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Hacienda La Alegria

Special Offer!

Quilotoa Special Offer

If two people book the Quilotoa ride of 5-14 September 2024 then they benefit from a discount of USD 150 in total (75 USD each)

Offer ends Aug. 30, 2024

Overview

Hacienda La Alegria specialises in horseback riding in the beautiful surroundings of the high Andes of Ecuador. Your hostsGabriel Espinosa comes from a family steeped in equestrian tradition, and his enthusiasm for riding and horses is at the core of everything at La Alegria. All abilities are cate…

Highlights

  • Ride amidst the glorious Avenue of Volcanoes
  • Experience Andean mountains, cloud forests and paramo
  • Canter across high altiplano grasslands at over 3000m
  • Learn to be a chagra (cowboy) and watch them work
  • Relax in the hot tub looking out on the tropical garden

Essential Facts

  • 4 itineraries available
  • Max 15 riders per group (28 in camp)
  • Average of 5 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 95kg / 210lbs / 14 stone 9 lbs.
    more info

Description

Hacienda La Alegria specialises in horseback riding in the beautiful surroundings of the high Andes of Ecuador. Your hostsGabriel Espinosa comes from a family steeped in equestrian tradition, and his enthusiasm for riding and horses is at the core of everything at La Alegria. All abilities are catered for from experienced riders to total beginners. Gabriel and his wife Paty welcome you into their home.

The Hacienda itself is nestled in the lush Machachi valley, and set in a 135-hectare organic dairy farm and ranch. Built more than a century ago in the Franco-Italian style and filled with historic charm, the hacienda's large rooms are enclosed in thick adobe walls with high ceilings and original hardwood floors.

Multi-day trips travelling through the high mountains, cloud forests and paramo (high grasslands) of the Andes are a truly magical experience in one of the most breath-taking locations on earth. Experience riding through beautiful, diverse terrain in the longest continental mountain range in the world. Sub-tropical cloud forests, high open grasslands, rolling mountains and volcanoes in one of the most bio-diverse places left on earth make Ecuador a unique place.

Most of the horses have been bred on the farm from mixed Criollo (native South American), English Thoroughbred and Arabian stock, resulting in a near perfect combination of toughness, agility, calm temperament and "mountain sense". Beginners and experienced riders alike have found them easy to ride, willing and good mannered. If you have previous riding experience you will be given plenty of opportunities to canter along the way.

Horses & Riding

Tack

Saddles are traditional Ecuadorian "Chagra" (cowboy) style and very comfortable. Each rider is allocated a saddle for their stay - each one has a number on the saddlebags. The saddles have a sheepskin over them and the saddlebags are quite spacious with room for a rain poncho and waterproof chaps (which are provided) . Most horses are ridden in Pelhams but a few have other styles of bit and at least one horse is ridden bitless - the bridles are all made from local leather/rawhide.

Horses

Most have been bred on the farm from mixed Criollo (native South American), Arab and even some draft horses. The horses are primarily on the smaller side, around 15 - 15.2hh, but they do have some larger (and smaller) options available. They are very sure-footed and controllable. Some are also gaited.

Riding

There are 4 itineraries:

  • Volcano Ride - Quilotoa is a trail ride
  • Volcano Ride - Cotopaxi is a trail ride
  • Cotopaxi and Quilotoa Loops is a trail ride
  • Hacienda Based Stay is a based ride

Ages

12yrs+ (discount for children under 15yrs)

Health

Fit and healthy, able to withstand high altitudes and ride for long periods of time over several days.

Weight

95kg / 210lbs / 14 stone 9 lbs.

Food & Accommodation

Food

All meals are included featuring delicious, gourmet international and Ecuadorian foods. Breakfasts are often a buffet and usually include bread, fruit (the local fruit is fantastic) and yoghurt, then eggs are also served or perhaps French toast.

Lunches and dinners vary depending on your programme - when you are at Hacienda La Alegria they are both three courses, starting with soup. During the trail the meals are sometimes more simple, for example you might have a sandwich or a wrap with some fruit and a cereal bar.

