- Boat trip across Lago Puelo to cross from Argentina into Chile
- Experience very different landscapes - the steep sided and forested slopes of the Chilean Andes and the gently sloping pampas of Argentina
- Discover the gaucho and Argentinian/Chilean culture, staying with locals in Estancias and local farms when not camping
Day 1 1: EUROPE - BUENOS AIRESDepart for Bariloche.
Flights are not included but we can help with this upon request. You should arrive in Buenos Aires for your connecting flight to Bariloche the following day (D2). Most flights are overnight flights but if you find a same-day flight (travelling from the US, for instance), make sure you arrive on the right day.
Day 2 2: BUENOS AIRES - BARILOCHE - No ridingDepending on your flight times, it may be possible to connect straight through Buenos Aires to Bariloche - if this is not possible then you will need to depart Europe a day earlier and spend a night in Buenos Aires.
On arrival at Bariloche airport you will be met and transferred to your down town hotel. Please note transfers are included at set times: 13:00 pm and 16:00 pm. Other times can be scheduled at an extra cost.
Bariloche, located on Nahuel Huapi Lake’s shore, is a big touristic ski town surrounded by mountains. Depending on your arrival flight, you will have the chance to explore the area - perhaps appreciate the views from the Cerro Otto or do some last minute shopping before the ride. In the late afternoon you will meet your guides for a ride briefing and will be given a bag to pack your belongings into for the ride - these bags are a shape and size that can be carried by the pack horses - you can only take 10kg of luggage with you and the rest of your luggage will be transferred by vehicle to Puelo Lake (day 7) where you will have a chance to re-pack.
In the evening, head out for a traditional barbeque dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 3 3: BARILOCHE - CERRO DAVID - 5-6 hours ridingAfter an early breakfast, you will be transferred by minibus the 30 kms to the starting point of the ride. Here you will be introduced to your Argentine horse and the local gauchos who will accompany you.
Your first ride in Argentina will lead you and your riding companions through the heart of the pre-cordillera, between steep mountain ranges and its rock formations as well as infinite steppes. After a lunch in one of the estancia's outposts, you will carry on and follow the trail through the pre-cordillera landscapes.
The night is spent in an outpost of that same estancia, surrounded by nature and tranquillity.
Day 4 4: CERRY DAVID - FOYEL ARRIBA - 6-8 hours ridingAfter a morning spent exploring hillsides and large valleys, you will start ascending along a path mainly used by local countrymen to move their cattle. You will reach the "paso sin nombre" (unnamed pass), 1700 m above sea level. The view opens up towards the "Alto Chubut", a large valley nestled in the heart of the mountains. Another hour in the saddle before you reach your mountain refuge where you will be spending the night, surrounded by an ancient native beech forest.
Day 5 5: FOYEL ARRIBA - VERANADA MIRANDA - 5-6 hours ridingStart the day by riding downhill through the Chubut Valley and the Patagonian steppe. You follow the tributaries of the Chubut river and witness the beautiful, albeit wild and rugged, landscapes of Patagonia on horseback.
Your camp is set up on the banks of the river.
Day 6 6: VERANADA MIRANDA - EL SAPUCAI - 5-6 hours ridingAfter breakfast and dismantling the camp, the horses will carry you down onto the Patagonian steppe. There may be the possibility of stopping to visit a local family who live very close to an abandoned lead mine - this place shows the remnants of the past when adventurers came to find gold.
The rest of the afternoon flies by as you ride towards a new refuge for the night, where a delicious meal and hot shower await.
Day 7 7: EL SAPUCAI - LAS LAGUNAS - EL SAPUCAI - 5-6 hours ridingToday's morning ride is to the top of a plateau, where you will appreciate the skills of your brave Criollo horses, confidently navigating their way over marshlands, lenga forests and rocky grounds. From the top, you will be treated to a breathtaking panoramic view of the Andes - not a bad spot for lunch! After lunch, ride back to your refuge.
