This ride will take riders from the southern to the northern parts of Torres del Paine National Park. They will experience the lush green areas of the south, through to the dry, vast pampas of the north. Riders will experience first-hand a cattle-drive (cattle, sheep and horses) for three days. We have tried to provide authentic estancias during the trip and where this is not possible, clients will have comfortable hotels.
- Tour starts and finishes in Puerto Natales
- Includes a boat trip up Last Hope Sound
- Includes eight full-day rides on Criollo-mix horses with Chilean tack
- Ride close to the Glacier Grey beach, with optional boat trip
- Experience breath-taking views of the Torres del Paine mountains
- Ride through woodland, over mountains, through rivers and around lakes
- Spectacular views every day of the mountains, glacial rivers and lakes
- Ride with cattle, sheep and horses for three days, working first-hand with the local gauchos
- Eat typical Patagonian food and wine and meet some of the people who live in this beautiful place
- See many local birds, animals and plants
Brief day-by-day itinerary
Arrive Puerto Natales. Dinner with guide for trip briefing. Night at Hotel If. Briefing dinner included.
Transfer to Estancia Perales. Ride around Estancia Perales. Night in Estancia. All meals included. Hours in the saddle: 5.
Take cutter across fjords to Balmaceda. Meet horses for ride to Serrano. Night Hotel del Paine. All meals included. Hours in the saddle: 8-9.
Ride to Glacier Grey viewpoint. Optional boat trip. Ride or transfer back to Serrano. Night Hotel del Paine. All meals included. Hours in the saddle: 3 with boat trip, otherwise 6.
Ride the Up and Over across the heart of the park to Laguna Amarga. Transfer to Estancia Tercera Barranca. Night Estancia Tercera Barranca. All meals included. Hours in the saddle: 7-8.
Ride to Salto Las Chinas and back to Tercera Barranca. Night Estancia Tercera Barrance. All meals included. Hours in the saddle: 5-6.
Transfer to Estancia Cerro Guido. First day of cattle-drive. Night Estancia Cerro Guido. All meals included. Hours in the saddle: 5-6.
Second day of cattle-drive. Night at Estancia Cerro Guido. All meals included. Hours in the saddle: 5-6.
Third day of cattle-drive. Night Estancia Cerro Guido. All meals included. Hours in the saddle: 5-6.
Transfer to Puerto Natales for onward travel. Breakfast only included.
Note: Hours in the saddle are approximate and largely depends on the group size and pace of riding.
2nd – 11th April 2018.
This trip suits experienced riders wishing to combine some local flavor and comfortable accommodation with their riding adventure. It is designed for those who prefer not to camp and who enjoy a mixture of riding, from technical to some fast riding. There are some days of approximately 8 or more hours in the saddle.
During long days riders will be asked not to ride their horses overly hard. We strive to be a humane company and keep our horses fairly treated. The holiday is a joint experience of the place and the riding. We expect the riders to treat the horses as though they were their own at all times.
Riders will experience a first-hand view of Patagonia estancia life, which includes the joys, threats and difficulties posed by farming cattle and sheep in the area. The route offers plenty of diversity with rides across open pampas, rides to wild glaciers and ice-berg filled lakes and peaceful rides through valleys and ancient beech forests. Throughout these long days in the saddle, the snow-capped mountains are never far away.
The accommodation is a mix of authentic estancias and where this is not possible, comfortable hotels.
- Riding Experience:
Intermediate – Advanced. This holiday has some fast sections and some technical sections and some long riding days. Fitness and experience are essential. No beginners please.
- Age Limit:
We can accept clients between the age of 12 – 70. Younger riders must be experienced and accompanied by an experienced adult. Older riders are welcome to join us on completion of a medical suitability questionnaire.
- Trip Length:
10 days / 9 nights – 8 full days of riding.
- Group Size:
2 – 10 riders. Custom groups of any size: details available on request.
- Day 1 / Arrive Puerto Natales. Dinner and briefing. Night in Hotel If or similar.
Arrive into Puerto Natales. Clients will arrive today and in the evening will be escorted to dinner by their guide for the trip briefing. Night in Hotel If or similar. Dinner included.
- Day 2 / Transfer to Estancia Perales. Ride around land of Estancia Perales. Night Estancia Perales.
