Freedom Ride

Central Chile: (IT-CHRT05)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/chile_andes_extreme_crossing_ride.aspx

Introduction
Central Chile
The legendary crossing of the Andes through the route taken by San Martín in 1817.

While the roar of freedom was still heard in France and U.S., its echo rolled into South America… patriotic voices with gigantic dreams  put an end to 350 years of monarchic domination and opened an era of individual free will.

We invite you to share with us the privilege of re-enacting one of the most amazing achievements in the history of South America. Crossing the Andes on horseback through the trail that San Martín and his “Army of the Andes” did in 1817 to free the people of Chile from their European monarchs. We have the chance to feel the enormous efforts that the fathers of Chilean independence had to overcome. A trip of a lifetime, this mythical journey draws like a magnet.
This wilderness is flanked by the highest mountains in the Americas: the Aconcagua (20 900 feet) and the Mercedario (20 700 feet). It is in these uninhabited places, only reachable on horseback, where huge herds of guanacos roam freely and the Andean condor nests. Only in unique places like this can one enjoy the privilege of watching them at ease. As the sun sets, the spectacular stars of the southern hemisphere cover the sky. Relax at the camp with its peaceful atmosphere and the campfire that lightens up the darkness as you share a cup of coffee, tea or mate. All this creates the ideal ambiance to feel the timeless spirit of nature and settle each day’s emotions. Only after we have reached the other side of the Andes we will be able to say that we now completely understand the exact value of each of San Martín’s words: “...and to the Army of the Andes remains forever the glory of saying: in 24 days we have done the campaign, we crossed the highest mountains of the globe, we ended tyranny and gave freedom to Chile” (declared by José de San Martín, 22 February, 1817, Santiago de Chile).

This is truly a spectacular horse trek into the wild Andes range; travel from the Los Patos Mountain on a journey exploring the Chilean Andes and Argentinean Andes borderlands. Following the historic route we learn about the Chilean huasos and Argentinian gauchos and test your zest for adventure as you camp among the rugged and beautiful Andes Mountains. Rustic camps are framed by stunning glacier capped peaks as you revel in the splendor of the elevations. You will travel in the shadow of Aconcagua, the tallest mountain of all the Americas and navigate difficult mountain passes such as the Aleton Pass, 300 meters above a bold river. Even in the extreme elements an abundance of wildlife is present for riders to discover: the furry camel relative Guanacos, chinchilla-like Vizcachas and the impressive Condors, the largest flying land birds of the Western Hemisphere with a 10 foot wingspan! The semi-desert and mountain landscapes keep you involved and alert with numerous rivers and streams to cross, rocky summits and mountain passes to challenge, and chance snowfalls on a colorful, isolated setting - perfect for the adventure camping trip of your life!

You will be partnered with a mountain veteran - your sturdy Criollo bred horse - and accompanied by a guide and trusty pack mules to carry your camp essentials and belongings. Come navigate the Andes as you gain insight into the life and times of the South American cowboy and relive a little bit of history in the steps of the courageous Army of Liberation.
 

Accomodation

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

Description
Most nights on this trip are spent camping except for the first and last night which are spent in hotels in Los Andes (Chile) and Uspallata (Argentina). Wi-Fi internet and electricity is only available at the hotel accommodations.

Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Night 1: Plaza Hotel in Los Andes
Nights 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6: Camping
Night 6: Hotel Los Condores in Uspallata

Plaza Hotel in Los Andes
This hotel offers basic rooms in the mountain town of Los Andes, in Chile. All rooms are fitted with free Wi-Fi access, a TV, air conditioning and a private bathroom. Guests can also decide to go for a swim in the outdoor swimming pool.

Camping
While camping, nights are spent in various camps along the way. We provide you with an igloo tent but you have to provide your own mat and sleeping bag (sleeping bags can be rented for an extra fee). There are no washroom or shower facilities at any of the camps. You will experience authentic camping, meaning lakes and creeks for showering and shovels to dig a hole for washrooms.

Hotel Los Condores in Uspallata
This accommodation offers simple and comfortable ensuite rooms with free Wi-Fi access and cable TV. The hotel also has an indoor and outdoor swimming pool.

Room Occupancy
Single supplement is mandatory is we cannot find another rider to share.


Meals
All meals are included in the trip from dinner on day 1 to lunch on day 9.
Breakfasts and dinners are usually eaten at camp and lunch is eaten on the trail.  The meals are simple and include BBQ, pizzas, pastas, stews…etc.

Beer/win is included with dinner and guest are welcome to bring their own alcoholic beverages if they want.

Dietary Restrictions
We can accommodates vegetarian and celiac diets with prior notice. However, we are unable to cater to vegans on this trip.

This trip includes some wine with dinner and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding

Pace
We will be riding at high altitude, often above 6000-9000 feet.
The pace is slow with a few trots and canters during most of the trail due to the terrain. This allows to enjoy the scenery, the conversation, take pictures, etc.
The average riding day includes 3 hours on horseback in the morning and 3 to 4 hours in the saddle during the afternoon with plenty of intermediate stops to take pictures, spend some time at specific points of interest, etc.

