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Trails of Colombia

Overview

On these diverse and challenging trails you will encounter the real Colombia, exploring its stunning landscapes and discovering the fascinating history and culture of this extraordinary country. You can expect to ride through verdant mountains, tropical forests, moorlands, open pastures and riverin…

Highlights

  • Riding Colombiano Criollos
  • Discovering the landscapes of Colombia
  • Colombian culture and history
  • Riding in the tropics
  • Staying in traditional colonial haciendas

Essential Facts

  • 1 itinerary available
  • Max 16 riders per group
  • Average of 6 - 7 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 110kg/17.
    more info4st/242lbs

Description

On these diverse and challenging trails you will encounter the real Colombia, exploring its stunning landscapes and discovering the fascinating history and culture of this extraordinary country. You can expect to ride through verdant mountains, tropical forests, moorlands, open pastures and riverine valleys peppered with towering palm trees. Predominantly overnighting in old haciendas you will be immersed in the traditions of this unique culture, dominated in part by its affinity with the horse, which helped build the infrastructure of the country itself, and which is revered and celebrated throughout the land. While many are familiar with Colombia's established association with both coffee and emeralds, another jewel in their crown is the national breed, the Colombiano Criollo, which is a distant cousin of the Spanish gaited horses (the Spanish Jennet) brought to the country by the Conquistadors. These were bred with the local criollos, and today these horses are the pride of Colombia, often seen at celebrations and ferias, demonstrating their smooth, high-stepping gait. Paso Finos are also famously comfortable for long-distance riding.

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. 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

Horses used on the rides are Colombian Criollo working horses, known for their strength and stamina. They are comfortable for long distances and respect their riders.

Riding

There is 1 itinerary:

  • Old Haciendas Trail is a trail ride

Health

Rider should have a reasonable fitness level and be able to cope with an average of 6hrs a day in the saddle.

Weight

110kg/17.4st/242lbs

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

Double/twin accommodation in comfortable rooms. The colonial haciendas are original farmsteads, not built for tourism, so riders must be prepared to share bathroom facilities if necessary.

Itineraries

Old Haciendas Trail Standard accommodation.

Other Activities

Activities to consider for before and after your ride:

Cultural and historical tours of Bogota city
Coffee Farm visit
Chicaque National Park (30 min drive from Bogota)

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 (we can arrange this for you, please enquire). The meeting time for customers is after breakfast 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.

Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1

Riding: No riding.

You will be collected from GHL Hotel Bioxury, 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 75kms 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 on to a lunch stop at Andrés Carne de Res. By evening you will reach Cucunubá, a traditional colonial town, where you will enjoy dinner and discuss the upcoming trip.
Overnight at Hotel Casa Bisbal.

Day 2

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 ends at Hacienda La Cabaña, a traditional farm which breeds both horses and livestock. Here you will enjoy dinner and spend the night; it is a place full of stories and magic.

Day 3

Riding: 6 - 7 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 warring indigenous tribes prior to the Spanish invasions. In the historic centre you may visit to the colonial church and sanctum composed of four chapels, as well as the National Monument.
After lunch you will continue on, passing through the red desert, where for a moment you may forget you are in Colombia as it feels more like the American Midwest! In the late evening, you will have to special experience of sleeping in the oldest Hacienda and one of the most beautiful of the entire trip, Tausavita Hacienda.

Day 4

Riding: 6 - 7 hours

After a hearty breakfast it is time to saddle up and hit the trail again. Today you will be following the steps of the Muisca road, passing through valleys, rivers and mountains and enjoying some spectacular views. Lunch will most likely be enjoyed as a picnic en route with a quick siesta if time allows. In the late afternoon you will arrive at another of the specially selected Colonial haciendas where hospitality, good cheer, and an excellent meal will top off another wonderful day.
Overnight Hacienda El Molino.

Day 5

Riding: 6 - 7 hours

After breakfast it's time to saddle up your horses again for an earlier 8am start to the riding. After a few canters you will feel wide awake and happy, as you meander through the ancient mule tracks. After lunch you will see the mountainous terrain start to change into a softer landscape, as you ride though oak tree forests with the stunning Fuquene lagoon in the background. You will leave the province of Cundinamarca, and the high mountains, and descend into the heart of the Ubaté Valley.
Overnight Hacienda Ticha.

Day 6

Riding: 5 - 6 hours

This morning, after a delicious breakfast, the trail will take you into the province of Boyaca. You will notice a distinct and dramatic change of landscape, as you leave the deep green of the Bogota savannah and continue riding until you meet the semi-desert plains of Raquira. In the afternoon you will arrive at the country house 'Raquira Silvestre' where you can relax! Tonight dinner will be accompanied by carrangueros (typical Colombian folk music).

Day 7

Riding: 6 - 7 hours

Today will be a magical day on our route as we cross the emblematic Candelaria desert. You will notice how the scenery changes dramatically yet again, as you enter this inhospitable but spectacular desert, following stone paths whilst a strong wind accompanies the tour. Within the desert you visit the Patio de Brujas, a magical place of indigenous witches.
In the late afternoon you will eventually reach your hotel in Villa de Leyva situated on the main square. Villa de Leyva was founded in 1572 and is a national monument with its traditional architecture amongst the moorlands and deserts.
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.
There will be a special farewell dinner with live music.

Day 8

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! Your flight should depart 3pm or later.

Accommodation

Authentic and comfortable rooms in different colonial haciendas. Based on double-rooms. Please note: the haciendas are original farms, not build for tourism, couples will have private rooms but other participants will share rooms with fellow riders as most rooms have 2 to 4 beds.

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

This ride is for intermediate and experienced riders happy and in control at all paces and fit enough to ride for up to 6hrs per day.

Minimum group size 6
Maximum group size 16
Departure windows

April 3, 2024 - April 10, 2024

July 13, 2024 - July 20, 2024

Dec. 1, 2024 - Dec. 8, 2024

Pricing

2024
Per person, sharing
£2830 $3530 €3305
Included 7 nights of full board accommodation (from lunch on day 1 to breakfast on day 8), transfers from the meeting point (Bogota hotel) on first day, all riding and guiding, transfer to Bogota airport on day 8.
Not included Flights, airport transfers on arrival, drinks, travel insurance, tips.

Extras

2024 - Bar Tab (alcoholic version) $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.
2024 - Single Supplement $85 per night
Paid locally
Please bear in mind this may not be possible on every night.
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.