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Jakotango is pleased to invite you to join this adventurous horse riding holiday on the Patagonia Trail, Argentina. You will ride down the Filo Huahum valley and ride along crystal clear lakes and rivers, and face the Pass of Tears. You can also visit the nearby estancia to see gauchos using traditional methods to make tack from rawhide. Explore the Patagonia Trail on horseback here!
You will be staying at Jakotango Base Camp for the first, second, fourth, and fifth night. For the third and sixth night, you will be staying in fly camps. For the seventh night, you will overnight at Felipe's House.
Patagonia has three accommodation sites. The first is Jakotango Base Camp, situated on the banks of Río Filo Huahum, halfway between Bariloche and San Martín de los Andes, not far from the Chilean border. This privately owned Estancia has 12,000 hectares bordering the Nahuel Huapi and Lanin National Park. The owners have lived on this property all of their lives, managing all aspects of the farm from cattle farming to red stag hunting in the rutting season and they also operate as a fly fishing destination for brown and rainbow trout. On this property, Jakotango has Base Camp at the site of an old hunting cabin which they use as a living / dining room.
Accommodation is in spacious African-style tents with beds, fireplaces, and cozy duvets to keep you warm during the chilly nights. Secondly, fly camps on the mountain which are more basic. Everyone has a sleeping bag, cot, and mattress in dome tents. There are no showers other than an occasional dip in a river or stream but you can always come back to a hot shower the following day. Good food and wine are always there to be shared around the campfire.
Finally, Felipe's House which, in terms of comfort, is between fly camping and base camp. Jakotango has spacious safari-style tents and showers in a magnificent location. Felipe is the third generation of his family to have lived in this magical spot. The old corrals are surrounded by giant beech trees (nothofagus dombeyi) known as coihue in the native Mapuche language.
In the mountains, there are steep climbs on horseback with some opportunities for cantering in the valleys. On horseback, you will reach places completely unspoiled by man. You will ride along crystal clear lakes and rivers where you swim with the horses, having untacked after a long day in the saddle. People with vertigo may struggle riding along the magnificent precipices. Although the pace is slow, there is definitely no lack of excitement. It is wonderful to see what a horse is capable of doing in difficult terrain like this.
The horses are locally born and bred, predominantly the Argentine Criollo breed but some have Quarter Horse, Thoroughbred, and even Percheron influence.
Varying between two to eight hours in the saddle with the longer rides taking place in Patagonia. A picnic lunch or asado is carried by packhorse and you stop for lunch breaks of up to two hours.
Comfortable Argentine recado saddles with sheepskins for the ride in Patagonia.
Please fly to San Martín de los Andes at 13:30 where Jakotango will meet you. Jakotango recommends that you travel in your riding clothes since your luggage will be taken directly to camp, whilst riders will go separately by minibus where there will be sandwiches and drinks for the journey. After an hour and a half drive, you will arrive at the shores of Lake Falkner. Here, a motorboat will take you to the other side of the lake where your horses will be waiting for you. Please travel light with little to carry, just a camera is enough, as the ride into camp is not long, just over an hour, but will give you a chance to gain a feel for your horse and the new gaucho saddles which you may not be used to.
Once in camp, Jakotango will allocate everyone a tent and get settled before you crack open a nice Malbec for the first sundowner. The tents are very spacious and beautiful with built-in bathrooms. There are plugs for charging devices and lights. The dining room is a very cozy log cabin overlooking the beautiful Filo Huahum River. Please note that with bad weather, the arrival will be direct by car from the airport because the lake is too dangerous to cross when the water is choppy.
The mornings are so beautiful that it is worth getting up early. Breakfast is ready at 08:00. Normally, you try to start riding at 09:00 but a fair bit of preparation is needed. You will see that packing saddle bags, pack horses, rolling ponchos, and fitting them to your saddle all takes longer on the first day. You will ride down the Filo Huahum valley in the morning before a barbecue lunch. You do need to let Jakotango knows if you are a vegetarian so they can prepare something else for you. Argentina is well known for its Malbec and good meat - and Jakotango has a lot of it!
The morning ride is easy and only about three hours. In the afternoon, you cover the same amount of time but it is slightly more challenging as you have a little climb and descent to get the hang of mountain riding. It is important to keep an eye on your saddles when climbing. Jakotango always checks on them and often stop to arrange tack but it helps if you are aware of them too since saddles can slide forward or back on the steep slopes. You will be back in camp at about 18:00 in time for a shower to shake off the dust and another sundowner in the cabin or at the river shore.
