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Colombian Adventures

Overview

These horseback adventures in Colombia offer some of the most unique and fascinating experiences for those looking for true Latin American flavour and culture on horseback. Colombia - named after Christopher Columbus himself - has a wild and diverse terrain, which together with its rich history and…

Highlights

  • Ride ends in the historic town of Villa de Leyva
  • Riding in a area of historic and cultural interest
  • Overnights in several comfortable, historical hacienda
  • Charming and friendly local hosts and guides
  • Great local food and drinks!
  • Year round pleasant weather

Essential Facts

  • 1 itinerary available
  • Max 18 riders per group
  • Average of 5 - 6 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 100kg / 220lbs / 15 st 10lbs.
    more info Heavier riders may be accepted if they are experienced - please contact us to enquire.

Description

These horseback adventures in Colombia offer some of the most unique and fascinating experiences for those looking for true Latin American flavour and culture on horseback. Colombia - named after Christopher Columbus himself - has a wild and diverse terrain, which together with its rich history and culture witnessed in every town and city offers an exciting destination for adventurous travellers.

Through an excellent trade in coffee and emeralds, Colombia was made famous. However, the country is also the home to another treasure - the "Paso Fino Colombiano" horse - one of the most amazing horse breeds in the world! This horse-breed too has a rich history, with its ancestors originating from the extinct gaited Spanish horse (known as the Jennet) brought over to the new world by the Conquistadors of old. The Horse with the Fine Step - literal translation - has become celebrated and abundant in South America, but it's origins still lie in the pure breeds of Colombia! The horses of today have been finely tuned and are often the pride of breeders through the country, often appearing at fairs, festivals and parades.

Colombia has not always had the best reputation for safety and crime, due to a turbulent political past. However, these days the country is a far cry from the Colombia of the last decade and tens of thousands of tourists and visitors from all over the globe safely travel to Colombia for tourism, business, university studies and voluntary work.

The climate is not generally seasonal due to the country's location so close to the equator. The country has one of the widest range of unique habitats including tropical coastlines, wide, flat wetlands, cold desert tundras, snow-capped mountains, Amazon rainforests and vast swathes of lush grasslands too. A large part of Colombia features very mountainous territory with altitudes between 1000-5000m. For this trail, you will be riding in the Cordillera Oriental in the departments of Cundinamarca and Santander at an altitude of 1500-2500m. Here the temperatures range from around 24C during the day and about 14C at night all year.

You can be guaranteed of a warm welcome by your hosts German and Ernesto Barreto. Together with their companion Bernardo "Chalas" Salazar (“chalas” referring to the Colombian cowboys), they will guide and take care of you during your entire riding holiday. For the entirety of the eight days of your trip, you will become immersed in one of the most appealing horse cultures in the world.

Paul Coudenys, one of the most experienced guides in the world and organiser of our Brazilian trails, will personally accompany you on the trail as well. He has ridden in more than fifty countries all over the world and has long suspected that Colombia would be an excellent location for our riders... so you will have some of the world's best trail guides riding alongside you on these exciting adventures.

The Caribbean, the Pacific Ocean and the Andes mountains, the Sierra Nevada, the mighty Amazon forest, Latin America's most beautiful city Cartagena, picturesque villages, pre-Colombian sites like the Lost City, fascinating flora and fauna - you name it and Colombia has it! No other country on the continent can compete with the multicultural and nature of Colombia and we hope that some of you will head out there to experience their wonderful horse culture. The team here can also help you to organise extensions to other destinations upon request. You can stay on after the trail ride to dance the salsa in Cali, taste fresh coffee in Manizales, relax on a Caribbean beach in Cartagena, go scuba diving off the coast of Santa Marta or maybe try some hiking up mount Nevado in the root of the Andes. You might even fall in love with the horses and want to try a local riding course offered by our guides and hosts on these trips! 

Please note that on the ride there is generally mobile phone coverage in villages and towns only. During the days and in some more remote locations we cannot guarantee full coverage all the time. There is sometimes internet available at hotels and restaurants in towns and villages but not in all the accommodations used on this trip. Therefore, you should be prepared to disconnect a little when taking part in this trail!

Horses & Riding

Tack

Colombian Trail Saddles (very comfortable). Saddlebags and rain coat will be provided.

Horses

Mostly Colombia Criollo/Cruzado and American quarter horses, with some mules available. On the Central Colombia Trail, you will visit a renowned breeding farm and have the opportunity to ride a pure bred Paso Fino Colombian horse.

Riding

There is 1 itinerary:

  • Central Colombian Trail is a trail ride

Ages

From 12 years if experienced and accompanied by an adult.

Health

General good health and fitness advised. Some of the riding days can be very demanding and long, so we would recommend you factor in some time to become saddle fit if you are not already riding regularly.

Weight

100kg / 220lbs / 15 st 10lbs. Heavier riders may be accepted if they are experienced - please contact us to enquire.

