Riding to Glaciers with Gauchos

Run by the most experienced horse riding specialists in the area this is a trip for experienced riders up for a real adventure in the Patagonian wilderness. You'll be seeing some of the very best of Torres del Paine National Park, meeting gauchos, camping under the stars every nights and riding some fast and technical through the Patagonian landscape.

10 Days

$4,399

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Riding to Glaciers with Gauchos - 10 - $4,399

Trip Summary and Itinerary Map

Ride around land of Estancia Perales

Ride from Balmaceda to Rio Serrano

Ride to Grey Beach, walk to see Glacier with an optional boat ride

Return to Rio Serrano and ride across the heart of the park to Estancia Laguna Amarga

Ride from Laguna Amarga to Lago Paine then to Dickson Glacier viewpoint

Ride to Laguna Azul and then to Estancia Tercera Barranca

Start from Puerto Natales and end at Puerto Natales

Landmarks visited on Riding to Glaciers with Gauchos

Operator's Itinerary

Day 1: Puerto Natales 

Arrive into Puerto Natales. In the evening you will be escorted to dinner by your guide for the trip briefing. 

Meals: Dinner

Accommodation: Hostal El Establo 


Day 2: Estancia Consuelo

In the morning clients you leave Natales and take a transfer of approximately 40 minutes to Estancia Perales where you will have their first encounter with Criollo horses. This Estancia is still the home of the Alvarez family who have much history in Magallanes. From this lovely Estancia you will ride along the fjord, up mountains with fabulous views of Last Hope Sound, cross rivers and ride through Magallanic forests. After the ride, enjoy a welcoming meal and relax next to the waters of Last Hope Sound. 

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner with wine while camping

Accommodation: Camping Estancia Perales


Day 3: Ride from Balmaceda to Rio Serrano

You will take the boat from the small pier at Estancia Perales to Balmaceda. This fabulous boat trip travels up the Last Hope Sound passing cormorant nesting crags, dolphins and the Balmaceda Glacier before docking at the Serrano Glacier. Enter the Bernardo O'Higgins National Park. Shared by the regions of Magallanes and Aysen, this is the largest National Park in Chile and one of five of the most expansive in the world (over three million hectares). With access only via the water, the mountains or the southern ice field itself, it remains a remote and pristine corner of our planet. It also contains the third largest mass of ice on earth after Antarctica and Greenland, so the climate is understandably extreme.

We will disembark our boat here and enjoy the stunning views which combine old growth forests of evergreen and deciduous southern beech, fire bushes and cypresses - a stunning contrast to the snow capped peaks and glaciers in this region.

After a short zodiac ride (RIB) we will meet our new horses and have some lunch before setting out on a beautiful trail through thick forests passing pristine rivers and streams in the shadow of the Chacabuco and Balmaceda range of mountains. A fairly slow ride today gives us the opportunity to find our riding stride while enjoying the dazzling scenery on our route into the Torres del Paine National Park. Towards the end of the trail, we will cross the Nutria river and come out onto the pampas which marks the end of today's ride, as we approach our campsite for the night. Our cook will be preparing our dinner and we can enjoy a glass of Pisco Sour while we wait.

This campsite belongs to the Astorga family who are still farming a few sheep and cattle and working in the traditional manner. For early risers, it also offers some of the best sunrises in all of Patagonia!

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner with wine while camping

Accommodation: Camping Rio Serrano


Day 4: Lago Grey

After breakfast we will be meeting our horses and preparing for the pampas ride to Lago Grey. Our view will be dominated by the jagged peaks of the Paine Massif as we ride out along the Rio Grey to the largest glacier in the park, Glacier Grey. On reaching the trailhead we will tether our horses and walk out across the swinging footbridge through the forest to Grey beach. The view that greets us is memorable - the pebbly shores of the beach form an almost surreal contrast to the blue of the floating icebergs that have calved off the nearby glacier. Glacier Grey protrudes off the southern ice field and is quite simply a wonder of nature. Measuring 28km in length and covering a total area of 270 square km with its frozen walls of blue ice towering almost 35 metres high, it never ceased to impress.

After some time walking along the beach and enjoying our picnic lunch, we will walk back to our waiting horses for the ride back to Rio Serrano.

*Note The Glacier itself is 17 kilometers from the the Grey beach, so for those who would like to get up closer to the face of this marvel of ice, we can arrange a trip out onto the lake in the Grey III boat. This is an optional excursion available at the cost of approximately US$140 per person. Those guests who take the excursion will return to the hotel by transfer not by horse.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner 

Accommodation: Camping Rio Serrano


Day 5: Laguna Amarga, Cerro Guido

After breakfast we will pack up and start our ride eastwards towards the heart of the park. We will now be riding directly towards the Paine Massif mountain range so the views are dramatic and beautiful. Our trail skirts the southern edge of the mountains on a rarely trodden path as we pass azure and turquoise lakes with the huge granite mountain peaks standing behind. After a picnic lunch taken in one of the pretty valleys we will continue east onto the beautiful soft pampas of the Patagonian steppe. Our final destination for the night is the Laguna Amarga with spectacular views of the Towers of Paine. From here you will take a 40 minute transfer to Estancia Cerro Guido, a large working estancia based in the fabulous Sierra Baguales mountains, with approximately 110,000 hectares, 37,00 sheep, 2,500 cattle and 400 horses.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner 

Accommodation: Camping Cerro Guido 


Day 6: Ride from the Estancia to the Indian burial site, 'Chenke', Tehuelche for Cemetary.