Wine and beer is included with your meals but you do sometimes need to ask for it. It's common for fruit juice to be served alongside breakfasts and lunches - this is often from fruit which is hard to come by in Europe and is extremely healthy and delicious!

Accommodation

Depending on your chosen itinerary you will stay in Hacienda La Alegria, local haciendas (historic country houses), mountain lodges or a campsite with communal fire area inside a mountain refuge and toilets.

Nestled in the lush Machachi valley, Hacienda La Alegria is set in a 135-hectare organic dairy farm and ranch. Built more than a century ago in the Franco-Italian style and filled with historic charm, the hacienda's large rooms are enclosed in thick adobe walls with high ceilings and original hardwood floors.

Hacienda La Alegria is environmentally friendly and uses organic produce. They conserve energy and water and produce compost.

Itineraries

Volcano Ride - Quilotoa Standard accommodation.

Volcano Ride - Cotopaxi Standard accommodation.

Cotopaxi and Quilotoa Loops Tented / Standard accommodation.

Hacienda Based Stay Standard accommodation.

Other Activities

Hiking in the cloud forest, eco-tourism activities.

Travel

Return airport transfers from and to Quito airport (1hr-1hr30 travel time) can be arranged at additional cost.

Testimonials

Jessica N., Oct. 17, 2023

The views at Quilotoa, riding in the cloud forest, visiting a local blueberry winery, dancing in the kitchen with the owners of Bombili, finding a surprise waterfall, playing futbol with school children, and experiencing the variety of bright and warm mornings but rainy and cool afternoons were all highlights of the trip. However, what was truly special was all of the hours we were able to spend riding incredible horses each day, enjoying the vast and gorgeous landscape of Ecuador, and getting to know our hosts, Gabriel and Patty, as well as all of the members of their special team. By the end of the trip I felt like I was part of the family.


Mia K., June 13, 2023

It was over my expectations. The main host (where we started and ended the holiday): hacienda, food, horses and general
hospitality was excellent. The 2-day ride out and overnighter to the Cloud Forest was beautiful and although the
accommodation was basic (no electricity etc.) it was a delight as it was situated in the forest and the hosts were delightful, it felt like a home stay which added lots of charm. The 4-day ride with 3 overnighters to the volcanoes was a totally different experience being higher up and with that the scenery changed. It was simply spectacular. It was super nice to have these holidays within the holidays and after each ride the return to the Hacienda La Alegria felt like coming home. The horses were excellent, safe, sure footed, but not in the least boring.


Dianne M., Feb. 2, 2023

The holiday was fabulous. Our hosts were wonderful, the hacienda was gorgeous and the horses were amazing. The horses were in good health, incredible shape, nice looking, very responsive and non-spooky. The saddles were very comfortable with the sheepskins. Both the owner, his cousin and the guide were fabulous guides. We felt very safe and well taken care of... and they were all gracious hosts. Favourite memory? Waking up in the morning to discover that we had ridden to the base of Cotopaxi, and there she was! It was cloudy when we rode in the previous night so we had no idea she was right there!


Katie R., Dec. 12, 2022

This riding holiday was adventurous while remaining comfortable and very well-fed. Even though I ended up seeing only a small part of Ecuador I felt like I had a good feeling for the culture and country as a whole. I most enjoyed the first and second days of the Quilotoa trail where we climbed to a high altitude and saw distant snowy peaks and had a few long canters. The second day I enjoyed the small trails to the top of the crater through pine forests and canyons where we were able to see an owl. The guides were excellent and always happy to help with questions or issues.


Noelle R., Dec. 12, 2022

Awesome horses, hosts, food and accommodations. We were continuously riding into a new landscape and being awed by the beauty with a fantastic group of horses and friends. We were very well fed. I loved trying all the Ecuadorian soups and couldn't get enough of the sale de aji. The hacienda is gorgeous and we stayed in some very cool hostels. I LOVED every horse! I was able to ride 5 over the week and got to be paired with my favourite handsome buckskin Desafio the most. But it was fun to dance with other partners include a few paso finos for the first time and to gait smoothly instead of trot on day 8 - wow!


