Explore Chile: Adventure Is Out There
YAS! IT’S ADVENTURE TIME! I haven’t been this excited since my first solo trip to Europe. Today, Mauricio booked a combo excursion for us to go horseback riding and white water rafting. I’ve never done either one before and so thrilled to finally get that crossed off my bucket list.
Mauricio picked us up at 9am to head towards San Jose de Maipo for our excursion. During our planning process, we discovered that there was a 50% deposit to reserve our spots. The company prefers a deposit through their bank but PayPal would also suffice. Mauricio placed a 50% deposit for us to avoid any transaction fees. For both horseback riding and white water rafting, the total came to be 70,000 for Patty and I. That’s only $58 per person!
Ruta Vertical also had a birthday promotion for the month of February. If your birthday falls +/- 6 days of your excursion, they will give you a 50% off rafting or photographs for up to 4 people. Unfortunately, this can not be combined with any other offers which the website does not disclosed.
It would be cheaper to take the 50% off rafting and pay the horseback separately! Make sure you mention that or they will just charge you the combo fee. (The total would be 31,500 which is $52.60)
The horseback riding excursion started around 10:00am. Ruta Vertical loaded all the adventurees into one raggity van to transport us to our excursion. The first stop were for those who opted for the hiking excursion and the remaining passengers went on to go horseback riding.
There were only 3 of us in the group: Patty, a Chilean from Patagonia, and myself. We pulled up to a private- owned horse farm. I guess Ruta Vertical has a contract with the owner of this establishment.
First order of business was to get fitted for our helmets. None of the helmets fit me so the owner found a red helmet that was about 2 size too large for my head. Next, the owner chose horses for us. I was the only one in the group who had zero experience on a horse and the only person who speaks zero Spanish. The owner told me to step on top of a tree stump and hop onto a beautiful, young horse named Consentia. It took me a few tries but I finally got on. As soon as I got on, Consentia galloped away. It would have been nice if the first order of business was to explain how to stop a horse from going forward. I just sat there a little surprised before the owner tied Consentia to the fence to prevent her from running. The others saddled up and we were on our way.
Consentia was a free spirited horse. She wanted to run wild as soon as the owner let her loose. I don’t blame her. She is like me in every way. The owner had to hold on to a rope that connected Consentia to prevent her from going off course and to provide me comfort.
While Consentia was trying to to push her owner off the course, the others fell behind. Patty and the other gentleman’s horse stopped every chance they could to eat leaves off branches and bushes. After a few minutes on the horse, I started to feel more comfortable. That was until the owner started chatting up on his cellphone and dropped the string that prevented Consentia from running. We were on the side of a cliff and I could feel Consentia itching forward. “Don’t do it Consentia. Don’t Do it!” Luckily the owner finally stopped to wait for the others. Once we reached the flat plateau, the owner let the horse rest while we enjoyed the view.
It was scarier on the way down. I thought Consentia was going to slide off the side of the cliff. The road was perhaps a foot in width.
Overall, I had a great time on Consentia. I didn’t like the owner at all. He was too busy on his phone that the entire group pretty much separated. I would go horseback riding again but not with this company.
White Water Rafting
We had an hour in between before going White Water Rafting. We enjoyed lunch before heading back to the excursion office. A few groups had gathered in the back to begin our journey on the raft. The guides came out and explained what to expect and how to wear a wetsuit….all in Spanish. After their explanation, we all lined up and picked up our wetsuit and shoes. They asked us for our sizes but American sizes are labeled differently so I just had them check out my stature. They handed me a small wetsuit than used my shoes to measure my feet size. We than went into the changing rooms.
It was mandatory to wear bathing suits under the wetsuits but I guess that is all you need when you try to cram your body into a tight wetsuit. After changing, we placed our essential items into the locker and grabbed a helmet. For all your GoPro addicts out there, they do have a helmet with the attachment. Before we boarded the bus, we handed the receptionist our locker key for safe keeping.
The bus was pretty much full. Once we got to our location, the guides explained the safety procedures in Spanish. They’re very animated so I understood most of what they were saying. They told us what to do if we tipped over and how to pull each other back into the raft.
After the quick lessons, they separated us into 3 groups. That was when our guide told us how to row and when to row: forward, backward, and hold on. We pulled up onto an island where each one of us had to submerge our bodies down the river. No, not just let our bodies get wet. We had to let the current take our bodies downstream to adjust to the water temperature. It helped a lot when we started rafting.
White water rafting is one of the best activities I’ve ever done. Our course wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be but I had a great time. I was smiling from ear to ear. Can’t wait to return!
Where to Eat:
We had an hour break in between our excursion. During our horseback adventure, our tour guide found us a sit-down restaurant just a few blocks from our excursion office. Blokersur is a hip and trendy cafe serving popular Chilean fusion cuisines. Blokersur has an outdoor patio but we opted to sit inside because of the strong sun beaming onto the patio.
The menu was handwritten. Mauricio ordered the pastel del choclo, a Chilean soup, Patty ordered the vegetarian casserole, and I ordered the steak and potatoes. All entrees included a soup and salad! They also serve fresh squeeze juice. I ordered the blueberry juice with sugar. Delicious!
The food was decent but tailored to the tourist crowd. My steak was on the saltier end but the meat was still tender and juicy. Mauricio said the pastel del choclo wasn’t his favorite; I thought it tasted wonderful but I have nothing to compare it to.
For dinner we went to a artsy district located in Santiago. It was the night before my birthday so we decided to make an evening of food and drinks. Nolita is an Italian upscale restaurant. I ordered the Bolognese Fettuccini. The food came out quick. My dish was pretty standard but I have zero complaints. Patty and I also ordered Pisco Sours, Chilean national drink. There were different flavors ranging from lemon, mango, and passion fruit. After 2 drinks each, we already felt a little tipsy.
We were bummed that most of the places around the area closed around 11pm. We stumbled upon Victorino on our way back to our AirBnB. Victorino serve pitchers of sangria, mojito, etc. We ordered a pitcher of the red sangria, dessert, and fries. It was a great way to end our night.