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FAQ

Concerning our horseback riding tours

Why book with Ride Andes?

Ride Andes is an unmatched experience for those who love horses and the raw nature of mountains, forests, lakes, beaches and rivers. Ride Andes is a specialist riding tour company and the tours have been running since 1996.

Guests are matched with destinations and horses to ensure the best possible experience, one to cherish and remember forever. That is the number one priority.

Sally Vergette, the British owner, has ridden in all the destinations offered, personally designing many of the tours herself.

The company is hands-on with the whole tour, from booking to boarding your flight home. They are in constant contact with the locals – the guides and hosts whom you will be staying with.

Do I need to be an experienced rider?

There are Ride Andes tours for riders at all levels. There are routes specifically designed for experienced rides and routes for beginner/novice riders.

  • Private Rides: Depending on the itinerary chosen, the guide will set the pace that suits the least experienced rider(s).

  • Fixed Date Rides: Experienced riders only. *

*There are some routes more challenging than others. For example, the Chile/Argentina Across the Andes rides are mainly steady paced and relatively easy (except the 14 day tour). In Ecuador, as well as challenging routes, we have tours during which beginner riders learn on the trail!

A simple email outlining what sort of riding you like and what riding experience you have can have you signed up to the most suitable and ideal tour. It is essential that you complete the detailed booking form to enable Ride Andes to select the best horses for your profile.

 

I used to ride a lot but now rarely ride. Is that a problem?

Many guests who join our rides are ‘rusty’, as long as it is known in advance, this is not a problem.

Does a guide accompany the ride?

There are two guides riding with guests. They are experienced, trained for emergencies, and at least one will be bilingual and at least one will be local.

What is the climate/terrain/pace like?

South America has everything: high mountains, beaches, desert, winter sun, cooler glacial lakes regions, verdant forests. Some rides steadily cross the Andes, while others are fast-paced grasslands rides. Each tour is different and unique, so we feel strongly that we have something to satisfy everyone. If you wish, you can email Ride Andes to discuss together the ideal itinerary for you.

 

What is the accommodation like?

The range of accommodation is sumptuously varied. Whether you seek to touch back to basics with simple, shared accommodations, or taste the luxurious with suites, or even to camp out beneath the stars, Ride Andes has all the options for you. The itinerary will dictate the lodgings so do contact Ride Andes to discuss the best options for you.

 

Can I bring my family? Are there age, height and weight limitations? 

Yes, families are very welcome on the private rides. For these, there are no age limits, and the daily rides are adapted accordingly.

For fixed departures, an age-limit has been introduced, normally 15 years old. There are no height limits but to match the most suitable horse it is important to give your height on the booking form. As a rule of thumb weights over 100kg (220lbs) are not generally accepted as, unfortunately, the terrain and horse height does not allow for heavier riders.

Can I bring someone who does not want to ride?

Certain of our routes adapt perfectly to accommodate accompanying ‘non-riders’. Ride Andes does its utmost to ensure that the ‘non-rider’ also has an excellent time, with many alternative activities available. Once again, email to discuss the options.

For fixed date tours, what is the group size?

For fixed date departures, the normal maximum is 8 riders. This number does vary to 10 or 12 on some tours – details are given in each tour document. For private rides, it varies country to country. Many destinations also have options for solo riders.

Do you offer private tours? 

Yes. All of the destinations offer flexible itineraries for private groups.

 

Can I join a tour by myself?  

Yes, you are very welcome. A lot of single riders join the fixed date departures, choosing a single room or twin room same sex room share. Please note, depending on the final number of the tour and the destination, the single supplement is waivered – please consult.

Should I get travel insurance before I come on the tour?

Appropriate medical travel insurance is obligatory, and guests will not be allowed to participate on any tours without an adequate medical insurance policy. It is also advised to take out a travel policy to cover your possessions and also changes in travel plans.

 

Are there additional activities that we can add on to our tour? 

Yes! Ride Andes and the local guides/partners are ‘on the ground’ and have deeply researched the areas compiling a list of amazing ‘side trips’ to add on. From wine tasting to scuba diving, the tour operator is very happy to chat with you and suggest excursion options, depending on your interests.

What kind of food can I expect on the tour? Can my diet be accommodated? 

The food is always locally sourced, so varies from country to country. It is the pride of Ride Andes to offer on the menu fresh, healthy options, with local produce. Generally, the food is not spicey, and all dietary/allergy needs are catered to, as long as we are informed well in advance.

What are the additional costs during a tour? 

The aim is to leave guests with few expenses outside of the tour costs. Each destination is different, therefore what is included in the price may be different – please refer to each itinerary to see exactly what is included and what is not included. Generally, all lodging, meals and necessary ground transport is included, whether drinks or not are included does vary. Please email us with any queries.

What can you tell me about the horses and the type of ride I can expect?

The mission is to provide guests with suitable happy, healthy horses for each ride. The breed of horses and pace of the ride varies enormously with each itinerary. Please refer to each tour or send an email for more information. The various South American Criollo horses – pure bred or crossed with other breeds - are provided on most rides. A few rides offer gaited horses.

What tack is used? 

Saddles vary a little with each destination – generally a form of low pommel western saddle with thick sheepskins atop are provided (on some rides, for example in Uruguay, the sheepskins double as a resting blanket!) Some of these saddles can be ridden ‘English style’ without a problem. On certain rides an English saddle can be requested (for example Ecuador). Neck reining (indirect rein/one handed) is the most common method, on certain rides (Ecuador) two handed/direct rein style can be used. Please email for details.

 

What do I need to bring with me?

For each itinerary, detailed travel notes will be sent including a suggested packing list. At present, there is only one tour (Atacama Desert Extreme) where riders camp and will need sleeping bags.

Do I need to speak any other language except English? 

A bilingual/trilingual guide rides with and takes care of guests so English is the only language necessary. At the time of inquiry, guests can request guides that are fluent in other languages (French, German…). Guests have really enjoyed the short language courses Ride Andes have arranged for them prior to the start of the riding tour.

What safety protocols do you have in place? 

As well as the current special Covid-19 sanitary protocols in place at present, each destination has a clear safety protocol in place. Please do send any questions.

How far in advance should I book?

There are sometimes last minute options but guests are advised to book as far in advance as possible to ensure their place on a tour, particularly for rides during peak travel times. This is even more important for private groups.

What kind of visa will I need? 

Please kindly check with the embassy/consulate of the destination(s) for the up to date situation.

 

What is your cancellation policy? 

Please revert to details for each of our destinations (in our terms and conditions section we also have more details). Currently a special postponement policy is in place due to Covid-19 situation. In the event of a guest having to cancel, absolutely everything possible is done to refund them as much money as possible/offer them another date.

What payment methods do you accept?

Currently accepted are bank transfers, ‘Paypal’ payments and credit card payments.

How do I book a tour? 

A booking form needs to be completed and returned to us with a 30% deposit payment.

Once booked, what else do I need to do?

Arrange your travel medical insurance (obligatory); check that your passport is valid for at least six months after the date of return from the trip and that you have sufficient pages for the immigration passport stamps; check to see if you need any visa(s) and/or specific vaccinations. We will send you detailed travel notes (including a suggested packing list) and provide you with assistance in preparing for your trip.

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