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Colombia is found at the northern tip of South America and is bordered by Panama, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador and Peru. Colombia is a must-visit destination; after all it is famed for having the friendliest and happiest people in Latin America!
Colombia is one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world. From soaring Andean peaks and unspoilt Amazon jungle, to coffee plantations and pristine coastlines, Colombia is both varied and beautiful.
The Barichara Ride explores the eastern part of the country. Journey on horseback from the town of Oiba, to colonial Barichara. Along the way encounter towns, villages, coffee and sugar cane plantations, waterfalls and canyons.
Follow in the footsteps of Conquistadors, and later the patriots, who proclaimed the country’s Independence. Often you ride along the famous cobblestone paths of the ‘Camino Real’ (royal roads), which lead to the hilltop colonial town of Barichara.
This is a challenging ride for fit and experienced riders. The pace is not overly fast, but the terrain can be very tough. There are river crossings to negotiate, as well as steep ascents and descents.
You should be confident enough to ride a forward-going horse in a group situation. A balanced seat is also important, so that you can help your horse over difficult terrain.
There are opportunities to trot and canter, occasionally on grass and sometimes on harder tracks or roads. You will be covering an average of 20-30km and be riding for up to 8 or 9 hours on some days.
You ride on cobblestone royal roads, rural tracks and forest paths. Your guide tries to minimise roadwork, but at certain points it is necessary to ride on the road in order to go from one network of country paths to the next. The back-up crew are on hand to help control the traffic when your riding group negotiates the busiest sections.
The horses are a mixture of Anglo-Arabs, Colombian Criollos and crossbreeds. They range in height from about 14hh to 15.2hh. The riding is English style; although the horses respond to neck-reining. Some horses have English saddles and some have trail saddles. Martingales and cruppers are used on most of the horses.
During the ride you stay in a mixture of simple hotels, comfortable guesthouses and characterful rural haciendas. All are clean and comfortable, with a healthy dose of Colombian charm.
On most nights there are private bathrooms for each room, but on occasion a bathroom is shared between two guest rooms. Showers are available on all nights of the ride, but it is worth remembering that cold showers are the norm in a tropical country like Colombia.
A limited number of single rooms are possible on some nights of the trail. A single supplement of $40 per night is payable locally for each night you are able to have your own room.
Set departures are listed below, but additional dates may be possible on request for groups of 8 or more.
INCLUDES Accommodation; meals (except lunch and dinner in Bogotá on Days 1 and 9); soft drinks; riding; luggage transportation; Barichara city tour and return transfers from Bogotá.
SMALL GROUP SUPPLEMENTS apply which depend on the total number of people booked:
2-3 riders in group: $867.00
4-7 riders in group: $300.00
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT A limited number of single rooms are possible on some nights of the trail. A single supplement of $40 per night is payable locally for each night you are able to have your own room.
PAYABLE LOCALLY Alcoholic drinks; lunch and dinner in Bogotá; tips.
NEAREST AIRPORT Bogotá.
TRANSFERS Included from Bogotá airport on the first and last days of the ride.
The meeting point is Bogota International airport.
The first and last nights are spent in Bogota and so your flights can arrive and depart at any time.
Explore the province of Santander in eastern Colombia. This area is characterised by rugged Andean ranges, rivers, rainforest and colonial towns like Villa de Leyva, Mompós and Barichara (where the ride ends).
The weather in Colombia is almost ideal all year round. Being in the tropics means the weather is not such much defined by seasons, but more by the area you are in.
The Santander province is one of Colombia's cooler regions, but days can still be hot and often humid. Average daytime temperatures in this area tend to be in the mid to late 20's °C, dropping to the low 20's °C overnight.
You are close to the equator and therefore should be prepared for the chance of rain, regardless of the timing of your visit.
The horses were all very fit and well cared for. The accommodation was very good and was one of the highlights of the ride. The countryside and scenery was great and I really felt we were seeing "authentic" Colombia.
Of the many highlights of this ride, one of the most memorable was meeting a group of children in a small village who were totally enthralled with their foreign visitors and the horses. Colombia caught me off guard; beautiful and surprising in equal measure.
My advice? Go as soon as you can, before it changes too much.