Choosing a Riding Holiday in Ecuador

Posted on January 22, 2024

Are you keen on riding in Ecuador, but not sure where to begin? Then let us help guide you towards the right option, whether you’re looking for a luxurious centre-based ride, or an adventurous trail.

If we had to use one word to describe the riding in Ecuador it would be ‘diverse’. From exhilarating canters on the endless rugged plains of Cotopaxi National Park, to scenic trails through the incredible steep-sided valleys of the northern highlands – Ecuador has it all.

The verdant valleys of the northern highlands

You could journey on horseback through small communities high in the Andes, follow paths in fragrant eucalyptus forests or pass by ancient Inca forts. Whichever trip you choose, riding in Ecuador means you’ll experience culture, scenery and adventure in equal measure.

ExExhilarating canters, Cotopaxi

Exhilarating canters in Cotopaxi

In The Saddle has four riding holiday options to choose from – one centre based ride and three trail rides:

Hacienda Zuleta

Hacienda Zuleta is a beautiful colonial working farm dating back to the 16th century. Nestled in the heart of the Andes, this hacienda is located only two hours’ drive from Quito. You can arrive and depart on any day and stay for as long as you wish. The minimum stay is 3 nights, but if you have the time we recommend 7 nights, so that you can experience all that this superb holiday has to offer.

One of the courtyards at Hacienda Zuleta

This centre-based trip features quality horses and varied riding, both in the pastoral Zuleta valley and up into the paramo beyond. On some days you’ll ride out in the morning and return to the hacienda for lunch. On others you’ll ride all day and stop for a picnic out on the trail. Competent riders might even be invited to help bring in the herd in the early morning, although this is your holiday and you can have a more relaxing start if you prefer!

Riding into the clouds (credit: T Marshall)

After a long day in the saddle, relax aching muscles at the hacienda’s spa. Treatments such as massages, reflexology and facials can be arranged for you.

Time to relax at the spa

Superb accommodation, delicious food and a warm welcome awaits at Zuleta. The hacienda has a library, lounges, dining rooms and courtyards – so there are plenty of options whether you want to relax with company, or find a peaceful spot for some quiet time. Accommodation ranges from comfortable Standard rooms through to luxurious Suites. Each guest room is individually decorated and has its own unique style.

Gorgeous guest rooms (Junior Suite)

You can pick the dates that suit you best, so please contact us for availability. If you’d like to join other In The Saddle guests, we have riders booked 17-21 March and 11-18 May 2024.

Haciendas of the Andes

The Haciendas of the Andes is a 7 night trail exploring two distinct areas of the country. First, you’ll follow scenic trails in the picturesque northern highlands. Later in the week, head out onto the rugged, wide open plains of Cotopaxi National Park.

Beautiful trails in the northern highlands

Accommodation is in charming colonial haciendas along the way; some of which are quite grand.

Stay at historic haciendas along the way

During the trip you’ll have the chance to visit a local weaver’s workshop and wander around the colourful Otavalo market.

Otavalo Market

In 2024 this ride will run on set dates from June to December. You can see a full list of dates on our website:

The 21-28 September Haciendas of the Andes ride is confirmed to run with two In The Saddle guests booked. Please contact us if you’d like to secure your place.

Andean Adventure

The Andean Adventure is a week-long trip with notable distances to cover and long hours in the saddle. Journey through the northern highlands and deep into the remote area east of Cotopaxi.

High octane canters in Cotopaxi

Accommodation is a little more rustic, with shared bathrooms on some nights.

One of the overnight stops

This ride will run on set dates in November and December 2024. You can see a full list of dates on our website:

Volcanoes & Vistas

The 10 night Volcanoes & Vistas ride features challenging riding and long days. You’ll explore both the northern highlands and the remote eastern side of the Cotopaxi area.

Ride off the beaten path

Again, accommodation is on the rustic side with shared bathrooms on some nights, but no camping.

Typical hacienda accommodation

For 2024 the Volcanoes & Vistas ride will run on set dates from June to December. For the full list of scheduled rides please visit our website:

Which to Choose?

With so many super options to choose from, how do you make a decision?

If you prefer your creature comforts, then we usually recommend Hacienda Zuleta or Haciendas of the Andes, since these options offer really comfortable accommodation. You must be a competent rider for the Haciendas of the Andes trail, whilst Hacienda Zuleta can accommodate riders of all levels. At Zuleta your holiday will be tailored to your riding level, so this trip appeals both to relatively new riders and those who are more experienced in the saddle.

Adventurous riders who are happy to stay in more rustic accommodation, would likely relish the challenge of the Volcanoes & Vistas or Andean Adventure. These trails involve significant distances in remote locations, with some tough terrain and longer hours in the saddle. They are best suited to fit, confident and experienced riders.

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We hope this post has encouraged you to think of Ecuador for your next riding adventure.

If you would like any further information on the fantastic riding holidays available in Ecuador, please call Abbie on +44 1299 272 239 or email

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