The word Patag­o­nia con­jures up brave adven­tures and remote land­scapes in a hid­den cor­ner of the world. For cen­turies the world’s bravest have test­ed them­selves in these lands — often with dis­as­trous results. 

These days, Patag­o­nia still offers up plen­ty of adven­ture, but with­out the heap­ing serv­ings of hard­ship. On this trip, in Argen­tin­ian Patag­o­nia, you too can play Mag­el­lan and unleash your inner explor­er, but with a nice side dish of com­fort at our spec­tac­u­lar Inn. 

Had those ear­ly explor­ers had their own spa over­look­ing the Andes, they may have stayed a while longer. And if they’d known about the net­work of beau­ti­ful rides sur­round­ing our Inn, well they just may have giv­en up the explor­ing life all togeth­er and set­tled down in this lit­tle cor­ner of paradise.

To ramp up the adven­ture fac­tor just a lit­tle more (and take advan­tage of the world-class white­wa­ter rivers near­by), we’re throw­ing in some white­wa­ter raft­ing, canyon­ing, and an overnight excur­sion to a beau­ti­ful river­side cabin.

Ranked Top 10 Trips by Out­side Magazine!

Is This Ride For You?

You are a strong inter­me­di­ate lev­el moun­tain bik­er with a high lev­el of fit­ness. Unlike the pur­pose built moun­tain bike trails found in places like North Amer­i­ca and Europe, the rid­ing in Patag­o­nia offers a real “mixed bag” of demand­ing trail types. Expect to ride every­thing from back­coun­try roads, to rough ATV trails, to tech­ni­cal, steep, rocky and loose sin­gle­track. You are an adven­ture seek­er, and appre­ci­ate the charm of true remote wilder­ness. The lack of reli­able wifi does not stress you out. You enjoy using two-wheeled machines as a means of explor­ing new lands while mix­ing in sev­er­al oth­er out­door activ­i­ties. You know how to swim and the thought of white­wa­ter raft­ing in the val­ley below the Andes excites you.

Itinerary

Day 1. Arrive in Bar­iloche, Wel­come to Patagonia!

Wel­come to Patagonia!

Your Guides will meet you at 4pm at the San Car­los de Bar­iloche Air­port (BRC) or 5pm at Las Mar­i­anas Hotel.

After pick-up, we’ll hop in the vehi­cles and start our 120km dri­ve to the lodge, check­ing out some jaw-drop­ping scenery in Nahuel Huapi Nation­al Park and the Rio Azul pro­tect­ed Wilder­ness Area along the way.

The spec­tac­u­lar lodge is tucked away in the Patag­on­ian Andes. 

Upon arrival, our chef will greet us with a home­made “pic­a­da” (snacks!) to help recov­er from your travels.

After set­tling in, we’ll tour the facil­i­ties and build our bikes. If you’re keen, you can take your bike out for a sweet warm up ride around the lodge property.

This evening, we’ll feast over a deli­cious din­ner, get to know each oth­er a lit­tle and talk about the epic rides that lay ahead!

Total km of rid­ing: Up to you!

If you need a lit­tle R&R after your long jour­ney, you can book mas­sages upon arrival which can be offered from DAY 1 — DAY 4.  Please note:  Mas­sages are cash only and a 1‑hr mas­sage ranges from $30 ‑$50 USD. 

Day 2. Cho­lila — “The beau­ti­ful Val­ley” in the Patag­o­nia Steppe

After a hearty home­made breakfast , 

we’ll dri­ve south to explore the region of Cho­lila which means “the beau­ti­ful val­ley” in the Mapuche lan­guage. This sparse­ly pop­u­lat­ed region was col­o­nized in the late 19th cen­tu­ry by Euro­pean and Syr­i­an immi­grants who focused on live­stock pro­duc­tion. The town of Cho­lila has two claims to fame — one being the provin­cial bar­be­cue fes­ti­val which includes horse races, arti­san mar­kets and serves up an aver­age of 300 lambs and 10,000kg of meat over 3 days!  Cholila’s sec­ond rea­son for noto­ri­ety is because it was once the home of the famous Amer­i­can out­law Butch Cas­sidy. Over a hun­dred years ago Butch and some of his gang bought 5000 hectares in the region and lived as ranch­ers while still run­ning from the law.

