Norte Chico Condor Trail

Northern Chile Chile: (IT-CHRT14C)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/chile_norte_chico_condor_trail.aspx

Introduction
Northern Chile Chile
This is an expedition where you ride “to the roof of the Andes”, to heights of 3800m, where you can see condors flying below. You'll spend 5 days and up to 11 hours per day in the saddle. You will explore the wild Sierra, the huge Andes and experience the romantic and pure nature.

Planes from Santiago land in La Serena (health and seaside resort at the Pacific) three times every day, yet visitors from distant countries hardly know this region. Nevertheless, well known is the term "Pisco" which is a colorless and natural brandy extracted from the grapes of the local sunny vineyards. When autumn and winter starts on the Northern hemisphere, holiday season, which is from October to April, begins here in this mild and dry climate. The big, blue Pacific with its hidden fishing villages on the coast and the quaint mountain villages of the wild Andes are part of this region, as well as the lonely valleys, endless mountain trails, and the peace and quiet of the majestic Andes over which  the condors fly. A well-known holiday resort  of the region is Pisco de Elqui, its home in the valley of the same name. The Rio Hurtado valley is situated nearby, only 10 miles as the crow flies, to the west; and that is where the Hacienda is. One of northern Chile's Indian ceremony places in the best condition is situated in this green valley only 45 minutes ride from the hacienda.

More than forty rock paintings are the last traces of the ancient Indian culture of the Diaguitas. They owned gold mines which attracted the Inca to the Hurtado valley some time later. They introduced the irrigation system which is a labyrinth of channels and which was used by the Spaniards too from the 16th century on, and still the farmers today profit from it. The Spaniards followed the old trade trail of the Inca, known as Inca trail, upstream the Rio Hurtado and further over the Andes.

They gave this pass its name "Linia Santa Rosa" and still today thousands of animals with their herdsmen follow this trail from Chile to the summer pastures in Argentina, like some hundreds years ago. The Hurtado district has only about 160 miles of roads which can be traveled by car, and thousands of miles of cattle trails which are traveled by the people (and by our guests) on horseback. Naturally, small changes to traditional life have brought small hospitals, schools, parish halls, restored villages and democratic developments to the area.

Visitors to this region will find a mixture of the old Chilean culture and the achievements of the new century. The hospitable people who can be met here are small farmers, herdsmen, workmen and cattle breeders. They live in small villages surrounded by huge and colorful mountain massifs, semi-desert landscapes, steppes, and a wide Sierra.

Accomodation

Accommodations
This is a progressive ride with 2 overnight stays at the Hacienda and 4 nights camping.

Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Night 1: Hacienda
Night 2: Camping at Maiten
Night 3: Camping in Vallecillo Valley
Night 4: Camping in Valley of San Augustin
Night 5: Camping in Las Breas
Night 6: Hacienda

Hacienda
The Hacienda has 7 comfortable colonial style guest rooms. Each standard room (single, double or triple room available) comes with a private bathroom. It is possible to upgrade to a suite for an extra fee. The suites are bigger and have big windows with great views of the mountains
The hacienda also has a beautiful garden where guests can relax. WiFi is available in public areas and is free of charge.  Laundry services are available for an extra fee.

Camping
While camping, we provide you with 1 or 3-person tents, an isothermal mattress and a sleeping bag. Outhouses are available at most camps but you might have to dig a hole in the ground in the most remote camps. Guests can go for a swim in nearby rivers to bathe while camping.

Room Occupancy
Single supplement is mandatory if we cannot find another rider to share.


Meals
While staying at the hacienda, breakfasts and dinners and included (no drinks) and while camping all meals are included and wine is served for dinner.
For our meals we use exclusively local products of traditional cultivation that we obtain directly from the small holding farmers of the Río Hurtado valley.

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater for special diet requirements with prior notice.

Riding

Horses

Our horses are descendants of the Chilean Criollos. They are calm and sweet-natured. Growing up in rocky and difficult areas has made them sure-footed and reliable animals. 
Our horses are specifically trained for trail rides. We use neither spurs nor whips. We use the same paths as the men called "Huasos" in Chile and "Gauchos" in Argentina. That is how our horses gain strength and endurance.
We find the right horse for every customer. Our herd ranges from calm, easy-going horses to more lively ones.

Tack
The saddles provided are local Chilean type, which are called Avios. Its origin is Spanish and they have been designed specially for long distance trips. Its wooden mount, reinforced with iron, is cushioned with “chiporro” and protected with leather. The other cloth beneath the saddle is called batán, pellón and matra, and are normally laid on ground by gauchos to provide a soft and warm bed.

We Provide:
sleeping bag, thermal mat, tent, personal pannier (cup etc.), ice-box, thermos bottle, (by request) safety helmet, sombrero head and riding gaiters, first aid kit, saddle bags and finally one of the well trained and calm Chilean mountain horses.  Explorations accompanied by English, German and Spanish speaking guides.

Itinerary


Sample Itinerary - subject to changes.

