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:

110kg / 242 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; 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


Travel Information

There are no direct flights from the UK to Porto Alegre and so you will transfer 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 are transferred to your accommodation. There is no riding scheduled on the arrival or departure days to allow some flexibility in flight timings, but bear in mind that your road transfer time is c. 3-4 hours and so late arrivals and early departures should be avoided.

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 be welcomed with a local drink made from cachaca liquor and fruits whilst being introduced to the gauchos who will guide you during the week. After dinner with the group, migrate to the bar for a ride briefing. Overnight at Pousada Fazenda Potreirinho.

Day Two:

After breakfast you will be introduced to your horse and will set off riding on high altitude trails towards the Lopes family ranch, a typical fazenda surrounded by beautiful forest. You will get to see Cachoeirao which is the largest waterfall in the area - it is impressive and there will be time to take photos. Continue riding up and down hills, with many panoramic landscapes from the top. There are plenty of opportunities to trot and canter across the wide open hilltops.

Stop for a snack in the shade of a tree and then, after around 5 hours total riding, reach the typical ranch of the Lopes family. They will be waiting with a delicious late lunch and the chance to taste their famous 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.

After resting, you take a one hour ride to the traditional Fazenda Monte Negro for dinner and to overnight.

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, continue riding along canyons, cliffs and fields through the afternoon. This whole area was formed from intense volcanic activity millions of years ago. Successive lava eruptions created the landscape which is now covered by fields, forests of araucarias and countless crystalline rivers. There are many canyons distributed through the region and the sharp vertical hillsides of basalt present a multitude of colours with lichens, herbs and small bushes against the bare rock.

After c. 5 hours of riding, return to Pousada Fazenda Monte Negro for dinner and to overnight.

Day Four:

After breakfast you are transferred by vehicle for 1.5 hours to Alan's ranch. Alan is the son of Alencar, one of the gaucho guides and is a cattle rancher with much experience. Over the next few days you will get the chance to see how real gauchos do their daily work.

With new horses, set off riding along the escarpments of the Aparados da Serra, where the marvels of nature almost overwhelm the actual riding. Stop at a beautiful waterfall for photos and perhaps a dip in the pool before taking lunch in a field. After a short siesta, your afternoon trails pass through forests with important biodiversity. Some of the slopes are ideal for a canter. 

After c. 5-6 hours of riding, you arrive at Alencar's Fazenda Santana to overnight.

Day Five:

After breakfast, you set off riding through canyons, fields and forests. Today you will see many waterfalls and have a picnic lunch on the banks of a river whilst the horses rest in the shade of the nearby forest. After lunch, continue riding through this area of outstanding beauty which is typical of Campos de Cima da Serra. The Atlantic rainforest in the lower parts of the canyons, fields stretching across the plateaus, and ferns, lilies and bromeliads sprouting on the rich slopes. 

In the afternoon you may see the mysterious fogs drift in (called viracao by the locals). You will ride past many araucaria trees and cross pristine rivers until reaching Alancar's Fazenda Santana once again.

Day Six:

After breakfast you ride out to see more canyons and cliffs, known to the locals as "the peirais of the Aparados". The Mata Atlantica runs along the lower portion of the canyons whilst fields are spread across the plateaus, interspersed with damp areas which contain peat bogs rich in moss, lichen and bamboo. Vegetation such as ferns, lilies and bromeliads sprout from the slopes and the curious "Bigsting Nettle" which has enormous leaves up to 1.5m attaches itself to rocks.

As you are riding through Alancar's neighbourhood you may have the chance to help local gauchos with rounding up cattle on horseback.

At the end of the day, you arrive at a river bank where your minibus will be waiting. Say goodbye to your horses and guide, before being transferred c. 45mins to Pousada Fazenda Baio Ruano. Your special farewell dinner is taken in a typical restaurant within the small village of Cambara do Sul.

Day Seven:

Depart after breakfast for the airport (c. 3 hours).

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: 2018:
23-29 September, 25 November-1 December (CONFIRMED).

18-24 March, 13-19 May, 23-29 September, 30 November - 6 December.

Other dates possible for group bookings in March to June or August to November - please enquire.
Pricing: 2018/19:

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:

2-4 riders: £1528 per person sharing
5-6 riders: £1398 per person sharing
7+ riders: £1340 per person sharing

Single supplement: £170 (2018); £193 (2019)