horse-riding journey across the Andes

The Secret Andes: 2-week ride from Argentina to Chile

Idea for a horseback riding itinerary in Argentina and Chile in 14 days.

Live a unique adventure during this 2-week horse-riding journey across the Andes. Starting in the Argentinian Great Lakes, you will explore the steppe and spend some nights camping under the starry skies of Patagonia, before reaching a small remote refuge in the mountains. Your guides will then take you to Chile, to a secluded island amid hundreds-year-old forests.

 

This itinerary allows you to experience the authentic lifestyle of rural Patagonia, while immersing yourself in true wilderness – for nature’s lovers.

Length of stay: 14 days

Kind: Horse riding

Fix: To be fit

Countries visited: Argentina, Chile

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Day 1 : Bariloche

Arrival at Bariloche airport or bus station where a private vehicle will be waiting to take you to your hotel. In the afternoon, our guide will meet you to brief you on the next days.

You also will enjoy a welcome dinner in a traditional restaurant meat.

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Day 2 : Río Pichi Leufú

Transfer to the Ñirihuau area, located 30 km from Bariloche, where we find several smalls family farms . These people are mainly engaged in a raising sheep, cattle and horses as well as in forestry production.

There we assign the horses and equipment and after a short meeting on safety measures and details of the ride, we get going.

We start riding along the Cerro Buitreras (Vultures Hill) and then follow the small river La Mina , where there is an old oilfields. Soon we leave the road behind and ride into the first Pre-Andean valleys.

After a picnic ( box lunch carried in our saddlebags ) we keep riding to reach the Ñirihuau River and conclude our first riding day after a total of 5 hours on horseback.

Our tents are already assembled and in front of a confortable camp fire, we enjoy the last sounds of our first riding day.

Night in a tent.

4-5h horseride.

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Day 3 : Río Pichi Leufú

After a delicious breakfast we leave behind the wide valleys and soft hills and ride up to 1.700 meters over sea level over a almost undistinguishable old ride path used by the local farmers and their cattles – we reach the Paso sin Nombre (Nameless Passage).

The bare, stony area left behind us, we ride approximately one more hour down to an idyllic place in the middle of an old Southern beech-trees forest , where we set up our night camp.

Night in the tent at 1200m over sea level

6-7h horseride

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Day 4 : El Sapucai

In the morning, we ride down the mountain, between the southern beech-trees forests. The Chubut River that looked like a small water stream is becoming wider to become a large mountain stream.

The landscape is wild, impressive, with almost no human presence.We reach our small country house “El Sapucai”, where a good dinner and warm shower await us – small, conforting pleasures amid the steppe.

Night at the Sapucai Refuge.

5-6h horseride.

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Day 5 : El Sapucai

During this day, we will ride up the cordillera to contemplate the scenic view of the Andes around us.

You will appreciate the skills of the Criollo horse on the diverse terrains : wetlands, forests and rocky paths. Upon reaching the top, you will be surprised by a beautiful panoramic view of the lagoons – enjoy lunch in front of the snowy peaks.

Ride back down the valley to the refuge El Sapucai, through another trail between old Ñire forests (small beech trees).

Night in the refuge.

5 -6h horseride.

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Day 6 : El Sapucai

Last day with our argentinian horses. We ride along the Chubut River until Puesto Viejo . The path crosses the Chubut River to enter an area where the steppe meets the green fields of local farms: cattle is still raised by the Mapuche people who have lived in the steppe for many generations.

We share our last picnic with our Argentine guides and finally say goodbye to our horses.

A two hour journey on a minibus takes us to the small town of Lago Puelo – the dense forests of cyprus and maitenes creates a microclimate that enables cultures to flourish in this area: many small farms specialize in red fruits and hop that are later used for local craft beers and jams.

Dinner in a local restaurant and night in a hotel.

3-4h horseride and 2 hour journey in minibus

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Day 7 : Lago Puelo

A vehicle picks you up at the hotel to take you to the port of Lago Puelo.

