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