Secrets of the Andes Ride

Highlands Riding Tours Ecuador: (IT-ECRT01B)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/ecuador_secrets_of_the_andes_ride.aspx

Introduction
Highlands Riding Tours Ecuador
This trip will take you through the very heart of the Western Andes and their unbroken beauty. It compiles the highlights in and around Pululahua National Park, unfolding the mysteries of these dramatic mountains piece by piece and the stories they hold. Enjoy an incredible variety of Andean landscapes within a relatively small geographical area - jungles and deserts, hot valleys and cool windy heights, volcanoes and pristine streams, culture land and tropical wilderness - combined with fascinating in-looks into Ecuador's natural and social history.

Accomodation

Accommodations
This is a progressive ride, so nights are spent in different locations.

Description
We always have several options for the accommodations at each night, depending which host is available. Accommodations are usually basic, but cozy, located in remote areas. Most overnight places are privately-owned, and therefore, they have their own charm. Not one place is similar to the next. Bathrooms are shared on most nights but sometimes there are private bathrooms available. Hot water is not always guaranteed. Wi-Fi is only available in Quito and at the ranch (in the crater).

Night 1: Hotel or B&B in Quito
Nights 2 & 3: Cozy country-hotel in Pululahua
Night 4: Farmhouse in Aguacatal
Nights 5 & 6: Cozy country-hotel in Pululahua
Night 7: Yunguilla
Night 8: Guesthouse in Pelagallo
Night 9: Cozy country-hotel in Pululahua

Wi-Fi Internet access is only available at the ranch, in Pululahua crater.
Laundry services are usually available.

Room Occupancy
Single supplement is not mandatory if we cannot find another rider to share your room.


Meals
All meals are included except for dinner on day 9 and lunch and dinner on day 1 and 10.

Alcoholic drinks are not included in this trip but guests are welcome to bring their own if they wish.

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater to most dietary restrictions with prior notice.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding

Riding Ability
We ride through varying terrain; some parts quite steep and open ground.  Enjoyment from these rides can be increased if you are physically fit and your riding muscles toned. Clients always have the choice to take the accompanying vehicle instead of riding.
With the help of guides and volunteers, we can also split the group into homogeneous parts if necessary.

Horses
We keep a group of 21 horses: creole horses and several other cross-breads (as American Pinto, Andalusian, Anglo-Arab, Paso Fino, Polo Horse). All our horses are very well trained, sure-footed and forward going. Some have a gait. Horse size ranges from 1,40m to 1,68m heights (about 13 to 16 hands).
According to the booking information that you will send to us, we plan the best match of horse and rider.

Guides
Guests are accompanied by a guide that speaks English/Spanish/French and German and one local groom. The guides and grooms have excellent local knowledge of the highlands of Ecuador and are expert riders. Professional guides speaking other languages are available on prior request.

Non-Riders
Non-riders are welcome to join this trip and follow the riders by hiking or eventually by car.

Itinerary

Sample Itinerary- Subject to changes

Day 1: Arrival
Today you will arrive into Quito and acclimatize to the altitude changes. Catch up to the time differences at your B&B; or go explore Quito.

Day 2: Pululahua crater
We will pick you up at noon from your hotel or central meeting point at 12:30. From there, we will drive you towards the western cordillera in the direction of the Pacific cloud forest on the slopes of the Pululahua volcano.
Scenery and micro-climate changes around each major road-turn, and you get an impression of what variety awaits you on our ride. Along the way, we'll have lunch and make a stop at the Equator museum Intiñan 15-km north from Quito with information on the ancient cultures that have determined the equator line more than thousand years ago.
In the late afternoon, we will start this adventure with one of our very special dusk and night rides through the Pululahua crater, which will allow you to capture and appreciate the magical spirit of this unique geographical area. As our path slowly winds into darkness and dense mists, fireflies start lighting the sky, like stardust falling down on us. With your senses sharpened by dark, this ride will be a completely different experience as you build up a deep trust between you and your horse.
We’ll deliver you straight from the saddle to the dinner table of your cozy country-hotel where you will sleep tonight.
Riding Time: ~3 hours

Day 3: Pululahua
You will wake up to the enchanting surrounding and enjoy breakfast amongst busy rushing hummingbirds in the cottage garden of your ecological hostel.
You'll take another ride through the stunning landscape of this ancient volcanic crater, this time at day-light, which will show its constantly changing sceneries and huge biodiversity.
Pululahua is known to be the biggest crater on the whole American continent and one of only two inhabited craters in the world. While circling the central lava cone, we witness volcanic history and nature, interesting geological formations, mineral avalanches blooming with wild orchids and traditional Andean agriculture. Enjoy an outdoor Jacuzzi under stars after dinner if your muscles should request it!
Riding Time: ~4 hours