Food & Accommodation

Food

Colombia's varied cuisine is influenced by its diverse fauna and flora as well as the cultural traditions of the region. Colombian dishes and ingredients vary widely by region. Some of the most common ingredients are: cereals such as rice and maize; tubers such as potato and cassava; assorted legumes; meats, including beef, chicken, pork and goat; fish; and seafood. Colombia cuisine also features a variety of tropical fruits such as cape gooseberry, feijoa, arazá, dragon fruit, mangostino, granadilla, papaya, guava, blackberry, lulo, soursop and passionfruit.

Among the most representative starters and soups are patacones (fried green plantains), sancocho de gallina (chicken soup with root vegetables) and ajiaco (potato and corn soup). Popular snacks and breads are pandebono, arepas (corn cakes), aborrajados (fried sweet plantains with cheese), torta de choclo, empanadas and almojábanas. Typical main courses are bandeja paisa, lechona tolimense, mamona, tamales and fish dishes (such as arroz de lisa), especially in coastal regions where suero, costeño cheese, kibbeh and carimañolas are also eaten. Typical side dishes are papas criollas al horno (roasted Andean potatoes), papas chorreadas (potatoes with cheese) and arroz con coco (coconut rice). On the trail ride you will eat excellent good quality food (no camp cooking!) but great local Colombian meals like those mentioned above.

Typical drinks in Colombia are, of course, coffee and hot chocolate milk (in which the Colombians dip cheese!). In addition to this, beer and the local strong alcohol Aguardiente are popular.

Accommodation

The accommodation is in authentic rustic Colombian haciendas. The haciendas were originally farmhouses and not built for the tourism market. Couples will have private rooms but other travel companions will be sharing accommodation (most rooms have 2-4 beds).

Itineraries

Central Colombian Trail Standard accommodation.

Other Activities

During the trail there is not much opportunity for additional excursions and activities outside of those already included in the itinerary. However, we would certainly recommend factoring in some additional days and nights in order to visit other parts of Colombia whilst you are there.

If you require any advice or ideas with other areas you might like to visit during your time in Colombia then please do let us know and well be happy to discuss some suggestions with you.

Travel

Flights are to Bogota which has several direct connections with mainland Europe, including London and Madrid. Detailed explanations of transfer arrangements for each ride are listed below;

Transfers are organised from either a hotel in Bogota (if this has been booked through us) or at the meeting point for the ride offices in the city and then back to Bogota airport a the end of your trip. These are included in the ride price. Transfer from the airport on arrival is NOT included.

We recommend that you arrive the night before your trail and stay in Bogota (approx US$106 per night). The meeting time for customers is 9 am on Day 1 (arrival day), as this makes it a lot easier for the transfer from Bogota to the first hacienda on day one. Many flights from the UK land in Bogota in the early hours of the morning, however, this will make your first day in the country very long indeed and you will certainly feel the effects of jet-lag then.

* Please note that most European citizens do not require a visa to visit Colombia. You will simply have to complete a landing card on arrival.

Testimonials

Natalie, Far and Ride, Nov. 2, 2016

Colombia is a vibrant and charismatic country offering everything from wild rainforests to white sand beaches and dynamic coffee culture landscapes. Our rides here are guided by a professional team of horse enthusiasts who make it their mission to show you the ancient culture and magical wonders of this country. The accommodations are traditional and authentic in feel, with comfortable beds, welcoming hosts and delicious home cooked Colombian food.
I would recommend those travelling to Colombia to schedule a few extra days as well in order to explore the sparkling coast, visit the mighty Amazon or discover the ancient lost city!


Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1 - Bogotá - Cucunubá

Riding: No riding.

You will be collected from the meeting point in Bogotá city at approx. 9am today. Unless you have a very early morning flight arrival, we highly recommend planning to fly in the day before and spending the night in the city. An extra hotel night can be organised for you at added cost.

 The road transfer from Bogotá to Cucunubá is nearly 70kms and takes approximately a 1,5 - 2 hours by car. On the way you will stop at a local traditional saddlery to see the typical tack and equipment of the region, before continuing to Hacienda La Montesa - a renowned Paso Fino breeding farm. You will be given the chance to see a demonstration of and perhaps even ride some of these purebred horses, in order to sample their naturally smooth gait. You'll experience first hand why the Colombian Paso is considered to be the most comfortable riding horse in the world! 

Dinner and overnight will be at the Posada De Don Pedro in the centre of the historic village of Cucunubá. There will be some time to look around the village before you have a briefing of the trail route and dinner with your guides and hosts. The village itself is well known for its fine artisanal woollen crafts.

Day 2 - Posada De Don Pedro - Hacienda La Cabaña (c.25 km)

Riding: 5 - 6 hours

Today will be your first day on the trail and the horses will be brought to meet you in the village of Cucunubá after breakfast. The morning ride will see you following old trader paths that reach some 3,200 meters above sea level before crossing over into the Juaitoque reservation. In this reserve you can tour Andean Páramo landscapes and traditional mule trails, making your own paths on horseback.

In the afternoon you will begin to walk the path of the tip of the rock overlooking the great lagoon "de Palacio". The day will end at the home Hacienda La Cabanã, which is the traditional traditional and historic horse breeding and Livestock farm from where the majority of the riding horses for this trail originate.