Martin W., Aug. 16, 2022

A unique adventure! Excellent horses, excellent hosts and excellent accommodation in the spectacular high Andes mountains. The holiday enabled breath-taking experiences - riding quality horses through orchid-laden cloud forests, climbing high volcanoes and experiencing rural life in Ecuador.


T and C, July 11, 2022

The ride was wonderful. It was challenging, even for my wife, let along a beginner like me and the views spectacular. The mountain flowers were beautiful and we were lucky with the weather with cloud broken with sunshine. We got to see Cotopaxi, but it teased us with the summit being covered in cloud until late in the day. Over the previous days I had learnt a new way to canter and what fun we all had as we whizzed over the grasslands at 3,500m surrounded by volcanoes. Tambopaxi was a great place to spend the night and I was up at dawn walking the high plains catching the changing light on the volcano - it was beautiful.


Janice and Larry, Jan. 4, 2022

It was a great trip – excellent hosts, food, horses, tack, and additional riding gear. Gabriel and his assistant Jose Luis were warm and incredibly helpful, ensuring we were safe and comfortable throughout our adventure. The horses were more than up for the challenge and seemed to enjoy the journey as much as we did. Gabriel is a true horseman and clearly loves his horses. He takes great pride in having bred, raised, and trained most of them himself. He can tell you each one’s parents or origin, and paired Larry and I with horses befitting our abilities and preferences.


Sara, Jan. 8, 2020

The holiday was great. It surpassed my expectations, the ride to Quilitoa was beautiful. The horses were amazing and the scenery was fantastic. I had a couple of days at the Hacienda before the ride and those were also wonderful, I’d highly recommend this ride. My favourite memory was travelling as a group with several free horses was really nice each day moving through the beautiful countryside and small villages. Everyday had amazing scenery and varied terrain.


Melinda C. (Volcano Ride), Nov. 17, 2016

I loved my trip. it was amazing. A very enriching experience with views of the landscape that varied in great detail. The lodges were really awesome - Fireplaces everywhere! The food was so good! Gabriel (host) was awesome and his wife Patty, so gracious. Overall a wonderful place to stay and the ride... it was a real adventure, never to be forgotten. No rushing to meet deadlines, and it was just a very enriching experience, all the way around. So glad I went there!!!! Loved it!


Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1

Riding: No riding.

Depending on your arrival hour you can meet the horses and have a short ride, followed by dinner at the hacienda.

Accommodation: La Alegria

Day 2

Riding: 4 hours

Ride in the arena and try the horses and a variety of tack so that you can be paired with a suitable horse that you will enjoy. Afterwards ride around the neighbouring Haciendas in the west Andes. Today is designed to help you get acclimatised to the altitude, so you will experience your first ascent and descent but only ride for around 4 hours. Afterwards you will have lunch in the Hacienda, visit the milking barn, the aging cheese cave and enjoy the hot tub.

Accommodation: La Alegria

Day 3

Riding: 3 - 5 hours

Another day of acclimatising and riding in and around the hacienda. There are lots of different rides available, so you may ride to Lagchig and the Black Lagoon, or around Widow Mountain, or up onto the Aichapicho Pucara. Return to Alegria for another night.

Day 4

Riding: 6 hours

After breakfast you set out on your first full day ride, crossing extensive pastures and eucalyptus forests and getting spectacular views of the "Avenue of Volcanoes". From here you can appreciate the green and fertile Machachi Valley and view the route you will be taking over the next few days, across the eastern mountain chain.

Ascend along Corazon volcano up to 4000 metres and then descend into the cloud forest. In this now endangered ecosystem you can observe a great biodiversity of plants and flowers, including giant guneras, orchids, and birds. In the afternoon you will ride to Hacienda Bomboli at a height of 3000 metres and relax by the fireplace enjoying the sunset and watching the lights of the villages near the coast while being served a hearty meal.

