Volcano Cotopaxi Adventure

Highlands Riding Tours Ecuador: (IT-ECRT12)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/Ecuador_Volcano_and_Cotopaxi.aspx

Introduction
Highlands Riding Tours Ecuador
Come explore 'The Volcano Avenue': a region surrounded by eleven volcanoes!

Uniquely, the only form of transportation during your trip will be your horse. They will be your partner throughout this adventure.  We will thoroughly explore and experience the grandeur of the Andes from the west to the east mountain chain, marveling at the diversity of flora, fauna, and landscape. And, of course, you will have the opportunity to admire the majestic Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano on earth.

Indeed, you will come to appreciate the tradition and customs of the  chagras’ abilities.  In their goat-skin chaps and woolen ponchos, they welcome tourists and demonstrate their centuries-old tradition of herding cattle. The chagras’ skill on horseback and knowledge of the landscape legendary. We will ride through the Andean paramo, an ecosystem which encompasses a vast expanse of 12,500 square kilometers. We follow rolling hills of high-altitude grassland dotted with little flowers that have adapted furry leaves to protect themselves from the cold, and ravines that create micro-climates that sprout a surprising variety of life. It is a wondrous place for both new and experienced visitors.

After we have prepared for the main part of the ride, we shall start towards the mighty Cotopaxi. We will visit the colourful animal and produce market of Machachi on our way where you can enjoy the unique beauty of an Andean market as well as have the opportunity to buy any handicraft or leather-work you find interesting. We will then continue our trip to Cotopaxi, the tallest active volcano in the world (5,987m). As we ride through the Andes Mountains, you will experience a diversity of geographical landscapes and climates. Be prepared for a period of intense  equatorial sun followed by chilly Andes’ wind—all within the space of a few hours.  The locals say that the highlands experience all four seasons within the same day.

With our sturdy and well-trained horses, we climb to altitudes exceeding 12,000 feet (4,200m) and ride down to hidden valleys, where we are able to experience the exhilaration of full gallops at high altitudes.  It is in these valleys of Machachi where men, shaped by the land together with their horses, have tamed the wild bulls and produced the culture of the paramo, a world apart. Long after our return and the end of our journey, our memories of this rugged but beautiful world will linger as a life-time ride.

Accomodation

Accommodations
This is a progressive ride, so night will be spent in different locations.

Description
The ranches along the way are usually basic, but all authentic and comfortable. There are 2 people per room with private showers.

Volcano Cotopaxi Adventure Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Night 1 & 2: Hacienda La Alegria
Night 3: Hacienda Bomboli
Night 4: Hacienda La Alegria
Night 5: Hacienda in Pedregal Valley
Night 6: Tambopaxi Refuge in El Boliche
Night 7: Hacienda La Alegria

Chagras Parade Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Night 1 - 4: Hacienda La Alegria
Night 5: Hacienda Bomboli
Night 6: Hacienda La Alegria
Night 7: Hacienda in Pedregal Valley
Night 8: Tambopaxi Refuge in El Boliche
Night 9: Hacienda La Alegria

Hacienda La Alegria
The Hacienda was built in 1910 in Franco Italian Style and has been renovated and restored. It is made out of adobe and stones and its walls are over 80 cm thick! It is nestled amidst lush surroundings in the typical fertile and green farmland of the Ecuadorian inter Andean plain at an altitude of 2880m (9449 ft).
The Hacienda is a family-run organic farm and the hospitality of the Espinosa household is remarked upon by visors who return year after year. You will be welcomed with a roaring log fire in the sitting room, and in your bedroom when the nights are cold.
The farm can accommodate up to 24 people both in the farmhouse and a recently completed extension. The extension has been tastefully restored with solid cypress floors and beams and modern en-suite bathrooms with plenty of hot water and powerful showers. Split-level family rooms sleep five comfortably. Wi-fi internet is available at this property.

Hacienda Bomboli
This property offers basic accommodation for up to 16 guests. It is set in a beautiful rainforest and each room has its own bathroom with hot water. Due to its remote location, cell phone service is very limited and there is no electricity. The house is kept warm and lit with fireplaces and candles and your hosts even puts a warm water bottle in your bed before you go to sleep.

