Riding: No riding.
You will be met on arrival at Porto Alegre airport and transferred c. 4-5 hours to the ranch in Sao Jose dos Ausentes. You will arrive to a typical Brazilian country ranch (fazenda) and be welcomed with a local drink made from cachaça liquor and fruits whilst being introduced to your gaucho guide, Elenara, who will ride with you during the week. After dinner with the group, you may wish to migrate to the bar for a pre-ride briefing. Overnight at Pousada Fazenda Monte Negro.
Riding: 5 hours
After breakfast you will be introduced to your criollo horse and will set off riding along the escarpments of the Aparados da Serra. Covering an area of outstanding beauty, this region offers a very typical Campos de Cima da Serra (Highlands) landscape, a contrast between the vast Atlantic rain forest nestled in the lower parts of the Canyons, and broad open fields stretching across the plateau. Fans of botany will be delighted to spot ferns, lilies and bromeliads sprouting in the rich slopes. This entire area was formed by intense volcanic activity that happened millions of years ago. Successive lava flows created the fertile Planalto Sulbrasileiro, covered by open meadow, forests of araucarias and countless crystalline rivers. The canyons, however, are surely a highlight; distributed throughout the region, some of them are very impressive, breaking up the gentle undulating landscape of the sloping foothills with enormous rocky cliffs. In the late afternoon we may see the mysterious fogs (called viracão by the locals), roll in over the landscape. A picnic lunch will be taken on the way. Around 5 hours on horseback. Dinner and overnight at Pousada Fazenda Monte Negro again.
Riding: 5 hours
After breakfast, you set off riding to the peak of Monte Negro - at 1,403m it's the highest point of your ride, with fantastic horizons of magnificent landscapes spread out before you. Return to the ranch for lunch.
After a short siesta, you ride out to see more canyons and cliffs, known to the locals as "the peirais of the Aparados". At the end of the day, if time allows, you will visit the typical ranch of the Lopes family. They will be waiting with a chance to taste their famous Serrano cheese, which they produce. This family still live and work in the traditional way of more than 100 years ago with gauchos, cattle and horses integrated in a way which is difficult to imagine today.
Riding around 5 hours today. Dinner and overnight back at Pousada Fazenda Monte Negro.
Riding: 5 - 6 hours
After breakfast you start your ride towards Fazenda Potreirinho. During this day you will ride up and down many rolling hills, with opportunities for some good canters. You'll see some beautiful waterfalls and enjoy a picnic lunch on the bank of a river, while your horses rest in the shade of the trees nearby. Passing the small village of Silveiras, there will be an opportunity to stop in a typical old fashion bar for a beer. Just after Silveiras, you will pass by Leonardo’s ranch, a big breeder of the Criollo horses that you are riding (Leonardo has around 100 horses on his farm!). Leonardo also breeds Franqueiro cattle and Brasilian Long Horns too - you may spot these traditional cattle breeds whilst crossing his fields. For the next few hours you will enjoy exploring the property on horseback before reaching Fazenda Potreirinho, a typical ranch with a warm Gaucho atmosphere. You will likely spend about 5-6 hours in the saddle today. Night at Fazenda Potreirinho.
Riding: 4 - 5 hours
After a good breakfast you will start to your ride today towards Cachoeirão, the biggest Waterfall of this area. You will begin by riding through a beautifully preserved Araucaria forest before reaching this truly impressive sight. There will be a chance rest here, take some photos or even take a refreshing dip in the cool waters if you are feeling brave! After re-mounting your horses, you will continue your ride through undulating country offering fantastic panoramic views of the landscape at the top of each hill. You will be able to enjoy a good mixture of trot and canter on this day and feel the sense of freedom of being in the great outdoors. Eventually, you will complete the loop and return to Fazenda Potrerinho for a late lunch.
At approx. 4 pm you will be transferred by car to Fazenda Santana in Cambra do Sul (c. 2 hours drive). This region is very different the area you have been riding in over the past 3 days. Here you will find large areas of well-preserved native Araucaria forest, creating a wonderful and green landscape.
You will spend the night in huts and quaint bungalows at Fazenda Santana.
Riding: 5 - 6 hours
After a delicious breakfast you will head out to meet your new horses and begin your riding day traversing the fields and forests. During your ride today you will visit two beautiful waterfalls and stop for a picnic lunch at the second, with another opportunity to swim (don't forget your costume!). After lunch, you will continue your ride over the stunning landscape of Campos de Cima da Serra. Here, you will be in Alencar's (your Gaucho guide) neighbourhood and so there may be a chance to help him and the other gaucho as they round-up their cattle on horseback. Otherwise, there will still be ample opportunities to enjoy some canters through the meadows.
In the afternoon you will return to the farm, where you may see the mysterious fogs (called viracão by the locals) as they drift in. Here you will say goodbye to your horses and guide, Alencar, before heading by car to another farm in the nearby town of Cambara do Sul. This evening you will enjoy a final farewell dinner and celebration with your fellow guests
Riding: No riding.
Depart after breakfast for the airport in Porto Alegre (c. 3 hours).
*Rodeo visit - Guests taking part in the Canyons and Waterfalls trail in December will have the opportunity to attend a local rodeo event near Cambara do Sul. There is no additional charge for this, but we would advise planning to spend an extra night in Porto Alegre in order to allow enough time to travel back to the city after the event.
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.