Latin America Journeys Guru
Latin America Journeys Guru | Travel Design

Horse Riding & Trekking in Argentina

Horse Riding & Trekking in Argentina

North Western Argentina is the most fascinating area of Argentina offering variety of ecosystems, landscapes & culture. Here you find still the soul of indigenous cultures mixed with Spanish influences which led to the rise to the gaucho culture.

Many travellers who are planning to go to Argentina focus only on Patagonia, however the Northwest of Argentina has to offer so much more for those who like to be surrounded by immense nature in silence and be off the beaten paths. In these desolated mountains you are absorbed by the elements, a natural way of life and the rhythm of trekking.

There are only a few local families left in these remote mountains who try to keep making a living. You will meet the people of the fincas where you usually camp & experience the kindness and hospitality of your gaucho guides. In these mountains the post & priest still go by horse. Some local schools have a radio on solar energy, but that is all. You can only come here by horse or on foot.

The itineraries we offer are unique, pass along several (pre) Inca archaeological sites, follow valleys with huge cacti, beautiful coloured canyons, and cross over passes between 3450 and 4600 metres high with views on snow topped volcanoes. You camp with your own tent during the trekking and a gaucho cook prepares your meals. Your luggage is transported by mules and there is time to make a walk after each day-ride or hike, go birdwatching & enjoy the flora and variety of landscapes. As the sun sets, the spectacular stars of the southern hemisphere lighten up the sky. You can relax at the camp & around a campfire with its peaceful atmosphere. The ideal ambiance to feel the timeless spirit of nature.

The itineraries can be modified to your personal wishes including departure date, duration and amount of free days. As the gaucho families are living in the mountains and do not have a direct access to the telephone net, reservations & payments need to be fulfilled at least 7-8 weeks before departure time. We can arrange all transfers needed, make reservations for accommodations and offer several kinds of individual travel programs before or afterwards in the Northwest of Argentina, travelling with rental car or by bus.

Example trekking/horse riding tours:

From Gauchos to Volcanoes (Apr to Dec tailormade departures) based on 2 persons travelling. See 10 day itinerary below. Price includes guidance of gauchos on horseback, transport of all luggage & food with mules, gaucho cook & meals, tent, camping equipment, hay for horses, camp fees & 2 personal horses (inc. for 3 free days). Not included: transfers, travel extensions, extra personal food & reservations of accommodations before departure and at the end.

A 10 day trek starting from near Salta; this journey takes you through a great variety of landscapes from canyons, cactus valleys to a high pass with puna vegetation and the Toro canyon at the end. You arrive at the starting point by remise or taxi from Salta in the morning, where you will meet the gauchos that will guide you. At the end of the trek you camp or sleep in Santa Rosa de Tastil. The next morning you can visit the ruins of Tastil with sunset and either travel by bus in the midday to San Antonio de las Cobres or in the early morning to Salta.

You start at an altitude of around 2500m, go over a pass of 4600m the last day and end around 3100m. The rides are suitable for riders with little experience or even people who have never ridden before. The horses are used to difficult terrain, are born in the mountains and are very relaxed. You can decide to do a main itinerary on foot, and when you get tired to jump on a horse for a moment to relax & enjoy the scenery with complete free attention.

Note: The itineraries on foot are a little shorter and different then the horse riding itinerary we have mentioned here. Horseback rides for single persons are also possible.

Nine day Andes crossing from Chile to Argentina. The legendary crossing of the Andes through the route taken by San Martín - Paso de Los Patos. You have magnificent views on the highest mountain of the Andes, the Aconcagua, of nearly 7000m. This unique crossing involves an exchange of horses and custom formalities on horse, as you ride from Chile to Argentina in the footsteps of the legendary San Martin, one of the liberators of South America. Group departures: only Dec, Jan, Feb, March. Meeting dates (meet in Santiago de Chile): contact us for the last dates, and upon request private departures at other dates (1 Dec. – late March), min 4-6 persons. 3150 USD per person. Min 6 riders. Hotels: double rooms. Supplement if 2-3 riders us$ 1900 per person. Supplement if 4-5 riders us$ 800 per person. Single supplement for hotels and camping tent: us$ 350. If requested we can provide return bus tickets to Santiago de Chile for us$50. Included: Accommodations (6 nights camping where everyone in the group is asked to help to the extent possible, 1 night hotel at Los Andes, Chile, 1 night hotel at Uspallata – double, triple rooms). Transfer Santiago de Chile – Los Andes at pre-set time, Los Andes - Los Patos, Barreal – Uspallata – Mendoza. English speaking guide, gauchos, horses, saddlebags, pack mules, camping equipment. Cooking equipment and table ware. First aid kits for people and horses. Oxygen bottle. Iridium satellite phone for emergency calls. All meals, wine and beverages during ride and others indicated in town. Luggage: 20 kilos per person plus saddlebags. Not included: International and domestic flights, travel and medical insurance, gratuities and all others not indicated.

Other tailormade options: Tailormade self drive tours in NW Argentina: 9 to 21 day selfdrive programmes which take you through wide valleys, steep canyons, along cloudforest and over the Altiplano in Salta & Jujuy, NW Argentina. Extension to San Pedro de Atacama & Southern Bolivia as individual tailor made trip or with private guide-driver. We offer guiding services for those who wish to explore the area between Salta, San Pedro de Atacama, La Paz with a private guide-driver.

We have more than 125 independent reviews on Responsible Travel on our destinations in Latin America from Cuba, Bolivia, Brasil, Peru, Colombia to Argentina. Contact us for a chat via Skype or Viber and ask for a tailor made itinery and quote.

Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1-2:You are brought by a remise or taxi from Salta to the start at a very small village at around 2500m. You travel along broad river beds through colourful canyons & rock formations.

Day 3:You have a free day near a hacienda, in the middle of nowhere. Here you can see condors nestling in a huge cliff and puma trails in the riverbed. The day can be used to make a guided walk through the area, visit some gaucho families, several impressive pre-Inca petroglyphs, an indigenous pre-Inca village & an indigenous cemetery. You can just relax and take a bath in a river nearby and use this day to explore the decor of rocks & cacti a little further on foot on your own.

Day 4-5:You travel through a long canyon to an impressive viewpoint near a pass of 3500m and a hacienda where the sunset can marvel you with a huge variety of colours. The next day you cross the pass and descend in a canyon until you reach several fincas in the middle of fields of giant cacti.

Day 6-8:The next day you continue through a wide valley and visit the remnants of a large administrative Inca centre, which is rarely visited. You climb again to a pass of 3500m and camp just below the pass in wide open space. From here you first descend through a deep canyon and then start slowly climbing into a valley to 3600m high. You pass several haciendas & a local school. The children might be very interested to talk to you.

Day 9:You have a free day to rest at the beginning of a long and steep climb for crossing a high pass the next day. You can make a small excursion on foot or by horse to have a view on a nearby snow topped volcano of around 6000m. Interesting to know is that the zone where we camp has been a workshop where indigenous people & Incas used to make their stone tools. They travelled over the same pass in past times.

Day 10:In the early morning you ascend over a steep trail steadily to a pass of around 4600m high, with spectacular views in all directions on volcanoes & the altiplano. You lunch after the pass after which you descend in canyons of volcanic rock formations. On this altitude you still find big Azorella mosses, which become more & more rare in the Andes. You end in the Toro canyon on the foot of a mountain with the most impressive pre-Inca village of the south of Latin America.