Finally! You’re joining the Hooves family and coming on our cattle drive through Patagonia, where we ride horses across Argentina's stunning mountains. Below I’ll tell you all about what to pack for your trip. Keep reading to find out what the perfect packing list is for an equestrian holiday in Argentina!
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Our equestrian meet-ups in Patagonia take place in March and December every year. The weather is similar in these months, and temperatures are very pleasant for horse riding. Between 20 and 25 degrees celsius during the day, and between 5 and 10 degrees celsius at night. Beware that the weather in Patagonia can be very unpredictable and there are occasionally days in March and December that the daytime temperature suddenly goes up to 30 degrees celsius, or down to 5. The same goes for nighttime, and there might be nights where temperatures reach below 0 degrees celsius. The rainy season is between April and May, but there are some rainstorms between November and January too. We've experienced all kinds of weather on our horse riding trips in Argentina. If you are traveling further through Argentina, make sure to check the weather reports. Argentina is a massive country, and it can be freezing up in the mountains of Patagonia while it's 30 degrees celsius or more in Neuquen.
When you're riding with the cattle, together with the gauchos that work on the farm, you'll get completely covered with sand. The cows kick up lots and lots of dust, which creates spectacular views, but is not so pleasant for your eyes. I highly recommend brining sunglasses, even if you don't use them against the sun. I never bring or wear sunglasses, so didn't take any with me on this trip either but quickly regretted this. You can also bring some soothing eyedrops to take after you finish riding with the cattle for the day.
It's extremely dry here, and if you don't moisturise your hands, arms and face regularly you'll shrivel up in no time. Even at lunch time I washed my face and put on tons of moisturiser to make sure I could move my face without the skin cracking. This might sound less than ideal, but I can assure you it's definitely worth it, and part of the adventure! We'll also be riding our horses over very high mountains, so even when it's a bit cloudy or cold, you can still get very sunburnt. Be sure to bring a strong sunscreen.
As mentioned before, the nights can be extremely cold, especially later in the week as we ride higher into the mountains. Make sure to bring a beanie, gloves and scarf to wear in the evenings. Besides a very good sleeping bag, which can be used in temperatures less than -10 degrees celsius, I highly recommend bringing thermal underwear to sleep in too. Even though it won't likely rain during your trip in March or December, I do recommend bringing rain clothes, as they are also great for warmth when it's very windy, which happens quite often. You can opt for a light rain jacket, a long rain jacket or even a full rain set to keep the wind and possibly rain out! In case we get a very cold spell, I recommend bringing hand warmers for the night.
During this equestrian vacation, you won't have any phone signal at all, and no electricity. If you are bringing a camera or phone to take videos and pictures with, make sure to bring a solar charger for it! Of course, if you want to truly disconnect for a while, this is the perfect opportunity for you to leave the charger at home and let the hosts do the filming for you.
You'll get to swim and bath in some incredible places during this trip, so make sure to pack a bikini or bathing suit!
Towels are provided at the farmhouse, but do take a travel towel with you while we're out camping. The water in most places is freezing (except in the hot spring of course!) and you'll want to wrap yourself quickly after getting out of the stunning rivers and waterfalls.
I highly recommend riding in jeans or Argentinian bombachas de campo, if you want to go full gaucho. Also make sure to wear long sleeved shirts while riding to prevent sunburn. I usually ride in Wrangler shirts.
You don't have to walk next to your horse on this trip, however you may take a break from riding every now and then to do a short hike to some stunning sights. Make sure that the boots or shoes you're riding in are comfortable while hiking. I did this entire week of riding in hiking boots, however I recommend riding in longer boots if you still have any feeling in your calves and want to keep them from rubbing.
You don't really need cash while we're at the farm and horse riding for the week as we are truly in the middle of nowhere, with no shops around. You can however buy some souvenirs at the farmhouse before or after the trip, and you can pay in USD. If you are traveling through Argentina more, before or after the trail riding holiday, you can get cash in Buenos Aires. Be sure to get local currency in shops, and not at the bank, as it's much cheaper. What I did is I paid for something small with a 50 USD bill in Neuquen airport, and received cheap local currency in return (beware that not all shops do this, so make sure to check before).
If you aren’t using Wise yet, make an account here. Besides getting the benefit of cheap online transfers between currencies, you can also apply for a card from Wise so that you can make card payments in the local currency when you're in Buenos Aires. This way you get the cheapest rate! You can pay for your this horse riding holiday through Wise too, which will save you loads of money on transfer fees. In shops and hotels in Buenos Aires you can pay with American Express (use the link to get twenty thousand extra miles!) so you can earn miles for all those future horse riding trips!
Now, the most important part: what fits in the saddle bag?! We get one set of saddle bags per rider, and that's it for the week. It's perfectly doable if you pack smart. We're all going to be dirty within seconds of getting on our horses, so don't worry about bringing a different shirt for each day. We will be out riding and camping for 6 days, 5 nights. When we started the ride I was wearing a Wrangler shirt, a wide brimmed hat, jeans, a belt and my hiking shoes in which I ride. This is what I brought and it was perfect for me: leather jacket, two extra shirts, 6 pairs of socks and underwear, thermal underwear, poncho, extra warm sweater, toothbrush, toothpaste, moisturiser, sunblock, hairbrush, baby wipes, and a track suit to sleep in.
Helmets are not compulsory, and I do the horse riding holiday in Argentina without a helmet. It’s completely up to you, so please do wear a helmet if it makes you feel more comfortable. I highly recommend wearing a helmet to everyone, especially if you are not a very experienced rider. There are no helmets at the farm, so please bring your own. You can get a cheap and easy to clean helmet by Troxel if you don’t want to bring your own from home. If you’re riding without a helmet I highly recommend riding in a hat, not a cap. The sun is strong up in the mountains and a wide brimmed hat will save you lots of sunburn and quite possibly heatstroke.
Most of the horse riding holidays in Argentina are meet-ups, meaning there will be a host with you. We do lots of filming during the rides. We’re usually next to the group to ensure we get all of you on video! You are of course welcome to do your own filming during this incredible equestrian adventure. You can bring a gimbal, GoPro, drone, whatever you’d like. Drones are however difficult to get into Argentina, so please do read up before bringing one. Also, if you want to have any specific videos taken of you, with a particular background or at a certain pace, please ask us! We’re happy to help you capture the amazing memories we’ll make on this equestrian adventure. We are so looking forward to riding with you!
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