Day 1: Arrival
Transfer to the Hacienda. Time for a walk across the 500 ha pure reserve. Dinner at 7:00pm, followed by a briefing of the tour. Overnight stay at the hacienda.
Meals included: Dinner
Overnight at Hacienda


Day 2: Ride to Maiten
Breakfast buffet. You will get to know your horse and the Chilean riding style (similar to Western style). We set off at 11:00 am after having packed the absolutely necessary stuff for our trip into the wilderness. We pass through wild plateaus and canyons, ride the endless Sierra and enjoy a picnic lunch and an original siesta. In the afternoon, we pass over heights of 2000 meters. Crystal clear air allows magical views down the valleys of the Andes. We camp in an oasis of the Andes called Maiten. In front of a camp fire we serve dinner.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping in Maiten


Day 3: Maiten to Vallecillo
After having breakfast and packing the saddlebags we leave the village Maiten. For this day we are riding about 7 to 8 hours through the colorful Andean mountains. Enjoy the loneliness of the nature and the spectacular views down from the Andean plateau. We will put up our tents in the wild nature in the valley called Vallecillo. Those who want can spend the night without a tent under the beautiful and clear sky of Chile which is famous for his huge amount of stars.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping in Vallecillo


Day 4: Vallecillo to San Augustin Valley
After one night in the pure nature, having breakfast and packing all our stuff we will climb the Andes up to a height of 3800 meters.
We’ll pass a mountain stream which meanders like a green stripe through the desert. Further up the surrounding is similar to the landscape on the moon out of stones and rocks. The wind becomes freezing and not far from us is still snow. Perhaps we are lucky to see the famous condors – the giants in the air.
Finally we ride down again where and build up our camping place in the valley of San Augustin beside the river Hurtado.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping in San Augustin Valley


Day 5: San Augustin Valley to Las Breas
After a relaxed night we are fit enough to start a heavy tour of 10-11 hours horseback riding. This day is probably the most beautiful of the whole tour. Once again we climb up on a height of 3800 meters. The footprints of the puma on the sandy path show us how near this dangerous wild cat live. But the basic food of pumas are goats. All over we meet herdsmen with their goats so we don’t have to be worried. The landscape gets stonier and steeper and forces the total force of our horses. Reaching the top we got rewarded by a stunning view. A moment we will never forget. We will spend the night in the village Las Breas where we can sleep in the house of the our Chilean friend Fernando. Everyone can decide whether he wants to spend the night outside or in a comfortable bed. We will have dinner with a Chilean family and change information about the different cultures.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping in Las Breas


Day 6: Ride back to Hacienda
For the last time we pack our luggage and return to the Hacienda. On our way we pass a horse racing place where many Chileans lost their money. In the afternoon we will arrive on the Hacienda. There will be time left for a refreshing shower and relaxing in the hammock.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hacienda


Day 7: Departure
Transfer to La Serena, Ovalle or Vicuña. Certainly you may stay some more days at the Hacienda and join other activities. 
Meals included: Breakfast

Click here for Norte Chico Adventure Ride


Rates and Dates for Norte Chico Condor Trail

Rates include:

Accommodations (standard room while staying at hacienda), All meals, 5 riding days, All camping equipment (sleeping bag, inlet, thermal mat & tent), Transfer from/to Ovalle.
Guiding available in English, German and Spanish
Safety helmet, sombrero head, chaps & saddle bags can be provided

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescription US$
    A
    20207 days trip, AP$2100
    • Solo rider supplement$195
      Group discount (3+ riders), pp($190)

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionUS$
2020 Transfer from Ovalle, return, included $0
2020 Transfer from La Serena, return, per car ($120,000CLP- local currency only)
This is a "Group Rate" - to be paid locally
$190
2020 Transfer from Vicuña, return, per car ($100,000CLP- local currency only)
This is a "Group Rate" - to be paid locally
$155

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2020 02/22 - 02/28 7d / 6n 7 days trip, AP 1 /6 Expired
A 2020 03/08 - 03/14 7d / 6n 7 days trip, AP 1 /6 Expired

Dates Note:
Additional departure dates are available from October to March

Rates do not include:

Transfers from/to Vicuña or La Serena & Gratuities

Other Info
Meeting: Ovalle or Vicuna/Rio Hutado
Airport: La Serena
Transfer: La Serena or Orvalle

Climate:
                                            La Serena area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

72

72

70

67

64

62

62

62

63

65

67

70

Average Low Temperature (°F)

58

58

57

53

50

48

47

48

49

51

53

56

Average High Temperature (°C)

22

22

21

19

18

17

16

17

17

18

19

21

Average Low Temperature (°C)

15

15

14

12

10

9

8

9

9

10

12

13

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

0

0

0

0

1

1

2

1

0

0

0

0

Source: NOAA


Seasons

There are 310 sunny days a year. The Hacienda  is situated in the typical dry Andean climate of South America at heights of 1000 meters. As a rule, temperatures at night are around 50°F (10°C) colder than temperatures by day.

Spring (September to November)
The average temperature by day 68°F (20°C)

Summer (December to March)
The average temperature by day 77°F (25°C), may become even warmer until 86°F (30°C)

Autumn (April to May)
The average temperature by day 68°F (20°C)

Winter (June to August)
The average temperature by day 59/68°F (15/20°C). During winter it might be cloudy and it also might rain for a couple of hours.

What To Bring:
Here are some last ideas about what to bring with you in order to be well prepared for the trip:
- Warm clothes/jacket for the nights and also during the day, because especially on the third and fourth day we will reach altitudes about 3.800 meters and it will be windy during the trip (waterproofed and wind proofed clothes are recommendable)
- Cap, a scarf and cloves
- Warm wool socks for the nights in the sleeping bags
- Good trekking shoes
- In case a small pillow for the sleeping bag
- In case a book or e-book
- Camera
- Flash light
- Sun cream with a high protection factor and balm lipstick
- Sunhat or riding helmet (we can also provide it in case that you don´t want to bring your own one)
- Ear tip (crowing roosters, snoring companions)
- Sanitary tampon
- Small towel
- Medication
- In case bathing suite

This is what we provide for the trip:
- Comfortable Gaucho-saddle or trekking saddle “Wintec” with sheep-fur padding
- Sleeping bag and clean inlet
- Thermal self-inflate mat
- Tent (depending on the weather condition)
- Personal pannier (cup etc.), ice-box, thermo bottle
- Safety helmet or sombrero head and riding gaiters
- First aid kit
- Saddle bags
- GPS-Messenger