Andean Adventure, Ecuador
horse riding tour through the heart of 'condor country'
gallop accros seldom-visited plains
one night in a local village, supporting a local community project
A route that takes riders into the remote Andes in the eastern foothills of the perfectly conical, snow-capped Cotopaxi volcano.
We cross a huge variety of scenic terrain, firstly riding across the patchwork of tiny fields on dirt tracks then riding through luna-like landscapes, picking up speed on vast grassy plains. The pace is varied, including plenty of chances for long canters across rolling hills mixed with a steadier pace over more challenging surfaces. Where there is a break in the sea of high Andean grasslands, the ground is carpeted with wild flowers and we pass through primary woodland with native trees and shrubs and also eucalyptus forests. We cross old lava flows dotted with rocks catapulted out from the erupting volcano, where only lichens grow and ride through rivers fed by snowmelt.
Nights are spent in a wonderful mixture of haciendas, inns, isolated farmhouses, built of a variety of materials including adobe with thatched roofs and original Inca stone. One night is spent in little cottages in a hamlet, supporting a truly excellent local community project. Due to the varying weather conditions in the mountains (seasonal changes east, west of Cotopaxi Volcano), flexibility is needed. We have several other excellent alternatives if a change to the itinerary below needs to be made.
A ride for experienced riders capable of riding over a multitude of challenging terrains and spending long days in the saddle (maximum 7-8 hours). We strongly advise a few days acclimatization prior to the tour and, to this effect, can arrange activities such as few days ‘de-rust’ riding or a variety of ‘non riding’ activities such as a visit to the famous Otavalo market. Many other options in Quito and different areas of the Andean highlands are also available.
Fully inclusive package including: horse, spare horse(s) taken, guide and local groom(s) who saddle and unsaddle the horses etc., 3 meals per day (from lunch day 1 to breakfast day 8), snacks and water on rides, 7 nights’ accommodation, national park/private reserves etc. entrance fees, transport from & back to Quito (normally from/back to your hotel, depending on hotel location), transport of bags between lodgings and all local taxes. Saddlebags and ponchos (wool & rain) provided for each guest.
Riding ability: intermediate and above – able to canter in open spaces and also be prepared to ride on steep slopes and tricky terrain. Guests need to be riding fit – long days in the saddle with some tough riding. At various points guests may be leading their horses (but not normally over long distances). Please consult with us if you have any doubts.
Guides: expert rider leading the trip, bilingual with much experience. Also at least one skilled, local horseman accompanies the group.