Colombian Adventures riding holiday in Colombia - Far and Ride
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Colombian Adventures, Colombia




Programmes


• Central Colombian Trail

• Coffee Trail

 

Reviews



Colombia is a vibrant and charismatic country offering everything from wild rainforests to white sand beaches and dynamic coffee culture landscapes. Our rides here are guided by a professional team of horse enthusiasts who make it their mission to show you the ancient culture and magical wonders of this country. The accommodations are traditional and authentic in feel, with comfortable beds, welcoming hosts and delicious home cooked Colombian food. I would recommend those travelling to Colombia to schedule a few extra days as well in order to explore the sparkling coast, visit the mighty Amazon or discover the ancient lost city!

Natalie, Far and Ride
 

Horses



Type of horses:

Colombia Criollo/Cruzado (on day 4 you will have the opportunity to ride a pure bred Paso Fino Colombian horse).

Nature of horses:

Strong, forward going.

Height of horses:

14-15.2 hh

Weight limit:

100kg / 220lbs (please contact the office is you are heavier than this)

Tack type:

Colombian Trail Saddles (very comfortable). Saddlebags and rain coat will be provided.

 

Weather



 

Ride Description

This is an eight day horseback adventure in central Colombia, the ultimate trail ride for those looking for a truly Latin American equestrian experience. Colombia is named after Christopher Columbus. It has a wild and diverse terrain and together with its rich history and culture in all towns and cities, it offers an exciting scenario for this fabulous horse riding trail.

Although its excellent coffee and the purity of its emeralds have made the country famous, Colombia is also the home to another treasure - the "El Paso Fino Colombiano", one of the most amazing horse breeds in the world! This horse can be seen at fairs, festivals and horse parades which are common all over the country. The horses have a rich history - on his second trip to America, Christopher Columbus took some horses along. These horses were a mix of Andalusian, Berber, and the extinct gaited Spanish horse known as the Jennet. They formed the bloodline for the horses with which the Spanish conquered the Caribbean and South America. Hundreds of years of breeding with those bloodlines, especially in Puerto Rico and Colombia, optimised the gait, endurance and strength of these magnificent horses and this is how the Paso Fino (literally translated as 'The Horse with the Fine Step') was created. The Paso Fino Colombiano is, despite its sophisticated appearance, a very strong horse and has been mainly used for long distance riding. Its smooth and natural gait were much appreciated by the area's ancestors and still are today, especially for trail riding.

Colombia has not always had the best reputation for safety and crime, but these days tens of thousands of European and North American citizens safely come for tourism, business, university studies and volunteer work. Safety has improved 200% and for around the last five years, Colombia has been considered a relatively safe country to travel to. When travelling around South America you may hear the phrase "Colombia, el unico riesgo es que te quieras quedar" which translates to "Colombia, the only risk is that you want to stay!"

Colombia is a tropical country, hot and humid all year around on the coast (Caribbean and Pacific) and in the lowlands. Although a big part of Colombia is mountainous territory with altitudes between 1000-5000m, during your trail ride you will be riding in the Cordillera Oriental in the departments of Cundinamarca and Santander at an altitude of 1500-2500m. Here the temperatures are around 23C during the day and about 14C at night all year. On the last two days of the trail you will ride to a lower region in Santander where temperatures are about 28C during the day and 20C during the night.

Your equestrian adventure starts on the Eastern highlands of Colombia. Here at Cundinamarca at an altitude of about 2500m above sea level, you will be given a warm welcome at the colonial Hacienda La Casona by Colombian horse enthusiast Ernesto Barreto. Ernesto, together with his Chalan companion Luis (a “chalan” is a Colombian rider), will be your host and riding guide during your entire riding holiday. For eight days you will be immersed in one of the most appealing horse cultures in the world.

Paul Coudenys, one of the most experienced guides in the world and organiser of our Brazilian trails, will be accompanying several of the trail dates personally. He has ridden in more than fifty countries all over the world and has long suspected that Colombia would be an excellent location for our riders... so he went to see for himself! On other dates Angel Gutierrez, who hosts our trail rides in Mexico, will accompany the trails and offer his guiding expertise. You will have some of the world's best trail guides riding along side you on this exciting new adventure.

