Riders approaching Cotopaxi volcano

Volcanoes and Haciendas

This horseback trail ride journeys between charming haciendas in the Ecuadorian highlands. Ride through tropical cloud forest and across the wide open paramos, where the local chagras and herders roam. Journey through the avenue of volcanoes, with the snow covered peaks of Ruminahui, Quilindana and Cotopaxi your eternal companions.
Book now Print the details for this ride
Trail Riding
10 days / 7 days riding
From £2,100
Open to non-riders
  • Group of riders about to set out on a riding holiday in Ecuador
    Explore Ecuador on horseback
  • Riders approaching Cotopaxi volcano
    The conical peak of the Cotopaxi Volcano, always best seen from horseback
  • Chagras at work: the Ecuadorian cowboy
    Ride with Chagras - the Ecuadorian cowboys
  • Riders in front of Cotopaxi volcano in Ecuador
    An exciting trail ride in the Avenue of Volcanoes
  • Horse riding trail in the avenue of volcanos
    What a view - looking into the crater of the Quilotoa
  • Riding riding towards Cotopaxi Volcano in Ecuador
    Explore the Avenue of Volcanoes in the saddle in Ecuador
  • Volcano trail on horseback around Cotapaxi in Ecuador
    Beautiful Cotopaxi in Ecuador
  • Rider relaxing and looking out of the window on a riding holiday
    Enjoy the beautiful, lush landscapes of the Ecuadorian Andes
  • Hacienda la Alegria in Ecuador
    Hacienda la Alegria will be your home for a few nights on this riding holiday
  • Hacienda la Alegria in Ecuador
    The lodges are comfortable and tastefully decorated
  • Meal set out for riders on a trail riding holiday in Ecuador
    Discover the Ecuadorian cuisine on this riding holiday

Itinerary

Highlights

- Meet local Chagras - the breeders and horsemen of the Ecuadorian Andes
- Comfort and friendly welcome of charming haciendas
- Ride among the Avenue of Volcanoes - Quilindana, Ruminahui and Cotopaxi
- Ride through the tropical cloud forests whilst acclimatising to the altitude
- Visit the colourful Indian market at Machachi
- Experience the unique fauna of the Andes - alpacas, eagles, pumas and the impressive condor
  • Day 1 1: EUROPE - QUITO - ALOAG - No riding

    Hacienda La Alegria
    Flight from Europe to Quito. Please note that flights are not included. It is likely that you will fly via a hub airport such as Madrid or Miami as there are no direct flights from the UK.

    On arrival at Quito airport you will be transferred to the hacienda to overnight (2,890m). Airport transfers are at additional cost.
  • Day 2 2: ALOAG - 4 hours riding

    Hacienda La Alegria
    After breakfast, get to know the horses and tack by starting in the arena before heading out to ride around neighbouring haciendas. Today is about acclimatising to the altitude and so it will be a steady four hour ride before returning to the hacienda for lunch.

    In the afternoon you can rest and try out the hot tub or visit the milking barn and cave where cheeses are aged.
  • Day 3 3: ALOAG - CORAZON VOLCANO - BOMBOLI - 4 hours riding

    Hacienda Bomboli
    Crossing extensive pastures and eucalyptus forests, enjoy the stunning views of the “Avenue of the Volcanoes”. From there you will appreciate the green and fertile Machachi Valley and tomorrow's route. Ascend by Corazon Volcano up to 4,000 meters and descend through the Cloud forest reserve.

    In the Cloud forest you will be able to observe a great biodiversity of plants and flowers, including giant guneras, orchids, and birds such as the turkey of the forest. In the afternoon you will arrive to Hacienda Bomboli at 3,000 m, and relax by the fireplace enjoying the sunset and watching the lights of the villages near the coast. Arrive in time for tea before a delicious meal.

