Northern Sierras, Ecuador - Colonial Haciendas Short Tour
Private horseback riding tour. No set departures
- a choice of routes depending on riders level
- Otavalo market visit
- stay at a beautiful working hacienda
Horse riding in the green valleys below the jagged peaks of the picturesque northern Andes. Riding between adobe cottages and patchwork fields, passing locals in their colourful indigenous dress, cantering along grassy tracks with views of the ancient tumili and earth pyramids erected by the pre-Inca population seldom visited by tourists. Staying at farms & haciendas with stunning locations and charming Ecuadorian hospitality.
This horse riding tour departs from Quito in a private vehicle to visit the famous Otavalo market and then meet the horses at a Hacienda close to the market town. Once guests are comfortable on their horses, we leave this historic hacienda - once a very important weaving centre, on horseback and ride on to another colonial hacienda built in 1602 (5 hrs). We ride past tiny hamlets of adobe huts, through woodlands, cross rocky gorges and wind our way around the patchwork fields of quinoa, potatoes, maize and tree tomato orchards. Magnificent views of the San Pablo lake and the jagged Mojanda summit as we ride across the slopes of the sacred Imbabura Volcano (extinct) - the focus of many Inca legends. Overnight in an early 17th Century hacienda adorned with local crafts and antiques.
A stunning horse ride into the beautiful pastoral Zuleta Valley (4-7hrs, depending on route guests select). 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, horse riding onto the plains beyond for some faster-pace riding for those that wish. Views of Zuleta valley, the verdant gorges and the ‘paramo’ (the unique Andean habitat of high grasslands) as we pass dew ponds and hedges of spikey agave (sisal) atop mud walls. Following sandy tracks, we then descend into the Zuleta valley with dramatic views across to the hanging valleys and rocky ridges above. A very good chance of seeing the mighty Andean Condor as well as other species such as hummingbirds and bright scarlet flycatchers.
A chance to get to know about the Andalusian breed, the farm owners will chat with you about their champion horses. We then horseback ride out into another section of the farm along grass tracks, soon gaining height, leaving the valley floor there are spectacular views. Here, condors are seen close up more and more frequently. Then, leaving the farm, we ride up out of the valley through a large eucalyptus forest. A different experience to the previous rides - cantering along the shady tracks between the rows of tall eucalyptus. Emerging from the forest onto the plains, snow-capped Cayambe comes into view. Guests are then driven to Quito, Quito airport or a charming Hacienda close to the airport. We cross the Equator Line on the way with time to stop for photos.
We will adapt the itinerary of this horseback riding tour to suit the wishes of each group.
Depending on guide availability it is possible to have riding instruction along the way, if guests are interested.
Also, bring NON RIDERS along- we have activities for them.
Our short tours are available almost all year round and suitable for riders of all levels of ability and experience. The ride can easily be adapted to suit less experienced riders and the itineraries can include days with no riding – where guest go on visits/do other activities (hikes, mountain biking, bird watching, climbing Cotopaxi…)