Gaucho Experience riding holiday in Brazil - Far and Ride
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Gaucho Experience, Brazil





Reviews



This was an absolutely amazing holiday! The riding was intense – I certainly got very tired – but the countryside was lovely and the local people wonderful. The atmosphere was at all times great: these gauchos are warm-hearted, fantastic people. Practical and assured on the land, and great at cooking in the evenings. Two of the gauchos and I took 10 horses overland to another fazenda. This was fast-moving: we covered 30km in under 3 hours, mostly at a trot but sometimes cantering. Chasing the horses up and down hill, over rocks, through forests and streams was amazing – whips cracking, shouting, water shooting everywhere. This was the point when it came home to me that I was living a cowboy fantasy! Liberation!

Hans H. , Read review
 

Horses



Type of horses:

Criollo and Pantaneiro (depending on programme). There are also hypoallergenic Curly Horses available if you suffer from an allergy to horses.

Nature of horses:

Well trained with good stamina

Height of horses:

Average is 15hh

Weight limit:

110kg

Tack type:

Gaucho saddles (similar to western riding) with sheep skin covers and saddle bags available for your use.

 

Weather



 

Ride Description

Brazil offers diverse landscapes and makes for a beautiful backdrop to these horse riding adventures. This is a rare chance to sample the real gaucho world, and make no mistake, these trails are the ultimate in authentic gaucho experiences. The hardened gauchos and their agile beloved “Criollo” steeds make a formidable combination whilst working their lands. The “Gaucho do Brasil,” the legendary South American cowboy, refuses to break with tradition. This is part of what makes the gaucho way of life the liveliest equestrian culture in the world! The Brazilian gaucho lives in the southern states of Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul and many are descended from the large numbers of immigrants who arrived in the 18th & 19th centuries, most of whom were pioneers from Portugal, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Holland and Belgium. The locals of Santa Catarina will welcome you in traditional style.

The “Criollo” horse is as legendary as his rider - an intelligent animal with unequalled stamina, great turns of speed and agility and one who is a joy to ride. If you are dreaming of a unique equestrian adventure and a thoroughly exhilarating riding holiday... well this is it! Thousands of acres of rolling hills are the ideal playground to test the temperament of your horse. There are a choice of well trained mounts to suit your needs. The Criollo (Crioulo in Portuguese) is the native horse from Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. It may have the best endurance of any horse breed in the world next to the Arabian and is most popular in its home countries, being known for its hardiness and stamina.

Your primary guide on these rides, Paul, was born in Flanders and in a previous life was a farrier. He has travelled the world leading trails and shoeing horses in many countries including Singapore, Australia and South America. Paul has ridden horses in fifty two different countries and is perhaps one of the most experienced trail riders in the world. Paul first came to Brazil in 1989 and it was love at first sight. The beauty of the country, the great horse culture and the hospitality of the Brazilians proved too great a draw and he now lives and works in the southern state of Santa Catarina, home of the South American gaucho. After years of experience in organising and guiding equestrian holidays and riding expeditions around the world, he now only concentrates on his own Brazilian trail rides. He usually guides the riding trips himself, ably supported by his trusty gauchos, and assures you of the best horse trek in South America. Paul speaks six languages and has a great sense of humour, his love for life is evident if you take up one of these trails.

Here you will ride in real gaucho saddles. Gaucho saddles are designed so that you can spend comfortable hours on your horse and on the seat is a thick sheepskin. The terrain consists predominantly of open grassy fields which is a dreamy landscape for both horse and rider. There are opportunities everyday to enjoy a good trot and canter and the riding style is the relaxed Gaucho style, similar to western and trail riding.

Much of Santa Catarina is covered in rich forests. There are many spectacular sights such as the Catarinese mountain range - the only place in Brazil where it snows every year. The sighting of the Right whales which visit the coast between July and November is not to be missed, not to mention the great festivities that are on offer such as the Oktoberfest - the world's second largest beer festival. Now also on offer is the spectacular Pantanal Safari where you can explore this ecological paradise on horseback. This truly is a breathtaking Brazilian adventure, one which leaves amazing memories with all those who experience it.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

Here you stay on authentic working fazendas (ranches) without any fancy hotel service. You will stay in guest rooms at the house of gaucho families. One fazenda might be more simple than another, but all fazendas are authentic, colonial, cosy and very clean. The fazendas do not all have a standard type of room. Most have double rooms, some fazendas also have 4 bedded rooms with connecting bathroom. There will always be a soft bed and a good shower at the end of the day.

