Horseback riding

Ecuador horseback riding tours adventures on horses

Sample itinerary horseback riding tour

Horseback riding tours can be arranged to a variety of attraction in and around Ecuador. This is the best way to see rural Ecuador where you can visit pre-Incan ruins, local markets, towering waterfalls and Andean villages. You have the opportunity to discover this exciting landscape on horseback, right into the furthest corners of the country, passing by deep gorges, rushing mountain streams yielding warm volcanic springs, eroded lava fields blooming with wild orchids and much more.

As we only use reliable, good-natured horses from which some of them are extremely calm and other ones full of temperament, our tours are suitable for beginners and children as well as for experienced riders. Nevertheless we rather advise beginners to take short tours because the unusual muscular demands and concentration while riding can become demanding in the long run.

For longer rides you should have at least some experience, a good physical shape as well as a healthy thirst for adventure. On most tours partly difficult sections must also be overcome by foot. The weight of the participants should not exceed 195 pounds.

All our horseback riding trips include:

  • Qquality horse back riding with all necessary equipment
  • Overnight stays at distinct highland haciendas and tent camps depending on itinerary
  • All transfers
  • All meals and boxed lunches 
  • The countries finest horses and an experienced bilingual guide
  • Support vehicle

Below is sample horseback riding expedition in the Andes of Ecuador

Day 1 - Hacienda La Carriona

Transfer from airport to Sangolqui valley in the southern outskirts of Quito. Your stop is in the first highland hacienda of the circuit: La Carriona.Your suite, decorated comfortably to savor a family environment of the haciendas in the highlands also offers a modern bathroom. You are perfectly situated to begin your ride in the central highlands. The hacienda is the perfect place for relaxing by the heated pool, sauna, or simply enjoying the beauty of the hacienda.

Day 2 - Haciend La Carriona - Hacienda La Alegria

Riding time 4-hrs

Adaptation to horses and altitude: You will be picked up from La Carriona and driven along the spectacular "Avenue of the Volcanoes" to Hacienda La Alegria. Your host, Gabriel Espinosa, is passionate about horses and riding, and you will soon see why his operation is famed for the quality of his horses. You will be given the chance to get use to your horse in the safety of our "round" and paddock. A 4 hour ride to the Viudita mountain is scheduled. From its top you will be able to enjoy a stunning sunset view. This mountain is a perfect fit for a first day ride on Ecuador’s highlands. You may later enjoy our bar and listen to the old farm tales.

Day 3  - Hacienda La Alegria - Cloud forest

Riding time 5-hrs

Breakfast will be served at 8:00 am. You will take a five-minute ride to make sure you feel comfortable with your assigned horse and riding equipment. Then we start our ride to “Monte Obscuro” Dark Hill on the west side of the hacienda. Here you will witness a different environment in this Reserve while observing exciting changes of vegetation in short distances. After 2 ½ hours of riding up to 3.500 m a.s.l, we will start to descend towards the coast and experience an incredible sub-tropical vegetation typical of the western mountain chain. We will shortly come to a first stop to eat an Ecuadorian meal at a farm located in the cloud forest. Ride back to Hacienda La Alegria.

Day 4 - Hacienda La Alegria - Rumiñahui and Cotopaxi 

Riding time-7hrs

Early breakfast and departure from Hacienda La Alegria towards the town of Machachi, known as the capital of the Ecuadorian cowboys “Chagras”. We will ride upward to 4,200m near the peak of the rocky Ruminahui Mountain and continue to Limpiopungo Lake in the Cotopaxi National Park. Our destination will be a cozy lodge awaiting us for your day’s rest. An overnight stay in this comfortable lodge and a hot shower will undoubtedly renew your body. Enjoy dinner and share our pleasant experiences close to an inviting fireplace. If the weather permits it, admire a star sparkled moonlight sky.

The following morning, get up early to appreciate the most incredible scenery right in front of your eyes.....the snow capped Cotopaxi volcano.

Day 5 - Cotopaxi - Sto Domingo Lake - Hacienda Yanahurco.

Riding time-6hrs

This day will be your opportunity to canter in some parts of the ride: crossing terrain that resembles the lunar surface, pass the Santo Domingo Lake; descend to the Vicious Valley, a canyon formed by the Cotopaxi lava flow route; and spot along the ride herds of wild horses, fox, deer and birds of the area. After Lunch, we receive the chagras that will work in the farm cattle round- up, explore the surroundings of Yanahurco by foot. At night, enjoy a briefing of Yanahurco`s attractions and activities such as its annual cattle rodeo and its wild horse rodeo by a sparkling fireplace.

Day 6 - Hacienda Yanahurco - Jatuncocha Lake Ride

Riding time: 4- hrs

Today you will be given the chance to ride with real chagras, mustering wild fighting bulls in the most incredible mountain environment. The day starts with a hearty breakfast, you will have earned after a short time! Everyone saddles up to ride and gathers by horseback in a semi-circle in front of the “patron” (owner of the hacienda) and head of the chagras to be given the riding instructions for the day. You will be assigned a chagra who takes care of you for the day and makes sure you will be safe at all moments. We ride up the “páramo” to the high ridges surrounding the local mountains, climbing from 3600 to 4000 m.

After a long ride east towards the gateway to the jungle, passing rain forests and land of wild cattle, at mid-day you reach the spectacular Jatuncocha Lake (800 m long and 600 m wide). A rustic campsite stands next to this solitary and untouched site. Overnight accommodations are waiting for you and your team of riders and horses. Enjoy preparing trout you have fished during the evening next to a warm campfire and eat a delightful dinner which the chagras will serve.

Day 7 - Andean Rodeo (Rodeo is available in November and March, other activities are possible at other dates)

After breakfast, we ride back to hacienda Yanahurco pushing along the 800 heads of cattle rounded –up in this area of the hacienda. We have our lunch along the trail and arrive to the hacienda late afternoon after a long beautiful journey working along with the chagras to keep the herd together. It is now time to relax and enjoy a delicious meal at the farm.

Day 8 - Antisana wildlife refuge - Hacienda La Carriona

The day starts with a hearty breakfast at 7am! We saddle up and gather in a semi-circle again to listen to the “chagras´” new riding instructions for this day. Right after this, we bid these hospitable cowboys farewell, to continue our ride on another route further north towards the spectacular snowy cone of Antisana across the truly awe-inspiring land which lies between Quilindana, Cotopaxi, and the Sincholagua mountains. We arrive at lunch time to the Hacienda Antisana. Here we say goodbye to our horses and after a short optional activity in the Mica Lake, we head back to Hacienda La Carriona for our last overnight.

Day 9 - Hacienda La Carriona - ?

Transfer to airport from La Carriona or join a trip extension into the Choco jungle  or enjoy a Galapagos boutique cruise or Amazon cruise tour

Trip Notes

The above is a sample itinerary prepared for a horseback riding trip. It can be customized to fit the needs and special interests of your travellers.