Andes Crossing on Horseback from Argentina to Chile
Andes Crossing on Horseback – Expedition
The Andes Crossing on Horseback is an amazing opportunity to cross the entire Andes mountain range from Mendoza, Argentina, to Chile. This is a unique experience that will take you through a forgotten land of amazing beauty, and which will feel like a journey back in time. We will set out from the beautiful mountain area of Tunuyan, to then cross then the mountains of the Andes by following several breathtaking valleys and gorges surrounded by vertical walls, glaciers and 6.000 m high mountains. This pristine landscape is home to condors and guanacos that may visit us during the journey.
Andes Crossing on Horseback – Characteristics
Across pioneer trails in the rural Portillo pass, in the middle of the Andes Mountains, this is an exclusive journey into the Gaucho culture. Enjoy this fantastic adventure, relax in the depths of the pristine Andean wilderness, and let yourself be introduced to the local people’s traditional way of life.
Following San Martin’s path, we are going to ride through the “Valle de los Patos” (Valley of the Ducks). In January 1817, the “Ejército de los Andes” (the Army of the Andes) undertook the most audacious military campaign in Argentinean history. Nearly 200 years later, we offer you the chance to cross the Andes mountain ranges on horseback following the path General Don José de San Martin’s took.
We will be living in the natural environment, far away from pollution and high-tension cables or any kind of civilization, which will make this crossing a real “expedition” among a salvage and isolated world.
You will live every minute like a Gaucho (Argentinian cowboy), sharing your time with our team of guides and muleteers who will teach you experiences and costumes from the everyday life of a typical gaucho in the high country.
Departure dates 2017/18
• Transfers by car from the city of Mendoza and to Santiago
• Note: Please contact us if you want to include a return to Mendoza
• One night’s accommodation in the Maipo Valley (Chile)
• Full board during the trip
• Dining tent with tables, chairs and tableware
• High mountain tents for camping
• Specialized guides, experts in the baqueanos area, cooking services
• Horses in excellent condition and easy to ride
• 12 kg of equipment per pax. loading by horses
• Dinner with the group in Chile
• Satellite phone (only for use in case of contingencies)
• Detailed information of flora, fauna and history of each place we pass through
• Personal equipment (clothes, sleeping bag, mattress)
• Extra expenses, drinks, farewell dinner
• Any costs resulting from the cancellation of the program before and during the trip
You have to arrive in Mendoza a day before the departure date since we will need to check your equipment. We can offer you an additional night of accommodation if you have not arranged anything independently; we will help you to arrange the booking and add the cost to the total rate.
Day 1: MENDOZA – MANZANO HISTÓRICO – SCARAVELLI
The expedition begins with a meeting in which you will get to know the members of the trip. Then we will drive in a private vehicle (2 hrs) to the “Manzano Histórico”, located in the Uco Valley, in the southwest of Mendoza City. It is widely considered one of the top wine regions in Mendoza and all Argentina.
In the Manzano Histórico, you will be able to visit the museum in memory of the liberator San Martín.
We will then go by car to the Refugio Portinari (National Gendarmerie), where you will meet the other guides and local muleteers that will be part of this spectacular expedition. There we will perform customs clearance and registration with the authorities of the National Gendarmerie.
Dinner and bonfire at the refuge.
Day 2: SCARAVELLI – PORTILLO ARGENTINO – REAL DE LA CRUZ
Breakfast and preparation of the horses to follow our route. This day we will climb the
“Portillo Argentino”, rising up to 4380 m. There will be about two hours of uphill riding, with the reward of an astonishing view of the Andes and the border with Chile, then, after another 5 hours riding (mostly on a downhill trail), we will reach the valley of the Tunuyan River, where is the mountain shelter named “Refugio Real de la Cruz”. This shelter belongs to the Argentine Army and it is used by adventurers, porters and mountaineers. We will spend the night there and enjoy a energizing dinner.
During the night, you may get to enjoy some songs and stories with the muleteers and travelers you meet in the refuge.
This will be the longest day on a horse (8 hours approx.).
Day 3: REAL DE LA CRUZ
The third day will be an active rest day. You can decide whether to stay near the shelter or go on a short hike, accompanied by your guide, who will show you the local flora and fauna.
After lunch there will be a demonstration of the gauchos’ cowboy skills (with ‘lazo’ and ‘boleadoras’).
Dinner and overnight at “Refugio Real de la Cruz”.
Day 4: REAL DE LA CRUZ – EL CALETÓN
After breakfast we will prepare the horses and mules for embarking the Tunuyán river crossing. The ride continues via an excellent viewpoint of Mount Tupungato (6800 meters) and then follows upriver the beautiful Palomares stream to the last of our campsites in Argentinean territory: The Caletón.
If the weather allows, we can have a relaxing bath and “beauty treatment” in a stream with mineralized waters. Tonight is a good opportunity to sleep by the campfire and under the stars.
Rest, night in tents.
Day 5: EL CALETÓN – INTERNATIONAL BORDER – TERMAS DEL PLOMO (Chile)
Departure towards the Argentinean – Chilean Border,this day presents another exciting challenge for our expedition. We will ride up to the Piuquenes step, at 4030 m, the boundary between Argentina and Chile.
Due to customs regulations, the horses can’t cross from one country to the other, and so we will change horses at the international boundary. New Chilean horses and Chilean muleteers guides will lead us down to the El Plomo river in Chilean territory.
After crossing the river, private vehicles will be waiting for us. We will drive to the Cajón del Maipo, the Embalse del Yeso (Yeso Reservoir) in San Gabriel where we will complete the customs paperwork at the Police office.
Accommodation in a beautiful complex of cabins and farewell dinner at local restaurant.
Day 6: TRANSFER CAJÓN DEL MAIPO (Chile) / SANTIAGO DE CHILE
Transfer to Santiago and end of the program. Optional transfer to Mendoza (please contact us to discuss).
• 2 Upper body base layers, polypropylene or capeline
• 1 Long sleeve shirt
• 1 Fleece jacket
• 1 Windproof Gore-tex jacket (must have a hood)
• 1 Down jacket (hood recommended)
• 1 Lower body base layer (thermal underwear or similar)
• 1 Pair of trekking pants
• 1 Pair of Windproof GoreTex pants (we recommend side zippers)
• 1 Pair of liner gloves
• 1 Pair of fleece or wool gloves
• 1 hat or cap with wide brim for sun protection
• 1 Fleece hat or balaclava
• 1 Pair of trekking boots (we recommend Gore-Tex models)
• 1 Pair of gaiters
• 2 Pairs of lightweight socks
• 2 Pairs of heavyweight socks
• 1 Pair of glacier glasses with side protection (100% UV)
• 1 Headlamp
• 1 Sleeping bag (suitable down to -20ºC / -4ºF)
• 1 Pair of hiking poles
• Cooking Utensils
• Sunscreen and lip protection (SPF 40)
• 2 Water bottles
• 1 Thermos flask
• Large backpack (25 l),gear bag or 90l backpack.
• Camera, video camera, extra batteries
• Personal first-aid kit
• 1 Pee bottle
• Personal hygiene kit
• 6 Batteries for headlamp or other