Hacienda La Alegria is located south of Quito in the verdant valley of Machachi. As it is surrounded by eleven volcanoes, this region is referred to as “The Volcano Avenue”.
Uniquely, the only form of transportation during your trip will be your horse. They will be your partner throughout this adventure. We will thoroughly explore and experience the grandeur of the Andes, from the west to the east mountain chain, marvelling at the diversity of flora, fauna, and landscape. And, of course, you will have the opportunity to admire the majestic Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano on earth.
One of the unique features of the environment around Hacienda La Alegria is the endangered habitat of the Ecuadorian cloud forest. These subtropical montane cloud forests used to cloak much of the steep western slopes of the Andes between 1,000 and 3,000 meters, but are now classified as threatenedWe are extremely fortunate to have an area of unspoilt primary forest close to La Alegria. These luxuriant forests rank among some of the most bio-diverse habitats on the planet, with an astonishingly profusion of plant life, wax palms, giant guneras (or the poor man’s umbrella), majestic trees covered with moss, orchids, epiphytes (air plants), high-altitude bamboo and tree fern, the oldest species in the world. There are hundrends of diferent Orchids. Bird-watching is popular, with hummingbirds, nightjars, and other exotic species present boasts than any other country.
At the cloud forest you will enter a completely different environment and see an exciting change in the surrounding vegetation. Spectacular riding ascending up to 40000 meters and experience a lush native tundra landscape. Descent toward the coast and experience incredible sub-tropical vegetation along the way.
Here, nestled deep in the mystical cloud forest, learn about medicinal plants and trees that are native to the area, and be regaled by tales of the remote life of living in the Cloud Forest.
THREE DAY RIDE HACIENDA LA ALEGRIA TO THE CLOUD FOREST
Ride in the arena and get acquainted with the horses and tack that we will use during the ride. We then ride around the neighboring Haciendas and mountains as Viudita or Corazon. Our first experiences at altitude starts this first day. Lunch in the Hacienda house, visit the milking barn and aging cheese cave, and enjoy the hot tub and fireplace.
Accommodations: Hacienda La Alegria
Riding hours: 4 hours
In the morning we ride west towards the Corazon to 4,000 meters and descend to the 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
We leave behind the cloud forest and ride the old road that until1960 connected Quito with the coast. 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. Crossing extensive pastures and eucalyptus forests we arrive to the valley at time for a Delicious late lunch at the Hacienda.
Riding hours: 4 hours
• 3 days quality horseback riding in the Ecuadorian Andes with all the necessary equipment, including wool ponchos, rain ponchos and chaps, horse bag, and helmets.
• Bilingual guide (Spanish/English)
• All meals feature delicious, gourmet international and Ecuadorian food, wine and beer included.
• Lunch boxes on the second day ride, the first and third day are with lunch at the hacienda.
• Your choice of wool protected saddles. You may also bring your own equipment.
• Suitable for families with children 12 years and older with good riding skills and capacity for long journeys. 15% discount for children up to 15.
• Two riders on the ride will incur an additional fee of $50 per rider.
• Single supplement $150 dollars
• 100% horseback trip (Once you start the ride you are not transferred by car on any day of the trip)
• Pace: Moderate, trots and canters
• High quality, easy to ride, trained horses full of stamina owned exclusively by Hacienda La Alegria
• Optional riding training at Hacienda La Alegria.
• High-quality, well-maintained tack and equipment
• Visits to several friendly haciendas throughout the countryside
• Visits and horseback rides at the VOLCANO AVENUE
• Hacienda La Alegria maintains close relationships with and supports two local, rural schools
• We promote the preservation of the local culture and educate visitors about the “chagras” (local cowboys).
• Hacienda la Alegria is environment-friendly (we produce organically, conserve energy and water, and compost waste). Smart Voyager Certified, Calidad Q
The following is a personal equipment list suggested for traveling this circuit. Day temperatures can vary considerably in the mountains (65º F during the daytime, 40º F at night). Average temperatures will range in 50’s.
Shirt: Cotton or wool, long sleeved
Sweater: Heavy wool or fleece sweater or vest
Trousers: Full length, wool, blend, pile or other warm pants.
Underwear: Light-weight (polypropylene) thermal underwear, top and bottom
Headwear: Helmet (provided) bandana, and sunglasses.
Jackets: Insulated or Gore-Tex mountain parka for rain and wind (important)
Gloves: Wool, waterproof highly recommended
Socks: Wool or polypropylene
Footwear: waterproof lightweight hiking boots.
Sun-blocking lotions +30 and lipstick ointments (important)