Estancias of Patagonia by Horseback
Horseback ride from estancia to estancia through Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia.
From: $7,145 | 11 DAYS | CHILE
Estancias of Patagonia by Horseback Trip Highlights
- Visit cute burrowing penguins at the Otway Sound Penguin Colony
- Enjoy great pisco sours and fireside dining at the very comfortable Estancia Lazo
- Ride on top of the world in the Sierra del Toro for awesome views of the park below
- Canter your heart out across seemingly never-ending pampas and grassy valleys
- Witness some of the best sunrises in the Park from the hote Cabanas del Paine at the Serrano River
- Take a glimpse at authentic estancia life and ‘home stay’ accommodation at estancias Tercera Barranca and Tres Pasos
- Enjoy a traditional mate tea with your host baqueanos
- Marvel at the miracles of nature as you stand in front of Grey Lake with the huge wall of ice that is Glacier Grey
- Enjoy an optional boat ride of to the face of this immense towering glacier
- Visit the beautiful turquoise waters of Laguna Azul with stunning views to the Towers Mountains
- Enjoy a slice of history in the colonial estancia house of the Hosteria el Pionero
- Feast on local salmon and organic lamb while enjoying the local hospitality and warmth of the Chilean people
- Ride up to a remote and rarely visited vega or pasture to attempt to spot herds of wild criollo horses
The rugged natural beauty of the Patagonian landscape goes beyond words and expectations. Granite towers thrust some 6,000 feet from the expansive plains dotted with glacially formed turquoise lakes. Southern beech forests dot the land while enormous glaciers continue carving the landscape. This pristine beauty comes to its height in Chile’s Torres (Towers) Del Paine National Park, which contains vast networks of trails to access thousands of acres of wilderness and wildlife. Some say it is like Yosemite and the Grand Tetons rolled into one.
Torres Del Paine has long been home to large estancias and the culture of the gaucho – world-renowned horsemen. On this trip for experienced riders only you will gain an intimate window into this culture while enjoying thrilling rides in an area of unparalleled beauty.
DAY 1 • Punta Arenas
Welcome dinner and trip briefing in Punta Arenas.
DAY 2 • Torres Del Paine
After heading north to Puerto Natales and relaxing at theestancia (ranch house), meet your sturdy Chilean Criollo horses and set out for a ride in the most beautiful of Patagonian settings.
DAY 3 • Cerro Castillo
Ride across grassy meadows towards the dramatic Torres Del Paine Mountains. Canter your heart out, enjoy a lakeside picnic and marvel at the views while riding responsive horses to yourestancia and a dinner of fresh, local fare.
DAY 4 • La Cumbre
Ride over wide-open terrain towards the Torres. Stop in at a local farmer’s home for mate tea before arriving to the ranch house at Estancia Tercera Barranca.
DAY 5 • Laguna Stokes
Ride to a natural pasture where wild criollo horses are often seen grazing. Continue through forests and lakes before returning to the estancia.
DAY 6 • Paine Massif – Serrano River
Ride towards the heart of the park on a rarely trodden path. Pass turquoise lakes with granite peaks at their back and arrive to your cozy lodge alongside Rio Serrano as the sun sets.
DAY 7 • Grey Glacier
Ride along the river to the massive Grey Glacier. Take photos by the glacier and iceberg-dotted lake. *Optional boat ride to the glacier’s face.
DAY 8 • Sierra del Toro – Laguna Verde
Ride through more open pampas before ascending the mountains for magnificent views of the lakes, mountains and glaciers below.
DAY 9 • Sierra del Toro
Cross the Sierra Del Toro, ride through the forest and have lunch at a gaucho (cowboy) outpost.
DAY 10 • Puerto Natales – Punta Arenas
Visit a penguin colony, stop in town for souvenirs and head to Punta Arenas.
DAY 11 • Departure
Depart from Punta Arenas.
Is It For Me?
For experienced riders, this trip combines challenging, exciting riding on responsive, fit horses with the opportunity to experience the life of Patagonia’s unique estancia and gaucho
Knowmad has vast knowledge and operations in Chile; this is a private trip and we are happy to modify excursions, accommodations, and the flow of the itinerary to perfectly suit your travel style and interests.
