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 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: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 8 guests.
- Time in Saddle:Varies between 4 to 8 hours per day.
- Riding Ability:You should be comfortable at all paces, but please note, the majority of the ride will be completed at a walking pace (as per above explanation).
- Accommodation:The Patagonia Trail consists of a variety of accommodation, from spacious glamping style tents at Base Camp with nice beds and cozy duvets to keep you warm during the chilly nights to a more basic fly camp where you will have a sleeping bag and dome tent available if the weather turns sour, but there are no showers other than an occasional dip in a stream or river.
- Ride Length:7 nights.
- Inclusions:The price includes transfers to and from regional airports in Patagonia, food, drink and accommodation, daily riding and guides.
- Exclusions:The price does not include international or domestic flights or travel insurance (compulsory).
DEPARTURE DATES & RATES
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
Price includes transfers to and from regional airports in Patagonia, all food, drink and accommodation, daily riding, guides.
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
The price does not include international or domestic flights or travel insurance.
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.
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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 with 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 an hour and a half’s 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’.
Enjoy the morning at Felipe’s property, with a ride along the lake and a swim before lunch. At about 2pm, you will be picked up by boat to cross over the lake to Villa Traful, where you’ll be reunited with your luggage. A mini bus will be waiting to take you to Bariloche Airport, where you’ll board a plane back to Buenos Aires.
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. Transfers from San Martin and Bariloche regional airports (or your hotel accommodation in each location) 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 Patagonian Trail exceeded all expectations, we were so well looked after, it was a true holiday!”
“If there was just one word to sum up this experience it would be EXHILARATING!”
“This is an incredible experience and a wonderful way to see such a pristine part of our world!”
“The seven days we spent with our six new riding friends, the amazing guides and all the base and fly camp team was not just a riding holiday but a life-changing experience that will remain with us forever!”
“Patagonia is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Combine that with good food, good horses and great people, you couldn’t ask for more!”
“From our first ride at sunset on day 1, I knew this was going to be special. Jakob has set the bar high in regards to an experience of a lifetime.”
“An incredible week in an incredible country!”
“A stack of golden memories to freeze frame into lifelong memories.”
Stories from the saddle
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 on The Patagonia Trail. Jakob has well over 15 years experience escorting guests on horse riding adventures so knows a thing or two about putting together the ideal itinerary that […]
Meet Josecito or Little Joe as many prefer to refer to him. He is lucky enough to be Jakob Von Plessen‘s personal horse (Jakob is our brilliant guide on The Patagonia Trail) and is taken for a spin by only the most experienced globetrotters. Why? Because he doesn’t like to stand still and is very […]
I had been keeping an eye on Carolyn’s Instagram account for a while and as she kept posting the most brilliant photographs of her globetrotting adventure through Argentina on The Patagonia Trail, I just knew I needed to introduce her to you. So my wonderful tribe of globetrotters, here’s Carolyn’s story about how horses have […]