Gaucho Pampas Trail

Santa Catarina Brazil: (IT-BRRT09)

Santa Catarina Brazil
Join the legendary Gauchos on a trip across wide open undulating grasslands with rivers, lakes, forests and remote fazendas (ranches). Come prepared for lots of good forward going riding at all paces! The South American cowboy refuses to break with tradition which, according to the UNESCO, makes for the liveliest equestrian culture in the world. The Brazilian Gaucho lives in the southern states of Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul and all have roots in Europe due to the large numbers of immigrants who arrived in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The adventure starts in Coxilha Rica, a high plateau in the interior of the Southern state of Santa Catarina. Here at an altitude of about 1000 meters above sea level, in the heart of gaucho territory, you will be welcomed with open arms. Paul, together with his gaucho companions Roberio and João will be your hosts and riding guides during your entire riding holiday. For eight days you will be immersed in the most appealing horse culture.

After a traditional first night at Fazenda da Chapada we will saddle up our criollo horses (very comfortable authentic saddles) and leave for a 6 day trip from fazenda to fazenda. The beauty and huge expanse of the pampas with its rolling hills is difficult to put into words. Livestock farms (fazendas) with thousands of acres are the ideal playground to test the temperament of your criollo horse. There are no roads or paths to follow, just simply pull yourselves across the great outdoors at a gallop or a canter; your riding dreams will all be realized.

On average, we will spend 6 to 7 hours per day in the saddle, making our way across rolling grasslands, riding through Araucaria forests, crossing pristine rivers and, in general, traveling off the beaten track of southern Brazil. This is gaucho country so should we come across a cattle “round up” we will be happy to help. What is work for them is fun for us! During the “cutting” (sorting the cattle on horseback) you’ll be surprised at just how agile your criollo horse is! Every evening means a different fazenda, colonial fazendas where time has stood still with rooms filled with antique furniture and large country kitchens, a perfect atmosphere to sample the local brew Chimarão (mate, a sort of tea) and Pinga (local rum).

Gauchos are not only tough men, but also romantic souls. Guitar and accordion will appear more often than not and the serenade is of lost loves and the good old days, this while mama is roasting the best meat in the world. A fantastic relaxed gaucho atmosphere, which is pure and sincere.

Not a “nose-to-tail” riding experience, but a trail ride for riders looking for a truly exciting and challenging Gaucho experience! Welcome to the Gaucho Pampas Trail!


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

This trail-riding holiday is not your average dude ranch vacation where you stay in a tourist ranch-hotel and where you're just another number, but a true adventurous riding holiday where you stay on authentic working fazendas (ranches) without the superficiality of fancy hotel services. We will stay in guest rooms at the houses of the gaucho families.
One fazenda might be a bit more simple than the other, but all fazendas are authentic, colonial, cozy and very clean. The fazendas do not all have a standard type of room. Most rooms are double rooms, some fazendas also have 4 bedded rooms with connecting bathrooms.
All fazendas are authentic, colonial, cozy and very clean. The fazendas usually do not have TVs or air conditioning. Internet is mostly not available during this ride.
Please, note that on most nights you will have to share rooms and bathrooms with other guests.

Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Night 1: Fazenda Da Chapada
Night 2 & 3: Fazenda Rodeio Bonito
Night 4: Fazenda Lua Cheia
Night 5: Fazenda Sâo Joâo Rancho
Night 6: Fazenda Ferradura
Night 7: Fazenda Da Chapada

Fazenda Da Chapada
This lovely fazenda is located close to Painel and offers simple accommodation in comfortable guestrooms. The fazenda is decorated with various objects from the farm like old saddles and tools. There is air conditioning and Wi-Fi access here.

Fazenda Rodeio Bonito
This fazenda is remotely located in the Coxilha region. The building is made out of stones and araucaria wood. This fazenda has a very cozy and warm atmosphere.

Fazenda Lua Cheia
This fazenda is made out of wood and has a rustic charm. It is decorated with antiques, adding to the charm. Meals are cooked on an old oven that also warms the house.

Fazenda Sâo Joâo Rancho
This fazenda features a Portuguese colonial style architecture. The interior is fitted with many antique wooden furniture.

Fazenda Ferradura
This rustic fazenda is surrounded by beautiful pine trees and offers a warm welcome and a memorable experience, while providing guests with all the basic necessities.

Room Occupancy
Single supplement is only mandatory if you are not willing to share.


Meals are included from Dinner on Day 1 to Breakfast on Day 8.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner at the fazendas.