Accommodation: Hacienda Bomboli

Day 5

Riding: 6 hours

In the morning you will have the chance to walk through the hacienda's gardens to learn about the incredible variety of orchids and cloud forest plants.

You then set out riding up hill, admiring the forest and the hundreds of plants and flowers. You ride along an ancient road which was built in 1873 to connect Quito to the coast, and arrive back at Hacienda LaAlegria in time for a late lunch. In the afternoon you can relax or enjoy the hot tub or fireplace.

Accommodation: Hacienda La Alegria

Day 6

Riding: 8 hours

Today's ride is a long one. You are first transferred by vehicle one hour south of the hacienda to start your four day journey into the southern Andes. You set out riding along an old Inca trail, along dirt paths and roads which lead to Sigchos - this village is known as the last home of the Inca general Ruminahui. Your adventure from here will take you through dramatic landscapes including steep ravines and narrow passages. Even though you can see where you are heading and it looks close, there are many mountain chains to cross before reaching your destination. The area is a combination of forest, rock peaks and land which has eroded over the last centuries. You arrive at Hacienda San Jose, a working dairy farm and guesthouse in time for a good meal, jacuzzi and sauna. Here your horses will be able to graze on lush grasses in the paddocks.

Accommodation: Hacienda San Jose

Day 7

Riding: 8 hours

After breakfast you set off south to the Quilotoa crater lake. Your trail heads west along a high mountain route where you will see a smattering of farms with dairy cattle or making cheese. As you head down into the canyon the land is very dry and the soil is composed of pumice from the eruption of Quilotoa volcano in 1280. In the afternoon you arrive at the summit of Quilotoa at 3800 metres and view the breathtaking Quiltoa crater lake.

Quilotoa is a crater lake caldera and the most western volcano in the Ecuadorian Andes. The 3km caldera was formed by the collapse of this dacite volcano following an eruption.

Accommodations: Quilotoa Hostel, beside the crater

Day 8

Riding: 4 hours

There is time this morning to take a short walk for photos of the crater lake before mounting to ride down the volcano on a beautiful old path. It takes half a day to descend into the canyon, passing a few villages which may remind you of old photographs of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly! The volcanic pumice and dry soil makes this a really poor area for agriculture and so there are only a few people living here.

You then ride into the paramo (above the treeline but below the harsh mountain tops) and the change in soil and water makes a difference. After crossing several hills you reach a small village called Insilivi which was founded in 1857. You stay in a hostel which was started 16 years ago by a UK entrepreneurial lady but is now Dutch owned.

Accommodations: Insilivi hostel

NB. Please note that the itinerary may run in reverse, with you visiting Insilvi, then Quilotoa, then San Jose, but you will still cross the same landscapes.

Day 9

Riding: 6 hours

Your final day in the region sees you riding along several narrow paths as you ascend to the high Andes paramo, from where you can view the scenery stretching from one valley to another. The colours on the mountain sides make it easy to see where the paramo changes to eroded land and then farmland. Continue your ride until reaching Hacienda La Alegria for a final dinner.

Accommodations: Hacienda La Alegria

Day 10

Riding: No riding.

Transfer back to Quito airport

Accommodation

5 nights spent at Hacienda la Alegria, 1 night at Hacienda Bomboli, 1 night at Hacienda San Jose, 1 night at Quilotoa Hostel and 1 night at Insilivi hostel.

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

Intermediate and above with ability to ride long hours at altitude. The Hacienda caters for children of 12+ to go on trails, please contact us to discuss suitability if you wish to travel with children.

