Canyons and Waterfalls riding holiday in Brazil - Far and Ride
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Canyons and Waterfalls, Brazil


• Canyons and Waterfalls Trail



Type of horses:

Criollo and Criollo crosses

Nature of horses:

Sure footed, responsive and well mannered.

Height of horses:

c. 15hh

Weight limit:

100kg / 220 lbs

Tack type:

Traditional gaucho tack - simple saddles with sheepskins over the top, and rawhide bridles.


Travel Advice

Please ensure you read the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice before you travel.

Ride Description

Imagine a huge Canyon covered in lush vegetation, cascading waterfalls and thriving biodiversity. Nestled along the southern Atlantic coasts of Rio Grande do Sul, is 28,000 hectares of conservation area and National Parks which are home to Brazil's most expansive canyons. The area is comprised of two parks; Aparados da Serra and Serra Geral.

You will ride along these steep mountains and canyons, sometimes in sight of the Atlantic coastline, whilst staying in authentic fazenda accommodations. Eat typical home cooked meals and ride with Gaucho guides and their intelligent Criollo horses which have plenty of stamina and agility. Staying on these traditional ranches allows you to discover the typical southern Brazilian gaucho culture, including some of the region’s famous culinary delights, like the Gaucho barbecue.

Gauchos are the cowboys of the South American pampas and are found in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and the state of Rio Grande do Sul, in Brazil. The Criollo is the traditional Gaucho horse in all of these countries, although each country has their own slightly different variations within the breed. The Criollo horse is as legendary as his rider and they make a formidable combination in the environment where they live. The gaucho way of life is one of the liveliest equestrian cultures in the world.

See Programmes.


Food & Accommodation

You stay in local fazendas (ranches) where you experience traditional gaucho life. Some are run as small hotels whereas others are family-run.

You spend two nights at Pousada Fazenda Monte Negro (
One night at Potreirinho (
Two nights at Fazenda Sao Goncalo (
One night at Pousada Fazenda Baio Ruano

Please note that depending on availability it may be necessary to change some of the accommodation to that of a similar standard.

Traditional gaucho meals will be served which are hearty and filling for a day in the saddle. There are usually some good meaty stews with rice, and at least one gaucho barbecue, where large strips of meat or racks of ribs are cooked over an open fire.
The local drink of cachaca liquor will be served on most nights, and local beers are available with meals. Some of the fazendas also have bars where you buy additional drinks.



This ride is not suitable for non-riders. The gaucho culture is strong in this area and it will be presumed that everyone was born on a horse and wishes to spend all their time riding!


Further Details

Languages: English, Portuguese

Health requirements: General good health and fitness as you are riding at heights over 1,000m. You should also not be afraid of heights or suffer from vertigo.

Age limit: 8 years or older

Tuition: No

Included: Accommodation; set-time group airport transfers; meals; pre-dinner drink (typically cachaca liquor); soft drinks, beer or water with meals; riding

Not included: Flights; insurance; drinks outside of meals; transfers outside of set times.


Travel Information

There are no direct flights from the UK to Porto Alegre and so you will need to connect through another hub city - most likely Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro. Some flights will also have a second stop over in Europe, so you may fly from the UK to Madrid, then onto Rio de Janeiro and then to Porto Alegre. However, there are flights with just one stop - LATAM and British Airways both offer routes from London Heathrow to Rio de Janeiro and onwards to Porto Alegre.

On arrival at Porto Alegre, you will be met by your host and transferred to the first night's accommodation. Although there is no riding scheduled on the arrival or departure days the road transfer time is c. 3-4 hours and so late arrivals and early departures should be avoided. Our partners ask that you aim to land in Proto Alegre no later than 2 pm on arrival day and plan a departure after 1 pm if at all possible. This means that you may need to arrive early to Porto Alegre and spend the night in the city.

Airport: Porto Alegre



Canyons and Waterfalls Trail

Explore on horseback, the canyons and waterfalls of this dramatic and beautiful corner of Brazil where gaucho traditions are strong. Ride local Criollo horses across open fields and through rainforests, whilst discovering vast steep canyons and glistening rivers and waterfalls. Return each night to comfortable fazendas and meet the families of your gaucho guides.

Day One:

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.

Day Two:

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. 

Day Three:

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.

Day Four:

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.

Day Five:

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.

Day Six:

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. Otherwsie, 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

Day Seven:

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.

Please note that the itinerary may vary depending on local conditions such as the weather, but always with your best interests at heart.

Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: Intermediate to experienced riders. There are opportunities for trots and canters so you should be happy in all paces. There are also some steep ascents and descents.
Type of ride: Trail ride
Total riding time: 6 nights / 5 days riding (5-6 hours riding each day)
Departure dates: 2021:
14-20 March, 14-20 May, 23-29 October, 3-9 December.

* Other dates possible for group bookings from March to June and August to 15th December - please enquire.
Pricing: 2021:

Prices vary depending on the number of riders confirmed in the group and we will advise you of this when you book and update you nearer your departure:

2-5 riders: £1455 per person sharing
6+ riders: £1356 per person sharing

Single supplement: £192

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.