Brazil has a rich cuisine. The country is a mixture of European, Indian, African and Asian cultures and is reflected in the way the Brazilians cook. Especially the Italian and African cuisines have a great influence on Brazilian cuisine. Not only the population is mixed, also their habits and customs. Already well before Europe spoke about fusion cuisine, Brazil was combining ingredients found from different continents to form a new, typical Brazilian cuisine. They also often serve dishes from different countries on one table. The Brazilian cuisine is very good, varied and serves many naturally made dishes. The main dishes are mostly rice and beans (Feijão) and sauces, with lots of meat or fish and salads. From region to region one has its own traditional dishes. Along the coast you will find more fish and shrimp dishes, in the south the tasty meat grill's (Churrasco) will surprise you. In Santa Catarina real healthy country meals are often prepared on wood stoves, what gives a special extra flavor.
During our holiday we eat delicious homemade Santa Catarina dishes at the fazendas.

Alcoholic beverages & soft drinks are not included in the price but can be bought locally for a small fee.

Open Bar - All you can drink
Every day you spent the night at a different farm where you will be offered drinks. To make things easy and not having the hassle with making notes every day for drinks or confused bills at the end of the week we handle the "Open Bar" service.

USD 110 p.p. for all alcoholic drinks & soft drinks during the entire week.
To be paid on day 1.
(Beer, Caipirinha, Cachaça, Guarana, Coca Cola, Fanta, Sprite, Coffee, Tea, Milk, Water, etc.
*Wine not included, but you can buy wine at each farm. Price of a bottle depends of the brand and quality)

USD 60 p.p. for all soft drinks during the entire week.
To be paid on day 1.
(Coca Cola, Fanta, Sprite, Guarana, Coffee, Tea, Milk, Water, etc..)

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

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.


We have 35 well-trained Criollo horses for you. The Criollo horse may have the best endurance of any horse breed in the world next to the Arabian. In fact, due to the crioulo's low basal metabolism, it may be a better long-distance horse than the Arabian in prolonged races over a week in duration with no supplemental feed. The breed is most popular in its home countries, and is known for its hardiness and stamina.
We have horses for all levels. Together with the guide, you will choose your horse according to your riding level, your height, weight, and preference.
Allergic to Horses? We also have a few Curly horses. These horses are hypoallergenic. This means that allergic people do not or hardly react to a Curly horse.

Riding Terrain
The terrain consists predominantly of large lawn type fields. For both rider and horse, this is a real dream terrain.

Riding Style
The riding style is the relaxed Gaúcho style, similar to western riding and trail riding.
This is gaucho country so should we come across a cattle round up. We will be happy to help. What is work for them is fun for us! During the “cutting” (sorting the cattle on horseback), you’ll be surprised at just how agile your criollo horse is! 

On average, we will be 6 to 7 hours per day in the saddle, making our way across rolling grasslands, riding through Araucaria forests, crossing pristine rivers and, in general, off the beaten track of southern Brazil. The trip includes 6 days on horseback. Every ride is always a relaxed ride. You ride with loose reins, and enjoy the fantastic nature. Every day, there is sufficient time and space to enjoy a good trot and canter.

Multilingual Paul guides you through each experience and answers all inquiries whilst leading you through this unique experience. Furthermore, you will be accompanied by local gauchos Roberio, Giancarlo & João. There are always one or more musical gauchos (guitar, accordion) joining the group. The guides-gauchos are equipped with cell phones and walky-talky radios. 
This is not a tourist trip where you're just a number ... but a gathering of riding friends among themselves. With pride, friendliness, and hospitality the gaucho families open their doors for you, let you ride their best horses and guide you in their territory.

Travel Insurance
We request you take a travel insurance for this trip. You will not be allowed to participate in this riding holiday program without having a personal travel insurance. Your insurance details will be requested on arrival.
In order to protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances interfering with your vacation, we strongly suggest that you purchase trip cancellation insurance. You can use any travel insurance company you are comfortable with.