Day 8 8: EL SAPUCAI - BORDER CROSSING - LAS BANDURRIAS - No ridingBandurrias IslandThis will be your last day with your Argentine Criollo horses. You start the ride by following the Chubut River stream up to Puesto Viejo, before crossing small cattle farms in the Alto Chubut area where people live alll year-round. These people are mostly descendants of the regional native people: the Mapuche. An abandoned school will be the meeting point for your transfer to Chile. You will leave the horses and share a last picnic with the Argentinian baqueanos (packhorse guides) before saying goodbye to the team. A two-hour minibus trip takes you to the small village of Lago Puelo. The area is surrounded by cypress (Austrocedrus Chilensis) and “maitenes” (Maytenus Boaria) woods with a micro-climate that fosters the production of berries such as raspberries and cherries, as well as hop for brewing craft beer.
As you leave Argentina for Chile, you will navigate along two lakes and cross the rapids between Argentina and Chile before a 15-min walk until you reach the Chilean border checkpoint. Once customs procedures are completed, you will take another boat to Las Bandurrias Island on Las Rocas Lake. You will be surrounded by an outstanding landscape of crystal-clear waters and snow-capped mountains.
Overnight stay at Las Bandurias Island
Day 9 9: LAGO AZUL - 5-6 hours ridingBandurrias IslandIn the morning, you are transferred by boat to the lake shore where you meet your Chilean horse. The morning ride takes you to Azul Lake with its crystal clear waters and abundant fish life. The majestic peaks and stunning landscapes will not escape your attention! Picnic and relax on the shore of the lake. After lunch you ride on steep passes across the forest which covers the mountainsides, passing through typical cold jungle or Valdivian-type rainforest. You should see ancient Alerce trees (Fitzroy Cupresoide) as well as other local “giants” such as the “Coihue” and “Arrayanes” (the cold tree). Leave your horses at the lakeside and take the boat back across the lake for a second night on the island. In the late afternoon perhaps walk around the island (c. 30mins) or take a dip in the cool lake waters.
Day 10 10: LAS BANDURRIAS - LAS ROSAS - 5-6 hours ridingAfter breakfast, the motor boat takes you back to the other side of the lake where the horses will be waiting. It's a short ride to the source of the Puelo river, where the horses either cross by swimming or by using a traditional raft method which is powered by men! Here is “Segundo Corral” the last closest settlement to the border.
Continue riding along a trail alongside the Puelo River to a fantastic hanging bridge, “la Pasarela del Rio Puelo”, an important hanging bridge which is crucial for communication between the local inhabitants and the outside world. Spend the night at a local farm.
Day 11 11: LAGO VERDE - VENTISQUEROS VALLEY - 6-7 hours ridingToday you continue your equestrian journey up to Ventisqueros River Valley. Expect many river crossings! This is a really remote and green landscape, where the inhabitants have only horses with which to travel and subsist mainly on cattle breeding. After lunch in the valley, continue riding until reaching a little house which you will share with the owners for two nights. It is likely that you will experience another asado here.
Day 12 12: VENTISQUERO VALLEY - 5-6 hours ridingAfter breakfast, embark on a gentle ride, crossing the river once more to join the other valley and approach its glacier. This little Valley turns wild and remote, with incredible flora and devoid of inhabitants. You will ride past Alerce forests before stopping for a picnic lunch at a viewpoint for the glacier. Retrace your steps back to your guest farmhouse.
Day 13 13: VENTISQUERO VALLEY - LAS ROSAS - 6-7 hours ridingContinue your journey towards the Puelo River. Ancient forests, open pampas, river crossings: today's ride is surrounded by mountains, waterfalls and solitary landscapes. You will enjoy, as always, a succulent lunch on the banks of the Ventisqueros River. In the afternoon, the ride continues, leaving the valley and passing through different properties where the settlers continue the rural work as their ancestors did. The vegetation becomes dense in certain parts of the trail. You will return to Las Rosas for your last night in the wilderness
Day 14 14: LAS ROSAS - PUERTO VARAS - 1 hour riding + 4 hours driveFor your final morning's ride, you will head towards Puerto Urrutia, which you will cross by boat while the horses swim alongside. where your minibus will be waiting for you.
