Horse riding options in South America are as wild and varied as the countries themselves.
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The Andes mountains stretch almost the full length of the continent and many of the rides incorporate the mountains in some form. Glorious landscapes are guaranteed, as are fabulous horses, courtesy of the Spanish Conquistadors who brought horses over with them from Europe, and these bred with the local breeds and created the Criollo for which the continent is famed.
Horses are an integral part of South American culture, from the gauchos of Argentina to the baqueanos of Chile and vaqueros of Brazil.
Estancia stays are hugely popular as riding holidays, catering for all abilities and offering a similar experience as a ranch stay in North America. Under-stated luxury, world class horses, cattle work and often even a little Polo thrown in for good measure.
Argentina is world-renowned for the quality of its Polo players and where better to learn or improve your skills than on a dedicated Polo holiday near Buenos Aires.
Both Argentina and Chile offer some stunning trail rides through remote landscapes where you’ll rarely see another soul. Pack horses carry your belongings and the accommodation will be rustic and/or camping depending on the riding trail itinerary chosen. These horseback trails are available from the dry far North such as Atacama desert in Chile or Salta in Argentina, down to the remote south of Patagonia, with riding in Torres del Paine national park or on the incredible Tierra del Fuego - the very bottom of the world.
For those who prefer a more comfortable bed after a day of riding, there are also horseback trails journeying from estancia to estancia in both Chile and Argentina, as well as further north in Uruguay, Peru and Ecuador.
Both Peru and Ecuador offer spectacular mountain settings for riders who love to ride high. The glorious avenue of volcanoes in Ecuador has to be seen to be believed and there are different itineraries depending on whether you dream of riding to Cotopaxi volcano, or of venturing off the beaten track into the wild Andes. Peru has the added value of its Inca heritage and riding through the sacred valley, culminating with a visit to Machu Picchu is a dream for many.
The vastness of Brazil also offers a wide variety of riding trails within one country, from glorious beach rides, to exotic jungle rides and the incredible Pantanal where horseback riders can discover the extraordinary wetlands and wildlife of this fascinating region.
In the far north of South America, there are riding trails exploring the Latin American flavour and coffee culture of Colombia as well as ranches both inland and along the coast of Costa Rica, famed for it’s wealth of wildlife. For lovers of beach rides, there’s also the stunning island of Dominican Republic where you can explore inland trails as well as the glorious beaches.
Whatever your horse riding dream, South America has a holiday to help you live it.