- Chance to kayak on Quilotoa's crater lake
- Visit the thermal hot springs at El Salado and Tungurahua
Day 1 1: EUROPE - QUITO - ALOAG - No ridingHacienda La AlegriaFly to Quito. 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. Depending on your flight schedules, there might be time for a short ride.
Day 2 2: ALOAG - 4 hours ridingHacienda La AlegriaAfter breakfast, you will try out the horses and ride in a closed arena until you feel comfortable with your horse and the tack. There will be the opportunity to change horses if you aren't happy with the first one selected for you.
Today’s ride is an acclimatisation ride around the hacienda. You will observe the green valley of Machachi and the soaring mountains of the "Avenue of Volcanoes" where you will be riding throughout the rest of your trip.
Returning to the hacienda for a late lunch in the afternoon, you may choose to take a tour around the yard and watch the cows being milked.
In the evening, don't forget to make the best of the hot tub!
Day 3 3: ALEGRIA - CORAZON VOLCANO - HACIENDA BOMBOLI - 6 hours ridingHacienda BomboliToday you will set off on the trail starting from Hacienda La Alegria. Riding west, you will reach the Volcano Corazon at 4000m high then riding down through 3 ecosystems going from the paramo in the high plateau to the rich grass of the valley and the tropical forest at the end of the day where you will be surrounded by the tree fern, orchids and a large variety of birds.
The paramo ecosytem can be found around the northern Andes of South America above the continuous forest line. It is a neotropical high mountain biome composed of giant rosette plants and scrubs.
In the afternoon, you will reach the Hacienda Bomboli located at 3000m just in time for tea. You can spend the evening in front of the fireplace admiring the beautiful sunset and lights along the coast.
You will have dinner and spend the night at the Hacienda.
Day 4 4: HACIENDA BOMBOLI - HACIENDA LA ALEGRIA - 4h30 hours ridingHacienda La AlegriaYou will be able to explore the beautiful garden around the hacienda and discover a wide variety of cloud forest plants, including orchids. Thanks to the region’s microclimate, over the following days you will get to experience a vast range of vegetation.
Then you will leave the cloud forest behind and follow the ancient path leading from Quito to the coast which offers beautiful views of the green Machachi valley and along "the Avenue of Volcanoes" - giving you a glimpse of the ride to come.
Riding through the steppes and the eucalyptus forest in the evening, you will reach the hacienda where a warm and delightful dinner will be waiting.
Day 5 5: ALOAG - SIGCHOS - 8 hours riding-40kmIsinlivi LodgeNow better acquainted with your horse, the climate and the altitude, you will set out on your expedition through the amazing scenery of the Andes Mountains.
After a 1 hour car transfer to the south you will start the ride with a full 8 hours in the saddle. You will ride among a herd of free-running horses.
Your ride will follows an Inca trail and secondary road which leads directly to Sigchos - the village that was known as the last home of the Inca general Ruminahui. From this point on, you will be riding through a dramatic landscape which includes steep ravines and narrow passages.
Even though you can see your destination and it looks close, you have to cross many mountain chains to get there - passing through a combination of forest, rocky peaks and eroded land as well as the Toachi Canyon.
After a long day’s ride, you will arrive at Hacienda San Jose which is a working dairy farm and guest house. There should be time for a Jacuzzi, sauna or swim in the pool before dinner.
Day 6 6: SIGCHOS - QUILOTOA CRATER LAKE - 8 hours ridingQuilotoa InnYour destination is Quilotoa a crater lake (a water-filled caldera) and the most western volcano in the Ecuadorian Andes. The 3-kilometre-wide caldera was formed by the collapse of this volcano following a catastrophic eruption in1280.
On the day’s ride, you will be able to enjoy breathtaking scenery and views of the lake.
You will spend the night at Quilotoa Lodge on the edge of the Quilotoa crater.
Day 7 7: QUILOTOA - GUAMBAINE - 8 hours ridingLeaving Quilotoa behind, you will ride to the nearest village – Zumbahua the start point of your long trek into the high Andes.
This village is a small, isolated homestead of about 50 families - there are no roads and the only connection to civilisation is along a 3 hour path to Angamarca.
You will see herds of llamas which are used as pack animals, as well as sheep being cared for by children working as shepherds.
This will be an intense riding day and will be the climax of your adventure.
You will be some of the very few tourists to visit this area and will camp in tents whilst using one of the grass huts as a kitchen.
Your guides built a path to the east to help this community cross the mountain chain enabling the locals to sell their products at larger markets and allow them to achieve better prices for their products such as cheese, potatoes, broad beans and barley.
Day 8 8: GUAMBAIN - EL SALADO - 7 hours ridingEarly in the morning you should have the opportunity to admire the extraordinary combination of the sunrise and the clouds arriving from the western cloud forest.
Today you will encounter a dramatic change in the ecosystem. Riding from the high mountains to the low valleys, you'll see thousands of small farms - a lot of them produce milk (50% of the milk produced in Ecuador is from farms of fewer than 3 hectares).
You will ride past a ravine which originates from Chimborazo volcano (6,300m and the highest volcano in Ecuador). You will ride along the river bank on old road built in the 1830’s called “Camino de Flores” - this was the first road to connect the highlands with the coast.
