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8 Days Life-changing Gaucho Experience: Authentic Farm Horse Riding Holiday in Patagonia, Chile

Estancia Mercedes, Kilometro 35 Carretera Austral de Chile, Península Antonio Varas - Oficina, Manuel Bulnes 189, Puerto Natales, Natales, Región de Magallanes y de la Antártica Chilena, Chile

Adventurous Ranch and Horse Riding Holiday Chile

Returning in time to the 1800s? It's possible at a very special place called Estancia Mercedes! Situated between three national parks: Torres del Paine, Bernardo O’Higgins, and Alacalufes, the Garcia-Iglesias family will welcome you with open arms at their estancia at the end of the world. Sebastian is the man that will take you for a tour on the wild side. He will teach you how to saddle your criollo horse so you can accompany him on his daily tasks on the farm. Be ready to become an authentic Gaucho!

Key information

  • Riders weight limit: 120 kilograms / 264 pounds
  • Tack types: Comfortable Patagonia saddles
  • Horse breed: Chilean Criollo

Meet the instructors

Sebastian
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Highlights

  • 7 days with activity
  • Choose from horse riding, trail riding, kayaking or hiking on foot
  • Experience herding cattle/sheep at horseback and other farm activities
  • 7 nights accommodation in an authentic farm
  • Roundtrip transfer from and to Puerto Natales
  • Full board meals and drinks

Skill level

  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Styles


7 days with activities in English
Spoken languages: Spanish, English
The maximum participants in the group is 6
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Accommodation

Facilities

  • Dining area
  • Fireplace
  • Kitchen
  • Lounge

Estancia Mercedes is not a boutique hotel, not a dude ranch, but an authentic farm without fringes. The family house has two spare rooms where they can accommodate six guests. Their rooms consist of one double room with one bed and a room with four bunk beds. Bathroom is separate. The house is built in cozy Patagonian country style and is always clean.

The purpose of your visit here must be one of experiencing the true Gaucho lifestyle at an authentic Patagonian Estancia rather than a trip where your hotel room and comfort are more important than a lifetime experience!

What is an Estancia?

Estancias are simply enormous farms, ranches or colonial estates. The term estancia is used in various ways in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Southern Chile. The equivalent in other Latin American countries would be hacienda or Fazenda in Brazil.

Program

Day 1: Puerto Natales to Estancia Mercedes

  • Meet and greet is in Puerto Natales
  • At the agreed place and time, someone of the Garcia-Iglesias family will take you in approximately two hours by boat and car to Estancia Mercedes
  • Introduction to the farm and family members
  • If you already want, go on the first activity (horse riding and other)
  • All meals at the farm
  • Accommodation at the farm

Day 2 to Day 7: Estancia Mercedes

  • A full day activities of your choice: horse riding, trail riding or herding cattle/sheep at horseback, farm activities, hiking on foot.

You decide what you prefer to do. Proposals will also be made according to the activities of the day. Do you prefer to have a chill day? Well, that’s also possible. You can read a book on the porch, help in the kitchen, make bread, prepare a lamb dish, etc. Remember the back to the 1800’s phrase? That also means there is no internet on the farm!

  • All meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) at the farm
  • Accommodation at the farm

Day 8: Estancia Mercedes to Puerto Natales

  • After breakfast, you say goodbye to the family, your favorite horse and to the dogs.
  • Transfer back by car and boat to Puerto Natales

Important Information

You are highly recommended to arrive in Puerto Natales the day before so you can be picked up without problem the morning of Day 1 of the program. Puerto Natales is a nice town with various pleasant hotels and hostels. By bus (or private vehicle), you can easily get from Punta Arenas (the city you will normally fly to) to Puerto Natales. The journey is 240 kilometers and takes around two and a half hours. There are several good buses driving between the two cities every day.

It is also important to know that you better not plan your international/domestic flight on Day 8 (the last day). To travel from the Estancia back to Punta Arenas, you have to take a ferry boat. It happens that the ferry boat cannot cross at the scheduled hour due to the strong winds, so you are never sure at what time you will arrive in back in Punta Arenas.

About your hosts

Sebastian and his wife Grissel are a young couple and live on the farm together with the parents, brother and sister. You will be considered as a new family member, eat at the same table, bake bread together and share a bottle of good Chilean wine with them before going to bed.

They are descendants of 19th-century Pioneer Don José Garcia Díaz, who came during the gold rush from Asturias-Spain to Southern Chilean Patagonia, to settle and build the first house and supplier shop in Punta Arenas. In little time, he managed to buy an enormous piece of wilderness on the Peninsula Antonio Varas and thus the Estancia Mercedes was born.

Instructors

Sebastian Garcia Iglesias

Location

Patagonia encompasses both Chile and Argentina and covers about one million square kilometers, that is roughly four times the size of the UK. Long before humans arrived on the continent, glaciers chiseled and carved these spectacular landscapes. Today the wilderness still rules that gigantic region. But what Patagonia has in natural wealth, it equally has in culture.

Patagonia boasts an appeal of extreme remoteness perhaps only matched by the deep Amazon and isolated Alaska. Icy glaciers plunge into emerald lakes, wild fjords snake through hardwood forests, and the Andes' dramatic peaks ascend into swirling clouds and mist. There, in this breathtaking environment, you can go ride a horse like never before or just enjoy reading a book on the veranda.

Welcome to the end of the world, welcome to Estancia Mercedes!

A little bit of history

When navigator explorer Magellan in 1520 sailed as the first European along the coast of southern Argentina and Chile and went ashore, he and his crew discovered huge "Patones" or footprints on the beach. Moments later, they saw real giants, two-meter tall Indians! These were indeed giants in comparison with the then small Spaniards (average 1,55 meters). Patones, which means big feet, immediately became the name for the region. Later it was given the name Patagonia or "land of big feet".

Food

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Soda
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Detox juices

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • 6 nights accommodation at the farm/estancia
  • All farm activities for riders and non-riders including hiking and kayaking
  • Full board from lunch on the first day until breakfast on the last day
  • Fruit juices, wine, and beer
  • Coca Cola, Fanta, or the unhealthy stuff (on request)
  • Transfer from Puerto Natales by boat and car to Estancia Mercedes on Day 1 and vice versa on Day 8

What's not included

  • Alcoholic drinks and soft drinks at other times then lunch and dinner
  • Booking sales tax (33 USD per person per payment)
  • Insurance
  • International and local flights
  • Personal expenses
  • Road trip from Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales
  • Tips (optional)

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Fly in and out to Punta Arenas' Presidente Carlos Ibáñez del Campo International Airport (PUQ). From there, there are a lot of cheap buses to Puerto Natales, where you will be picked up and taken to the farm.

If you either depart from Europe, The States, South-America, Australia or elsewhere, there is a large choice of airlines flying to Chile. Most of the airlines fly to Santiago de Chile where you can connect to Punta Arenas. Gaucho do Brasil does not reserve flights for you, but they will be happy to help you with information concerning flights and how to get to the destination.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 100% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
8 days / 7 nights
from --
Tour information

This tour requires a minimum of 2 participants.

 

Are you alone?

Check with Gaucho do Brasil if there is another person requesting this trip for the same travel period. Post on your multimedia that you are looking for a travel companion.

 

Pricing information

Prices are linked to the Chilean Peso, in case of strong exchange rate fluctuations, the price can be adjusted up to 3 weeks before departure.

 

Availability

This tour is available all year round with the best period (climate wise) to visit Southern Patagonia is from September to April. Please select your arrival date below.

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