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Chile - Trail Rides
Glacier View & Estancia to Estancia - Spectacular Trail Rides

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from £3,600 or €4,230

Horse Riding Holidays Chile – Patagonia Trail Rides

PRICES & DATES top

Patagonia Trail Rides : 2017

Rates are quoted per person sharing. Our Patagonia Trails are set date departures.

‘Glacier View’ Trail

8 – 10 Riders – £3,600/€4,230/$4,3999
6 – 7 Riders – £3,930/€4,615/$4,799
3 – 5 Riders – £4,090/€4,810/$4,999
2 Riders – £4,585/€5,385/$5,599

Single Supplement – £410/€480/$500
(we can easily drop this if you are willing to share a twin room with another guest of the same sex)

2 – 11 January
2 – 11 February
2 – 11 March
2 – 11 October
2 – 11 November
2 – 11 December

‘Estancia to Estancia’ Trail

9 – 10 Riders – £4,255/€5,000/$5,199
6 – 8 Riders – £4,415/€5,190/$5,399
4 – 5 Riders – £4,910/€5,770/$5,999
2-3 Riders – £5,320/€6,250/$6,499

Single Supplement – £810/€950/$990
(we can easily drop this if you are willing to share a twin room with another guest of the same sex)

19 – 28 January
19 – 28 February
19 – 28 March
19 – 28 October
19 – 18 November
19 – 28 December

Other dates throughout the season for private groups are available on request.

All our horse riding holidays hold a price guarantee. We believe in your piece of mind on price when you book one of our horse riding holidays and will refund the difference should you find the same horse riding holiday elsewhere at a lower price.

SUMMARY OF THE TRIP top

Glacier View Trail

Patagonia Trail Rides offer a unique opportunity to enjoy a horse riding holiday in Chile, through the remote and beautiful wilderness of Patagonia in the Torres del Paine National Park and see some of the most awe inspiring scenery in the world.

This Patagonia Trail ride continues to be one of the most spectacular wilderness adventures in South America. The combination of fast, exciting horse riding and the scenery of Torres del Paine make it the ultimate riding destination. On the journey you will see two of the most beautiful and immense glaciers in the Park – ‘Dickson’ and ‘Grey’, which you can choose to see on horseback, or get even closer by taking a boat trip right up to the face of the Glacier ‘Grey’.

At the end of a long, hard days riding, guests can relax with a pisco sour whilst their horses are looked after by the local ‘huaso’ (cowboys) and their guide and cook serves up a tasty meal washed down with plenty of delicious Chilean wine – accommodation is comfortable with roomy dome tents, sited in beautiful wilderness camps.

On the Patagonia Trail Rides the horse riding itself is incredible, consisting mainly of trails through Torres del Paine’s dramatic scenery: huge granite peaks, soft grassy valleys and flower-filled meadows, exciting river crossings, ancient southern beech forests, jewel coloured lakes with bobbing icebergs, and towering valley glaciers.

This particular ride was the first long horseback riding adventure in the Torres del Paine national park and there’s still no other quite like it. With fast-paced and challenging riding on fit Criollo horses, it’s definitely for the fittest of riders! You can expect to canter side by side across the wide open pampas towards the huge mountain peaks and immense glaciers of Patagonia for long periods, and days in the saddle can often be as much as 8 hours.

The ‘Glacier Riders’ as they like to call themselves, often keep in touch with each other years after their riding adventure – there’s something unforgettable about the shared experiences enjoyed on this ride with riding group reunions cropping up all over the world!

Trip Highlights from the Patagonia Trail Rides

  • Experience that fantastic wilderness feeling as you zip open your tent in the morning and let the clean air invigorate you
  • Pitch your tent in some of the most beautiful campsites on earth
  • Ride up through the snowline on top of the Sierra del Toro with stunning views of the park below
  • Enjoy mate (matay) with local baqueanos at remote and rustic gaucho huts
  • Let your hair down with some exhilarating and never-ending canters across wide open pampas
  • Visit the largest and most spectacular glacier in the park – Grey Glacier and watch icebergs floating regally in the frigid grey waters
  • Take an optional boat ride for an up close and personal view of this immense wall of ice
  • Marvel at the immensity of the Condor’s wing span as he hovers overhead
  • Photograph spectacular granite monoliths and turquoise blue lakes
  • Sit and marvel at the wonders of nature with a picnic lunch overlooking one of the least visited glaciers in the area – Dickson Glacier
  • Ride up to a beautiful remote vega or natural pasture where you are likely to spot large wild herds of Criollos grazing
  • Relax and enjoy the tranquil surroundings whilst feasting on great camp cuisine with new friends
  • Enjoy spectacular sunsets from your campsite at the Serrano River
  • Photograph guanacos and nandus from the back of your horse