Tambopaxi Refuge in El Boliche
This mountain lodge has adopted the traditional architecture style of the paramo houses in order to reduce its impact on the environment.
There is a main cabin with 4 bedrooms (total of 32 beds) and shared bathrooms plus an independent upgraded cabin with 6 bedrooms, each with its own bathroom. Each room has its own heating systems, permanent hot water and good insulation systems allowing you to enjoy a warm, comfortable atmosphere while you rest under a soft, fluffy eiderdown.

Room Occupancy
Single supplement is mandatory is we cannot find another rider to share.


Meals
All meals are included.

Meals are featuring delicious, gourmet international, and Ecuadorian food. You will never go hungry with 3-4 courses offered per meal. Soups are a specialty in the highlands that we will use to warm our bodies after a good ride. Main courses can be chicken, pork, beef, trout, tilapia, pasta and more. Don't forget to save room for dessert!

This trip includes some wine/ beer with dinner.

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

This trip includes some wine with dinner and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding

Horses

Our horses are very important to us. We have more than 35 riding-horses as well as about 30 mares and foals. Most have been bred here 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.
We are happy to follow the Natural Horsemanship principles when training our horses.

Tack
There is a range of tack including North American style, English style, McClellan cavalry, Chilean and traditional Ecuadorian "Chagra" style with its intricate leatherwork and saddle horn.

Host
Your host Gabriel comes from a family steeped in equestrian tradition. His grandfather bred racing horses close to Quito and his father, was a keen polo player.
Gabriel and Paty's three daughters are all keen riders, and the enthusiasm of the whole family is reflected in the quality of the horses at the farm. We are proud to share that Gabriel was recently nominated as MAESTRO GUIA ECUESTRE -- there are currently only 3 in the world with this title.

Itinerary

Sample Itinerary: Volcano Cotopaxi Adventure - subject to changes

Day 1: Arrival
Arrive to the Hacienda early morning (around 9:30am) if you would like the option to ride for 2 or 3 hours.
Riding: 2-3 hours
Meals included: Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hacienda La Alegria


Day 2: Acclimatize
Ride in the arena and get acquainted with the horses and tack that we will use during the ride.  We then ride around the neighboring Haciendas. Our first experiences at altitude starts this first day. Lunch in the Hacienda house, visit the milking barn and aging cheese cave, and enjoy the hot tub and fireplace.
Riding: 4 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hacienda La Alegria   


Day 3: Cloud Forest
Crossing extensive pastures and eucalyptus forests, we will have a nice view of the “Volcano Avenue”. From there, we can appreciate the green and fertile Machachi Valley and we can also see the routes we will take the next day at the east mountain chain. We will ascend the Corazon Volcano up to 4,000 meters and descend through the Cloud forest reserve. At the cloud forest, we will be able to observe a great biodiversity of plants and flowers including giant guneras, orchids, and birds such as the turkey of the forest. In the afternoon we will arrive to Hacienda Bomboli at 3,000m by teatime. Time to put up your feet and relax by the fireplace as you watch the sunset and the lights of the villages near the coast. We enjoy a great meal by our hosts.
Riding: 6 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hacienda Bomboli 


Day 4: Hacienda La Alegria
In the morning, we will walk around Hacienda gardens to learn about orchids and cloud forest plants. We will ride up hill using an old road built in 1873 to connect Quito with the coast, all the while admiring the forest and the hundreds of flowers and plants. Arrive to Hacienda La Alegria for lunch, relax, and enjoy the hot tub and the fireplace. 
Riding: 4 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hacienda La Alegria 


Day 5: Ruminahui Volcano
We ride to the west mountain range and through the valley toward Machachi. We stop at the Machachi market on Sundays. We continue toward the Ruminahui and stop at a beautiful Hacienda for a snack. Afterwards, we keep riding until we arrive to the Pedregal valley and stay overnight in a Hacienda at 3,500 meters.
Riding: 8 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hacienda at Pedregal Valley (near Cotopaxi National Park)


Day 6: The Park
We enter the Cotopaxi National Park and ride towards the Sincholagua volcano, making a large loop downhill to the valley. After a break and a snack, we continue crossing the different lava flows to ascend up to 4,100m to the highest plains of Cotopaxi, where we complete the highest canter in the world. We ride in close proximity to berber wild horse herds that live in the park who are descendants of the horses brought by the Spanish in the 16th century.
Riding: 6+ hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Tambopaxi refuge


