Exciting ride for adventurers and wilderness-lovers, camping ride option.
Torres del Paine National Park in southern Chilean Patagonia. One of Chile's most prized National Parks, this area encompasses 243,000 hectares of diverse scenery and a wild landscape on the edge of the Patagonian icecap. Located 150 Km. from Puerto Natales the park was created in 1959 and was further declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1978.
There are many trails in the park which cross widely different types of terrain and as riders can cover greater distances than hikers; our groups get to see an enormous and diverse section of this pristine wilderness. The riding terrain is extremely varied and highlights include: exhilarating canters across open stretches of pampas; silent and winding trails through ancient southern beech forests; rides (and swims!) across fast flowing glacial rivers and tributaries; dazzlingly beautiful trails around lakes of amazing colours and wild rides out to enormous glaciers and iceberg-filled lakes. In addition, our vistas are constantly dominated by the huge granite peaks which form the centrepiece of this geographical wonder.
There is also plenty to offer the wildlife enthusiast. Twenty five species of mammal including the elusive puma, the ostrich-like Rhea, and the now protected guanacos can be found in the park. There are over one hundred species of birds, notably black-necked swans, flamingoes, ibis, rheas, austral parakeets and southern lapwings. Condors with a wing span of three meters will be seen hovering over valleys.
This itinerary is suited to lovers of riding and the outdoors and those who like to get 'off the beaten track'. In the company of our guide and Chilean horsemen, we ride into some remote areas where the only access is on foot or horse. Pack horses carry our luggage and often we see no other humans. Whilst camping in these areas we can observe the plentiful wildlife, sit and enjoy some traditional "mate" with the baqueanos, enjoy wine by the campfire or find a peaceful spot and just sit and relax. There is also an option of taking a boat trip out to the face of Glacier Grey. The campsites on this trip have been chosen with much care and they are all very different, very special and very beautiful. Some of them are wilderness sites with no 'facilities' at all. There will also be the opportunity to experience the local estancia life enjoying a traditional gaucho barbeque. If the weather is bad, we'll move inside to enjoy the log fire and lovely comfy den with fantastic gallery windows framing the granite Towers to the west.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Day 01 PUNTA ARENAS
Client's arrival in Punta Arenas. Taxi from airport to Hotel Terra Sur (Bernardo O'Higgins # 723), Punta Arenas, Chile. Meet leader in hotel lobby at 7.30 p.m. to be escorted to restaurant for dinner.
Day 02 PUNTA ARENAS - PUERTO NATALES - LAGUNA VERDE (PAINE)
Morning collection from Terra Sur to start the day's drive towards the penguin colony to see and photograph the cute burrowing Magellanic penguins. Continue in comfortable transfer vehicle across the Patagonian Steppe where you will have your first opportunity to see some of the unusual plant and animal life that exists in this area. After a short lunch stop in Puerto Natales we will continue on to our campsite situated close to a working estancia on the edges of the beautiful Laguna Verde. Chance to stroll down to the lakeside and enjoy the variety of bird life and spectacular views of the horns whilst dinner is prepared. No showers. Drive approx. 6.5 hours including penguins.
Day 03 LAGUNA VERDE - SIERRA TORO - LAGUNA VERDE
Today we will be meeting our horses and the dedicated baqueanos who care for them. After assigning horses to riders, we will have a safety check and short familiarization with western riding before packing our saddle bags with cameras, waterproofs, and our picnic lunch and setting off around the shores of this pretty lake through ancient southern beech forests towards the Sierra del Toro. We will then make a steep ascent through forests to climb right up on top of this mountain. The last section of the ride will often be through snow as we stop to marvel at the views of the entire Park below us. We will then wind down to a pretty authentic puesto manned by one of the cattle ranchers from Estancia Lazo to take our lunch. Afternoon return to our stunning campsite at Laguna Verde. No showers. Hours in the saddle: 3-4.
Day 04 LAGUNA VERDE - SIERRA TORO - GREY RIVER
After a wholesome breakfast and packing up we will be starting our ride eastwards towards the heart of the Park. The morning ride is fairly relaxing as we wind our way through this pretty valley passing a number of lakes and mountain views. Plenty of time to take photographs before we ascend to a lookout with fabulous views of the pampas and lakes below. After stopping to let the horses rest we will start our steep descent of the Sierra del Toro to the pampas below. Lunch will be taken in the valley and we will have a chance to visit the Park Headquarters to look at their relief map of the park. We will then continue with some fast riding to the Serrano River where we will camp beside the emerald green waters of this beautiful river. Showers available. Inside dining in case of inclement weather. Hours in the saddle: 4 - 4.5.
