The Ranch

El Saltamontes Lodge is situated within the Gorroño family ranch “Estancia Adelaida”. The River Ñirehuao meanders through this 5,000 acre property, nestled in an Andean valley, surrounded by dramatic mountains.

Initially, the ranch was dedicated to the production of BEEF CATTLE. Jose Gorroño was an innovative grazier and the first in the region to successfully undertake embryo transplants. By introducing fine pedigree Hereford embryos into rustic, local cows, he was able to effectively fast track the improvement of the quality of his herd.

During travels to Australia, Jose  were amazed at the popularity and value of the South American ALPACAS, both “down under” and in the USA. These docile and intelligent “Camelids”, produce a luxuriously soft, warm fibre, which is highly valued. The animals themselves have a special charm and there is a high demand for breeding stock.

This prompted Jose to embark on a new venture. They spent weeks on end, scouring the “Altiplano”, in the extreme north of Chile, bordering with Peru and Bolivia, at over 4,700 metres altitude (14,100 feet), purchasing export quality alpacas from the Aymara Indians.

These were vetted and trucked south the entire length of the country, to form the base of what is now the largest, single herd in Chile. After building their own quarantine station, the Gorroño´s chartered a DC8 and exported 300 live alpacas to New York. There, they were exhibited, bred and sold all over the country, over a period of four years

Back at El Saltamontes, guests are charmed by the numerous alpacas and their babies, that graze freely around the cabins. Along the River Ñirehuao, large herds of these gentle creatures, curiously watch the antics of the fishermen and women.

Local Chilean ladies hand-spin and weave the natural colors of the alpaca fiber into beautiful shawls, scarves, throws and clothing, which are available to the anglers at the lodge.

HORSES are the other passion of the Gorroño family and some sixty head roam the Estancia Adelaida. Having ridden horses to school in their earliest years, the children are all accomplished equestrians. Son Lucas has represented Chile in international junior show-jumping championships and placed second in Australian nationals, in 3 day Eventing.

The Chilean horse is a stocky, chesty, hardy, pony with a willing and dependable nature. These form the basis of the working herd. The family’s interest in equestrian sports has prompted the introduction of other breeds such as Arab, Holstein and Thoroughbred. Some are pure-bred, others are have mixed blood lines. One of the favorite crosses produced on the ranch, is the result of a Chilean/Arab hybrid. These horses are wonderful to ride and ideal for exploring the rough terrain of the Andes.

Many anglers and their companions choose to trail ride whilst fishing at El Saltamontes. Mounts are selected and rides are tailored to suit each individual, from the total novice to the experienced thrill seeker.

Anglers staying at El Saltamontes enjoy the authentic atmosphere of being immersed in a working ranch. Cowboys in goat-skin leggings, ponchos and berets ride by with lean, scruffy dogs at foot. There is always something going on in the corrals or the barn, from branding to shearing and guests are most welcome to observe or even “have a go” at some of these activities.