Prepare yourself for this adventure by horse!
Frequently Asked Questions with Precise Answers!
Transport until Chos Malal
Chos Malal is at the exact middle of the famous road 40, that goes along the Andes Cordillera, in the Neuquén province. To get there, several options are available, they can be found here below. The tickets are not included in the package of Soliecol but we can help you for booking them if necessary.
THROUGH ARGENTINA : Flight until Buenos Aires and then :
Option 1. Flight until Neuquen:Change airport in Buenos Aires (Between Ezeiza and Newbery). Be aware, you will need at least two hours to get from one airport to the other ! The flight until Neuquen with Aerolineas Argentinas takes 2 hours and costs around 300 euros for a return ticket (4 flights a day). The transfer between the airport and the bus station in Neuquen can be made by taxi, it should not take longer than 10 minutes.
Option 2. Bus until Neuquen : This option is good if you have more time, as it takes between 16 and 18 hours (1140 kilometers, 130 euros return ticket).
In both cases, we advise to take the shuttle Manuel Tienda Leon for transfers from and to the international airport as taxis are not recommended.
From Neuquen to Chos Malal : This takes 6 hours in bus (60 euros return). In order to help you, we will buy your ticket in advance and will give you the reservation number so that you can withdraw your ticket in the Neuquen bus station. Once you get to Chos Malal, we will be here to welcome you !
THROUGH CHILE:This option forces you to take several buses from Santiago, but the cost of international flights is often less expensive compared with Buenos Aires and it will allow you to enjoy a pisco in the capital !
Flight until Santiago, then
Option 1 : Through Temuco : Bus Santiago–Temuco (9 hours)/ Temuco–Zapala (7 hours) / Zapala–Chos Malal (3 hours). 70 euros for one way in total.
Option 2 : Through Mendoza : Bus Santiago–Mendoza (8 hours) / Mendoza–Neuquen (7 hours) / Neuquen-Chos Malal (6 hours). 130 euros for one way in total.
Buses in Argentina
Buses in Argentina and Chile are very safe and you can select the level of comfort (Semi-cama, semi-stretched, cama or ejecutivo, stretched, high end). They are in any case more comfortable than a plane ! Depanding on the seat choice, a snack will be included or not. Bus is the main tranportation for locals, therefore it is a very well developed and reliable.
What equipment is necessary for the horseback rides?
You should bring your sleeping bag, your chaps and a helmet (it is not mandatory) in addition to your personal equipment. As we know you might not want to carry a heavy luggage, we offer to rent, for 40 euros only, part of your equipment : acomfortable sleeping bag (For 0 degree temperature) – a towel – a pair of chaps – a helmet or hat – a bottle – horse-riding pants. Check sizes and availability while registering !
What horse-riding level is necessary ?
The horseback rides are meant for riders with at least some experience. No need to be a champion, but it is important to be able to change gait, be at ease in each gait, and to be aware of your horse (The Criollos horses are very well educated, quiet and attentives). If you have any doubt, do not hesitate to contact us.
The circuit dates are not suitable for me, are they flexible ?
Until the dates of the circuit is marked as « confirmed » on the website, dates can be changed. It is best to write to us to arrange.
What is the minimum age for the horseback rides?
We analyse each request on a case-by-case basis for children, their motivation might lead them to be over-confident ! From 13 years old the one-week horse back riding circuit is doable, younger thn that we can offer to shorten the circuit to 4 days. No maximum age limit of course, the most senior Soliecol tourist is a 71-year-old women, she went for two weeks of ride, still smiling ! Read their comments.
I do not speak Spanish ; is that a problem ?
Elsilina is our official translator ! She is French, and on top of French and Spanish also speaks English, Italian and German, no doubt that this should be enough to understand eachother !
Can I withdraw money when I get there ? What is the cost of living like ?
It is very difficult to withdraw money with a foreign debit or credit card in Argentina ; which is why it is very important that you bring cash with you (Euros ; Dollars) ! Foreign exchange counters can be found in the airports, and depending on the amount, we can change some euros. Everything is included in the package from Soliecol, though you might want to buy some craft products or a honey pot. Please note that for other expenses, the cost of living in Argentina is similar to the one in Europe.
Are there any expenses to anticipate ?
Once you get to Chos Malal, everything is included in the circuit price (Housing, food, drinks etc…). You will just need to have cash for potential personal expenses and purchase of craft products (Ponchos, honey, horse-riding equipment etc.).
How is the weather in Patagonia ? How should I get dressed ?
In Mountain region, it is quite difficult to get an idea about the weather ; however it is important to bring warm, wind-breaker clothes but also light ones (You get warm easily whilst riding or fishing under the sun) and do not forget swimming suit, sun protector and a hat !
Do I need a visa for Argentina?
For a stay under 90 days; there is no need for a visa for Argentina, a valid passport is sufficient.
Do I need vaccines?
There is no need for specific vaccin from an oficial point of view to visit Argentina. If you plan to go to Iguazù Falls, it’s recommended to be vaccinated against the yellow fever due to mosquitos.
For chance in Patagonia we are free of dangers of ny types, you can come with peace of mind!
Should I take a travel insurance ?
Soliecol does not offer travel insurance, but very attractives conditions of sale. We refund the deposit and any other payments until 7 days before the horse rides start in case of major event. We also dispose of an insurance for the activity, but the refunds are low. If you need a better protection, please contract a travel insurance, which will cover your plane tickets too.
Are there specific diet menus ?
We pay attention not to drastically change your diet, therefore you won’t eat meat at every meal ! We will have (Non-exhaustive list) : potatoes, onions, carotts, peppers, squash, tomatoes, apples, oranges, corn, lentils, rice, pasta, polenta, sauces, juices, wine etc. Supply of meat is along the way and we might increment our diet with a wriggling fish ! A gaucho will never consider a sandwich a meal, we cook soups, salads, stews and asados on wood fires. Vegetarians are warmly welcome, they will enjoy, amongst others, the best stuffed vegetables slow-cooked under live coals. If you have any allergy or a specific diet requirement, do not hesitate to write to us so that we can take it into account.
Do we sleep in tents every night ?
The nights in Chos Malal are spent in the hostel « La Quimera » (First and last night). It is a very nice hostel, completely refurbished in a rustic style, with big indoor and outdoor space. There is a 15-person capacity, the rooms (gender-separated) are of 4 and 6 beds, each of which has a bathroom. There also is a kitchen and we can even pick vegetable from the garden !
Will I be able to connect to the Internet and how is the signal ?
Depending on the phone operator and phone, in some few places maybe… A wiki connection is available at the hostel in Chos Malal, you will therefore be able to communicate before and after the trail.
In any case we will have a mobile phone with sufficient battery during the 7 days and we know every stone where to get signal, sometimes even on one square meter only, during the circuit. We won’t be completely cut off from the outside world, which is important for safety purpose !
Can we charge our cameras and phone ?
During the Volcanic immersion circuit, we can charge batteries on the third day, but we cannot during the Nature without borders circuit.