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Patagonia Horseback Riding Information:
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Gauchos, Huasos & Arrieros
The Chilean Rodeo
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Futaleufu Valley Tour
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Gauchos, Huasos and Arrieros


The pueblo of Futaleufu has a unique equestrian culture that stemmed from the early pioneers of the Futaleufu Valley. Because of the harsh terrain the founding of the pueblo occurred only seventy years ago and it marked the beginning of recorded human history in the region. The Chileans who eventually made this area home migrated from the Lakes District via Argentina. . During the ensuing decades the only contact of these nationals had with civilization was by way of the Argentine border towns. Until the road was built in the early seventies the economy of Futaleufu was largely dependent on Argentina. The early economy was based on trade and the currency most in use, when it could be had, was the Argentine peso. A system of barter enable the inhabitants to purchase the essentials of life, such as: flour, sugar, and kerosene oil. Because of the strong ties with Argentina the inhabitants became deeply influenced by the equestrian culture of the estancia (large estate ranches) in their manner of dressing and speaking. The cuisine also tended to mirror that of Argentina, dishes prepared over an open fire like the asado (lamb) and nandu (a native turkey like bird) are still local favorites. The clothes of the Argentine gaucho are still the preferred form of dress for working in the open fields. In this region of Patagonia the horse is still the most efficient and versatile way to travel. In this remote and rugged landscape vehicles are a rarity and the horse is still the most reliable for of transportation.



Located along the border between Argentina and Chile, the pueblo of Futaleufu is at the epicenter of equestrian culture of these two countries. On the Argentine side is the dry Patagonia steppe associated with the Gaucho, with its wide open Pampas and the traditional Estancia culture. Traveling west we encounter the Andean passes and temperate rainforests populated by the Chilean Huasos, and Arrieros.

In Argentina the term gaucho has become synonymous for cowboys, but originally it meant vagabond: those who roamed the Pampas working cattle, with no home or belongings other than what they carried on horseback. Their dress consisted of a woolen poncho, neck fastened bandana, pleated trousers and long leather boots. They invented the asado (cooking over an open fire) because of the inability to preserve meat on the wide open plains. Originally the gauchos were at the bottom of Argentine society but because of their excellent horsemanship and military aptitude the gaucho became a respected man in society. Eventually the gaucho way of life was romanticized by such poets as, José Hernández.

In Chile the gaucho became the huaso; the skilled horseman who worked the vast herds on the cattle on the Chilean plains. They became experts at rounding up and corralling stray animals; this expertise is reflected in their rodeos which are held in media lunas (half circle arenas) resembling corrals. In the early nineteen sixties the rodeo was declared the national sport of Chile and media lunas and competitions have sprung up all over the country. Right out side the Pueblo of Futaleufu is media luna which hosts a rodeo competition in February each year. If you vist us at the right time you just might get to experience a genuine huaso rodeo.
The huaso dress is a little more stylish than their gaucho counterparts. For rodeos you will find them donning brightly colored ponchos and sashes with finely detailed stirrups and tack. Where the gauchos sometimes favored the beret the hauso prefers a broad rimmed hat, typical of the American west. Their daily dress is a toned down version of their rodeo attire: leather vest, hat, work boots and an earth tone poncho.



The Huasos like the Gauchos have a legendary place in the folklore of the region. The Huaso is always a regular part of Chilean fiestas, parades, holidays and celebrations. He is been immortalized like the Gaucho in songs and stories.

In the Futaleufu region, the ruggedness of the mountains calls for a different type of horseman. Here we also run into the Arrieros; often described as the mountain counterpart to the Huaso and Gaucho, but this description is not entirely accurate. In addition to cattle drivers the arrieros were also involved in commerce through the rugged Andes mountains. Their skill at negotiating alpine terrain led them to lead multiple purpose lives, instead of just serving as ranch hands they helped established the trade routes through the mountains.