In the afternoon, you will arrive at Salado hot springs where you will set up camp and prepare a BBQ.
Today you will have a support vehicle.
Day 9 9: EL SALADO - CHIMBORAZO - 8 hours ridingYour expedition continues and today will be a challenging ride around the skirt of the Chimborazo volcano.
Chimborazo is a currently inactive stratovolcano in the Cordillera Occidental range of the Andes. Its last known eruption is believed to have occurred around 550 AD and it is 6,268m high.
You will ride in an easterly direction following the southerly edge of Chimborazo, with Carihuairazo volcano on your left. The scenery changes from a desert full of running vicunas (small relative of the llama) to the swampy, green paramo.
This is an area full of climbing/hiking paths and you will finish the day on the eastern face of Chimborazo at a guest house (dormitory).
Day 10 10: CHIMBORAZO - BANOS-8 hours riding - 8 hours ridingYour last day’s ride will lead you to Banos, a city located at the foot of the volcano Tungurahua, well-known for its eruptions, smoke and ash expulsions over the last 14 years. The ride will start at an altitude of 4000m and you will ride down litlle by little, to the Chambo Canyon, through potato and bean plantation.
After a 1600m descent, with glorious views and changes in the scenery, you will reach Banos at 2400m. Here, the horses will be driven back to the Hacienda Aloag and you will enjoy the charming city of Banos.
You will have dinner and stay the night in a hotel in Banos.
Day 11 11: TUNGURAHUA - ALOAG - No ridingHacienda La AlegriaAfter breakfast there is time to visit Banos and enjoy its waterfalls, hot springs and do some shopping.
You will be collected from Banos and be driven back to the hacienda to for lunch. You may chose to stretch out your muscles by going for a walk around the hacienda before a final group dinner to recount your adventures.
Day 12 12: ALOAG - QUITO - EUROPE - No ridingAfter breakfast you will be transferred to Quito in time for your flight home. Depending on your flight route you may arrive home tonight or tomorrow.
Dates & prices
- The group is composed of 2 - 6 riders plus guides. There is a supplement of £120/$150/€125 per rider if there are only 2 riders in the group. This will be invoiced at the time of the booking and reimbursed once a third rider signs up.
- Airport transfers are not included and are at a cost of $100 return (approx. £75), divided by the number of riders on the transfer, payable locally.
- There is a single supplement of £120/$150/€125 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. £240/$330/€280 of for children of 15 years and younger (minimum 12 years old).
- There is a possibility to extend your stay. The cost is £180/$250/€210 pers/night (sharing). This price includes full-board accommodation and riding lessons or a trail ride.
- 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
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.
A team of chagras to look after your horses
1 support vehicle
Hostel accommodation on 2 nights
Mountain Huts/Refuge on one night
2 person tents on 2 nights
Snacks and drinks
Price doesn't include
Minimum riding ability
Minimum riding ability
There is a rider weight limit of 90kgs.
You will be required to get off and lead your horse over some of the technical sections.
Tacking ability and participation
Trip conditions and Requested experience
You need to be an adventurous person and accept that things might go to plan.
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.
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.
You spend three nights in your guide's hacienda in comfortable double/twin rooms with private bathrooms. The hacienda is tastefully decorated.
There are four nights in hostels and one night in a guesthouse, in sharing rooms with bathrooms. You spend one night in a refuge (mountain hut with dormitory accommodation) and two nights camping in two man tents.
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.
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
We would recommend tipping c. USD 5 per person per day for your guide and USD 3 per day for your driver.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- Sleeping bag with a comfort rating of at least minus 5c, preferably minus 10c. We also suggest adding a liner, such as silk or fleece for extra warmth
- Thermarest pad or similar self-inflating mattress
(These items can be hired at extra cost - payable locally, but must be requested in advance).
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
- 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
- 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!
Visa & Health
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 are not required by American, Canadian, Australian, British or other EU nationals for stays of up to 90 days in a 12-month period.
Nationals not referred to are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements for Ecuador.
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.
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
Tél. : 2644 30 50
Fax : 2644 28 13
- Consulat et ambassade d'Equateur
34 Avenue de Messine
Tél. : 01 45 61 10 04
Fax : 01 42 56 06 64
- Consulat d'Equateur à Marseille
boulevard des Bassins-du-Radoub, Cap Pinède
Tél. : 04 91 02 55 55
Fax : 04 91 58 52 59
- Ambassade de France
Calle General Leonidas Plaza
107 y Patria
Tél. : +593 (2) 294 38 00
Fax : +593 9416 0662
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.
Budget and money
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
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?
This scavenger raptor, is the single species of vulture. It lives in South America, all along the Andes Cordillera and the Pacific coast. With its 3.2 metre wingspan, it is the largest bird, of the western hemisphere, only exceeded by the howler albatross, a huge sea bird with a wingspan ranging from 3.6 metres.
During your riding in Ecuador, you may get the opportunity to see one of these amazing birds.
Living at altitudes between 3000 to 5000 m generally in inaccessible rocks, the condor is essentially a vulture. It prefers big carcasses, such as stags or cattle.
The Andes condor, is the national symbol for Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador and plays an important role in folklore and the andean regions mythology.
On the blog
Equus Journeys' reply
Many thanks Jessica for your kind words. I'm sure Gabriel was delighted to show you his beautiful country!