You will fly to Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires. From there you will travel by bus or by plane to the town of Zapala, in Neuquén Province. You will meet your team in Zapala at 10:00 am, from where you will then drive 4 hours into the foothills of the Andes to a place called Buta Mallin. Here you will have a mid-afternoon lunch before you will have your first experience saddling and packing the horses for a 2 1/2 hour ride into the heart of the Estancia where the lodge is located. In the evening, all participants can settle into their cottage or room and relax at the ranch. The following two days you will spend at the ranch enjoying the recreational opportunities.
On day 4 of your packtrip adventure you and your group will pack up and head out into the Cordillera. The first day will be an all-day ride up to Laguna Negra, a high mountain valley surrounded by jagged peaks, waterfalls, and hanging meadows. You’ll ride about six hours this day – out of the Trocoman River valley, across a high plateau, and down a breathtaking trail into the valley. You will make camp at a gaucho’s puesto and enjoy dinner around the fire ring. The puesto in the Laguna Negra valley is a base camp day for exploring and enjoying.
After your first night in the midst of Patagonia’s nature you and your group will ride to the end of the valley and up to a ridge to see a spectacular view of the Cordillera stretching to the north and south, and the Chilean volcanoes to the west. On the way back to camp you’ll stop in to visit with the local gauchos who spend their summers in the mountains tending their herds. One cultural highlight: a stop at a twig hut and sip maté tea with these wonderful people. You will spend another evening at the puesto, sitting around the fire ring, enjoying dinner and looking back on what happened during the day.
The following day you’ll make your way back down to the ranch, following a different trail that takes you along the edge of the Picunleo Valley, experiencing sweeping views up the Trocoman River to the Copahue Volcano. You’ll spend another relaxing evening and following day at the ranch before – on your last day – you ride back to Buta Mallin, and drive back to Zapala from where you set off to your journey home or your next destination.
During your actual packtrip you will be camping in remote backcountry locations, sleeping on your saddle blanket under the stars or in one of the tents. Please do not expect to have access to email, internet and telephone services. You and your group will be carrying and preparing your own meals. Your menus will mostly include bread, crackers, cheese, salami, honey, jam, and muesli or granola for breakfasts and lunches; and rice, lentils, pasta, polenta, and meat for dinners.
Everybody interested in a Wilderness Experience abroad should be able to adjust to entirely unfamiliar standards of living in their future host country. Therefore, we would like to point out the importance of being flexible and adaptable regarding the accommodation and sanitary facilities provided by the project. Those are very basic and – depending on the project – cannot be compared to European standards. The equipment and furnishings are limited to a minimum; air conditioning is not available. Depending on your host country occasional power blackouts or water outages are quite common. Please contact us if you have further questions about your accommodation. We are pleased to provide you with comprehensive information since we would like you to feel entirely prepared for your time abroad.
During your days at the ranch you will have loads of leisure time: You can go on a day ride, take part in riverside picnics, and enjoy evenings sipping wine on the patio. Moreover, you have the chance to go fishing in the Trocoman and Picunleo Rivers or swimming in the pool, or simply to relax in the riverside sauna.