Patagonia Horseback Expedition, Chile
The beauty of Patagonia is hard to describe, SPECTACULAR would be the word if we had to use one!
day 1: Punta Arenas - Estancia Barranca
Upon arrival in Punta Arenas, the southernmost city of the continent, you will be welcomed at the airport by your guide. A private shuttle takes you direction Estancia Las Chinas. (guests will be picked up at the airport at 02:25 PM, corresponding the LAN flight, # LA285, or 2 PM at your hotel in town) Leaving the airport you will see the scenery of the Strait of Magellan and Tierra del Fuego. For about five hours we will cross the vast plains where we might see one of the common animals of the area, the ñandu (similar to an ostrich). We head north direction Puerto Natales, a typical fishing village surrounded by mountains, located in an area called Sound of Last Hope. From here we follow a dirt road to the Estancia Barranca, a typical farm of the region where a cozy room awaits you from were amazing views of the famous Torres del Paine. (5 hours by private transfer) Dinner and night at Estancia Barranca.
day 2 : Laguna Azul and Cascada Las Chinas
After an early and hearty breakfast, we saddle the horses and ride in the direction toward the Laguna Azul (blue lagoon) and Cascada or waterfall Las Chinas. During the riding, we will permanently have the mighty Torres del Paine in the scenery. The canters here will be giving you a feeling of freedom that few places in the world can give you. After a few hours in the saddle, we reach the Cascada Las Chinas where we stop for lunch. After lunch at the waterfall, we head back to the ranch crossing marvelous landscapes. At the farm, we enjoy a good Pisco Sour and a Patagonian style roasted lamb. (6-7 hours in the saddle). Night at the farm Estancia Barranca
day 3 : Torres del Paine National ParkThis is without a doubt the longest day and a day where all your senses will be stimulated by the beautiful scenery, the rich colors of the lakes, the rivers, glaciers, and mountains of Torres del Paine National Park. We ride from east to west, through the pampa, ponds, meadows, forests, and along mountain trails. We realize that all this is a living dream as from the saddle we appreciate one of the most pristine and beautiful places on earth. After a few hours riding we have a break for lunch and then continue our journey to the Serrano campsite, located on the edge of the park from where we have one of the best views the horns! (the horns of Torres del Paine. (7 hours or more in the saddle) + 30 minutes by private transfer. Night at campsite Serrano.
day 4 : Rio Grey - Lake Pehoe
After a good breakfast in our camp, we will start the ride towards the glacier. We cross huge pampas giving us great chances for canters! Once we reach the Grey River, we follow its course through a narrow trail. Arriving at the turquoise waters of Lake Pehoe you will have plenty of photographic opportunities. From here we begin a steep trail to the viewpoint of Lago Grey with its impressive glacier of the same name which is part of the Southern Ice Field, the third-largest reserve of ice in the world. (350 kilometers long) With this breathtaking view, we enjoy a picnic and then begin our return trough the wilderness, taking advantage of the many pampas to enjoy a good gallop. (7 hours in the saddle). Night at Campsite Serrano.
day 5 : Torres del Paine
We leave our campsite to cross the Rio Serrano to go to the house of Aniceto Astorga, one of the most charismatic gauchos in the area. Here we get some new fresh horses to ride into an unexplored valley at the border of Torres del Paine National Park. We cross rivers, lakes, and wetlands and as we move forward we will be surprised by the changing views of the Paine massif and the last glaciers of the Southern Ice Field. We set up camp and spend the night on the shores of Lake Brush, a former cattle post. (4 hours in the saddle) + 10 minutes by private transfer. Night at Lake Brush Campsite. (water available but no showers).
day 6 : Bernardo O'Higgins National Park
After a hearty breakfast, we continue the ride to the Bernardo O'Higgins National Park. The trail penetrates through humid forests, similar to those of the austral canals, following the Serrano River till the mouth of Seno de Ultima Esperanza, where we spend the night in the comfortable cabins of the Balmaceda Inn. A room with a majestic view of the Serrano glacier! (5 hours in the saddle) Night at Hostería Balmaceda.
day 7 : Glacier Serrano - Puerto Natales
Today we swap our horse for a Zodiac as today is a day of rivers glaciers where access by horse is impossible. By Zodiac we cross the Serrano River to its mouth La Ultima Esperanza (last hope), facing the imposing Serrano glacier. Here we make a 1-hour walk on foot to the glacier. After our active morning, we take the Cutter 21 de Mayo, an expedition boat that will take us through glaciers and icy rivers to Puerto Natales. On the way stop at a farm to enjoy a barbecue. (3 hours by boat) Night at the Hostel Amerindia or similar).
day 8 : Puerto Natales - Punta Arenas Airport
After breakfast, we take a private transfer to Punta Arenas. (Lan Airlines flight # LA287, departing at 01:45 PM and arrives in Santiago at 06:10 PM). The transfer will take 2 ½ hours to get us to the airport.
Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control including weather and terrain conditions. The final route is always left up to the discretion of the trip leader in the field.
Download the full program in PDF, by clicking here