Volcano Avenue Ride

Highlands Riding Tours Ecuador: (IT-ECRT06)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/ecuador_volcano_avenue_haciendas.aspx

Introduction
Highlands Riding Tours Ecuador
Ride through volcanoes, valleys, forest, and pre-Inca sites with comfortable overnights in traditional Highland Haciendas!

This ride brings us new experiences and a chance to contemplate the beauty of the mountains and valleys of the Ecuadorian Highlands everyday.  As we ride, friendly chagras (cowboys of the Ecuadorian Andes) will guide our way and share with us their lifestyle, traditions, and impressive horsemanship skills. Our ride is the perfect combination for those looking for adventure, cultural immersion, and natural beauty.  
One of the unique features of our ride is the variety of natural environments we will experience during the trip. The first part of the ride includes acclimatization at the Hacienda and the cloud forest. These subtropical Montagne Cloud forests used to cloak much of the steep western slopes of the Andes between 1,000 and 3,000 meters are now classified as threatened ecosystems. In the second part of the ride we will head towards a higher altitude and experience a more arid volcanic environment filled with canyons, rock peaks, and the Toachi River. We will climb mountain ridges and switch from the eastern to the western Andes Mountain Chain experiencing rolling hills of high altitude fauna typical of the Andes as we make our way to the spectacular Quilotoa Crater Lake.

Your horse will be your partner throughout this adventure and our team, who will make you feel part of the family, will guide you all the way. We will thoroughly explore and experience the grandeur of the Andes, marveling at the diversity of flora, fauna, and landscape.

At the cloud forest you will enter a completely different environment and see an exciting change in the surrounding vegetation; from a lush native tundra landscape of the high attitude to an impressive sub-tropical vegetation. The second part of our trip we will ride through the western Andean paramo, an Andean ecosystem that encompasses approximately 12,500 square kilometers. As we ride through the Andes Mountains, you will experience a diversity of geography and weather. Be prepared for a period of intense equatorial sun followed by chill Andes’ wind—all within the space of a few hours.  The locals say that the highlands experience all four seasons within the same day. Long after our return, our memories of this rugged but beautiful world will linger as a lifetime ride.

Accomodation

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

Description
Hacienda Alegria has very nice and comfortable accommodations. The accommodations along the way are more basic, but all authentic and comfortable. There are 2 people per room with private showers in every accommodation.
There is access to free Wi-Fi almost everywhere and laundry services are available at Hacienda La Alegria for a small gratuity.

Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Nights 1 & 2: Hacienda La Alegria
Night 3: Hacienda Bomboli
Night 4: Hacienda La Alegria
Night 5: Hacienda San Gabriel (part of Hacienda San Jose) in Sigchos
Night 6: Kamay Kirutoa Lodge at Quilotoa
Night 7: Llullullama Lodge at Insilivi
Night 8: 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 sits on 135 hectares, nestled in the fertile valley of Machachi, near the small village of Aloag.
The Hacienda is a family-run organic farm and the hospitality of the Espinosa household is remarked upon by visitors 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 Hacienda’s guestrooms are filled with antiques that have been in the Espinosa family for hundreds of years.
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.

Hacienda San Gabriel (part of Hacienda San Jose) in Sigchos
The accommodation features simple rooms with a variety of arrangements (single, double, twin, triple or quadruple). Facilities include free Wi-Fi access and an indoor swimming pool.

Kamay Kirutoa Lodge at Quilotoa
This lodge offers comfortable accommodations with spectacular mountain views. There are only 7 rooms and each are simply decorated with respect to the surroundings. There is a garden where guests can relax and free Wi-Fi internet is also available.

Llullullama Lodge at Insilivi
This Eco Lodge offers cozy accommodation in the heart of the Ecuadorian Andes. It is housed in an old farmhouse that has been renovated with respect to the environment. The Lodge offers a wide variety of rooms, each simply decorated with local artifacts. There are common areas with fireplaces as well as a terrace offering beautiful mountain views, where guests can relax and chat with fellow travelers. There is no internet at this property.

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


Meals
All meals are included from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 9.

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.
Riders will get to know the horses well and start a relationship with them, as they will be part of the team for the rest of the ride. Riders will have the opportunity to try a variety of horses with different temperaments and traits. Together, we will choose which group of horses will accompany us. We will have several spare horses on the ride.

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 - subject to changes

Day 1: Arrival

Arrival to Hacienda la Alegria, dinner and overnight. Depending on your arrival hour you can have a short ride
Accommodations: La Alegria

Day 2: Alegria
In the morning, ride in the arena and get acquainted with your horse. Then, we will ride around the neighboring Haciendas in the western Andes. This day is key to acclimatize with the altitude and environment as well as your horse and tack. We will have lunch in the Hacienda and visit the milking barn, the aging cheese cave. Finally, in the evening, you can enjoy the hot tub and fireplace.
Accommodations: Hacienda La Alegria            
Riding hours: 4 hours


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 via 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 3,000 m, and relax by the fireplace enjoying the sunset and watching the lights of the villages near the coast, we will arrive at teatime, then enjoy a great meal.
Accommodation: Hacienda Bomboli    
Riding hours: 4 hours


