- What is the accommodation like?
At the ranch, where you will spend a couple of days before and after your pack trip, are a couple of rustic and cozy buildings. The Casa Grande has a large kitchen, a dining room, a self-made fireplace, and a veranda with a beautiful view over the river and the valley. The accommodation for the guests is next to the main lodge or spread over the area. There is one two room apartment with a queen-size bed, a three-room apartment, and a guesthouse with a double and a single bed plus a guestroom with a queen-size bed. All rooms are equipped with a private bathroom. In order to have hot water it is necessary to heat the water up above a wood fired stove. Small turbines provide power, which is enough for lamps, laptops, and speakers, but are not suitable for items with a high energy consumption. There is also a washing machine at the staff accommodation, which you can use. The ranch has its own garden, which grows vegetables and fruit for the staff and guests.
- How is the food provided?
During the days which you and group will spend at the ranch a cook is responsible for your daily meals, which can be typically Californian or traditional Argentinian style. The home-grown vegetables and fruit are used for the meal preparation as well as self-made dairy products and meat (goat, beef, lamb). During your actual pack trip, you will prepare the meals with the rest of the group and take the groceries with you. As the backpacking-suitable groceries are limited you should be prepared for meals based on bread, crackers, chees, salami, honey, jam and cereals for breakfast and lunch. Mostly you will have rice, polenta, lentils, pasta, and meat for dinner.
- How can I spend my free time?
During the time you spend on the ranch, you will have a lot of free time: You can go for a day ride, a picnic or enjoy a wine evening at the veranda. You also have the opportunity to go for a swim in the pool, relax at the riverbanks of the Trocoman and Picunleo rivers or try your fishing skills.
- Do I have a contact person on site?
Yes, you will have a contact person during your course.
- What kind of cost do I have to expect during the project? Can I withdraw cash on site and do I have to pay in local currency?
The currency in Argentina is the Argentinian Peso. Instead of traveler checks you should change for US-Dollars or Euros. In the cities, it is often possible to pay by card. Compared to changing money at a bank or currency exchange it is easier to look for an ATM and change money there with a credit card. You should keep in mind, that in most cases this will include a transaction fee (~5$) per transaction. Before your departure you should talk to your bank about this topic. During your course, you basically do not have any costs, as food and accommodation are included in the course fee and in the Patagonian Andes you do not have a chance to spend money anyways. But you should consider bringing some money for your time before and after the course. The amount is depending on the free time activity you are planning to do outside of the course. After your arrival, we recommend you to change 200$ in Pesos for your time till the course starts. We would also advise you to take $100- $200 for emergencies with you.
- How can I contact family and friends at home?
You should contact home before and after the course. Prepare yourself not to be able to contact home after leaving Neuquén to the ranch and back, as there is no internet or phone connection.
- What’s the climate/weather like?
The weather in Patagonia is changing often within a day. During the pack trip along the “shadow side” of the Andes the group will ride from the hot offshoots of the Andes up to the alpine regions, which are known for the rapid changes in weather conditions, intense sunlight and winds. Rough weather fronts can develop within a short time and without any advance notice. Even during the summer months, it can snow from time to time in the higher regions of the Andes. The group can expect temperatures between 50°F (10°C) and 80°F (27°C) during the day, but there can also be extreme temperatures between 105°F (40°C) in the lowlands and down to 30°F (0°C) in the higher regions. Depending on the conditions it can rain a lot or be extremely dry – which means you should be prepared for nearly everything!
- What happens in case of an emergency?
Every participant needs to bring a small first aid kit to be prepared for small accidents. All guides have completed a special first aid course to be prepared for emergencies. Still every participant should be aware that the course takes part in the midst of the Patagonian backcountry far away from civilization and without satellite connection, which means that a direct, professional medical supply cannot be provided.