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8 Day Life-changing Gaucho Experience: Authentic Farm Horse Riding Holiday in Chilean Patagonia

Estancia Mercedes, Kilometro 35 Carretera Austral de Chile, Península Antonio Varas - Oficina, Manuel Bulnes 189, Puerto Natales, Natales, Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena, Chile

Chile Horseback Riding Holiday

The purpose of your visit here must be one of experiencing the true Gaucho lifestyle at an authentic Patagonian estancia rather than a trip where your hotel room and comfort are more important than a lifetime experience!

Key Information

  • Rider Weight Limit: 120 kilograms / 264 pounds
  • Tack Types: Comfortable Patagonia Saddles
  • Horse Breed: Chilean Criollo

Meet the instructors

Sebastian
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Highlights

  • Horse riding any time you want
  • Daily farm activities for riders and non-riders
  • Fruit juices, wine, and beer are included during the meals
  • Stay in an authentic farm without fringes
  • Daily full board meals will be provided
  • 7 nights accommodation

Skill level

  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Styles


7 days with instruction in English
The organizer also speaks: Spanish
Group size: 2-6 participants
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Accommodation

Facilities

  • Dining area
  • Fireplace
  • Kitchen
  • Lounge

Durinh this holiday, you will spend 7 nights at a farm/estancia. Estancia Mercedes is not a boutique hotel, not a dude ranch but an authentic farm without fringes. The family house has 2 spare rooms where they can accommodate 6 guests. This being one double room or 1 bed for a couple and another room with 4 bunk beds. Two bathrooms are separate. The house is built in a cozy Patagonian country style and is always clean.

What is an Estancia?

Estancias are simply enormous farms, ranches, or colonial estates. The term estancia is used in various ways in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Southern Chile. The equivalent in other Latin American countries would be hacienda or Fazenda in Brazil.

Program

Sebastian and his wife Grissel are a young couple and live on the farm together with their parents, brother, and sister. You will be considered as a new family member, eat at the same table, bake bread together, and share a bottle of good Chilean wine with them before going to bed. Patagonia boasts an appeal of extreme remoteness, perhaps only matched by the deep Amazon and isolated Alaska.

Icy glaciers plunge into emerald lakes, wild fjords snake through hardwood forests, and the Andes' dramatic peaks ascend into swirling clouds and mist. Here in this breathtaking environment, you can go fishing for salmon and trout, ride a horse like never before, or just enjoy reading a book on the veranda. Welcome to the end of the world, welcome to Estancia Mercedes!

Sample daily schedule

The description below is an example of the program. The itinerary can be different during your travel week. Entre Orejas will do everything possible to follow the indicated itinerary, although spot changes can occur due to unforeseen circumstances. Rides are subject to change depending on weather, location, accommodation, and difficulty of the terrain. In the unlikely event that this happens on your trip, Entre Orejas asks for your flexibility and understanding. This is a sporty and adventurous vacation!

  • Day 1: Puerto Natales - Estancia Mercedes

The meet and greet is in Puerto Natales; at the agreed place and hour, someone of the Garcia-Iglesias family will take you in approximately two hours by boat and car to Estancia Mercedes. There will be an introduction to the farm and family members and if you already want to have your first activity, you can go horse riding. You will have all meals at the farm.

  • Days 2 to 7: Estancia Mercedes

Have full days of activities of your choice: horse riding, trail riding, or herding cattle/sheep at horseback, farm activities, hiking on foot; you decide what you prefer to do. Proposals will also be made according to the activities of the day. Do you prefer to have a chill day? Well, that’s also possible! Read a book on the porch, help in the kitchen, make bread, prepare a lamb dish; remember the back to the 1800s phrase? That also means there is NO internet on the farm! All meals will be taken at the farm.

  • Day 8: Estancia Mercedes - Puerto Natales

After breakfast, say goodbye to the family, your favorite horse, and to the dogs. Transfer back by car and boat to Puerto Natales.

A little bit of history

When navigator-explorer Magellan in 1520 sailed as the first European along the coast of southern Argentina and Chile and went ashore, he and his crew discovered huge "Patones" or footprints on the beach. Moments later they saw real giants; 2-meter tall Indians! These were indeed giants in comparison with the then small Spaniards (average 1.55 meters). Patones, which means "big feet", immediately became the name for the region. Later, it was given the name Patagonia or "land of big feet".

