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The ride begins close to the glacier-topped Cayambe Volcano, to the north of Quito. Following tracks across farmland, you ascend through eucalyptus and pine forests to open mountain pastures. Continuing north from San Clemente you ride over a ridge and into the San Pablo valley towards Otavalo, home to the famous market which you will have the chance to visit.
The second part of the ride takes you to the highland village of Pinan on a 600 year old trading route. From Pinan the flora becomes more tropical as you pass bamboo, coffee trees and passion-fruit trees.
The final rides take you to close to the conical Cotopaxi Volcano. This is a remote place of seldom-visited plains high in the Andes. During the latter portion of the ride you may spot Andean wildlife such as condor, eagles & owls, hummingbirds and deer. If you are lucky, you may even meet some of the wild horses that roam the area.
The pace is mixed, with plenty of long 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, it is not suitable for riders who wish to gallop flat out for long periods.
The local horses used on the Pinan part of the ride are small sure-footed and ideally-suited to the terrain. During the rest of the trip, you ride Criollo crosses. They are fit and ideal for traversing 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, (the longest days consist of seven hours of riding).
Western tack is used, South American style US-cavalry saddles with sheepskins provided. 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.
Accommodation on this trail is a mixture of small inns and guesthouses.
On some evenings the guest rooms are comfortable, with private bathrooms. On other nights the accommodation is much more rustic, with shared bathroom facilities. The remote hosteria in Pinan has three dormitory-style rooms and two bathrooms for the group to share.
Below are the set dates. Additional dates may be possible for groups of 4 or more. Please enquire for details.
|Holiday||Experience LevelExp Lvl||Arrive - DepartArr - Dep||Price||Itinerary||Availability|
|Volcanoes and Vistas Ride||24 Jun 2023 - 4 Jul 2023||10 nights 10 ngts||$3,950.00||Book|
|Volcanoes and Vistas Ride||19 Jul 2023 - 29 Jul 2023||10 nights 10 ngts||$3,950.00||Book|
|Volcanoes and Vistas Ride||24 Jul 2023 - 3 Aug 2023||10 nights 10 ngts||$3,950.00||Book|
|Volcanoes and Vistas Ride||5 Aug 2023 - 15 Aug 2023||10 nights 10 ngts||$3,950.00||Book|
|Volcanoes and Vistas Ride||2 Sep 2023 - 12 Sep 2023||10 nights 10 ngts||$3,950.00||Book|
|Volcanoes and Vistas Ride||1 Nov 2023 - 11 Nov 2023||10 nights 10 ngts||$3,950.00||Book|
|Volcanoes and Vistas Ride||20 Dec 2023 - 30 Dec 2023||10 nights 10 ngts||$3,950.00||Book|
INCLUDES Accommodation; riding; most meals
Riders 85kg and over pay an extra horse supplement of $430.00
SMALL GROUP SUPPLEMENTS The minimum number to confirm the standard itinerary is 4 guests. If the group size is 2 or 3 people, the itinerary will be modified and a small group supplements applies:
2 riders in group: $1,493.75
3 riders in group: $993.75
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT $493.75 (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 10 you are transferred back to Quito, where you overnight at a hacienda within easy reach of the airport. On Day 11 your flight can depart at any time, although check-out is after breakfast.
This ride takes place in the valleys of the northern highlands, the remote Pinan region and in the foothills of Cotopaxi Volcano.
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.
The horses were extremely fit and happy in their work, they were so bombproof and didn't flinch at anything. The saddles were extremely comfortable with sheepskins for the long hours in the saddle. Sally is a really experienced horse woman and very accomodating. She has a brilliant knowledge of the local country, history and nature in Ecuador.
This ride is at high altitude and we recommend that you arrive to Quito one or two nights prior to the start of the ride in order to acclimatise as much as you can.
In The Saddle says
A challenging route, with plenty of riding and some long days in the saddle. This itinerary is designed to take in many of the highlights of Ecuador; the pastoral valleys to the north of the capital, the remote region of Pinan, the cloud forest and Cotopaxi National Park - an incredible experience.