Chile is with 4’300km from north to south a very long country, whereby it measures only 440km at the widest place. Thus Chile stretches over many climate and vegetation zones. While in Patagonia, in the south of Chile, there is a very rough climate with lots of rain and wind, in the north of Chile there is the Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world.
Rio Hurtado is located in the lV region, about 500km north of the capital Santiago de Chile, in the so-called “small north”. Rio Hurtado is named after the stream that meanders through the 125km long valley. The stream is essential for the survival of the inhabitants of the valley. Since it rains too little to irrigate the fields, the necessary water reaches the fields through a canal system that dates back to the Inca times. The main source of income for the locals is goat cheese production. Another important source of income is the grapes, which are used to make the traditional “Pisco”.
In the Rio Hurtado valley not only our guests feel comfortable, but also the beautiful, colorful Tricahue parrots. They are a feast for the eyes to look at, if they turn their rounds through the valley in search of food, you can already hear them from a distance. If they take a break right next to our terrace, their screaming is almost deafening. Beside the parrots live rabbits, lizards, foxes, vultures, eagles, condors, eagle owls and pumas etc. only around the corner.
Rio Hurtado is also very popular with (hobby) astronomers and astro-photographers, which travel from far away to benefit from the great conditions of the sky. Various observatories have already settled here, and the trend is rising.
If you really want to get to know Chile, you should take a lot of time or limit yourself to one region. There is hardly a better way to get to know the locals, their way of life and traditions better than on a horse trekking through the Andes.
At the Rodeo, the national sport in Chile, the Huasos (Chilean cowboys) always start in pairs. In a round corral, a so-called medialuna (half moon), the riders move a cow along the gang to a certain area, where the horses have to push the cow with the chest against the gang. Depending on whether and how this succeeds, points are distributed. Afterwards, the same procedure takes place in the opposite direction. The cow is subjected to this procedure three times until it is finally released from the arena.
The horses are the pride and joy of the Huasos and are trained and ridden to perfection. The rodeo is the longed-for opportunity for the riders to show their horses and their skills. The rodeo does not only include the actual competition, but also the traditional surrounding. The huasos in their traditional costumes, the horses, the typical food, the stalls and the dances to folk music in the evening create a pleasant atmosphere.
Apart from the national sport, the rodeo, the Chileans like to celebrate festivals. The national dance is called Cueca and is accompanied by guitar and accordion. In addition there is usually the widely known Asado, grilled meat. Typical dishes are empanadas, dumplings filled with meat, cheese or seafood. Pastel de Choclo, casserole with corn, meat and egg, casuela, a soup with a piece of meat, piece of corn on the cob, potato and pumpkin.
Surrounded on the one hand by the Andes and on the other by the sea, Chile is like an island and therefore careful not to introduce any pests or diseases into the country. So if you travel to Chile, you are not allowed to carry anything of plant or animal origin with you. The luggage is x-rayed and the penalties are very high. In the airplane a form must be filled out, whether one has appropriate commodity thereby or not. Basically, I recommend to always tick “Yes”. It quickly happened that an apple was carried somewhere without one thinking about it. So they can take the food but not penalty for it.
When entering Chile, a tourist visa is issued at the passport control, which is valid for three months. Although it looks more like a receipt, this document is very important. So please keep it in a safe place. The visa must be returned when you leave or continue your journey!