Horses
We assign horses according to each rider's preference. We have plenty of horses, some are more challenging while others are very easy to handle. They are sure-footed as they were all born and raised in the mountains.

Safety measures
The trails are well known by our guides. In those places we believe risky, we step down the horse and walk. In case of emergency, our guides are trained and know what to do. We carry radio equipment, first aid kits, an iridium satellite phone and oxygen bottles in case of emergency. We consider a must that all our guests follow our guide's instructions.

IMPORTANT
American citizens do not require a Visa, but Chile requires them to pay US$ 130 upon arrival.
Those under 21 years of age require legal parent authorization.
You must comply with customs regulations.

Itinerary

Sample Itinerary
- Subject to changes.

Day 1 - Arrive Santiago de Chile, Chile
Transfer to Los Andes town at present time around noon. Rest of day at leisure. Night at hotel. Welcome dinner with your guides and the rest of the group.

Day 2 - Los Patos to Las Tejas 
Transfer from Los Andes to Los Patos. This is the route taken by San Martin´s army on his way to Santiago, through the Aconcagua Valley and the Putaendo Valley. We will see the site where on 12 February 1817, the Chacabuco battle took place. On 14 February, San Martín and O’Higgins entered Santiago de Chile to declare the independence. At Los Patos, the Chilean horses and gauchos will be waiting for us. Migrations at local authorities to allow us to cross this unattended border. We ride upstream the Rocin river to Las Tejas, our first campsite.

Day 3 - Las Tejas to El Ciénego
We are riding the Pacific Ocean watersheds. We move up the Rocín river canyon.  Night at El Ciénego camp.

Day 4 - El Ciénego to Valle Hermoso
We leave early in the morning to reach the international border at 3500 mts. Changing horses is mandatory so we say farewell to our Chilean horses and continue our ride with an Argentine team who came all the way to fetch us. We will have a very close view of the Aconcagua Mt. (6962 mts. – 20 900ft), the highest peak in America and Western Hemisphere. Night at Valle Hermoso. For an obvious reason, it is called “Beautiful Valley”. 

Day 5 - Ride around Valle Hermoso
We spend a second day at this heavenly spot to rest. Today we will do a day ride along the valley to get a closer view of Mount Aconcagua. Easy going and at your own pace. Or you can just go trout fishing or stay at camp and relax. Dinner at campsite.

Day 6 - Valle Hermoso to Rancho de Lata
We ride along the Los Patos Valley, which gives the name to this pass and is an old sea bottom full of marine fossils, and the Volcán river. We camp at 3500 mts. in Rancho de Lata to get ready for next day challenge.

Day 7 - Rancho de Lata to Peñón Colorado
Today we cross the Espinacito Slope at 4500 mts. (13 500 ft.) high. This is the highest point of the journey. The landscape is daydreaming and makes us feel the titanic efforts that the Army of the Andes had to overcome. Night at Peñón Colorado.

Day 8 - Peñón Colorado to Hornillas
After breakfast we ride to Hornillas. The challenge is almost over and we now fully grasp the real meaning of the crossing.  Say farewell to our horses and leave behind the adventure. We go to Uspallata town in minibus to spend the night at hotel. 

Day 9 - Uspallata
A day for a well deserved rest in this mountain villa with several optional activities like rafting, biking, trekking, or just relaxing at the pool. Night in hotel.

Day 10 - Mendoza wines and airport
This day will be very gourmet: wine making and tasting and a superb lunch. From Uspallata we leave early to Luján de Cuyo. This area is now known worldwide for producing several of Argentina’s best wines. Your visit to Mendoza would not be complete without a visit to the famous Club Tapiz boutique winery. During this private visit, we will have the chance to taste their premium wines directly from the oak casks. Lunch at the winery. Transfer to Mendoza city airport. End of program.

-- Subject to changes at the tour operator's discretion --

NOTE: Whilst we always endeavor to avoid changes before and during the program and cancellations, we must reserve the right to do so due to unusual or unforeseeable circumstances, including acts of man or nature which so require.



Optional Extra days:

Buenos Aires: Take some time to visit the city and learn about its icons in a very special way: tango, Plaza de Mayo, Casa Rosada’s balcony, Eva Peron, etc. Lunch not included. In the evening we attend a tango show w/dinner and a tango lesson. Night in hotel.

Rafting: Rafting on the River Mendoza, the region’s best. 5-7 miles on the rapids surrounded by awesome scenery. The level of difficulty of this river is OK for everyone (level 2.5-3), thus combining adventure with safety.

Climbing and rappel: Rappel a natural wall located in a deep gorge in the Andes. Before we start, the instructors will teach the basics that will help enjoy the experience of climbing this wall using ropes. This activity does not need any previous training and there is no age limit. 4hs and 30 min.

