Horseback riding in Highlands Riding Tours, Ecuador

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- Secrets of the Andes Ride
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Equestrian tours in Ecuador, Highlands Riding Tours
Secrets of the Andes Ride


Itinerary for Secrets of the Andes Ride



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.
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Secrets of the Andes Ride
Tour Code: IT-ECRT01B
10 days / 9 nights ~$1,930.00
Dates : Available all Year

Trip Rating :
Difficulty : Riding Level
Riding Level Explained
ABeginner
Beginner A rider who has limited experience, is unable to post the trot and does not canter.
BNovice
Novice A rider who is capable of mounting and dismounting unassisted, capable of applying basic aids, comfortable and in control at the walk, moderate length posting trots, and short canters.
CIntermediate
Intermediate A rider who has a firm seat, is confident and in control at all paces (including posting trots, two point canters and gallops), but does not ride regularly.
D Strong Intermediate
Strong Intermediate An intermediate rider who is currently riding regularly and is comfortable in the saddle for at least 6 hours per day.
EAdvanced
All of the above, plus an independent seat, soft hands, and capable of handlinga spirited horse in open country.
Lodging: Standard
Lodging Level Explained
   
= Facilities in lodges, estancias, haciendas, resorts, etc.
   
Basic lodging - some with shared bathroom facilities, usually no AC or room service.
Regular standard room - usually with private bath.
 Accommodations with superior comforts.
   
 = Trips with nights in tent camps. Sometimes the first and last night are in hotels.
   
Basic tent camping - everyone helps out with camp chores.
Regular standard with some camp amenities and camp cook.
Camping facilities with superior comforts like camp shower, bathroom facility..
   
 = Trips that combine nights in hotels and camping.
   
Basic accommodation and basic camping facilities can be expected.
Regular standard with some nicer amenities.
Only assigned to hotel and camping facilities with superior comforts.

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Introduction
Day to Day Itinerary
Rates | Dates
Accommodation
Tack: English and Montura de Vaquería (Weste...
Horses: creole horses and several other cross-...
Pace: Daily 3-6 hours Mountainous terrain, ...
Walk, Trot, Canter, Gallop,
Airport: Quito
Location on Google Map
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Customer Trip Rating
Climate
What To Bring
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