During this week you will be exploring this unique island. On the ride, you will leave the horses each night and return each evening to your base where you eat dinner and breakfast. About 3-6 hours riding / day total of approximately 120 km. Minimum one rider, a maximum of 10 riders.
Preliminary day-by-day program
Day 1. Transfer from Horta airport to your accommodation. Dinner at the riding center near the village of Cedros.
Day 2: History of Whales - Trail
< 20km, +800m, -700m, 4-5 h riding time >
Today you will learn a lot about whales and their history on the island of Faial during the briefing. Then you will get to know your horse and your equipment. We start on gently rising meadow paths. After a short time, we begin the first trot and canter. We reach a whale watching point. With a little luck and when the sea is calm, we can see whales and dolphins. We come back to the lodge along the steep coast. A delicious lunch is waiting here. In the afternoon we reach two small whaling harbours. If the weather is good, you can swim. The horse resting place for the night is in a small hamlet. We drive back to the lodge. The first day of the trail ends with a drink at the bar.
Day 3: Lighthouse-Trail
(20km, +550m, -450m, 4 h riding time)
Today you will learn about the impact of the 1998s earthquake on Faial. Drive to the horses in the morning. We continue riding along the coast through blue hydrangea hedges, to the island's former lighthouse, which was destroyed in the earthquake. The nearby village still has a crumbling church that testifies the power of the earthquake. At noon we will appreciate our saddlebag-picnic right at the seaside. Time to go for a swim or to wet your feet. After this nice break we will continue our ride. Wonderful views to the sea and the neighborhood islands São Jorge, Pico and Graciosa. After a while we reach our paddock for the night. The transfer team is bringing you back to the Ecolodge. Enjoy and relax at the pool. Dinner is waiting for you.
Day 4: Caldeira of Faial - Trail
(30km, +1.100m, -1.100m, 6-7h riding time)
Today we start to one of the top highlights of the Azores, the Faial crater - Caldeira. It is located at an altitude of 1 000m at the center of the island. A real challenge for rider and horse. Sometimes we meet farmers on their way to cows. The heather tree along our route looks like giant broccoli. The Atlantic Ocean glitters in the sun. We ride slowly our way up to the crater rim of Faial via switchback tracks. Here the Caldeira lies majestically in front of us. It is 400m deep and 2 500m wide. If you want to extend your trail holidays, you can descend into the depths of the crater with our nature park guide or hike around the rim on a 3h trail. After the saddlebag picnic, you will ride through the lonely and wild landscape of Faial’s high mountains. Our trail lead us through country roads down to a small volcano, whose inner crater we can reach on foot through a small tunnel. A very special atmosphere awaits us. Crossing junglelike paths, we arrive at the Jungle Camp in the late afternoon. The transfer to the lodge is already waiting here. An exhilarating trail day lies behind us. Horses and riders have certainly earned a break. Dinner at the Ecolodge.
Day 5: Cabeco Verde -Trail & Whale Watching
(15km, +500m, -550m, 3 h riding time) From April - October, after the breakfast, we drive to Horta town to meet a team of marine biologists. Together with them we go out to the ocean in a powerfully motorized zodiac. More than 30 different whales and dolphins can be encountered in the ocean surrounding Faial. It's a wonderful experience to be so close to the largest mammals in the world. If the sea condition doesn’t allow and out of whale watching season (November - March), we will drive you to Horta town and you will find enough time to discover this colorful and cosmopolitan harbor town by yourself. Walk along the sailing harbor, find secluded spots in the town and visit the old whalers factory. At lunch time we will pick you up and we will have a small lunch in a typical Faial Island “Tasca”. Later we will arrive in the Jungle Camp. After preparing our horses, we ride up to the Green Hill called “Cabeço Verde”. From the top of this volcano we can admire spectacular views over an amazing landscape and the volcano of Capelinhos. The way down will allow us to see the vineyards, unique to Faial Island. A wine growing area which, thanks to the ashes of the last eruption and the special way of growing the grapes, is creating a wonderful homemade wine. Tonight you will experience once more the culinary world of the Azores in the Ecolodge.
Day 6: Volcano of Capelinhos-Trail
20km, +670m, -670m, 4-5 h riding time
Today the trail leads us through a mystical jungle landscape. We enjoy fantastic gallops close to the coastline. Extensive vineyards, but also small adegas line our way. Via narrow tracks close to the shore we reach another top highlight of the Azores, the volcano of Capelinhos, which erupted in 1957. Desert-like solitude awaits us. An old whaling village covered with the ashes of the volcano. Hidden under the buried lighthouse is the modern interpretation center that reports on the volcanism of the Azores and the eruption of the volcano. We combine a saddlebag picnic with a visit to this attraction. Riding over parts of the volcano, we reach the Jungle Camp in the late afternoon. The transfer back to the lodge is already waiting here.
Day 7: Faya Bay & Deep Canyon-Trail
25km, +550m, -700m, 4-5 h riding time
Today is the last day of the trail. We cross the island from the dry south to the green north. Magnificent views over terraced pastures down to the blue ocean. Extended gallops lead to the highest village on the island, Ribeira Funda. A typical Azorean picnic is waiting for us directly above the 300m deep canyon. We let the sun warm us, listen to the wind and the wild cries of the buzzards circling over the deep gorge. In the afternoon the route takes us along yam fields through a small, wild and romantic valley after 6 days of riding back to the Lodge. A big farewell dinner in the lodge closes the fascinating trail week.
Day 8: Breakfast and departure to the airport.
All trail itineraries are general guidelines and in order to offer the guests the best-riding holiday experience they may do changes