Trekking:
Towards the Cerro de la Cruz (6900 ft.) we reach the base of the mountain. This a a trek of medium difficulty that can be done by everyone. Highly recommended for young people who are fond of nature and like awesome mountain landscapes.


Rates and Dates for Freedom Ride

Rates include:

Accommodations (6 nights camping where everyone in the group is asked to help to the extent possible, 1 night hotel at Los Andes, Chile, 1 night hotel at Uspallata – double, triple rooms). Transfer Santiago de Chile – Los Andes at pre-set time, Los Andes - Los Patos, Barreal – Uspallata – Mendoza. English speaking guide, gauchos, horses, saddlebags, pack mules, camping equipment. Cooking equipment and table ware. First aid kits for people and horses. Oxygen bottle for high altitude. Iridium satellite phone for emergency calls. All meals, wine and beverages during ride and others indicated in town.

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescription US$
    A
    20199 day camping ride, AP$3150
    • Small group supplement (2-3 riders) pp$1900
      Small group supplement (4-5 riders only) pp$800
      Single supplement for hotels and tents (paid locally)$350
      Extra days/nights or extra activities -- please inquire$0

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionUS$
2019 Transfer from Santiago Airport included $0
2019 Return bus ticket to Santiago de Chile
- to be paid locally
$50
2019 Return flight ticket to Santiago de Chile (approx. $150- please inquire)
- to be paid locally
$0

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2019 12/28 - 01/05 9d / 8n 9 day camping ride, AP 6 /14 Reserve
A 2020 01/19 - 01/27 9d / 8n 9 day camping ride, AP 6 /14 Reserve
A 2020 02/20 - 02/28 9d / 8n 9 day camping ride, AP 6 /14 Reserve
A 2020 03/09 - 03/17 9d / 8n 9 day camping ride, AP 6 /14 Reserve
A 2020 12/28 - 01/05 9d / 8n 9 day camping ride, AP 6 /14 Reserve

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Sleeping bags (can be rented for $20 ahead of time), gratuities, meals not mentioned, return transfer to Santiago ($50 by bus or approx. $150 by plane). Travel and Medical Insurance (mandatory). Immigration and Customs: For Argentine citizens cédula de identidad, DNI o L.E / L.C. For other nationalities valid passport and, in some cases, tourist visa. Americans, please check), Canadian and Australian citizens do not require visa but are required to pay us$ 130.
Max luggage is 20kg/ 44 lbs.

Other Info
Meeting: Santiago
Airport: Santiago / Medoza
Transfer: Santiago airport or hotel

Climate:
                                                Santiago area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

87

86

83

76

68

61

60

64

67

74

80

84

Average Low Temperature (°F)

53

52

49

43

39

36

35

37

40

44

47

51

Average High Temperature (°C)

30

30

28

24

20

16

15

18

19

23

27

29

Average Low Temperature (°C)

12

11

9

6

4

2

2

3

4

7

9

10

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

0

0

0

1

3

4

5

4

2

1

0

0

Source: NOAA


Seasons

This tour is only running during the summer, from December to March. The weather, at this time of the year, is dry and raining is unlikely. We will be riding on an altitude range of 3000 - 7500 feet so expect high mountain weather. This means that it can change abruptly and it might even rain, but these are often short. Nevertheless, do not despair! The experience of riding under the rain is very special and provides close contact with nature, something we are looking for. This is why we ask everyone to bring a cloak. Temperature average at noon is 25ºC (77F) in the Andes. At night and during the morning it can go as low as 0ºC (32F).

What To Bring:
During the ride it is much better to keep your personal clothing and items light! Normally, you only use half of what you take along. As these are pack trips we provide saddlebags to place your personal items. Please, note that your luggage should not exceed 20 kilos (per person)!
In case you do not have some of the items, we will be happy to help get them. 

· Two changes of clothes: loose pants, long sleeve shirts which protect better from the sun than polo T-shirts. For the cold weather it is better to carry along some but thin warm clothes rather than just one thick one. Polar sweaters do well both in summer and winter.
 · Undershirt and underpants
 · Sleeping bag
 · Fork and knife, camping soup dish and mug and water bottle
 · Jacket and/or poncho
 · Hat (not a cap)
 · Scarf, neckerchief, gloves
 · Rain cape
 · Swimsuit
 · Insect repellent
 · Sneakers (the ones that can get wet) and riding boots (optional)
 · Personal medicine
 · No specific vaccine is mandatory in this region but as for any outdoors activity we recommend tetanus vaccine
 · Personal hygiene items and a small towel
 · Sunglasses (optional)
 · Sunscreen
 · Small lantern and batteries
 · Binoculars (optional)
 · Camera, batteries and film for at least 100 snapshots

Passport is required in order to be allowed to cross from Argentina to Chile. Please send a copy to Hidden Trails at least two weeks before the tour date -- this is required in advanced by Migrations Officer.

Note: for riders with medical conditions we also need a certificate from their physician authorizing to do the ride. Riders must inform their doctor that they are going to be riding and camping at 4500 meters (13,500 feet) altitude.