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Riding to Hidden Glaciers

A real chance to experience the Patagonian life like a ranger, seeing crystal-clear lakes and hidden glaciers from the saddle and riding to remote corners from a traditional Patagonian ranch, spending your nights in small rustic outposts. This complete program showcases the best way to see Perito Moreno Glacier with the most authentic riding experience El Calafate has to offer.

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Riding to Hidden Glaciers

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Trip type

Guided Activity

Trip length

7 Days

From

$2,115

Location

Los Glaciares

Riding to Hidden Glaciers - 7 Days - $2,115

Trip Summary and Itinerary Map

Day 1: Private Transfer from the Airport/Bus Station to El Calafate town.

Day 2: Shared Transfer to Estancia Nibepo Aike; Ride to Puesto La Rosada

Day 3: Ride to Puesto Cachorro y Laguna 3 de Abril

Day 4: Hike or Ride Lake Argentino; Aventura Glaciar Sur Excursion

Day 5: Ride to Estancia Nibepo Aike

Day 6: Pioneros Boat Trip, Perito Moreno Glacier; Shared transfer to El Calafate

Day 7: Private Transfer to El Calafate Airport

Start from El Calafate and end at El Calafate

Landmarks visited on Riding to Hidden Glaciers

Operator's Itinerary

Day 1: Private Transfer from El Calafate Airport/Bus Station

You’ll be taken by private vehicle from El Calafate airport/bus station to your hotel. Depending on your arrival time you'll have the chance to settle into your accommodation and explore El Calafate town. 

Accommodation: Hotel in El Calafate


Day 2: Shared Transfer to Estancia Nibepo Aike; Ride to Puesto La Rosada

In the morning you'll take a transfer from El Calafate to Estancia Nibepo Aike (approx 1.5hrs).

This estancia is located in Los Glaciares National Park, on the shore of the southern arm of Lake Argentino. It covers an area of over 12,000 hectares, up to the border with Chile. It was previously devoted to sheep rearing, though nowadays only a small flock is kept as its main purpose is breeding its prestigious herd of Hereford cattle.

After settling in, your guide will explain the trip itinerary during a briefing. The horses will then be prepared and the equipment checked. Your first ride starts soon after, climbing up the Cordon de los Cristales mountain range which lies behind the main house. The higher you ride, the more the lakes stand out – the Brazo Rico and Sur, Lago Roca and Cerro Frías. Upon reaching a clearing, the track descends into the Patagonian Andean woods. Pass by lenga trees and guindos (Magellan beeches), riding along old tracks previously used for the great sheep drives.

You'll arrive at the La Rosada outpost, home of the 'puestero' who is in charge of cattle and continues the legacy of traditional rural production. He knows every inch of the surrounding land and can count the cows at a glance. You'll have lunch at the outpost and then continue riding to the International Milestone – this point marks the end of the estancia and also the end of Argentina at the border with Chile.

Spend the afternoon soaking up the experience of being at the very frontiers of Patagonia; the south of the south, where the wind blows and the flag waves. There will be time for you to explore the area while dinner is being cooked over a fire. Spend the night at the La Rosada outpost.

Length of ride: 4-6hrs

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Bunk at Puesto Rosada


Day 3: Ride to Puesto Cachorro y Laguna 3 de Abril

Making your way out of the dense woodland, the path opens up into the Valley of the Río Cachorro. Amidst the unusually tall Notros (Chilean firebush) and Calafate bushes, you descend towards the lower land until reaching the riverbed where you'll be presented with surprising views of the Frías Glacier and the granite needle called the Dedo del Cesar. Riding between rocks and pasturelands, we'll avoid the marshes and arrive at the corrals of the Río Cachorro outpost where the rangers may be spotted out with the livestock.

After a picnic lunch, we'll see flamingos, upland geese, steamer ducks and black-necked swans at Laguna 3 de Abril. The Puesto Laguna 3 de Abril outpost, your home for the next two nights, is located nearby so you can spend the late afternoon enjoying the surroundings and the cosiness of the refuge. We'll eat our evening meal sat around the wood-fired stove, sharing tales of adventure as we pass mate around.

Length of ride: 4-6hrs

Meal: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Bunk or single bed at Puesto Laguna 3 de Abril outpost


Day 4: Hike or Ride Lake Argentino; Aventura Glaciar Sur Excursion

This day will involve one of two options, weather-dependent. 

