Patagonia Day 12 to 13: Highlights of Puerto Natales & Horse Riding at Pingo Salvaje

*Our Patagonia trip was from 28 November to 19 December 2016.

Back from our gruelling W Trek (read our previous post on that here), we decided to spend the next two days at leisure at Puerto Natales. Perhaps one of the main highlights of our stay at Puerto Natales was our half-day horse-riding adventure at Pingo Salvaje, which our host gladly arranged for us! 🙂

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Transport was arranged to and from our accommodation. The estancia has a variety of lovely Chilean horses of different heights and sizes. Most of these horses are retired Patagonian race horses (with a lot of energy despite their age).

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We were assigned a black and a chestnut brown horse (on the left of the picture), as we were smaller in size as compared to another German couple who had joined the session together with us.

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This chestnut brown dearie with a white mark down the centre of her face was my companion for the day. She was such a gentle female horse and I really felt a connection with her. She was also very greedy and would try as much to chomp on grass along the way. Loved the ride! 🙂

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We rode around the estancia, or ranch, and our guide gave us a brief background of the geography and history of the area. We spotted condors, visited caves and took in the scenic views of the estancia.

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Along the way, our guide also taught us more about Chilean horses. Our horses were older as they were tame and suitable for beginners like us. Chilean breeds tend to be smaller in size as compared to other horse breeds too, making them easier to mount and dismount for novices. Though we had done a bit of horseriding at Turf City (Singapore), riding in Patagonia in the wilderness was so, so different. Plus, the horses were so much easier to handle – everything was pretty much on autopilot.

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We even tried our hands on cantering! It felt so good to feel the Patagonian sun on our skin and wind in our faces, as we raced on our horses across the vast plains.

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(it would have been 6 paws if the max weren’t 5)

Pingo Salvaje
Address: Turismo Pingo Salvaje, Estancia Laguna Sofia
Contact: 0056-9-62360371

Definitely a must-try in Puerto Natales! 🙂

Besides horse-riding, we also short-listed a few visit-worthy places should you have a day or two to spare in Puerto Natales.  (This is in addition to our previous list here)

  1. Visit Pueblo Artesanal for handicraft and souvenirs

Are you a fan of all things hand-made, or looking for something special to bring back home for your loved ones? We found unique one-of-a-kind gifts at Pueblo Artesanal, a one-storey building that housed local artisans specialising in hand-made jewellery, knitted bags, purses and scarves, as well as leather goods. One of the most unique finds were handcrafted earrings and necklaces with frozen Patagonian flowers. They were so dainty and pretty!

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A point to note, though, is that their opening hours are rather erratic. Also, owing to the practice of siesta here, shops can close after lunch time for about three hours. The official opening hours are from 10AM to 1PM, and then 4PM to 830PM, but we recommend you take that with a pinch of salt 😛

Pueblo Artesanal, Artesanías De La Patagonia
Angamos 650, Puerto Natales, Natales,
Región de Magallanes y de la Antártica Chilena, Chile
Contact: +56 9 8384 2382

2. Dine with the locals at Cafe Artimana

Cafe Artimana is a local food joint that serves great Chilean food at even better prices. It is not located within the main city centre, but if you know where to find it (details below), you will be rewarded with really yummy local food!


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This unassuming starter looks mediocre but was surprisingly tasty. We even asked for more!



We tried the chicken skewers and the much-raved cheesy prawns in scallop sauce. Needless to say, they were not lacking in any way, and the service and food were superb.

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Cafe Artimana
Carlos Bories 349, Puerto Natales 6160000, Chile

3. Indulge in dessert at Para Amantes del Chocolate

What better way to escape the cold and chilling Patagonia winds with a cup of hot chocolate and some sweets? We visited Para Amantes del Chocolate as we’d read that they serve really good chocolate desserts and drinks.

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Lovely Christmas mood – and yes, there is free wifi here! 

Clockwise from top left: Baked cheese sandwich, double scoop ice cream, hot chocolate, poppy seed and blueberry jam cake, coffee with milk 

The food was amazing. The hot chocolate and coffee were thick, and the ice cream was creamy and flavourful. Every bite was heavenly and well worth the calories! Prices were a tad expensive, though, and opening hours were quite erratic – we only managed to catch them open when we passed by the third time.

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Para Amantes del Chocolate
Address: Barros Arana 233,
Puerto Natales 6160000, Chile
Contact: +56 61 241 5285

4. Pire Mapu Cottage: Your Home Away from Home

We just had to mention our favourite place in Puerto Natales – our accommodation – Pire Mapu Cottage.

If you are looking for a comfortable, luxurious yet affordable place to stay, this is the place to be. The hosts, Bren and Fabiana, were amazing and very friendly, and the bed and breakfast exceeded our expectations. 🙂  Bren and Fabiana also added the extra touch that made this place seem like home. They were always asking after us and doing all they could to help us get around and plan our itineraries. When we had to cancel part of our trek and were left without a place to stay for a night, they graciously let us use on of their rooms at no extra charge.

Plus, they have added a few more newly completed suites (which we got the chance to stay in for a night). We loved it so much that we left them a review on – you can check it out here 🙂 The place is almost always booked out, so be sure to book yours fast!

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Pire Mapu Cottage
Address: Esmeralda 1435,
6160000 Puerto Natales, Chile
Book here

Coming up next: Trekking at El Chalten – stay tuned! 

Previous: Day Seven to Eleven – W Trek

Next: Day 14 to 18 – Hiking about El Chalten >

*This is a non-sponsored post. 

The Bears


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