Time to say goodbye to the baqueanos and to have a last lunch in the valley. Your transfer will take you to Lake Tagua-Tagua, where you will take the ferry for 45 minutes to the other side of the lake. Pass Reloncaví Fjörd, Lake Llanquihue with the Calbuco and Osorno volcanoes, which are part of the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park. By late afternoon you will arrive at our final destination, Puerto Varas, a town with a distinct German feel to it. It is situated on the edge of the Llanquihue lake, one of the largest lakes in South America, a place that offers an impressive view over four volcanoes. Goodbye dinner at a traditional restaurant and night at a local hotel.
Day 15 15: PUERTO VARAS - PUERTO MONTT - SANTIAGO - No ridingAfter breakfast you will be transferred to Puerto Montt airport for your flight home (40 minutes drive). Depending on flight times it may be possible to connect all the way through Santiago and back Europe, or you may need a night in Santiago.
Transfers are scheduled at 09:00 am and 12:00 noon. Other transfers can be arranged but will be at an extra cost.
Day 16 16: EUROPEArrival back home in the afternoon.
Dates & prices
- International flights are not included.
- Group sizes are a minimum of 4 people and a maximum of 8 people, plus guides.
- Airport transfers are included at set times. There are two transfer times available: 13:00 and 16:00. Airport transfers to Puerto Montt on the last day will be scheduled for 9:00 and 12:00.
- Single rooms/tents are not possible throughout the ride, but it is possible to request a single room for the nights in Bariloche and Puerto Varas (at extra cost of approx. €65/£60 per person per night).
- For those who don’t have a sleeping bag or don’t want to bring one, they can rent a sleeping bag including polar fleece and a blanket. Please contact us.
Rider weight limit: 90 kilos / 14,1 st / 198 lbs. Heavier riders can be accommodated on request if they agree to pay an extra fee for an additional horse - $290/€255/£225 (pending availability)
The itinerary may be modified at anytime for security reasons, meteorological or events beyond our control such as blocked roads, rivers in flood, drought, strikes and local holidays. Equus Journeys, our local partners and their local guides will always strive to find the best solution and will alter the itinerary as needed.
The names of the hotels and accommodation are given for information only and depending on availability, they may be modified without notice and replaced by another of a similar standard.
1 team of baqueanos during the trek
Pack horses and extra horses
All inland transfers described in the itinerary
1 night in a teepee
2 nights in a 5 persons (or more) private cabin on the private island Las Bandurrias.
3 nights in shared room in local farms
3 nights in a 2 person tents. Floor mattress
Wine included in all meals during the trek
Price doesn't include
Small group supplement. For price list see above in price details
November - December 2020
Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status 01/11/2020 16/11/2020 £6,200 Full 08/12/2020 23/12/2020 £6,200 Open Book now
January - February 2021
Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status 03/01/2021 18/01/2021 £6,200 Guaranteed departure Book now 14/01/2021 29/01/2021 £6,200 Open Book now
In Chile you ride Chilean Criollos - these horses also originated from horses brought over by the Spanish. They are generally a little smaller than their Argentine cousins, but strong and sure-footed. The Chilean saddles are similar as well but some of the horses are ridden in bitless bridles.
Minimum riding ability
Minimum riding ability
Rider weight limit: 90 kilos / 14,1 st / 198 lbs. Heavier riders can be accommodated if they agree to pay an extra fee for an additional horse (see dates and prices).
The days average 5-6 hours with 3 hours in the morning, and 3-4 hours in the afternoons. You will cover around 205 km.
Tacking ability and participation
If you can help with the camp and various chores, it will be much appreciated.
