Lifetime Experience invites you to explore Chile on horseback. This ride will take you from the southern to the northern parts of Torres del Paine National Park. You will experience the lush green areas of the south, through to the dry, vast pampas of the north, and see many local birds, animals, and plants. Lifetime Experience will try to provide authentic estancias during the trip and where this is not possible, you will have comfortable hotels.
Your accommodation will be in comfortable hotels and authentic estancias throughout. Those include Hostal El Establo, Estancia Perales, Hotel del Paine, Estancia Tercera Barranca, and Estancia Cerro Guido.
This hotel offers comfortable rooms and great views of the Paine Massif. It features a large living / dining area with a log fire as well as a comfortable bar and good restaurant. For early risers, it also offers some of the best sunrises in all of Patagonia.
Typical estancias of the area, Estancia Tercera Barranca is a working sheep ranch situated in an enviable position on the park border offering fantastic views of the granite mountains and the Paine Massif. With land extending to 6,454 hectares, it offers quality accommodation close to Torres del Paine National Park in addition to its continuing work as a Patagonian ranch. Sleeping just 21 guests in seven rooms, the ranch house has a lovely intimate feel. There is a comfortable living area warmed by the welcoming log fire 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.
This comfortable estancia is a place where you will feel warm and at home. The huge roaring fire and big soft sofas will invite you to relax and reflect on your holiday experiences so far.
Arrive in Punta Arenas. You will leave Punta Arenas International Airport (PUQ) at 15:00 and be transferred to a hotel in Puerto Natales. Arrival in Puerto Natales is at approximately 17:30. In the evening, you will be escorted to dinner by your guide for the trip briefing. You will then spend the night at Hostal El Establo. Dinner is included.
In the morning, you will leave and take a transfer of approximately 20 minutes to Estancia Perales 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 Magellanic forests. After the ride, you will be transferred to Estancia Perales and enjoy a welcoming meal and be able to relax next to the waters of Last Hope Sound. You will spend the night at the estancia with meals included. The total hours in the saddle are five.
After breakfast, you will say goodbye to Estancia Perales and hop on the boat which will dock especially to take you for a great ride 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 five of the most expansive in the world (over three million hectares). With access only via the water, the mountains or the southern ice field itself, it remains a remote and pristine corner of the 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 the boat here and enjoy the stunning views which combine old growth forests of evergreen and deciduous southern beech, fire bushes and cypresses. This is a stunning contrast to the snow-capped peaks and glaciers in this region. You will take a short, five-minute, zodiac boat ride to where you will meet your new horses for the ride to Rio Serrano 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 find your riding stride while enjoying the dazzling scenery on your route into the Torres del Paine National Park. Toward 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 with meals included. The total riding hours in the saddle is eight to nine.
After breakfast, you will be meeting your horses and preparing for the pampas ride to Lago Grey. The 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, Grey Glacier. 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 floating icebergs that have calved off the nearby glacier. Grey Glacier protrudes off the southern ice field and is quite simply a wonder of nature. Measuring 28 kilometers in length and covering a total area of 270 square kilometers with its frozen walls of blue ice towering almost 35 meters high, it never ceased 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. You will return to Hotel del Paine for the night with meals included. The total hours in the saddle are three, otherwise six with a boat trip.
Please note that the glacier itself is 17 kilometers from the Grey beach, so for those who would like to get up closer to the face of this marvel of ice, Lifetime Experience can arrange a trip out onto the lake on the Grey III boat. This is an optional excursion available at an extra cost. Those who take the excursion will return to the hotel by transfer, not by the horse. You should make the reservation for this boat trip at the point of confirming the ride.
After breakfast in the hotel, you will pack up and start your ride eastward toward the heart of the park. You will ride up and over across the heart of the park to Laguna Amarga. You will now be riding directly toward 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 was taken 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. You will then spend the night at Estancia Tercera Barranca with meals included. The total hours in the saddle are seven to eight.
You will ride from the Estancia Tercera to the northeast, 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.
Afterward, you will follow Las Chinas Valley downhill to reach the dramatic Las Chinas waterfall where you stop for lunch. After lunch, cross Las Chinas river and pass by the Estancia Laguna Azul and return to Tercera Barranca. You will spend the night at Estancia Tercera Barranca with meals included. The total hours in the saddle are five to six.
