Barichara Ride - Colombia

Barichara Ride

4 star rating   3 October 2019

Ken who has been on 2 In The Saddle rides. Colombia Barichara - An adventurous ride in a little-travelled area of the world | The horses were all very fit and well cared for. The terrain was hilly, if not mountainous, with a few very steep sections that were easily handled by the horses. We did a fair amount of trotting and cantering up and down hills. Overall the pace of the riding met my expectations as described.

The Riding

How well were you matched with the right horse for your ability?
5 star rating
How would you rate the variety of riding, pace or terrain?
4 star rating
How would you rate the overall standard of the horses, tack and stables?
5 star rating

The Accommodation

How would you rate your room(s) for comfort and facilities?
5 star rating
How would you rate the standard of the food?
3 star rating

Do you have any comments about the accommodation and food?

The accommodation was very good and was one of the highlights of the ride. The places we stayed were each unique, very comfortable and often in scenic areas.

The food, well, Colombian food is not going to win any awards from Gordon Ramsey. I will first start by saying that I have Celiac disease and thus not able to eat wheat products. Colombian food is reasonably accommodating in this area because it emphasizes meat, chicken and fish, served with plantains, rice, corn and potatoes. However, Colombians serve their protein dishes very well done to the point of being overcooked /leathery. A couple of nights we had pasta options, which was a nice change from meat dishes. Unfortunately I could not indulge because of my wheat allergy. Breakfast was usually eggs, fruit and corn cakes.

For lunch, our Guide, Julio, did arrange for us to eat either in private homes, or at some sort of cafe. On the surface, this would seem like a great idea in lieu of a typical "saddle bag" lunch, and it was a nice touch to "eat with the locals." However, lunch was typically quite "heavy" with a grilled meat or chicken dish, along with rice and potatoes. I found it very hard to eat that kind of meal and then do another 2 or so hours of hard riding later in the afternoon. The other thing I found a bit "challenging" in regards to lunch was the lack of hand-washing facilities. In the private homes and some of the cafes we ate, there was not soap to wash hands with nor towels to dry our hands. Not only did this mean we could not wash our hands, it also meant that the people who were preparing the food were not following what we are used to with regards to hygiene.

Abbie from In The Saddle replies, "Thank you very much for your feedback. I have forwarded your comments on to the guide, who going forward, plans to provide soap and towels for everyone to wash their hands before lunch. He is also going to work on providing more vegetables throughout the ride".

Before Your Holiday

Did you have all of the information you needed to:

Plan and prepare for your holiday?
5 star rating
Feel comfortable about your transfers and what to expect?
5 star rating

Do you have any other feedback for us?

The itinerary for this ride was good, though the beginning of the ride could be improved. We could have skipped the day in Bogota (since it is not a very interesting city and the morning traffic is horrendous) and been driven straight from the airport and stayed in one of the colonial towns outside of the city.

Our guide Julio is a treasure. I have been on many, many rides, and he stands out as one of the best. He really wanted us to have a great time and he did his best to ensure we did. He is safety conscious but still lead a fast-paced ride that allowed us to use our riding skills.

The countryside and scenery was great and I really felt we were seeing "authentic" Colombia.

The last day was supposedly a 6-8 hour drive back to Bogota. It took us nearly 11 hours. Traffic in and near Bogota is the worst I have ever seen in any city. The roads in Colombia are in poor condition. On the way from Barichara to Bogota we did stop at a "Market town" for 45 minutes to tour the market. I would skip this stop-over and continue straight to Bogota. The market was not unique or that interesting.

(Abbie from In The Saddle says, "I am so glad that you enjoyed riding with Julio, who always works extremely hard to ensure his guests enjoy exploring Colombia. A minor change to the itinerary in planned for future trips, with the first night spent in Villa de Leyva instead of Bogota. Tunja is renowned for its colonial architecture, but we are sorry to hear that you did not enjoy this stop which is designed to break the long journey back to Bogota. Thank you for your constructive comments, which have been passed on to Julio").