Andean Valley Crossing, from Chile to Argentina
28th October – 2nd November
18th February – 23rd February*
13th March – 18th March*
26th March – 31th March*
Due to climate change producing low water levels during February and March, we ride back around to the start point in the Lake District, Chile instead of continuing on into Argentina and ending in Bariloche. The low water levels in Autumn means that there is no longer enough water in the rivers to safely navigate on the stretches of water where we swap horses for boats.
This ride is available as a private ride for any number of guests from late October to end of March.
Stay on a private island
Numerous beautiful river and lake crossings
Riding through varied terrain, from woodland to rain-forests and desert
Ride across pioneer trails in the rural Puelo Valley. In the middle of the Andes Mountains, this is an exclusive journey into the “huaso” culture. Come enjoy a fantastic adventure: relax in the depths of the pristine Patagonian wilderness, while being introduced to the local culture and the people’s traditional way of life.
This horse riding tour begins at your hotel in Puerto Varas, from which you will be driven through the Valdivian forests along the Reloncaví Fjord past volcanoes, and small villages on the waterfront before arriving at “Tagua Tagua” Lake. After lunch, a water crossing and a transfer to Puerto Urrutia, we will meet the baqueanos and the Creole horses. Enjoy the outstanding landscapes and cross the Puelo River just as the locals do: by public boat while the horses swim. Approx 2 hrs horse riding.
Today we venture into the Ventisqueros valley where we will be crossing amazing, ancient forests and self-sufficient small farms during the morning before crossing the wide Ventisqueros River. After lunch, we continue to the end of the valley at the start of a glacier. Here we find a remote farm, where the owner will lodge us for 2 nights. Approx 7 hrs horse riding.
We will embark on a gentle ride up the valley, crossing the river once more to approach the glacier. The valley turns wild and remote, with an incredible flora and devoid of all settlement. We will ride through ancient Alerce forests and have lunch near the Raquelita River before returning to the farm in the middle of the afternoon. There is a chance to walk around the area or simply relax before dinner. Another unforgettable day. Approx 4 hrs horse riding.
This morning we will set off on a full-day horse ride with forests, river crossings, mountains and waterfalls towards "La Pasarela del Rio Puelo", an important local hanging (suspension) bridge crucial for communication between the local inhabitants and the outside world. This area is particularly spectacular due to its huge waterfalls and rapids. After a riverside lunch and leaving the valley, we ride through stunning scenery to Las Rocas Lake, where we stay in an enchanting cosy cottage on the private island of Las Bandurrias. Approx 7 hrs horse riding.
After breakfast, leaving the island and meeting the horses, we embark on a 2 hr. ride and visit the Blue Lake "Lago Azul" with its crystal clear water amid towering peaks and stunning landscapes that greet us on arrival! After a beach lunch, our horse ride takes us deep into the forest along the mountain slopes. Wet and steep grounds, ancient trees as well as majestic mountains are part of the adventure. Short boat ride to the island for a final evening.. Approx 6 hrs horse riding.
Once in our saddles, the horse ride takes us through the Andes forest down to the Puelo River source with great views of the lake and the Puelo River. The trails guide us to the Chilean border police station, where we will reach 'Reten de Carabineros Paso el Bolson.' Here we will leave our horses an take an international private transfer boat to sail across the lake. After going through the Argentine border formalities, a private van will be waiting to take us to El Bolson for lunch and onwards to Bariloche in the heart of Patagonian Andes mountain range.. Approx 1.5 hrs horse riding.
Group size: Min 2 / Max 8 People.
How many days: The expedition lasts 6 days and 5 nights. Horse back riding on all 6 days.
Route from/to: From Puerto Varas, close to Puerto Montt in Chile on the shore of the Pacific Ocean across the Andes, ending in Bariloche Argentina.
What’s included: All In/out private transfers, transportation by minibus & motor jet boats, ferry crossing, full board meals (including ½ bottle of wine per person at dinner), saddle horses, pack horses, 5 night accommodation including 2 nights at a fabulous retreat on the private Bandurrias island, local horsemen (guides & helpers) and tour leader (Spanish, French & English spoken), VHF radio communication equipment.
Riding Difficulty: The trip is an exciting but not demanding one, although some days will be longer than others when we have to cover a particular distance. Some days, lot of river crossings which are great fun and allow riders to experience the local way of traveling. Some steep up hills and undulating terrain could turn just a bit more demanding if the weather is not good. This adventure ride is an excellent way of managing lots of different terrain and being able to ride one of the toughest horse breeds in the world. Clients may canter on open ground - but there are few opportunities, we trot in the forest, the ride is generally a relaxing, steady pace.
Guides: We believe that tour leaders and host/hostess are the key for a successful and memorable trip; we use only experienced guides with great knowledge of the area. They hold a certificate in WFR (wilderness first responder) and highly passionate about the Puelo Valley. Guides are trained to offer all the help and assistance to ensure the trip runs smoothly. Local horsemen (“Huaso” guides or “baqueanos") will always be there to help and look after you and your horses. They are a great support for the whole group and well attuned to the regional climate. They have an uncanny sense of predicting weather!