperienced or faint of heart, this was a very special experience of Patagonia and has become my new ‘happy place’ – at least ’til my next ride!’
‘The long day’s ride to Filipe’s place was possibly the best ride of my life, incredible! I loved my horse, Moro Blanco – he was so kind and steady and suited this old girl perfectly! Although the ride was expensive, considering the location, scenery and standard of service, it was good value for money. The accommodation and meals at the lodge exceeded my expectations, they were fantastic! As an older rider, no longer riding regularly, it is not possible to go without a certain amount of help, so thanks again to the Globetrotting girls for your good humour, kindness, help and assistance.’
‘Picture this: it’s 7am and you’re woken to the sound of Miguel discretely lighting your wood-heater in your cosy glamping tent. The cold Patagonian night is dispelled, so you enjoy a good stretch in your comfortable bed then shower (if you want), jump into your riding clothes and make your way to breakfast at 8. It’s fabulous homemade granola, fresh fruits and juices, huevos and bacon. You don’t linger though… because its time to ride! You gather your gear and head to your horse who is already saddled by the gauchos and ready to go. You rode the whole day before… but you wouldn’t know it, as the gaucho saddles with their sheepskin pads are the most comfortable saddles ever. FACT. It really doesn’t matter where you are riding today – it’s guaranteed that the scenery is spectacular, your horse surefooted and willing and that you are surrounded by people who share your love of horses and viewing the world ‘between two ears’. At every viewpoint, you think ‘this is the money shot!’, only to find that the vistas get more and more spectacular. Your horse is amazing. You are enjoying a privilege few others receive. You are EXACTLY where you need to be. You return to camp at the end of the day and delight in watching the horses roll away the day’s efforts and start tearing into the lush green grass outside your cabin. You spend a few moments reflecting on their strength and agility… but the open bar is calling! You shower and change and enjoy Daisy’s G&T or Oscar’s Pisco Sour in front of the roaring fire, joining in on the excited chatter that recaps today’s marvellous ride. The conversation continues over a three-course epicurean delight prepared by Oscar and his team and washed down with some Argentinian Malbec (a must!). Retire early or retire late, your wood-heater is already stoked and the hot water bottle is ready to warm your toes. You pinch yourself – life doesn’t get any better than this. Horses are truly the best therapy… sign me up for this treatment every day!’
‘This was the most amazing experience in so many ways. In my email to Kate asking about this trip, I said, ‘I want to be challenged emotionally, physically and mentally.’ If I was to leave my husband, kids, business, etc to fly to the other side of the world, it had to be worth it. Well, worth it was! I could never have imagined one trip could give me so much. Words fail to describe the magic that this remote final frontier contains. There is something extraordinary powerful about removing yourself from this crazy modern world where we are all juggling so many balls and going somewhere no one can contact you, riding to places where very few have been. The horses were nothing short of amazing and our hosts Jakob and Daisy were the perfect team. The whole experience from start to finish was life altering. To ride a horse to the edge of the earth where the mountains meet the sky is something I will never forget. Climbing 2,000 meters above sea level under the watchful eye of a gliding condor with a wingspan of over 3 metres is extremely humbling. This is a journey I won’t forget. The only negative is that it is highly addictive – my new life goal is to trek the most remote parts of the globe on horseback.’
‘A group of US career women, ranging from 30 to 60, from nervous beginners to old pros, from never left the country to seasoned travellers, most of whom had never met, decided on a whim to take the trip of a lifetime together – with Globetrotting. And WHAT A TRIP. Globetrotting listened, selected the ideal trip, held our hands, answered all our questions calmly and patiently, recommended outstanding guides, helped with extra curricular activities and followed up at each point of the trip. We enjoyed every second of our ride – and travelled home feeling as if we had conquered the world. THANK YOU, Globetrotting, for a simply incomparable CUSTOM experience. We will all be back.’