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.
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.