Day 05 GREY GLACIER & LAKE - CARRETAS CAMP
After breakfast we will pack up camp and make an early start across the pampas towards the huge and immense Grey Glacier and Lake. This is open pampas riding at its most exciting and there will be lots of opportunities for nice long canters as we ride towards the huge granite peaks of the Paine Massif. We will then reach the highlight of today's ride as we dismount and cross the wooden footbridge onto a small trail through the forest. This trail takes us onto Grey Beach for a walk along the grey sands admiring the huge icebergs that have calved off the nearby glacier. For those who are interested there's an optional boat ride across this iceberg-choked lake towards the face of this spectacular Glacier (this boat is very weather reliant and costs $70 per person for the three hour boat ride). If the boat isn't running or for those clients who prefer to stay ashore, there are plenty of opportunities for hiking, taking pictures or walking the short distance to Hosteria Lago Grey to enjoy some fireside pisco sours. After this exciting day we'll rejoin our horses for a lovely long canter across the pampas to our riverside campsite at Rio Serrano. Showers available. Inside dining in case of inclement weather. Hours in saddle: approx 5.
Day 06 LAGUNA AZUL - PAINE HORNS AND TOWERS
Today we will be enjoying some beautiful trails which cross the heart of the Park. Known as the 'up and over' our trail cuts through some incredibly diverse scenery from verdant green valleys and beech forests to azure lakes and wide open plains. We will see magnificent condors hovering high above mountain peaks whilst down on the plains herds of guanaco scatter as we approach. We will be surprised at every turn of our path as we cross over 30 km. of this amazing riding country dominated by the Paine Horns and Towers after which the park is named. Finally, after a truly memorable ride we take a short vehicle transfer to our beautiful campsite nestled in a small valley with only a gaucho "'puesto" (small wooden hut) and awesome views of the Towers for company. No showers. Hours in the saddle: 7-8. (NB: we hope to have showers here for next season. Please request update at start of season)
Day 07 LAGUNA AZUL - SIERRA CONTRERAS
After enjoying breakfast in our stunning campsite we will set off on an exciting and unique adventure into the hills and forests of the Sierra Contreras. Our destination is the pretty waterfall known as Cascada Zamora. After lunch we will ride out to a remote "puesto Mercado" riding up high over the pampas with views off to the Las Chinas Valley and the Sierra Baguales in the distance. Return to our camp at puesto Tercera for night. No showers. Hours in the saddle: 4-5.
Day 08 LAGUNA AZUL - DICKSON VALLEY
After packing up camp and loading up the pack horses we will set off on our exciting ride towards the Torres and Lago Paine. Just before Laguna Azul we head north towards Laguna Stokes where a large natural vega or pasture exists and which attracts wild criollos from the surrounding hills to graze in the summer. There will be many excellent photo opportunities on this route as we pass through forests, pastures and the lake where Lady Florence Dixie first camped having sighted the Towers. We will be camping riverside at Lago Paine. No showers. Hours in the saddle: 4-5 - 5.
Day 09 DICKSON VALLEY AND GLACIER
After breakfast, we will be riding out to Lake and Glacier Dickson. Dickson is one of the more remote and rarely visited glaciers in the Park due to its inaccessibility - in our opinion it is also one of the prettiest. Our rides takes us past the northerly peaks of the Paine chain where one of the peaks is topped by a black, craggy rock in the shape of a Tuhuelche Indian Face where the 'headband' is decorated with snowdrifts even in summer. The trail then heads north passing ancient southern beech forests and scattered lakes before reaching our solitary perch and viewpoint above this beautiful lake and glacier. This will be our picnic spot for lunch - a truly memorable destination. In the afternoon we ride back to Lago Paine. No showers. Hours in the saddle: 6-7.
Day 10 DICKSON VALLEY - LAGUNA AZUL
Today we will be continuing on to Laguna Azul via a different route. This is a beautiful ride through forests and flower filled meadows and southern beech forests. Lots of opportunities for long canters before we reach the edge of the aptly named Laguna Azul. On arrival at the campsite we will put the wine in the lake to chill and serve canapes before our dinner is served. During the evening we can enjoy our final view of the Towers across the lake whilst swapping tales of the adventure of the previous days. Hot showers and a quincho for inside dining. Hours in the saddle: 2-3.
Day 11 LAGUNA AZUL - PUNTA ARENAS
Pack up camp for our transfer back to Punta Arenas to arrive late afternoon. We will once again make a lunch stop in Puerto Natales and this will give clients an opportunity to purchase any souvenirs/books/postcards etc. Clients will be dropped off at the Hotel Terra Sur in Punta Arenas at around 6p.m. Transfer time: 5 hours.
Day 12 PUNTA ARENAS
Breakfast.
 
