Horseback riding in Southern Patagonia, Argentina

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Patagonia Glacier Ride


Itinerary for Patagonia Glacier Ride





Sample Itinerary: 6-day program - subject to changes

Day 1: Arriving at the Estancia
Afternoon arrival at the Estancia, taking the regular transfer from El Calafate. Riding activities and exploring the Estancia. The accommodations retains the essence of the old Patagonian Hostelries. It is actually within Los Glaciares National Park on the shores of the Southern Arm of Lago Argentino. It covers an area of over 12,000 hectares reaching as far as the border with Chile. Formerly it was devoted to sheep rearing. Nowadays a small flock is kept, its chief production being the breeding of Hereford cattle, of which it has developed a prestigious breeding herd.
Meals included: Dinner
Overnight at the Estancia


Day 2: Day at Estancia
Today the guide will explain the program. The horses will be prepared and other equipment made ready to set off early the following morning. The rest of the afternoon and evening are free to enjoy the Estancia, exploring its surroundings by bike or on foot, finding one’s own way along the footpaths and tracks and also taking part in the sheep-shearing demonstration using traditional hand shears.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Estancia


Day 3: Puesto La Rosada (only from December to March)
Morning ride to climb up the mountain range Cordon de los Cristales, which lies behind the main house. The higher we go, the more clearly Argentino lake´s arms stand out. Once we reach the clearing, the track plunges into the Patagonian Andean woods. We pass between lenga trees and guindos [Magellan beeches], riding along old tracks where the great sheep drives used to pass. We reach a little clear land, where cows graze. There, La Rosada outpost is the home of the “puestero”, who oversees cattle and carries on the legacy of traditional rural production. He knows every single corner of this part of the land and he can count the cows with just a glance. If one had escaped, he would bring her back within a couple of minutes. There, we have first ranch lunch. By the afternoon, we reach an historical point: the International Milestone (´32) that indicates the end the Hostelry and the end of Argentina. The sensation to be at the very frontiers of Patagonia is unique. It is the south of the south: wind blows and the flag waves. The landscape and its calmness never end. Free time to explore surroundings.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at La Rosada outpost (only from December to March)


Day 4: Cachorro and Puesta Laguna 3 de Abril
On coming out of the dense woodland the way opens out into the Valley of the Río Cachorro. Notros [Chilean firebush] and calafate bushes here are unusually tall. We start descending towards the lower land until we come to the riverbed. Surprise views of the Frías glacier appear at the bottom and the granite needle called “el Dedo del Cesar” [Caesar’s Thumb]. Riding between rocks and pasturelands and avoiding the marshlands, we reach the corrals of the Río Cachorro outpost where the rangers might be working with the livestock. After a picnic lunch we continue on horseback to Laguna 3 de Abril (3 de Abril Lagoon), a habitat of flamingos and black-necked swans, kaiken [upland goose] and steamer ducks. Passing the lake, we come to the outpost, and after unsaddling, there will be time to enjoy the surroundings and the coziness of the refuge. A wood-fired stove and a brick and clay oven, with the gentle light of the lantern, passing the mate round, the evening meal will be prepared while tales of adventures are shared.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Puesto Laguna 3 de Abril


Day 5: Puesto Laguna 3 de Abril
After breakfast at the refuge, we hike to the lake shore to meet Glaciar Sur. This excursion departs from the Estancia's pier and navigates the Lago Argentino down south to the Hidden Glaciers. The expedition is a combination of navigations and trekking to reach a unique spot between mountains and glaciers, where only few people arrive. Once the group gets on board, the boat sails through the Brazo Sur to its southernmost point. After a short walk through the native forest, the first lookout point to the glaciers is reached. At the bottom we can see the Lago Frías which will be sailed in zodiacs a few minutes later. It is 3 km navigation to the other shore where a new trekking begins. It goes along an old river course to reach an amphitheater facing the glaciers Gorra, Frías, and Grande. The group eats lunch near Laguna de los Témpanos overlooking not only the 3 glaciers but also the icebergs that decorate the milky waters of the lagoon. This area of Parque Nacional Los Glaciares is almost unexplored, only a few gauchos and cows from our Hostelry know the place’s hidden spots and secrets. After spending a good amount of time resting and taking pictures at the feet of the glaciers the group returns back to the outpost. The rest of the group keep navigating to the Hostelry and then by car to El Calafate.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Puesto Laguna 3 de Abril