Day 7: Ride Back to La Alegria
Today we ride west towards Ruminahui to the highest point of our ride (4,250 m) on the edges of the rocks of the Ruminahui Volcano. We continue our ride toward the green Machachi valley as always guarded by the volcanoes avenue. We cross the Machachi plaza where horsemen are always welcomed. We pass the town of Aloag and arrive to Hacienda La Alegria for a pleasant dinner and to enjoy the hot tub and rest with the memories of the long journeys in the mountains.
Riding: 5+ hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hacienda La Alegria

Day 8: Departure
After breakfast we finish our services. Transfers to the airport or your hotel in Quito.
Meals included: Breakfast

----------------

Sample Itinerary: Chagra Parade - subject to changes

This ride is offered once a
 year in July when the town of 
Machachi has its annual Parade.
 It is a 9-day ride which combines the Volcano Cotopaxi Adventure ride program,
 and includes two extra days at the Chagra Parade (lasso contest and bullfight festivity).
This Parade is a commemoration of Cotopaxi`s last eruption and about 2000 Chagras (local cowboy) participate with their horse. This ride is specifically designed for those looking for a cultural immersion and adventure. Chagras (local cowboys) come from different provinces just to be part of this parade and spectators come from all over the country. We will be part of the annual Chagra Parade where riders will understand the importance of the Chagra not only in Machachi, but in Ecuador as well.
On the following days, we will head towards the cloud forest. As we ride through the narrow cloud forest paths we will be surrounded by unique plant and animal species, very different from the ones you will be seeing the next days in the high mountains. One can’t help but be amazed by the sheer new environment. We will then ride to Cotopaxi volcano and gallop on the plains at 40000m elevation- The highest canter in the word.

Day 1: Arrival
Arrive to the Hacienda early morning (around 9:30am) if you would like the option to ride for 2 or 3 hours.
Riding: 2-3 hours
Meals included: Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hacienda La Alegria


Day 2: Hacienda La Alegria
Today we ride towards the west through the dairy farms and up to 3500m, working on acclimatizing to the altitude. We continue behind the Viudita mountain (3800m), make a circle to the mountain, and head back to the Hacienda for a late lunch. In the evening, we visit  Machachi where you will find lots of options to buy ponchos, hats, and all customs for next day parade.
Riding: 4 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hacienda La Alegria            


Day 3: Chagra’s Parade
Today we will ride to Machachi (the capital of the Chagras) to honor the Chagras and their culture. You will be part of the Parade that consists of 2 thousand horses in the streets of Machachi. The food, the music,  and the colorful dresses and decoration makes the environment very festive. There are hundreds of Chagras dressed with their attire and showing off their horses.
Riding 5 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hacienda La Alegria            

Day 4: Lasso Contest and Bullfight
After breakfast you will have the opportunity to attend the Machachi Lasso Contest in the morning and in the afternoon, as an option, you can take a look at the bullfighting festivity that are more like San Fermin in Pamplona.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hacienda La Alegria  

Day 5: Cloud Forest
Crossing extensive pastures and eucalyptus forests, we will have a nice view of the “Volcano Avenue”. From there, we can appreciate the green and fertile Machachi Valley and we can also see the routes we will take the next day at the east mountain chain. We will ascend the Corazon Volcano up to 4,000 meters and descend through the Cloud forest reserve. At the cloud forest, we will be able to observe a great biodiversity of plants and flowers including giant guneras, orchids, and birds such as the turkey of the forest. In the afternoon we will arrive to Hacienda Bomboli at 3,000m by teatime. Time to put up your feet and relax by the fireplace as you watch the sunset and the lights of the villages near the coast. We enjoy a great meal by our hosts.
Riding 6 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hacienda Bomboli 

Day 6: Hacienda La Alegria
In the morning, we will walk around Hacienda gardens to learn about orchids and cloud forest plants. We will ride up hill using an old road built in 1873 to connect Quito with the coast, all the while admiring the forest and the hundreds of flowers and plants. Arrive to Hacienda La Alegria for lunch, relax, and enjoy the hot tub and the fireplace. 
Riding: 4 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at 
Hacienda La Alegria 


Day 7: Ruminahui Volcano
We ride to the west mountain range and through the valley toward Machachi. We stop at the Machachi market on Sundays. We continue toward the Ruminahui and stop at a beautiful Hacienda for a snack. Afterwards, we keep riding until we arrive to the Pedregal valley and stay overnight in a Hacienda at 3,500 meters.
Riding: 8 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hacienda at Pedregal Valley (near Cotopaxi National Park)