Brazil has a rich cuisine inspired by a mixture of European, Indian, African and Asian cultures. Often dishes from different countries are served on one table. The Brazilian cuisine is very good, varied and they serve many local organic dishes. The main dishes are mostly rice and beans (Feijão) and sauces, with lots of meat or fish and salads. Each region has its own traditional dishes. Along the coast you will find more fish and shrimp dishes, in the south the tasty meat grill's (Churrasco) will surprise you. In Santa Catarina real healthy country meals are often prepared on wood stoves, ensuring a special extra flavour. During the holiday you eat delicious homemade Santa Catarina dishes at the fazendas. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are taken at the fazendas.

 

Activities

This is a holiday for riding and enjoying yourself, it is not suitable for non-riders or for those looking for a variety of other activities.

 

Further Details

Languages: English and Portuguese are the main languages but Paul also speaks Dutch, Spanish, German, French and Afrikaans.

Health requirements: Fit and healthy - the rides require good health, fitness and stamina!

Age limit: Minimum age 12 years (accompanied by an adult).

Tuition: No

Included: Full board accommodation, guides and gauchos, backup vehicle, horses and equipment, transfers.

Not included: Insurance, flights, alcoholic beverages and soft drinks(a one off open bar payment can be made), single supplement, personal expenses, tips.

 

Travel Information

On arrival at Florianopolis International Airport you will be picked up by one of the team (transfer included in price). There is a shared transfer from the airport to the first fazenda (usually around noon or in the early afternoon). Return flights should not be booked before 11.00 am. Arrival and departure is always on a Sunday. The transfer is a drive of around 3 hours. If it is more convenient, then it is possible to arrive a day early on a Saturday and we can recommend some hotels about 15 minutes from the airport.

Airport: Florianopolis International

 

Programmes


Santa Catarina Gaucho Trail



This 7 night programme offers a spectacular horseback adventure in the southern wilderness of Brazil, the ultimate trail riding experience with authentic gauchos to guide your way. The beautiful Brazilian landscape makes a perfect backdrop for this incredible holiday. The ranch is located in Santa Catarina which is bounded on the East by the Atlantic ocean and to the West it borders the province of Misiones, Argentina. The coast of Santa Catarina is 561km long, lined with beaches, bays, inlets and lagoons.

Day 1 (Sunday): Fazenda Barreiro

Your trip leader, Paul, will be waiting for you upon arrival at the airport of Florianopolis. Transfer (2:30 drive) to Coxilha Rica and Fazenda Barreiro near Lages. You will be welcomed with a local drink upon arrival at the fazenda. You will be introduced to the gauchos who will accompany you throughout the trip and you will have a chance to get acquainted with the horses. After a delicious dinner, you may socialise at the bar of the fazenda. Local gaúchos will perform music and folklore of the region. It’s a great first evening!

Day 2 (Monday): Fazenda Barreiro - Fazenda Ferradura

After breakfast, you will saddle the horses early and leave around 08:00 in the direction of Fazenda Ferradura. After the first few minutes you will notice already how beautiful the region is, you will ride through wide and rolling green countryside dotted with araucaria trees and cross pristine rivers. You will never forget your first canter with your criollo horse. After a ride of 4 hours you will arrive at a typical fazenda where lunch will be waiting for you. After a good meal and a siesta you will mount the horses again at around 2.00 pm. You will continue towards fazenda Ferradura, through the beautiful landscape of Coxilha Rica. Here you will find the well-preserved colonial Tropeiro Route. This 250 year old tropeiro route was the route of cattle and mules between Rio Grande do Sul and Argentina to Sao Paulo. Gauchos drove herds thousands of kilometres, being away for months at a time. Goods on livestock travelled along the route, so the tropeiro became also a trade. The route, consisting of an approximately 4m wide corridor, made of stone, was built by slaves. The corridor runs hundreds of kilometres through Coxilha Rica and the State of Santa Catarina. Tropeiro means Trooper. (The route of the troops).

