Our eight day special combines a luxury horse riding holiday with a unique adventure vacation. Enjoy five days at the Estancia Ranquilco lodge combined with a four day horse pack trip to a gorgeous alpine lake high in the Andes.
December 26, 2017-January 2, 2018
March 18-25, 2018
We will meet in the town of Zapala, in the Province of Neuquen at 10:00 a.m. We will then drive 4 hours into the foothills of the Andes to a place called Buta Mallin. This is a cattle outpost on the Estancia and the end of the road for most vehicles. Here we will have a mid-afternoon lunch with the gauchos – either an asado or traditional guiso (stew) served with fresh bread. Then you will have your first experience saddling and packing the horses for the 2 1/2 hour ride into the heart of the Estancia where the lodge is located.
In the evening, settle into your cottage or room and then join us on the terrace of Casa Grande for wine, traditional Argentine food, and good company.
Days 2 and 3
We’ll spend these two days at Ranquilco enjoying day rides, riverside picnics, and evenings sipping wine on the patio. Enjoy fishing, swimming in the pool, or relaxing in our riverside sauna. Lunch and dinner will be served family style and will feature traditional Argentine dishes.
After packing up, we will head out into the Cordillera. The first day will be an all-day ride up to Laguna Negra, a high mountain valley surrounded by jagged peaks, waterfalls, and hanging meadows. We’ll ride about six hours this day - out of the Trocoman River valley, across a high plateau, and down a breathtaking trail into the valley. We will make camp at a gaucho’s puesto and enjoy our meal around the fire ring. Learn to picket and care for your horse out on the range. Sleep on your saddle blankets under the stars or cozy up in one of our tents.
The puesto in the Laguna Negra valley is a base camp day for exploring and enjoying. We’ll ride to the end of the valley and up to a ridge to see a spectacular view of the cordillera stretching to the north and south of us, and the Chilean volcanoes to the west.
On the way back to camp we’ll stop in to visit with the local gauchos who spend their summers in the mountains tending their herds. These are the only other people we’ll see on our journey. One of the highlights of a trip out here is to stop at a twig hut and sip maté (tea) with these wonderful people. Riding back along the lake, we may stop to fish or swim the horses. We will spend another stunning evening at the puesto, surrounded by our horses, slow roasting our asado over the fire.
We’ll make our way back down to Ranquilco, following a different trail that takes us along the edge of the Picunleo Valley, experiencing sweeping views up the Trocoman River to the Copahue Volcano. This evening we’ll be reunited with the wonderful hospitality of the lodge–hot showers, cold beers and clean sheets, followed by a garden fresh meal and Argentine wines.
We’ll have a full day to rest and relax and enjoy the comforts of Ranquilco. Sauna, swim in the pool or the river, or just relax in a hammock. An optional afternoon ride up the confluence of the Picunleo and Trocoman rivers will be offered. On this last evening, we will invite Gauchos from all around for a traditional asado, and a late night gaucho dance.
On the last day, we’ll ride back to Buta Mallin, and drive back to Zapala, to arrive by 4:00 pm. From there, catch a bus back to B.A. or head to Bariloche or San Martin… or even over to Chile.
Rate: $2575 all inclusive
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