    Dinner and overnight at Hacienda Bomboli.
  • Day 4 4: CORAZON VOLCANO - ALOAG - 6 hours riding

    Hacienda La Alegria
    In the morning, enjoy a walk around the Hacienda gardens to learn about orchids and plants of the Cloud Forest. Then ride uphill admiring the forest and the hundreds of flowers and plants. You will use the old road that was built in 1873 to connect Quito with the coast.

    Arrive to Hacienda La Alegria for lunch, relax and enjoy the hot tub and the fireplace.
  • Day 5 5: ALEGRIA - ISINLIVI - 5 hours riding

    Isinlivi Lodge
    Today is a long journey in the saddle. Start the ride one hour south of the Hacienda (by road transfer) to start our 4-day adventure at the southern Andes. Ride by the Inca trail and dirt trails that will take your group to Isinlivi. From this day on you will ride through a dramatic landscape, including steep ravines and narrow passages. From a distance you will see the magnificent Eastern Mountain chain. Here, the ride continues through the breathtaking hills and scenery, before arriving at a small village called the Isinlivi, that dates back to 1857. Tonight, you will be staying at a lodge.

  • Day 6 6: ISINLIVI - QUILOTOA - 5 hours riding

    Quilotoa Inn
    After breakfast you head south to the Quilotoa Crater Lake. The trail goes across the highest mountain heading west. As you 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, you finally reach the Quilotoa volcano summit at 3,800 meters above sea level, where your hostel is located. At the edge of the volcano you 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.
  • Day 7 7: QUILOTOA - SIGCHOS - SAN JOSE - 7 hours riding

    Today, you will ride to Sigchos, a village that is known ad the "last home" of the Inca general Ruminahui.
    Ready for a long day in the saddle, you will head north to the ridge of Quilotoa Crater lake. The trail will take you across the highest mountain, heading north-west. Here, you will find some small dairy farms and some artisanal cheese makers where you can take a short break and try some of the delicious, locally produced cheese.
    Arriving in the afternoon to Hacienda San Jose, you will have time to relax and enjoy the jacuzzi and sauna, and have a comfortable nights sleep at the working dairy farm and guest house.
  • Day 8 8: SAN JOSE - PLANCHALOMA - ALOAG - 6 hours riding

    Hacienda La Alegria
    The last day riding in the region will pass through several narrow old paths ascending to the high Andes paramo. From here enjoy the incredible scenery from 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 you will see the Eastern Mountain Chain before you make your way back to your starting point.
  • Day 9 9: ALOAG - QUITO - EUROPE - No riding

    After breakfast you are transferred to Quito airport for your flight home.
  • Day 10 10: EUROPE

    Arrive back in the Europe.

Dates & prices

Price details

- International flights are not included.

- Airport transfers are not included and are payable locally - $100 per car, return rate.

- The group is composed of 2 - 12 riders plus guides. There is a supplement of £120 per rider if there are only two riders.

- There is a single supplement of £120 payable if you are not prepared to share a room with another rider of the same sex.

- Children are welcome as long as they are competent riders and able to ride horses. There is a discount of c. £150 off for children of 15 years and younger (mini 12 years old).

- There is a rider weight limit of 90kgs. If you are over this limit please contact us.

- Non riders are welcome on this ride for the same cost.

- There is a possibility to extend your stay. The cost is £180/pers/night. This price includes the full pension and the riding lessons or horse trek.
Please Note
The itinerary may be modified at anytime for security reasons, meteorological or events beyond our control such as blocked roads, rivers in flood, drought, strikes and local holidays. Equus Journeys, our local partners and their local guides will always strive to find the best solution and will alter the itinerary as needed.
The names of the hotels and accommodation are given for information only and depending on availability, they may be modified without notice and replaced by another of a similar standard.

Price includes

Support Team

1 English speaking horse guide

Logistic

1 support vehicle
1 horse equipped with saddle and bridle per rider
1 "chagras" support team for horses and logistic

Accommodation

Double or triple room in Haciendas
2 nights in double or triple room in Guesthouse

Meals

Full board from first diner D1 to last breakfast D7
Beverages including beer and wine

Additional equipment

Ponchos, rain ponchos, helmet, chaps
Saddle bags

Price doesn't include

Meals

Beverage and personal extra if taken outside the hacienda Aloag

Transports

International flights bookable on request
Return airport transfers
Visa fees

Extra

Tips to local team

Insurance

Cancellation and travel insurances are not included. Please note that insurance is mandatory. We recommend to take out an insurance policy as soon as your travel is booked in case of cancellation.

