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Guide Sally has been leading tours in Ecuador since 1996 when she moved from England having been completely taken aback by the wildness and beauty of the Andean landscape.
These routes takes you from the fields and valleys of the northern highlands, to the rugged landscapes of Cotopaxi National Park. Along the way you will experience varied scenery, see rural village life and visit local markets in parts of Ecuador which has changed little over the centuries.
The northern highlands are intensely rural, characterised by verdant valleys, flower farms, eucalyptus plantations and sugarcane fields. During the second part of the week you negotiate the high páramo and ride into the wide-open spaces of Cotopaxi National Park in the ‘Avenue of Volcanoes’. Cantering across the plains below the snow-capped peak of Cotopaxi is a hugely exhilarating experience.
Nights are spent in country hotels, working farms and historic haciendas, some dating back to the 17th century. Relax in front of open fireplaces and enjoy the fine period detail, atmospheric courtyards and flowering gardens.
The pace is mixed, with plenty of flowing trots and canters where the terrain allows. The horses are keen and fit, but happily settle into a wonderful rhythm. The route is at altitude and so for the sake of the horses, this ride is not suitable for guests who wish to gallop flat out.
Descended from the Spanish Conquistadors' stock, the horses are Criollo crosses. They are sure-footed and ideal for the terrain of the high Andes. They are specially selected, well-trained and good natured.
You should be a competent and confident rider in control of your horse at all paces in open and difficult terrain. There are also some steep slopes to negotiate. Due to the high altitude it is important that you have good overall physical fitness, as well as riding fitness for the long hours in the saddle.
Western tack is used, South American style US-cavalry saddles with sheepskins. If you prefer to ride in English saddles, this may be possible but it must be requested in advance.
The weight limit is 85 kg in riding gear. By prior arrangement it may be possible to accommodate riders up to 95 kg subject to payment of an additional horse supplement. Please enquire for availability.
During the ride you stay in comfortable hacienda accommodation. The guest rooms have private bathroom facilities, mostly with showers rather than baths. Your overnight stops range from historic estates and country hotels, to charming working farms.
The food is plentiful and freshly prepared. Breakfast is typically coffee, eggs, bread and seasonal fruit. Lunches are usually saddlebag picnics taken on the trail and may include dishes such as cold chicken, empanadas and salads. Often there is delicious tropical fruit on offer, like mango, granadilla and guaba. Dinner is often three courses, featuring dishes such as locro de papa (a soup made with potato and cheese), chicken stew or steak, followed by caramel flan, dulce de leche or rice pudding.
Below are the set dates. Additional dates may be possible for groups of 4 or more.
|Holiday||Experience LevelExp Lvl||Arrive - DepartArr - Dep||Price||Itinerary||Availability|
|Haciendas of the Andes||21 Jan 2023 - 28 Jan 2023||7 nights 7 ngts||$4,175.00||Book|
|Haciendas of the Andes||11 Feb 2023 - 18 Feb 2023||7 nights 7 ngts||$4,175.00||Book|
|Haciendas of the Andes||10 Jun 2023 - 17 Jun 2023||7 nights 7 ngts||$4,175.00||Book|
|Haciendas of the Andes||8 Jul 2023 - 15 Jul 2023||7 nights 7 ngts||$4,175.00||Book|
|Haciendas of the Andes||5 Aug 2023 - 12 Aug 2023||7 nights 7 ngts||$4,175.00||Book|
|Haciendas of the Andes||2 Sep 2023 - 9 Sep 2023||7 nights 7 ngts||$4,175.00||Book|
|Haciendas of the Andes||30 Sep 2023 - 7 Oct 2023||7 nights 7 ngts||$4,175.00||Book|
|Haciendas of the Andes||4 Nov 2023 - 11 Nov 2023||7 nights 7 ngts||$4,175.00||Book|
|Haciendas of the Andes||18 Nov 2023 - 25 Nov 2023||7 nights 7 ngts||$4,175.00||Book|
|Haciendas of the Andes||2 Dec 2023 - 9 Dec 2023||7 nights 7 ngts||$4,175.00||Book|
|Haciendas of the Andes||23 Dec 2023 - 30 Dec 2023||7 nights 7 ngts||$4,175.00||Book|
INCLUDES Accommodation; riding; most meals
Riders 85kg and over pay an extra horse supplement of $280.00 ($295.00 in 2023)
SMALL GROUP SUPPLEMENTS apply which depend on the total number of people booked:
2 riders in group: $1,043.75
3 riders in group: $781.25
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT $562.50 ($687.50 in 2023), (refunded if we find you a sharer)
PAYABLE LOCALLY Tips; drinks; meals in Quito other than breakfast
NEAREST AIRPORT Quito
TRANSFERS Transfers from Quito airport to Quito city are c. $44.44 and from Quito airport to an airport hotel are c. $22.22 each way per vehicle. On Day 1 the transfer to the start of the ride departs early morning so you will need to arrive in Quito at least the day before the start of the ride.
The meeting point is Quito. Collection will be from the Mariscal part of Quito city.
You will need to overnight in Quito for at least one night prior to the start of the ride, because the collection on Day 1 is after breakfast. This will also help you to become accustomed to the altitude.
The precise collection point and time will be confirmed in your final travel documents. From here you are driven to the starting point for the ride.
After finishing riding on Day 7 you are transferred to Quito, where you overnight at a hacienda within easy reach of the airport. On Day 8 your flight can depart at any time, although check-out is after breakfast.
This ride begins close to Otavalo in the highlands north of Quito and ends in the wilds of Cotopaxi National Park.
As a general rule, the dry season is from June until the end of September. From November until the middle of March you can expect sunny mornings but occasional afternoon rain.
Wonderful holiday. The horses were beautifully trained and well loved. I rode 4 horses in all, my favourite being Capuli. Ecuador was absolutely beautiful and amazing to see from the back of a horse.
Vivien ,HampshireOverall rating: 5/5