Darwin's Rainforest riding holiday in Brazil - Far and Ride
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Darwin's Rainforest, Brazil


• Rainforest to Coast Expedition



By happy chance, this is the very sort of expedition that I had hoped to realise during my time in Brazil, without really appreciating how much I had needed it.

Natalie Garner, Far and Ride, Read review


Type of horses:

Peruvian Paso

Nature of horses:

Calm and comfortable with a smooth gait

Height of horses:

14 - 15hh

Weight limit:

90kg / 14 stone

Tack type:

Typical Brazilian with comfortable saddles for long hours in the saddle and simple bridles.


Travel Advice

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

Ride Description

In 1832 the Atlantic Rainforest overwhelmed Charles Darwin with its spectacular beauty and biological diversity. On this trail you ride through these exuberant forests of ancient trees and see a little of what enchanted the young Darwin all those years ago.

Rio de Janeiro state has some of the best preserved sections of the Atlantic Rainforest in Brazil - thanks, in part, to the inaccessibility of some of the mountainous areas. Birdwatchers will delight at the enormous variety of birds but the Atlantic Rainforest is also rich in reptiles, amphibians and butterflies. The vegetation is lush, thick and spectacular to behold - many trees are dripping with epiphytes and there is a hugely varied display of orchids and bromeliads.

During the week you ride on narrow tracks through the rainforest, over pastures, crossing rivers and following winding mountain trails. The dramatic mountains of this area can be seen all the way from the city of Rio de Janeiro, but you will feel a million miles away.

You ride on pure Peruvian Paso horses which are gaited and offer an additional gait which is similar to a running walk - this paso llano can be as fast as trotting but much more comfortable!

Far and Ride team member Natalie has ridden this trail and will be happy to answer any questions you might have about the ride.

See Programmes.


Food & Accommodation

Your first night is in the refuge, where there are two rooms with bunk beds, a toilet and shower. You have the option to camp at the viewpoint if you prefer.

Subsequent nights are in farm guesthouses in comfortable en-suite rooms.

Brazilian food is a colourful mix of Portugese, African and native foods. There are always plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables on offer, plus lots of stunning fish and meats.

Vegetarians can be accommodated with advance notice.



There are many opportunities for bird watching and observing the native flora and fauna of this spectacular ecosystem.

Weather permitting, there are waterfalls which can be bathed in whilst out riding too.

This a trail ride which moves on and so is not suited to non-riders.


Further Details

Languages: English and Portuguese.

Health requirements: No specific requirements except general good health.

Age limit: 10 years or older

Tuition: No

Included: Accommodation, riding, all meals

Not included: Flights, transfers, drinks (other than water), insurance


Travel Information

There are direct flights to Rio de Janeiro from the UK although these are not daily all year round. Direct flights are possible with British Airways and LATAM.

Alternatively there are non-direct routes through Europe or the USA. Rio de Janeiro is easily accessed from other Brazilian airports if you wish to add two rides together - or from other South American cities.

Transfers from Rio de Janeiro airport are provided but are at extra cost - see individual itinerary.

Airport: Rio de Janeiro



Rainforest to Coast Expedition

Immerse yourself in the Atlantic Forest described by Charles Darwin on this trail ride just outside of Rio de Janeiro. Start in the intact rainforest  and enjoy this rich ecosystem, before heading across farmland and ending on one of the most beautiful beaches of Rio de Janeiro.

Please note that you will either need to arrive the day before and spend a night relaxing in Rio, or you will need to arrive on an early morning flight on Day One. 

Day One:

You are transferred from Rio de Janeiro airport to the riding centre in Cachoeiras de Macacu, aiming to arrive in time for coffee. You are then introduced to your horse and will set out riding to Jequitiba Reserve, exploring trails that pass through the forest mountains. On arriving at the reserve, you have a tour of the beautiful waterfalls before dinner. The refuge is built from mud and wood and there is the option to stay in a comfortable tent on the Mountain Viewpoint next to the refuge, but with spectacular views.

Day Two:

After breakfast you set off on one of the most beautiful days of the ride, through trails inside primary forest with millenary trees. Cross the main mountain range that separates the mountainous region from the coast. The trails go up a thousand meters in altitude through thick forest until reaching Farm Pyrenees, where the horses will spend the night. You can take a waterfall dip near to the main house before being transferred by car 20 minutes to Pousada Tapinua to overnight.

Day Three:

After breakfast, transfer back to the horses and set off into the hinterland of Bananeiras. Your route follows dirt roads and includes a stop at Vitoria Farm for a dip in the river, and perhaps swimming the horses, followed by a snack. Continue riding across farmland and climbing another 500m into the mountains to reach Pousada Tapinua for a late lunch. The rest of the day is free to relax in the natural pool and sauna, whilst sampling the homemade cachaca which is produced on site (drinks payable locally).

Day Four:

Early departure in the direction of Aldeia Velha following a dirt road through two picturesque villages: Bananeiras, which belongs to the municipality of Silva Jardim, and Aldeia Velha, part of Casimiro de Abreu. This picturesque village is relatively hidden and still little known - it is part of the Sao Joao/Mico Leao Dourado Environmental Protection area. Dinner is a delicious pizza before overnighting at the farm hotel Acacias, with your horses grazing in front of the rooms. 

Day Five:

After an early breakfast set off riding to Barra de Sao Joao. Leave the mountains behind you and cross flat paths which reveal wide rural landscapes, with streams, pastures and fields containing cattle and buffalo. Stop for lunch at a Fazenda in Casimiro de Abreu.

In the afternoon, ride around an old volcano (Sao Joao hill), arriving at Fazenda Sao Joao Pousada in time for a relaxing massage or sauna (payable locally). 

Day Six:

After breakfast, you are transferred by road through the alleys of Barra de Sao Joao and passing colonial houses en-route to the beach. After c. 30mins you meet your horses on the beach of Pero in Cabo Frio. Set off riding to one of the most beautiful beaches in Rio de Janeiro - Conchas. Continue riding towards Buzio, passing dunes and and making a stop to swim with the horses. Eventually you reach Caravelas in Buzios where you stop for lunch on the edge of the beach and toast your arrival. 

After lunch, continue riding along a dirt road through the Pau Brasil reserve to your final destination - Fazendinha Pousada Buzios. After dinner you can visit Buzio's famous stone streets and Brigitte Bardot waterfront.

Day Seven:

After breakfast you are transferred back to Rio de Janeiro for your flight or to continue your holiday.

Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: You should be a competent rider who is comfortable in all paces outdoors.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 7 days / 6 nights / 5 days riding
Departure dates: 2021:
20-26 June, 19-25 September

* Other dates available on request from March-June and August-November for a minimum of 2 guests.
Pricing: 2021:

Prices vary depending on how many riders are in the group:

2 riders: 1798 per person sharing
3-4 riders: 1645 per person sharing
5-6 riders: 1473 per person sharing
7-8 riders: 1374 per person sharing

Single supplement: 246 *(single rooms not possible on the first night)

Transfers from Rio de Janeiro airport: 181 return (up to 3 passengers)

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.