This ride takes us past these his­tor­i­cal land­marks and con­tin­ues past the town of Cho­lila along sec­ondary roads that skirt the Alerces Nation­al Park and the Car­rileu­fu riv­er.  After approx­i­mate­ly 20km we reach Lake Cho­lila and con­tin­ue our ride along its pris­tine shores pass­ing through a mix of vir­gin for­est and a for­est that is still recov­er­ing from wild­fire. After about 7km the trail starts to veer away from the lake and we begin to climb. This long uphill sec­tion opens up to beau­ti­ful views of the val­ley and the lake. From there we descend back down to the lake where we rest and wait for our local “lan­cha” (boat) to whisk us across the lake with our bikes and all, back to our wait­ing vehicle.

*Please note the boat ride is depen­dent on the lake con­di­tions, oth­er­wise we will return by vehicle.

Day 3. Choose your own adventure!

After anoth­er hearty home­made break­fast, we’ll hop on our bikes and roll out direct­ly from the lodge to explore the Azul Riv­er val­ley in the 55,000-hectare Pro­tect­ed Nat­ur­al Area.

This is a chal­leng­ing day as we’ll be faced with long climbs and some steep, loose grav­el down­hills. The option to hike is also avail­able today.

Our reward will be our final des­ti­na­tion: The Cajon del Azul (The Azul Riv­er Gorge.)

This geo­log­ic mar­vel, carved by the Azul Riv­er over eons, is a smooth-walled gran­ite canyon some 30m deep, yet nar­row enough at the top to allow one to stand with a foot on each side and the riv­er roar­ing through below!

After lots of pic­tures, we’ll place our orders for a home­style lunch along with a moun­tain-brewed beer at the near­by moun­tain refuge. We’ll enjoy a lit­tle R&R river­side, before rid­ing or hik­ing back to the our accommodations.

Once back at the Inn you’ll have the option to read a book, take a nap or relax at the spa.

Want more adven­ture? Join your guides down at the riv­er to try your hand at riv­er canyon­ing. This is a com­bi­na­tion of walk­ing, hik­ing, slid­ing down rapids, and swim­ming in crys­tal clear nat­ur­al water pools.

This evening, we’ll enjoy anoth­er gourmet din­ner, fol­lowed by a soak in the hot tub with wine glass in hand!

Day 4. Cul­tur­al Day: Ride Mt Per­i­to Moreno

After break­fast, we’ll hop in the shut­tle and dri­ve 40 min­utes to the start of our ride.  We ride for 20km on a sec­ondary road through the rur­al area of “Mallin Ahoga­do” pass­ing a mix of small farms and a unique for­est of “ñire achap­ar­ra­do” which is a kind of stunt­ed tree native to Patag­o­nia.  This road leads us to the land of Tito and Julia’s where we are invit­ed to share a meal on their home­stead.  After lunch we take an aban­doned log­ging road for a 3km ride that takes us right back to our accom­mo­da­tion. After a quick show­er, it’s time for some local sight­see­ing in town where you have the option to vis­it the famous “Feria Arte­sanal” (local arti­san craft and food fair). Tourists from all over the coun­try flock to El Bol­són to enjoy the mar­ket with over 300 stalls to explore!   Artists sell every­thing from sculpt­ed wood­en cut­ting boards, and hand­made mate gourds to jew­el­ry, instru­ments and pottery.

This day gen­er­al­ly ends with a huge scoop of ice-cream at the famous “Jau­Ja” organ­ic ice-cream shop before head­ing back to the Inn for din­ner and a lit­tle R&R.

Day 5. Cabeza del Indio, Ped­al to Rio Azul & Paddle

After break­fast, we’ll head out to one of our newest trail sys­tems, “Cabeza del Indio” (Indi­an Head). Cabeza del Indio trail boasts a mix of fire road and sin­gle­track through mean­der­ing for­est with a high ele­va­tion view look­ing down into the canyon of the Raquel and Azul rivers.

We’ll ride down into the val­ley to the river’s edge of the Rio Azul. Here we’ll have a pic­nic lunch and dip our feet in the refresh­ing aqua waters. 