Day 4: Back to Alegria
In the morning we will walk around the Hacienda gardens to learn about orchids and cloud forest plants. We will ride uphill, admiring the forest and the hundreds of flowers and plants. Then, we will make our way back to La Alegria, using the old road that was built in 1873 to connect Quito with the coast. Arrive to Hacienda La Alegria for lunch, relax and enjoy the hot tub and the fireplace.
Accommodation: Hacienda La Alegria    
Riding hours: 6 hours


Day 5: Sigchos
Today is a long journey on the saddle. We will start the ride one hour south of Hacienda La Alegria; we will be transferred by car to this point to start our adventure in the southern Andes. We will ride by the Inca trail and dirt trails that will take us to Sigchos, the village that was known as the “last home” of the Inca general Ruminahui. From this day on we will ride through a dramatic landscape, including steep ravines and narrow passages.
Even though we can visualize where we are heading and it looks near, we will have to cross many mountains chains to get there. This area is a combination of forest, rock peaks and eroded land from the past centuries. We will arrive at the Hacienda San Jose, a working dairy farm and guesthouse, in time for a good meal, Jacuzzi, sauna and a comfortable night. Our horses will have lush fields of fresh grass.
Accommodations: Hacienda San Jose
Riding hours: 8 hours


Day 6: Quilotoa
After breakfast we head south to the Quilotoa Crater Lake. The trail goes across the highest mountain heading west. There we will find some small dairy farms and a couple of artisanal cheese makers. As we descend to the Canyon the environment becomes arid and desolate. The soil is composed by pumice from the Quilotoa volcano that erupted 1,280 years ago. In the afternoon, we will arrive to the Quilotoa volcano summit at 3,800 meters above sea level, where our hostel is awaiting. At the edge of the volcano we will enjoy and amazing view of the breathtaking Quilotoa Crater Lake. The 3 kilometer wide caldera was formed by the collapse of this volcano after the last eruption.
Accommodations: Kamay Kirutoa Lodge at Quilotoa
Riding hours: 8 hours


Day 7: Insilivi
In the morning we will take a small walk to take the last photos at the viewpoint of the crater lake. We will then start our ride down hill the volcano via a beautiful old trail. It will take us half day to descend the Canyon, crossing a few villages that remind us of old images as those from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Volcano pumice and dry soil hinder agriculture thus, just a few people live on this region. The ride continues thru several hills, arriving to a small village called Insilivi founded in 1857. Here we will find our Hostel for the night, which was started by an entrepreneur from the UK 16 years ago and is now owned by a Dutch couple.
Accommodations: Hostal at Insilivi           
Riding hours: 4 hours


Day 8: Planchaloma
The last day riding at the region will pass through several narrow old paths ascending to the high Andes paramo. From here it is possible to admire the nice scenery form one valley to another. The colors and the mountains make the changes from paramo to eroded land full of different color patches. At the distance we will see the Eastern Mountain Chain. We will make our way back to Hacienda La Alegria.
Accommodations: Hacienda La Alegria
Riding hours: 6 hours


Day 9: Departure
Transfer back to the airport after breakfast.

* this itinerary is subject to changes *


Rates and Dates for Volcano Avenue Ride

Rates include:

8 overnights at different haciendas, 8 days quality horseback riding in the Ecuadorian Andes with all the necessary equipment (wool ponchos, rain ponchos and chaps, horse bag, helmets), bilingual guide (English/ Spanish), all meals and wine/ beer with dinner on some nights.

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescription US$
    A
    20199 day trip, AP$2400

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionUS$
2019 Transfer from Quito w/ return (1 - 4 passengers) per car
This is a "Group Rate" - to be paid locally
$100
2019 Extra day with meals and riding at the hacienda, dbl, pp $220
2019 Extra night (B&B- no riding) $75
2019 Small group supplement (2 pax only), pp $150
2019 Single supplement, where applicable $150

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2019 10/18 - 10/26 9d / 8n 9 day trip, AP 4 /12 Expired

Dates Note: Hacienda closed from Dec 21 to Jan 3

Rates do not include:

Flights, departure tax, transfers, insurance, personal expenses, gratuities

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

Climate:
                                            Aloag‎‎ area
  

Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

66

66

66

66

66

67

67

67

68

67

67

66

Average Low Temperature (°F)

49

49

49

49

49

48

47

48

47

48

48

48

Average High Temperature (°C)

19

19

19

19

19

19

19

20

20

20

19

19

Average Low Temperature (°C)

9

10

9

10

9

9

8

9

9

9

9

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 the 50’s F.
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 or turtleneck
Sweater: Heavy wool or fleece sweater or vest
Trousers: Full length, wool, blend, or pile or other warm pants
Underwear:  Light-weight (polypropylene) thermal underwear, top and bottom
Headwear: Skycap, wool hat or wide brim felt hat, bandana or buff, and sunglasses
Jackets: Insulated or Gore-Tex mountain parka for rain and wind (important)
Glove & Scarf: Wool, leather, or polypropylene, recommended water proof
Socks: Wool or polypropylene
Footwear: Waterproof trekking boots or waterproof riding boots (if your shoe size is 9.5 US or less, rubber boots are available at Hacienda La Alegria).
Swimming Suit

Accessories

Sunglasses
Sunblock +30 and lipstick ointments (important)
Flashlight with extra batteries
Washcloth
Camera extra batteries
Binoculars