Estancia to Estancia Trail

The ride kicks off with a boat trip through Last Hope Sound and into the national park pf Torres del Paine. Riding local Criollo horses, you follow an almost circular route through the park. There’s slow riding on the mountain paths and fast riding across the open pampas, each turn of the trail affords a more breath-taking vista than the last. Weather permitting, you get to see the impressive Torres from both the south and the north side of the massif.

Riders will experience a first hand view of Patagonian estancia life, which includes the joys, threats and difficulties posed by farming sheep and cattle 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 behind.

THE RIDING top

Horses on the Patagonia Trail Rides – Criollo Crosses, which vary in size with the majority being between 14hh -15.2 hh. They are strong, fit, willing and sure-footed. There are horses for both experienced riders and rusty riders.

Level of Riding & Pace on the Patagonia Trail Rides – Intermediate to Advanced. A good level of fitness is required as you will be in the saddle for long hours.

Tack – The tack is Chilean and comfortable and comprises of metal framed saddles onto which is layered felt, sheepskin and leather. Rope, rawhide and leather form the bridles, girths and straps.

Weight Restriction on the Patagonia Trail Rides – 14 Stone / 90 kg / 198 lbs.

Group Size for the Patagonia Trail Rides – Maximum 12.

ACCOMMODATION top

Glacier View on the Patagonia Trail Rides 
There is one night in a comfortable hotel in Puerto Natales at the beginning of the tour with the rest of the time spent basic camping in beautiful wilderness camps, with few or no facilities.

Estancia to Estancia
You will stay in a mix of hosterias and working or converted estancias. The latter offers a family stay environment which is not luxurious but is clean, comfortable and welcoming. All of them are beautifully located with good views. Cattle and sheep are often farmed and horses may be seen in their working environment.

In the converted estancias and hosterias the accommodation is comfortable twin or triple rooms with en suite facilities.

If you require single accommodation there is an extra charge, but we can't guarantee single accommodation in the 'homestay' accommodation due to their size.

On the Patagonia Trail Rides you can expect really good food throughout, with fresh salads, bread and bbq meat, accompanied with plenty of good Chilean wine.

Horse Riding Holidays on the Patagonia Trail Rides are part of the collection of Zara’s Planet Horse Riding Holidays Chile.

Included – All horse riding, accommodation, meals, drinks, wine with meals and entrance fees to park.

Excluded – Flights, airport taxes, transfers, meals & drinks outside camping.

Patagonia Trail Rides : Getting There
International flights to Santiago, followed by an internal flight to Punta Arenas.

Transfer
There is a very good bus service to Puerto Natales from Punta Arenas or we can easily arrange a private transfer to pick you up at the airport.

Please Ask About

  • In addition to all the riding adventures in Chile, we can also arrange multi-activity programmes which combine Horseriding, Walking, Kayaking,Yoga, Fishing and Photography
  • Plus a variety of other adventures like Wine tours in Santiago, Hiking in Agentina and Sightseeing in Buenos Aires
  • Whale, dolphin & penguin watching

SAMPLE ITINERARY top

Please note that the itineraries may change depending on the weather at the time and other local conditions.

Glacier View Sample Itinerary

DAY 1

Arrive in Puerto Natales either by bus or private transfer from Punta Arenas (at extra cost). In the evening you will be escorted to dinner by your guide (payable locally) for the trip briefing. Overnight in the Hostel Amerindia.

