Arrival to Mendoza (760 m / 2,493 ft).
Our driver will pick you up from the airport and drive you to the hotel. Team meeting, gear check.
Mendoza -Real de las Yaretas Camp (3.600 m / 11,810 ft)
Transfer to the trailhead (2:30 h). After driving through vineyards’ past scenic viewpoints and visiting a small museum, we reach the border patrol station. This is the trailhead. Here we meet the gauchos and horses, complete the customs paperwork and have lunch. Then we take a 3-hour acclimatization horse ride or hike to our first campsite, Real de las Yaretas. Gaucho style barbecue, night in tents.
Real de las Yaretas – Portillo Argentino pass (4.380 m / 14,370 ft) – Real de la Cruz
An intense day. Horseback ride or hike to Portillo Argentino. Astonishing view of the Andes and the border with Chile. Then the trail goes down to the valley of the Tunuyan River. It is an 8 or 9 hour day. We have lunch on the trail and spend the night in a big mountain lodge, property of the Army, where we enjoy a hearty dinner. The evening may offer some songs and stories, since the lodge is a meeting point for arrieros and travellers.
After lunch we can explore the surroundings, visit a small lagoon to spot wild geese, or just hanging out at the lodge.
Real de la Cruz – Paso Hondo Camp (3.400 m / 11,155 ft).
Crossing of Río Tunuyán (we use the horses) and ride/trek to Contreras Camp, in the scenic Palomares Valley. It is a perfect spot in the heart of the Andes, where we spend our last night in the mountains. It is a good opportunity to sleep by the fireside and under the stars. 5-hour day.
Paso Hondo – Argentinean-Chilean Border (4.030 m / 13,220 ft) – Trailhead – San Gabriel.
After a 3 hour ascent to the second mountain pass (4.030 m) on the trip, we have lunch at the historical landmark representing the border between Argentina and Chile. Here we exchange Argentine horses for Chilean ones (due to sanitary regulations, the animals are not allowed to cross from one country to another). We then continue along a steep descent, now in Chile, to the Yeso River Valley for 3 more hours. We rendezvous our van and drive to San Gabriel, where we complete the Chilean customs procedures before arriving at our peaceful accomodation with hot showers and big beds!.
Transfer San Gabriel – Mendoza.
Breakfast, transfer to Santiago de Chile, lunch and transfer to Mendoza (ending the trip in Santiago is an option). End of our service.