The Caribbean, the Pacific Ocean and the Andes mountains, the Sierra Nevada, the mighty Amazon forest, Latin America's most beautiful city Cartagena, picturesque villages, pre-Colombian sites like the Lost City, fascinating flora and fauna - you name it and Colombia has it! No other country on the continent can compete with the multi cultural and nature of Colombia and we hope that some of you will head out there to experience their wonderful horse culture.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

The accommodation is in authentic rustic Colombian haciendas. The haciendas were originally farmhouses and not built for the tourism market. Couples will have private rooms but other travel companions will be sharing accommodation (most rooms have 2-4 beds).

Colombia's varied cuisine is influenced by its diverse fauna and flora as well as the cultural traditions of the region. Colombian dishes and ingredients vary widely by region. Some of the most common ingredients are: cereals such as rice and maize; tubers such as potato and cassava; assorted legumes; meats, including beef, chicken, pork and goat; fish; and seafood. Colombia cuisine also features a variety of tropical fruits such as cape gooseberry, feijoa, arazá, dragon fruit, mangostino, granadilla, papaya, guava, blackberry, lulo, soursop and passionfruit.

Among the most representative starters and soups are patacones (fried green plantains), sancocho de gallina (chicken soup with root vegetables) and ajiaco (potato and corn soup). Popular snacks and breads are pandebono, arepas (corn cakes), aborrajados (fried sweet plantains with cheese), torta de choclo, empanadas and almojábanas. Typical main courses are bandeja paisa, lechona tolimense, mamona, tamales and fish dishes (such as arroz de lisa), especially in coastal regions where suero, costeño cheese, kibbeh and carimañolas are also eaten. Typical side dishes are papas criollas al horno (roasted Andean potatoes), papas chorreadas (potatoes with cheese) and arroz con coco (coconut rice). On the trail ride you will eat excellent good quality food (no camp cooking!) but great local Colombian meals like those mentioned above.

Typical drinks in Colombia are, of course, coffee and hot chocolate milk (in which the Colombians dip cheese!). In addition to this, beer and the local strong alcohol Aguardiente are popular.

 

Activities

You won't have time to too much else during the trail, but we recommend that you add on some time exploring other parts of Colombia before/after your holiday.

 

Further Details

Languages: English, French, Dutch, Spanish, Portugese, and some basic German.

Health requirements: Fit & healthy. The highlands in Colombia are very safe health wise. You can safely eat raw vegetables, salads and icecreams and drink the water. There is no malaria in the part of Colombia. Good hospitals and doctors are accessible.

Age limit: From 12 years if experienced and accompanied by an adult.

Tuition: No.

Included: Bogota transfers, accommodation, meals and riding.

Not included: Flights, insurance, alcoholic beverages & soft drinks, tips.

 

Travel Information

Flights are to Bogota. Transfers are organised from the airport and are included in the ride price.

Please note that most European citizens do not require a visa to visit Colombia.

We recommend that you arrive the night before your trail and stay in Bogota (approx 80€ per night). It makes it a lot easier for the transfer from Bogota to the first hacienda on day one.

Airport: Bogota

 

Programmes


Central Colombian Trail



After a traditional first night at the start hacienda your Colombian criollo horses will be saddled (very comfortable authentic saddles) to leave for a six day trail from hacienda to hacienda. On average you will spend about six hours a day in the saddle, making your way along centuries old rolling horse trails and riding through the mountain landscapes of the Cordillera Oriental, crossing the desert of La Candelaria and pulling through the province Cundinamara to the tropical province of Santander. Enjoying a refreshing beer with the locals is a great way to end an adventurous day in the saddle! 

A special highlight of this adventure is on the afternoon of your first day, when you will have the chance to see and possibly even ride a pure bred Paso Fino Colombiano at a renowned breeding stable and will experience the smoothness of the gaited Colombian horse. This is a unique experience and especially exciting for those who have not had the pleasure of experiencing a gaited horse before. 

Your hosts and guides will do everything they can to follow the set itinerary closely, but it can sometimes change due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather, location and difficulty of the terrain. The trail is recommended for those with a sense of adventure who don't mind being a bit flexible and understanding in these situations. 