 In the morning we will meet our new horses. From the estancia we will make our way up the mountain side behind the estancia and into the surrounding hills. The Sierra Baguales mountians are a stark contrast beside the rolling landscape of the pampas below. After lunch we will continue to the Indian burial site, although no artifacts remain at the site, there is still the site where the Tehuelche Indians piled stones to mark the grave of their deceased. The views from the top of this mountain are second to none, 360 degree views of the surrounding mountains. This day gives riders a unforgettable idea of the vast landscape of Patagonia. After our ride, we will return to the campsite for a welcome dinner.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner 

Accommodation: Camping Cerro Guido 


Day 7: Ride south across the pampas to Condor vantage point and Lake Sarmiento.

Today after breakfast, riders will once again be saddling up for a full day's ride. This time, we will be heading south rst, to the cli -top where there are dramatic views of the surrounding landscape and the Torres del Paine mountains, then carry on to Lake Sarmiento.

During the afternoon, after a leisurely picnic lunch in a guacho hut, we will see the blue waters of Lake Sarmiento and have some time to photograph the Torres del Paine mountains from the lake's edge. After, we will ride back to Estancia Cerro Guido . This part of the ride is over open grassy meadows and pampas. Riding with the dramatic Paine mountains to our right enables us to fully appreciate the distances that the original pioneers encountered and which the estancieros still encounter to this day. There will also be opportunities for lots of canters on your responsive and comfortable horses. With the wind in your hair and a smile on your face you will experience the sheer joy that is riding in Patagonia!

After a long day of cantering through the pampas we arrive back at the estancia where snacks will be ready and dinner will be served. 

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner 

Accommodation: Camping Cerro Guido 


Day 8:  Ride to the deserted Flower Estancia 'Las Flores', and into the Sierra Balguales mountains.

After breakfast we and our horses, check our saddles and begin our last, full day of riding at Estancia Cerro Guido, to the Sierra Baguales mountain range. Today will give you a view of the vast glacial valleys carved by the glaciers thousands of years ago. You will be mesmerised by the huge skies and long stretches of pampas.

We will start by traversing the mountain behind Cerro Guido, along the track called 'Paso Guitarra'. Then we will pass the lovely, but deserted, Estancia Las Flores where you will see the only original adobe building left in the area. By lunch time we will let the horses rest and we will have a nice picnic in the middle of the valley where we may be able to see condors soaring above us.

After these lovely views we are ready to continue on to Vega Nash where there will be opportunities to canter and enjoy this large at 'vega', a typical pampa in this area. This will bring us back to our campsite at Estancia Cerro Guido. All meals included. 

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner 

Accommodation: Camping Cerro Guido 


Day 9: Transfer to Laguna Sofia

After breakfast we say goodbye to Estancia Cerro Guido and their wonderful horses and take an early transfer to Laguna Sofia. Alongside this stunning lake we will be able to choose our comfy bed in the refugio before meeting our horses for the last day of riding. A full day of riding to the Gaucho hut in Vega Se?oret. Along the way we go around Laguna Sofia, bordering the Sierra Senoret, with great views of the mountains around us. Once we get to Vega Senoret we will see views of the Torres del Paine mountains one last time and Cerro Ventana (Window Hill).

By lunchtime we will let the horses rest and we will have a nice lunch at the Gaucho hut, a small puesto located in the middle of the valley where gauchos stay during the summer time to look after their cattle. Depending on the time available, and the weather, we may go for a further hour and half to a condor area, where we will be riding at the same altitude they are ying. After these lovely views we are ready to return to Laguna So a where a typical Patagonian asado dinner will be cooking and we can enjoy our last night together.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, Asado Dinner

Accommodation: Night in comfortable refugio


Day 10:

Transfer to Puerto Natales. Tour ends. Onward journey.

Prices, Departures and Inclusions

This trip can run as a group trip, with prices starting from $4,399 per person for a complete group. If you are looking to join a group or you are a solo traveller we will help to form likeminded groups of travellers. Please let us know your travel plans.

The trip can also run on a private basis to fit around your plans. Departures may be tailored and can be set up on a date of your choice. Please note that there is a higher price for smaller groups. Please enquire for further details.

8-10 riders: USD $4,399 per person

6-7 riders: USD $4,799 per person

4-5 riders: USD $4,999 per person 

*Single supplement: USD $500 for all clients wanting guaranteed single accommodation.

Includes

  • Eight full-day rides on Criollo-mix horses with Chilean tack
  • Boat trip up Last Hope Sound
  • All meals on Day 2 through 9.

Excludes

  • Travel to and from Puerto Natales.

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