Horseback riding in Central Mexico, Mexico

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- Cristo Rey Pilgrimage Ride
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Cristo Rey Pilgrimage Ride

Itinerary for Cristo Rey Pilgrimage Ride

Sample Itinerary - subject to changes

Note: this program is directly linked to the pilgrimage organization and for reasons beyond our control may undergo changes.

Day 1: Arrival
Meet at 12h30 in the city of León Guanajuato, in the lobby of Hotsson Hotel (Blvd. Adolfo López Mateos 1102, Los Gavilanes, 37266 León, Gto.) and from there, visit a local saddlery shop with traditional clothing and equipment of the Mexican equestrian culture. It will be the perfect opportunity to buy clothing, for those who wish to dress up in the Mexican horseman style for the following days.
After the visit, we will be transferred by car (about 2-hour drive) to a former Jesuit Hacienda located between the mountainous area of Sierra de Lobos, where we will enjoy a welcome dinner and stay for the night.
Accommodation: Former Jesuit Hacienda or similar
Meals included: Welcome dinner

Day 2: El Salto del Ahogado to Nuevo Valle de Moreno
After breakfast at our accommodation, we will be transferred to the community of "El Salto del Ahogado" where our horses await us. Here, we will join a group of Mexican riders coming from “El Torreon” who will stop here to receive us and allow us to join them. Then, we all will depart on horseback, in the direction of Nuevo Valle de Moreno. Today's ride goes through ancient roads in the mountainous area of Santa Barbara, until we reach the community of Nuevo Valle de Moreno. Tonight, we set camp and enjoy dinner with a local family, who will open their home doors for us.
Accommodation: Camping  
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 3: Nuevo Valle de Moreno to Cristo Rey
After a quick breakfast at our campsite, (before 5am), we get ready so we can be in the saddle before by 6am, long before dawn. We will ride by starlight until the sky turns grey-pink and the sun finally rises. With the light of a new day, we will be surprised by the immense number of riders going in the same direction, moved by their faith.
We will eventually reach “Tuna Mansa”, on the slopes of the Cubilete mountain, considered the geographical center of Mexico. There, we will stop for lunch, as hundreds of riders will do. Our support team will have prepared a delicious lunch with typical food just for us. After a delicious lunch and a short break, in our comfortable makeshift dining room, it is time to test our horses, since they will have to make an ascent of 657 meters on 7.6 kilometers, in order to reach the Cubilete mountain top, place where the monument to Cristo Rey is located.
At the top of the mountain, we will all gather. We will witness the hospitality of Mexicans, since we will receive various invitations to each of the different campsites to enjoy food and drinks. Most of local riders will remain there the whole night before the big celebration. In the evening, we will be transferred to our comfortable accommodation, just a few kilometers from there.
Accommodation: "Parador Sangre de Cristo" or similar
Meals included:
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 4: Mass & Mexican Culture
After an exquisite breakfast, we will attend the celebration of Holy Mass with the presence of the Archbishop and with over 3,500 horses and riders. This is an experience, difficult to describe in words.
Today, we will spend most of the day witnessing and living the Mexican equestrian tradition, sharing this wonderful experience with hundreds of riders from different parts of Mexico.
At lunch time, we will enjoy a delicious typical food of the region, served by one of the most recognized traditional cooks, from the area of “Sangre de Cristo”.
After lunch, we will be transferred to Hacienda Jesus Maria, a charming hotel located in a historic place and part of a sustainable tourist complex of the Sangre de Cristo community.
Accommodation: "Hacienda Jesús María" or similar
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 5: Mystery Villages Ride
After breakfast at the hacienda, and having concluded the pilgrimage together with thousands of local riders, we now continue on our own journey. Today, we will explore the surrounding area on horseback.
We will ride through what is known as "The Mystery Villages”, three old communities (Sangre de Cristo, Mineral de la Luz, and San Ignacio) marked with historical aspects such as Chichimeca indigenous people, The Cristero región (The old Cristero War) and Silver mining.
At the end of the 19th century, the three villages became ghost towns. However, in the past, this was one of the most prosperous mining enclaves in the region. 
Accommodation: "Hacienda Jesús María" or similar
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 6: Ride to Valley of the Blue Birds
After breakfast, it is time to continue our ride in the direction of "El Varal": a nature reserve that is located in the north of the state of Guanajuato, adjoining the rural communities of Joya de Lobos, Santa Rosa, La Concepción and Los Mexicans.
The predominant type of vegetation is the Encino Forest, combined with native species such as Madroño and Pinguica.  It is also the natural habitat for many mammals such as the white-tailed deer, wildcat, cacomixtle (ring tailed cat),  listed skunk and long-nosed bat, and over 170 species of birds including Cooper's hawk, the peregrine falcon and the cuckold owl.
Today´s journey takes us to the valley of the blue birds, where we will set up our camp and enjoy this magnificent natural setting.
We will spend the night in a safari style camp, and enjoy a night of barbecue ranchera with campfire and guitars.
Accommodations: Camping
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 7: Ride to Santa Rosa
After a lovely breakfast accompanied by the singing of the birds and with spectacular views, we will continue on our last day of trail ride, to the rural community of Santa Rosa.
We will ride along ancient path, that border a mountainous area and pass through a cavern that houses a spring of crystalline water that filters through the Santa Rosa mountains. We continue ascending and descending through natural landscapes, home to hundreds of animal species, such as the puma, the coyote, raccoons, armadillos and many others. We eventually reach Santa Rosa, where we will enjoy lunch, and end our adventure on horseback.
Accommodations: Hotel Posada or similar
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 8: Guanajuato City (no riding)
After breakfast at the hotel, we will take a walking tour to discover Guanajuato City.
The first known inhabitants of the area were the prehispanic indigenous groups Otomi, who were then displaced by the Chichimeca. There was Purépecha presence as well, due mostly to ancient trading routes.
The oldest known name for the area is “Mo-o-ti,” which means “place of metals.” Later, it was called "Paxtitlán" by the Aztecs, which means “place of straw.” The current name of Guanajuato comes from Purépecha “Quanax huato," which means “hilly place of frogs”.
Mining had been done in this area long before the Spanish arrived. Late in the pre-Hispanic period, the Aztecs had a presence here, specifically to look for metals to make ornamental objects for their political and religious elite. Some stories from this time state that the area was so rich in minerals that nuggets of gold could be picked up from the ground.
Nowadays, the city of Guanajuato is a colonial city with beautiful buildings, that contain the elements from the two main cultures that created the city: indigenous and Hispanic. Protected by its inhabitants and government, state and municipal, Guanajuato was declared by UNESCO as the “Historic Town of Guanajuato and Adjacent Mines” in December 1988.
Farewell Dinner will be taken in a traditional thematic restaurant cantina, where the joy of music will make you enjoy an authentic Mexican party.
Accommodations: Hotel Posada or similar
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 9: Departure
Breakfast at the hotel and end of our services.
Meals included: Breakfast

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Cristo Rey Pilgrimage Ride
Tour Code: IT-MXIR06
9 days / 8 nights
Dates : January

Difficulty : Riding Level
Riding Level Explained
Beginner A rider who has limited experience, is unable to post the trot and does not canter.
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.
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.
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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Day to Day Itinerary
Rates | Dates
Tack: Charro, Western. English on request
Horses: Quarter horse, Azteca and Mexican Crio...
Pace: Moderate riding pace according to terr...
Walk, Trot, Canter, Gallop,
Airport: Guanajuato International Airport (BJX)
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