DAY 2

This morning you will board a boat from Puerto Natales to Balmaceda, through Bernardo O’Higgins national park. This fabulous boat trip travels up the Last Hope Sound passing cormorant nesting crags and the Balmaceda Glacier before docking at the Serrano Glacier. Bernardo O’Higgins is the largest national park in Chile and one of the five 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 our planet. It also contains the third largest mass of ice on earth after Antarctica and Greenland, so the climate is understandably extreme. You disembark the boat amongst old growth forests of evergreen and deciduous southern beech, fire bushes and cypresses – a stunning contrast to the snow capped peaks and glaciers. After a short inflatable zodiac boat ride you will meet your horses and have some lunch before setting out on the 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 get used to the horses and style of riding. Towards the end of the trail, you cross the Nutria river and come out on the pampas as you approach your campsite for the night. Your cook will already be preparing dinner and you may be offered a glass of pisco sour whilst you wait. This campsite belongs to the Astorga family who were the first settlers in Rio Serrano, nearly 50 years ago. Still farming a few sheep and cattle the Astorga family still work in the traditional manner. For early riders, is offers some of the best sunrises in all of Patagonia!

DAY 3

Today saddle up and prepare for the fast ride across the pampas to Grey Lake. Your view will be dominated by the huge granite peaks of the Paine massif as you ride out along the Grey river towards the largest glacier in the park, Glacier Grey. On reaching the trail head the horses are tethered and you walk across a swinging footbridge to Grey Beach. Glacier Grey protrudes off the southern ice field and is quite simply a wonder of nature – measuring 28kms in length and covering a total area of 270 square km with its frozen walls of blue ice towering almost 35 metres high, it never ceases to impress. After plenty of time to rest, take photos and enjoy your incredible lunch spot you rejoin your rested horses and head back to your pretty campsite at the Serrano River. (If interested, there is an optional boat trip across the lake towards the face of the glacier. The boat trip is weather reliant and costs c. USD 96 per person).

DAY 4

Today you will be packing up and riding eastwards towards the heart of the Park. You will now be riding directly towards 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 taken in one of the pretty valleys you continue east onto the beautiful soft pampas of the Patagonian steppe. Your final destination for the night is a campsite at Estancia Laguna Amarga with spectacular views of the Towers of Paine.

DAY 5

After packing up camp and loading up the pack horses you will set off on the exciting ride towards the Torres and Lago Paine. After skirting the lake you head north towards Laguna Stokes where a large natural vega or pasture exists and which attracts wild criollos from the surrounding hills to graze in the summer. With luck you may get to see these horses, but please note that sightings are not guaranteed. There will be many excellent photo opportunities on this route as you pass through forests, pastures and the lake where Lady Florence Dixie first camped having sighted the Towers. Eventually you arrive at your remote campsite with beautiful mountain views, soft flower filled meadows and the mirror clear waters of Lago Paine close by.

DAY 6

After breakfast, you will be riding out to Lake and Glacier Dickson. Dickson is one of the more remote and rarely visited glaciers in the Park due to its inaccessibility – in our opinion it is also one of the prettiest. Your ride takes you past the northerly peaks of the Paine chain where one of the peaks is topped by a black, craggy rock in the shape of a Tuhuelche Indian Face where the 'headband' is decorated with snowdrifts even in summer. The trail then heads north passing ancient southern beech forests and scattered lakes before reaching a solitary perch and viewpoint above this beautiful lake and glacier. This will be your picnic spot for lunch – a truly memorable destination. In the afternoon, ride back to Lago Paine.

DAY 7

After breakfast, say goodbye to your horses from Rio Serrano and meet new, fresh horses from Estancia Tercera Barranca. Today you are riding towards Laguna Azul and the trail takes you across pampas, past lakes and the River Paine. Meadows fof lowers and maybe foxes, upland geese, magallanic woodpeckers, hares and a plethora of flora can be seen. Riding up Sierra Masle you should have a view of the Torres del Paine Massif before eventually arriving at the beautiful Laguna Azul. After lunch, continue following Rio Chinas towards your final destination of Estancia Tercera Barranca, where you will be camping. Typical of the estancias in the area, Tercera Barranca is a working sheep ranch situated in an enviable position on the park border offering fantastic views of the granite mountains and of the Paine Massif.

DAY 8

Today you will be transferring by vehicle literally to the end of the road known as Ruta 9 to a mystical area known as La Cumbre (the summit) at a height of 850 metres. Your destination is Estancia 3R situated in the heart of the Sierra Baguales, a wild mountain chain that extends from the north eastern limit of Torres del Paine penetrating the border into Argentina. The name of the mountains 'Baguales' translates to mean domesticated animal gone wild, such as a cow, bull or, in this case, horses. Its distinctive peaks of basalt are cathedral-like in their forms and the area is also famous for its marine and land fossils which document the passing of geological eras. Here you meet your horses for the ride out into these grand peaks, climbing high up towards the Tetas Las Chinas where, with luck, you may spot the famous wild horse herds of the Sierra Baguales. After a few hours riding, return to the estancia house for tea before driving back to Estancia Tercera Barranca and your campsite.