This is the day you leave for fly camp so you won’t come back to base camp until the next day. You are safe to leave everything in your tents. Jakotango will give you a saddle bag at breakfast in which to pack your things for the night’s camping. You will need just enough for a night out: a camera, warm layers, swimsuit, sun cream, lip balm, and a toothbrush. Jakotango will provide you with water, a silk sleeping bag liner, a small towel, soap, snacks, and tissues to put in your saddle pouch. The sleeping accommodation in fly camp is a little two man tent with a cot and mattress, a good sleeping bag and a hot water bottle that Jakotango provides. Some people travel with their own sleeping bags but that is up to you. Jakotango's sleeping bags are very good quality.
Please remember that there are no showers at fly camp but enough water to wash your hands and face, of course. Please pack your swimming gear because for lunch the following day, you will stop and have another asado by the river - if there is good weather - and lots of time for a refreshing swim. This is an important day. You will face the Pass of Tears. It is probably the most amazing scenery on the whole ride but, for those with faint hearts or vertigo, very challenging for sure.
You will ride up the mountain in the morning, ascend above the tree line, and have lunch in a rocky outcrop without untacking. After lunch, it is about three hours more to camp. This is a long day. Please make sure that you always drink lots to keep hydrated and protect yourselves from the strong Patagonian sun. The fly camp is in a spectacular spot overlooking the Buque mountain. Once you have arrived and settled into your nomadic homes, relax and join the gauchos cooking a delicious stew around the campfire.
You will ride back down into the valley to a lovely place by the river where, if there is good weather, you will swim and enjoy another delicious asado. Otherwise, you will return for lunch at base camp. The ride is not long, maybe three hours in the morning and an hour in the afternoon but considering that you have put quite some mileage behind you already, this is not a bad thing. When you arrive back to base camp, you will notice that everything feels, looks, and tastes better. Little things that you take for granted suddenly become amazing.
This is a day to recover your strength for the following day. You improvise on this day but normally go for an easy ride in the morning, either to check on the herd of horses or to visit the nearby estancia to see gauchos using traditional methods to make tack from rawhide. Lunch is in camp and there is plenty of time for relaxing, siesta, swimming or walking in the afternoon.
Today you leave base camp for good so you need to pack and leave your luggage in camp. You won’t meet your luggage for two days from now so pack a change of clothes in your saddle bag and don’t forget your swimming gear. Today you will have a long day in the saddle with spectacular scenery and views over volcanoes in Chile and Argentina. You will stop for a picnic lunch on the way up the mountain with the horses, before riding into Felipe’s tented fly camp (five hours' ride) to sleep for the night, after dinner cooked on the campfire.
After scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast, you’ll start the four hours' ride to Felipe’s house on the shores of Lake Traful. You will have a light lunch and get settled in your tents within the gardens of Felipe’s farmhouse. The place is simple but clean and comfortable with shared showers. Felipe is a third-generation settler of Patagonia. His house, old barns, and corrals are like something out of a fairy tale. The only access to his home is by boat or on horseback. This afternoon, you enjoy a ride along the lake and a swim before a delicious dinner cooked by Felipe’s wife, Marta.
After breakfast, at about 10:30, you will ride for 20 minutes to the lake from where you will be met by boat and cross the lake to Villa Traful. Here, your luggage and minibus will be waiting to take you to San Carlos de Bariloche Airport (BRC) via Jakotango's favorite restaurant for lunch.
Note: You should be comfortable at all paces. The riding in Patagonia is predominantly at a walking pace due to the steep climbs and descents required in the mountains. Jakotango will take non-riders but this should be discussed with Jakotango first. In Patagonia, the non-riders might have to stay in the base camp on their own whilst the others camp out. Jakotango will accept children on riding safaris but they must be competent riders and up for an adventure.
Argentina is a trip for magnificent sceneries and less for wildlife. Nevertheless, the country has some spectacular close-up sightings of condors on the mountains as they swoop down to take a closer look at you. In Patagonia, there are also red deer, wild boar, guanaco, and an abundance of interesting bird life.
You will be served meals on a full board basis. All alcohol and soft drinks are inclusive. In Patagonia, the pisco sour is always ranked as the favorite drink. Whiskey, gin, vodka, wine, and beers are always available, except for champagne. Other drinks could be added by request. Argentina is a carnivorous country but apart from the delicious Argentine meat, Jakotango serves a delicious variety of dishes. Please let Jakotango knows if you have any special dietary requirements and they will make their best efforts to cater to them.
Fly fishing for brown and rainbow trout is an optional additional activity or can be done in place of riding. For this, Jakotango would need previous notice since the licenses, rods, and a guide may need to be organized. This will be at an additional cost.
Please book your flight to arrive at Ministro Pistarini International Airport (EZE).
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