Optional

Accommodation

Single room supplement

Extra

Extension at the Hacienda
  • November - December 2020

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    11/12/2020 20/12/2020 £2,100 Open Book now
  • January - February 2021

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    08/01/2021 17/01/2021 £2,100 Open Book now
    12/02/2021 21/02/2021 £2,100 Open Book now
  • May - June 2021

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    21/05/2021 30/05/2021 £2,100 Open Book now
  • July - August 2021

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    23/07/2021 01/08/2021 £2,100 Open Book now
  • September - October 2021

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    10/09/2021 19/09/2021 £2,100 Open Book now
    24/09/2021 03/10/2021 £2,100 Open Book now
    08/10/2021 17/10/2021 £2,100 Open Book now
  • November - December 2021

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    15/12/2021 24/12/2021 £2,100 Open Book now

Equestrian info

Horses

You ride local Criollo horses which are sure footed and ideally suited to the terrain and altitude.

Minimum riding ability

Minimum riding ability

You need to be a capable rider who is comfortable in all paces across varied terrain.

There is a rider weight limit of 90kgs.

Pace

The pace is varied depending on the terrain, with long periods of walk due to the altitude. There are plenty of opportunities to canter.

Tacking ability and participation

You will be asked to help groom, tack and untack your horse but help is on hand if required. You are also welcome to assist with feeding and watering the horses if you wish.

Trip conditions and Requested experience

You need to be physically fit with good endurance. This ride is at high altitude (4,500 - 5,000m) and there is a possibility of altitude sickness.

Previous experience of trail rides over a number of days would be beneficial but is not required. Riders who do not ride regularly are required to get fit before joining the trail.

Equestrian equipment

The saddles are similar to western but have a basic frame over which sheepskins are placed for comfort. Bridles are usually simple snaffles.
Ponchos and waterproof trousers are provided to help in cold weather but you should still take your own warm clothes and jackets.
Saddlebags are provided on the horses.

Travel info

Comfort

You stay in charming haciendas, in double/twin rooms with private bathrooms. Some of the haciendas are more rustic than others and there is one night in a refuge in dormitory accommodation. There is no camping on this trail ride.

Meals

Meals are produced each day by your guide. Lunches are taken as picnics in the saddle bags and dinner will be warm and hearty. Local produce is used wherever possible and is of high quality.
Be careful if drinking water from unknown sources and ask for boiled water or mineral water if you are unsure. You could also take purification tablets.

Climate

The weather can be unpredictable and it is not unusual to experience all four seasons in one day. It can be sunny, windy, cloudy or rainy and the whole range of variations can occur within a matter of hours. Temperatures can fluctuate from 7c - 10c or even as high as 25c.

At lower altitudes the weather is less variable and can be warm and sunny throughout the dry season, which is usually around June - September and December.

Guide and local team

Gabriel is your host and owner of the hacienda. He speaks good English, is very knowledgable about his country and delighted to share it with his guests. He will be supported by local chagras.

Tips

It is customary to tip in Ecuador. Porters in airports and hotels will expect c. USD 1 per bag. City restaurants will include both tax and a 10% service charge, but smaller restaurants may not include tax or tips so you will need to add them.

We would recommend tipping c. USD 5 per person per day for your guide and USD 3 per day for your driver.

Packing list

Head
- Equus Journeys strongly recommend that you wear a riding helmet and that you take your own to ensure a correct fit.
- Sunhat for when not riding
- Sunglasses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana for protecting your neck and face from the sun and dust
- Warm hat

Upper body
- Thermals in case of cold weather (can also be worn at night)
- Down jacket or warm coat for the cold evenings
- Long sleeved shirts provide protection from the sun
- T-shirts
- Lightweight fleece or jumper
- Warm polar fleece or equivalent (plus a spare in case one gets wet)
- Waterproof jacket - rain can be difficult to predict and it's better to be prepared.