Option 1 – After breakfast, hike to the lake shore at Glacier Sur and begin a Zodiac cruise of Lake Argentino. We'll head south to the Hidden Glaciers and combine time on the Zodiac with trekking to little-visited spots between the mountains and glaciers. Sail through the Brazo Sur, reaching its southernmost point, and walk through the native forest to uncover a viewpoint of the glaciers and glimpses of Lake Frías, which we'll soon sail through. Disembark on the other side of the shore to trek along an old river course and arrive at an amphitheatre facing the Gorra, Frías and Grande glaciers. Have lunch overlooking not only these three glaciers but also the icebergs that dot the milky waters of the lagoon. You'll have a good amount of time to appreciate the surroundings before returning to the Puesto Laguna 3 de Abril outpost

Please note that as this excursion is provided by another provider, you will be joined by other visitors doing the tour as a day trip from El Calafate. Also, it is subject to cancellation due to the boat trip being affected by weather conditions.

Length of hikes: 6hrs, 14km

Option 2 – After breakfast, head south to the Balcony of the Glaciers, riding parallel to the Southern Arm of Lake Argentino. Shortly before arriving at the head of the lake, we'll leave the horses grazing as we trek to a viewpoint even higher up which offers a panoramic view of the Southern Arm, Laguna Corazon and Lake Frías, with glimpses of the Hidden Glaciers – Gorra, Frías, Grande and Dickson – in the distance. We'll walk to the beach at the head of the Southern Arm, crossing the pristine pasture to discover an impressive rock formation, shaped by the force of the glaciers advancing and receding. The footpath starts to run alongside the lower Frías River and then takes us to Corazon Lagoon; its deep blue waters contrast with the green reflection of the woods. Have lunch watching trout swimming between the rocks in the clear waters. If you wish, you can then carry on walking slightly further to get to the southern end of Lake Frías, the natural border protecting the glaciers further south.

In the afternoon, we'll return to where we left the horses and ride back to the Puesto Laguna 3 de Abril, where we'll spend the night.

Length of ride: 4-6hrs

Meal: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Bunk or single bed at Puesto Laguna 3 de Abril outpost


Day 5Ride to Estancia Nibepo Aike

Your return journey begins by riding along the shore of the lake until you arrive at the main buildings of Estancia Nibepo Aike (approx 18km).

You'll arrive just in time for a traditional and hearty lunch, with a variety of options cooked by grill/bbq.

The rest of the afternoon and evening is free to relax and enjoy the estancia. You can explore the surroundings by bike or on foot, finding your way along the trails and tracks. You can also take part in a sheep-shearing demonstration using traditional hand shears.

Length of ride: 4-6hrs

Meal: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Estancia Nibepo Aike


Day 6: Pioneros Boat Trip, Perito Moreno Glacier; Shared transfer to El Calafate

In the morning you'll do an activity based from the Estancia (self-guided hike or a different ride) before joining the Pioneros excursion around 11:30am. An alternative and exciting way to reach the famous Perito Moreno Glacier by small boat excursion towards the southern face of this mighty wall of ice.

You’ll sail towards the Brazo Rico to disembark at the Playa de las Monedas beach and take an easy hike through the lenga beech forest. You'll visit a glacier lookout point only frequented by people doing this excursion. Return to the boat to sail close to the southern face of the Perito Moreno Glacier while sipping on whisky with ice from the glacier and enjoying some chocolate. Then disembark to head to the glacier walkways, to view the other faces and witness ice calving, in the afternoon, when there are fewer visitors. 

You'll be transferred by road/vehicle to El Calafate later in the afternoon. 

Meal: Breakfast, lunch

Accommodation: Hotel in El Calafate


Day 7: Private Transfer to El Calafate Airport

You’ll be taken by private vehicle to El Calafate airport/bus station for your onward travel.

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What our customers think of Riding to Hidden Glaciers

Riding to Hidden Glaciers trips scored 4.6/5 from 7 reviews

Our guide Juan was fabulous. He too really good care of the horses, kept checking them at every stop, going from horse to horse. He also took excellent care of all of us, was considerate and gave good information before departure. He rode carefully and always checking with everyone. He is also an excellent cook and managed to whip up some amazing dinners in the middle of nowhere. The scenery around was absolutely amazing. Criss-crossing the streams and climbing mountains. Very varied landscapes.

Travelled: December 2023

Nicole Dsouza - Norway

The best part of our month long holiday. Our guide was brilliant, he knew so much about the local geography and wildlife as well as the history of the area. The food was fantastic, the best we have had all holiday and the scenery and unique places we got to see on the horses was incredible.

Travelled: January 2023

Rory Booth - UK

Riding to hidden glaciers was amazing, to be out in the mountains and elements, and completely disconnect from my phone and everyday life. Our gaucho was amazing and we had delicious food the whole time! It was a really great experience and a rare opportunity to be somewhere so wild.

Travelled: January 2020

Anousha Fluck - Canada

The horse trekking was the highlight of our trip! Landscape was rugged and wild, the locals open and very friendly. I'll tell my friends and family that it was a trip of a lifetime!

