This trip will take you through the very heart of the Western Andes and its unbroken beauty. You will start from a local ranch inside the Pululahua Crater, north of Quito. From there, the trek goes to the magical Guayllabamba river valley, visited and settled by ancient Ecuadorian cultures a long time ago, even before the arrival of the Incas. Therefore it is called the Sacred Valley. There are a lot of ancient paths, almost nearly forgotten nowadays, but traced and used by over 1000 year old cultures, some of who’s many different testimonies you will encounter and admire on your ride:
Pre-historical fortresses, ceremonial places, grave hillocks, terraces and stone carvings in midst a pleasant climate and lush vegetation, are an experience to enjoy in three interesting riding days.
This trip addresses to rather experienced riders, as it is a great combination of steep adventurous climbs through dense vegetation, and gallop stretches on mountain ridges with wide open views. On top of it all, you’ll come across the oldest Arrayan forest of South America, mystical mossy trees where elves and fairies have their home.
9:30 am pick-up from meeting point in Quito. You’ll drive you over the western cordillera in direction of the Pacific cloud forest on the slopes of Pululahua volcano.
Scenery and micro-climate change around each major roadturn, and you get an impression of what variety awaits you on your ride. Along the way, you will stop at the Equator museum Intiñan, 15-km north from Quito with information on the ancient cultures that have determined the equator line more than thousand years ago.
You’ll learn some interesting facts about geo-physics and the people which once ruled the Center of the Earth. Typical Ecuadorian lunch and drive to the ranch inside Pululahua caldera where your horses await you. Warm-up afternoon ride through the enchanted crater valley, towards the scenic art-style country Inn of Rolando Vera, Ecuador’s fastest Marathon runner. His burning “volcancitos”, hot volcanic drinks, are part of your experience of a lifetime.
Riding time: 2-3 hours
Along cloud-forest covered mountain slopes, you’ll be passing by deep gorges, carved by lava streams thousands of years ago. Through the narrow passage of the Rio Blanco canyon, you finally reach the valley of the Rio Guayllabamba, a sacred valley for prehispanic cultures, with its warm and tropical climate, where you will find coffee trees, fields of sugar cane and a lot of tropical fruits. Legendary historical sites can be observed along the way. When the afternoon light breaks through the clouds over the pre-Inca-fortress Portalanza, this mountain-valley looks most certainly like taken from a fairy tale. “Aguacatal” is the name of the very remote (no electricity!) and beautiful farm that offers you beds for tonight in cozy wooden cabañas (alternatively ancient Jesuit Hacienda Niebli de la Compañia, depending on availability). Welcome drink and great home-made hot meal.
Having found this unique place at the end of the world, you will explore the stunning surroundings refilling your energies with Doña Hildas Austrian Kaiserschmarrn in the middle of nowhere. In the morning you invite you for a 3 hours ride, to take a look at mysterious 1300 years old stone-carvings from the Yumbo-culture. The visit of a nearby Hacienda that was ruled by the Jesuit-community during colonial time and shows interesting historical evidences, is another option. Those, who’d like to change activity for a while, can go for a walk, collecting tropical fruit, head for a shower under a natural waterfall or just hang out for a day, enjoying the enchanted and unique scenery of your rest place. Home-made lunch at Doña Hildas place, overnight at the same place.
Riding time: 3 hours
Another day for the adventurous and nature lovers! Following the course of the furious and turbulent river Guayllabamba upstream for several hours, you shall enjoy some really breathtaking views. From the back of your horses, you’re overlooking the steep and winding gorges, a comprised version of the Grand Canyon. This valley has been settled long before the arrival of the Incas, by cultures who were farming the steep difficult land, building temples for their gods and knowing the exact position of the equator line.
Today’s 6-8 hours ride along the river and up Pululahua´s outer crater walls, combines steep adventurous climbs through dense vegetation with gallop stretches on mountain ridges with wide open views. Towards the end of the day, you’ll be crossing an old Arrayan forest, winding downhill amongst mystical mossy trees, back into the crater valley. Hiking parts necessary. Arrival at the Green Horse Ranch and transport back to Quito. Arrival between 6 and 7 pm.
Riding time: 7-8 hours
Professional and bilingual guide
Transportation from and to Quito (Central meeting point: Magic Bean Mariscal)
Guided horse tour on healthy strong horses for all levels
Three nights of accommodation
3x breakfasts, 4x lunches, 3x dinners
Use of boots, helmets, hats, chaps and other equipment
Support vehicle on part of the ride
Lunch boxes on most of the rides
Your choice of wool protected saddles. You may also bring your own equipment.
Tips for guide
Extra food and drinks
Longsleeves and long pants (preferably riding pants)
Riding boots or other solid shoes with good
Small bottle of water
For the up to date pricing of this tour, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Requirements: 2 – 8 persons with riding experience (levels: strong intermediate to expert). Fitness and adventurous spirit required!
Maximum rider weight: 90kg (200 pounds)
* Since we will ride in the mountains where the trails could be steep and where there is less oxygen lead us to put a maximum on rider weights of 200 pounds.
* Important things to bring: waterproof clothing, comfortable shoes (no flipflops or other type of open shoes), water, sun block, mosquito repellent, sunglasses and your passport.
* It is important that you will have current travel insurance including personal medical insurance. Please inform us of any known medical conditions you have.
* The operator reserves the right to change the itinerary without previous notice due to weather, National Park regulations or notifications and unpredictable circumstances.
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