NOTE: the organisers highly recommend that you arrive a night or two early and spend some time in Bogotá before the ride.

Itinerary

Day One, Bogotá - Cucunubá:

You will be collected from the International Airport of Bogota (before 9am) or from a hotel in Bogota if you have arrived earlier (highly recommended!). The road transfer from Bogotá to Cucunubá is nearly 70kms and takes approximately a 1,5 - 2 hours by car. On the way you will stop at a local traditional saddlery to see the typical tack and equipment of the region, before continuing to Hacienda La Montesa - a renowned Paso Fino breeding farm. You will be given the chance to see a demonstration of and perhaps even ride some of these purebred horses, in order to sample their naturally smooth gait. You'll experience first hand why the Colombian Paso is considered to be the most comfortable riding horse in the world! 

Dinner and overnight will be at the Posada De Don Pedro in the centre of the historic village of Cucnubá. There will be some time to look around the village before you have a briefing of the trail route and dinner with your guides and hosts. The village itself is well known for it's fine artisanal woolen crafts.

Day Two, Posada De Don Pedro - Hacienda La Cabaña (c. 25km, 5,5 hours riding):

Today will be your first day on the trail and the horses will be brought to meet you in the village of Cucunubá after breakfast. The morning ride will see you following old trader paths that reach some 3,200 meters above sea level before crossing over into the Juaitoque reservation. In this reserve you can tour Andean Páramo landscapes and traditional mule trails, making your own paths on horseback.

In the afternoon you will begin to walk the path of the tip of the rock overlooking the great lagoon "de Palacio". The day will end at the home Hacienda La Cabanã, which is the traditional traditional and historic horse breeding and Livestock farm from where the majority of the riding horses for this trail originate.

Day Three, Sutatausa Ring - Hacienda la Cabaña (c. 30km, 5,5 hours riding):

After a restful night's sleep and a delicious cooked breakfast, today you will head off for a full days riding in order to discover the history and landscape which surround the farm. The day begins on old farm trails and bridle paths whihc will take you through forests and over rocky hills to reach the village of Sutatausa. Now a bustling mining community, the town was a historic outpost for the waring indigenous tribes prior to the Spanish invasions. In the historic centre you may visit to the colonial church and sanctum composed of 4 chapels, as well as the National Monument.

After the visit, the route continues along the ridge of the Hato reservoir before stopping to enjoy a delicious and traditional Colombian lunch in this spectacular setting.

Through the afternoon you will arrive back at the Hacienda La Cabaña again to enjoy dinner and another comfortable night. 

Day Four, Hacienda La Cabaña - Hacienda Potosi (c. 20km, 5 hours riding):

After breakfast you will help to saddle the horses and set off on the trail at approximately 9:00am. You will ride through the green fields of Cundinamarca, the largest dairy producing region of Colombia. During the morning there will be a break for a snack and a quick game of Tejo (a Colombian rural sport similar to horse shoe throwing contests). After a long day in the saddle you will arrive at 'Hacienda Potosi', your overnight point, at approximately 5pm. Hacienda owner, Marta, will certainly take the opportunity to introduce you to the farm's champion coldblooded horses (Percheron and Belgian Draughts in this case). Dinner and overnight at Hacienda Potosi. 

Day Five, Hacienda Potosi - Raquira Silvestre (c. 35km, 6 hours riding):

After breakfast it's time to saddle up your horses again for another 9:00am start to the riding. During the morning there will be a snack stop at Hacienda Ticha and the riding will lead you across a oak tree forest and to enjoy panoramic views of Raquira. In the afternoon you will arrive at the country house 'Raquira Silvestre' and you will settle down to lunch at around 3pm. After choosing your bed in this typical Colombian country style accommodation you can relax! Tonight dinner will be accompanied by carrangueros (typical Colombian folk music). 

Day Six, Raquira Silvestre – El Monasterio (c. 13km, 3,5 hours riding):  

Today will be a relatively shorter day of riding. Following breakfast you will mount up and head out on a trail to the colourful town of Raquira for lunch at around 1.30pm. The town is famous for it's orange ceramics and is a great place to purchase some small souvenirs and memorabilia. After lunch, the ride will continue through the landscape to the famous Monasterio La Candelaria. On arrival at the monastery you will untack the horses and settle them for the night. Finally, you will be able to enjoy a delicious dinner and accommodation overnight in the monastery!