After lunch, we’ll swap our bikes for white­wa­ter rafts and head down the gor­geous Rio Azul (class II) before head­ing back to the Inn for din­ner and drinks. 

Please Note: If water lev­els do not per­mit, we will switch to anoth­er activ­i­ty such as horse­back rid­ing or ziplining. 

Day 6. Man­so Val­ley Overnight 

After break­fast, we’ll pack up the shut­tle for our overnight trip to the stun­ning Rio Man­so valley.

We’ll start by a long dri­ve to the small vil­lage of Foyel, where we will begin our descent into the Man­so Riv­er val­ley.  This is a true adven­ture ride — you’ll feel like Indi­ana Jones with all the stream cross­ings and sus­pen­sion bridges!  The ride ends at a pic­turesque river­side restau­rant where we stop for lunch. 

After lunch, we’ll start our white­wa­ter raft­ing trip down the famous “Fron­tera” sec­tion of the Man­so riv­er. The word “man­so” means calm in Span­ish, but these rapids are any­thing but!   No expe­ri­ence is required for this spec­tac­u­lar pad­dle through class III-IV rapids down a turquoise riv­er with our expe­ri­enced and pro­fes­sion­al riv­er guides.  The raft trip ends at the Chilean bor­der where our vehi­cles will meet us to trans­fer us back to our river­side cab­in for the night.

Tonight, your guides also become your chefs where they’ll treat you to a very typ­i­cal Patag­on­ian meal.   After din­ner, if you aren’t too tired, you can sit fire­side and sam­ple anoth­er tra­di­tion — “Fer­net & Coca” — a huge­ly pop­u­lar drink in Argenti­na (that might take some get­ting used to.)

Day 7. Ride Valle Encantado

This morn­ing we will dri­ve north to ride in the patag­on­ian “steppe” in the “Valle Encan­ta­da” (enchant­ed val­ley).  This is a spec­tac­u­lar ride with rolling hills and some fast descents bor­der­ing and cross­ing the Cha­cay stream sev­er­al times.

We’ll ride through both aban­doned and work­ing set­tle­ments where only a few fam­i­lies live rais­ing hors­es and sheep. 

You may want to pack your swim­suit as we’ll have a rest stop on the shores of the gor­geous crys­tal-clear Rio Limay where we can cool off and watch fly fish­er­men take their aim at rain­bow trout.

After the ride we’ll head to Las Mar­i­anas hotel in where we’ll spend our final two nights in Bar­iloche.  Tonight, we encour­age you to enjoy a group din­ner at one of the many amaz­ing restau­rants in Bar­iloche. (Din­ner not included.)

Day 8. Cer­ro Otto and Cat­e­dral — climbs and enduro

After a buf­fet break­fast includ­ing home­made breads and pre­serves made by “Mama Mar­i­ana”, we’ll grab a packed lunch and head out on our last ride of the week.  Today we are hunt­ing for the best vistas!

Today we will dri­ve 15min to the base of the Cer­ro Otto hill where we will push our­selves on a 742m ascent by road to reach the start of our trail.  At the top we con­nect to a dirt trail that deliv­ers us to the “Hab­s­burg Rock” and the most spec­tac­u­lar views of Cat­e­dral moun­tain as well as the Gutier­rez and Nahuel Huapi lakes.

After get­ting our fill of the views we have two options to descend. The first is to return via the orig­i­nal trail and the sec­ond option is a super fun but intense enduro descent of approx­i­mate­ly 3km. What­ev­er you choose, the group will reunite at the bot­tom and from there con­tin­ue to our grand finale.  Once all rid­ers have joined up, we need to ride the shoul­der of the main road to take us towards the famous Cat­e­dral ski hill.  At the point where the road begins to climb, again rid­ers have the option to hop in the sup­port vehi­cle or push through anoth­er big climb.  The reward at the top is the “Paco Echegaray” super flowy, 7km sin­gle track enduro trail that will have you hoot­ing and hol­ler­ing all the way home.

After this amaz­ing day, we head back to Las Mar­i­anas hotel for a show­er before head­ing out on the town for our farewell din­ner to cel­e­brate our incred­i­ble week of adven­ture. Cheers!  (Din­ner not included.)