You follow a few miles this historic route and arrive around 5.30 pm at Fazenda Ferradura. you are welcomed by the owner Gaucho Benjamin Krüzen. A hearty and delicious dinner is being prepared for you. You spend the night at this traditional Gaucho fazenda.

Day 3 (Tuesday): Fazenda Ferradura - Fazenda São João - Fazenda Limoeiro

At 8am, after a hearty breakfast, you will mount your horse and trek through a rugged Coxilha landscape towards fazenda Ferradura. You will climb and descend, trot and canter, crossing rivers and seeing waterfalls. On top of a green mountain you will have a fantastic panoramic view of the landscape, just you and the great outdoors! Coxilha has been a great cattle region since colonial times. Most cattle ranches (fazendas), consisting of thousands of acres are already over 200 years old. You will arrive at the colonial fazenda São João where a fantastic lunch will be prepared for you. In the afternoon you will ride another 3 and half hours until you arrive at fazenda Limoeiro. After a refreshing shower and a delicious dinner, a soft bed awaits for you at this typical colonial fazenda.

Day 4 (Wednesday): Fazenda Limoeiro - Rancho Amigo

You will set off at 8am, heading for the high pampas of Coxilha Rica, the views are wonderful. The group of horses, the gauchos, the landscapes, the atmosphere in the group, the sense of freedom... nobody wants to travel back home after this trip. After a lunch in the field you will continue to ride to the next fazenda. Rancho Amigo is where you will stay tonight. In the evening you can enjoy a drink with friends, a good meal and a good rest.

Day 5 (Thursday): Rancho Amigo

After breakfast you will saddle up the horses. Today is a real gaucho day, and if you wish you can give the gauchos a helping hand rounding-up the cattle on horseback. Driving the herd is always fun! The herd are driven to the corral, where they are either vaccinated or given a decontamination bath. Here you see the Gaúcho perform his daily job. Those who prefer not to participate in the activities can easily watch. Want to learn how to rope? The Gauchos will teach you the tricks of the trade! Today you can do what you please. Free riding on the fantastic estate?... everything is more or less allowed today.

After an active Cowboy-Gaúcho day you can pull off your boots, take a shower and will be called to the table for a good meal, a cool beer or a warming Pinga (local rum).

Day 6 (Friday): Rancho Amigo - Fazenda Limoeiro

Today you can sleep a little longer... no rush to saddle the horses. The group regularly ride into other gauchos whom are busy at work. These South American cowboys still live and work the same way as roughly 100 years ago. Gaúchos and horses matched perfectly, living as we can only dream of... Climbing and descending, one slope steeper than the other, the ride regularly invites you for a nice canter. You arrive at Fazenda Limoeiro in time for dinner at the fazenda.

Day 7 (Saturday): Fazenda Limoeiro - Fazenda São João

The morning sun invites you to relax in the hammock with a cup of coffee. You will have a pleasant morning at the fazenda and stay there until lunch. After lunch you will depart for a nice ride to Fazenda São João. The lady of the house will make a delicious dish while the musically talented gauchos bring their best songs, guitar and accordion into the living room. A bottle of Pinga will be eagerly passed around and you can dare to dance! It's always such a pleasant evening, you can enjoy the warm gaucho atmosphere and the company of the locals. Overnight at the fazenda.

Day 8 (Sunday): Fazenda São João - Florianopolis

After the last breakfast at around 8am you will say goodbye to Fazenda São João, the guides, gauchos and horses and be driven in the direction of Florianopolis. Guests staying longer can have a drop off in downtown Florianópolis, for those who are not, the holiday comes to an end at the airport of Florianopolis. 

Brazil is a huge and very diverse country, staying longer is without doubt a good idea! See the classic hightlights of Brazil, Foz do Iguaçu waterfalls, go for a samba to Rio de Janeiro, discover the 70 Islands and colonial beachtown of Paraty, go for a jungle adventure to the Amazone, meet the colonial towns and cities along the Estrada Real in Minas Gerais or stay some time more in Santa Catarina and relax at one of the 40 beaches of Florianopolis.

