Patagonia is a popular destination for nature-lovers to explore by foot but not all are up to hiking over challenging terrain – there’s a reason the term ‘Patagonian flat’ was coined after all!
For travellers looking to enjoy the local scenery without having to clamber up and down mountains themselves, horseback riding is a great alternative.
You’ll enjoy stunning scenery, experience the infamous Patagonian weather first-hand, make friends with the most gorgeous horses and best of all, your feet will thank you for giving them a break when all is said and done!
Where Can I Ride in Patagonia?
We rode with Pingo Salvaje on the outskirts of the Torres del Paine national park, enjoying the views that the region is known for, without the additional cost of park entrance (which is always a bonus when you’re trying to stick to a budget). The horses were amongst the calmest that I’ve ever ridden whilst still having the ‘up and go’ that so many commercial trekking horses seem to lack; these beauties were a pleasure.
There is also riding available within the boundaries of the national park, both for pleasure and to assist tired trekkers coming down from the Base of the Towers, but remember, you’ll need to account for the additional cost of entering the park (which is well worth doing at some stage).
Plan Your Visit Well
The winds in Patagonia can be brutal so I would suggest trying to book your horseback adventure for a day when the winds are at their lowest. Because we had a tight window of opportunity, we rode in crazy winds regardless and though the horses handled it well (they’re incredibly used to it), at times it wasn’t the most comfortable of experiences.
We were pleased we chose to go ahead with the ride regardless but had we the option, it would have been even better on a slightly less windy day.
As always (at least in Patagonia), ensure you’ve got a wind-proof jacket to help keep you toasty warm and some comfortable gloves. With those two things, we were warm even with the wind whipping up around us.
After hiking the majority of the W Trek, our legs were well and truly ready for a break and riding ended up being the perfect way to get out and make the most of the incredible scenery whilst giving our aching bodies a chance to recover.
If you’re travelling through Puerto Natales in Chile and either aren’t up for hiking or are just looking for a day off the trails, we’d certainly suggest saddling up and seeing this part of the word from a slightly higher vantage point.
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Thanks to Pingo Salvaje for so kindly hosting our ride. As always, all thoughts are our own.