Legs
- Lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- Waterproof over trousers
- Casual clothes for the evenings (jeans or walking trousers)
- Thermals in case of cold weather

Hands and Feet
- Comfortable riding boots. We recommend short boots with half chaps but you may wish to take long chaps. We don't recommend taking your favourite long leather boots in case they get damaged
- Lightweight shoes or trainers for the evenings
- Good walking boots (or hybrid walking/riding boots)
- Several pairs of warm socks
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun, wind or rain whilst riding

Nightwear
- For extra comfort, a sleeping bag. We also suggest adding a liner, such as silk or fleece for extra warmth


Our Recommendations
- You should use a soft sided suitcase which can easily be transported - we recommend a large backpack or rucksack of c. 60-80 litres
- Backpacks cannot be worn whilst riding. We recommend a small bumbag or a coat with pockets so that you can carry small items with you during the day (camera, sunscreen, lipbalm etc)
- We recommend travelling in your riding boots and carrying your hat and some riding clothes in your hand luggage - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!
- Please be aware that internal flights in Chile may have a lower luggage allowance than your international flight and you should pack according to the lowest limit.

Other useful items
- Swimsuit - for swimming/bathing in rivers
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery
- Bumbag for carrying your camera and small items whilst riding
- Headtorch or small torch for moving around camp at night - bring spare batteries and bulbs
- Ear plugs (for light sleepers)
- Water bottle - 2 x 1 litre, or equivalent
- Wet wipes for when washing water isn't available

In your luggage
- Any liquids, such as shampoo, moisturiser, deodorant unless they are less than 100ml and all bottles can fit in a small, clear, plastic ziplock bag.
- Swiss army knife or equivalent
- Lighter for burning toilet paper

In your hand luggage
- Any valuables, such as your camera, ipod, ipad etc.
- Your riding hat

Medical kit
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor
- Insect repellent
- Any medication you regularly take
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc...
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Eye drops
- Imodium or similar anti-diarrhoea medication
- Micropur or similar water purification tablets
- Re-hydration sachets
- Antiseptic wipes
- Handwash gel
- Toilet paper

Visa & Health

Formalities

All tourists need a passport valid for at least six months beyond their travel dates. In principal you also need an onward ticket or return ticket as well, although this is rarely asked for. Upon entry you will have to complete an international embarkation/disembarkation form, which is stamped along with your passport and must be kept together with it; you will have to present it when leaving the country.

Passport note:
You are legally required to carry your passport with you at all times in case of a spot check by local authorities; a photocopy is not an officially acceptable substitute and you may find that you are not allowed to return to your hotel to collect the original.

Visas:
Visas are not required by American, Canadian, Australian, British or other EU nationals for stays of up to 90 days in a 12-month period.
Visa note:
Nationals not referred to are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements for Ecuador.

Insurance:
From 22nd July 2018 onwards, tourists arriving for a stay of 90 days or less will be asked to show proof that they have appropriate travel medical insurance. This also applies to the Galapagos Islands.

Embassies
Embassy of the Republic of Ecuador in the UK
Telephone: (020) 7584 1367. Opening times: Mon-Fri 0930-1330, 1400-1630; Mon-Fri 1400-1630 (phone enquiries).
British Embassy in Ecuador
Telephone: (2) 2970 800/801. Website: https://www.gov.uk/world/ecuador/ Opening times: Mon-Thur 0830-1130 (consular services).