Day 4: Valley of the Rio Blanco
We’ll be leaving the volcano along cloud-forest covered mountain slopes, passing by deep gorges, carved by lava streams thousands of years ago. Through the narrow passage of the Rio Blanco canyon, we finally reach the valley of the Rio Guayllabamba, a sacred valley for pre-Hispanic cultures, with its warm and tropical climate, where we shall find coffee trees, fields of sugar cane and a lot of tropical fruits. Legendary historical sites can be observed along the way. When the afternoon light breaks through the clouds over the pre-Inca-fortress Portalanza in the distance, this mountain-valley looks most certainly like taken from a fairy tale. "Aguacatal" is the name of the very remote (no electricity!) and beautiful farm that offers us beds for tonight in cozy wooden cabañas. Ice-cold Caipiriñha, hot solar shower and delicious evening meal should make you happy. Alternative stay in ancient Jesuit Hacienda Niebli de la Compañia.
Riding Time: ~5 hours

Day 5: Guayllabamba River Valley
In the morning, we'll enjoy the pleasant climate of this end-of-the world place, as much as the opulent breakfast that our host has prepared for us.
Today's ride leads us along and above the dramatically beautiful Guayllabamba river valley, combining steep adventurous climbs through dense vegetation with gallop stretches on mountain ridges AND wide open views.  We'll be overlooking the steep and winding gorges, a smaller version of the Grand Canyon. This valley has been settled long before the arrival of the Incas by cultures who were farming the land, building temples for their gods, and calculating the exact position of the equator line. We shall encounter some of their testimonies on our ride while overlooking grave hillocks, terrace hills, and 1300 year-old stone carvings.
We will be zigzagging through dense forests and bush-land, which sometimes requires the help of a machete, climbing steep slopes,  and crossing pristine water streams. We will wind through ancient paths, nearly forgotten nowadays and used only by the very few farmers still living out here, to make our way back into the volcano.
Riding Time: ~4.5 hours

Day 6: Portalanza
More open views to expect! Today, we’ll be taking an even closer look on the pre-Inca hill Portalanza that we’ve seen from across the canyon yesterday. Along flower fields for exportation (sugar cane, banana and pineapple plants), we approach the narrow ridge between Rio Blanco and Rio Tanache, which we will follow down to the plains. Where once stood a Quitu-Cara village, today reveals only swaying grass in the wind.
The view is truly breath-taking. We’ll enjoy our lunch to the sound of the crickets while viewing vultures and hawks sailing above us. We'll return through the dense jungle mountain forest through house-high elephant grass. Then back to our little hostel and well-deserved freedom for our horses and Jacuzzi for us if desired.
Riding Time: ~6 hours

Day 7: Yungilla
Forests of bamboo are marking our picturesque trail up the mountain while climbing gently but continually in order to leave the crater to the west. A pleasant and rather easy ride in comparison to the dramatic slopes we conquered so far offer our legs a bit of a rest. In the remoteness, we only come across a few small farmhouses where the highland farmers scratch a meager income from the steep, infertile land beside the forest.
The higher we climb, the more the cloud-forest covered mountains and valleys we leave behind. The view unfolds below us from a bird's perspective. An ecofriendly cottage or family stay awaits us in the mountain village Yungilla, which is dedicated to a self- sustaining community-tourism project for many years. There is a lot to learn about sustainable development for those interested.
Riding Time: ~4.5 hours

Day 8: Toucan
Want to check out how villagers produce their own cheese and marmalade? We're happy to invite you for a little tour.
Back on our horses once again, we go hunting for traces of lively Ecuadorian history. After a scenic ride along the ridge, we dive into the north-western cloud forests and the land of the Toucan.
An ancient smuggler’s path, where cane- schnapps was transported on mules from the coast to the highlands during the time of the prohibition, leads through narrow hollow earth tunnels within thick jungle. We emerge on the other side to more spectacular high Andean view-points, if the afternoon clouds still allow the view!
Accommodation in the private guest house of Marcelo and Maritza at Pelagallo, which sits alone on the ridge.
Riding Time: ~4 hours

Day 9: Back to the Ranch
Relaxed return ride to the ranch, while overlooking the places we went before from up high. A gentle day with time to let impressions sink while riding.
Farewell drink and return drive to Quito. Arrival in town around 5pm.
Riding Time: ~4.5 hours

Day 10: Departure
Transfer to the airport or hotel in Quito.


Optional Bellavista Extension
Instead of driving you back to Quito on Day 9, we'll take you further into the magic of the cloud forest by car to end this Andean riding experience with some special time to take it all in again.
We'll be welcomed into a unique lodge with hot showers and delicious, wholesome food. The bamboo-built, rounded “dome house”, allows a 360-degree few on the vivid bird- and plant-life around us: The place is surrounded by hundreds of colorful hummingbirds, toucans, and bright blue shining jays. From the balcony of our shared room, we can enjoy a breathtaking view far over the cloud forestland to listen to the sounds of exotic birds before the mist races in. Over night in Bellavista.

