Descriptions of the Crossing of the Andes Trail Chile - Argentina

Edward H. Williams "Crossing the Andes” trip in December 2009

My brother and I took the “Crossing the Andes” trip in December 2009. It was a fantastic experience in every way. We were greeted warmly with a welcome hot meal and a peaceful cabin. We started riding the next day. Antilco had carefully selected appropriate horses for our riding level based on the information we provided them before the trip. We had a dry run in the area to make sure they were a good fit, and they were. They were spirited and fun to ride. The trails were amazing and dramatic. Our Chilean guides (Aldo and Lena) were excellent. Aldo knew the area like the back of his hand and told funny stories about his experiences. Lena was fluent in English, informative and fun to hang out with. Both were excellent riders and very helpful. We had wonderful campsites tucked away in the mountains, by gurgling creeks, by scenic lakes and in the highlands. The food was great – Aldo sure knows how to roast meat over an open fire! And the readily available Chilean and Argentinean wine was a very welcome surprise. The second phase of the trip was with Hernan and Jose in Argentina. We met them on a high plateau as we switched horses and headed into Argentina, after chatting over a glass of vino in a place that could fairly be characterized as the top of the world. The contrast in the terrain was amazing. Suddenly we were riding in wide-open spaces where you could see forever – with active volcanoes in the background. Throughout the entire trip we did not see another tourist. In fact, we didn’t see very many Chileans or Argentineans as we were in very remote areas. We also learned (with some help) how to outfit our horses with both Chilean and Argentine saddles, bridles, and saddle bags. My brother, while a decent rider, was new to outfitting horses. Although he never learned to do it quickly (and had a bridle on upside down for a short period of time), he was greatly excited to learn how to use the various gear—the guides were patient: the initial approach of leaving all of the gear in a pile in front of my brother after a nod of the head evolved into lessons about how to use the gear. We spent our final night in a comfortable cabin (with plenty of hot water) at Hernan’s farm in Argentina. It was the trip of a lifetime, and I enthusiastically recommend it to anyone who enjoys riding and wants to reach some of the most remote and beautiful places in the world.