Additional information: The cruise activity will be provided by Glaciar Sur (Argos Patagonia S.A.). It doesn’t have any additional cost. The activity is combined with the regular service from Glaciar Sur; this means the excursion and bilingual guide services will be shared with other passengers doing the complete tour from El Calafate. The program as previously described will be confirmed in situ. It is subject to cancelations due to weather-related situations, navigability or terrain conditions.
The hike involves a 6 hours hike (14 km), with little gradient and medium technical requirement. More information: www.glaciarsur.com

If this activity cannot be done, the adventure will continue by foot and on horseback!

We leave after breakfast, riding south to the Balcony of the Glaciers. The track runs parallel to the Southern Arm of Lago Argentino. A little before arriving at the head of the lake, we leave the horses grazing to go up on foot to a viewing point even higher up. From there we will have a panoramic view of the Southern Arm, Laguna Corazón and of the Lago Frías, with glimpses of the Hidden Glaciers Gorra, Frías, Grande and Dickson in the distance. We walk to the beach at the head of the Southern Arm. From there we cross a large pasture, a pristine area. An erratic stone of more than 20 meters in height will be the next goal. It is impressive to stand in front of such a huge rock, marked by the force of the glaciers advancing and receding. The footpath starts to run alongside the lower Frías River. Here we will find traces of the area’s livestock rearing past, a hanging bridge over 100 years old, destroyed by the great flooding of Lago Argentino in 1937. The way passes through dense woodland getting as far as discovering Corazón Lagoon, with crystal clear waters where the deep blue contrasts with the green reflection of the woods. The water is so crystal clear that it is possible to watch the trout swimming between the rocks. We pause for lunch. A place sheltered from the world. Whoever wants to will be able to carry on a bit further clambering over some stones that prove fairly awkward for crossing, in order to get to the southern end of Frías Lake, the natural border protecting the glaciers hidden in the mountains further south. In the afternoon we return to where the horses were left in order to ride back to the Puesto Laguna 3 de Abril, where the night will be spent.

Day 6: Southern Arm of Lago Argentino
The return journey begins riding along the shore of the lake until we reach the main buildings of the Hostelry, about 18km from the refuge. We will arrive in time for lunch with a typical Patagonian lamb roasted at the stake over charcoal embers, which will be ready just as the riders arrive. After lunch, a shuttle services will take you to El Calafate, arriving town about 3:30pm.
Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch

Note: The program might vary according to climatic conditions and/or to make better use of the livestock work if there is anything interesting going on around the dates of the program.

In March 2020, the itinerary will be slightly different, starting with the ride to the outposts and ending with a few days at the estancia.



Sample Itinerary: 5-day program -
subject to changes

Day 1: Arriving at the Estancia
Afternoon arrival at the Estancia, taking the regular transfer from El Calafate. Riding activities and exploring the Hostelry. The accommodations retains the essence of the old Patagonian Estancias. It is actually within Los Glaciares National Park on the shores of the Southern Arm of Lago Argentino. It covers an area of over 12,000 hectares reaching as far as the border with Chile. Formerly it was devoted to sheep rearing. Nowadays a small flock is kept, its chief production being the breeding of Hereford cattle, of which it has developed a prestigious breeding herd.
Meals included: Dinner
Overnight at the Estancia


