Ride Overview - Colonial Haciendas Ride
Horseback riding vacations in Ecuador are journeys on landscapes made for equestrians. This ride adds exclusive routes and lodging. You will canter along ancient Inca highways and Spanish colonial routes between the best preserved ‘haciendas’ (grand colonial farming estates) of South America. Breath-taking views as your ride cross vast plains and pastoral valleys in a fascinating region sculptured by both glacial and volcanic activity. A picture postcard scene at the turn of every corner: hanging valleys, perfectly conical hills, wildflower-covered grassy slopes, crater lakes and rocky summits. Your trail will follow the ‘Avenue of Volcanoes’, skirting the towering, snow-capped peaks of Cayambe and Cotopaxi (the highest active volcano in the world). The days are packed with rides varied in both pace and scenery and with visits to local indigenous markets and craft villages. The customs and rhythm of life have changed little over the centuries. Nights are spent in idyllic haciendas – 17th and 18th century country houses and working farms. Warmly greeted by the owners, you can relax in front of open fireplaces and enjoy the fine period detail, atmospheric courtyards, and flowering gardens. The colonial haciendas that open their doors to you are unique and hold an important place in the history of Ecuador. Hundreds of years after they were first built, the haciendas continue to welcome visitors to Ecuador as they once did to such famous guests as Simon Bolivar. Your British born master guide has been offering this ride since 1996. RIDING IN ECUADOR
“Just three days ago I returned from your Ecuador Colonial Hacienda Tour and would like to say a few comments about it: fantastic, fantastic, fantastic!!!!!! The whole trip was well organized … nothing was too much trouble. The horses were in superb condition, every day was very well planned with a great variety of sights. My favorite day; I couldn’t possibly say they were all excellent…” Y.W.
Ride Itinerary - Colonial Haciendas Ride
You will be met in Quito by your bilingual riding guide and driven into the northern highlands of Ecuador to visit the famous, very colorful Otavalo craft market. Your drive will continue to the stable to meet the horses and ride to a historic hacienda frequented by the great South American liberator, Simon Bolivar. The horse ride (4 hours) along tracks passes woodlands, tiny fields and hamlets to a 18th century Hacienda. With its courtyards, ornate fountains, terraces and gardens graced with citrus, palm and monkey puzzle trees, this is an ideal location to leisurely drift into the relaxing Andean atmosphere.
Your trails will lead past picturesque hamlets of adobe huts, through woodlands, cross rocky gorges and around patchwork fields of quinoa, potatoes, maize and tree tomato orchards. Along the way, you will have magnificent views of the San Pablo Lake and the jagged Mojanda summit. Your ride continues across the slopes of the sacred extinct Imbabura Volcano – the focus of many Inca legends. Your group will visit a family of local weavers that still produce exceptionally fine, unique rugs using the ancient pre-Inca backstrap loom. Your destination is a 1602 Hacienda.
This is a stunning horse ride into the beautiful pastoral Zuleta Valley. Country lanes lead through eucalyptus forests with views across the lake to the hills of Mojanda and Imbabura Volcano. You will enjoy fast-pace riding across the plains. Following sandy tracks, your group will then descend into the Zuleta Valley with dramatic views of the ancient tumili and earth pyramids erected by the pre-Inca population. You will then ride on to a working farm in the middle of this tranquil valley seldom visited by tourists. You can walk through the quaint village and see examples of the hand embroidery that has made the valley famous.
Your trails allows views down into the Zuleta Valley; onto three Columbian peaks on the horizon; and west across the array of patchwork fields to Imbabura Peak. Here, condors are seen close up more and more frequently. You will ride onto the Pesillo Plains to arrive in the Cayambe Valley. The valley is dominated by the volcano which straddles the Equator Line. Next, you will stop at t a beautiful hacienda for a sumptuous lunch. Your group will then cross the Equator Line with time to stop for photos. You then be driven to a Hacienda lodge with a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, Turkish bath and the possibility of massages.
Leaving the farmlands behind, a spectacular horseback ride awaits as you cross the Sincholagua foothills to the northern edge of the Cotopaxi National Park. Your group will start with some canters across dramatic Andean scenery then traverse a series of huge gorges and the remote ‘paramo’ wilderness. The trail approaches the perfectly conical shape of the snow-capped Cotopaxi Volcano (the highest active volcano in the world). Having avoided the fighting bulls (the hacienda we cross is famous for its feisty Spanish bulls!), you will turn westwards; cross a river; and arrive for the night at an Hacienda surrounded by mighty Andean peaks.
A day of horse riding in the wild open expanses of the Andean highlands. You will enjoy the open terrain with no sign of habitation and spectacular views of the nearby snow-capped Cotopaxi Volcano. Several herds of wild horses inhabit the park and to ride along side these horses galloping freely is an unique experience. You will then ride across a very surprising “lunar landscape” found between fascinating glacial and volcanic features. Next fast paced riding will occur across the rolling grassy hills. The day ends with a ride out of the national park to a recently converted old Jesuit Hacienda steeped in history and now a very comfortable highland hacienda.
Dirt tracks lead to a river crossing and then a descent into a very scenic valley. The trail continues to vary with wooden bridge and stream crossings; and a chance of some final canters across the pastures. Along the way, you may see Andean Condors, eagles, hawks, kestrel, fox and deer, humming birds, finches, and flycatchers. Then you will bid your horse good bye as you are driven back to Quito with a quick detour through the colonial center.
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport in time for your outward flights.
*The guide can alter the itinerary due to unforeseen circumstances.
Ride Details - Colonial Haciendas Ride
Dates: February 2nd – 13th, February 20th – 27th, Feburary 27th – March 9th, April 2nd – 9th, June 12th – 19th, June 26th – July 3rd, July 24th – 31st, August 15th – 22nd, August 28th – September 4th, September 11th – 18th, September 25th – October 2nd, October 9th – 16th, November 13th – 20th, December 19th – 26th
Best Months to Ride: June – September. Peak season is October to December. Airport: Quito
Riding Days: 7
Daily Riding Hours: 5 – 6
Riding Ability: STRONG INTERMEDIATE: Confident and in control at all paces including posting trots, two point canters and gallops in open country.
Group Size: Maximum 8 riders
Weight Restrictions: 187 lbs. (extra charge over 187 lbs. for extra horse)
Health : You will reach altitudes of 9,100 feet/2800 meters. It is essential to consult your doctor or an appropriate vaccination/health centre for up-to-date information.
Horses: English, Arab, Pasos crossed with Crillo
Accommodations: Colonial Haciendas (historic country houses)
2 – 3 riders total: $4,485.00 per person, double occupancy
4+ riders total: $3,650.00 per person, double occupancy
Single Supplement: none
Included: 7 nights’ accommodation, horse, tack, guide,
Not Included: airfare, transportation to and from the airport ($70.00 roundtrip per person)
ANNUAL TEMPERATURE AND RAINFALL:
Colonial Haciendas Ride: Gallery
Colonial Haciendas Ride