Day 10
After a hearty breakfast, a tour of Bellavista reserve is open to whoever wishes. Self- guided maps help you to design your adventure through this Andean jungle. We have plenty of time to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and the variety of plant- and bird-life before lunch. Transport back to Quito, leaving Bellavista at 3pm. You'll stay at a B&B; overnight.

Day 11
Transferred to the airport after breakfast.


Rates and Dates for Secrets of the Andes Ride

Rates include:

Accommodations (9 nights) in small inns, lodges, farms, most meals, transfers, non-alcoholic beverages, horses, equipment, multi-lingual guides, entrance fees and 8 riding days.

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescription US$
    A
    202010 day trip, AP$1930

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionUS$
2020 1 day Bellavista extension $250
2020 Single supplement $270
2020 Transfer from/to Quito airport or hotel included $0

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2020 01/11 - 01/20 10d / 9n 10 day trip, AP 2 /8 Reserve

Dates Note:

Custom dates available for 2+ riders.

Rates do not include:

Extra drinks, insurance and gratuities, dinner on day 9, lunch and dinner on days 1 and 10.
Clients help in cleaning the horses Most overnight places are private, not hotels, and therefor differently designed. Not one place is similar to the next. Rather basic accommodations, but very interesting and unique. Most nights shared bathrooms, some private.

Other Info
Meeting: Quito
Airport: Quito
Transfer: Quito

Climate:
                                            Calacalí area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

67

67

67

67

67

68

68

69

69

68

68

67

Average Low Temperature (°F)

50

50

50

50

50

49

48

49

48

49

49

49

Average High Temperature (°C)

20

19

19

19

20

20

20

20

21

20

20

19

Average Low Temperature (°C)

10

10

10

10

10

9

9

9

9

9

9

10

Source: NOAA


Seasons
A national weather forecast does not exist, as the weather in the Andes is extremely local and fast changing, and really not predictable. The weather in the crater is also very different from the weather in Quito.

Very roughly, rainy season runs from November to April/May, dry season from June to October, but it can always rain in the dry season and be totally dry for weeks in the rain season.

If sunny, the sun is very strong and intense. If raining, it typically rains in the afternoon when we're finished or nearly finished with the ride. The rainy season is especially nice, as the landscape then is green, lush, and everything on flower.

What To Bring:
We will be crossing different climate zones and the temperature on the Equator drops steeply at sundown. There can be a temperature variation between 5 and 30 degrees Celsius. Both light and warm clothes are therefore a must. The best equipped is to wear light, long-sleeved tops during the day (these provide protection from sun, thorns and insect bites, too). A sweatshirt, pullover or fleece jacket are required for the cooler parts.

Furthermore, you should bring a jacket (Gore- Tex or similar), rain gear, a hat with brim and solid shoes/boots with a good grip. Wellington boots are better suited to the short marches on foot than proper riding boots, plus protect your legs from the rubbing of the stirrups.

Don't forget your insect repellent, sun-cream, sunglasses, camera, and small water bottle.

We recommend you to pack a small towel, evtl. swimsuit, flip-flop shoes, bandana, personal medicine and torch/flash-light. Change of clothes, several change of dry socks, and warm clothes for the evenings. For your personal belongings during the ride, we recommend you to bring a fanny-pack or bum-bag. The luggage that travels with us in the car should be stored in soft bags.

Note: ItÂ’ is not mandatory in Ecuador but we always recommend to ride with a helmet. We have some at your disposition. If you wish to use one, it is best nevertheless to bring your own for better fit.

The following lists are items recommended for each ride; these lists are not exhaustive and are only meant as a guideline

 

Travel documents and Voucher
Flight tickets
Passport
Visa (check with your consulate)

 

RIDING GEAR
Riding chaps
Thin long johns/ stockings are useful under trousers
Change of trousers
Strong boots
Riding helmet  (recommended for all trips)
Riding gloves
Wide brimmed hat (Stetson style, available in Quito)
Long sleeved cotton shirts
Warm, waterproof jacket (suitable for cold evening temperatures)
Bandana to protect mouth and nose from dust on the desert parts

 

PERSONAL CLOTHING
Evening wear (trousers, shirt and sweater for the hotels)
Trainers or canvas shoes
Hiking/riding boots with a good grip for walking sections
Swim suit for baths in the river and under the waterfalls
Small towel
Flip-flop shoes for the waterfalls and bath rooms

Thick socks

Thick jumper (there are beautiful examples all over Ecuador for you to purchase)
 
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO BRING
Personal Toiletries
Insect protection
Personal medications
Sore cream (for an emergency)
Sewing kit
Camera and extra film or batteries
Belly or Fanny pack
Sun glasses with strap
Sun tan lotion and lip balm 
Flashlight