Andean Valley Retreat

Haciendas Ecuador: (IT-ECSR10)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/ecuador_andean_valley_retreat.aspx

Introduction
Haciendas Ecuador
Riding into a verdant valley described by many as the most beautiful they have ever seen, you arrive at a small, secluded Hacienda to be met by a charming couple that delight in sharing their slice of heaven. This working ranch and part-time country inn has a herd of dairy cows and magnificent Andalusian horses.

Accomodation


Accommodations
This is a stationary ride, so all nights will be spent at the same location.

Description
This Hacienda belonged to the Order of the Mercedaries, until the late 19th century. The Guest House is located in the heart of the farm's productive activities; so that one can see from a window or from the garden daily tasks and if desired can be part of them.



The old rooming house of the farm’s employees has been restored to welcome our guests, with emphasis on comfort. As a fitting tribute to those characters who have made the history of mountain farms and have been part of everyday life of this estate until today, we wanted to identify each room with the name of each of these workers. Each of the 6 bedroom is furnished with older wooden furniture and comes with private facilities. Fireplaces are available in most rooms. Wi-Fi is available in public areas and is free of charge.

Room Occupancy
If you are willing to share but we are unable to find a roommate for you, a single supplement fee usually applies.


Meals
All meals are included from lunch on Day 1 to lunch on the last day.

After a full day riding, as well as an excellent lunch (most days a picnic, but quite a menu, never just a sandwich), a great variety delicious home cooked dinners that reflect the very diverse Ecuadorian cuisine are served. All menus are prepared with excellent Ecuadorian produce -from the highlands, the coast and the Amazon. The dishes are not spicy but a local hot sauce is never far away!

Dietary Restrictions
We can easily cater for vegetarians or any other dietary requirements as long as we are warned in advance.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding


Rider Responsibility
It is understood that guests booking this trip, are in a suitable condition to participate, not riding against any physician's advice and that guests know of no reason why they should not be participating in such a tour. Guests will be required to sign a waiver of liability at the start of the tour.
Guests are strongly advised to bring and use their own helmet.

Pace
The pace is very varied due to the great variety of terrain. Each day there are opportunities for fast-paced riding and on the last few days of the scheduled departure itineraries, there is ample opportunity for long canters, depending on the guests' wishes. The rides in Ecuador - due to the altitude - are not suitable for guests wanting to ´gallop flat out´ for most of the day.
All rides of more than 2 hours include regular breaks and all-day rides normally include a lunch break of approximately one hour.

Horses
During this trip, riders usually stay with one to two horses (as long as the rider is happy!). Our intention is that riders can actually build a bond with their horse and enjoy not only the landscape and ride but also the company of their horse – but some riders like the idea of trying as many horses as possible – let us know. As always one or more spare horses will accompany us in case a change is needed. The horses we use are the local Ecuadorian Andean Criollo breed crossed with numerous other breeds (English, Spanish, Peruvian, Arab…) producing a steed ideally suited to the terrain and with a wonderful temperament. Criollo breeds have developed from horses that were first brought from Spain in the 17th century, developing very different characteristics in each region, depending on terrain and the needs of the local horsemen.
They are specially selected, well trained and good natured. Our horse are usually between 14.2 and 15.2hh. Riders normally change to fresh horses at least once during the trip.
It is incredibly important that you provide us accurate riding ability details – we try to put a lot of work into selecting suitable horses for each rider.

Tack
We use McClellen saddles, a western’ type saddle with low rounded pommel (no horn) and a thick sheep skin atop. It is easy to ride ‘english style’ on these saddles, as well as western. Each saddle has saddlebags & a poncho. ‘English style’ (two hand direct reining) & neck reining (western ‘one-hand’ indirect rein riding) are both used. People adapt very quickly but the guide and ‘chagras’ are on hand to give some advice. This tack is very suitable for long days in the saddle.

Guides
Guests are always accompanied by a guide (bilingual: English/Spanish) who has many years’ experience of riding. In addition, at least one ‘groom’ is present –usually a skilled local horseman. Both guides and grooms have excellent local knowledge and are good riders. There is also additional ground staff. Professional guides speaking other languages are available on prior request.
In case of accident, our guides carry a mobile phone so that they can contact assistance (local emergency services/back up vehicle/our Doctor in Quito) – the mobile phone coverage is generally excellent.

Weight restriction
Due to the altitude & difficult terrain a weight supplement applies to provide riders of 85-100kg (185-220lbs) and over with two horses.  Agreement prior to booking is necessary.

Altitude
We strongly advise a few days acclimatization prior to the ride. We recommend at least 24 hours in Quito/at same altitude as Quito prior to day 1 of the tour as the riding portion of the trip starts at 2800 meters high (same altitude as Quito).
Guests rarely experience any problems, but please note that we ride above 3000 meters and sometimes even above 4000 meters. Guests must seek medical advice if they have any doubt as to whether they are able to be at these altitudes.

