On this ride you will travel across the Andes Mountains of Northwest Argentina the way it was done in Colonial times. These are ancient Inca trails. For centuries, the beginning of autumn marks the time when gauchos round up cattle grazing the open range. It is time to get ready for winter.
After driving cattle to the corrals, the task is sorting, branding and doctoring. A lot of work and adrenaline, joy and excitement as the time has come to sell some and cash in on a year of hard work.
This is the perfect adventure for a small group of experienced riders, willing to experience the authentic life of the gauchos and a genuine Andean cattle drive. You will be required to ride your horse off track in steep mountain terrain and be spontaneous, enthusiastic and up for some fun.
We go up to 3000 m (9000 feet) where the forest changes to high altitude grassland. This is the homeland of the Andean condor. As the sun sets, the spectacular stars of the southern hemisphere will cover the sky. It is a good time for sitting around the campfire, sharing stories and making new friends
Departure & Return Location
Salta Airport, Argentina
Date and Rates
€ 1.550 per person
Supplement if 4-5 riders € 156 per person.
Supplement if 2-3 riders € 334
Hotels: double – triple rooms. Single supplement for hotels: € 85
During ride shared rooms
30 April – 08 May, 2022
01-09 October, 2022,
29 April – May 07 2023
30 September – October 08, 2023
This is a ride for adventurous riders who have always dreamed of taking part in a real Argentine cattle round up.
Be ready for long days and lots of searching for cattle, riding and helping the gauchos. You will be immersed in their lives for the duration of this ride.
Be fit and nimble and be able to ride off-track and be comfortable at all paces riding tough and reliable criollo horses. 90 km weight limit and a maximum of 6 riders.
Accomodation s in hotels or simple guest houses. Don’t expect luxuries – just a lot of fun.
Arrive Buenos Aires/ Salta: Flight to Salta. Arrive any time before 4 PM. Pick up at local airport. We will visit the MAAM (Museum of High Altitude Archaeology). Recently opened to show the items found at an Inca human sacrifice site on top of the Llullaillaco volcano (6730 mts – 18000 ft. high). It holds the best preserved mummies in the world. Check in at boutique hotel. Enjoy a welcome dinner with your guide.
Cattle round up and horseback ride:
After breakfast, we will drive to meet our horses. The drive takes us along the Cuesta del Obispo and its breathtaking views and the Cardones National Park where you can usually spot guanacos (Andean camelidae). We reach Peñas Blancas (2750 meters high) where we meet the horses and gauchos. Lunch. In the afternoon we ride the lifeline this valley has had for centuries while we start looking for the cattle spread all over. On our way we can see, here and there, the small houses made with mud and archeological remains of ancient settlements. We stop to see the ancient pictographs painted by local Indians centuries ago. We will visit Isonza which is a working ranch with its ancient way of life still intact and Leuca Burgos who makes goat cheese. The way they milk the goats, make cheese, grow their crops is centuries old and inherited from Inca times. On the way there are herds of wild donkeys set free by the Spanish Conquistadors. Night at camp at Peñas Blancas (rooms with beds, no bathroom).
Cattle Roundup: after breakfast we get ready to ride. The whole day will be spent screening the area and rounding up cattle. The ride takes us West at the beginning until we reach the very steep Chilo slopes which divide two valleys. The view is magnificent and makes us feel the power of nature. By sunset we should be able to arrive to the corrals with not one cow left behind.
Cattle Roundup: the corrals were built in mud over 200 years ago and used ever since. Get ready to start sort, brand, doctor, etc. each of the cows and calfs. A lot of work and adrenaline while the local Food and Drug Administration officers vaccinate the heard. It is now when gaucho and horse blend together in a reining exhibition that made them world famous. You can just decide to relax and watch or get into the corral and join the gauchos! Night in camp at Peñas Blancas.
After breakfast we will finish whatever work is left from the day before. Splitting is normally done now. Horseback ride back to Peñas to spend the night
Cattle drive and horse riding: today is a full day cattle drive to Amblayo of what will be delivered to the market. The riding today is mainly South along the valley. We will go past Yaslaguala. The giant cactii are all over and set the stage. We arrive to Amblayo town (2400 meters high) where we will spend the night. It has only 150 dwellers and its main means of transportation is on horseback. It is renowned for its goat cheese. Sense the feeling of arriving on horseback to this tiny town with almost no cars! An unforgettable experience. To get there we will ride first through archaeological areas where you can see pieces of painted pottery scattered around. We have a look with agreement not to remove any of the findings. Night at Amblayo. Rooms with beds, bathroom with hot water.
Horse riding : After breakfast enjoy this picturesque town. of Ablayo Visit its ancient chapel and its 17th century paintings brought from Peru, have a chat with its neighbors. After lunch we ride to the foothills of the Sierra Pelada. These multicoloured hills are unique. We will also ride the Río Salado which is a great place for cantering! Night at Amblayo. Traditional goat barbecue at dinner.
High Altitude Wineries – Salta city: After breakfast, drive to Cachi. This area is known for high altitude vineyards (most 2000 to 2500 meters high). It has just 1% of all vineyards in Argentina but gets 10% of total investments. This means just one thing: high quality. Some of Argentinas best wines are made here. So your Argentinean experience would not be complete without a private visit to Isasmendi winery and taste some of their best wines. This small, boutique winery is owned by the heirs of the last Spanish Colonial Governor. Lunch and 3 hours transfer to Salta city.
Check in at boutique hotel. Dinner not included.
Salta city departure: Breakfast. Transfer to airport