Patagonia Horseback Riding Vacation: Futaleufu River Valley Horseback from Eco Camp
This Patagonia horseback expedition circumnavigates the core of the untouched Futaleufu Valley, exposing you to Patagonian nature in all of its wild splendor. In addition we stay at real working ranches run by pioneer families that are sprinkled along the rivers and lakes of the valley. The accommodations are rustic country but clean, sanitary and cozy. Our Chilean hosts are selected and trained by Expediciones Chile. Eating your hearty meals around the wood stove you will gain insight to a way of life that is similar to the frontier days of the American west. This cultural and natural experience can not be matched anywhere. This vacation is the REAL DEAL. The valley contains lots of exciting history from the days the pioneers settled it and many are still alive. As the trip progress's you realize you are getting to understand this remote section of Patagonia and its people. This is a very unique equestrian vacation.
Day by Day:
Day 1 Friday: Depart your home town
Fly to Miami and connect on an over night flight to Buenos Aires Argentina. Welcome to the warmth of the Southern Hemisphere in summer. Day 2 Saturday: Travel to Trevelin, Patagonia Argentina Early morning arrival in Buenos Aires, change airports and catch another flight to Bariloche, or Esquel, Argentina. From Bariloche, a luxury bus will take you on a beautiful drive along the Patagonian lakes and mountains to Esquel. If you fly direct to Esquel, you can arrive in Trevelin with some time to enjoy the area. Trevelin, Argentina is a charming mountain village gateway just 45 minutes from Futaleufu River in Chile. Trevelin is serviced by ground transport (Bus or private taxi) from the Jet ports in Bariloche (4 hrs) or Esquel (40 min). Check into a hotel in this charming village and walk to one of several superb restaurants. Unwind, relax, and get a good nights sleep before the start of you trip 9:00 am the next morning.
Day 3 Sunday: Ride to Benedicto's
After a relaxing night's sleep at a hotel in the quaint Welch town of Trevelin deep in Patagnia Argentina, we begin this exciting trip with a quick shuttle across the Chilean/Argentinean border and into the Futaleufu Valley. Upon arrival in Futaleufu, we will walk to our local ranch for an introduction to the art of horseback riding in Patagonia and the Chilean Corralero horse. We will also introduce you to the Chilean saddles and tack make sure all fits well and that your mount is suitable. We begin the first ride by heading downstream through green rolling hills and ranch land. Within several miles we enter a deep black rock gorge. Our trail is cut into the side of the canyon, giving a bird’s eye view of the restless, radiant turquoise Futaleufu River below. Several miles later the gorge opens into the remote Las Escalas Valley. We will ride across this enchanting valley and enter an old growth, temperate forest of Coigue trees. Coming out of the forest, The ride leads us to a 136-acre working ranch set deep in the forest, overlooking the river valley below. Apart from the spectacular views, this self sustainable ranch, without road access or electricity is a marvel in its own right. There, you will be greeted by our host at a rustic wood crafted ranch that functions completely off the grid. You will get the full tour around the ranch, before sitting down to a feast of traditional Chilean cuisine. After dinner you can watch the owner spin his own wool and browse through his hand made products, before settling into your comfortable sleeping quarters. Enjoy a warm night's sleep in comfortable, homemade beds as you look forward to a bountiful breakfast and your ride to camp the following morning. Day 4 Monday: Ride to Huemul National Park
This Patagonia riding day takes us upstream to a charming valley that contains the endangered Huemul; a small deer like animal that resembles the fabled jackelope of the American intermountain west. This animal is rarer that any species will encounter while trekking in Torres del Paine. In order to protect its dwindling numbers, the Republic of Chile has created a National Reserve in this spectacular valley. The Futaleufu National Reserve, managed by CONAF, boasts a surface area of 12,065 hectares (28,956 acres). It was created to protect the Chilean cedar tree species (Austrocedrus chilensis) and the Huemul (Hipocalemus bisulcus). The reserve is completely undeveloped except for the signs announcing your entry into the protected area. It is a real rare treat to spot one of these endangered animals.
Day 5 Tuesday: Riding - Throne Room to Campo Tres Monjas
After a full breakfast, say goodbye to your Chilean hosts as we ready for the second part of our Futaleufu Valley riding week. The Futaleufu Valley trail continues downstream, rejoining the Futaleufu River. You will be able to ride to an overlook of the powerful Class V “Throne Room” rapid. This Class V + rapid is a whitewater power storm blasting through a narrowing in the canyon walls. After viewing this maelstrom from a cliff above, we will have lunch on a gravel beach on the side of a huge calm pool below with excellent fishing. The trail continues with beautiful green meadows and spectacular vistas of the rugged mountains. We arrive at perhaps the climax of beauty at the confluence of the Rio Azul and Rio Futaleufu. Here under the gaze of the Tres Monjas (Three Nuns) peak we will stay at our luxurious Patagonia Eco Camp. White sand beaches welcome us after we cross the Azul in tandem canoes. We will camp here for the night and enjoy the sauna, hot showers, masseuse and sit-down dining. Horseback riding in Chile doesn't get better than this!
