8 Days, 7 Nights
Next ride with space: SEPTEMBER 2018, contact us for more details.
Private trips available.
- riding through 2 distinct areas of Colombia, with hugely varying landscapes
- watch the unique Colombian Paso horses
- spend time with locals, enjoying their coffee & music
Riding in two very distinct regions of Colombia: the coffee area complete with avocado and banana plantations, the magnificent wax palms of Cocora Valley as well as the coffee trees and beautiful villages (famous Salento) then also riding through the rolling hills of the sierras between old Haciendas, village inns and a monastery to the cobbled streets and plazas of Villa de Leyva, established in the early 1500s.
“We had great local guides, fantastic local food, beautiful horses and stunning haciendas ... “ Anne, first ride, 2016.
Day 1-5, COFFEE REGION
Day 1: Meet at Bogota Airport and a flight to Armenia (30mins) in the heart of Colombia’s coffee region. On arrival, we will be met by the Colombian Riding guide. After introductions, a short drive (10 minutes) and several stops: to change money, have breakfast and a fascinating coffee plantation visit. Then another short drive (20 minutes) through this fascinating landscape of the province of Quindio with not only coffee trees but banana and avocados to our Hacienda. Changing into riding clothes and a two hour circuit ride – once guests are happy with their horses.
Day 2: We ride on to another beautiful, converted Hacienda (4 hours) through decidely tropical scenery, with a mountainous backdrop, passing through coffee and banana plantations. A 20km ride along tracks and paths, with lunch at a traditional house of the area along the way.
Day 3: Today’s ride is about 7 hours (32km), to a charming, traditional hotel. Leaving the coffee plantations behind us, we soon ride up into the hills passing close to a peak known as ‘the pencil’ with lots of springs bubbling out of the hillsides. We journey on through tropical montane forest and down to the hotel.
Day 4: Today’s ride ends in Salento - the famous quaint town of the región and the oldest established settlement in the beautiful province of Quindio. A six hour ride, starting with a short stretch on surfaced roads then we ride along country lanes borded by native vegetation. Passing streams and rivers with opportunities of seeing a host of birds, we ride on to Salento, for overnight in the small town and a chance to wander the beautiful streets, lined with the colourful wood houses. Excellent shopping opportunities – a chance to buy a range of the local handicrafts including the ponchos and hats and of course the excellent coffee.
Day 5: The nearby Cocora Valley is not to be missed- it where we will see groves of the Wax Palm – the tallest palm in the world reaching over 60 metres in height and Colombia’s national tree. We leave the Salento hotel in jeeps and meet a group of local horses for a two hour ride in the Cocora Valley.
After a traditional lunch including ‘patacones’ riders are driven to Armenia for our return flight to Bogota.
Day 5-10, SIERRAS OF THE ANDES
On arrival at Bogota airport guests are driven out (approx 2 hrs) to an old hacienda for dinner and overnight.
Day 6: A three hour ride along lanes and grassy tracks to a lovely village with narrow cobble stone streets. Lunch on arrival in the village. There is an optional afternoon ride (2 hours) after a brouse in the village workshops producing wool textiles, or guests driven back. Overnight back at the Hacienda.
Day 7: Today we ride to an Hacienda established centuries ago and still an important working farm, with a large dairy herd and stud farm of heavy (working) horses. Traversing the verdant Ubate Valley along ancient routes long used by the local horsemen, we pause for lunch at another old Hacienda before riding on to Potosi. During the evening, riders will be able to listen to a group of local musicians playing traditional ‘Carranguero’ folk music.
Day 8: A short drive (20 minutes) to rejoin the horses. We have 35km to cover today (approx 7 hrs); the scenery changes radically as we ride through oak forests int the hills and cross the border between the Cundinamarca and Boyaca provinces then descend to an Agustin Monastery established in 1604 for dinner and overnight. The evening activity will be an initiation into the Colombian game of ‘Tejo’ – with sticky clay, wrought iron disks and fire crackers this team game cannot be missed!
Day 9: Soon after leaving the Monastery we ascend onto arid plains, the desert like conditions mean that we are surrounded by plants adapted to a very dry environment. We pass an important spiritual site known as the ‘witches patio’ – an ancient astronomical observatory steeped in legends and myths. Five hours riding brings us to the outskirts of Villa de Leyva, founded in 1572 and a national monument. A vehicle takes us to the magnificent main square and to our nearby hotel. The afternoon is free to relax at the small hotel full of character, have a walk, brouse the shops selling Colombian textiles, jewelery and sample the local delicacies. Dinner is a special farewell affair.
Day 10: After breakfast and a leisurely start, riders are driven to a Colombian horse stud (2.5 hrs), where they can see several famous Colombian paso fino show horses in action. There are several distinct breeds and the differences in their paces will be explained. Riders will see the horses being ridden ‘on the boards’ (a technique to enable the judges to hear the gait) and have the opportunity to ride one or two of the pasos.
Lunch at the stud farm and then an hour’s drive to arrive at a fascinating tack shop in Bogota and the opportunity to purchase head collars with beautiful leatherwork or simply to admire the various types of saddles from all the regions of Colombia.
Transfer to a Bogota hotel (we can book for you) or Bogota airport. End of services.
10 day itinerary, 9 nights accommodation, riding on 9 days – 10 days if guests decide to try the Colombian paso horses after the demonstration on day 10.
Meet point: Bogota airport early AM day 1
End point: Bogota airport/ Bogota city late PM day 10
"What an amazing experience with Ride Andes, to see parts of Colombia by horseback. Sally took the time before the trip to find out what kind of horse each guest likes to ride, so we were well matched with horses that suited our confidence and riding ability - there were even mules to ride if anyone fancied a change... The riding was very varied throughout the trip … we rode through beautiful coffee plantations, chopped our way through dense jungle, climbing quite steeply at times and were rewarded with views of beautiful hidden waterfalls. On some days there were nice long canters and on others we enjoyed riding into the cobbled streets of whichever village we would be staying in that night. Some of our most beautiful haciendas weren't in towns but were hidden in the countryside and could only be reached by horseback - perfect!
We had great local guides, fantastic local food, beautiful horses and stunning haciendas ... What made it even better was how we got to mix with local people in their everyday lives, whether making pottery, playing the local game of tejo, or just riding to their house to share a cup of ‘aguapanela’.
Overall very well organised, authentic and adventurous trip and one I would highly recommend." ANNE
“… The first part we experienced the lush vegetation of the coffee plantations … the second part we rode from hacienda to hacienda to monastery to Villa de Leyva, we saw further evidence of the huge variety of scenery and ecosystems Colombia has to offer. Go soon before everyone discovers it!
These holidays are 'full on' - expect to ride at least five hours a day on great horses with competent and friendly local guides, expect three good meals - a variety across the spectrum of good wholesome local food, comfortable accommodation and the chance to see somewhere special from the back of a horse. A variety of local 'experiences' are also included - e.g. lunch at a local pottery and the chance to play ‘tejo’ - the local explosive version of boule!
We enjoyed Bogota and went on a city tour Sally arranged for us - we found the people in Colombia genuinely friendly and helpful and really enjoyed and brought home with us one local product - the coffee!” PAUL & ANITA