Minimum group size 2
Maximum group size 10
Departure windows

Jan. 11, 2024 - Jan. 20, 2024

March 14, 2024 - March 23, 2024

July 22, 2024 - July 31, 2024

Sept. 5, 2024 - Sept. 14, 2024

Oct. 17, 2024 - Oct. 26, 2024

Pricing

2024
Per person sharing
£2155 $2800 €2560
Included 9 nights accommodation in shared rooms, all meals, with picnic lunches during trails, all drinks with meals, including wine and beer, 8 days of horse riding, with all riding equipment including wool ponchos, rain ponchos, chaps, helmets and saddlebags, bilingual Spanish/English guide and 4x4 support vehicle.
Not included Flights, travel insurance, Quito airport transfers, tips & other personal expenses.

Extras

2024 - Airport Transfer £77 $100 €92
Paid to Far and Ride
Return Quito airport transfers, per vehicle (1-3 pax)
2024 - Single Supplement £116 $150 €137
Paid to Far and Ride
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.

Day 1

Riding: No riding.

Depending on your arrival hour you can meet the horses and have a short ride, followed by dinner at the hacienda.

Accommodation: La Alegria

Day 2

Riding: 4 hours

Ride in the arena and try the horses and a variety of tack so that you can be paired with a suitable horse that you will enjoy. Afterwards ride around the neighbouring Haciendas in the west Andes. Today is designed to help you get acclimatised to the altitude, so you will experience your first ascent and descent but only ride for around 4 hours. Afterwards you will have lunch in the Hacienda, visit the milking barn, the aging cheese cave and enjoy the hot tub.

Accommodation: La Alegria

Day 3

Riding: 6 hours

After breakfast you set out on your first ride, crossing extensive pastures and eucalyptus forests and getting your first spectacular view of the "Avenue of Volcanoes". From here you can appreciate the green and fertile Machachi Valley and view the route you will be taking over the next few days, across the eastern mountain chain.

Ascend along Corazon volcano up to 4000 metres and then descend into the cloud forest. In this now endangered ecosystem you can observe a great biodiversity of plants and flowers, including giant guneras, orchids, and birds. In the afternoon you will ride to Hacienda Bomboli at a height of 3000 metres and relax by the fireplace enjoying the sunset and watching the lights of the villages near the coast while being served a hearty meal.

Accommodation: Hacienda Bomboli

Day 4

Riding: 6 hours

In the morning you will have the chance to walk through the hacienda's gardens to learn about the incredible variety of orchids and cloud forest plants.

You then set out riding up hill, admiring the forest and the hundreds of plants and flowers. You ride along an ancient road which was built in 1873 to connect Quito to the coast, and arrive back at Hacienda LaAlegria in time for a late lunch. In the afternoon you can relax or enjoy the hot tub or fireplace.

Accommodation: Hacienda La Alegria

Day 5

Riding: 8 hours

Today you set off on your trail to the west mountain range, passing through the valley towards Machachi where you can stop at the market (on Sundays).  Re-mount and ride towards Ruminahui volcano and stop at a beautiful hacienda for a snack. Continue riding until you reach the Pedregal valley where you stay overnight in a hacienda at 3,500m.

Accommodation: Pedregal Valley Hacienda (near Cotopaxi National Park)

Day 6

Riding: 6 - 8 hours

Enter the Cotopaxi national park and ride towards Sincholagua volcano, making a large loop downhill and into the valley. After stopping for a snack you continue across an area of different lava flows before ascending up to the north of Cotopaxi and the highest plains on your journey at 4,100m. Here you will experience the highest canter in the world! You ride in close proximity to Berber wild horse herds that live in the park and are descendants of horses brought over by the Spanish in the 16th century. 

Accommodation: Tambopaxi refuge

Day 7

Riding: 5 - 7 hours

Continue riding west and cross the highest point of your ride alongside rocks on the edge of Runinahui volcano at 4,250m. Drop down into the Machachi valley amongst the avenue of volcanoes and ride across the Machachi plaza, passing the town of Aloag and eventually returning to Hacienda La Alegria. A farewell dinner before relaxing in the hot tub and recounting your adventures in the mountains. 

Accommodation: Hacienda La Alegria

Day 8

Riding: No riding.

Transfer back to Quito airport.

