Across the Andes

10 Days  |  From £2779pp

Argentina ( Best airport: Mendoza)

Cross the mythical Andes mountain range from Argentina into Chile on this adventurous expedition. Following the historic San Martin route taken by the Argentine army in 1817 to liberate Chile from the Spanish, this is a fascinating and remote packhorse trail crossing snow-capped peaks, rivers and valleys with camping each night in uninhabited places, accessible only on horseback and flanked by the highest mountains in the continent. A real challenge for intermediate riders onwards, this is one of the few itineraries which completes the crossing in the original direction starting in Argentina and finishing in Chile.

The Riding

The riding is in the Andean High Range, an area with the highest peaks of the central Andes. Due to the steepness of much of the terrain the pace is generally walk with some trot. The surrounding peaks have beautiful glaciers embellishing their mountainsides. During the trail, you will cross three mountain ranges: Paso del Espinacito 4,400 m, Cordón Limítrofe 3,500 m and La Colorada of 3,500 m on the Chilean side.

The vegetation is scarce; however, in the marshes and wetlands, we can find a great variety of birdlife. These pastures, with their intense green, will brighten the landscape and you can spot herds of guanacos in the distance, as well as curious condors flying ahead.

Level of Riding and Fitness

This trail is suitable for confident intermediate to experienced riders. Although the pace is mostly walk, the terrain is steep and some of the paths are narrow. You should be fit to ride long hours (between 5-7 hours per day and be able to mount and dismount unaided. A certain level of fitness/toughness is also required for the 7 nights camping which takes place in the mountain range where all equipment is carried by packhorse or mule so facilities are basic. The weight limit is 90kg.

Guides and Group Size

You will be guided by experienced, certified Argentinian guides, who are bilingual English/Spanish and have completed the crossing many times. For sections of the trail you will also be joined by Gauchos baquianos (local knowledgeable guides) who travel with the group.

Group size for this trail is between 4-12 riders.

The Horses

You will ride two sets of horses on the trail as it is not possible to take horses from Argentina into Chile. On the Argentine side, you will be riding Peruvian Paso horses, bred and trained by your hosts. You can try out the Peruvian Paso’s special gait, the paso llano, which has an average speed of 10 to 12 km/h and allows you to move at a reasonable speed over a long period of time. The paso llano is a harmonic four-beat gait, the centre of gravity is almost immobile which makes it a very smooth and comfortable gait to ride.

The saddles used are similar to the Argentine gaucho saddles and the reins and bridle are made of sole leather which is also used when getting a horse under saddle as it is light and transmits the given helps easily to the horse’s mouth. Pelham bits with short shanks are used so horses respond easily to soft aids.

Once you cross over to the Chilean side you’ll be riding Chilean Criollo horses, a common breed in rural areas of Chile, especially in the central and southern part of the country. Its muscles are completely adapted for a life in mountain areas with tough hooves and a double coat making it very adaptable to both cold and warm dry climates. Tack used on the Chilean side consist of traditional mountain saddles with a blanket that absorbs sweat and a very comfortable felt pad that provides extra cushioning for the rider’s weight. On top of the saddle, sheepskins are provided for greater comfort.

Across the Andes - Horse Riding Holiday in Argentina

Accommodation and Dining

You’ll spend the first and last night in comfortable en-suite hotels in shared twin rooms (single rooms available for a supplement). The hotel on the first night is in Mendoza, Argentina and facilities include a sauna and swimming pool.

While on the trail you will spend 7 nights camping in Igloo tents (2 people per tent, single tents available for a supplement) all camping equipment such as sleeping bags and sleeping mats are provided. Camp also includes a dining and kitchen dome tent complete with folding tables, complete tableware, gas stoves, kitchen utensils and lamps. At the campsites there are no showers but water is available to wash with. Your hosts have a ‘leave no trace’ policy to protect the environment on the trail and camps are completely dismantled each morning.

The diet for this type of expedition is mainly based on stews, carbohydrates, soups, salads, meat and pulses. There is a hearty breakfast that includes coffee, tea, cereals, yoghurt, cheese, marmalades, cured meat and juice. Lunch is usually a light meal served as a picnic with soft drinks or mineral water. Dinners at the camp are prepared by your guides and are typical local meals such as stew, hotpot, veal roast, etc. Vegetarians and other dietary requirements can be catered for with advance notice.

Get a free Across the Andes mini-brochure in PDF format.

Itinerary

Across the Andes

10 days / 9 nights / 6 days riding
£2779pp

Single occupancy £320

A departure can run with 2-3 riders for a supplement.

2 riders – £910pp

3 riders – £410pp

Flights & Airport transfers

The closest airport to arrive is Mendoza Airport in Argentina. The closest airport to depart is Santiago Airport in Chile.

Please plan your flight to arrive before 7pm on the first day of your holiday. Please try to book departure flights for after 11am on the last day.

Price Includes
  • Airport transfers from Plumerillo Airport in Mendoza to Mendoza
  • 2 nights hotel accommodation
  • 7 nights camping accommodation
  • 5-7 hours riding on 6 days
Price Excludes
  • Flights
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Tips

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8th January 2023 - 4 Saddles Available - £2779pp
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5th February 2023 - 8 Saddles Available - £2779pp
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5th March 2023 - 6 Saddles Available - £2779pp
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