Day Seven, Monasterio – Villa de Leyva (c. 35km, 8 hours riding):

This morning you will have your breakfast and saddle the horses a little earlier, being ready to start your ride to Villa de Leyva at 8:30am. Today's lunch will be a picnic in the desert. Today is a long day in the saddle, where you will eventually reach the beautiful colonial city of Villa de Leyva in the evening. The route will see you crossing the inhospitable desert of the Candlemas, following stone paths whilst a strong wind accompanies the tour. 

You will eventually reach your hotel in Villa de Leyva; Hotel Plazuela de San Agustin (or similar) with double rooms for couples and bedrooms with two to four beds for the single participants. 

After a rest to gather your strength following the long riding day, you will take a walk into town for a typical dinner with the group. By now you will all know each other well and be able to enjoy your last night together! Overnight in the hotel. 

Day Eight, Villa de Leyva - Bogotá:

Breakfast and then transfer by private mini-bus to Bogotá airport (approximately 4 hours driving). Sadly this is the end of your exciting trip!

The team here can help you to organise extensions to other destinations upon request. You can stay on after the trail ride to dance the salsa in Cali, taste fresh coffee in Manizales, relax on a Caribbean beach in Cartagena, go scuba diving off the coast of Santa Marta or maybe try some hiking up mount Nevado in the root of the Andes. You might even fall in love with the horses and want to try a local riding course offered by our guides and hosts on these trips! 

Please note that in the towns and villages there is generally mobile phone coverage everywhere but during the trail ride they cannot guarantee full coverage all the time. There is internet along the way in towns and villages but not in all the accommodations used on this trip, so if you are somebody who needs to stay connected then this trip is probably too far off the beaten track for you.



Minimum group size: 6
Maximum group size: 18
Ability description: Suitable for intermediate to experienced riders who are fit to spend long days in the saddle. You do not need to be an expert but you should be comfortable riding at all paced and covering different terrain.
Type of ride: Trail ride, moving between locations.
Total riding time: 6 days riding with riding days varying from 3.5 hours - 8 hours in the saddle.
Departure dates: 2017: 22-29 January, 14-21 May, 15-22 October (CONFIRMED).

2018: 24-31 January, 10-17 June, 8-15 July.
 
Pricing: 2017/18:

Price per person: £1653 (shared room)
Single supplement: £311 per person

The price includes Bogotá airport transfers, 7 nights of accommodation (couples will have private double rooms, other riders should be willing to share rooms with 2 - 4 beds), all meals from lunch on day 1 to breakfast on day 8, guided riding as described in the programme and support from the back up vehicle.

Drinks are not included in the package price but it is possible to pay for an open bar service, "all you can drink". The cost is USD 110 per person for all alcohol (except wine) and soft drinks during the entire week. It is possible to buy wine at each hacienda at an additional cost but prices vary depending on brand and quality. This is paid directly to your guide on day 1.

There is also a soft drink option which is USD 60 per person for the week. This is paid directly to your guide on day 1.



Coffee Trail



In Colombia, coffee is cultivated with vigorous passion and dedication. There are more than 563,000 families producing coffee and most Colombian coffee farmers live in small haciendas and their cultivation plots are less than 2 hectares on average. Family is therefore their number one priority and it is these families who will welcome you into their homes on this trail.

You will ride through the heart of the coffee triangle, discovering the landscapes of the nature reserve Valley del Cocora, colonial villages of Salento and Filandia, and learn all about coffee growing and drinking.

Your hosts and guides will do everything they can to follow the set itinerary closely, but it can sometimes change due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather, location and difficulty of the terrain. The trail is recommended for those with a sense of adventure who don't mind being a bit flexible and understanding in these situations.

NOTE: the organisers highly recommend that you arrive one night early and spend a night in Armenia before the ride.

Day One: Armenia - Hacienda La Pilarica

You will be collected from Armenia airport (before 09:00) or your hotel if you arrived before (which we strongly recommend) for a welcome briefing at Hotel Mocowa at 9am. You are then transferred c. 40mins to Hacienda La Pilarica in the Marabeles valley where you will be shown to your room and offered a welcome drink before being introduced to the horses.