Accommodation

4 nights at hacienda la Alegria, 1 night at Hacienda Bomboli, 1 night at Pedregal Valley Hacienda and 1 night in Tambopaxi refuge

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

Intermediate and above with ability to ride long hours at altitude. The Hacienda caters for children of 12+ to go on trails, please contact us to discuss suitability if you wish to travel with children.

Minimum group size 2
Maximum group size 10
Departure windows

Feb. 16, 2024 - Feb. 23, 2024

May 10, 2024 - May 17, 2024

Aug. 16, 2024 - Aug. 23, 2024

Dec. 6, 2024 - Dec. 13, 2024

Pricing

2024
Per person sharing
£1770 $2300 €2105
Included 7 nights accommodation in shared rooms, all meals, with picnic lunches during trails, all drinks with meals, including wine and beer, 6 days of horse riding, with all riding equipment including wool ponchos, rain ponchos, chaps, helmets and saddlebags, bilingual Spanish/English guide and 4x4 support vehicle.
Not included Flights, travel insurance, Quito airport transfers, tips & other personal expenses.

Extras

2024 - Airport Transfer £77 $100 €92
Paid to Far and Ride
Return Quito airport transfers, per vehicle (1-3 pax)
2024 - Single Supplement £116 $150 €137
Paid to Far and Ride
2024 - Small Group Supplement £116 $150 €137
Paid to Far and Ride
Payable to confirm ride for 2 people
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.

Day 1

Riding: No riding.

Arrive in time for dinner and to meet the rest of the group. If you arrive early then you can ride for 2-3 hours for no extra charge. Overnight Hacienda La Alegria

Day 2

Riding: 4 hours

Your first ride will start in the arena so you can start to feel comfortable with your horse and tack. You then head out to ride arund the neighbouring haciendas. This is your first experience of riding at altitude so you only ride for 4 hours to give you time to adjust. Return to the hacienda for lunch. In the afternoon you can visit the milking barn and ageing cheese cave before relaxing in the hot tub.

Day 3

Riding: 6 hours

In the morning you ride west towards Corazon at 4,000m and then descend into the cloud forest. You will ride through 3 different ecosystems - the valley, paramo and cloud forest. Within the cloud forest is a great biodiversity of plants and flowers including giant guneras and orchids, as well as many birds such as the Guan or turkey of the forest. 

In the afternoon you arrive at Hacienda Bomboli (3000m) in time for tea in front of the fire.

Day 4

Riding: 4 hours

In the morning you can take a walk through the hacienda gardens to learn about the orchids and cloud forest plants. You then leave the cloud forest behind you and ride along the old road which connected Quito with the coast from 1873 until 1960. Cross extensive pastures and eucalyptus forests until reaching Hacienda Alegria again in time for lunch. If you've not been happy with your first horse then you will be able to change mounts for the rest of the route.

Day 5

Riding: 8 hours

After breakfast, set off for your first long journey on horseback, riding through the valley towards Machachi. On Sundays its possible to stop at Machachi market before continuing to Ruminahui volcano where you stop for a snack. Continue riding to the Pedregal Valley to overnight at a hacienda at 3500m on the border of Cotopaxi national park.

Day 6

Riding: 6 - 7 hours

Enter Cotopaxi national park and ride towards Sincholagua volcano before making a large loop downhill to the valley. After a snack you ride across different lava flows to ascend north of Cotopaxi to 4100m - across these plains you can enjoy the highest canter in the world. If you're lucky you'll spot herds of berber wild horses that live in the park and are the descendants of the horses brought by the Spanish in the 16th century. Overnight at Tambopaxi refuge.

Day 7

Riding: 5 - 6 hours

Continue your ride west passing the highest point of your journey (4250m) on the edge of Ruminahui volcano and drop down towards the green Machachi valley surrounded by the Avenue of Volcanoes. Cross the Machachi plaza where horseman are always welcomed, pass through the town of Aloag and return to Hacienda La Alegria for dinner and a rest in the hot tub.