Insurance
Guests are responsible for having an adequate, valid insurance policy including cover for all the sporting activities that they are likely to participate in. This is mandatory.

Itinerary


Sample Itinerary - subject to changes

Note: This sample itinerary is subject to changes at the tour operator's discretion due to unforeseen reasons such as weather, track conditions...

Day 1: Highlands & History Ride
Heading north-east from Quito, we cross the equator line and meet the horses. Once everyone is comfortable, we ride to a working ranch. As we ride along grassy tracks into this picturesque valley – meeting ladies in colourful local dress herding their animals along the way – time slows down, and guests are transported back a few decades to farming methods long since lost in many places. Arriving at the Hacienda, guests can leisurely drift into the relaxing Andean life – with a tea or a cold beer in the courtyard or a walk to see the Andalusian horses in their pastures. Look out for Andean condors soaring overhead, as well as a flyover by the egrets returning to roost.
Riding approx. 2-5 hours
Meals included: Picnic Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hacienda in Zuleta Valley


Day 2: Imbabura Volcano 
We ride out through the valley, encircled by meadows and enjoying canters along the agave-lined tracks. Leaving the valley floor, the views are breath-taking as we gaze out across the valleys to the distant ridges and volcanoes. Passing the Adobe houses, children tumble out to greet us enthusiastically, then turn their attention to keeping the errant pigs and sheep off patchwork fields of quinoa, potatoes, maize corn and lupines. Reaching the sacred Imbabura Volcano – the focus of many pre-Inca legends – we cross the valley with faster-paced riding for those that wish on the flat dirt trails, and then head back to the Hacienda via a different route. Guests can view the collection of Inca and pre-Inca pottery excavated on site and also walk into the nearby village to see the elaborate embroidery that has made this valley famous.
Riding approx. 3-6 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Picnic Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hacienda in Zuleta Valley


Day 3: Cayambe Volcano 
After breakfast – complete with the Hacienda’s own milk, cream, cheese and jam – we bid farewell and ride off to another part of the farm to see the fighting bulls, then leave the valley by a different route. Climbing into the hills alongside gorges, there are dramatic views of the hanging valleys and rocky ridges produced at the end of the Ice Age. Cantering along the forest tracks, we emerge onto a plain and look back to see some of the pre-Inca earthworks dotted around the valley – one of the first highland areas ever settled. It is rare not to spot a mighty Andean condor overhead, the 3.2 metres (10 ½ feet) wingspan leaving visitors awestruck. Riding on towards the snow-capped Cayambe Volcano that dominates the skyline, guests say goodbye to the horses and are driven back to Quito.
Riding approx. 3-6 hours
Meals included: Breakfast & Picnic Lunch


Non-Riders
If non-riders wish to accompany the tour, alternative activities can be organized for them and on most days, everyone can meet up for mid-day meals. 


Rates and Dates for Andean Valley Retreat

Rates include:

Accommodations, All meals with water (wine included with lunch) & 3 riding days with English speaking guide
Riding helmets upon prior request (but we do recommend that you bring your own), wool ponchos, saddlebags and half chaps available on request.

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescription US$
    A
    20213 day trip, AP$540
    • Weight supplement (over 85 kg, 95 kg max.)$150
      Single supplement - please inquire$0

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 Description
2021 Transfers from/to Quito Airport included
2021 Extra night in Quito - please inquire
2021 Non-rider - please inquire

Season Seasons  Min / MaxReserve
A 2021 01/01 - 12/31 3d / 2n 3 day trip, AP 1 /12 Reserve

Dates Note: This trip is available any time on demand

Rates do not include:

Transfers, Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages, Gratuities & Medical insurance (mandatory)

Note:

Due to COVID-19 Corona virus pandemic and certain travel restrictions we are applying some temporary policy changes to some of our tours.

For Andean Valley Retreat (IT-ECSR10):

We are maintaining our policy of FLEXIBILITY in number of days and accommodation to meet the requests of each group. Exceptional last minute postponement policy in place.

To ensure safety during tours, and to give you peace of mind, we have drawn up a special sanitary protocol which will be adjusted as more scientific information comes to light.

Strict staff protocol:
- Hacienda & hotel staff and transport staff will be held to the highest sanitation standards including more frequent: hand washing, wiping down of all
surfaces in the accommodation, cleaning/sanitizing of tack, and changing of linens.
- Staff will be wearing a mask at all times when interacting with guests, food, linens, tack and other items that the guests will be in contact with. Disposable gloves will be used and frequently changed between each task to reduce cross contamination.
- Staff who demonstrate even mild/potential symptoms will be asked to stay home and their work area will be cleaned immediately after their departure.

Extra handwashing points:
As well as carrying gel hand sanitizer to be used by staff and guests, there will be extra handwashing points throughout the tours.