Group Size: Minimum 2, Maximum 10 (12 on Christmas Ride)
 
 
 
2006-2007-2008 SEASON RATES
PER PERSON
Min. 2 persons
US$ 2.880
3-6 persons
US$ 2.680
7-12 persons
US$ 2.550
Single supplement
US$ 250
 
DEPARTURE DATES
2006 SEASON
2007 SEASON
2008 SEASON
November, 5
February, 9
February, 9
December, 6 & 22
March, 14
March, 14
November, 5
December, 6 & 22
 
INCLUDED :
  • Eleven nights accommodation (9 camping, 2 hotels in Punta Arenas) based on twin share throughout.
  • Eight days riding.
  • Transfers to and from Punta Arenas and whilst in Park.
  • Meals whilst camping (including wine with dinner).
  • All equipment (except sleeping bags and mats which can be rented locally on request).
  • English speaking and local guides.
  • Baqueanos who care for the horses.
  • Pack horses for luggage.
  • Waterproof stuff sacks for trip.
  • Use of saddle bags.
  • Entrance fees to park and penguin colony.

NOT INCLUDED :

  • Internal flights.
  • Airport transfers and meals in Punta Arenas
  • Lunch in Natales Day 2 and Day 11
  • Local gratuities (U$S 60 recommended)
  • Medical expenses.
  • Any kind of Insurance.
IMPORTANT NOTES

Horses: The horses are Criollo-cross and vary in size with the majority being between 14.0 and 15.2 hands. They are strong, fit, willing and sure-footed. We are able to provide good horses for both experienced riders and for riders who are more novice or a bit 'rusty'. The pace of the ride will be adjusted to suit the majority of riders but as we always travel with more than one riding guide, there is great deal of flexibility and riders soon find their own pace for the trip. Riders are not responsible for grooming or tack. Horses are constantly checked for injury and/or lameness and tiredness. Where necessary horses will be changed. Most clients will experience at least one horse change during the course of a ten day trip.
Climate: Torres del Paine has a milder and drier microclimate than the surrounding areas of Patagonia because of some unique geological features. The weather however is famously unpredictable and it is possible to experience four seasons in the course of a few hours! Average daily temperatures vary but in summer one can expect 10 - 20 degrees Celsius with the occasional hot day of 25 degrees. Temperatures can drop to zero at night and high winds are common in this area. Although you can never be sure of how Paine will treat its guests, we ask that clients are prepared (both mentally and physically) for unpredictable and sometimes challenging weather conditions and that you pack accordingly. Good waterproofs (top to toe) are essential.
Suitability: This itinerary is suited to lovers of riding and the outdoors and those who like to get 'off the beaten track'. In the company of our guide and Chilean horsemen, we ride into some remote areas where the only access is on foot or horse. Pack horses carry our luggage and often we see no other humans. Whilst camping in these areas we can observe the plentiful wildlife, sit and enjoy some traditional mate with the baqueanos or find a peaceful spot and just sit and relax.
The campsites on this trip have been chosen with much care and they are all very different, very special and very beautiful. Some of them are wilderness sites with no facilities at all. For those who prefer daily hot showers and a fluffy bed, the Estancia Ride would be more suitable!
Riding Experience: Intermediate - Advanced. This is a fast paced ride with some long riding days. Fitness and experience are essential. No beginner riders please.
Age Limit: We can accept clients between the ages of 12 and 70. Younger riders need to be experienced and accompanied by an experienced and capable adult. Older riders are very welcome to join us on the completion of a medical suitability questionnaire.

 

 
Pace of Ride: Moderate - Fast. The pace is largely dictated by the terrain and the distance we need to travel on a certain day but where possible there is a lot of trotting and cantering. Distances vary between 20 and 35 kilometers in a day.
 
