- The legendary crossing of the Andes through the route taken by San Martín
- Paso de Los Patos -
"...what does not allow me to sleep well is, not the strength of our enemy army, but crossing these immense mountains". Written by Don José de San Martín to José María Guido, 14 June, 1816.
While the roar of freedom was still heard in France and U.S., its echo rolled into South America……. patriotic voices with gigantic dreams coordinated their actions to put an end to 350 years of monarchic domination and open an era of individual free will.
I want to invite you to share with us the privilege of reediting one of the most amazing achievements in the history of mankind. Crossing the Andes through the exact same spot San Martín and his "Army of the Andes" did in 1817 to free the people of Chile from its European monarchs. Thought for a small group of enthusiasts of nature and history. We will have the chance to feel the titanic efforts that our Fathers of Independence had to overcome. A mythical journey that draws like a magnet. Probably, the trip of a lifetime…..
This wilderness is flanked by the highest mountains in America, the Aconcagua (20 900ft.) and the Mercedario (20 700 ft.). It is in these uninhabited places, which you can only reach on horseback, where huge herds of guanacos roam freely and the Andean condor nests. Only in unique places like this you can enjoy the privilege of watching them in plenitude. As the sun sets, the spectacular stars of the southern hemisphere will cover the sky. Relax at the camp with its peaceful atmosphere. The campfire that lightens up the darkness as you share a cup of coffee, tea or mate. All this creates the ideal ambiance to feel the timeless spirit of nature and settle each day's emotions. After we have reached the other side of the Andes, we will be able to say that we now completely understand the exact value of each of San Martin's words:
"…..and to the Army of the Andes remains forever the glory of saying: in 24 days we have done the campaign, we crossed the highest mountains of the globe, we ended tyranny and gave freedom to Chile". Signed by José de San Martín, 22 Februrary, 1817, Santiago de Chile.
Following next is a description of our itinerary for which there is no minimum group size. We can also arrange tailor-made rides during season depending on how long you wish to ride and your travel preferences. There is no minimum group size. Please ask for rates.
Warning: Whilst we always endeavor to avoid changes before and during the program and cancellations, we must reserve the right to do so due to unusual or unforeseeable circumstances.
The journey is done simultaneously from Argentina to Chile and from Chile to Argentina. We describe the program as it is from Argentina to Chile. The one from Chile to Argentina is similar but in reverse. Our organization will asign each guest to a group in order to balance them.
Day 1 - Arrival at Mendoza city. Transfer to Barreal, San Juan. Night in bungalows.
Day 2 - Start of horseback ride. Barreal - Manantiales in 4x4 vehicles. Horseback ride to camp at Peñón.
Day 3 - Horseback riding (cont.). From Peñón to Las Vegas de Gallardo. We cross at 13500 ft. the famous Espinacito Slope.
Day 4 - Horseback riding (cont.). From Vegas de Gallardo to Valle Hermoso, along the Volcán river.
Day 5 - Horseback riding (cont.). Border crossing. Horses switching. Camp in Chile in El Ciénego.
Day 6 - Horseback riding (cont.). From El Ciénego to Las Tejas, our last camp in the mountains.
Day 7 - Horseback riding (cont.). Final day of riding. We reach Resguardo de Los Patos. Transfer to Los Andes town. Night in hotel. Farewell dinner.
Day 8 - End of program after breakfast.
Detailed itinerary: 8 days / 7 nights:
Day 1 - Arrival at Mendoza city: Transfer to Barreal, San Juan (height 5100 ft.). Argentine migrations. Night in bungalows. Dinner.
Day 2 - Start of horseback ride: After breakfast we ride 4x4 vehicles to Manantiales. This is the place were the ride starts by the Los Patos river. We ride to Peñón or Las Hornillas to camp and spend the night at 6300 ft. height.
Day 3 - Horseback riding (cont.): Today we cross the Espinacito Slope at 13 500 ft. This is the highest point of the journey. The landscape is daydreaming and makes us feel the titanic efforts that the Army of the Andes had to overcome. Lunch at the feet of the Espinacito. Night in Vegas de Gallardo at 8700 ft., an old sea bottom full of marine fossils.
Day 4 - Horseback riding (cont.): We ride along the Volcán river, the same used by the army while marching to Valle Hermoso. We camp at 9000ft. with a magnificent view of Mount Aconcagua, the highest mountain in America.
Day 5 - Horseback riding (cont.): We leave early in the morning to reach the international border at 12000 ft. Changing horses is mandatory so we say farewell to our Argentine horses and guides and continue our ride on Chilean horses. Night in El Ciénego camp.
Day 6 - Horseback riding (cont.): We are already riding the Pacific Ocean watersheds. We ride along the Rocín river. Camp at Las Tejas.
Day 7 - Horseback riding (cont.): After breakfast we do our last day of riding towards the Resguardo de los Patos. The challenge is almost over and we now fully grasp the real meaning of the crossing. We leave behind the horses. Transfer to Los Andes town to spend the night at the hotel. It is in this area where of the Aconcagua Valley where San Martín joined Las Heras who had crossed further south through Uspallata. Two days later, on 12 Februrary 1817, the Chacabuco battle took place. On 14 Februrary, San Martín and O'Higgins entered Santiago de Chile to declare the independence of Chile. Farewell dinner.
Day 8 - End of program: After breakfast you are free to move on with your individual plans. From Los Andes it is very easy to go back to Mendoza (Argentina) or to go to Santiago de Chile.
Days: 8 days/7 nights, 6 full riding days
Horses: mules or criollos. Recado style saddles
Pace: Slow. 6-7 hrs /day
Level: Suitable for novice to experienced riders
Weather: Summer Hi 30°C (86ºF) - Lo -5°C (25ºF)
Dates: Upon request during season (1 Sep. - 15 May). No minimum group size
Included: Accommodations (5 nights camping, 2 basic hotel (one night in Barreal, Argentina and one night in Los Andes, Chile), Transfer Los Andes - Resguardo Los Patos and Barreal - Mendoza. All meals and beverages during ride and others indicated. Double, triple rooms. Not included: flights, travel and medical insurance, gratuities
Departure dates: departures
during season (December
– March). Please ask for our schedule
Immigration and Customs: For Argentine citizens cédula de identidad, DNI o L.E / L.C. For other nationalities valid passport and, in some cases, tourist visa. Those under 21 years of age require legal parent authorization. You must comply customs regulations
Meeting place: Crossing Argentina to Chile: Mendoza city. Crossing Chile to Argentina: Los Andes (Chile)
Rate: ask for quotation