Have questions? Talk to an expert: 612-315-2894
Listed prices are approximations. All Knowmad trips are custom and exact pricing is provided in your trip proposal.
Additionally, internal airfare is not included in the trip price. If you would like Knowmad Adventures to book your internal airfare (Santiago/Punta Arenas, Punta Arenas/ Santiago). Fares range between $200 and $400 USD. If arranging domestic airfare independently, please consult us prior so we can verify the departure and arrival times.
- $880 single supplement – if you request single accommodations you are required to pay the single supplement. If you are a single traveler and would like to be paired with a traveler of the same gender, Knowmad Adventures will try to accommodate this and, if we are able, will refund the single supplement following the trip.
TYPE Flexible Date Private Departures & Fixed Date Group Departures
VIGOROUS TRIP Intermediate to advanced riders only. Activities include horseback riding, wildlife viewing and cultural opportunities. *Optional boat trip to glacier.
DEPARTURES Flexible Date Private Trips: Oct – AprilFixed Date Group Trips: 2010 – Nov 1, Nov 23, Dec 7, Dec 23; 2011 – Jan 29, Feb 24, Mar 29
LENGTH 11 days BEGIN / END Punta Arenas, Chile
INTERNATIONAL Airfare is not included in the land cost of our trips. You may arrange your international airfare independently, or we are happy to offer our feedback and assistance in helping you book it.
REGIONAL If booked by Knowmad Adventures, internal airfare for this trip (Santiago/Punta Arenas & Punta Arenas/Santiago) averages $300, however this is an approximation and the airfare is subject to change upon booking. If you would like to arrange your own regional flights, please consult us prior so we can verify the departure and arrival times.
Ready for the trip of a lifetime? Signing up is easy. Call us at 612-315-2894 or email [email protected] and reserve your spot. Or simply download our registration form, fill it out, and send it back to us along with your trip deposit. Please refer to registration form for terms & conditions.
Weather & When to Go to Chile
Please note that some of the activities are weather dependent. Patagonian weather is unpredictable. Expect sunshine as well as some rainy, windy South Atlantic weather.
Prior to your departure, you are provided a detailed pre-trip information packet including a recommended pack list, information about the regions you’ll be visiting, suggested readings, up-to-date health information including any recommended vaccinations and more.
Our trips feature comfortable accommodations that complement their surroundings. We seek out intimacy and character, but never sacrifice cleanliness and security. We also find the best value for quality. In general, our physically moderate to vigorous trips feature hotels classified as 3+ to 4 stars, while less physically demanding trips feature 4+ to 5 star hotels.
As South American travel specialists, we’re experts and have inspected hundreds of properties. Knowmad is happy to suggest upgrades and alternative hotels based on your preferences to ensure your trip is perfect for you. Photos below are from this itinerary’s preferred accommodations. For more specifics, call or write to request more info, or download the detailed trip itinerary.
Accommodations featured in this itinerary are the following:
- Hotel Rey Don Felipe located in Punta Arenas, Chile.
- Estancia Tres Pasos located in Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile
- Hosteria el Pionero located in Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile
- Estancia Tercera Barranca in Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile
- Cabanas del Paine in Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile
- Estancia Lazo located in Sierra del Toro, Chile
DAY 1 Punta Arenas
After the short flight from Santiago to Punta Arenas, Patagonia, transfer from the airport to Hotel Rey Don Felipe. Enjoy a welcome dinner while your trip leader briefs the group.
DAY 2 Torres Del Paine
After breakfast we’ll drive across the wide-open pampas and estancia (ranch) lands characteristic of the area. We’ll make a short stop to visit lakeside Puerto Natales where travelers can explore this outpost town and choose from a variety of restaurants and cafés. Continuing north, we’ll see black-necked swans while driving along Last Hope Sound before arriving to Estancia Tres Pasos. This still-working estancia is situated at the head of a flower-filled valley and the wooden, chalet-style property consists of a number of estancia buildings, pretty gardens and lovely views down the valley. Unpack and relax a bit before meeting our horses for an introductory ride in the vicinity of the estancia. Riders will be get a chance to adjust to the style of riding and tack as we run through the gates and enjoy a relaxing afternoon’s ride. We’ll return to the estancia for dinner in the lovely restaurant where most of the ingredients in this delightful family-run inn are produced on the grounds.
