Experience the beauty of the Ecuadorean Andes on horseback.
Each morning brings new experiences and a chance to contemplate the beauty of the mountains and valleys. As you ride, friendly chagras (cowboys of the Ecuadorian Andes), usually take a break from their work to greet you, exchange news. Our ride incorporates rides by Ruminahui, and Quilindaña volcanoes. And, of course, you will see the majestic highest active Cotopaxi volcano from many different angles throughout our journey.
How do we do this?
Hacienda La Alegria is situated south of Quito in the verdant valley of Machachi. As it is surrounded by eleven volcanoes, this region is often 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, marvelling at the diversity of flora, fauna, and landscape.
The start of your adventure.
The first day of your trip is designed for you to get used to the altitude and the new ecosystem as well as chose your horse and be introduced to the chagras’ lifestyle.
Indeed, you will come to appreciate the tradition and customs of the chagras’ abilities in La Alegria. In their goat-skin chaps and woollen 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. Hacienda La Alegria enjoys a special relationship with the chagras, participating with them in rodeos and festivals and visiting them in their homes each month. They are the inspiration for our journey, framed by ancient volcanoes, highland plateaus, and rivers that flow down the massive Andes towards the Amazon and the Pacific it is a wondrous place for both new and experienced visitors.
***As an optional extra two day ride before the regular trip begins, we offer a ride through the narrow cloud forest paths, surrounded by literally thousands of plant and animal species. One can’t help but be amazed by the sheer biodiversity of this area.
As we delve further into the mountains
After we have prepared for the main part of the ride, we shall start towards mighty Cotopaxi, . Cotopaxi’s we will ride past the massive rocks of Rumiñahui into the plains near Cotopaxi and then onto the Inca ruins of Salitre and their Pucara fortresses.
Cattle use same grasslands are home to Andean deer, Andean fox, as well as a variety of birds like the guarro (Andean eagle), curiquingeu (cara-cara), the kilico (falcon), chugshi (owl), bandurrias (black ibis), urco paloma (sea gull), ducks, and the majestic condor.
We cross extensive properties, some with more than 40,000 acres, with our sturdy and well trained horses we climb to altitudes exceeding 12000 feet (4200m) and ride down to hidden valleys like Pedregal, Yanachiza, and Vicius valley where we will be able to experience the exhilaration of full 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 Hacienda La Alegria and the end of our journey, our memories of this rugged but beautiful world will linger as a life time ride