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We feature three exciting trail rides in Ecuador, the Colonial Haciendas, Andean Adventure and Volcanoes & Vistas rides. All of these itineraries feature fantastic riding on well-schooled horses, spectacular scenery and a good dose of adventure.
But how can you choose between three such great options? Because there is a minimum number of two guests for these rides to go ahead, sometimes your choice will have to come down to which dates are confirmed to run. But if there are multiple dates to choose from, or you are travelling with 1 or 2 other riders, then you’ll have the choice of all three.
Spanning 10 nights, our Volcanoes & Vistas route is the longest trail ride we feature in Ecuador. Like the Colonial Haciendas ride, you have the opportunity to visit Otavalo market, plus explore on horseback the pretty patchwork fields of the northern highlands and the wild, wide open plains of Cotopaxi National Park. But our Volcanoes & Vistas also features time in the remote Pinan region, where you ride into the vast paramo with its miles of swirling grasslands. You stay at a mountain lodge in the tiny village of Pinan, miles from the hustle and bustle of towns or cities. Have the chance to visit the local community, whose houses are built in the traditional way with adobe and thatch. You really get a sense that life here has remained unchanged for centuries.
When you leave Pinan, the route takes you from the high Andes down into the cloud forest, a very different environment from the previous days. Here the vegetation is thick and lush, full of plants, bamboo, coffee and many tropical trees and fruits. Spend the night at the coffee plantation of Rio Lindo on the edge of a river.
The accommodation – a mixture of small haciendas, guesthouses and remote lodges – may not be as luxurious as on the Colonial Haciendas ride, but it is full of Ecuadorian charm. On some nights you’ll be spoilt with comfortable en-suite rooms, but on other nights when you are in more remote areas, things can be more rustic. For example, accommodation in Pinan is dormitory-style with shared bathrooms.
The length of the itinerary, remote locations and at times rustic accommodation probably make our Volcanoes & Vistas ride the most challenging of the three itineraries. But if you can’t spare so long away from home, then the Andean Adventure is similar in nature, but by missing out the Pinan section it is seven nights instead of ten. The Colonial Haciendas ride features the most luxurious accommodation, but still offers incredible riding in amazing locations.
In summary, our Volcanoes & Vistas ride is a great choice for those who like lots of riding days and challenging riding into remote areas.
Abbie Wood – September 2013