Norte Chico Adventures

Northern Chile Chile: (IT-CHRT14)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/chile_norte_chico_ride.aspx

Introduction
Northern Chile Chile
Riding the paths of the Inca and gold diggers, through the Andes, far from civilization. You will explore the wild Sierra, the huge Andes and experience the romantic and pure nature.

Planes from Santiago land in La Serena (health and seaside resort at the Pacific) three times every day, yet visitors from distant countries hardly know this region. Nevertheless, well known is the term "Pisco" which is a colorless and natural brandy extracted from the grapes of the local sunny vineyards. When autumn and winter starts on the Northern hemisphere, holiday season, which is from October to April, begins here in this mild and dry climate. The big, blue Pacific with its hidden fishing villages on the coast and the quaint mountain villages of the wild Andes are part of this region, as well as the lonely valleys, endless mountain trails, and the peace and quiet of the majestic Andes over which  the condors fly. A well-known holiday resort  of the region is Pisco de Elqui, its home in the valley of the same name. The Rio Hurtado valley is situated nearby, only 10 miles as the crow flies, to the west; and that is where the Hacienda is. One of northern Chile's Indian ceremony places in the best condition is situated in this green valley only 45 minutes ride from the hacienda.

More than forty rock paintings are the last traces of the ancient Indian culture of the Diaguitas. They owned gold mines which attracted the Inca to the Hurtado valley some time later. They introduced the irrigation system which is a labyrinth of channels and which was used by the Spaniards too from the 16th century on, and still the farmers today profit from it. The Spaniards followed the old trade trail of the Inca, known as Inca trail, upstream the Rio Hurtado and further over the Andes.

They gave this pass its name "Linia Santa Rosa" and still today thousands of animals with their herdsmen follow this trail from Chile to the summer pastures in Argentina, like some hundreds years ago. The Hurtado district has only about 160 miles of roads which can be traveled by car, and thousands of miles of cattle trails which are traveled by the people (and by our guests) on horseback. Naturally, small changes to traditional life have brought small hospitals, schools, parish halls, restored villages and democratic developments to the area.

Visitors to this region will find a mixture of the old Chilean culture and the achievements of the new century. The hospitable people who can be met here are small farmers, herdsmen, workmen and cattle breeders. They live in small villages surrounded by huge and colorful mountain massifs, semi-desert landscapes, steppes, and a wide Sierra.

Accomodation


Accommodations
This is a progressive ride where nights are spent either camping in different locations or at the hacienda.
 


Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Night 1: Hacienda
Night 2: Camping at Cerro Negro
Night 3: Hacienda
Night 4: Camping at Maiten
Nights 5 & 6: Camping in Las Breas
Night 7: Hacienda



Hacienda
The Hacienda has 7 comfortable colonial style guest rooms. Each standard room (single, double or triple room available) comes with a private bathroom. It is possible to upgrade to a suite for an extra fee. The suites are bigger and have big windows with great views of the mountains
The hacienda also has a beautiful garden where guests can relax. WiFi is available in public areas and is free of charge.  Laundry services are available for an extra fee.


 
Camping

While camping, we provide you with 1 or 3-person tents, an isothermal mattress and a sleeping bag. Outhouses are available at most camps but you might have to dig a hole in the ground in the most remote camps. Guests can go for a swim in nearby rivers to bathe while camping.

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



Meals
While staying at the hacienda, breakfasts and dinners and included (no drinks) and while camping all meals are included and wine is served for dinner.
For our meals we use exclusively local products of traditional cultivation that we obtain directly from the small holding farmers of the Río Hurtado valley.

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater for special diet requirements with prior notice.

Riding

Horses

Our horses are descendants of the Chilean Criollos. They are calm and sweet-natured. Growing up in rocky and difficult areas has made them sure-footed and reliable animals. 
Our horses are specifically trained for trail rides. We use neither spurs nor whips. We use the same paths as the men called "Huasos" in Chile and "Gauchos" in Argentina. That is how our horses gain strength and endurance.
We find the right horse for every customer. Our herd ranges from calm, easy-going horses to more lively ones.