Complete the customs procedure to get on the boat that crosses the border. Navigate across two lakes and pass the rapids located between Argentina and Chile.

You leave the boat for a 15- minute walk until the Chilean border checkpoint. After the customs procedure, take another motor-boat to Las Bandurrias Island across Las Rocas Lake. You will be surrounded by an outstanding landscape of crystal clear waters and a temperate forest that sits in stark contrast with the steppe.

A friendly and warm welcome will wait for you at Las Bandurrias.

Transportation times: 10min drive until the port, Navigation with the motorboats: 45min + 20min.

All meals included

Night at the Las Bandurrias Refuge

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Day 8 : Isla Las Bandurrias

This morning, departure for the Azul Lake with clear waters that shelter many fish. The summits and majestuous landscapes around are already part of the adventure.

Follow the paths into the woods until the southern bank of the lake, below a dense primary forest of the Valdiviana type. You will see many species of endemic trees such as the giant Alerces, Coihue and Arrayanes (local myrtle trees).

After lunch, go back to the island to enjoy a relaxed afternoon.

Transportation times: 30min boat ride on the Las Rocas Lake; 2h trek until the Azul Lake. 2h roundtrip trek to take the boat back to Las Bandurrias Island.

All meals included.

Night at the Las Bandurrias Refuge.

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Day 9 : Isla Las Bandurrias

We ride aproximately one hour to reach the stream of the Rio Puelo River. Horses will swim across, guided by a small boat, as the river is quite large in this area. On the other bank, the path takes us to a few houses : we are in Segundo Corral . After a short ascent, we picnic by the Las Mellizas Lagoon. In the afternoon, we reach the Ventisquero Valley: a beautiful view over the Puelo Valley, rivers and peaks surround us.

We cross the Ventisquero Valley to reach our home for the night.

Night housed by the locals.

7-8h horseride.

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Day 10 : Isla Las Bandurrias

We keep riding across the Ventisquero Valley and its ancient, diverse forests – few inhabitants live in this remote area, and maintaint their activities of cattle farming.

Lunch by the white sandy banks of the river. We ride until the house of Bernardita, our host for the two forthcoming nights.

Night at Bernardina’s house.

6h horseride

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Day 11 : Isla Las Bandurrias

Today, we will explore the neighbouring valley with its hanging glacier – this is a slightly more technical ride.

The narrow valley, covered with dense woods, leads us to an alerces forest. These protected endemic trees can be over a thousand year-old. We are in the middle of a remote, preserved natural site.

Lunch by the El Toro river before riding back to meet with our hostess again – free afternoon to relax, walk around or swim in the cold waters.

Night at Bernardina’s house.

4h horseride.

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Day 12 : Isla Las Bandurrias

Departure for Rio Puelo – ancient forests, open fields, rivers and mountains – we keep riding across varied landscapes.

Lunch by the Ventisquero river.

In the afternoon, we cross several fields whose owners still use the same techniques as their ancestors who came to settle in these remote lands a hundred years ago.

Night hosted by locals.

6-7h horseride.

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Day 13 : Isla Las Bandurrias

This is our last day with our horses.

We start off to reach Puerto Urrutia – the horses swim across the river before reaching the mountain path again. Ride in the forests until Llanada Grande, our last stop: time to bid goodbye to our traveling companions and our horses.

Lunch in the first valley’s restaurant.

A minibus takes us to lake Tagua Tagua: after a 45min boatride, we travel along the Reloncaví estuary.

Take in the incredible view over the Llanquihue Lake, with the round, snowcapped peaks of the Osorno and Cabulco volcanoes in the background.

Arrival in Puerto Varas.

Night at the hotel and dinner.

4h horseride. Transfers : Llanada Grande – Puerto Varas : 4 hours. Boatride on lake Tagua-Tagua : 45 min.

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Day 14 : Puerto Varas

Breakfast at your hotel.

Transfer to Puerto Montt airport.

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