Hours in the saddle 3-4.
- B,D – Estancia Tres Pasos
DAY 3 Cerro Castillo
After a hearty breakfast we’ll saddle up for a full day’s ride heading northwest to the outpost town of Cerro Castillo. Riding towards the dramatic mountain range of Torres del Paine enables us to fully benefit from the incredible mountain and lake views. We will also have some opportunities for our first long canters on our responsive and comfortable horses. After a leisurely picnic and afternoon ride Hosteria el Pionero will come into view on the horizon. Surrounded by the customary layer of trees, the villa has the look and feel of an English country home and was built by European settlers to Tierra del Fuego at the beginning of the century. Once home to one of the most important and influential estancieros in the region, it offers comfortable accommodation and an excellent restaurant serving a variety of typical local foods and international cuisine. The fireside bar is an excellent place to enjoy a pisco sour while discussing with new friends the day’s incredible ride and the adventures to come.
Hours in the saddle: 6-7
- B,L,D – Hosteria el Pionero
DAY 4 La Cumbre
After a breakfast of home baked bread and cakes served in the bright dining room, we will be saddling up for the long ride northeast towards Estancia Tercera Barranca. This is a classic Patagonian ride with soft, inviting pampas stretched out in front of us as we journey north towards the mountains of Torres del Paine and La Cumbre mountain range, which makes up the natural barrier between Chile and Argentina. We will be crossing the land belonging to various local farmers and with luck may be invited to join a local for mate tea.
After a long ride and a picnic lunch along the way we will ride onto the land of Estancia Tercera Barranca. Another still-working estancia, we will stay in the cozy and comfortable country house which offers fabulous views of the Towers Mountains from its large, west-facing windows. Wander the grounds, relax by the fire in the living room and appreciate the traditional quincho (detached dining room with outdoor BBQ area).
Hours in the saddle: 5-7
- B,L,D – Estancia Tercera Barranca
DAY 5 Laguna Stokes
Today’s spectacular ride takes us to the west towards the famous Torres peaks and Lago Paine. Just before Laguna Azul we head north towards Laguna Stokes where a large natural vega or pasture exists. This area attracts wild criollos from the surrounding hills to graze in the summer and with luck with will get to see them. There will be many excellent photo opportunities on this route as we pass through forests, pastures and the lake where Lady Florence Dixie first camped having sighted the Towers. We’ll return in the afternoon to Estancia Tercera Barranca.
Hours in the saddle: 5-6
- B,L,D – Estancia Tercera Barranca
DAY 6 Paine Massif – Serrano River
After a wholesome breakfast and packing up we will be starting our ride westwards towards the heart of the park. We will now be riding directly towards the Paine Massif mountain range so the views are dramatic and beautiful. Our trail then skirts the southern edge of the mountains on a rarely trodden path as we pass azure and turquoise lakes with huge granite mountain peaks standing behind. After a picnic lunch taken in one of the pretty valleys we will continue west to the beautiful soft pampas beside the Serrano River. A nice long canter as light fades and shadows lengthen brings us to Cabanas del Paine. This pretty inn situated by the emerald green waters of the Serrano River with river and mountain views will be our base for the next two nights.
Hours in the saddle: 5-6
- B,L,D – Cabanas del Paine
DAY 7 Grey Glacier
We’ll have more dramatic views of the peaks of the Paine Massif all day long as we enjoy the fast ride to the Mirador de los Hielos (iceberg lookout), where we’ll take in vistas of the iceberg-choked waters of Grey Lake and the massive Grey Glacier (the park’s largest). After a long rest, chances for taking photos of this incredible natural wonder, and a picinic from this incredible perch, we’ll get back in the saddle for the return ride to Cabanas del Paine.
