Living the gaucho life on horseback in Patagonia, Chile
For five days and four nights, the newest horseback riding programs at explora Patagonia and explora Atacama let guests live the gaucho lifestyle and discover two of the world’s most pristine and wild landscapes: the Torres del Paine National Park and the Atacama Desert. Over a century ago, Patagonia became home to a new settler who, over time, developed his own unique customs: the gaucho. Known as a solitary character, the gaucho’s most valued possession and trusted companion is his horse, which he relies on to cover the vast distances across Chile. Rising with the dawn each day, the gaucho drives cattle across the pampa, the wide-open grasslands of the southernmost tip of the continent, and between remote estancias or ranches as they are known in the states.
Lodges, estancias and stables in Chile
Unique to explora is the private stables at each of the lodges, where various breeds of horses – from Chilean Criollo, to purebreds and Arabians – have been bred and trained especially for experienced riders. Adding to the authenticity, each group of riders is accompanied by their own personal gaucho as well as an explora wilderness guide.
Horseback riding in Torres del Paine National Park
Located in the far latitudes of South America, the Torres del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1978. Patagonia riders are eased into the five-day riding program with a gentle ascent and tour of the Lake Toro area, before moving on to more advanced rides along the banks of the crystalline Serrano River. The epic conclusion to the riding program is a full day ride into the northern sector of the park, for an intimate view of the Grey Glacier at Puntilla Pehoé.
Horseback riding in Atacama
Known as the driest, highest desert in the world, the Atacama Desert is full of surprises: mountains, volcanoes, salt flats, geysers, wetlands, hot springs and an array of animal and plant life. It also has a culture that dates back 10,000 years, ruins of which can still be seen today in the daily lives of the local Atacameños. Experienced horseback riders visiting explora Atacama will revel in the multi-day riding program that guides them to the mountain peaks of the Cordillera de la Sal, then descends across the dunes towards the Valle de la Muerte (Valley of Death).
Rates for four nights at explora Patagonia start from $2,780 US; rates for four nights at explora Atacama start from $2,640 US (both rates are per person, based on double occupancy). Family rates are available, and travellers visiting two explora lodges will receive a 5% discount through the Passport Program. explora’s third lodge is located on Easter Island aka Rapa Nui (Posada de Mike Rapu). explora’s series of nomadic journeys or Travesías take travellers across borders to Argentina or Bolivia on extended expeditions to stay in areas of remarkable beauty.
Have you been on a horseback riding vacation in Patagonia, Chile?
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