In the afternoon the next-door hacienda will put on a local roping demonstration with their vaquero (cowboy). Dinner and overnight at the hacienda.

Day Two: Hacienda La Pilanca - Buena Vista - Hacienda El Balcon (30kms)

After breakfast and preparing the horses you set off riding at 9am. Your first day takes you through green coffee plantations where you can canter through beautiful valleys and cross some rivers. In the late afternoon you'll arrive at the coffee village of Buena Vista where you will see the coffee making process and experience some coffee tasting.

Dinner and overnight at Hacienda El Balcon.

Day Three: Hacienda El Balcon - Hacienda Combia (30km)

After breakfast there is time to visit the coffee plantation on the farm. After a strong cup of coffee you mount up and ride along old bridle paths in marvellous mountainous countryside until reaching the romantic farm Hacienda Combia. This is a great place to relax after a day in the saddle and sample the coffee and rum beside the swimming pool.

Dinner and overnight at Hacienda Combia.

Day Four: Hacienda Combia - Posada El Eden Country (25km)

Today's ride takes you through tropical rolling hills and coffee plantations. You will see the vast biodiversity of the mountains, some of which may have snow upon their peaks. Eventually you arrive at Posada El Eden Country where you have dinner and overnight.

Day Five: Posada El Eden Country - Salento - Hacienda La Cabana (28km)

Continue riding along coffee trails whilst admiring the typical tropical landscape of this region. Little villages, old paths, green valleys and the ever-present smell of coffee follow you until reaching one of Colombia's most beautiful colonial towns - Salento. This charming town will tempt you to get lost amongst its picturesque streets, discovering romantic corners and meeting friendly villagers. After arriving at Hacienda La Cabana and settling the horses, you head back into town for a drink.

Dinner and overnight at Hacienda La Cabana.

Day Six: Salento - Vallee del Cocora - Salento (20km)

Today is a day of extreme beauty as you ride to and within the national park of the Cocora Valley. The valley is dotted with the highest and most beautiful palm trees in the world - La Palma de Cera - which are the national tree of Colombia. You will discover the beautiful scenery of the Cocora valley which is considered to be one of the most beautiful places in Colombia, with huge palm trees within a green, mountainous landscape with the snowy peaks of the Andes mountain range as a backdrop!

After about 20kms of riding you head back to the charming town of Salento and Hacienda La Cabana for a second night. Here you will enjoy local gastronomy, drink some fresh beers and rum and finish with strong coffee.

Day Seven: Salento - Filandia (22km)

After breakfast you leave Salento behind and discover another pretty and colourful village - Filandia - but not before riding through more breathtaking landscapes and breathing the fresh mountain air.

Tonight you stay in a typical colonial hotel right by the central plaza in town and dine either in the hotel or in a local restaurant.

Day Eight: Filandia - Armenia

After breakfast you are transferred to Armenia airport (c. 1.5 hours drive) for your flight to Bogota and back home.



Minimum group size: 6
Maximum group size: 16
Ability description: Suitable for intermediate to experienced riders who are confident on a horse in all paces.
Type of ride: Trail ride
Total riding time: 6 days of riding with c. 6 hours of riding each day.
Departure dates: 2017: 19-26 March, 10-17 August

2018: 30 April-7 May, 5-12 August
 
Pricing: 2017/18:

Price per person: £1653 (shared room)
Single supplement: £311 per person

The price includes Armenia airport transfers, 7 nights of accommodation (couples will have private double rooms, other riders should be willing to share rooms with 2 - 4 beds), all meals from lunch on day 1 to breakfast on day 8, guided riding as described in the programme and support from the back up vehicle.

Drinks are not included in the package price but it is possible to pay for an open bar service, "all you can drink". The cost is USD 110 per person for all alcohol (except wine) and soft drinks during the entire week. It is possible to buy wine at each hacienda at an additional cost but prices vary depending on brand and quality. This is paid directly to your guide on day 1.

There is also a soft drink option which is USD 60 per person for the week. This is paid directly to your guide on day 1.