Travelled: February 2019

Anna Jansen - Netherlands

The guide was friendly and knowledgble, the experience authentic as we stayed in ‘refugios’ that are still being used today, and the scenery was stunning (on the days it didn’t rain ;) ). The food was good, and we felt very welcome at the estancia.

Travelled: February 2019

Sterre Lodders - Netherlands

Patagonia was full of the most gorgeous landscapes, wildness, and authentic people. We had adventures, ate amazing foods, and made friends that we still keep in touch with. It was truly the trip of a lifetime.

Travelled: December 2018

Betsy Wack - United States Of America

Everything about this ride was fantastic - beyond what we had even hoped it could be. The horses are extremely capable - fit, well-trained, happy, and matched to their riders. Our guide, Franco, was a delight. He was extremely knowledgeable about the history of the area, the flora and fauna, and the horses. He is a true horseman, always keeping the well-being of the horses in mind and knowing each horse in detail.

Travelled: December 2018

Betsy Wack - United States Of America

Review:

Prices, Departures and Inclusions

  1. Prices for December 2024 to March 2025, including one night at Nibepo Aike and a mid-range hotel in El Calafate, start from:

  2. 2 people:

    USD $2,115 per person

  3. 1 person:

    USD $2,425 per person

  4. Please enquire for more information or if you want to know about the shorter itinerary options. We'll always do whatever we can to promote your departure and find fellow riders for your dates (which can result in a lower price). 

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2024

2025

Start date Price (pp)
December 2024
7-Dec-2024 $2,115* Provisional Date Enquire
14-Dec-2024 $2,115 Provisional Date Enquire
21-Dec-2024 $2,115* Provisional Date Enquire
January 2025
4-Jan-2025 $2,115 Provisional Date Enquire
11-Jan-2025 $2,115* Provisional Date Enquire
18-Jan-2025 $2,115 Provisional Date Enquire
February 2025
1-Feb-2025 $2,115* Provisional Date Enquire
8-Feb-2025 $2,115 Provisional Date Enquire
15-Feb-2025 $2,115* Provisional Date Enquire
March 2025
12-Mar-2025 $2,115 Provisional Date Enquire
19-Mar-2025 $2,115* Provisional Date Enquire
26-Mar-2025 $2,115 Provisional Date Enquire

* Note: Prices are per person. Paid in USD ($) - figure above is based on today's exchange rate. Actual cost $2,115

Additional Notes

Riding difficulty – Moderate. Riders must have experience of riding horseback for at least six hours in one day.

Group size – Six maximum, two minimum

Rooms – For bookings of three or five people, one double and one triple room will be confirmed.

Facilities at Puesto de la Rosada – There are two rooms, one with four bunk beds (for eight people) and a dining room.

Facilities at Puesto Laguna 3 de Abril – There is a room with two bunk beds (for four people) and a room that serves as a dining room and kitchen where there are another two benches that turn into beds (total capacity six people). In a nearby structure, there is a bathroom with a shower and one more bed. You will be provided with towels.

Horses and saddles – Creole horses raised on the ranch. Saddles are Cangalla type. 

Sleeping bag – We recommend that you bring a sleeping bag. If you do not bring one, you will need to hire a sleeping bag from a gear rental shop in El Calafate. Please ask for further details.

Itinerary changes – The itinerary may vary according to weather conditions and/or to make better use of the livestock work if anything is interesting going on around the dates of the program.

November 2024 departures: There are provisional departures on 2, 9 and 16 November which will be 6 days/5 nights - please enquire for more information about this.

Single Supplement And Child Policy

Single supplement – If you prefer to have a single room at the Estancia, there will be a single supplement of USD $70 applied.

Child policy – Children over 12 years old can join this programme, only if they have experience of riding for at least six hours a day. 

Includes

  • Meals: 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners as per the itinerary 
  • Accommodation: Three nights basic refuge, two nights in a hotel, one night at Estancia Nibeko Aike
  • Three days of horseriding, plus one day of horseriding and hiking, or one day zodiac ride and hiking
  • Riding equipment chaps/helmet/gloves etc. 
  • Bilingual horse and riding guide/bilingual guide for the Pioneros Perito Moreno excursion. 
  • Private transfers to and from El Calafate airport/bus station
  • Shared transfers to Estancia Nibeko Aike
  • Taxes

Excludes

  • Meals not indicated in itinerary
  • Drinks during lunch or dinner
  • Any extra/optional excursions
  • Sleeping bag
  • Personal equipment (see our recommended kit list)
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Gratuities/tips
  • International and domestic/in-country flights
  • Any visa, passport and vaccination expenses

Questions about this Trip?