Riding level

Suitable for intermediate to experienced riders, you should be confident on a horse at all paces. You can also go as a non-rider and enjoy the other non-riding farm activities or you might want to give horse riding a try; easy going.

Group size

if you are alone, post on your multimedia that you are looking for a travel companion or check with Entre Orejas if there is another person requesting for the same travel period.

Instructors

Sebastian Garcia Iglesias

Location

Returning in time to the 1800s? It's possible at a very special place called Estancia Mercedes! Patagonia encompasses both Chile and Argentina and covers about one million square kilometers, which is roughly four times the size of the UK. Long before humans arrived on the continent, glaciers chiseled and carved these spectacular landscapes. Today, the wilderness still rules that gigantic region.

But what Patagonia has in natural wealth, it equally has in culture. Situated between three national parks; Torres del Paine, Bernardo O’Higgins, and Alacalufes, the Garcia-Iglesias family will welcome you with open arms at their Estancia at the end of the world! They are descendants of 19th-century Pioneer Don José Garcia Díaz, who came during the gold rush from Asturias-Spain to Southern Chilean Patagonia to settle and build the first house and supplier shop in Punta Arenas.

In little time, he managed to buy an enormous piece of wilderness on the Peninsula Antonio Varas, and thus, the Estancia Mercedes was born. Great-grandson Sebastian is the man that will take you for a tour on the wild side! He will teach you how to saddle your Criollo horse so you can accompany him on his daily tasks on the farm.

Be ready to become an authentic Gaucho! Being a cowboy, a sheep rancher, a fisherman, a wilderness expert, horse whisperer, butcher, veterinarian, herbalist, hunter, captain of the boat, a 4x4 pilot, and a bagualero!

Food

Daily full board meals from lunch on the first day to breakfast on the last day are included. Fruit juices, wine, and beer are included during the meals. If you want soft drinks like Coca Cola, Fanta/the unhealthy stuff, then please inform Entre Orejas in advance so they can provide these for you.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Soda
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Detox juices

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • Horse riding any time you want at the farm
  • All farm activities (For riders and non-riders, including hiking, Kayaking, etc.)
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Daily full board meals (From lunch on Day 1 and breakfast till Day 8)
  • Fruit juices, wine, and beer during the meals
  • Transfer from Puerto Natales by boat and car to Estancia Mercedes on Day 1
  • Transfer by car and boat to Puerto Natales on Day 8

What's not included

  • Travel and trip cancellation insurance are mandatory (Ask your local insurance company or travel agent about it. You will not be allowed to participate in the Entre Orejas riding holiday program without having both of these personal travel insurance.)
  • Airfare
  • Alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (At other times than lunch and dinner)
  • Road trip from Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales (There are many buses and the cost is cheap)
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips (Optional)
  • Booking sales tax: 33 USD per person per payment

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please arrange your flight to arrive at Presidente Carlos Ibáñez del Campo International Airport (PUQ). If you either depart from Europe, USA, South-America, Australia, or elsewhere, there is a large choice of airlines flying to Chile. Most of the airlines fly to Santiago de Chile where you can connect to Punta Arenas. Entre Orejas does not reserve flights for you but they will be happy to help you with information concerning flights and how to get to the destination.

  • Arrival/departure - Night before and return information

The gateway is Punta Arenas (PUQ) and the pick-up place is in Puerto Natales. Entre Orejas highly recommends the client to arrive in Puerto Natales the day before so the guest can be picked up without a problem on the morning of Day 1 of the program.

It is also important to know that the guest better NOT plan the international/domestic flight on Day 8 (the last day). To travel from Estancia back to Puerto Natales, one has to take a ferry boat, it happens that the ferry boat cannot cross at the scheduled hour due to the strong winds, so one is never sure at what time you will arrive back to Puerto Natales.

Puerto Arenas is a nice town with various pleasant hotels and hostels. From Puerto Natales, you have to travel back to Punta Arenas by bus. There are several good bus services per day; three-hours drive.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 100% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
8 days / 7 nights
from --
Availability

This tour is available from September to April.

Minimum group size

This trip requires a minimum of 2 participants

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