Hours in the saddle: 5-6
- B,L,D – Cabanas del Paine
*There is an optional excursion available which includes round trip transfers back to Grey Lake and a boat trip out across this iceberg-choked lake towards the face of this spectacular glacier. Note the boat trip is weather reliant and the excursion with transfer costs US$180
DAY 8 Sierra del Toro – Laguna Verde
The colorful baqueanos (cowboys), who will have by now become friends, will have the horses ready and we’ll set out heading southeast to the Mirado del Toro and Laguna Verde. We start out with our final ride across the wide-open pampas before crossing the Laguna on the idyllic Weber Bridge. After stopping to tighten girths and check our tack, we will make a steep ascent of the Sierra del Toro Mountains climbing high above the national park and arrive to the Mirador del Toro lookout with far-reaching views of the lakes, mountains and glaciers below.
Depending on the weather, we will take a picnic lunch in this beautiful setting before continuing on through southern beech forests passing myriad pristine lakes and valleys as we approach the land belonging to Estancia Lazo. Our base for 2 nights, this very comfortable converted estancia situated beside this tranquil green waters of Laguna Verde offers splendid views, great food and comfortable accommodation. The lake shore is a great place to stroll spotting the wild geese and ducks bobbing in the water. The restaurant offers an excellent variety of local dishes and has an extensive wine collection.
Hours in the saddle: 4-5
DAY 9 Sierra del Toro
After breakfast, we will pack our saddle bags with cameras, waterproofs and our picnic lunch and set off around the shores of this beautiful lake through ancient southern beech forests behind the estancia for our climb up and over the Sierra del Toro. We will be making another steep ascent through forests to climb right up on top of this mountain. The last section of the ride will often be through snow as we stop to marvel at the views of the entire Park below us. We will then wind down to a pretty authentic puesto (gaucho or horsemen post) manned by one of the cattle ranchers from Estancia Lazo to take our lunch. After lunch, we will be riding back to our comfortable accommodation at Estancia Lazo where sadly we will be bidding our horses and baqueanos goodbye.
Hours in the saddle 4-5.
DAY 10 Puerto Natales – Punta Arenas
After a leisurely breakfast of coffee and homemade cakes and breads we will transfer to Punta Arenas via Puerto Natales. We will have time in Puerto Natales to shop for souvenirs or postcards before continuing on to the Magellanic penguin colony situated outside Punta Arenas. Late afternoon is a great time to visit these adorable penguins before they return to their burrows. We will spend some time taking photos and wandering the trails that extend down to the beach where you can witness the penguins waterside. Arrive to Hotel Don Rey Felipe in Punta Arenas at around 6 p.m depending on time spent with the penguins.
DAY 11 Departure
Transfer to the airport for onward flight.
Extend Your Adventure
Bike from vineyard to vineyard on gentle country roads, tour the cellars, taste fine wines, eat gourmet cuisine and stay in charming boutique hotels. With premier wine growing valleys just an hour from Santiago, a few days in wine country is an ideal extension to your adventure and a good example of the diversity of landscapes and lifestyles within Chile.
Looking for unique? Earth’s closest thing to Mars, Atacama will not disappoint. Your trip to this surreal landscape offers countless cultural and adventure excursions to choose from during the day, while spending nights in a true oasis, the Tierra Atacama boutique hotel and spa. Return for a dip in the pool and enjoy a local cabernet with gourmet cuisine. Don’t forget to take advantage of the world’s best moonscape and stargazing.
A tropical paradise with history, culture and mystery at every beautiful turn, a visit to Easter Island – the world’s most isolated speck of land – will captivate any traveler. Meander through the picturesque countryside dotted with volcanoes, and learn about the mysterious Moai statues erected by the original Polynesian tribes who inhabited the island. Still today little is known about the statues or their creators. While circumnavigating the island on visits to the diverse Moai sites, you’ll have opportunities to relax on deserted, white-sand beaches, explore volcanic caves with petroglyphs and walk the rim of a seaside volcano.
Let The Journey Begin
Planning a trip to South America might seem a little overwhelming at first. Knowmad offers door-to-door trip planning: first, we listen, and then we help you navigate the seasonal differences and itinerary options, resulting in a holistic, seamless, and custom-crafted experience, all at a guaranteed best value.
The simplest way to get started is to give us a call at 612-315-2894or to fill out this short form so we can learn more about your travel preferences.