The Hidden Valley of the Gaucho

summary
Dates
December to March (tailormade or join group departures)
Location
Provincia Neuquen, Argentina
Duration
10 days (4 nights in estancia and 5 night mountain trip)
Level
Intermediate riding skills
Size
Minimum of 2 people
Cost
Contact us for details

(includes full board, pack and riding horses, private transfers from Zapala, mountain guide and gaucho, exclusive remote estancia accommodation)

Journey to a home which is nestled in the remote unknown wilderness of northern Patagonia. The Estancia is accessible only by horse, so guests ride in and their luggage is assembled on pack horses. The land hugs the cordillera of the Andes and is dispersed by beautiful rivers, the largest being the Trocoman. It is a magical hide away, hosted by a wonderful family. Good horses, bred on the farm, with a mix of criollo, quarter horse and arab - there are personalities for all standard of riders. This is the perfect balance of a magical remote, rustic estancia stay combined with an incredible mountain ride.

Rooms are decorated with antique furniture, pictures and beautifully made textiles. It is a bohemian retreat created by Ashley Carrithers, a great character. Log fires in every room, beautiful views with the grand Trocoman river passing below. It is wonderful place to relax, read, walk unwind. Excellent riding and opportunities to swim horses in river and lakes. There is access to fly fishing tackle and opportunity to head down to the river bank and enjoy casting a line. Grab a horse and saddle bag and go fishing.

The mountain ride itself is a horse safari into the higher cordillera and a wonderful experience meeting some of the characters that have made it their home. The safari explores land steeped in gaucho traditions. It is the abode of the crianceros, the goat herders, who have been trading in this area for centuries – and of course the gaucho tending his animals in the high summerlands and hidden valley. We will encounter their remote simple dwellings and experience their warm hospitality. This trip is characterized by simple camping, washing in streams, hot springs, cooking on open fire and sleeping outside under the stars. The saddle as pillow is recommended. We will have tents for back in event of a storm, or indeed as preferred option. Food will include meat barbecues and can cater for vegetarian as well, and plenty of wine on the pack horse. The idea is give you a wonderful experience of living in Patagonia, a horseback safari to experience the outdoors, based from an amazing home.

Itinerary
Day 01
Pickup from Zapala. Drive 5 hrs to trail head. Saddle up horses and ride to Estancia (3 hrs). Welcome drinks/supper.
Day 02
Breakfast. Round up horses. Afternoon ride. Pack and Tack demo. Supper and wine!
Day 03
Mountain trip departure. 6 hrs ride. Head up valley to make camp.
Day 04
Ride further up river to great camp spot.
Day 05
Ride to Chilean border. Camp for 2 nights at lake (Laguna Negra).
Day 06
Swim horses in lake. Fishing and walking.
Day 07
Full day’s ride back to the estancia. Hot shower, roaring fire, bbq and wine!
Day 08
Optional rest day or afternoon ride or river horseback swim.
Day 09
Play horseback games. BBQ with family and gauchos.
Day 10
Ride out of estancia. Take truck to village. Onward bus to your next destination