Ride Overview - Glacier Grey Horseback Ride
A horseback riding vacation to the glaciers of Patagonia, Chile! The Torres del Paine National Park is one of the most spectacular places to visit and even better by horse. You will get to know the Criollo horse which is a very strong, steady horse and extremely suited for the terrain you will ride across. The wildness of Patagonia is not for everyone. The weather and the terrain are tough so these rides are not for the faint-hearted! But if you are looking for a real adventure, you will love this ride! Your guide’s deep experience and knowledge of the area will enrich your experience. Rarely will you see other tourists. The terrain is diverse from wooded mountains to wide-open pampas, and glacier lakes. You can search for the native guanacos, condors, armadillos and the wild horse herds of Sierra Baguales. The highlight is riding to Glacier Grey for an optional boat trip to the glacier and Last Hope Sound. A 5 day, 4-night option of this ride is also available.
Your lodging is hand-picked to give you a good mix of authenticity and comfort. Meals will be eaten in the restaurants. Food will consist of lamb, beef, chicken or salmon with fresh vegetables or salad accompanied by rice or potatoes. Wine and beer are available at a reasonable cost throughout the trip. Saddlebag box lunches are be prepared by the guide. They consist of sandwiches (e.g. regional cheese, ham, salami, peanut butter etc.), fresh fruit, trail bar, chocolate, biscuits, and snacks. Breakfast is normally cereals, toast, jams, coffee, tea and juice and possibly eggs. All meals while in the park, excluding wine and beverages, are normally included in the trip price. In hotels, this will be the ‘menu’ consisting typically of a soup or salad to start, the main course of beef, chicken, or fish and normally a sweet (usually fruit). In home-stay accommodations such as Estancia Tercera Barranca, the meal will be Chilean, home cooked or an outside gaucho BBQ (asado). Vegetarians will have a special menu.c Throw caution to the wind, put on your chaps and go riding in this most amazing of places…. Patagonia. RIDING IN CHILE
Ride Itinerary - Glacier Grey Horseback Ride
You will be met at the Puerto Arenas Airport at 3:00 PM and transferred to the Hostel El Establo. In the evening, you will be meet your fellow riders and guide at dinner.
In the morning, you will be transferred approximately 20 minutes to Estancia Consuelo where you will have your first encounter with Criollo horses. This Estancia is still the home of the Eberhard family who has much history in Magallanes. From this lovely Estancia, you will ride along the fjord and ride through Magallanic forests. After the ride, your group will transfer to Estancia Perales. Here you 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).
After breakfast, you will say goodbye to Estancia Perales and hop on the boat which will dock especially to take your group up the Last Hope Sound. You 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 the most expansive in the world (over three million hectares). With access only via the water, the mountains or the southern ice eld 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. You will disembark your boat here and enjoy the stunning views which combine old growth forests of evergreen and deciduous southern beech, with bushes and cypresses – a stunning contrast to the snow capped peaks and glaciers in this region. Next, your group will take a short, 5 minute, zodiac boat ride to where you will meet your new horse 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 you the opportunity to enjoy the dazzling scenery as you ride to the Torres del Paine National Park. Towards the end of the trail, you will cross the Nutria river and come out onto the pampas which mark the end of today’s ride, as you approach your hotel for the night, Hotel del Paine. This hotel offers comfortable rooms and great views of the Paine Massif. For early risers, it also offers some of the best sunrises in all of Patagonia! All meals included. (Wine/drinks not included).
After breakfast, you will mount up for the pampas ride to Lago Grey. Your view will be dominated by the jagged peaks of the Paine massif as you ride out along the Rio Grey to the largest glacier in the park, Glacier Grey. On reaching the trailhead, you will tether your horses and walk out across the swinging footbridge through the forest to Grey Beach. The view that greets you is memorable – the pebbly shores of the beach form an almost surreal contrast to the blue of the oating icebergs that have calved o the nearby glacier. Glacier Grey protrudes to 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 ceases to impress. After some time walking along the beach and enjoying your picnic lunch, you will walk back to your waiting horses for the ride back to Rio Serrano. *Note The glacier itself is 17 kilometers from the Grey Beach, so for those who would like to get 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. Return to Hotel del Paine for the night. All meals included. (excluding wine/drinks).
