One of Chile’s natural secrets, the Cochamo valley, is spread over 250.000 hectares of native Valdivian temperate rainforest, surrounded by mountains, lakes, waterfalls and rivers. The Riverside Lodge is used as a comfortable base for an Andean experience suitable for both horse riders and non-riders. Up in the mountains, a small cozy lodge provides a base for your exploration of the stunning surroundings.
The tour, which you can do in 2, 3 or 4 days, starts at the Riverside Hostel and follows up through the pristine wilderness to the Andean valley of La Junta in north Patagonia often called the "Yosemite of Chile".
Amidst the granite mountain peaks are stands of 3,000 year-old Alerce trees and an amazing variety of wildlife - condors, pumas and songbirds. This horseback riding tour is for non-riders and riders, who are accompanied by multilingual guides. They can choose from among 14 well-trained horses.
The mountains are full of wild flowers and sparkling streams. Horseback riding is quite a bit less work than hiking and particularly appropriate for going long distances over rugged terrain. There is no other way than horseback riding to travel here and probably will never be.
The guides for these trips are Arrieros and baqueanos (cowboys). As there are no roads or steady trails here, they have learned the routes from their fathers and grandfathers before them. It is worth learning Spanish to understand their tales around the campfire!
A 02:30 hrs transfer from Puerto Montt or Puerto Varas takes you along Lake Llanquihue via the village of Ensenada to Cochamo and the close by Riverside Lodge.
You will enjoy wonderful views of several volcanoes and the Andes mountain range on the way. Arriving at the lodge, there is time to hike to a small hilltop farm overlooking the nearby Reloncavi fiord. Dinner and overnight in cabin with private bath. ( D )
After a little riding school, we start our expedition up the Cochamo Valley. For five hours we will follow the trail of the gauchos into the Andes. Enjoy the silence in one of the most beautiful forests you can imagine, passing by waterfalls and pretty valley meadows.
Arriving at La Junta we will have an "asado", a typical Chilean barbecue, over the open fire. Dinner and overnight at the mountain lodge (shared bathroom ) ( B, BL, D )