Patagonia Glacier Ride

Southern Patagonia Argentina: (IT-ARRT03P)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/patagonia_glacier_ride.aspx

Introduction
Southern Patagonia Argentina
The Patagonia Glacier Ride offers exploring on horseback the most remote corners of Los Glaciares National Park where nature is discovered in its maximum expression: a combination of Andean woodland, crystal clear lakes, high mountains, impressive skies, and glaciers. The trip allows you to access where vehicles cannot reach, leaving the main buildings of the estancia behind to climb high up and enter another world.

Get away from civilization and allow yourself to become a part of the landscape and Patagonic life. A riding experience surrounded by immensity. Participate in a ranger’s life, in communion with the countryside, or of those pioneers and adventurers who were part of this area’s history. Meet the “puesteros”, who are in charge of each outpost. A very old job which is still very important in the way our rural life develops. Far away and long ago, when there were no roads, when the tracks and paths were only recently being marked, they had to spend nights far away from civilization to take care of cattle. Nowadays, their occupation is very similar and they know the lands like no one else. Lodging during the ride program will be provided at typical outposts where the rangers stay in order work with the livestock. They are also a refuge for mountain climbers making a stop along the way to a peak or a glacier.

Magnificent views of the Hidden Glaciers Frías, Gorra, Grande and Dickson will be seen during the trip. A combination of horse-riding, hiking, and rural life that may, on certain dates, coincide with big cattle or sheep drive or work in the corrals, thus adding another ingredient to the mix.

Images provided by: Luis Franke and Daniel Wagner

Accomodation



Accommodations
This is a progressive ride, so nights are spent in different locations.

Description
You will be staying in a variety of accommodations from a beautiful Hostelry to a rustic outpost. The variety allows riders to travel deep into the Patagonia landscape and experience the authentic lifestyle of the puesteros, who care for the cattle. This is a trip for adventurous people!
We recommend that you bring your own sleeping bag - please, let us know if you are unable to bring your own sleeping bag.

6day/ 5night Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Nights 1 & 2: Estancia
Night 3: Puesto La Rosada (only from December to March)
Nights 4 & 5: Puesto de la Laguna 3 de Abril

5day/ 4night Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Nights 1: Estancia
Night 2: Puesto La Rosada (only from December to March)
Night 3 & 4: Puesto de la Laguna 3 de Abril



Estancia

The main buildings of the Hostelry has been built over 100 years ago in the typical Patagonian style. It has recently been refurbished and renovated. Guests can experience the authentic life of Patagonian estancias while staying here. The imposing view of the Andes mountain range is ever-present, while the Hostelry’s everyday life carries on and it is common to see the men riding past herding the cattle and/or sheep and disappearing over the horizon. Behind the house is the vegetable garden, which provides most of the fresh produce consumed on the Hostelry.
There are 10 bedrooms, each with private bathroom. You can choose between a standard or superior room, while staying at the hostelry. Superior rooms are bigger than standard rooms and have a small living room.
There is a living-dining room with a welcoming wood fireplace. The Quincho (rustic dining room) is set aside for typical Patagonian asados "al palo" -- a traditional charcoal roast on stakes around the flanks, both lamb and beef. Electricity is restricted and powered by a small hydro-electric or gasoil generator (not available 24-hours a day). There is mobile phone signal at the Hostelry. Laundry services are available at the Hostelry for an extra cost.



Puesto La Rosada (only from December to March)

The outpost can accommodate 6 riders. It has one room with 4 bunk beds and one dining room. The outpost has no bathroom.



Puesto de la Laguna 3 de Abril

This outpost has a room with 2 bunk beds, a room that serves as dining room, and kitchen where there are another two benches that turn into beds (total capacity - 6 people). A wood-fired stove and a brick clay oven keep the building warm. At night, the gentle light of the lantern create a cozy atmosphere. Evening meals will be prepared while tales of adventures are shared. The toilet/bathroom (shared) is separated from the refuge and contains a shower and extra bed. Basic bathroom amenities and a towel are provided.



Meals
All meals and soft drinks are included during this trip from dinner on Day 1 to lunch on the last day.

The meals at the Hostelry are home-made and varied. Your guide is also your cook for barbecue and regular meals while sleeping outside of the Hostelry (all supplies are brought to the Outposts by vehicle).

Breakfast offers homemade bread, cakes, scones, and jams (all made at the Hostelry), with milk fresh from the cow - accompanied by fresh orange juice.
Lunch and dinner are typical meals of the region - based on lamb, beef, chicken and vegetables (mostly from the garden).

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater to most dietary restrictions with prior notice.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding



Riding Level
Intermediate level required. Riders must be able and have experience riding for at least 6 hours per day. We also ask riders to be in good shape. Please note that this riding program also involves some hiking.

