FAQs concerning the tours...
Do I need to be an experienced rider to join one of Ride Andes tours?
Rides are divided into those for experienced riders and those for the less experienced (a large number of which are suitable for beginners.) Guests participating on the rides for experienced riders (scheduled departures or private) are expected to be able to canter comfortably and control a horse in open terrain at all paces; intermediate level and above. If you have any doubts please ask us.
The scheduled rides do vary in difficulty with generally speaking the Across the Andes rides (Chile-Argentina) being easier than the Uruguay tours which are in turn easier than the Cotopaxi Adventure/Volcanoes & Vistas Ecuador tours (the most challenging of our regular tours).
The rides for less experienced riders are adapted to allow for a slower pace and less time in the saddle per day. No riding experience is necessary.
Enjoyment from the rides can be greatly increased if you are physically fit and your riding muscles are toned. Guests are welcome to arrive before the start of a set date departure tour in order to do an extra ride with the guide to ‘de-rust’.
If NON-RIDERS wish to accompany the tour, alternative activities can be organised for them and on most days everyone can meet up for mid-day meals. The Colonial Haciendas itinerary is an excellent option for a group of riders/ ‘non-riders’/part time riders. Please ask for further details.
Can we design our own riding tour with your help?
Yes, no problem at all. Private tours can be tailor-made to suit guests' wishes (more days in the saddle, shorter daily rides, days out of the saddle added to the itinerary for bird watching, hiking, visiting local markets or craft villages etc.) For tailor-made tours, departures can be any day of the week.
Can you arrange other aspects of my trip?
Ride Andes can arrange all aspects of your trip from arrival at the airport, hotels pre & post tour, city tours – look after you from the moment you arrive to the moment you return home. We can also complement your riding holiday with other activities such as relaxing at beaches, bird watching, cultural visits, spas and other sports (golf, trekking, white-water rafting, mountain biking, kayaking). We can help you book other trips – for example, to the GALAPAGOS ISLANDS and the AMAZON RAIN FOREST, IGUAZU FALLS, PATAGONIA, RIO DE JANIERO – please ask for the extension documents.
What can you tell me about the horses you use and the type of ride I can expect?
It is incredibly important that you provide us accurate riding ability details – we try to put a lot of work into selecting suitable horses for each rider.
The horses are mainly ‘Criollo’ -descendants of the Spanish Conquistadors' stock, developed in each country depending on the environmental conditions. These horses are ideal for the terrain we ask them to ride over and often crossed with warm/hot blood lines (English, Spanish, Arab, Pasos) for a taller, more responsive horse. They are specially selected, well trained and good natured.
As mentioned, great attention is paid to matching horse and rider and on most rides 14.2-15.2hh horses are available.
Riders normally change to fresh horses at least once during the longer rides, depending on the ride. The pace is very varied due to the great variety of landscapes. On most rides, each day there are opportunities for faster paced riding – except the Across the Andes rides, due to the terrain. In Ecuador, on the second part of the scheduled tours, much of the ride can be fast-paced, depending on guests' wishes – so please let us know what style of riding you like so we can make some suggestions.
All rides of more than 2 hours include regular breaks and all-day rides normally include a lunch break of approximately one hour. Please refer to individual itineraries for more details.
Set date group departures: no more than 8 guests (Ecuador) per group, maximum 10 in Chile, maximum 12 in Uruguay. Private groups: 1 or more guest(s).
What tack is used?
Western tack is used, South American style saddles (except for Ecuador where US cavalry saddles with sheepskin seats are used).
English riding style is possible in Ecuador, English saddles are normally available upon prior request, in other countries South American saddles are used (thick sheepskins atop the saddle).
Ecuador: English and western style bridles (let us know your preference: direct rein or neck reining). On most other rides: western style one-handed ‘neck reining’.
Will I be accompanied by a guide?
Guests are always accompanied by a guide (bilingual: English/Spanish) who has many years experience of riding. In addition, at least one ‘groom’ is present – a usually a skilled local horseman. Both guides and grooms have excellent local knowledge and are good riders. There is also additional ground staff. Professional guides speaking other languages are available on prior request.
What can you tell me about the terrain & climate I'll experience on the ride?
We offer rides in the low Andes (Chile-Argentina) high Andes (Ecuador), on the Equator line (Ecuador), on the beach/coast (Uruguay), at various times of the year –so please consult each ride itinerary. For riding on the beach, hot weather: some Uruguay itineraries. For challenging riding in the remote, high Andes: Cotopaxi Adventure, Ecuador. Parts of Ecuador are at high altitude. Please contact if you have any concerns.
What kind of food can I expect on the tour?
Whether staying in a hacienda, estancia, hostal or country ranch, the food is excellent, filling and not over-spiced. Dishes are a mixture of international and local, some meals ‘a la carte’, sometimes set menus. Delicious tropical fruit such as papaya, mango and custard apple are often on offer in Ecuador as well as hearty highland soups made with prime local ingredients including beans, pulses and vegetables. In Uruguay and on the Chile-Argentine rides, red meat takes a main role – but vegetarian/special diets can be catered for as long as prior notice given.
If picnic lunches are served, they never consist of just a sandwich. Please contact us for further details of sample menus.
What do I need to bring with me? Do I need any special equipment?
Ride Andes provide the following in Ecuador: riding helmets upon prior request (but we do recommend that you bring your own), ponchos, saddlebags. Half chaps also available on prior request.
On tours in Ecuador and Uruguay: a vehicle brings on guests' belongings to the Hacienda/Estancia. Luggage storage can often be organised during the ride -please contact us.
Across the Andes: pack horses are used, stricter luggage requirements, please consult.
All bed linen and towels will be provided on the tours.
Detailed suggested packing lists are provided to each tour.
What additional costs are involved in the price of the tour?
There are very few expenses not included in the overall price of the trip.
Do check each itinerary but, generally, guests may need to bring money for:
soft drinks & alcohol (provision of drinks varies on each tour; as a minimum, water is provided while riding).
-meals & accommodation pre/post tour
-sundry expenses such as telephone calls and laundry bills.
How do I book a tour with Ride Andes?
Please go to the contact page and request availability, a booking form and send us any questions you may have. If you prefer, you can make the booking via an agent in your own country – we can give you a list of specialist travel agents that we work with. Telephone Sally directly on +593 999 738 221 or skype: ride andes for any specific questions/chats- or email her to schedule a phone call (as she still guides tours therefore can be difficult to reach).
A deposit will be required to secure the booking.
Once I'm booked, is there anything else I need to do before arriving?
You can contact Ride Andes at any time with any questions you have regarding your trip. We endeavour to give guests all possible assistance including providing travel notes and a clothing checklist.
Before departure, it is essential that guests check with the approprite embassy/consulate in their home country concerning visas and up-to-date entry requirements.
Ride Andes is not responsible for ensuring guests fulfil entry requirements. Guests must check that their passports are valid for at least 6 months after the date of departure from the country they are visiting.
Guests are responsible for having an adequate, valid insurance policy including cover for all the sporting activities that they are likely to participate in. Appropriate medical insurance is obligatory.
It is understood by Ride Andes that guests are in a suitable condition to partake in a riding tour, are not riding against any medical advice and that guests know of no reason why they should not be participating in such a tour. Guests will be required to sign a waiver of liability at the start of the tour.
It is essential to consult your doctor or an appropriate vaccination/health centre for up-to-date information – give yourself plenty of time in case you need any vaccinations.