Luxury Haciendas, Ecuador
3 Days and up
Private horseback riding tour. No set departures
- enjoy 5* luxury
- journey through spectacular scenery between Ecuador’s historic country houses
- this ride can be adapted in length and content to suit the wishes of each individual group. Ideal for groups with ‘part time / non riders’ and for families
Indulge on a journey on horseback through landscapes made for riding, including overnights at beautiful old Colonial country houses, filled with antiques, surrounded by manicured gardens- the very best accommodation the Ecuadorian Andes has to offer. Guests canter along ancient Inca highways and across vast plains in two stunningly beautiful, yet very distinct areas of the highlands.
Great for a honeymoon or special occasion.....
"I'm a long-time rider, and my (new - we were on honeymoon!) husband is not at all, and Sally managed the gap better than I could've hoped. Itineraries were flexible and just-right, with breaks and meals when we wanted them...And getting to ride into and out of magnificently charming haciendas is THE way to arrive - we're already debating what our next Ride Andes itinerary will be!" Newlywed, Oct 16
Guests are met at Quito airport/Quito hotel by the guide and driven into the northern highlands of Ecuador to start their horse riding tour, with a visit to the famous, very colourful Otavalo market on the way. Introductory horse ride (3-4hrs) along the tracks and through the tiny fields and hamlets arriving at a Hacienda first built in 1606. We often see the very friendly and dignified locals in their immaculate traditional dress working in the fields using hand tools or cattle to plough the land.
A stunninghorse ride into the beautiful pastoral Zuleta Valley (6-7hrs). Along country lanes then through eucalyptus forests, we rise out of San Pablo Valley enjoying wonderful views across the lake to the hills of Mojanda and also of Imbabura volcano, riding onto the plains beyond for some fast-pace horseback riding.We ride to a very special Hacienda in the middle of this tranquil valley. A chance of seeing the mighty Andean Condor as well as other species such as hummingbirds and bright scarlet flycatchers. Andalusian horses, and a dairy herd are among the farm inhabitants, the Hacienda makes its own delicious cheese. Guests can walk into the village and see examples of the hand embroidery that has made the valley famous and also enjoy exploring the working farm. Overnight at the Hacienda. Fireplaces in most rooms
A circuit horse ride with a picnic lunch or two circuit rides and lunch back at the Hacienda house – guests can decide today’s itinerary in this beautiful valley. We can ride to the condor project – wild Andean condors often fly down and guests get a chance to study this enormous bird at close range. Several routes take us to the ancient tumili and earth pyramids erected by the pre-Inca population, and at the Hacienda guests can see some of the ceramics recovered from these earth structures. A second overnight at the Hacienda, owned & managed by the family of a very respected ex President of Ecuador.
We then horse ride out of the valley, soon gaining height, leaving the valley floor there are spectacular views. Here, condors are seen close up more and more frequently. We ride out of the valley through a large eucalyptus forest. A different experience to the previous horseback rides - cantering along the shady tracks between the rows of tall eucalyptus. We often meet the locals with small herds of sheep, goats, pigs and cattle. A short drive brings us to a beautiful old hacienda for a delicious home cooked 3 course lunch of traditional dishes in beautiful surroundings. The number of visitors allowed into this private house is limited and, as well as the fine, antique furniture the rooms are packed with arrangements of fresh roses – 1000s of roses (an important export for Ecuador). We then cross the Equator Line with time to stop for photos.
Leaving the farmlands behind, a spectacular horse ride awaits (7hrs), across the Sincholagua foothills to the northern edge of the Cotopaxi national park. We start with some canters through dramatic Andean scenery, then traverse a series of huge gorges along tracks and riding across the remote ‘paramo’ wilderness. We then descend and, once on the pasturelands, enjoy some exhilarating canters across the pastures and ride towards Cotopaxi National Park approaching the perfectly conical shape of the snow-capped Cotopaxi Volcano (the highest active volcano in the world). Finally we cross a river and arrive for the night at an Hacienda, surrounded by mighty Andean peaks -an absolutely stunning location.
A day horse riding in the wild open expanses of the Andean highlands enjoying the open terrain, no sign of habitation and spectacular views of the close by Cotopaxi snow-capped volcano. We then ride across a very surprising ‘luna landscape’ – huge boulders and hard baked ocre-coloured mud, between fascinating glacial and volcanic features and onto rolling grassy hills for more fast paced riding. After a picnic lunch amidst this stunning scenery, we ride out of the national park to a converted old Jesuit Hacienda seeped in history and now a very comfortable highland hacienda.
Guests horseback ride out of the lodge along dirt tracks, ford a river and head down a very scenic valley northwards towards civilization and Quito (5-6hrs). A chance of some final canters across the pastures, avoiding encounters with the fighting bulls. We often meet the local horsemen (chagras) checking the cattle and have also frequently seen Andean Condors on this route as well as eagles, hawks, kestrel, fox and deer. Descending into the valley along a lane bordered with native trees & shrubs humming birds, finches, flycatchers and many other bird species flit tree to tree in front of us. We say farewell to the horses and have a final night in a very comfortable hotel in Quito.
Following breakfast, guests are accompanied to the airport in time for their outward flights, or are picked up at their hotel to continue on extensions.
“ THANK YOU FOR A FABULOUS HOLIDAY ON THE HACIENDAS RIDING TOUR!!!. It gets an A+ rating - based on experiences with 16 other riding holidays on four continents over the past 17 years.” Luis