Horse Riding in Patagonia

The vast and rugged landscapes of Patagonia have been explored on horseback for hundreds of years, and horses are still preferred by the gauchos today. Visitors to Patagonia, both novices and experienced riders, can also feel the thrill and excitement of riding through the Andes or across the Steppe.

We help you think about the kind of riding you might like to do and choose which regions of Patagonia are going to suit you best.


Places to go Horse Riding in Patagonia

Riding in Torres del Paine

For glaciers and granite peaks Torres del Paine national park in Southern Patagonia is unrivalled and you can enjoy anything from one day to twelve days of spectacular riding based out of either a luxury lodge, an authentic estancia or sleeping under the stars each night.

Riding in the Lake District

For lush forests, vast lakes and beautiful river crossings visit the Lake District where you you can ride for days through the beautiful valleys or enjoy a crossing of the Andes from Chile to Argentina.

Riding from an Estancia

For the authentic gaucho experience, and first hand experience of life on the Patagonian Steppe then one of the Argentine Estancias is going to give you the richest experience.

Horse Riding in Aysen

For remote and wild landscapes where precious few tourists have ridden before visit Patagonia's hidden gem: Aysen. Here you can ride for days through beautiful mountains and valleys sleeping under the stars each night.

Horse riding adventures in remote Aysen

Estancias: Live and Ride at a Ranch

BBC, Patagonia: Earth's Secret Paradise

Have you seen the BBC's three part series from the Natural History Unit, discovering the wonders of Earth's Secret Paradise, Patagonia?

These programmes bring stunning imagery of the unusual and extraordinary wildlife and the breath-taking scenery. Uncovering the wonders of this wonderful corner of the world, from Gauchos to Glaciers Patagonia really is a secret paradise.

Are you inspired by what you've seen? Do you want to start planning your trip of a lifetime?

Three questions to consider when choosing your Patagonia riding trip

1. How many days do I want to ride for?

If you're thinking of just a half day or a day of riding then there are several estancias in places like Torres del Paine and near El Chalten and Bariloche which you could visit for a day or two as part of a longer trip. There are also a few luxury lodges which offer horse riding as part of their overall offer.

If you're looking for a longer trip, anything from 3 days to 12 days of riding, then you can either base yourself out of an estancia (a traditional Patagonian cattle ranch) or head out on an expedition from A to B, potentially crossing through the Andes between Chile and Argentina.

Some of our customers have enjoyed rides of 3-5 days in two different parts of Patagonia.

If you are a novice then three to four hours in the saddle each day is probably enough. However many people have learned to ride out here and over a week or two you could learn to canter and gallop.

2. What sort of accommodation do I need?

What are you going to enjoy most? Camping out on the under the stars, sharing the campfire with the local gauchos? Riding by day and then returning to a traditional estancia each evening for good meal and comfy bed? Or perhaps a luxury lodge with great food, fine wine and a spa to rest those weary limbs?

Whichever region of Patagonia you visit there will be plenty of options for you to choose from.

3. Shall I combine the riding with something else?

Some people will come to Patagonia for 2 to 3 weeks just to go horse riding ... and for those people there are countless possibilities.  However for others the riding is just a part of the overall adventure.

For example in Torres del Paine you could combine a few days of hiking with a few days of riding. Up in the lake district you might combine some riding with fly fishing, rafting or kayaking.

The team of Patagonia specialists are here to answer your questions and help you plan your trip.

Swoop's Top 3 riding trips in Patagonia

Horse-riding in Patagonia - your questions answered

When to go?

The best time to visit is between mid-September and mid-April. If you decide to go to one of the popular destinations like Torres del Paine then you might want to avoid the busiest months of December and January. Particularly for riding the beginning and end of the season can be a good time to visit.

Do I need experience/training?

There are plenty of trips that are suited to novices and hotels/estancias that welcome those are wanting to learn to ride. However, many of the trips listed here are aimed at strong intermediate to experienced riders who regularly horse ride at home. If you are planning to join a longer trip of three or more days then you should definitely be comfortable with 2-7 hours in the saddle.

What type of horse, and tack?

The horses used locally are Criollo-mix and vary in size with the majority being between 14 - 15 hands. They are strong, fit, willing and sure-footed. We are able to provide good horses to both experienced riders and riders who are a bit more ‘rusty’. The pace of the ride will be adjusted by the guide to suit the majority of the riders but as we always travel with more than one staff member i.e guide and horseman, there is some flexibility and riders soon find their own pace during the trip. Riders are not responsible for grooming or tack. Horses are constantly checked for injury and / or lameness and tiredness. At some stages during certain itineraries (and in any case where it becomes necessary for whatever reason) horses will be changed.

The tack is Chilean and comprises (usually) of metal or wood-framed saddles onto which layered felt, sheepskin and leather are placed. Rope, rawhide and leather form the bridles, girths, straps etc. The saddles provide adequate comfort for the long days riding and the stirrups consist of a cup through which the foot cannot pass. Most of the horses are ridden in simple snaffles. Halters are worn throughout the ride with rope tied around the horses neck to tie up at lunch stops & rest stops etc.

Questions? Need help?

Ask a question on our Adventure Planner

Call us on: +44 (0) 117 369 0196 (we're open 9am to 6pm, 7 days a week)

Email us at:

Contact us on Skype: swoop_in

Twitter: @SwoopPatagonia

  • Swoop Patagonia ATOL Badge
  • Swoop Patagonia IAATO Badge
  • Swoop Patagonia LATA Badge
  • Swoop Patagonia ATTA Badge