Non-Riders: For non-riding partners, we can arrange a hiking trip which follows a similar route taken by the riders. This will be guided where necessary (with occasional vehicle assistance to enable him/her to make up the distance) and the hiker will meet the riding group at the end of each day (with one or two slight deviations). Price according to the number of non-riders in the group. Please ask for details and prices.
 
Accommodation and Meals
Camping: We use comfortable 3-man tents which are roomy, comfortable and able to withstand the sometimes high winds in the area. Accommodation is based on twin-share. If clients require single accommodation, we will make an extra charge of US$250 per person. Clients traveling alone but want to share, please await final booking numbers as its possible another single person are on same situation. Finally you may bring your own tent in any case. If this were the case, we wouldn't charge the single supplement.
Food: Meals are varied and wholesome and include fresh salmon and local fish, pasta, chicken, beef and some local Chilean meals. Fresh salad is served every night. Local wine is served with dinner and all meals are prepared for guests. Packed lunches are prepared by the clients at breakfast and are carried with us in saddle bags. These consist of sandwiches (e.g. tuna, cheese, ham, peanut butter, and salami), fresh fruit, trail mix, chocolate, biscuits, snacks etc.
Breakfast is normally hot and cold cereals, toast, jams, marmalade, coffee, tea and juice. At times a cooked breakfast is served.
Vegetarians can be well catered for and clients should indicate their requirements at the time of booking.
A dining tent is carried for eating meals and cooking although sometimes we choose to eat around the campfire.
Where possible a vehicle support is arranged. Supplies of bread, salad and fresh fruit are replenished and there is an opportunity for clients to swap clothes or retrieve further supplies from their bags.
On arrival at the campsite, wine and canapes are served giving riders ample time to relax while the evening meal is being prepared.
Equipment: On our Camping trips clients are required to bring a sleeping bag and mat. The sleeping bag should be 3 or 4 season and should be carried in an effective stuff sack. We can rent sleeping bags and mats to guests and you should indicate this at the time of booking. For those clients renting a sleeping bag, we recommend you bring a sleeping bag inner (available in silk, cotton and fleece) for your comfort and hygiene.
Waterproof stuff sacks are supplied to each client for the duration of the trip (the size of an average 60 litre backpack/3,200 cubic inches and is sufficient for the demands of the trip). This enables clients' belongings to be packed comfortable, safely and dryly onto the pack horses. Excess luggage not required for the trip can be stored either at the client's hotel in Punta Arenas or with us in Puerto Natales.
Group Sizes: We operate trips with a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 12 clients. In the event that the minimum number has not been reached we reserve the right to either cancel the departure or offer a smaller group of two clients the same itinerary but with some public transfers (still with guide throughout). We would like to add that we did not cancel any departures this season even though this meant running some trips with two clients. Although we cannot guarantee to do this in the future, we will always do everything possible to ensure a booking can be confirmed.
 
Equipment: A full kit list is will be provide you after resrvations. On all our trips guests are required to bring a sleeping bag and for our camping trips they should also bring a mat. The sleeping bag should be 3 or 4 season and should be carried in an effective stuff sack. We can rent sleeping bags and mats to guests and you should indicate this at the time of booking.
Waterproof stuff sacks are supplied to each client for the duration of the trip. This enables their belongings to be packed comfortable, safely and drily onto the pack horses. The capacity of these bags is 3,200 cubic inches and is sufficient for the demands of the trip. Excess luggage not required for the trip can be stored either at the client's hotel in Punta Arenas or with us in Puerto Natales.
 
Group Sizes: We operate our trips with a minimum of two and a maximum of ten clients (twelve on Xmas Rides). In the event that the minimum number has not been reached we reserve the right to either cancel the departure or offer a smaller group of two clients the same itinerary but with some public transfers (still with guide throughout). We would like to add that we did not cancel any departures this season even though this meant running some trips with two clients. Although we cannot guarantee to do this in the future, we will always do everything possible to ensure a booking can be confirmed.
 
If you need more information in details please ask for our General Information for Ridings Trips in Patagonia.

Make your Reservation...

ALTUE ACTIVE TRAVEL
Coyancura 2270, oficina 801, Providencia, Santiago, CHILE
Telefóno: (56 2) 333 1390 - Fax (56 2) 234 9783
Email: info@altue.com