Day 6 Wednesday: Riding - To the Terminator Rapid
After Today you can choose how far you want to ride. You will ride downstream through open meadows looking down on the Futaleufu River. Our destination is the Terminator Rapid where we can enjoy lunch on spot made smooth rapids by the river. Here you will get to see one of the best waves for surfing on the river, and perhaps even have a demonstration from a passing kayaker. The power and beauty of this river is will awaken your primal energies and put you in the mood for more adventures. After a relaxing picnic, we will head back to Campo Tres Monjas another fantastic meal. Day 7 Thursday: Riding - Ride to behind the Tres Monjas Spires Wake up for early morning start and one to climb as high as you can get to the Tres Monjas Peak. This offers a spellbinding view of the Azul and Futaleufu River Valleys. If you are lucky you may even get a visit from one of the massive condors that nest here in the spring and summer months. Near the base of the peak you will get to experience the enchantment of the rare Lenga trees, which only grow above certain altitudes and glow orange in the fall when their leaves change. They are the Patagonian version of aspens to some degree, though they look very different. The peak itself defines the border of Chile with Argentina. Carefully riding down, you return to all the comforts and excellent food at Campo Tres Monjas. Tonight, we are pulling out all the stops with a huge asado or open spit gill. We'll enjoy a fantastic last night at the camp with drinks, Patagonian lamb and outstanding company.
Day 8 Friday: Ride to Lago Lonconao/Border to Trevelin, Argentina
Awake this morning and enjoy the last breakfast in Futaleufu! Today we'll get all of our luggage packed up before the trip's last ride. We horseback ride toward the backside of Lago Lonconao through the spectacular glacier ringed Rio Azul Valley, arguably the climax of beauty in the valley. Here we will ride down along the Rio Azul towards the backside of Lago Loncanao. This ride is spectacular; beautiful vistas, all but no inhabitants...everything you imagine when picturing Patagonia! Our vehicles will be waiting at the end of today's trek. Our luggage will join us as we make our way toward the border on our way to Trevelin. Check into your hotel, take a shower and change clothes before enjoying your last night in Patagonia. There are a handful of outstanding and reasonably priced restaurants in Trevelin that we can recommend. Relax, recover and look back on the exciting week of horseback riding before heading back the following morning. Day 9 Saturday: Return to Capital City
Depending on your connections, you are now are in Argentina ready for an early departure in a cab from you hotel to the bus station in Esquel for the trip to Bariloche and your flight back to Beunos Aires. A private transfer can be arranged direct from your hotel to the airport in Bariloche. If you have a flight from Esquel you have the morning to enjoy and buy gifts in Trevelin before your 2 pm flight to Buenos Aires and the connection back to your home country.
Special Flexibilities: Exchile will be flexible to make your trip a total success. The actual program for your custom trip will vary according to the desires and skill level of your group, weather, or other factors. Patagonia has constantly changing weather patterns that might affect what day is best for a certain activity. If a certain part of your trip is not possible due to danger risks and weather extremes, our experienced guide staff will work with you to figure out the best possible option to substitute for the weather complications. If you have any concerns, please feel free to ask us more about the situations and what is guaranteed on the trip.
Included: Your described trip, guiding, instruction, activity equipment, local transportation, shuttles, all meals, wine with dinner, accommodations at our eco-camps, cabins, ranches or lodges, while on your trip. We offer a free pick up on Sunday mornings at 9 am in Trevelin at your hotel, and drop off to your hotel in Trevelin, Argentina on Fridays at 9 pm. See the packing list of your activity, for the specific clothing that is required.
Not Included: Transportation to and from your home town, and your accommodations and meals in Trevelin, Argentina or alternate trip pick up point. You can reserve and prepay on the web for your transport from your final air destination, to and from your pick up/drop off point before and after your trip, or you can direct us to charge your visa card and do it for you. We highly recommended having Exchile make hotel reserves in Trevelin. (room capacity in this small village is limited). Expediciones Chile is not financially responsible for your travel complications getting to your trip pick up point and from the drop off point, HOWEVER, we will be relentless allies in offering our services to help solve any issues that you may encounter.
Season: November 15th to May 1st
Experienced Needed: Familiarity with camping helpful
Physical Challenge: Medium
Cultural Experience: High
Nature Experience: Maximum
Comfort Rating: High
Max Trip Size: 16
Min Trip Size: 2
Region Visited: Remote Patagonia Chile and Argentina
Lakes, Rivers, Sites Visited: Futaleufu river, Rio Azul, Rio Espolon, Lago Lonconao, Lago Esplon, Secret Lagoon, Campo Tres Monjas, Futaleufu Chile, Trevelin 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 cayoning, caminatas, pesca con mosca y mucho más aventuras podrás encontrar en el corazón de la patagonia Chilena, y desde el comfort de nuestro nativo y caluroso Hotel. Rafting en lel Río Futaleufú en Español.