This an example programme (fazendas may change) and routes may change slightly due to prevailing circumstances.



Minimum group size: 5
Maximum group size: 15
Ability description: Intermediate - Experienced. You should be confident at all paces.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 6 hours per day on average for 6 riding days.
Departure dates: 2017: 8-15 January, 2-9 February, 3-10 March, 23-30 April, 2-9 November.
 
Pricing: 2017:

£1741 per person
Individual booking is possible (by joining a group). Single rooms cannot be guaranteed but will be offered to singles if available.

Included: accommodation, meals, guides and gauchos, back up vehicle, horses and tack, transfer (from Florianopolis airport to Fazendas and vice versa). It is possible on Day 1 to pay USD 110 per person so all alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks will be included (with the exception of wine), or for USD 60 per person all non alcoholic drinks will be included. Otherwise you will pay your drinks bill each day when you depart each farm.

Not included: insurance, flights, alcoholic beverages and soft drinks, personal expenses and tips.



Riding in the Pantanal



A 7 night program for nature and wildlife enthusiasts, allowing you to explore the Pantanal, a pristine and almost unknown region which not only boasts the greatest biodiversity of the entire American continent but is also a true cowboy region.

Also known as 'terra de ninguen' (no man's land), the Pantanal is a lush, tropical territory, which annually in the rainy season, is partially covered by water. The lush vegetation makes a wonderful habitat for some of the most fascinating wildlife on the planet.

270 bird species including parrots, toucans, ibis, kingfisher, colibri, jabiru-stork and many more. In waterholes and rivers are living caiman, giant river otters and piranhas. Have you ever fished for piranhas? Well on this trip you will for sure! Furthermore you will encounter anacondas, iguanas, anteaters, Capivaras (world's largest rodent) and monkeys. Last but not least, the Pantanal offers you the best chance in the world to see the jaguar.

The Brazilian cowboy or Pantaneirio is a living legend in his country. These cowboys will saddle their Pantanal horses for you, a very fast, agile breed which is a real pleasure to ride. Together with the Pantaneiros, the only true connoisseurs of the area, you will try your hand at some cattle work and become acquainted with their cowboy culture. A day in the Pantanal with Brazilian cowboys guarantees adventure, encounters with wild animals, action, fast canters and a 100% latino atmosphere. 

You will be staying at Fazenda Aguape/São Jose which is located in the Aquidauana region, situated on the banks of the river with the same name.

Welcome to the realm of beasts, welcome to an authentic cowboy culture, welcome to the 'Wild Wet'...the Pantanal! 

Day 1: 

Arrival at Campo Grande airport where you will be met by Paul, your trip leader. Transfer (2:30 drive) to Fazenda Aguape/São Jose.

Day 2-7: 

You will ride out from the fazenda, enjoying 2 horseback safaris each day. Non riders may wish to embark on a jeep safari, go birdwatching or fishing, enjoy a tour of the river to see caiman and other wildlife or take a dip in the pool.

Day 8:

Departure after breakfast to Campo Grande Airport. 



Accommodation: 7 nights at Fazenda Aguape/São Jose.
Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: Intermediate - Experienced. You should be confident at all paces.
Type of ride: Based stay
Total riding time: 6 hours per day on average for 6 riding days.
Departure dates: Dates to suit. The dry season runs from May until November. However, other months are also interesting to visit the Pantanal!
 
Pricing: 2016

Standard Season:

Double room: £1602 per person
Triple room: £1530 per person
Single supplement: £433 per person

High Season (13-18 February, July & August inclusive)

Double room: £1678 per person
Triple room: £1602 per person
Single supplement: £433 per person

Price includes 7 nights shared accommodation, meals, 2 Pantanal horseback safaris per day, local Brazilian guides and transfers (from Campo Grande to Fazendas and vice versa).

** Special group prices are available for groups of 6 or more guests who book together. Please ask for further details when you make your enquiry!