Chagra Parade & Quilotoa Ride


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.

Chagras come from different provinces just to be part of this parade and spectators come from all over the country. At the bagging of the trip we will also visit an indigenous market where riders will have the opportunity to see animals, crops and handicrafts as well as the chance to do some shopping. On the fifth day we will head towards the cloud forest. As we ride through the narrow cloud forest paths we will be surrounded by literally thousands of plant and animal species, very different from the ones you will be seeing the next days in the high mountains. One can’t help but be amazed by the sheer new environment.

We will be part of the annual Chagra Parade where riders will understand the importance of the Chagra not only in Machachi but in Ecuador as well.

Day 1: July 13 Arrive to Quito in the evening, transfer to Hacienda La Alegria (2890mts)
Day 2: July 14th The Saquisili market, one of the largest traditional markets of Ecuador. The market encompasses various plazas and sells live stock, food produce, antique artifacts, handcrafts and more. Option to ride in the afternoon.
Overnight at Hacienda La Alegria
Riding time 3 hours
Day 3 July 15th Today we get back on our horses and ride towards the west through the dairy farms and up to 3500 mts we continue behind the Viudita mountain (3800 mts) with the opportunity to ascend to the top. We will have a snack and come back to Hacienda La Alegria for a late lunch. Enjoy the evening in the fireplace room listening to local music and a comfortable evening.
Overnight at Hacienda La Alegria
Riding time 5 hours
Day 4 Saturday July 16th, Chagra’s Parade. Today we will ride to Machachi (the capital of the Chagras) to honor the Chagras and their culture. You will be part of the Parade. Between 1-2 thousand horses will be part of the parade that takes place in the streets of Machachi. The food, the music, the colorful dresses and decoration, makes the environment very festive. There are hundreds of Chagras dressed with their attire and showing off her horses.
Overnight at Hacienda La Alegria
Riding time +5 hours (parade)
Day 5: Sunday July 17th market & lasso competition (Machachi optional by car), lunch at hacienda la Alegria and ride to Bomboli cloud forest located on the skirts of Corazon. We will arrive at Hacienda Bomboli (3000 mts) and will have time for a short walk and appreciate beautiful orchids, fern trees and guneras before supper.
Overnight at Bomboli Cloud forest
Riding time +4 hours
Day 6: Monday July 18th We ride towards the Machachi valley through secondary roads and dairy farms. We continue our ride to Hacienda La Alegria were we will stay the last night before our four days adventure.
Overnight at Hacienda La Alegria
Riding time 5 hours
Day 7: Tuesday July 19st We ride towards the Volcan Illiniza. From there we will be able to observe closer the peaks of the two Illinizas (5100mts) and have them on our back, our direction by all day is west.
Today is a long journey on the saddle. We will start the ride one hour south of Hacienda La Alegria; we will be transferred by car to this point to start our 4-day adventure at the southern Andes. We will ride by the Inca trail and dirt trails that will take us to Sigchos, the village that was known as the “last home” of the Inca general Ruminahui. 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 past centuries. We will arrive at the Hacienda San Jose, a working dairy farm and guesthouse, in time for a good meal, Jacuzzi, sauna and a confortable night. Our horses will have lush fields of fresh grass.
Overnight at Hacienda San Jose Sigchos
Riding time 8 hours
Day 8: Wednesday July 20th
After breakfast we head south to the Quilotoa Crater Lake. The trail goes across the highest mountain heading west. There we will find some small dairy farms and a couple of artisanal cheese makers. As we descend to the Canyon the environment becomes arid and desolate. The soil is composed by pumice from the Quilotoa volcano that erupted 1,280 years ago. In the afternoon we will arrive to the Quilotoa volcano summit at 3,800 meters above sea level, where our hostel is awaiting. At the edge of the volcano we will enjoy and amazing view of the breathtaking Quilotoa Crater Lake. The 3 kilometer wide caldera was formed by the collapse of this volcano after the last eruption.
Overnight at Quilotoa crater lake Inn
Riding time:8 hours
Day 9: Thursday July 21th
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 local. Overnight Insilivi Inn
Riding time 4+ hours
Day 10: Friday July 22th
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.
Overnight at Hacienda La Alegria
Riding time 5 hours
Day 11: Saturday July 23th
After breakfast visit the historic Quito, City tour, handcraft market, churches, lunch, in town.
Overnight in Quito , lunch included
Day 12: Sunday July 24th
Transfer to airport