This trip will take you through the very heart of the Western Andes and their unbroken beauty. Enjoy an incredible variety of Andean landscapes, jungles and deserts, hot valleys and cool windy heights, volcanoes and lakes, culture land and tropical wilderness combined with fascinating in-looks into Ecuador’s natural and social history.
Day 1: 12:30 am pick-up from meeting point in Quito. You will 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 road-turn, and you get an impression of what variety awaits you on your ride. Along the way, you will stop at the Equator museum ‘Intiñan’, which is 15-km north from Quito with information about 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. Then you’ll have a typical Ecuadorian lunch and you will drive to the ranch inside the Pululahua caldera, where the horses await you. That night, you will have a beautiful night ride through the crater with the moonlight and fireflies guiding you.
Day 2: While having breakfast you can enjoy the surroundings in the cottage garden while hummingbirds are flying around. Today you will have another ride through the stunning landscape of this ancient volcanic crater. It will show its constantly changing sceneries and huge biodiversity. You will witness volcanic history and nature in the biggest crater on the whole American continent. In the evening, you can enjoy a hot outdoor jacuzzi under the stars after dinner.
Day 3: Through the cloud-forest covered in mountain slopes, you will leave the volcano. Passing by deep gorges and going through the narrow passage of the Rio Blanco canyon, you will reach the valley of the Rio Guayllabamba. This a sacred valley for pre-hispanic cultures. It has a warm and tropical climate where you can find coffee trees, fields of sugar cane and a lot of tropical fruits. Legendary historical sites can be seen along the way. When the afternoon light breaks through the clouds over the pre-Incafortress Portalanza in the distance, this mountain-valley looks like it is taken from a fairy tale. In the evening, you can enjoy ice-cold Caipirinha, hot solar shower and a delicious evening meal.
*note: In this lodge, there is no electricity
Day 4: In the morning you can enjoy the pleasant climate and the breakfast that Sonja, the host, has prepared for you. The ride of today will bring you along and above the beautiful Guayllabamba river valley. Combined with steep adventurous climbs through dense vegetation, you have the opportunity to gallop a few times on mountain ridges with wide open views.
This area was visited and settled by ancient Ecuadorian cultures, a long time before the arrival of the Incas. These cultures were farming the land, were building temples for their gods and they knew the exact position of the equator line already more than thousand years ago. During the ride, you can encounter some of their testimonies on the ride, while overlooking grave hillocks, terrace hills and 1300 year old stone carvings.
Zigzagging through the dense forests, climbing steep slopes, crossing pristine water streams, you will wind through ancient paths which are nearly forgotten nowadays. These are only used by the very few farmers who are still living out there nowadays. Crossing theses paths, you will make your way back to the volcano.
Day 5: Today you will be taking even a closer look on the pre-inca hill Portalanza, than the day before. Along flower fields, sugar canes, banana and pineapple plants, you will approach the narrow ridge between Rio Blanco and Rio Tanache. You will follow these down to the plains, where once stood a Quitu-cara village. The view is breath-taking. You’ll enjoy the lunch with the sound of the crickets, while viewing vultures and hawks sailing above you. You will return through jungely mountain forest and house-high elephant grass. Back at the hotel you can once again enjoy a well deserved jacuzzi.
Day 6: Today a forest of bamboo is making a picutresque trail up the mountain, while climbing gently in order to leave the crater to the west. You will come across a few small farm houses, where the highland farmers scratch a meager income from the steep, infertile land beside the forest. You will stay the night in a mountain village of Yingilla, which is dedicated to a self-sustaining community tourism project for many years.
Day 7: Today you can have a little tour to learn how the villagers produce their own cheese and marmalade. After this, you are going on the horses, to go hunting for traces of lively Ecuadorian history. After a scenic ride along the ridge, you dive into the north-western cloud forests and the land of the Toucan. An ancient smuggler’s path, where caneschnapps was transported on mules from the coast to the highlands during the time of the prohibition, will lead you through narrow hollow earth tunnels within thick jungle. You will emerge on the other side to more spectacular high Andean view-points (if the weather allows to).
Day 8: Today you will return to the ranch, by wide open views, on partly new, partly known trail sections. Back at the ranch, you will have a farewell drink and you will return to Quito.
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
Seven nights of accommodation
7x breakfasts, 7x lunches, 7x 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.
Entrance to the equator museum
Extra food and drinks
Optional tips for the guide
Longsleeves and long pants (preferably riding pants)
Riding boots or other solid shoes with good grip
Riding helmet if available
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: 85kg (185 pounds)
*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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