Day 8: The Park
We enter the Cotopaxi National Park and ride towards the Sincholagua volcano, making a large loop downhill to the valley. After a break and a snack, we continue crossing the different lava flows to ascend up to 4,100m to the highest plains of Cotopaxi, where we complete the highest canter in the world. We ride in close proximity to berber wild horse herds that live in the park who are descendants of the horses brought by the Spanish in the 16th century.
Riding: 6+ hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Tambopaxi refuge


Day 9: Hacienda La Alegria
Today we ride west towards Ruminahui to the highest point of our ride (4,250 m) on the edges of the rocks of the Ruminahui Volcano. We continue our ride toward the green Machachi valley as always guarded by the volcanoes avenue. We cross the Machachi plaza where horsemen are always welcomed. We pass the town of Aloag and arrive to Hacienda La Alegria for a pleasant dinner and to enjoy the hot tub and rest with the memories of the long journeys in the mountains.
Riding: 5+ hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hacienda La Alegria

Day 10: Transfer Quito
After breakfast we finish our services. Transfers to the airport or your hotel in Quito.
Meals included: Breakfast


Rates and Dates for Volcano Cotopaxi Adventure

Rates include:

Accommodations, All meals including wine/ beer with dinner on some nights & 6 or 8 riding days with bilingual guide (English, Spanish).
Wool ponchos, rain ponchos, chaps, saddle bag and helmets are provided - let us know in advance if you would like to borrow one of these items

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescription US$
    A
    20208 day trip, AP$2180
  • B
    202010 day trip, AP- Chagra Parade (9 riding days)$2600

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionUS$
2020 Transfer from Quito w/ return (1 - 4 passengers) per car
This is a "Group Rate" - to be paid locally
$100
2020 Extra day with meals and riding at the hacienda, dbl, pp $220
2020 Extra night (B&B- no riding) $75
2020 Small group supplement (2 pax only), pp $150
2020 Single supplement, where applicable $150

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2020 04/03 - 04/10 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP 3 /12 Expired
A 2020 06/16 - 06/23 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP 3 /12 Reserve
B 2020 07/16 - 07/25 10d / 9n 10 day trip, AP- Chagra Para... 3 /12 Reserve

Dates Note: Hacienda closed from Dec 21 to Jan 3

Rates do not include:

Departure tax, Transfers ferom/to Quito, Insurance & Gratuities

Other Info
Meeting: Aloag
Airport: Quito
Transfer: Quito (airport, hotel, or bus stop)

Climate:
                                            Sigchos‎‎ area
 

Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

69

68

68

67

66

65

65

66

67

69

70

69

Average Low Temperature (°F)

49

49

49

49

49

48

47

46

46

47

47

48

Average High Temperature (°C)

20

20

20

19

19

18

18

19

19

21

21

21

Average Low Temperature (°C)

9

9

10

10

9

9

8

8

8

9

8

9

Source: NOAA

 
Seasons
Day temperatures can vary considerably in the mountains (65º F during the daytime, 40º F at night). Average temperatures will range in 50’s.
Temperatures in Cotopaxi National Park and the surrounding region vary little throughout the year. The average daytime temperature is 45° F (7°C). Seasonal variations and night-time temperatures range between freezing 32°F (90°C) and 68°F (20° C).

Visitors are recommended to bring several layers of clothes including a warm sweater and protective rain-wind jacket, hat and gloves.
The rainy seasons run between January and May and October and November. The main dry season of June to September though the strong winds are known to occur. December also has a short dry season and the time around Christmas is normally considered the best weather of the year.

What To Bring:
Our partner can supply: wool ponchos, rain ponchos, rubber boots, full chaps, horse bag, and helmets. For camping equipment they can supply sleeping mats and sleeping bags- although they highly recommend you bring your own as theirs are more worn out. Please let us know if you'd like to borrow any of these items.

Clothing:
Shirt: Cotton or wool, long sleeved
Sweater: Heavy wool or fleece sweater or vest
Trousers: Full length, wool, blend, pile or other warm pants.   
Underwear: Light-weight (polypropylene) thermal underwear, top and bottom
Headwear: Helmet (provided), bandana, and sunglasses.
Jackets: Insulated or Gore-Tex mountain parka for rain and wind (important)
Gloves: Wool, waterproof highly recommended
Socks: Wool or polypropylene
Footwear: waterproof lightweight hiking boots.
Sun-blocking lotions +30 and lipstick ointments (important)