On a horseback riding vacation with us your guides will be direct descendents of the Hauso and Arrieros who initially colonized the Futaleufu valley. When not serving as guides for Expediciones Chile these men go back to their farms an work the land just as their forefathers did. There is little difference between the Hausos of today and those of a hundred years ago. While some modern conveniences have percolated into the valley life here on many of the rural remains much as it was many decades ago. With Expediciones Chile you will get to experience the last of this cowboy culture.


Other Horseback Riding Vacation options include: Horseback Andes to the Ocean expedition, Pioneer Culture: Trail of the Lakes 4 day ride.


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Adventure Travel in Chile, Rafting Patagonia Adventure Travel in Chile. Rafting in Chile & Argentina Rafting Torres del Paine W and FitzRoy trekking.

Traveling in Chile & Patagonia Information on traveling in Patagonia Chile. Secrets of Patagonia Tour on our website. Air Tickets.Patagonia Travel Information

Rafting in Chile Whitewater rafting in Chile. Rafting from our weatherproof Futaleufu lodge and our comfortable whitewater eco camp.Chile Rafting on the Futaleufu
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Sea Kayaking in Chile Go Sea Kayaking in Chile from the Andes to the Ocean on Lago Yelcho. Fjords, hotsprings, extinct volcanos, temperate rainforest. Experience the Glaciers and Fjords of Tierra del Fuego. Raft Guide School Thinking about a rafting guide job on the Futaleufu? Check out our whitewater guide school & swiftwater rescue training course.
Fly Fishing in Chile and Argentina Go fly fishing in Chile from our ranch or lodge in Chilean Patagonia. Fly fishing trips on Lago Yelcho. Fly fishing trips on Rio Grande.Patagonia Fly Fishing
Custom EcoTours in Chile Custom ecotours through Chile’s Patagonia and the Futaleufu valley that include bird watching and nature treks.

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Futaleufu Information Information About the Futaleufu River in Patagonia Chile. Futaleufu guidebook of river sections. Ex Chile Travel Agent Info Information on traveling in Chile. Travel agent discounts and commissions. Low Cost fares to Chile and within Chile.


Patagonia Horseback Riding Patagonia horseback riding vacations and holidays with genuine Huasos & Corralero Horses.

Honeymoon Cabin Our Condor Nest Ranchito is the perfect honeymoon cabin located beneath the Tres Monjas towers.
Kayak Chile Whitewater Kayak in the spectacular Patagonia Andes. Kayak Chile whitewater from our spectacular kayak eco camp. Kayak Hostel, Kayak Lodging Kayak Futaleufu and Kayak Pucon, Kayak Chile. Office Internship Jobs Office internships and employment opportunities in rafting, kayaking and fly fishing & adventure travel office.
Canyoning Chile canyoning and rappelling day added on to your custom trip. Chilean Culture Immersion Experience genuine Chilean Cultural Immersion on our adventure travel horseback riding and trekking vacations.
Patagonia Mountain Biking Experience a genuine Chile Mountain Biking through Chilean Patagonia and Argentina. Rafting en el Río Futaleufú con las mejores aguas blancas de clase mundial (5,4,3,). Kayak de mar, mountain biking, cabalgatas, sit-on-top kayaking canyoning, caminatas, pesca con mosca y mucho más aventuras podrás encontrar en el corazón de la patagonia Chilena, y desde el confort de nuestro nativo y caluroso Hotel. Rafting en el Río Futaleufú en Español.
     
Expediciones Chile has been running adventure travel trips in Patagonia since 1985. Try rafting Chile on the Futaleufu river. Trekking Patagonia in Torres del Paine, Cerro Fitz Roy and Los Glaciares National Parks. Sea kayaking Patagonia from the Andes to the Ocean or take lessons at a world class paddling school. Kayak Futaleufu whitewater from our kayak eco camp. Mountain biking in Patagonia wilderness. Earn a swiftwater rescue certification on the Futaleufu river. Fly fishing Chile and Argentina on the famous Lago Yelcho. Snow Skiing in Chile & Argentina. Eco tours and yoga travel vacations. Information about weather Patagonia, Patagonia travel and maps of Chile on our website.

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