Trip conditions and Requested experience
In January the southern parts of Chile and Argentina can experience horse-flies - whilst they do not cause harm they are a nuisance. After that yellow jacket wasps can appear, if you are allergic please do make sure to mention it before booking.
Riders who are not riding regularly are asked to get fit prior to joining the ride. Although the Andes are not particularly high in this area you are asked to familiarise yourself with the signs of Altitude Sickness and notify your guides if you feel unwell (headaches, sickness, dizziness etc).
If the terrain becomes more difficult (in case of abundant rains for instance), you may be required to dismount and lead your horse on foot over certain distances.
Helmets are recommended. We recommend our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit.
On the trail you are camping or staying in basic lodgings. Two man tents are provided but you need to take your own sleeping bags (or hire locally for a fee). When camping the only washing facilities are rivers; when staying in basic lodgings there are is usually one bathroom which is shared by the whole group.
1 night camping,
4 nights at local farms,
4 nights in mountain refuges
2 nights at Las Bandurrias Island
2 nights in hotel in Bariloche and Puerto Varas. Single supplement is available only at Bariloche and Puerto Varas.
There are several days where electricity is not available. No WiFi or phone signal throughout the ride (the guides will be equipped with satellite phones and VHF radio for emergencies)
Wine is provided with evening meals, but limited to a couple of glasses each night as it also has to be carried on the pack horses.
You collect your own water from the rivers you pass along the route - the water is clean and pure. Camps are always situated near to fresh water and you cross rivers during the day where you can also re-fill your water bottles. You may wish to take water purification tablets such as Micropur for the water if you are worried.
On the Argentine side of the Andes it rarely rains and is a dry area, however, the weather is unpredictable and can change quickly. It is possible to experience all seasons in one day and it can always be windy in Patagonia!!
The Chilean side of the Andes is always wetter, and therefore greener. Temperatures are similar, but there is more chance of rain. You should ensure you keep waterproof clothing with you just in case, but it is also possible to experience beautiful, sunny days.
Guide and local team
It is usual for one guide to accompany you for the entire ride, but the local team/horsemen will change at the border when you also change horses. We use qualified staff provided with safety equipment including a portable radio with available connections to radio networks; in case of emergencies they have access to direct telephone lines through this 2-way radio.
Please note: there are sometimes horse flies in Chile and these are more attracted to dark clothing, so you may prefer to bring lighter coloured clothing for the Chilean half of the ride.
- Equus Journeys strongly recommend that you wear a riding helmet and that you take your own to ensure a correct fit.
- Sunhat for when not riding
- Sunglasses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana for protecting your neck and face from the sun and dust
- Warm hat if visiting during the winter months of June-August
- Thermals in case of cold weather during the winter months of June - August
- Down jacket or warm coat for the cold evenings
- Long sleeved shirts provide protection from the sun
- Lightweight fleece or jumper
- Warm polar fleece or equivalent (plus a spare in case one gets wet)
- Waterproof jacket - rain can be difficult to predict and it's better to be prepared.
- Lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- Waterproof over trousers
- Casual clothes for the evenings (jeans or walking trousers)
- Thermals in case of cold weather during the winter months of June - August
Hands and Feet
- Comfortable riding boots. We recommend short hiking boots with half chaps but you may wish to take long chaps. We don't recommend taking your favourite long leather boots in case they get damaged
- Lightweight shoes or trainers for the evenings
- Good walking boots (or hybrid walking/riding boots)
- Several pairs of warm socks
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun, wind or rain whilst riding
- Sleeping bag with a comfort rating of at least minus 5c, preferably minus 10c. We also suggest adding a liner, such as silk or fleece for extra warmth. (It is possible to hire a sleeping bag if you prefer with advance notice)
- Thermarest pad or similar self-inflating mattress
Other useful items
- Swimsuit - for swimming/bathing in rivers
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery
- Bumbag for carrying your camera and small items whilst riding
- Headtorch or small torch for moving around camp at night - bring spare batteries and bulbs
- Ear plugs (for light sleepers)
- Water bottle - 2 x 1 litre, or equivalent
- Wet wipes for when washing water isn't available
In your luggage
- Any liquids, such as shampoo, moisturiser, deodorant unless they are less than 100ml and all bottles can fit in a small, clear, plastic ziplock bag.