Day 3 - Sutatausa Ring - Hacienda la Cabaña (c. 30 km)

Riding: 5 - 6 hours

After a restful night's sleep and a delicious cooked breakfast, today you will head off for a full days riding in order to discover the history and landscape which surround the farm. The day begins on old farm trails and bridle paths which will take you through forests and over rocky hills to reach the village of Sutatausa. Now a bustling mining community, the town was a historic outpost for the waring indigenous tribes prior to the Spanish invasions. In the historic centre you may visit to the colonial church and sanctum composed of 4 chapels, as well as the National Monument.

After the visit, the route continues along the ridge of the Hato reservoir before stopping to enjoy a delicious and traditional Colombian lunch in this spectacular setting.

Through the afternoon you will arrive back at the Hacienda La Cabaña again to enjoy dinner and another comfortable night.

Day 4 - Hacienda La Cabaña - Hacienda Potosi (c. 20 km)

Riding: 5 hours

After breakfast you will help to saddle the horses and set off on the trail at approximately 9:00am. You will ride through the green fields of Cundinamarca, the largest dairy producing region of Colombia. During the morning there will be a break for a snack and a quick game of Tejo (a Colombian rural sport similar to horse shoe throwing contests). After a long day in the saddle you will arrive at 'Hacienda Potosi', your overnight point, at approximately 5pm. Hacienda owner, Marta, will certainly take the opportunity to introduce you to the farm's champion coldblooded horses (Percheron and Belgian Draughts in this case). Dinner and overnight at Hacienda Potosi.

Day 5 - Hacienda Potosi - Raquira Silvestre (c. 35 km)

Riding: 6 hours

After breakfast it's time to saddle up your horses again for another 9:00am start to the riding. During the morning there will be a snack stop at Hacienda Ticha and the riding will lead you across an oak tree forest and to enjoy panoramic views of Raquira. In the afternoon you will arrive at the country house 'Raquira Silvestre' and you will settle down to lunch at around 3pm. After choosing your bed in this typical Colombian country style accommodation you can relax! Tonight dinner will be accompanied by carrangueros (typical Colombian folk music).

Day 6 - Raquira Silvestre - El Monasterio (c. 13 km)

Riding: 3 - 4 hours

Today will be a relatively shorter day of riding. Following breakfast you will mount up and head out on a trail to the colourful town of Raquira for lunch at around 1.30pm. The town is famous for it's orange ceramics and is a great place to purchase some small souvenirs and memorabilia. After lunch, the ride will continue through the landscape to the famous Monasterio La Candelaria. On arrival at the monastery you will untack the horses and settle them for the night. Finally, you will be able to enjoy a delicious dinner and accommodation overnight in the monastery!

Day 7 - Monasterio - Villa de Leyva (c. 35 km)

Riding: 8 hours

This morning you will have your breakfast and saddle the horses a little earlier, being ready to start your ride to Villa de Leyva at 8:30am. Today's lunch will be a picnic in the desert. Today is a long day in the saddle, where you will eventually reach the beautiful colonial city of Villa de Leyva in the evening. The route will see you crossing the inhospitable desert of the Candlemas, following stone paths whilst a strong wind accompanies the tour. 

You will eventually reach your hotel in Villa de Leyva; Hotel Plazuela de San Agustin (or similar) with double rooms for couples and bedrooms with two to four beds for the single participants. 

After a rest to gather your strength following the long riding day, you will take a walk into town for a typical dinner with the group. By now you will all know each other well and be able to enjoy your last night together! Overnight in the hotel.

Day 8 - Villa de Leyva - Bogotá

Riding: No riding.

Breakfast and then transfer by private mini-bus to Bogotá airport (approximately 4 hours driving). Sadly this is the end of your exciting trip!

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

Suitable for intermediate to experienced riders who are fit to spend long days in the saddle. You do not need to be an expert but you should be comfortable riding at all paces and covering different terrain.

Minimum group size 6
Maximum group size 18
Departure windows

April 10, 2022 - April 17, 2022

May 15, 2022 - May 22, 2022

June 19, 2022 - June 26, 2022

Pricing

2022
Sharing
£2045 $2830 €2425
Included Transfers from meeting point in Bogotá, 7 nights of accommodation (couples will have private double rooms, other riders should be willing to share rooms with 2 - 4 beds), all meals from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on day 8, guided riding as described in the programme and support from the back up vehicle.
Not included Flights, airport transfer on arrival, personal travel insurance, drinks (can be included at an added cost), tips & personal expenses.

Extras

2022 - Bar tab (all-inclusive) $110
Paid locally
This price includes an open bar service with all alcohol (except wine) and soft drinks covered during the entire week. It is possible to buy wine at each hacienda at an additional cost but prices vary depending on brand and quality. This charge will need to be paid directly to your guide, in cash, on day 1.
2022 - Bar tab (soft drinks only) $60
Paid locally
This price includes an open bar service with all soft drinks covered during the entire week. This charge will need to be paid directly to your guide, in cash, on day 1.
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.