In the morning clients will leave and take a transfer of approximately 40 minutes to Estancia Perales where they 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 clients will ride along the fjord, up mountains with fabulous views of Last Hope sound, cross rivers and ride through Magallanic forests. After the ride guests will enjoy a welcoming meal and be able to relax next to the waters of Last Hope Sound. Night in Estancia. All meals included. (Wine/drinks not included).
- Day 3 / Boat to Balmaceda. Ride from Balmaceda to Rio Serrano. Night Hotel del Paine.
After breakfast, guests will say goodbye to Estancia Perales and hop on the boat which will dock especially to take them for a great ride up the Last Hope Sound. Guests will 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. We will take a short, 5 minute, zodiac boat ride to where 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 hotel for the night, Hotel del Paine.
This hotel offers comfortable rooms and great views of the Paine Massif. A large living/dining area with a log fire and a comfortable bar and good restaurant. For early risers, it also offers some of the best sunrises in all of Patagonia! All meals included. (Wine/drinks not included).
- Day 4 / Ride to Grey Glacier and Lake. Optional boat trip. Ride back to Rio Serrano. Night in Hotel del Paine.
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.
Return to Hotel del Paine for the night. All meals included. (excluding wine/drinks).
- Day 5 / Ride the up and over across the heart of the park to Estancia Tercera Barranca. Night Tercera.
After breakfast in the hotel 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 turquiose 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. Here we will have a chance for some cantering as the light fades and the shadows lengthen until we arrive at Laguna Amarga where you will take a transfer the last few kilometers to the intimate and authentic Estancia Tercera Barranca.
Typical of the estancias of the area, Estancia Tercera Barranca is a working sheep ranch situated in an enviable position on the park border offering fantastic views of the granite mountains and of the Paine Massif. With land extending to 6,454 hectares it offers quality accommodation close to Torres del Paine National Park in addition to its continuing work as a Patagonian ranch. Sleeping just 21 guests in 7 rooms, the ranch house has a lovely intimate feel. There is a comfortable living area warmed by the welcoming log fire where you can read and relax before dinner which is served in the nearby wooden quincho. A hot tub also awaits to soak away any aches! All rooms have private bathrooms. All meals included (excluding wine/drinks).
- Day 6 / Ride out to Salto Las Chinas and onto the pampa at Estancia Gemita
Ride from the Estancia Tercera to the North-East, close to the border with Argentina. The area is full of guanacos and the hills ring with their alarm calls as you ride by. There will be chances for canters until reaching the uninhabited Estancia Gemitas for a short break. Afterwards follow Las Chinas Valley downhill to reach the dramatic Las Chinas waterfall where you stop for lunch. After lunch cross Las Chinas river and pass by the Estancia Laguna Azul and return to Tercera Baranca. Night at Estancia Tercera Barranca. All meals included. (excluding wine/drinks).
- Day 7 / Transfer to Estancia Cerro Guido. First day of cattle-drive. Return to Estancia Cerro Guido. Night Cerro Guido
Today we will hop into the van and take a 20 minute transfer to Estancia Cerro Guido. A large working estancia with over 25,000 hectares and approximately 10,000 sheep. After checking in to our rooms, we will meet our new horses and the gauchos that will be accompanying us for the cattle-drive. Each year, around this date the cattle are moved from the higher pastures, which are likely to be snowy at this time, and are bought down to lower pastures. We will be going out to the higher pastures and rounding up the cattle to move them down to their winter feeding grounds.
After our ride, we will return to the estancia for a welcome dinner and our comfortable beds. All meals included (excluding wine/drinks).
- Day 8 / Second day of cattle-drive. Return to Estancia Cerro Guido. Night Cerro Guido.
Today after breakfast, riders will once again be saddling up for a full day’s ride. This time, we will be heading back out to check on the cattle, finish off any of yesterday’s jobs and start looking at the sheep. Please be aware that this is not an activity that can work with a tight itinerary. Each day of the three-day drive may be changed and amended depending on the estancia, gauchos and climate. Each of the three days will be a minimum of 5 hours in the saddle.
- Day 9 / Third day of cattle-drive. Return to Estancia Cerro Guido. Night Cerro Guido. Goodbye asado dinner.
After breakfast we find our horses, check our saddles and begin our last, full day of riding. After our last day of rounding up cattle and sheep we will return to the lovely Estancia where a delicious Patagonian asado dinner will be cooking and we can enjoy our last night together. All meals included (including wine tonight).