Day 8

Riding: 5 hours

Your day starts with a one hour car journey south of the hacienda to meet your horses. Today you will ride along an old Inca trail comprised of dirt roads and paths leading to Isinlivi. From here you can admire the scenery from one valley to the other - the colours and mountains show the changes from "paramo" to an eroded landscape full of patches of colour. In the distance you can see the eastern mountain chain. Ride through several hills to arrive at the small village of Isinlivi which was founded in 1857. Here you stay at a lodge owned by a Dutch couple.

Day 9

Riding: 5 hours

Start your day by leading the horses to a viewpoint of the canyon which was formed by several eruptions of Quiilotoa. You then start riding up hill to reach the Quilotoa Crater lake. Cross a few villages and paths to discover the same agriculture as hundreds of years ago such as lupins, potatoes, quinoa and barley. Volcanic pumice and dry soil hinders agriculture so only a few people live in this region.

Your lodge is situated at the edge of Quilotoa crater lake - the 3km wide caldera was formed by a collapse of the volcano after is last eruptions 1280 years ago. The colour of the water changes with the light.

Day 10

Riding: 7 hours

A long day in the saddle as to ride to Sigchos, the village that was known as the last home of the Inca general Ruminahui. After breakfast you head north by the ridge of Quilotoa crater lake and follow high trails north-west. You'll find some small dairy farms and artisanal cheese makers where you can stop for samples - your hosts may buy some to mature in their own cheese caves.

In the afternoon you'll arrive at Hacienda San Jose, a working dairy farm and guesthouse. The horses will have lush fields of grass and you can relax with a jacuzzi or sauna before dinner.

Day 11

Riding: 6 hours

Your final day of riding takes you through dramatic landscapes including steep ravines. You'll ride at 4000m and cross several mountain chains with forests, rocky peaks and eroded landscapes. Stop for a blueberry wine tasting at a small operation in the mountains before reaching the sacred Wingopana Rock to end your ride. You'll then be transferred back to the hacienda for a farewell dinner and overnight.

Day 12

Riding: No riding.

After breakfast you are transferred to the airport for your flight home or onward travel.

Accommodation

11 nights in haciendas and guesthouses/hostels

Experience Experienced

Experienced and physically fit riders only. There are some long days of 7 hours in the saddle. Riding at high altitude and over mountainous terrain.

Minimum group size 2
Maximum group size 8
Accommodation for up to 10.
Departure windows

June 3, 2024 - June 14, 2024

Nov. 5, 2024 - Nov. 16, 2024

Pricing

2024
Sharing
£2695 $3500 €3200
Included 11 nights accommodation in shared rooms, all meals, with picnic lunches during trails; all drinks with meals, including wine and beer, 10 days of horse riding, with all riding equipment including wool ponchos, rain ponchos, chaps, helmets and saddlebags, bilingual Spanish/English guide and 4x4 support vehicle.
Not included Flights, travel insurance, airport transfers, tips & other personal expenses.

Extras

2024 - Airport Transfer £77 $100 €92
Paid to Far and Ride
Return Quito airport/city transfers, per vehicle (1-3 pax).
2024 - Single Supplement £154 $200 €183
Paid to Far and Ride
2024 - Small Group Supplement £230 $300 €270
Paid to Far and Ride
To confirm for two riders
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.

Day 1 - Arrival

Riding: No riding.

Depending on your arrival hour you can meet the horses and possibly have a short ride, followed by dinner at the hacienda.

On your first ride you will start in the arena so you can ride under surveillance from your guide. Once everyone is comfortable, happy and in control, then you will head out onto the trails. This initial arena-based ride allows you to switch horses if you aren't happy or adjust your saddle/equipment if needed.

Day 2 - The Valley and Surroundings

Riding: 2 - 3 hours

There are many rides and routes on offer depending on your experience and fitness level. If this is your first stop in the high Andes, then we recommend taking it gently to start with so that your body can adjust to the altitude. The following itinerary is a sample and the order/selection of rides offered may vary but always with your best interests at heart.

