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Horse Riding in Patagonia

Patagonia by horse is a unique way to explore the region's vast mountains, forests and lakes and gives you access to places that you wouldn't otherwise be able to reach. Whether you're horse mad and looking to stay at an authentic estancia (cattle ranch) or a novice that can't manage too many hours in the saddle, we've found a diverse range of trips around the lakes of the north and the glaciers and mountains of southern Patagonia that we think will inspire you.

Horse riding trips in 2014-15

We have a number of guaranteed departures between now and early April for you to join. 3 day rides for novices through to 10 day horse treks for experienced riders. Each trip has their own style and itinerary - let us know whether you prefer to camp, or stay in a few of Patagonia's wonderful estancias.

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Luxury Lodges: Hike & Rides  

Luxury Hike and Ride: Torres

From the area's most exclusive lodge, go horse-riding and trekking in the best known, as well as the most secluded, areas of the Torres ...

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6 days

$3,850

Hike and Ride from Comfort: Paine

Base yourself in Torres del Paine's most talked about luxury lodge and explore the rugged outdoors both on foot and horse-back. Everything will be ...

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5 days

$2,821

Estancias: Live and Ride at a Ranch  

12-day Estancia Ride

Pass fjords & mountains as you ride the open pampas & trek to the towers of Torres del Paine. You'll also visit the hanging ...

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12 days

$5,290

The Estancia ride, 10 days

An opportunity for experienced riders, up for some fast and technical riding through the Patagonian mountains and pampas, to experience guacho life - ride ...

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10 days

$4,799

Across the Andes

An incredible and unique trip that takes you across the magnificent Andes on horseback. An incredible way both to embrace the guacho spirit and ...

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10 days

$4,160

Mountain & Glaciers: Torres del Paine  

The Fjord Trail

A great trip for those who don't want to spend too many hours in the saddle, this 3-day trip takes you through varied terrain ...

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3 days

$1,095

Glacier Ride Taster Trip

Ride to beautiful spots in Torres del Paine by horse, including the remote Glacier Dickson with a local horse riding expert. You'll wilderness camp ...

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4 days

$1,695

Glaciers of Paine by horse

No other riding trips takes you to as many glaciers as this. A trip for experienced riders, you'll enjoy the fast pace & spend ...

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8 days

$3,595

Horse Moving Ride

Become a true Patagonian gaucho on this unique trip as you take part in droving horses across the Torres del Paine National Park - ...

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10 days

$5,299

Riding to Glaciers with Gauchos

Run by the most experienced horse riding specialists in the area this is a trip for experienced riders up for a real adventure in ...

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10 days

$3,999

Rivers & Lakes: Lake District & Cochamó  

Puelo Ride

This varied itinerary includes riding to turquoise-blue lakes, waterfalls and rapids in Cochamo, as well as crossing a hanging bridge and seeing glaciers and ...

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8 days

$3,911

Cochamó Crossing

There are other ways to cross the border from the Chilean Lake District to Bariloche in the heart of the Argentine Lake District. But, ...

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7 days

$2,529

Horse-riding in Patagonia - your questions answered

Why? 

Seeing Patagonia by horse is a great way to cover more ground and get off the beaten track. After all, a horse can take you through terrain which is impossible to reach by any other means.

Best time of year?

Horse riding is an activity most suited to the warm summer months between October to March. We are not aware of trips taking place outside season.

Do I need experience/training?

Although there are some trips where experience is not necessary (look for trips for ‘non riders’), due to the often demanding terrain and varied weather, most operators require customers to be strong intermediate to experienced riders who regularly horse ride at home. You’ll be spending between 2 – 7 hours per day in the saddle, so it’s important to have an idea of what this is like beforehand.

What is the terrain like?

Patagonian terrain is rich and varied. In the Lake District in the north, terrain tends to be lush and green and trips often contain lots of river crossings. Mid-Patagonia is mountainous with forests and lakes and in the South the terrain tends to be rougher and more remote.

Where?

The horse riding opportunities in Patagonia broadly fall into the following categories:

1. North:

The green Cochamó Valley in northern Chilean Patagonia is served by the major town of Puerto Montt, some 70 miles (2 hours) away. Also popular is the Bariloche Lake District in Argentinian Patagonia which is served by the town of Bariloche.

2. Middle:

Situated in Argentinian Patagonia and named after its numerous glaciers, Los Glaciares National Park is a great destination for horse riding. This national park is served in the north by El Chaltén (which has very basic facilities including one ATM machine, a few shops and a restaurant) and in the south by El Calafate.

This region is also home to Torres del Paine National Park (probably the most famous park in Patagonia), and is served by the town of Puerto Natales.

3. South:

Wild and remote, horse riding in southern Patagonia will take you stony beaches, cliffs and forests. The main city is Ushuaia, close to Tierra del Fuego National park and it is here that the wilderness of the terrain makes for some pretty adventurous horse riding. Tierra del Fuego National Park is situated at the tip of Patagonia - the last point before Antarctica.

I’ve heard about ‘estancias’, what exactly are they?

The word ‘estancia’ translates to 'ranch' and there are many large and small cattle ranches throughout Chile and Argentina. Lots of estancia owners have opened them up to guests to provide a warm and homely place to stay during your trip as well as offering lots of outdoor activities.

Can I combine horse riding with something else?

If you would like to spend a couple of days horse riding but the majority of time trekking, operators can offer you tailor-made trips or you can choose from a variety of multisport trips which include trekking, kayaking and horse riding. 

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 flexibilty 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.

Getting there

1. North:

There are regular internal flights from Buenos Aires to Bariloche airport. From there catch a bus to Bariloche town and then it’s a 35 minute ride to Bariloche Lake District. For horse riding in the Cochamó Valley, fly from Santiago or Buenos Aires to El Tepual aiport in Puerto Montt.

2. Middle:

For Los Glaciares National Park fly to El Calafate from Buenos Aires or Santiago and  take the bus to the park or for the very north of the park, take the 3 hour bus ride to the small town of El Chaltén.

To get to Torres del Paine National Park book a flight from Santiago, El Calafate or Buenos Aires to Punta Arenas where you can then make the 5-hour bus journey to the small town of Puerto Natales (closest to the park) and take the bus directly to the park.

3. South:

There are regular flights from El Calafate and Buenos Aires to Ushuaia airport. From Ushuaia airport take a taxi to Ushuaia town (there are no buses). You can then either take the boat to Tierra del Fuego or take the bus to Rio Grande and then on to Tierra del Fuego.

See more info on flights to Patagonia

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: advice@swooptravel.co.uk

Contact us on Skype: swoop_in

Twitter: @SwoopPatagonia

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Guide to Patagonia

Patagonia spans over 1,000 miles north to south and landscapes ranging from forests, to glaciers, to volcanoes and deserts. Read our Patagonia Guide to find out: how to get there, when to go, what to see and how to find the best trip. Or find out about:

 

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How can we help you?

We are Patagonian specialists, and have helped all sorts of different people arrange their perfect adventure holiday in Patagonia. Whatever your budget, group size, length of stay, preferred activity or appetite for adventure we're here to help you.

  • Join a group trek or tour
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About Swoop

We've spent 15 years exploring Patagonia, and arranged holidays for over a thousand customers. We have a network of trusted guides, lodges, and local operators across the region and delight in helping people plan and arrange a great holiday.

You can book directly with our local partners in Chile and Argentina, or with our ATOL certified company here in the UK.

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