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Brazil, Rio de Janeiro

Darwin´s Trail - Rainforest Mountains to Sea

In 1832 the Atlantic rain-forest overwhelmed Charles Darwin with its spectacular beauty and biological diversity. This exotic trail introduces you to the same exuberant and lush Brazilian forests of ancient trees and promises to enthrall you the same way it enchanted the young Darwin. Ride through the rural landscape of rolling hills with local pigs and goats visiting us along the way. We will make steep climbs, up and up to the top to enjoy some the most breathtaking mountain vistas you will ever find around the globe. Verdant rain-forest will change into deep, thick jungle that will eventually climb upwards into impressive jagged mountain tops. Then onward we ride through fields of grazing cattle and splash through the cool mountain springs. Dismount and refresh with a dip and a swim in a cool and shady pool below a splashing waterfall, and then dry yourself off on a rock in the sunshine like one of the many lazy lizards who sun bathe themselves during the day.

The state of Rio de Janeiro is home to some of the best-preserved parts of the Atlantic Rain-forest of Brazil thanks, in part, to the tough inaccessibility of some of the remote mountainous areas. The vegetation is thick and lush and simply fantastic. Many trees absolutely drip with epiphytes and there are an enviable variety of orchids and bromeliads. The dramatic mountains of this area can be seen all the way from the city of Rio de Janeiro! Despite so much beauty on the way, for many the best of the ride is still the end, the last day of riding on some of the most beautiful beaches of the Brazil in Rio de Janeiro -  Conchas and Búzios.

Your accommodations vary from rustic and simple Refuge on the first night to comfortable farm guesthouses along the trail.

Come fall in love with Buzio’s beaches and the enchanting rain-forest of Brazil - it's people, wildlife, ancient flora and unique Peruvian Paso horses!

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Preliminary day by day program

1st day – Morning transfer from Rio de Janeiro to the farm in Cachoeiras de Macacu. Reception and coffee - Start the ride to Jequitibá Reserv exploring trails that pass through forest, mountains, with unforgettable landscapes. Arriving at the Reserve, a tour to its beautiful waterfalls. Dinner and the first night in the Refuge (built with mud and wood /pau a pique)  with option to stay in a comfortable tent in the Mountain Viewpoint (spectacular view) next to the Refuge. 

2nd day - breakfast and departure to Fazenda Pirineus in Silva Jardim. One of the most beautiful days of the ride, through trails inside a primary forest with millenary trees. Crossing the main mountain range that separates the mountainous region from the coast. The trails go up a thousand meters of altitude following the thick forest until arriving at the Farm Pyrenees, where the horses will stay that night. Riders can take a waterfall bath near the Fazenda main house before continuing on the support car to the Pousada Tapinuã (20 minutes) where will overnight on this second day. 

3rd day - After breakfast we return by car to Fazenda Pirineus where our horses will be waiting to start the ride towards the hinterland of Bananeiras. The paths follow dirt roads with a stop at the Vitoria Farm for a river bath and swimming with the horses, followed by a snack. Then the ride continues cutting farms and climbing another 500 meters high mountain range with beautiful landscapes. Arrival at Pousada Tapinuã for late lunch. The resto f the day free to relax in the natural pool, sauna and tasting of homemade cachaça produced on site (product not included). 

4th day - Breakfast 8 am and departure at 9:30 am in the direction of Aldeia Velha. The ride pass through a dirt road and mountain ranges through two picturesque villages: Bananeiras, which belongs to the municipality of Silva Jardim and Aldeia Velha, part of Casimiro de Abreu, our destination on the fourth day. Aldeia Velha is a picturesque village, relatively hidden and still little known even by cariocas. It is part of the São João / Mico Leão Dourado Environmental protection area. Dinner is a delicious pizza. Overnight in the farm hotel Acacias, with horses grazing in front of the rooms. 

5th day - After an early breakfast, departure to Barra de São João. The mountains are behind and the paths are flat revealing wide and beautiful rural landscapes, crossing streams, pastures and fields, cutting farms with herds of cattle and buffalo. Stop for lunch at the Fazenda in Casimiro de Abreu. In the afternoon, the ride skirts an old volcano (São João hill) arriving in time for a relaxing sauna or massage (not included) at Fazenda São João Pousada. 

6th day - Breakfast at 8am and departure at 9am with the support car passing by the old village of Barra de São João where you still find the true path of Charles Darwin. We pass through the alleys and colonial houses of São João until reaching the beach. The first sight of the sea at the end of a street of this historical village is very beautiful. After half an hour the car arrives on the beaches of Pero in Cabo Frio, where our horses will be ready. We follow on horseback to visit one of the most beautiful beaches in Rio de Janeiro, the beach of Conchas. We continue towards Búzios passing by dunes and a beautiful beach where we make a stop for sea bathing with the horses. We continue along trails until we reach the beach of Caravelas in Búzios where we stop for lunch at the edge of the beach and make a toast to the arrival in Búzios. After lunch, we continue along a dirt road cutting the Pau Brasil reserve until arrive at our final destination, Fazendinha Pousada Búzios. At night after dinner, we will go out to visit Buzio’s famous stone street and Brigitte Bardot waterfront. 

7th day – after breakfast, transfer back to Rio de Janeiro


In the Refuge (first night) there are 2 rooms, with bunk beds with shared toilet and shower. You also have the option to Camp on the View Point (50 meters from the Refuge) with a spetacular view! (dont need to bring sleeping bags)
Subsequent nights are spent in farms guesthouses in confortable ensuite rooms.

Single rooms are available for booking except for the first night (the single supplement fee can be found under Dates & Prices). The single supplement will apply where there is no one with whom to share the room.

Travel Information

Riding ability: Trail level 2-3

Included in the price: 6 nights, 5 days riding, full board incl. water & soda

Not included: Flight, transfer, alkoholic beverages

Travel: Fly to Rio de Janeiro

Transfer: From Rio de Janeiro airport, around 2 hours.
Meeting: In arrival hall 10.00 am at the latest.
Price: transfers from and to Rio de Janeiro – US$ 250, (up to 3 passengers)

Gruop size: Min. 3 max 8. The ride can be done for 2 riders for an additional cost of 300 EUR / person

Season:  Book any date from March - June and August - November. Set departures 2020: 21 - 27 June / 20 - 26 September

Currency: Brazilian real. Change to US$

Misc.: Credit card is not accepted.



The horses are from the breed The Peruvian Paso or Peruvian Horse, which is a breed of light saddle horse known for its smooth ride. It is distinguished by a natural, fourbeat, lateral gait called the paso llano. They are noted internationally for their good temperament and comfortable ride.
This breed to be known as “one of the best saddle horse in the world” since the horseman rides comfortably and smoothly at a speed of nine or ten kilometers per hour allowing a longer travel in which neither the horse nor the rider gets tired. 


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