A Photo Journey: Exploring the Gaucho Trail on Horseback in Southern Patagonia

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Greetings, fellow adventure enthusiasts! Today, we’re embarking on a thrilling horseback expedition through the breathtaking landscapes of Argentine Patagonia. Join us as we saddle up and traverse the rugged terrain of one of the world’s last untamed regions, courtesy of Jakotango, the premier outfitter for all your gaucho-style escapades.

The Ride Begins

Our journey commences with a brief jaunt from Bariloche, a charming town nestled in the foothills of the mighty Andes. As we leave civilization behind, the anticipation of what lies ahead mounts. The backdrop for our adventure? The stunning Nahuel Huapi and Lanín national parks, where Jakotango’s base camp awaits.

A Cozy Retreat Amidst Wilderness

Upon arriving at the Jakotango base camp, you’ll find yourself in a cozy haven amidst the wild. Timber log cabins, wood-fired heaters, and crackling open fires ensure you stay warm during chilly Patagonian nights. It’s the perfect setting to unwind after an exhilarating day in the saddle.

Meet Your Noble Steed

Now, let’s talk about our trusty companions for this grand adventure: Criollos. These native horses of the Pampas are your faithful partners on this journey. Known for their resilience and strength, they’re more than capable of tackling the rugged terrains and river crossings that lie ahead.

Venturing into the Unknown

The further south we ride, the more disconnected we become from the modern world. In this remote corner of Patagonia, there are no roads, only the vast, untouched wilderness. It’s here that you’ll truly experience the gaucho lifestyle—a life that’s both simple and intense.

In Gaucho Attire

As we ride close to the base camp, you’ll notice that all the gauchos are clad in traditional dress. Picture this: heavy woolen ponchos, facons (large knives), rebenques (leather whips), and loose trousers known as bombachas. These are the symbols of their nomadic heritage.

A Gastronomic Adventure

Lunchtime is a welcome interlude following our morning ride. Picture yourself on the porch of the base camp, indulging in a hearty spread of salads, local delicacies, and empanadas. These delectable meals are primarily cooked over an open fire and are perfectly complemented by local Malbec wine.

Meet Alberto Rossi, the Italian-born Gaucho

During our downtime, we have the pleasure of meeting Alberto Rossi, an Italian-born gaucho who doubles as Jakotango’s cook. Alberto skillfully manages the parilla (grill), where traditional Argentine dishes come to life. Dinners here involve generous portions of perfectly grilled lamb, always accompanied by copious amounts of red wine—pure gaucho decadence.

Our Noble Steeds Rest

Even our trusty Criollo horses seize this downtime to recharge for another day of exploration. They, too, are part of this rugged adventure, and their resilience is truly commendable.


As we wrap up our unforgettable journey through southern Patagonia, it’s clear that this experience is not just about riding horses; it’s about immersing yourself in the rich culture of the gauchos and connecting with the untamed beauty of the natural world. So, if you’re seeking an adventure that blends rustic charm with thrilling horseback rides, the gaucho trail through Patagonia should be on your bucket list.

This article was originally published in the September 2023 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK). If you’re hungry for more incredible journeys like this, consider subscribing to National Geographic Traveller (UK) magazine here (available in select countries only).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about adventure-horseback-patagonia

Q: How do I book a horseback adventure with Jakotango in Patagonia?

A: Booking your horseback adventure with Jakotango in Patagonia is easy. Visit their website or contact their customer service to check availability and make reservations. They will provide you with all the necessary details, including pricing, itinerary, and any special requirements.

Q: What should I pack for a horseback journey through Patagonia?

A: Packing for your Patagonian adventure is crucial. Be sure to bring comfortable riding attire, including long pants and sturdy boots. Don’t forget to pack layers to adapt to changing weather conditions, a hat for sun protection, and a good-quality rain jacket. It’s also a good idea to bring personal items like sunscreen, insect repellent, and a refillable water bottle.

Q: Is horseback riding experience necessary to join this adventure?

A: No prior horseback riding experience is required to join the adventure. Jakotango’s guides are experienced and will provide instruction and support for riders of all levels, from beginners to experienced equestrians. They will ensure that you feel comfortable and safe throughout the journey.

Q: What kind of food can I expect during the adventure?

A: During your adventure, you can look forward to delicious meals prepared with local ingredients. Lunches typically include salads, local delicacies, and empanadas, cooked over an open fire. Dinners feature perfectly grilled lamb, accompanied by generous amounts of red wine. Dietary restrictions can be accommodated, so be sure to inform Jakotango in advance.

Q: How remote are the areas explored on the gaucho trail?

A: The areas explored on the gaucho trail become progressively more remote as you venture further south. In these regions, there are no roads, and you’ll truly disconnect from the modern world. It’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in the untouched wilderness of Patagonia and experience the simple yet intense gaucho lifestyle.

Q: Can I subscribe to National Geographic Traveller (UK) magazine if I’m not in the UK?

A: Yes, you can subscribe to National Geographic Traveller (UK) magazine even if you’re not in the UK. The magazine may offer international subscriptions, so be sure to check their website for availability in your region. Enjoy more incredible travel stories and adventures from around the world.

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