Ecuador - Cotopaxi Volcano Trail Ride
The first part of the ride includes acclimatization at the Hacienda and the cloud forest. At the cloud forest you will enter a completely different environment and see an exciting change in the surrounding vegetation; from a lush native tundra landscape of the high attitude to an impressive sub-tropical vegetation. Here, nestled deep in the mystical cloud forest, learn about medicinal plants and trees that are native to the area, and be regaled by tales of the remote life of living in the Cloud Forest.
Around the cosy fireplace of the hacienda, you will reminisce about the day’s events and discuss local traditions, especially those related to the chagras. You will also talk about the itinerary for the rest of the trip and prepare for what is to come.
After acclimatization at the hacienda as well as riding to the cloud forest you will be prepared for the second part of the ride and you shall start your journey towards the mighty Cotopaxi. After you have prepared for the main part of the ride, you shall start towards the mighty Cotopaxi. You will visit the colourful animal and produce market of Machachi on your way where you can enjoy the unique beauty of an Andean market as well as have the opportunity to buy any handicraft or leather-work you find interesting. You will then continue the trip to Cotopaxi, the tallest active volcano in the world (5,987m). Cotopaxi’s impressively symmetric cone will guide you past its surrounding hills. You will ride around the massive rocks of Rumiñahui into the plains near Cotopaxi.
As you ride through the Andes Mountains, you will experience a diversity of geography and weather. Be prepared for a period of intense equatorial sun followed by chill Andes’ wind—all within the space of a few hours. The locals say that the highlands experience all four seasons within the same day. As you ride through the paramos, you will see the great llama used for packing.
Long after your return to the Hacienda and the end of your journey, the memories of this rugged but beautiful world will linger as a lifetime ride.
Preliminary day-by-day program
Arrive to the hacienda for dinner and overnigth, if you arrive early you can ride for 2 or 3 hours, with no extra charge. Dinner included
Ride in the arena and get acquainted with your horse and tack that we will be using the next days. You will ride around the neighboring Haciendas at the west Andes. This day is key to acclimatize with the altitude and environment as well as your horse and tack. Then you will have lunch in the Hacienda house, visit the milking barn, the aging cheese cave, and finally you can enjoy the hot tub and fireplace.
Riding hours: 4 hours
Crossing extensive pastures and eucalyptus forests, you will have a nice view of the “Volcano Avenue”. From there you can appreciate the green and fertile Machachi Valley and we can also see the routes we will take the next day at the east mountain chain. You will ascend by Corazon Volcano up to 4,000 meters and descend through the Cloud forest reserve. At 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, we will arrive at teatime, then enjoy a great meal.
Accommodation: hacienda Bomboli
Riding hours: 6 hours
In the morning you will walk at the Hacienda gardens to learn about orchids and cloud forest plants. You will ride up hill 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 back to the Hacienda for lunch, relax and enjoy the hot tub and the fireplace. Riding hours: 4 hours
Day 5 Ruminahui Volcano
You ride to the west mountain range and through the valley toward Machachi. You stop at the Machachi market (on Sundays), continue toward the Ruminahui and stop at a beautiful Hacienda for a snack. You continue riding until you arrive to the Pedregal valley and stay overnight in a Hacienda at 3,500 meters.
Accommodations: Hacienda at Pedregal Valley (near COTOPAXI NATIONAL PARK)
Riding hours: 8 hours
Day 6 The Park
You enter the Cotopaxi National Park, ride towards the Sincholagua volcano, make a large loop downhill to the valley, and after a snack you continue crossing the different lava flows, ascending north of Cotopaxi up to 4,100 mts to the highest plains, where you complete the highest canter in the world. You ride in close proximity to berber wild horse herds that live in the park and are descendants of the horses brought by the Spanish in the 16th century.
Accommodations: Tambopaxi refuge
Riding hours: 6+ hours
Ride at Ruminahui continuing west; pass to the highest point of our ride (4,250 m) on the edges of the rocks of the Ruminahui Volcano. You continue the ride toward the green Machachi valley as always guarded by the volcanoes avenue. You cross the Machachi plaza where horsemen are always welcomed; you pass the town of Aloag and arrive to the Hacienda for a pleasant dinner and enjoy the hot tub and rest with the memories of the long journeys in the mountains.
Riding hours: 5+ hours
Transfer to airport or Quito.