Tack
The saddles provided are local Chilean type, which are called Avios. Its origin is Spanish and they have been designed specially for long distance trips. Its wooden mount, reinforced with iron, is cushioned with “chiporro” and protected with leather. The other cloth beneath the saddle is called batán, pellón and matra, and are normally laid on ground by gauchos to provide a soft and warm bed.

We Provide:
sleeping bag, thermal mat, tent, personal pannier (cup etc.), ice-box, thermos bottle, (by request) safety helmet, sombrero head and riding gaiters, first aid kit, saddle bags and finally one of the well trained and calm Chilean mountain horses.  Explorations accompanied by English, German and Spanish speaking guides.

Itinerary


Sample Itinerary - subject to changes.

Day 1 (Sunday): Arrival
Transfer to the hacienda. Time for Jacuzzi, sauna, a walk across the 500 ha nature reserve. Dinner and meeting with the team, followed by briefing of the tour.
Meals included: Dinner
Overnight at Hacienda


Day 2 (Monday): Ride to Cerro Negro
After breakfast we meet at 9:30 am to prepare for our expedition. You will meet and get to know your horse and the Chilean riding style (similar to Western style), and of course, our safety precautions. We set off at 10:00 am after having packed all we need for our trip and head into the wilderness towards Hurtado. We will take lunch today under a Algarrobo tree and afterwards make our way along the Ruta Antakari towards vicuña and after a long climb we finally reach the height of 3000 meters. The crystal-clear air lets us enjoy incredible views over the Rio Hurtado Valley, which is located around the Cerro Gigante that now seems so small. We set up our camp at the goatherd station of Alejandro – the brother of our guide. At a bonfire we serve you dinner. Alejandro spends the summer with his 200 goats, his horses and dogs in the mountains and produces his own goat cheese, which he regularly sells in the valley.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping at Cerro Negro


Day 3 (Tuesday): Ride back to Rio Hurtado Valley
After the first night in wilderness we enjoy the breakfast before packing up and starting the days ride. Today we will make our way through the high plateaus of the Cerro Negro and witness extreme contrasts of nature. Minerals make the Sierra shine in various colors. After a short time we reach the bottom of a gigantic rock. At its top there is the scientific observatory Geminis, which is directed by Americans. High cactuses and the silence of the loneliness are fascinating us. We pass beautiful landscapes until we see paintings of the Molle culture, which are over 2000 years old. We have lunch under an old pear tree before we head back to the Hacienda. This time our way follows a dry river bed, where we admire the wonderful rocks, which are formed by the water. Once we reach the Hacienda we have time to relax and we can even enjoy a bath in the Rio Hurtado. In the evening we will serve a three course diner in the Haciendas garden.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hacienda


Day 4 (Wednesday): Ride to Maitén
After a rich breakfast at the hacienda we prepare what we will need to reach our next destination of Maitén. We pass through wild plateaus and canyons, ride the endless Sierra and enjoy a picnic lunch and a traditional siesta. In the afternoon, we pass over heights of 2000 meters. Crystal clear air allows magical views down the valleys of the Andes. We camp in an oasis of the Andes called Maiten. In front of a camp fire we serve dinner and enjoy the beautiful colors of the sunset.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping at Maitén


Day 5 (Thursday): Maitén to Las Breas
After spending a calm night next to the camp fire we will have breakfast and start our tour to Las Breas. We continue to climb up the Sierra enjoying the beautiful views over heights of 2800 meters. Perhaps we are lucky to see the snow covered Andean Mountains at the horizon. We have lunch close to a big tree in an old dry river. We spend the night in the village Las Breas where we put up our camp once again next to the river side. Before dinner we have time to refresh ourselves with a quick bath in the river. Tonight we will have dinner together with a Chilean family and exchange information about our different cultures.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Las Breas


Day 6 (Friday): Ride around Las Breas
After breakfast we leave to explore the surroundings of Las Breas. We will find some old and original Molle paintings on the rocks. In the afternoon we come back to Fernando's house where we spend another night. You will have time to take a cold, but fresh bath in the River Hurtado. You can also relax, lying in the sun and preparing your energy for your next ride.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Las Breas