Today, you will hop into the van and take a 20-minute transfer to Estancia Cerro Guido. It is a large working estancia with approximately 110,000 hectares, 37,000 sheep, 2,500 cattle, and 400 horses. After checking into your rooms, you will meet your new horses. From the estancia stables, you will make your way up the mountainside behind the estancia and into the surrounding hills.
The Sierra Baguales are a stark contrast beside the rolling landscape of the pampas below. After lunch, you will continue to the Indian burial site (chenke). Although no artifacts remain at the site, later, in the estancia you will be able to see photos of the site and also learn about the burial site. The total hours in the saddle are five to six. After your ride, you will return to the estancia for a welcome dinner and your comfortable beds.
Today after breakfast, you will once again be saddling up for a full day’s ride. This time, you will be heading south to Estancia Entro Lagos. This is a beautiful open ride across grassy meadows and welcoming pampas. Riding south with the dramatic Paine mountains to your 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 the afternoon after a leisurely picnic lunch and an afternoon riding, you will see the blue waters of Sarmiento Lake and have some time to photograph the Torres del Paine mountains from the lake’s edge. After that, you will ride back, via Flemingo Lake, to Estancia Cerro Guido to spend the night with meals included. The total hours in the saddle are seven to eight.
After breakfast , you find your horses, check your saddles and begin your last full day of riding to Sierra Baguales. Today will give you a view of the vast glacial valleys carved by the glaciers thousands of years ago. You will be mesmerized by the huge skies and long stretches of pampas.
You will start by traversing the mountain behind Cerro Guido along the track called Paso Guitarra. Then, you will pass the lovely, but deserted, Las Flores Estancia where you will see the only original adobe building left in the area. By lunchtime, you will let the horses rest and you will have a nice picnic in the middle of the valley where you may be able to see condors soaring above you.
After these lovely views, you are ready to continue on to Vega Nash where there will be opportunities to canter and enjoy this large flat vega, a typical pampa in this area. This will bring you back to Estancia Cerro Guido, where a delicious Patagonian asado dinner (including wine tonight) will be cooked and you can enjoy your last night together. Other meals are also included. The total hours in the saddle are seven to eight.
You will be transferred to Puerto Natales. You will then leave Puerto Natales at 10:00 and arrive Punta Arenas International Airport (PUQ) at approximately at 12:30. The tours end with only breakfast included.
This trip suits experienced riders wishing to combine some local flavor and comfortable accommodation with their riding adventure. It is designed for those who prefer not to camp and who enjoy a mixture of riding, from technical to some fast riding. There are some days of approximately eight or more hours in the saddle. This holiday has some fast sections, some technical sections, and some long riding days. Fitness and experience are essential. No beginners, please.
During long days, riders will be asked not to ride their horses overly hard. Lifetime Experience strives to be a humane company and keep their horses fairly treated. The holiday is a joint experience of the place and the riding. Lifetime Experience expects the riders to treat the horses as though they were their own at all times.
Riders will experience a first-hand view of Patagonia estancia life, which includes the joys, threats, and difficulties posed by farming cattle and sheep in the area. The route offers plenty of diversity with rides across open pampas, rides to wild glaciers and iceberg-filled lakes, and peaceful rides through valleys and ancient beech forests. Throughout these long days in the saddle, the snow-capped mountains are never far away.
Please note that younger riders must be experienced and accompanied by an experienced adult. Older riders are welcome to join this tour on completion of a medical suitability questionnaire. The hours in the saddle are approximate and largely depends on the group size and pace of riding.
This Chilean riding tour starts and finishes in Punta Arenas, Chile. You will go on a journey to Puerto Natales, Last Hope Sound, Bernardo O’Higgins National Park, Torres del Paine National Park, Lago Grey, Grey Glacier, Grey beach, Laguna Amarga, Sierra Baguales, and Vega Nash.
You will eat typical Patagonian breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Wine / drinks are not included, except wine with dinner on day nine.
There will be an optional boat trip to get closer to the glacier at the cost of approximately 140 USD per person.
Please book your flight to arrive at Punta Arenas International Airport (PUQ).
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