After breakfast in the hotel, you will pack up and start our ride eastwards towards the heart of the park. You will now be riding directly towards the Paine Massif mountain range so the views are dramatic and beautiful. Your trail skirts the southern edge of the mountains on a rarely trodden path as you pass azure and turquoise lakes with the huge granite mountain peaks standing behind. After a picnic lunch served in one of the pretty valleys, you will continue east onto the beautiful soft pampas of the Patagonian steppe. Here you will have a chance for some cantering as the light fades and the shadows lengthen until you 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 with fantastic views of the granite mountains and of the Paine Massif. With land extending to 6,454 hectares, it offerers 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 re 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).
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, your group will cross the Las Chinas River; pass by the Estancia Laguna Azul and return to Tercera Baranca. Night at Estancia Tercera Barranca. All meals included. (excluding wine/drinks).
Today, your group will hop into the van for a drive that takes you literally to the end of the road known as Ruta 9 to a mystical area called Sierra Baguales (The Wild Mountains) at a height of 2,788 feet/850m. Your destination is Estancia Las Chinas situated in the heart of Sierra Baguales, a wild mountain chain that extends from the north eastern limit of Torres del Paine penetrating the border with Argentina. The name of the mountains, “Baguales” translates to mean domesticated animal gone wild, such as a cow, bull or in this case, horses. Its distinctive peaks of basalt are cathedral-like in their forms. The area is also famous for its marine and land fossils which document the passing of geological eras. Here, you will meet your new horse for the day and ride out into these grand peaks climbing up high towards the Tetas Las Chinas where, with luck, we will spot the famous wild horse herds of Sierra Baguales. After your ride, you will return to the estancia before driving back to last night’s estancia.
After breakfast, you will be heading south to your group’s meeting point at Río Negro. This is a beautiful open ride across grassy meadows and welcoming pampas. Riding south with the dramatic Paine mountains to our right enables you 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! During late afternoon after a leisurely picnic lunch and an afternoon’s riding, you will see the welcome sight of the van come into view. Then you will say goodbye to your trusty steeds and jump in the van for a transfer to Tres Pasos. (Approximately 30 minutes). The comfortable country house is a place where you will feel warm and comfortable. The huge roaring fire and big soft sofas will invite you to relax and reflect on your holiday experiences so far.
Today is your last full day of riding which takes you to the Condor viewpoint. Along the way, you will go around Laguna Figueroa which provides a wonderful panorama of the surrounding mountains. Once you reach the end of Laguna Figueroa, your trail will ascend the opposing valley where you will see views of the Torres del Paine Mountains for one last time. A nice picnic in the middle of the valley will allow the view of condors soaring overhead. After these lovely views, your ride will be ready to return to Tres Pasos where while a traditional Patagonian asado dinner is cooking, you will reminisce with your fellow riders the wonderful ride you just experienced.
Transfer to the airport or your post-ride hotel.
Ride Details - Glacier Grey Horseback Ride
Dates: January 2nd – 11th, January 19th – 28th, February 19th – 28th, March 19th – 28th, October 19th – 28th, November 19th – 28th, December 19th – 28th
Best Months to Ride: depends on the region. Northern Patagonia is October to March. Southern region offers good riding all year.
Airport: Punta Arenas
Meeting Place: Puerto Natales.
Riding Days: 8
Daily Riding Hours: 2 – 8
Group Size: 2 – 8
Weight Restriction: Maximum 198 lbs.
Required: Travel Insurance, Passport
Riding Ability: ADVANCED: Confident and in control at all paces including posting trots and canters in open country. Able to tack your own horse. Comfortable with narrow, technical trails and crossing rivers.
Saddles: Chilean huaso, wood frame with felt, sheepskin and leather
Hotel/s: 3 & 4 hotels, B & B and estancias
Non-riding Activities: boat trip, visit to glaciers, fishing, kayaking
Prices: (Prices are based on total reservations which the guide receives from all sources)
2 – 3 riders: $6,799.00 per person, double occupancy $990.00 single supplement
4 – 5 riders: $6,299.00 per person, double occupancy
6 – 8 riders: $5,899.00 per person, double occupancy
5 DAY RIDE IS ALSO AVAILABLE – FROM $3,799.00 PER PERSON, DOUBLE OCCUPANCY. CONTACT US FOR DATES.
Included: lodging, horse, tack guide, most meals
Not Included: airfare, transfer to and from the airport (bus: $48 round trip per person, private transfer: $350 per car), pre and post hotels, Argentina entrance tax, dinner the first evening.
ANNUAL TEMPERATURE AND RAINFALL:
Glacier Grey Horseback Ride: Gallery
Glacier Grey Horseback Ride
Peurto Natales, Southern Chile