Our Horse Rides
Cotopaxi and Quilotoa Loop 10 day ride
Arrival the day before to Hacienda la Alegria and overnight at the hacienda
Day 1: Alegria
In the morning, we try the horses and ride in a closed arena until you feel comfortable with your horse and tack.
We ride west through the dairy farms and up to 3,500 m behind the Viudita Mountain (3,800 mts). We will have a lunch box and come back to Hacienda La Alegria to enjoy the evening in the fireplace and hot tub.
From there we can appreciate the green and fertile Machachi Valley and we can also see the routes we will take the next day along the east mountain chain.
Accommodation: Hacienda La Alegria.
Riding time 5 hours
Day 2: Cloud Forest
In the morning, we ride west towards the Corazon to 4,000 meters and descend to the cloud forest.
We ride by 3 different ecosystems as the valley, paramo and arriving to cloud forest.
At the cloud forest, we can observe a great biodiversity of plants and flowers, including giant guneras, orchids, and birds such as the turkey of the forest (guan). In the afternoon, we arrive for tea at Hacienda Bomboli (3,000 m), relax by the fireplace, enjoying the sunset, and watch the lights of the villages near the coast following a great meal.
Accommodation: Hacienda Bomboli
Riding hours: 6 hours
Day 3: Alegria
We leave behind the cloud forest and ride the old road that until1960 connected Quito with the coast.
ride behind the valley on the old road that was built in 1873 to connect Quito with the coast.
Crossing extensive pastures and eucalyptus forests we arrive to the valley for lunch at the Hacienda. Delicious lunch and dinner at the Hacienda.
Accommodation: Hacienda La Alegria
Riding hours: 4 + hours
Day 4: Cotopaxi Volcano
Breakfast, prepare horses for our first long journey from Hacienda La Alegria eastward in the Andes, crossing the Machachi valley and volcano Rumiñahui to arrive to our overnight refuge at Cotopaxi National Park where we will have all comfort as hot shower and a delicious dinner by the fire, with the Cotopaxi active volcano as our main scenery in front. Night in mountain refuge at 3750 meters
Accommodations: Lodge Tambopaxi Cotopaxi National Park
Riding hours: 8hours
Day 5 South of Cotopaxi
Early morning you would have the extraordinary view of the active volcano, breakfast, the challenge of the day will be to cover the northern base of Cotopaxi, heading east on a long journey that ends in the skirts of the Morro mountain
We ride in close proximity to berber breed wild horse herds that live in the park and are descendants of the horses brought by the Spanish in the 16th century. Lunch box
Accommodations: Hacienda Pansache, Camping 3500 mts high
Riding hours: 8+ hours
Day 6 La Cienega
We leave the mountain and head west on long trails of large wilderness areas with pine trees. We will continue along the warmer valley and stop for lunch, and see the giant volcano Cotopaxi from the south side. At the end of the afternoon we will arrive to Hacienda La Cienega built in 1570, now a luxury hotel that will allow us to rest after a long journey.
Riding time: 6
Dinner and night at Hacienda La Cienega (3000 meters high)
Day 7: Sigchos
This part has long journey on the saddle. We start the ride 30 minutes south of Hacienda la Cienega, we will be transfer by car to this point to start our adventure at the West Andes. Today we will ride by the Inca trail and dirt roads and paths that takes us to Sigchos, the village that was known as the “last home” of the Inca Atahualpa
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 last centuries.
We arrive at the Hacienda San Jose, a working dairy farm and guest house.
In time for a good meal, Jacuzzi, sauna, dinner and rest.
Our horses will be at lush fields of fresh grass, the last for the remainder of the expedition.
Overnight at Hacienda San Jose
Riding time 8 hours
Day 8: Sigchos to Quilotoa
After breakfast we head south to the Quilotoa crater lake.
The trail goes up to the mountain and after lunch by the bottom of the Toachi canyon.
The challenge will be to get to the Quilotoa summit at 3,800 meters above sea level, where our hostal is awaiting. At the cliff of the volcano we will enjoy and amazing view of the breathtaking Quilotoa crater lake.
There are few agricultural villages and houses, and the land is very dry and the soil is composed by pumice from the Quilotoa volcano that erupted 1,280 years ago.
Quilotoa is a crater lake caldera and the most western volcano in the Ecuadorian Andes. The 3 kilometer wide caldera was formed by the collapse of this dacite volcano following a catastrophic eruption. Elevation: 12,841′ (3,914 m) Last eruption: 1280
Overnight at Quilotoa,
Riding time 8+ hours,
Day 9: ISINLIVI
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: Lodge at Insilivi
Riding hours: +4 hours
Day 10 – PLANCHALOMA-HACIENDA LA ALEGRIA- (AIRPORT IF NEEDED)
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 by vehicle and transfer to the airport for night flights if needed.
Accommodations: Hacienda La Alegria
Riding hours: 5+ hours
Chagra Parade & Quilotoa Loop
The Around Cotopaxi & Chagra Parade Ride is offered once a year in July when the town of Machachi has its annual Parade. It is a 14 day ride which follows the Around Cotopaxi program but includes an extra day for the Chagra Parade. This Parade is a commemoration of Cotopaxi`s last eruption and about 2000 Chagras participate by horse. This ride is specifically designed for those looking for a cultural immersion and adventure. On the first days, riders will have the opportunity to acclimatize to the altitude.
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