Horseback riding in Highlands Riding Tours, Ecuador

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- Cotopaxi and Quilotoa Loops
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Equestrian tours in Ecuador, Highlands Riding Tours
Cotopaxi and Quilotoa Loops

Cotopaxi and Quilotoa Loops
Highlands Riding Tours Ecuador

Ride through volcanoes, valleys, forest, and pre-Inca sites with comfortable overnights traditional Highland Haciendas!

- select special dates also include Horse- and Cattle-Round-up

Come experience the stunning beauty of the Ecuadorian Andes on horseback! Each morning will bring us new experiences and a chance to contemplate the unique beauty of the impressive mountain range and valleys on the region. Friendly “chagras”, the local Ecuadorian horsemen, often pause from their work to greet you, to exchange local news, or some will even offer a drink as they wish you luck on your travels.

This ride incorporates visits to the Corazon, Ruminahui, Quilindana, and Chalupas volcanoes, and, of course, you will see the majestic Cotopaxi volcano from as many different angles as possible throughout our journey. The only form of transportation during your trek will be your horse. They will be your partner and friend throughout this authentic adventure. Our itinerary incorporates trips through dozens of authentic working haciendas dedicated to the production of regional dairy products, potatoes, broccoli and flowers. Around the cozy fireplace of each hacienda we will reminisce about the day's events and discuss local traditions of the culture here, especially those related to the chagras.

We enjoy a special relationship with chagras, participating with them in rodeos and festivals and visiting them in their homes each month, and so we want to share this closeness with you, our guests. You will come to appreciate the tradition and customs of them, in their goat skin chaps and woolen ponchos, they welcome tourists to demonstrate their centuries old tradition of herding cattle. The chagras' skill on horseback and knowledge of the Andean paramo are legendary. They are the true inspiration for our trek, framed by ancient volcanoes, highland plateaus and rivers that flow down the massive Andes towards the Amazon and the Pacific. During these first days we shall venture to nearby mountains like Viudita and Corazon. This will be your taste of the paramo, an Andean ecosystem that encompasses approximately 12,500 square kilometres. Rolling hills of high altitude grasses, through little flowers that protect themselves from the cold with furry leaves, ravines that create micro climates that sprout a surprising variety of life; it is a wondrous place for both new and experienced visitors. Then we shall visit the colourful animal and produce market of Machachi and later we will ride through the narrow cloud forest paths, surrounded by literally thousands of plants and animal species. One can't help but be amazed by the sheer biodiversity of this area. Many riders have exhausted their cameras' memory chips and batteries in an attempt to record the endless and amazing sights. Then we shall start towards mighty Cotopaxi - the tallest active volcano in the world (5987 m), Cotopaxi's impressively symmetric cone will guide us past its surrounding hills. We will ride past the masive rocks of Ruminahui into the plains near Cotopaxi and then onto the Inca ruins of Salitre and their Pucara fortresses. We also ride towards Quilindana 4000m (13,123ft) and the extensive haciendas that surround it. In some haciendas, cattle roam free and are only rounded up and counted once a year at a massive rodeo. These same grasslands are home to Andean deer, spectacled bears, Andean fox and pumas, as well as a variety of birds like the curiquingeu (cara-cara), the kilico (falcon), the guarro (eagle), chugshi (owl), bandurrias (black ibis), urco paloma (sea gull), ducks and the majestic condor.  In warmer ravines you'll also see colorful hummingbirds sipping nectar from a multitude of flowers.

On this trip you will experience a diversity of geography and weather. Be prepared for a period of intense equatorial sun followed by the chill of the Andes' wind - all within the space of a few hours. The locals say that the highlands experience all four seasons within the same day. As we ride though the paramos, you will see the great alpaca and llama herds that roam at this altitude. The shaggy coats which protect them from the harsh elements of mountain life are also the key ingredient to a great sweater or poncho. Seeing these herds gallop together with Cotopaxi in the background is a truly amazing experience! We cross extensive properties, some with more than 40,000 acres, and with our sturdy and well trained horses we climb to altitudes exceeding 12000 feet (4000m) and ride down to hidden valleys like Pedregal, Limpiopungo, Yanachiza, Chalupas, Guagui and Secas where we will be able to experience the exhilaration of full out gallops at high altitudes. It is in these valleys of Machachi where men, shaped by the land, together with their horses, have tamed the wild bulls and produced the culture of the paramo, a world apart. Long after our return to the our home base hacienda and the end of our journey comes to an end, the memories of this rugged but beautiful world will linger for a lifetime.

Progressive Ride (no camping)
Family Vacation

Meeting: Quito Airport or Hotel
Airport: Quito
Transfer: Quito
Riders: Min 4 riders
Max 12 riders

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    Cotopaxi and Quilotoa Loops
    Tour Code: IT-ECRT10
    12 days / 11 nights ~$3,400.00
    Dates : Available all Year

    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.

    Online Reservation

    Check here for details and availability
    Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
    A 2023 11/01 - 11/12 12d / 11n 12 days, AP (10 riding days) 4 /12 Reserve
    Day to Day Itinerary
    Rates | Dates
    Tack: North American style, English style, M...
    Horses: Mixed Criollo (native South American),...
    Pace: 4-7 hours of riding daily, moderate tr...

    Airport: Quito
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