Cotapaxi Adventure, Ecuador
- ride across the varied terrain of grassy plains, lava flows, wetlands and riverbeds
- chance of seeing Andean wildlife such as the mighty condor, owls and deer
- long canters across seldom visited plains
A route that takes riders into the remote Andes in the isolated Eastern foothills of the perfectly conical, snow-capped Cotopaxi volcano. We cross a variety of terrain including rugged passes, luna-like landscapes and pick up speed over grassy plains. We cross old lava flows dotted with rocks catapulted out from the erupting volcano, where only lichens grow and traverse rivers fed by snowmelt.
An early start, going southwards along the side of the eastern Cordillera of the Andes, into the ‘Avenue of the Volcanoes’. A first taste of the distinct Andean ‘paramo’ vegetation, the views are spectacular; looking out across the green valleys to the many rocky summits beyond.
We ride out of the farm and climb towards ‘Muerto Pungo’ Lake along dirt tracks through a sea of grass, again with incredible vistas. The views extend to distant snow capped volcanoes and to Quito; peaks such as Antisana, Sincholagua, Pichincha, the Iliniza twin peaks and Cotopaxi Volcano come into sight. Riders will see a fascinating old lava flow and its exit hole.
Riders consistently proclaim this route one of the most spectacular & rewarding of all the rides they have done. Far off the beaten track guests can enjoy the tranquillity of this seldom-visited, breath-taking paramo. The ‘chagras’ guide us through this landscape as they spend their lives up here so can carefully lead us along the barely visible trails. Our path takes us through the foothills of the extinct Sincholagua volcano, reaching 4000 metres altitude then descending.
An exhilarating day riding through part of Cotopaxi national park amongst important geological features produced by both ice and age and volcanic activities. Fast paced riding – long canters across the flat grassy plains. Crossing old lava flows, passing a reconstructed Inca fort, will follow the old Inca route andride on to a charming old adobe and thatch farmhouse for overnight.
Guests get the chance to take a closer look at the famous Spanish fighting bulls as we ride through the Hacienda grounds. Skirting Ruminahui rocky summit we continue on into the national park. Passing native Andean forests we descend into an enchanting hidden valley, the route flattens out and often see at close range deer, condors and wild horses. The pace quickens as we ride across plainsand end the ride at a Hacienda close to Cotopaxi Volcano.
The longest ride of the trip– covering 45 kms (30 miles) through the northern section of national park and to the remote eastern flanks of Cotopaxi Volcano, far off the beaten track. Flat plains, marshlands, volcanic rock fields, riverbeds are some of the distinct terrains we traverse. We follow an Inca route that led down to the Amazon for part of the way and the house we stay at tonight is a ‘tambo’ built out of Inca stone.
Riders often wake to stunning views of the close-by Cotopaxi & Quilindana Volcanoes and also the glacier on Antisana Volcano on the horizon. The route will be almost as long as yesterday’s taking us along narrow tracks through the rough grasslands, across several streams, through wetlands and then onto sandy tracks for some more long canters across the huge expanses of open terrain. Descending into the very aptly named ‘Avenue of Volcanoes’ guests leave the horses and are driven back to Quito for an overnight stay.
Following breakfast, guests are taken back to Quito.
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, excluding dinner day 7), 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.
|2015 Scheduled Dates|
|17-01-2015 to 24-01-2015|
|07-02-2015 to 14-02-2015|
|21-02-2015 to 28-02-2015|
|28-02-2015 to 07-03-2015|
|07-03-2015 to 14-03-2015|
|20-06-2015 to 27-06-2015|
|11-07-2015 to 18-07-2015|
|22-08-2015 to 29-08-2015|
|12-09-2015 to 19-09-2015|
|26-09-2015 to 03-10-2015|
|10-10-2015 to 17-10-2015|
|21-11-2015 to 28-11-2015|
|12-12-2015 to 19-12-2015|