Sample Itinerary - subject to changes

Day 1: Arrival
Your trip leader will be waiting for you upon arrival at the airport of Florianopolis. Transfer (3.5hrs drive) to Coxilha Rica and Fazenda da Chapada near Lages. You will be welcomed with a local drink upon arrival at the fazenda. You will be introduced to Daniel, the owner of the farm, the Gauchos who will accompany you throughout the trip, and will even get acquainted with the horses. Installation in the cozy and comfortable  rooms of the fazenda. After a delicious dinner, we can socialize at the bar of the fazenda. Local gaúchos will perform music and folklore of the region. It’s a great first evening!
Meals included: Dinner
Overnight at Fazenda da Chapada

Day 2: Fazenda da Chapada to Fazenda Rodeio Bonito
After breakfast, we saddle our horses early and leave around 09:00 am in the direction of Fazenda Rodeio Bonito. After the first few minutes you will notice already how beautiful the region is. We ride through wide and rolling green countryside dotted with Araucaria trees and cross pristine rivers. You will never forget your first canter with your criollo horse. After a ride of 4 hours we arrive at a typical fazenda where lunch is waiting for us. After a good meal and a siesta we mount our horses again around 2:00 pm. We continue towards fazenda Rodeio Bonito through the beautiful landscape of Coxilha Rica.
Here we find the well-preserved colonial Tropeiro Route. This 250 year-old tropeiro route was the route of cattle and mules between Rio Grande do Sul and Argentina to Sao Paulo. Gauchos drove herds thousands of kms, being away for months via this route. Goods on livestock traveled along the route, so the tropeiro also became a trade. The route, consisting of an approx 4m wide corridor made of stone, was built by slaves. The corridor runs hundreds of kilometers through Coxilha Rica and the State of Santa Catarina. Tropeiro means Trooper. (The route of the troops).
We follow a few miles this historic route and arrive around 5:30 pm at Fazenda Rodeio Bonito. We are welcomed by the owner Lucia. A hearty and delicious dinner is prepared for us in this traditional Gaucho fazenda.
Riding approx. 5-6 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Fazenda Rodeio Bonito

Day 3: Ride through Coxilha
After a hearty breakfast we mount our criollos around 9am and trek through the rugged Coxilha landscape. We climb and descend, trot and canter, crossing rivers and chasing waterfalls. On top of a green mountain you have a fantastic panoramic view of the landscape, just you and the great outdoors! Coxilha is a great cattle region. Most cattle ranches (fazendas) here consist of thousands of acres that are over 200 years old. We arrive at a little farm where Dona Vera has prepared a fantastic lunch. In the afternoon, we ride another 3.5 hours until we arrive back at the the Fazenda Rodeio Bonito. After a refreshing shower and a delicious dinner, a soft bed awaits for you at this very cozy fazenda.
Riding approx. 5-6 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Fazenda Rodeio Bonito

Day 4: Fazenda Rodeio Bonito to Fazenda Lua Cheia
We leave on horseback at about 9am heading for the high pampas of Coxilha Rica. The views are wonderful. The group of horses, the Gauchos, the landscapes, the atmosphere in the group, the sense of freedom... nobody wants to travel back home after this trip. After a lunch in the field, we continue our ride to the next fazenda, where the owners Dido and Sonia have prepared the best roasted lamb in the world. We make it cozy with a drink and some live Gaucho music
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Fazenda Lua Cheia

Day 5: Fazenda Luca Cheia to Fazenda Sâo Joâo Rancho
After breakfast, we saddle our horses. Depending of the season, sometimes before heading off we give the gauchos a helping hand at the farm rounding-up some cattle or sheep on horseback. We drive the herd to the corral, where they are either vaccinated or receive some treatment. So here or on another farm during our week you will see the Gaúcho perform their daily job. Those who prefer not to participate in the activities can easily watch. Want to learn how to rope? Our Gauchos teach you the tricks of the trade!
After lunch we continue our ride to the Colonial Fazenda Sâo Joâo. Upon arrival at this Portuguese style Fazenda we pull off our boots, take a shower, and are called to the table for a good meal, a cool beer or a warming Pinga (local rum).
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Fazenda Sâo Joâo

Day 6: Fazenda Sâo Joâo to Fazenda Ferradura
After breakfast, we saddle the horses and leave for another great day in the saddle. We regularly ride into other gauchos whom are busy at work. These South American cowboys still live and work the same way as roughly 100 years ago. Gaúchos and horses matching great together, living as we can only dream of. Climbing and descending, one slope steeper than the other, the ride regularly invites us for a nice canter. The horses are really fun to ride with. Eventually, we arrive at Fazenda Ferradura and are welcomed by the owner Gaucho Benjamin Krüzen. A hearty and delicious dinner is being prepared for us.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Fazenda Ferradura

