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Canyons and Waterfalls


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 t…


  • Ride through the enormous canyons of Rio Grande do Sul
  • Experience lush vegetation and cascading waterfalls
  • Ride through beautifully preserved Araucaria forests
  • Marvel at fantastic panoramic views & dramatic cliffs
  • Discover typical gaucho culture and culinary delights

Essential Facts

  • 1 itinerary available
  • Max 10 riders per group
  • Average of 5 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 100kg / 220lbs / 15 stone 10lbs


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.

Horses & Riding


The horses are ridden in traditional gaucho tack, which comprises simple saddles with sheepskins over the top for comfort, and rawhide bridles. Many of the horses will wear long-shanked bits and have very sensitive mouths – they are used to a very light hand and will likely respond to neck reining.


You ride local Criollo or Criollo cross horses. The Criollo is the traditional gaucho horse and each country (Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Paraguay) have their own slightly different variations of the breed. The Criollo horse is legendary and makes a formidable companion. They are sure-footed, responsive and well-mannered with a surprising ability to bear weight despite their small stature


There is 1 itinerary:

  • Canyons and Waterfalls Trail is a trail ride


8 years or older


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.


100kg / 220lbs / 15 stone 10lbs

Food & Accommodation


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.


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.


Canyons and Waterfalls Trail Standard accommodation.

Other Activities

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!


Set-time airport transfers are included from and 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 Porto 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.


Blain V., Sept. 11, 2023

The trip was amazing!! From the first correspondence to the end of the ride, it became so apparent that everyone involved is passionate about riding, and makes a huge effort to be both helpful and create a fun experience. I can’t say enough great things!

Kelly T., Aug. 10, 2023

Paulo was great - he was helpful and informative, I really enjoyed his love of the land and how he shared that with us. The horses were very impressive, they were strong and willing, well cared for. Wonderful. Staying at local farms run by families, very remote and comfortable, with great food and culture experience.

Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1

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.

Day 2

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.

Day 3

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.

Day 4

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.

Day 5

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.

Day 6

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

Day 7

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.

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

Intermediate to experienced riders. There are opportunities for trots and canters so you should be happy at all paces. There are also some steep ascents and descents to negotiate so you should be well-balanced in the saddle.

Minimum group size 2
Maximum group size 10
Departure windows

At any time during: Jan. 1, 2024 - Dec. 31, 2024  (Dates can be arranged to suit for 4 or more riders.)

Jan. 25, 2024 - Jan. 31, 2024

Feb. 20, 2024 - Feb. 26, 2024

March 19, 2024 - March 25, 2024

April 9, 2024 - April 15, 2024

May 7, 2024 - May 13, 2024

June 4, 2024 - June 10, 2024

July 2, 2024 - July 8, 2024

July 30, 2024 - Aug. 5, 2024

Sept. 24, 2024 - Sept. 30, 2024

Oct. 15, 2024 - Oct. 21, 2024

Nov. 5, 2024 - Nov. 11, 2024

Dec. 3, 2024 - Dec. 9, 2024

Dec. 27, 2024 - Jan. 2, 2025


Rider; Sharing
£2395 $3110 €2850
Included 6 nights of shared room accommodation, set-time group airport transfers, all meals, pre-dinner drink (typically cachaca liquor) and 5 days of riding as described.
Not included Flights, travel insurance, drinks, transfers outside of set times, tips and other personal expenses
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.