DAY 9

After breakfast, say goodbye to the gauchos and horses at Tercera Barranca and take an early transfer to Laguna Sophia. Alongside this stunning lake you will be able to choose your comfy bed in the refugio before meeting your horses for the last day of riding to the gaucho hut in Vega Senoret. Along the way you skirt Laguna Sophia, bordering the Sierra Senoret with great views of the mountains around you At Vega Senoret you will get your final view of Torres del Paine and Cerro Ventana (Window Hill). Lunch will be taken at the gaucho hut – a small puesto located in the middle of the valley where gauchos stay during the summer time to look after their cattle. Depending on the time available and the weather you may ride a further hour and a half to a condor area where you will be riding at the same altitude as the condors are flying. Return to Laguna Sophia where a typical Patagonia asado dinner will be cooking and you can enjoy your final night together under the stars.

DAY 10

You will be transferred back to Puerto Natales from where you can take a bus/transfer back to Punta Arenas for your flight home or onward travel.

Estancia to Estancia Sample Itinerary

DAY 1

Arrive in Puerto Natales by either bus or private transfer from Punta Arenas (at extra cost). In the evening you will be escorted to dinner by your guide (payable locally) for the trip briefing. Overnight in Hotel IF Patagonia (www.hotelifpatagonia.com).

DAY 2

In the morning, you pack a separate bag containing only enough belongings for one night’s stay and are transferred for c. 20 minutes to Puerto Consuelo where you will meet your first Criollo horse. This estancia is still home to the Eberhard family who have much history in Magallanes. From this lovely estancia you ride along the fjord until reaching the neighbouring estancia - Estancia Perales. Here you will have a welcoming meal right next to the waters of Last Hope Sound. Night at estancia.

DAY 3

After breakfast pack up and walk down to the quayside where you board a boat into Bernardo O’Higgins national park. Shared by the regions of Magallanes and Aysen this is the largest national park in Chile and one of the five most expansive in the world (over 3 million hectares). With access only via the water, the mountains or the southern ice-field itself it remains a remote and pristine corner of our planet. It also contains the third largest mass of ice on earth after Antarctica and Greenland so the climate is understandably extreme. Disembark your boat here amongst the stunning old-growth forests of evergreen and deciduous southern beech trees, fire bushes and cypresses – a stunning contrast to the snow-capped peaks and glaciers in this area. Meet your horses and set out on a trail through the forests passing pristine rivers and streams in the shadow of the Chacabuco and Balmaceda range of mountains. A fairly slow ride today to give you the chance to relax into your riding stride. Towards the end of the trail you will cross the Nutria river and come out onto the wide open pampas which marks the end of the days ride. You may be able to up the pace as you approach the hotel Rio Serrano. This hotel is only a few years old and offers comfortable accommodation, great views of the Paine Massif, a large living/dining area with log fires and a comfortable bar and good restaurant. For early risers it also offers some of the best sunrises in all of Patagonia.

DAY 4

After breakfast you meet your horses and prepare for the fast ride across the pampas to Grey Lake. Your view will be dominated by the jagged granite peaks of the massif as you ride out along the Grey river towards the largest glacier in the park, Glacier Grey. On reaching the trail head you tether the horses and walk across a swinging footbridge to Grey Beach. Grey Glacier protrudes off the southern ice field and is quite simply a wonder of nature. Measuring 28km in length and covering a surface area of 270 square km it towers almost 35 metres high. After some time walking along the beach and taking lunch, you walk back to the horses for the exciting ride back to the Serrano River. (If interested, there is an optional excursion available across the lake towards the face of the glacier. The boat trip is weather reliant and costs c. USD 96 per person, which is payable locally).