*Please note the km and ele­va­tion on this day will vary great­ly depend­ing on rid­er choices!

Day 9. Return to Bar­iloche and Goodbyes!

After our final break­fast at the hotel, we’ll say our goodbyes.

We’ll be offer­ing one shut­tle ser­vice to the air­port, arriv­ing to the air­port no lat­er than 10:30 a.m.

For Rid­ers fly­ing out at anoth­er time or day, a taxi can be arranged inde­pen­dent­ly with the recep­tion at Las Mar­i­anas Hotel, at the Rid­ers expense.

Picture Yourself Here…

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Dates chosen: Mar. 03, 2023—Mar. 11, 2023
Skill Rating: Blue Square
Fitness Rating: Blue Square
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Skill Levels
Green Circle

Typically, green Rides are safe for beginners. Green Rides may have both avoidable and unavoidable obstacles. Trails are generally low grade, wide, consistent surface texture and have minimal features. You are likely to come across unavoidable obstacles 2-inches or shorter, which is small enough for mountain bike tires to simply roll over. More challenging than tarmac, but in general, a wonderful Ride for those riders new to mountain biking or looking for a casual experience.

Blue Square

In general, Blue trails are narrower than green trails, encounter unavoidable obstacles such as roots, rocks, and drops that are up to 8-inches tall. You will want to have a solid understanding of the fundamentals of mountain biking including body positions, powerful braking, cornering, riding on varied terrain, steep sections and experience riding trails that requires line choice. Airtime is not mandatory, but you will find yourself on trails with alternate lines giving you the option.

Black Diamond

The Black Diamond Rides are  suitable for riders looking for that edge. Maybe it’s the edge of a drop, the edge of a cliff, or singletrack requiring focus and fast reactions developed from extensive experience riding “the edge”. You will find yourself on steep trails of varied surfaces. In the Pacific North West that could be slick roots and loam, in Nepal you will find exposed granite in the Mustang Valley and in Guatemala it maybe narrow stairways through cliffside villages. While airtime is rarely required, the ability to find the backside or clean a tabletop should be comfortable or in a state of progress. Obstacles on Black rides are likely to be outside the range of your bikes ability to cover your goofs with its awesome suspension and grip.

Double Black Diamond

A Double Black ride is for those that already know they are looking for a Double Black. It’s going to be very hard and require advanced bike handling skills. You will find yourself on trails with sections most non-riders would look at and say, “that’s totally nuts!”. You will know how to look at a line and contemplate where it will work and where it won’t. Drops of a couple feet should be comfortable and getting your bike off the ground should feel predictable and fun.

Fitness Levels
Green Circle

You should be ready to spend 2-4 hours per day on the bike. Mileage may be up to 30km/20 miles and elevation gain will be under 500m/1500feet. On e-MTB tours, numbers will be higher, however the approximate effort would be considered similar to a standard Green Circle ride. If you get on your bike once a week, you will be just fine. However, when preparing for a Ride, you will benefit from more rides and time in the saddle.

Blue Square

Blue should be considered a good deal more effort than our Green Rides.  You should be able to handle 3 to 5 hours in the saddle covering up to 45km/30miles and be able to pull off a big day of 1000m/3000feet of elevation gain. Managing fuel is important as well.  You should have a good understanding how your body responds to multiple days on the bike. We will help with positive coaching, a manageable pace and plenty of trailside snacks.

Black Diamond

A Black Fitness ride will test you. Aside from needing to be able to manage up to 6 hours on the bike, day after day, including distance up to 50km/30miles and elevation gains up to 1750m/5000feet of climbing, you will be adding extra challenges along the route like periods of hike-a-bike and the extra effort required by the whole body to safely dance with your bike over technical terrain. Generally, riders who are up for a Black Fitness ride, likely spend time on the bike a couple times each week.

Double Black Diamond

A Double Black will be for those with the strength and endurance to get to the top of anything they want and understand the term “turning the screw”. Distance could be quite high on some routes and elevation gain numbers could hit 2000m/6000 feet+ in a day. You are likely riding multiple days a week during the dry periods and have a trainer or belong to a gym for the rest of the year.