Day 2: Puesto La Rosada (only from December to March)
Morning ride to climb up the mountain range Cordon de los Cristales, which lies behind the main house. The higher we go, the more clearly Argentino lake´s arms stand out. Once we reach the clearing, the track plunges into the Patagonian Andean woods. We pass between lenga trees and guindos [Magellan beeches], riding along old tracks where the great sheep drives used to pass. We reach a little clear land, where cows graze. There, La Rosada outpost is the home of the “puestero”, who oversees cattle and carries on the legacy of traditional rural production. He knows every single corner of this part of the land and he can count the cows with just a glance. If one had escaped, he would bring her back within a couple of minutes. There, we have first ranch lunch. By the afternoon, we reach an historical point: the International Milestone (´32) that indicates the end the Hostelry and the end of Argentina. The sensation to be at the very frontiers of Patagonia is unique. It is the south of the south: wind blows and the flag waves. The landscape and its calmness never end. Free time to explore surroundings.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at La Rosada outpost (only from December to March)


Day 3: Cachorro and Puesta Laguna 3 de Abril
On coming out of the dense woodland the way opens out into the Valley of the Río Cachorro. Notros [Chilean firebush] and calafate bushes here are unusually tall. We start descending towards the lower land until we come to the riverbed. Surprise views of the Frías glacier appear at the bottom and the granite needle called “el Dedo del Cesar” [Caesar’s Thumb]. Riding between rocks and pasturelands and avoiding the marshlands, we reach the corrals of the Río Cachorro outpost where the rangers might be working with the livestock. After a picnic lunch we continue on horseback to Laguna 3 de Abril (3 de Abril Lagoon), a habitat of flamingos and black-necked swans, kaiken [upland goose] and steamer ducks. Passing the lake, we come to the outpost, and after unsaddling, there will be time to enjoy the surroundings and the coziness of the refuge. A wood-fired stove and a brick and clay oven, with the gentle light of the lantern, passing the mate round, the evening meal will be prepared while tales of adventures are shared.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Puesto Laguna 3 de Abril


Day 4: Puesto Laguna 3 de Abril
After breakfast at the refuge, we hike to the lake shore to meet Glaciar Sur. This excursion departs from the Hostelry's pier and navigates the Lago Argentino down south to the Hidden Glaciers. The expedition is a combination of navigations and trekking to reach a unique spot between mountains and glaciers, where only few people arrive. Once the group gets on board, the boat sails through the Brazo Sur to its southernmost point. After a short walk through the native forest, the first lookout point to the glaciers is reached. At the bottom we can see the Lago Frías which will be sailed in zodiacs a few minutes later. It is 3 km navigation to the other shore where a new trekking begins. It goes along an old river course to reach an amphitheater facing the glaciers Gorra, Frías, and Grande. The group eats lunch near Laguna de los Témpanos overlooking not only the 3 glaciers but also the icebergs that decorate the milky waters of the lagoon. This area of Parque Nacional Los Glaciares is almost unexplored, only a few gauchos and cows from our Hostelry know the place’s hidden spots and secrets. After spending a good amount of time resting and taking pictures at the feet of the glaciers the group returns back to the outpost. The rest of the group keep navigating to the Hostelry and then by car to El Calafate. Evening meal and overnight at the Puesto Laguna 3 de Abril.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Puesto Laguna 3 de Abril


Additional information: The cruise activity will be provided by Glaciar Sur (Argos Patagonia S.A.). It doesn’t have any additional cost. The activity is combined with the regular service from Glaciar Sur; this means the excursion and bilingual guide services will be shared with other passengers doing the complete tour from El Calafate. The program as previously described will be confirmed in situ. It is subject to cancelations due to weather-related situations, navigability or terrain conditions.
The hike involves a 6 hours hike (14 km), with little gradient and medium technical requirement. More information: www.glaciarsur.com

If this activity cannot be done, the adventure will continue by foot and on horseback!