Day 7: Fazenda Ferradura to Fazenda da Chapada
After breakfast, we depart for the last day in the saddle. Daniel, the owner of our last fazenda accommodation, welcomes us with Caipirinha & hugs. The ladies of the house make us a delicious dish while the musical talented gauchos bring their best songs, guitar and accordion into the barn. The bottle of Pinga is eagerly passed around and sometimes we dare to dance! We enjoy the warm gaucho atmosphere and forge friendship with the locals.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Fazenda da Chapada

Day 8: Fazenda da Chapada to Florianopolis
After our last breakfast at around 8am, we say goodbye to Fazenda da Chapada, the guides, gauchos, and horses and drive around in direction Florianopolis (departure time depending on the flights). People staying longer can have a drop-off in downtown Florianópolis.
Meals included: Breakfast

**Important information
We will do everything possible to follow the indicated itinerary, although spot changes can occur due to unforeseen circumstances. Rides are subject to change depending on weather, location and difficulty of terrain  In the unlikely event that this happens on your trip, we ask you flexibility and understanding. This is a sporty and adventurous vacation!
The above sample itinerary is subject to changes at the discretion of the tour operator. First Fazenda can be the last fazenda, third fazenda can be the second fazenda, etc...

Brazil is a huge and very diverse country,...staying longer in the country is without doubt a good idea!
See the classic highlights of Brazil, Foz do Iguaçu waterfalls, go for a samba to Rio de Janeiro, discover the 70 Islands and colonial beach town of Paraty, go for a jungle adventure to the Amazon, meet the colonial towns and cities along the Estrada Real in Minas Gerais or stay some time more in Santa Catarina and relax at one of the 40 beaches of Florianopolis.

Rates and Dates for Gaucho Pampas Trail

Rates include:

Accommodation, All meals with drinks (from dinner first day to breakfast last day), 6 Riding Days & Transfers at set times
Backup vehicle brings your personal luggage to the daily overnight place/fazenda
Saddle bag and Raincoat can be provided

Packages and Options

  • SeasonYearDescription US$
    20238 day trip$2685

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:

2023 Transfer is included from the Florianopolis airport at set time $0
2023 Small group supplement (3 pax only), pp $685
2023 Small group supplement (4 pax only), pp $505
2023 Single supplement -- please inquire $0

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2023 04/15 - 04/22 8d / 7n 8 day trip 5 /14 Expired
A 2023 09/23 - 09/30 8d / 7n 8 day trip 5 /14 Reserve
A 2023 11/01 - 11/08 8d / 7n 8 day trip 5 /14 Reserve

Dates Note:
Custom dates possible year round depending on availability

Rates do not include:

Personal travel insurance (mandatory), Personal expenses & Tips

Other Info
Meeting: Lages
Airport: Florianopolis (FLN)
Transfer: Florianopolis

                                           Florianópolis area














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Source: NOAA

Summer on the coast of Santa Catarina (Florianopolis) is warm with temperatures about 30°C. During the winter it cools down to about 17°C to 20°C. Our ride will be held in the interior of the higher region of Coxilha Rica, where it is always a little cooler. (Ideal riding temperatures!)

* Summer: about 25°C to 30°C (from 21 DEC to 20 MAR)

* Autumn: about 15°C to 25°C (from 21 MAR to 20 JUN)

* Winter: about -4°C to 10°C (from 21 JUN to 20 SEP)

* Spring: about 15°C to 25°C (from 21 SEP to 20 DEC)

The best time to visit is usually during the spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May) when temperatures are warm and precipitations are not as frequent as during the summer.

What To Bring:
What to bring:
• Valid international passport
• Travel Insurance
• Pocket money (you can change EUR/£/USD in the airport)
• A sweater and a jacket
• 4 or 5 T-shirts and minimum 1 a shirt with long sleeves.
• jodhpurs or jeans to ride with
• Riding shoes or boots / riding shoes with mini-chaps or long chaps. (Gaucho boots can be bought on location)
• A second pair of shoes for the evening
• Swimsuit
• Comfortable clothing
• One towel
• Toiletries
• Sun Cream
• Water canteen
• Camera…

> we have raincoats and saddle bags available for you
> It is recommended to put your luggage in travel bag instead of a hard suitcase. 10 bags are easier to get in the backup vehicle than 10 suitcases. (thanks!)

A backup Vehicle: brings your personal luggage to the daily overnight place/fazenda.

Electricity and plugs:

Mobile phone:
In towns and villages there is mobile phone coverage everywhere. During the riding trip there are some days without coverage.

In towns and villages there is everywhere Internet access. During the riding trip there is no internet access.