Trip Summary and Itinerary Map
- Travel into forests and Andes, traveling the trails of weathered gauchos
- Spend nights in established camps, feasting on traditional Patagonian asados
- Reach the mining town of Puerto Cristal and take a tour of the now ghost town
- This truly is one of the most historical and traditional routes in this area of Aysen
- A medium to high experience of horse riding is necessary for this trip
Day 1: Arrival and Gear Review
After your national flight from Santiago to Balmaceda, one of our guides will be at the airport to assist you with your luggage and bring you to the small town of Cerro Castillo. Here you’ll enjoy dinner and a night’s stay a local bed and breakfast and meet your guides for the pack trip. You’ll receive a briefing on the ride as well as time to organize your luggage and gear. We’ll advise you how to pack for the trip and make sure there isn’t anything you have left behind.
Day 2: Transfer from Villa Cerro Castillo to the farm in Lake Alto
Begin ride - After an early breakfast at your homestay, you’ll take approximately an hour car ride in to the mountains of Cerro Castillo to a farm near Lake Alto. From here, your guides will introduce you to your horse and they will prepare the pack horses for a late morning departure. The ride begins on old ox and horse paths until the road becomes only a trail through a small mountain pass in the upper valley where few families live. You can expect to ride approximately 6 hours until reaching your first campsite, “Puesto Rabanal.”
Day 3: Puesto Rabanal to Private Farm
Today is a long ride, approximately 7 hours, where you’ll descend down from the mountain pass and make your way through the Avellano Valley. You’ll ride through beautiful canyons and virgin forests, crossing rivers and making your way towards Lake General Carrera. You’ll camp on a local family’s farm after a long but beautiful day of riding.
Day 4: Valley Farm to Lake General Carrera
After a delicious breakfast, head out towards Lake General Carrera. Your first glimpse of Chile’s largest lake will be jaw dropping as you emerge from the forest to look out over the cliffs and the deep cobalt blue. You’ll ride along the coastal cliffs, and there may be sections where riders will dismount to allow the horses and riders safer passage through slippery slopes or narrow trails. Our guides will help you through any difficult terrain and are very knowledgeable. You’ll finally descend from the cliffs and arrive at an abandoned lake side farm with a pristine place for camping. Depending on the weather and terrain conditions, expect to ride 5-6 hours.
Day 5: Lake General Carrera to Puerto Cristal
One of your shorter days, continue riding along the coast of the lake until arriving at the old mining town of Puerto Cristal. This ghost town was first established in 1945 and it’s mine was one of the main economic drives for the region and lake basin. A town with a population of 850, it consisted of not only miners and company employees, but more than half were woman and children. In 1997 the mine closed, and with that the town was abandoned. It is now a national monument and upon arrival, you’ll have a private tour of the remaining facilities and enjoy a delicious dinner and night’s stay at their renovated guest house.
Day 6: Puerto Cristal a Puerto Sanchez
After a wonderful night’s rest, enjoy a scenic ride down an old horse trail until arriving at the coastal town of Puerto Sanchez. Also an old mining town, the village has continued to survive because of its connection by gravel road to the Carretera Austral and recent interest in tourism. In the afternoon, take a boat tour on the lake to the marble caverns, one of the top 10 places to visit in Chile.
Day 7: Puerto Sanchez to Bahia Murta
A short ride to Bahia Murta, you’ll finally reach a bit of civilization. Ride down the gravel road connecting these two towns and enjoy your last day as a real gaucho. Upon arrival in Bahia Murta, relax with a delicious dinner and bath at one of their small lodges or home stays. Your bags from Cerro Castillo will be waiting for you in town at your accommodations.
Day 8: Departure and transfer to Balmaceda
On your final day, we can also take you to the regional capital of Aysen, Coyhaique, where you could spend the night and do some souvenir shopping. Then you could fly out the next day.
What our customers think
The people were SO friendly, the scenery was wonderful, Superb. The horses were forward moving, sure footed putting you at ease to enjoy the surroundings.
Jeanette Lesbriel United Kingdom November 2018
Prices, Departures and Inclusions
- Accommodation mentioned in itinerary above
- Meals not indicated in itinerary
- Personal expenses and equipment
- Travel insurance
- Any visa, passport and vaccination expenses