DAY 5

After a wholesome breakfast and packing up you will start riding eastwards towards the heart of the park. You will now be riding directly towards the Paine Massif mountain range so the views are dramatic and beautiful. The trail skirts the southern edge of the mountains on a rarely trodden path as you pass azure and turquoise lakes with huge granite mountain peaks behind. After a picnic lunch taken in one of the pretty valleys you continue east to the beautiful soft pampas of the Patagonian steppe. Here you have the chance for nice long canters as the light fades and the shadows lengthen before arriving at your destination, the intimate and authentic Estancia Tercera Barranca. Typical of the estancias in 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 of the Paine Massif. With land extending to 6,454 hectares it offers quality accommodation in addition to its continuing work as a Patagonian ranch. Sleeping just 14 guests in 7 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 adjacent wooden quincho.

DAY 6

Today’s ride takes you west towards the peaks of Torres del Paine as you approach the stunning deep blue waters of Laguna Azul framed by the towers themselves. The ride takes you through native forests and grassy flower-filled meadows as you follow the shoreline around the lake. Then head south, crossing the area known as Canadon Macho which is normally inhabited by large breeding groups of both Guanaco and Rhea. Continue riding south before dismounting and walking out to see the beautiful Cascada Paine, a very pretty waterfall where glacial water thunders over the rocks in its journey through the park. Remount and ride past Estancia Laguna Amarga and the salt-encrusted shores of Laguna Amarga (bitter lake) with its emerald green waters acting as a mirror for the surrounding mountains which reflect in its surface. Continue on a different route back to Estancia Tercera Barranca for a second night.

DAY 7

Today you will be transferring by vehicle to Estancia Las Chinas situated in the heart of the Sierra Baguales, a wild mountain chain that extends from the north eastern limit of Torres del Paine penetrating the border into Argentina. The name of the mountains 'Baguales' translates to mean domesticated animal gone wild, such as a cow, bull or, in this case, horses. Its distinctive peaks of basalt are cathedral-like in their forms and the area is also famous for its marine and land fossils which document the passing of geological eras. Here you meet your horses for the ride out into these grand peaks, climbing high up towards the Tetas Las Chinas where, with luck, you may spot the famous wild horse herds of the Sierra Baguales. After a few hours riding, return to the estancia house for tea before driving back to Estancia Tercera Barranca for dinner.

DAY 8

Today you once again join your horses and baqueanos for another full day ride. This time you are heading south to the outpost town of Cerro Castillo. 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 should also be opportunities for lots of long canters! During late afternoon, after a leisurely picnic lunch and an afternoons riding, you will see the welcoming sight of Cerro Castillo come into view. Here you say goodbye to your horses and jump into the minibus for your transfer to Laguna Sofia (c. 30 mins). The comfortable country house, situated next to the fabulous Laguna Sophia, has a huge roaring fire and big soft sofas which invite you to relax and reflect on your holiday experiences so far. The river not only provides the water but also powers a turbine which enables electricity and hot showers.

DAY 9

After a breakfast you saddle up for your final days riding to the gaucho hut in Vega Senoret. Along the way you go around Laguna Sophia, bordering the Sierra Senoret, with great views of the mountains around you. At Vega Senoret you will have your final view of the Torres del Paine mountains and Cerro Ventana (Window Hill). Lunch is taken at the gaucho hut – a small puesto located in the middle of the valley where gauchos stay during the summer to look after their cattle. Depending on the time available and the weather, you may be able to ride for a further hour and a half to a condor area where you will be riding at the same altitude as they are flying! Return to Laguna Sophia where a typical Patagonian asado dinner will already be cooking in preparation for your final meal together.

DAY 10

After a leisurely breakfast transfer to Puerto Natales. Private transfer/bus can be arranged (at extra cost) back to Punta Arenas for your flight home or onward travel.

DESTINATION MAP top

Zara’s Planet Horse Riding Holidays Guarantee:

All our horse riding holidays hold a price guarantee. We believe in your piece of mind on price when you book one of our horse riding holidays and will refund the difference should you find the same horse riding holiday elsewhere at a lower price.

If you are having trouble finding exactly the right horse riding holiday for you from our horse riding holidays collection, please contact us directly using the form below and tell us in your own words what you would like to do and we will use our extensive knowledge to make sure we find that perfect horse riding holiday.

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Chile Holidays Testimonials

Katharine Taylor on Glacier View Trail, Chile

Safe home and functioning more hopefully than less. Fabulous holiday. Liver needs to go onto detox, dancing skills improved, riding and kayaking needless to say great!

Katharine Taylor from Scotland