We leave after breakfast, riding south to the Balcony of the Glaciers. The track runs parallel to the Southern Arm of Lago Argentino. A little before arriving at the head of the lake, we leave the horses grazing to go up on foot to a viewing point even higher up. From there we will have a panoramic view of the Southern Arm, Laguna Corazón and of the Lago Frías, with glimpses of the Hidden Glaciers Gorra, Frías, Grande and Dickson in the distance. We walk to the beach at the head of the Southern Arm. From there we cross a large pasture, a pristine area. An erratic stone of more than 20 meters in height will be the next goal. It is impressive to stand in front of such a huge rock, marked by the force of the glaciers advancing and receding. The footpath starts to run alongside the lower Frías River. Here we will find traces of the area’s livestock rearing past, a hanging bridge over 100 years old, destroyed by the great flooding of Lago Argentino in 1937. The way passes through dense woodland getting as far as discovering Corazón Lagoon, with crystal clear waters where the deep blue contrasts with the green reflection of the woods. The water is so crystal clear that it is possible to watch the trout swimming between the rocks. We pause for lunch. A place sheltered from the world. Whoever wants to will be able to carry on a bit further clambering over some stones that prove fairly awkward for crossing, in order to get to the southern end of Frías Lake, the natural border protecting the glaciers hidden in the mountains further south. In the afternoon we return to where the horses were left in order to ride back to the Puesto Laguna 3 de Abril, where the night will be spent.

Day 5: Southern Arm of Lago Argentino
The return journey begins riding along the shore of the lake until we reach the main buildings of the Hostelry, about 18km from the refuge. We will arrive in time for lunch with a typical Patagonian lamb roasted at the stake over charcoal embers, which will be ready just as the riders arrive. After lunch, a shuttle services will take you to El Calafate, arriving town about 3:30pm.
Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch

Note: The program might vary according to climatic conditions and/or to make better use of the livestock work if there is anything interesting going on around the dates of the program.
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Patagonia Glacier Ride
Tour Code: IT-ARRT03P
6 days / 5 nights ~$1,025.00
Dates : Nov to Mar

Trip Rating :
Difficulty : Riding Level
Riding Level Explained
ABeginner
Beginner A rider who has limited experience, is unable to post the trot and does not canter.
BNovice
Novice A rider who is capable of mounting and dismounting unassisted, capable of applying basic aids, comfortable and in control at the walk, moderate length posting trots, and short canters.
CIntermediate
Intermediate A rider who has a firm seat, is confident and in control at all paces (including posting trots, two point canters and gallops), but does not ride regularly.
D Strong Intermediate
Strong Intermediate An intermediate rider who is currently riding regularly and is comfortable in the saddle for at least 6 hours per day.
EAdvanced
All of the above, plus an independent seat, soft hands, and capable of handlinga spirited horse in open country.
Lodging: Standard
Lodging Level Explained
   
= Facilities in lodges, estancias, haciendas, resorts, etc.
   
Basic lodging - some with shared bathroom facilities, usually no AC or room service.
Regular standard room - usually with private bath.
 Accommodations with superior comforts.
   
 = Trips with nights in tent camps. Sometimes the first and last night are in hotels.
   
Basic tent camping - everyone helps out with camp chores.
Regular standard with some camp amenities and camp cook.
Camping facilities with superior comforts like camp shower, bathroom facility..
   
 = Trips that combine nights in hotels and camping.
   
Basic accommodation and basic camping facilities can be expected.
Regular standard with some nicer amenities.
Only assigned to hotel and camping facilities with superior comforts.

Online Reservation

Check here for details and availability
Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2020 02/04 - 02/09 6d / 5n 6 day trip, AP- Standard 2 /6 Expired
A 2020 02/11 - 02/16 6d / 5n 6 day trip, AP- Standard 2 /6 Expired
A 2020 02/18 - 02/23 6d / 5n 6 day trip, AP- Standard 2 /6 Expired
A 2020 03/04 - 03/09 6d / 5n 6 day trip, AP- Standard 2 /6 Expired
A 2020 03/11 - 03/16 6d / 5n 6 day trip, AP- Standard 2 /6 Expired
A 2020 03/18 - 03/23 6d / 5n 6 day trip, AP- Standard 2 /6 Expired
Introduction
Day to Day Itinerary
Rates | Dates
Accommodation
Tack: South American Cangalla saddles
Horses: Criollos
Pace: Moderate pace with 4 to 6 hrs a day
Walk, Trot,
Airport: El Calafate - Comandante Armando Tola International Airport (FTE)
Location on Google Map
Video
Image Gallery
Image Slide Show
Customer Trip Rating
Climate
What To Bring
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