This ride is through the valley of Gualilahua Aloag, following historical paths and old railroads. Admire the nearby volcanoes of Viudita, Atacazo and Pasochoa. Max height 2900m.

Day 3 - Miraflores or Trout Fishing

Riding: 3 hours

Today's ride for more experienced riders offers opportunities to canter as you ascend Miraflores hill to admire the valley of nine volcanoes. Max height 3200m.

Alternatively, you could ride for 1.5 hours to some trout pools on a neighbouring hacienda where you can enjoy some fishing before returning home with your catch.

Day 4 - Widow Farm or Widow Mountain

Riding: 2 - 5 hours

The ride to Widow Farm is an entertaining route which takes you through two different ecosystems to the base of Viudita volcano. The view is spectacular and allows you to recognise the valley of the nine volcanoes. Max height 3200m and duration 2-3 hours.

Alternatively, for fitter riders, you can ascend to 3600m to observe the Machachi valley, ride around Widow mountain and descend into the valley below. Follow a narrow path through the paramo which suddenly changes to bamboo forest where you can see forest turkeys and other birds. Enjoy views of the cloud forest, nine volcanoes and the city of Quito in the distance. This route is subject to weather conditions and takes c. 5 hours.

Day 5 - Lagchig and the Black Lagoon

Riding: 5 hours

Cross the Lagchig gorge which is the start of the 100 year old canal to the hacienda. Observe different landscapes and ecosystems including ravines, gorges, waterfalls and forests. Max height 3200m

Day 6 - Corazon and Pucara

Riding: 3 - 4 hours

Two different routes to choose from today.

Option one takes you through a large eucalyptus forest before reaching large cultivated areas where you can canter through oats and pasture before reaching Aichapicho Pucara. A mound of earth in the middle of the plain suggests it is handmade, along with a stone wall using rocks brought from a river more than 10km away. You can also view treasure hunters excavations called huacas. Along with other Pucaras and the volcanoes on the eastern mountains you will start to understand the strategy and logistics of the Incas to control the Andes. Max height 3400m. Riding time 3 hours.

Alternatively, take a route which allows you to canter across wide grasslands with beautiful views of the volcanoes. Harvest the fruit of the green cactus as you descend and then start the process of making capers after you arrive. Ride through the streets of Aloag village where the locals will greet you as you pass. Max height 3400m. Riding time 4 hours.

Day 7 - Corazon and Paramo or Cloud Forest

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

Riding through the Paramo is a unique experience. This immense ecosystem comprises the vegetation that surrounds volcanoes and mountains over 3400m and the grass (paja) grows so dense that it can be difficult for the horses to make a path. You'll also see small groves of native plants such as Pumamaqui and orchids that grow in the proximity of the cloud forest. Max height 3600.

Alternatively, experience the magical cloud forest on this ride of a lifetime. Ride on secondary roads and trails full of vegetation which gives the impression you have gone back in time. Reach a different estancia and view their orchid garden after lunch and then return to La Alegria by vehicle. Max height 3300m

Day 8 - Departure

Riding: No riding.

Depart after breakfast

Accommodation

Each night is spent at the comfortable hacienda.

Experience Beginner / Intermediate / Experienced

All abilities can be accommodated.

Minimum group size 1
Maximum group size 15
Accommodation for up to 28.
Departure windows

At any time during: Jan. 1, 2024 - Dec. 31, 2024  (Flexible arrivals/departures with min 3 night stay)

Pricing

2024
Adult sharing per night
£230 $300 €270 per night
Included Accommodation in shared rooms, all meals, all drinks with meals, including wine and beer, horse riding with all riding equipment including wool ponchos, rain ponchos, chaps, helmets and saddlebags, bilingual Spanish/English guide.
Not included Flights, travel insurance, Quito airport transfers, tips & other personal expenses.

Extras

2024 - Airport Transfer £77 $100 €92
Paid to Far and Ride
Return Quito airport transfers, per vehicle (1-3 pax)
2024 - Single Supplement £139 $180 €165 per night
Paid to Far and Ride
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.