- Swiss army knife or equivalent
- Lighter for burning toilet paper
In your hand luggage
- Any valuables, such as your camera, ipod, ipad etc.
- Your riding hat
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor
- Insect repellent
- Any medication you regularly take
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc...
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Eye drops
- Imodium or similar anti-diarrhoea medication
- Micropur or similar water purification tablets
- Re-hydration sachets
- Antiseptic wipes
- Handwash gel
- Toilet paper
- Plastic bags/dry bags to keep your belongings dry in the saddle bags
- You should take a soft sided suitcase which can easily be transported - we recommend a large backpack or rucksack of c. 60-80 litres. Remember you will need to re-pack for the pack horses.
- Backpacks cannot be worn whilst riding. We recommend a small bumbag or a coat with pockets so that you can carry small items with you during the day (camera, sunscreen, lipbalm etc)
- We recommend travelling in your riding boots and carrying your hat and some riding clothes in your hand luggage - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!
- Please be aware that internal flights in Chile may have a lower luggage allowance than your international flight and you should pack according to the lowest limit.
Visa & Health
Passports issued to children must contain a photo and state the nationality.
On arrival in Chile the immigration authorities will issue you with a ‘Tarjeta de Turismo - Tourist Card’, an A5 sized white form. You must retain this document and present it to immigration when you leave.
Visas are not required by the nationals referred to above for stays in Chile of up to 90 days. Nationals of Greece may only stay for up to 60 days without a visa. Nationals from Australia (US$95) and Canada (US$132) must pay a reciprocal tax at the airport.
As of 2014, US nationals no longer need to pay a reciprocal tax.
Addresses of consulates
- British Embassy in Chile
Avda. El Bosque Norte 0125
Tél. : +56 2 2370 4100
- Consulate of the Republic of Chile
1736 Massachusetts Ave NW
DC 200 36 WASHINGTON
Tél. : +1 202 530 4104
- Embassy of Chile in UK
37-41 Old Queen Street
SW1H 9JA LONDON
Tél. : +44 20 7222 2361
- Ambassade du Chili en France
2, Av. de la Motte-Picquet
Tél. : 01 44 18 59 60
- Consulat du Chili en France
64, boulevard de La-Tour-Maubourg
Tél. : 01 44 18 59 60
- Ambassade de France au Chili
Avenida Condell 65
Tél. : +56 224 708 000
Budget and money
Visa and MasterCard are commonly accepted; American Express slightly less so - in towns and cities, where ATMs are also largely available. Outside of the larger, more tourist-centred towns, currency exchange can be tricky.
Telephone and jetlag
Standard time – 4.00 GMT
Did you know?
Did you know?
Mate is a traditional caffeine-rich drink of South America. It is pronounced as though there is an accent on the e (mar-tay), but it is spelt without an accent.
Mate is prepared by steeping dried leaves of yerba mate in hot water in a traditional hollow calabash gourd. The mate is drunk though a silver straw called a bombilla, which contains small holes so that the liquid can pass through whilst leaving the leaves behind.
Mate is a social drink and the same gourd and bombilla is used by everyone drinking. Traditionally the person who brews the mate takes the first drink to check that it is good. He then passes it to the person on his right, who takes a drink and passes it on without saying Thank You. The gourd will be refilled up to ten times before the yerba is replaced. Once you have had your fill of mate you say Thank You when you pass the gourd on, and you will not be offered it during the next round.
It is likely that you will be offered mate to try whilst horse-riding in Argentina and Chile - it is quite bitter and has an acquired taste.