Children’s Policy
Children older than 12 years old can take this program, only if they have experience on rides of at least 6 hours a day and are willing to do some hiking in addition to riding.

Itinerary



6day/ 5night Sample Itinerary- 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. Overnight at the Esatncia.

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. Evening meal and spend night 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. Dinner and night at La Rosada outpost.

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. Evening meal and overnight at the Puesto Laguna 3 de Abril.
**The outpost has a room with 3 bunk beds and a room that serves as dining room and kitchen where there are another two benches that turn into beds. Total capacity 6 people. Basic facilities.

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. Evening meal and overnight at the Puesto Laguna 3 de Abril.

Additional information: This 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 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.

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.

--------------------



5day/ 4night Sample Itinerary- 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. 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. Dinner and night at La Rosada outpost.

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. Evening meal and overnight at the Puesto Laguna 3 de Abril.
**The outpost has a room with 3 bunk beds and a room that serves as dining room and kitchen where there are another two benches that turn into beds. Total capacity 6 people. Basic facilities.

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.

Additional information: This 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 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.

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.


Rates and Dates for Patagonia Glacier Ride

Rates include:

Accommodations: 2 nights hostelry, 1 night at La Rosanda outpost, and 2 nights at Puesto Laguna 3 de Abril, basic amenities, all meals with non-alcoholic drinks, daily shuttle at set times, 4 riding days + 1 day combined hike/riding, Hidden Glaciers boat & trek, bilingual guide. 21% VAT on activities included.

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescription US$
    A
    20206 day trip, AP- Standard$1025
    • Upgrade to Superior Room for 2 nights, dbl, pp$50
      Single supplement in Standard Room for 2 nights$70
      Single supplement in a Superior Room Upgrade for 2 nights$115
  • B
    20205 day trip, AP- Standard$890
    • Upgrade to Superior Room for 2 nights, dbl, pp$50
      Single supplement in Standard Room for 2 nights$70
      Single supplement in a Superior Room Upgrade for 2 nights$115
Minimum Deposit: ~$30.00 per person

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 Description
2020 Transfer is included from/to El Calafate at set times
2020 Private transfer from/to El Calafate- inquire for rates
- to be paid locally

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2020 01/07 - 01/12 6d / 5n 6 day trip, AP- Standard 2 /6 Reserve
A 2020 01/14 - 01/19 6d / 5n 6 day trip, AP- Standard 2 /6 Reserve
A 2020 01/21 - 01/26 6d / 5n 6 day trip, AP- Standard 2 /6 Reserve
A 2020 02/04 - 02/09 6d / 5n 6 day trip, AP- Standard 2 /6 Reserve
A 2020 02/11 - 02/16 6d / 5n 6 day trip, AP- Standard 2 /6 Reserve
A 2020 02/18 - 02/23 6d / 5n 6 day trip, AP- Standard 2 /6 Reserve

Dates Note: Estancia stays are available any time from November to the end of March.
Custom dates available with 2+ riders (additional fee).

Rates do not include:

Alcoholic drinks at the estancia, gratuities, transfers outside of scheduled times.

Other Info
Meeting: El Calafate
Airport: El Calafate - Comandante Armando Tola International Airport (FTE)
Transfer: Avenida del Libertador 1215 (1st floor)

Climate:
                                            El Calafate area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

67

65

62

56

47

41

40

45

50

57

61

65

Average Low Temperature (°F)

48

46

43

38

33

28

27

30

34

39

42

46

Average High Temperature (°C)

19

19

16

13

8

5

5

7

10

14

16

18

Average Low Temperature (°C)

9

8

6

3

1

-2

-3

-1

1

4

6

8

Source: NOAA


Seasons
Weather in this part of Patagonia is very changeable.

During summer (December, January, February), the maximum temperature varies between 15ºC to 22ºC during the day, although it may well feel a lot colder due to the wind chill factor, and 7ºC to 10ºC at night, or lower.
Take into account that this is a very windy area, especially in spring and summer, decreasing in autumn (March-April).

The estancia is closed to guests from end April to beginning October due to the adverse conditions in winter.

What To Bring:
The estancia provides a duffle bag for the days that you will be riding to the outposts. You can also bring a small backpack or a day pack with you to carry your camera, phone and wallet.

In order to get the most out of your stay, we recommend you bring:
- Small backpack / daypack
- Sleeping bag (Recommended. Please let us know if you will not be bringing one).
- Waterproof/warm windcheater or anorak, preferably with hood
- Warm sweater or fleece layers
- Riding boots (with heel)
- Sturdy walking boots or trainers
- Thermal underwear (including long-johns)
- Gloves, warm woolly/fleece hat (preferably also covering ears), scarf or neck fleece
- Sun screen cream/protection
- Sunglasses and/or visor
- Binoculars

Please note that only cash will be accepted at the estancia.