December 26, 2018 - January 2, 2019 (Bring in the New Year in Patagonia!)
March 18 - 25, 2019
The Patagonian Cordillera is vast, with ancient mountains, abundant water, fierce winds, stark shadows, and strong, large-hearted people. Traveling on horseback is the best way to get an inside glimpse of this raw and wild land and the gaucho culture who spend summers tending their herds on the high ridges and valleys of the Andes. Join us a for a unique horse trekking excursion into this unparalleled landscape.
Our eight day special combines comfort and adventure to make the perfect riding holiday. Enjoy four nights at our ecolodge and a three night horse pack trip to an alpine lake high in the Andes.
Meet Ranquilco's driver in the town of Neuquen or Zapala for the drive into the foothills of the Andes to "Buta Mallin" - the cattle outpost on the Estancia and the end of the road for most vehicles. Enjoy a prepared picnic lunch upon arrival. Meet your horse and saddle up for the three hour ride into the heart of the Estancia where the lodge is located.
Settle into your room then join us on the terrace of Casa Grande for wine, a welcoming dinner, and good company.
Spend the day at and around the lodge getting acquainted with the place, the people, and the horses. Head out on a short, guided day ride and enjoy a picnic lunch on the river banks. Spend the late afternoon and evening at the lodge preparing for the pack trip. Top it off with a delicious dinner and a deeply restful night's sleep.
Have breakfast while the guides pack up the mules, then mount the horses and ride out on the pack trip. We’ll ride about six hours - out of the Trocoman River valley, across a high plateau, and down a steep and breathtaking trail, ending at our high mountain puesto camp in the Laguna Negra valley. The valley is home to a gorgeous alpine lake surrounded by jagged peaks, waterfalls, and hanging meadows.
The puesto camp has a few simple huts (where the gauchos live) and other basic backcountry luxuries, such as benches, a sink, and an outhouse. It makes for a wonderful home base. Here we have a chance to spend time with the local gauchos that tend the herds of cattle, sheep, and goats in these beautiful summer grazing lands.
We'll set up camp and enjoy a meal around the fire. Sleep under the huge sky or cozy up in one of our tents.
Days 4 and 5
We'll spend two days exploring the valley by horse and foot, fishing, swimming, and lounging at the lake, and indulging in some reading and/or writing. In the evenings, we'll hang out around the fire at the puesto and share stories with our friends and neighboring gauchos.
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 lodge comforts - cold beers, hot showers, and big beds. Savor a meal featuring fresh garden vegetables, ranch-raised meat, and Argentine wines.
A full day to rest and relax and enjoy the comforts of Ranquilco. Sweat it out in a riverside sauna, swim in the river, or hang out on the terrace and read. An optional afternoon ride to the confluence of the Picunleo and Trocoman rivers will be offered. In the evening, we'll invite the entire Ranquilco community for a traditional asado and a late night gaucho dance to celebrate the completion of a magnificent adventure.
Pack up and ride back to Buta Mallin to meet the drivers. Drive to Zapala, arriving by 4:00 pm. From there, catch a bus back to Buenos Aires or head to Bariloche, San Martin do los Andes, or even over to Chile.
Rate: $2575 all inclusive
For more information, please write: [email protected]