This is a unique expeditionary ride through the valleys and dramatic canyons surrounding a Unesco World Heritage Site in Southern Patagonia. A location reminiscent of Monument Valley in Arizona, writ larger and wilder, barren steppe surrounds the jagged walls of the sheer canyons gouged out to a depth of 500m by the erosion of millennia across the remotest Patagonian landscape where we follow the winding course of the Pinturas river - camping in the verdant valley that contrasts starkly with the surrounding desert. 120 canyon wall and cave sites in the area contain hand and figure paintings of pre-historic origin, some carbon dated to 13,500 years before the present and most likely created by the predecessors of the modern Tehuelche Indians. The terrain is straight out of a wild West movie - so make sure to bring a quality camera to capture the stunning scenery!
Our camp and equipment must be moved on pack horses, that are loaded and led by experienced gauchos. Due to the abrupt topography this is a slow ride, but full of adventure and the thrill of discovering new and spectacular places that are practically never visited by anyone else. As we need to travel light this is a true cowboy ride, meaning that there is quite a lot of rough camping involved, and you need to have the right clothing and sleeping gear along to stay comfortable.
Meet our host at Perito Moreno town and drive approximately 3 hours Southwards across the desolate Patagonian steppe to our overnight accommodation at a remotely located old estancia house. Meet our horses and crew. Short test ride around the location. We camp in the grounds and enjoy dinner around the campfire.
Breakfast. Tack up and ride for a few hours to the canyon of hell which is our location for a picnic lunch, followed by an exploratory walk up the impressive canyon on foot. We ride for another 4 hours to our camp at chapalala in the valley of the Pinturas river. Asado dinner. Night in basic camp.
A full day ride up and out of the Pinturas valley across the surrounding steppe, then down into the canyon of the cave of the condors. Stop for picnic lunch. Later, ride on to the gaucho puesto (cowboy shack) at Las Buitreras where we camp round the campfire in a paddock for the night. Dinner in the puesto.
Today you ride to the famous cave site at Cueva de las Manos, for a brief guided tour of the remarkable rock paintings. Ride for another hour to a picnic lunch on the river bank. In the afternoon we ride to another gaucho puesto. Overnight in camp. Dinner in the puesto.
We now ride across the steppe to a camp near an extinct volcano further South. Camp for the night.
Ride to the excellent facilities at a tourist estancia. Approximately 8 hours of riding. Overnight in the guest accommodation.
Transfer to Perito Moreno. End of itinerary. Suggested extension:
More info about this ride
* We reserve the right to change the itinerary as dictated by circumstances.
* Nearest airport - Comodoro Rivadavia at 450km distant.
* 7 days in total
* 6 days riding or with riding part of the day
* Meeting point: Perito Moreno town, Santa Cruz Province, Argentina.
* Tack: Chilean sheepskin covered stock saddle & local reins and stirrups
* English and Spanish speaking guides
* Pace: Slow, with some trots and canters across open areas
* Level: A
* Weight Limit: 95kg.
* Full board, drinks, tented accommodation, transfers, trained horses and guiding included
* Meals are based on a meat diet.
* WEATHER: Extremely variable. It can be windy out riding and freezing at night. On the other hand it can get to 30C under sunny conditions during the day.
* Day-length: at this latitude 40S the day's dawn is at approximately 4:00am and the sun sets at about 10:30pm. So you get twice the trip for the same money!
* Bear in mind that most airlines flying from Europe limit your baggage to 20kg.
* If you use any special medication be sure to bring along enough to last the holiday.
* INSURANCE is not included, but is strongly recommended in respect of riding injuries and medical cover. Participation is at your own risk.
* No visa entry fees into Argentina are in force for European or US residents.
Packing & clothing
* Preferably you should travel light using a single duffel type bag or rucksack for all your kit if at all possible, since you will often have to carry all your bags yourself in bus stations, airports and into and out of taxis.
* Please take note that there is no possibility of shopping during the actual ride which takes place in a very remote location, but that there are good opportunities to do so in the capital before or after the riding. We sometimes get people asking if they can recharge their digital camera or telephone batteries, out on the ride this is generally not possible so you need to bring enough batteries, memory and film for the duration. Naturally you can charge your appliances before and after the ride at hotels.
* You must provide your own sleeping bag for the riding expedition. A down or feather bag with a polar rating is recommended.
Very basic igloo style twin tents are available. You can also sleep under stars on your saddle blankets and sheepskin. There are mattresses in the tents. This is cowboy camping - not luxury at all.
More about the weather
Temperatures vary dramatically depending on the weather and wind chill needs to be considered when choosing clothing - you must bring windproof and waterproof clothing (including a head covering)!
This is in case the weather decides to turn nasty. Night time temperatures range in any case between 0 and 5C - note for camping. As soon as the sun sets it can get really cold, below 0C - conversely during the middle of the day it may be absolutely roasting! It can get very, very windy too (more than 100km per hour in exposed locations). Head protection is essential due to the high chill factor should the wind pick up, a wind proof head covering usually comes included with a wind jacket, otherwise you will need a balaclava or woollen cap that covers your ears. Also a neck scarf will be valuable in this situation. An ideal way to dress is using the layer principle - bring clothing 4 layers deep.
You will want something comfortable to change into at the end of a long day's riding. Jeans and a cotton T-shirt will be fine for hot afternoons, but evenings may be chilly and you are advised to bring a sweater and a wind and waterproof jacket. Be aware that you may not have the chance to wash anything out on the trip. But don't burden yourself with too many changes of clothing (!). For footwear a pair of light hiking boots are an excellent choice in addition to your riding shoes/boots. A wide-brimmed hat my also be a good item to bring for those sunny days under the ozone hole! - be sure it has a chin strap. Bring along a good pair of sunglasses, which should also have a strap. A pair of riding gloves is a good investment, both to avoid blisters while riding and as protection against the sun.
A small torch with extra batteries
A wide-brim hat and neck scarf for sun protection
Camera extra batteries and memory chips
Camping mat/ground insulation if you are uncomfortable sleeping on the ground
Comfortable change of clothes for camp
Cotton long-sleeved shirts
Rain-proof and windproof jacket (i.e. oilskin)
Riding jeans or local bombachas
Riding shoes/short boots and camp footwear
Sleeping bag - heavy duty/polar rating - as warm as you can lay your hands on!
Soap and shampoo
Sunscreen lotion factor 50
Travel dictionary for Spanish comprehension
IN ADDITION: TO STAY WARM AT ALL TIMES
Wind proof head protection
Zip up heavy duty wind and water proof jacket
Water proof trousers
Waterproof riding shoes/boots
4 layers of internal clothing recommended
A good supply of heavy socks
The operator speaks English at a pinch, the crew speak Spanish only.
, please feel free to request a closed group booking of this ride.