Day 7 (Saturday): Ride back to Hacienda
Today we pack our belongings for the last time and leave the village of Las Breas in order to go back to the hacienda on a ride through valleys, passing small rivers and villages. We cross an old horse racing place where many Chileans have bet and lost their money on a Sunday afternoon. We will arrive at the hacienda around 5 o´clock. Just in time to take a fresh shower end enjoy the rest of the afternoon in our garden, listening to the sound of the river and the birds.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hacienda


Day 8 (Sunday): Departure
After breakfast transfer. Or if you wish, you may stay some more days at the hacienda and join other activities.
Meals included: Breakfast

Click here for Norte Chico Condor Trail


Rates and Dates for Norte Chico Adventures

Rates include:

Accommodations (standard room while staying at hacienda), All meals, 6 riding days, All camping equipment (sleeping bag, inlet, thermal mat & tent), Transfer from/to Ovalle.
Guiding available in English, German and Spanish
Safety helmet, sombrero head, chaps & saddle bags can be provided

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescription US$
    A
    20208 days trip, AP$1605
    • Single supplement$230
      Upgrade to suite, dbl, pp$290
      Upgrade to suite, single$495

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionUS$
2020 Transfer from Ovalle, return, included $0
2020 Transfer from La Serena, return, per car ($120,000CLP- local currency only)
This is a "Group Rate" - to be paid locally
$190
2020 Transfer from Vicuña, return, per car ($100,000CLP- local currency only)
This is a "Group Rate" - to be paid locally
$155

Dates Note:
Additional departure dates are available from October to March
Transfers are to be paid locally in Chilean Pesos

Rates do not include:

Transfers from/to Vicuña or La Serena & Gratuities

Other Info
Meeting: Ovalle or Vicuna/Rio Hutado
Airport: La Serena
Transfer: La Serena or Orvalle

Climate:
                                            La Serena area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

72

72

70

67

64

62

62

62

63

65

67

70

Average Low Temperature (°F)

58

58

57

53

50

48

47

48

49

51

53

56

Average High Temperature (°C)

22

22

21

19

18

17

16

17

17

18

19

21

Average Low Temperature (°C)

15

15

14

12

10

9

8

9

9

10

12

13

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

0

0

0

0

1

1

2

1

0

0

0

0

Source: NOAA


Seasons

There are 310 sunny days a year. The Hacienda  is situated in the typical dry Andean climate of South America at heights of 1000 meters. As a rule, temperatures at night are around 50°F (10°C) colder than temperatures by day.

Spring (September to November)
The average temperature by day 68°F (20°C)

Summer (December to March)
The average temperature by day 77°F (25°C), may become even warmer until 86°F (30°C)

Autumn (April to May)
The average temperature by day 68°F (20°C)

Winter (June to August)
The average temperature by day 59/68°F (15/20°C). During winter it might be cloudy and it also might rain for a couple of hours.

What To Bring:
Here are some last ideas about what to bring with you in order to be well prepared for the trip:
- Warm clothes/jacket for the nights and also during the day, because especially on the third and fourth day we will reach altitudes about 3.800 meters and it will be windy during the trip (waterproofed and wind proofed clothes are recommendable)
- Cap, a scarf and cloves
- Warm wool socks for the nights in the sleeping bags
- Good trekking shoes
- In case a small pillow for the sleeping bag
- In case a book or e-book
- Camera
- Flash light
- Sun cream with a high protection factor and balm lipstick
- Sunhat or riding helmet (we can also provide it in case that you don´t want to bring your own one)
- Ear tip (crowing roosters, snoring companions)
- Sanitary tampon
- Small towel
- Medication
- In case bathing suite

This is what we provide for the trip:
- Comfortable Gaucho-saddle or trekking saddle “Wintec” with sheep-fur padding
- Sleeping bag and clean inlet
- Thermal self-inflate mat
- Tent (depending on the weather condition)
- Personal pannier (cup etc.), ice-box, thermo bottle
- Safety helmet or sombrero head and riding gaiters
- First aid kit
- Saddle bags
- GPS-Messenger