Addresses of consulates

  • Consulat d'Equateur en Belgique
    Avenue Louise
    B-1050 Bruxelles
    Tél. : 2644 30 50
    Fax : 2644 28 13
  • Consulat et ambassade d'Equateur
    34 Avenue de Messine
    75008 PARIS
    Tél. : 01 45 61 10 04
    Fax : 01 42 56 06 64
  • Consulat d'Equateur à Marseille
    boulevard des Bassins-du-Radoub, Cap Pinède
    13002 Marseille
    Tél. : 04 91 02 55 55
    Fax : 04 91 58 52 59
  • Ambassade de France
    Calle General Leonidas Plaza
    107 y Patria
    QUITO
    Tél. : +593 (2) 294 38 00
    Fax : +593 9416 0662
    cancilleria.quito-amba@diplomatie.gouv.fr

Health

There are no vaccinations legally required to travel to Ecuador. There is one exception though. You need a yellow fever vaccination if you have travelled to a country (7 days or less before entering Ecuador) where that disease is widely prevalent. A yellow fever vaccination is required anyway, when travelling in the Amazon rainforest east of the Andes.

It's a good thing to get your vaccinations in order before travelling to Ecuador. The general vaccination against Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio (DTP) is recommended. Also a hepatitis A vaccination is recommended and vaccination against hepatitis B, tuberculosis, rabies and typhoid are also sometimes recommended for stays longer than 3 months.
Malaria is prevalent in some parts of the country (below 2,000 metres, especially in the rainforest but also some coastal areas, none on the Galapagos Islands) and it is recommended to take malaria pills and take other normal anti-mosquito precautions as well. Dengue sometimes occurs as well. There is no vaccination, so buy mosquito repellent (preferably with 50% DEET), and sleep under a net. Also wear long sleeves if possible.

UK health authorities have classified Ecuador as having a risk of Zika virus transmission.

Finally, other possible health issues include diarrhea and other general travellers' diseases like motion sickness. Watch what you eat and drink and in case you get it, drink plenty of fluids (to prevent dehydration) and bring ORS.

Insurance

It is a condition of your booking with Equus Journeys that you have travel insurance which covers you for the riding activities to be undertaken. Your travel insurance should cover you for medical expenses and repatriation. Your guides will require your travel insurance details before they allow you to ride and may refuse to let you ride if you cannot provide them. You should take your insurance documents with you.

Voltage

120 volts AC, 60Hz. Plugs used are American-style (two perpendicular flat blades with or without a circular grounding pin).

Budget and money

The US Dollar, is the national currency of Ecuador. One dollar consists of 100 cents. Frequently used coins are the penny (1¢), nickel (5¢), dime (10¢) and quarter (25¢). 50¢ and $1 coins also exist, but are rarely used. Frequently used banknotes are the $1, $5, $10 and $20 notes. $2, $50 and $100 notes can also be found, but are rarely used.
Ecuador has minted their own coins that are the same value as the US coins. There is a larger 50 ¢, 20 ¢ and a 2 ¢ coin. Most people do not like taking bills that are larger than $10 and it can be quite hard to break $20 bills at most restaurants and shops. It is recommended to come into the country with plenty of $1, $5 and $10 bills. Most ATMs give $20 bills.

Telephone and jetlag

To dial Ecuador from the UK: 00 + 593 + City Area Code + Local number


Ecuador’s standard time is -5 Hours away from Greenwich Mean Time and Ecuador does not utilise Daylight Time Saving.

Did you know?

Did you know?

The Chagras clothes

The poncho, is said to have originated in Castille, it was worn by the founding heroes of the country and the Chagras. It works like a chimney drawing heat from the horse's body towards the rider.

The zamarrsis, or the chaps have been made of various skins throughout the years; goat, lamb, ocelot, bear, dog, wolf, seal, puma or deer have all been used. Repelling the rain and protecting the chagras from the cold and dirt.

The Chagras lasso is made of twisted leather and is the longest in the world : 25 brazadas, or 45 metres. The wooden stirrups protect from thorn bushes and offer protection against the rocks.

On the blog

From growing up in the family Hacienda in Ecuador to welcoming international riders on exhilarating trail rides in the Andes, Gabriel, your guide in Ecuador,   shares his story with us in an interview on the blog:  click here