Living Treasures of the Central Andees – Arrieros Chile


Project Status: Since 2014

The goal of our project is to promote the development of mountain territories, and in particular the Farellones Valley, which are poorly known in Chile, and transform these locations into valuable tourism destination to support the local horsemen, the “Arrieros”, protect the environment and establish a rural tourism.
The project “Living Treasures” invites travellers to a sustainable and responsible; one to discover new destinations while respecting them. We invite tourists to get to know places, to live and “taste” them while at the same time promoting their protecting as patrimonies of inestimable worth, as a richness to be safeguarded for our common wellbeing in Chile.

The project tours include a mountain cleaning and leave-no-trace program, where the horsemen will keep mountain trekking routes clean and protect them; an education program (the “Arrieros” first aid and risk management courses during the tours) and a learning component about the horses and nature. The project aims also to create a strong community of local tourism agencies and the “Arrieros” to keep growing and protecting the Andes close to Santiago, places with several glaciers, volcanos and amazing waterfalls. This is a a full culture + mountain protection program.


Protecting the “Arrieros” means protecting the mountains at the same time: As a tour operator we offer a high mountain trek to Mountain El Plomo, Leonera, El Pintor and several routes from Chile to Argentina. To cope with mountain pollution, the company works with the Arrieros to collect and to bring the trash back down. This “trash-mission” adds to the riding tours benefits and able the horsemen to work almost the whole year and ensure constant income. At the same time, the tours educate all tourists, national or international, to take their trash back down and learn about the history and locals who actually live at this places.


Our project Living Treasures can be a constructive component of strategies to promote, at the same time, both environmental protection and development of local communities to protect them from going to the city and work in bad paid jobs. When a community is involved in the direction of tourism development it is more likely to become an active partner and take a particular stake in the development of the destination. Local families also participate to the tours organisation – normally the wifes of our Arrieros are the direct providers of traditional “empanadas” (chilean meatpie).

Our steps for working with local communities to achieve mutual benefits, improving social sustainability:

  • Buy locally produced goods and services.
  • Employ local people.
  • Develop training programs like first-aid training, Basic English courses for the Arrieros and their children.
  • Encourage employees to volunteer in local communities and to follow environmental practices.
  • Provide information to our guests on the area’s cultural and natural characteristics and heritage and offer tips on how they can ensure that their own behaviour respects these characteristics. Encourage guests to purchase locally produced products
  • Incorporate regional food and/or wine as part of your product experience. • Provide tangible support or participation to a not-for-profit organisation or event that contributes to the welfare of the local community.
  • Offer work experience for one or more students residing in our local area.

This goes beyond business as usual as we created a website, share lots of time with our “Arrieros” to learn from their experience. We create marketing around riding tours, for national and international tourists. We offer the riding tour for a very cheap price, to motivate more clients and so provide the Arrieros a constant work and salary. We as the team behind Turismo Flecha Extrema dedicate our free time and turn this into a real social protect. We train guides to be a good riding tour guide, a certification that is still missing from national tourism authorities. We dedicate our free time to share time with our “Arrieros” and offer a real local product.


We created a volunteering program in national parks around Chile, where students from other countries are able to share and work with local park rangers and help them with their daily work in return for housing and food in a Chilean family. Another example is our role in national risk management studies for national adventure tourism providers and our goal to go on creating important info for all interested tour operators.