Requirements of guests:
- Before entering transport and the hacienda guests will be asked to disinfect their shoes with alcohol provided in spray bottles and apply hand sanitizing gel. This also applies to arrival at the hacienda after each day outside riding.
- Guests will be asked to frequently wash their hands/apply gel throughout the tour
- Before departure to the hacienda, guests will be asked to have their temperature checked and to fill out a short health survey.

In the case that you are travelling to get to us here in Ecuador, make sure you are up to date on your countries travel protocols, and ask us about ours. Be sure to take extra sanitation steps throughout your journey to ensure your own health and safety.


For more information please visit our COVID-19 Updates page at https://www.hiddentrails.com/article/covid19update.aspx

Other Info
Meeting:
Airport: Quito
Transfer:

Climate:
                                                Quito 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

68

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
The climate in the Ecuadorian highlands allows us to offer rides all year round. However, you should keep in mind that weather can change quickly. Most days, we ride valley to valley and each valley/plain with its own microclimate.
During the day the temperatures can rise to 28C (82F), although most days start with a crisp morning of 8 to 10C (46 to 50F). The night time temperature can be as low as 4C (39F). These day to night temperature changes are most marked from June to November. From December to May the days remain cooler and the nights warmer. Even in the rainy season (November to April in most areas) the rain does not fall daily and is hardly ever for a prolonged span of time. Afternoon showers may occur by when the day's ride is usually over.

Special note – Altitude sickness
Please note that during riding tours we will be at over 2,600 meters / 8,500 feet above sea level and on certain tours over 4,000 m / 13,000 feet. The rides are designed to allow guests to gradually acclimatize but guests may feel some effects of altitude during the first few days (possible headaches and occasionally slight dizziness). It is vital that you follow the guides advice, let your guide know if you are feeling unwell, that you take things easy and do not over-exert yourself. Alcohol intake should be reduced and guests should be sure to drink plenty of bottled water. Aspirin can be taken to help - as long as you are not allergic.

What To Bring:
A medical kit both for horse & rider is carried on all outings however short. Most saddles have saddlebags for a few personal belongings. Pack animals are used and/or support vehicles to carry most of the equipment. Suitcases are fine, it is much better if they are ‘soft’ bags rather than hard suitcases and we ask gusts to keep luggage to a minimum – 1 reasonable sized bag (25kg/ 55lbs max)
All the hotels have telephones and on certain rides mobile telephones and/or radios are carried.
Guests are kindly requested on all rides to take a minimum of personal belongings with them. Pack animals or a vehicle bring on guests belongings to the Haciendas. Luggage storage can be organised in Quito during the ride.
All bed linen and towels will be provided on the tours.

Equipment provided by Ride Andes (where applicable):
- Wool ponchos
- Chaps/ Half Chaps (a few pairs are available on prior request).
 
Please bring enough film and batteries especially film/cartridges/memory cards for more modern equipment.  (We advise 400ASA for 35mm cameras.)  The backup vehicle can carry video cameras for guests but the vehicle will not be with the riders all the time. At altitude batteries tend to run down more quickly.

VALUABLES
Although Ecuador has one of the best records in Latin America for safety we advise:
-please take the minimum valuables and avoid wearing expensive watches/jewellery in public.
-please use the hotel/hacienda safety deposit box.
-please use money belts and do not leave valuables 'on show' or in back/outside pockets.
-while riding, valuables can be handed in to the guide for safe storage.
-in Quito, taxis should always be taken at night.

Ride Andes cannot accept any responsibility for loss/theft during your stay in Ecuador.

This list is only a guideline for you

 

Travel documents and Voucher
Flight tickets
Passport
Visa (check with your consulate)

 

RIDING GEAR
Riding chaps-full or half length
Stretch trousers/jodhpurs. We advise you against wearing denim jeans or baggy trousers. (Lightweight jodhpurs may be too thin.) Thin 'longjohns'/stockings/stretch lycra-style cycling shorts are useful under trousers/jodhpurs.
Change of trousers
Strong boots (boots/riding boots with rubber soles - you may have to walk on rough terrain)
Riding helmet  (mandatory)
Woollen scarf
Riding gloves
Wide brimmed hat ('Stetson' style, available in Quito)
Long sleeved cotton shirts
Fleece jacket
Warm, waterproof jacket (for camping tours: suitable for cold evening temperatures)

 

PERSONAL CLOTHING
Evening wear (trousers, shirt and sweater for the hotels)
Runners or canvas shoes (for evenings & market visits - comfortable, low/no heels)
 
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO BRING
Personal Toiletries
Insect repellent
Personal medications
Sore cream (for an emergency)
Sewing kit
Camera and enough extra films and batteries
Daypack
Sun glasses with strap
High protection sunscreen and lip balm 
Flashlight