Adventure Travel In Ecuador
Horseback Riding - From Cloud Forest to the Highlands - 9 Days

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Horseback Riding Tours
From Cloud Forest to the Highlands - 8 Days

Duration: 8 Days / 7 Nights (also 12 days possible)
Level of difficulty: Intermediate to advanced
Participants: 2-8 persons with riding experience (levels: advanced intermediate to expert). Fitness and adventurous spirit required! Maximum rider weight: 90kg.


From Bellavista Bird-Lodge to Otavalo Indigenous Market

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.

Please note: Tours can be shared with other groups.

Horseback Riding - From Cloud Forest to the Highlands - 9 Days
Horseback Riding - From Cloud Forest to the Highlands - 9 Days
Horseback Riding - From Cloud Forest to the Highlands - 9 Days


Day 1: Pick-up from meeting point in Quito. We’ll drive you over the western cordillera in direction of the Pacific cloud forest on the slopes of Pululahua volcano. Scenery and microclimate change around each major road-turn, and you get an impression of what variety awaits you on our ride. Typical Ecuadorian lunch and drive to the ranch inside Pululahua caldera where our horses await us. Afternoon ride through the enchanted crater valley.

Day 2: Circling the lava dome - covered with cloud forest - on horseback, we witness volcanic history and nature, interesting geological formations, mineral avalanches blooming with wild orchids and traditional Andean agriculture. We’ll be passing by deep gorges, carved by lava streams thousands of years ago to enter the narrow Valley of the Rio Blanco with its warm and tropical climate where we shall 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.

Day 3: Having found this unique place at the end of the world, we will stay here for the day and explore the fascinating surroundings - enjoying some leisure activities. In the morning we 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 our rest place.

Day 4: This is the day of the adventurous! Following the course of the furious and turbulent River Guayllabamba upstream for several hours, we shall enjoy some really breathtaking views. From the back of our horses, we'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 land, building temples for their gods and knowing the exact position of the equator line. Today’s 7-8 hours ride along the river and up Pululahua´s outer crater walls, combines steep adventurous up- and downhill climbs through dense vegetation with gallop stretches on mountain ridges with wide open views. Towards the end of the day, we’ll be crossing Lulumbamba, one of the oldest Arrayan forests in South America, while winding downhill amongst mystical mossy trees.

Day 5: More wide open views to expect! Today the trail leads through fields of sugar cane and banana trees along the way, then crosses over a narrow ridge with lush bamboo forests. We will be climbing gently but continually on our ride to the west. On our trail up the mountain, we only come across a few small farmhouses, where the highland farmers scratch a meager income from the steep, infertile land beside the forest.

Horseback Riding - From Cloud Forest to the Highlands - 9 Days
Horseback Riding - From Cloud Forest to the Highlands - 9 Days
Horseback Riding - From Cloud Forest to the Highlands - 9 Days

Day 6: We'll be riding across the Valley of Nono, along green, hilly pastures, passing several stately farms, where we can observe fighting bulls and flower crop for exportation, getting a good impression about present and past of the country. Some extensive canters along fields and pastures make our way shorter this time. This picturesque valley is also the home and breading place of many beautiful horses. Drawing closer to Pichincha volcano, which towers above us at almost 4800 m, we shall reach the tiny, colonial village of Nono, where we find shelter in a traditional farm-house, still built in colonial time.

Day 7: Today we leave Nono, climbing up to the edge of the paramo grassland, catching views on the ashy slopes of Pichincha Volcano and the surrounding valleys. After crossing a ridge that divides the Inter-Andean Valley from the Pacific Andean slopes, we start heading downhill into a lush green region of virgin forests studded with waterfalls toward Tandayapa. Once back on the road, we say goodbye to the horses and shall meet our accompanying vehicle that brings us up the rest of way to Bellavista nature reserve. We'll be welcomed into a unique lodge with hot showers and delicious, wholesome food. The place is surrounded by hundreds of colorful hummingbirds, often Toucans and bright blue shining Jays. From the balcony of our shared room, we can enjoy a breath-taking view far over the cloud forest and listen to the sounds of exotic birds, before the mist races in.

Day 8: After a hearty breakfast, a tour of Bellavista reserve is open to whoever wishes. Self-guided maps help you to design your adventure through this Andean jungle. We have plenty of time to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and the variety of plant- and bird-life before lunch. Transport back to Quito in the afternoon and end of main program.

Optional Day 9: Instead of leaving you in Quito on day 8, we shall drive you across the Andean Valley and over the Eastern Andean Cordillera towards the natural volcanic springs of Papallacta. About 10 different pools with different water temperature, nestling in an outstandingly beautiful surrounding - paramo highland, lakes, cloud-forests and the snow capped Antizana volcano close by - invite you to recover from the long and straining ride. A Spa next door can be visited by those who wish to receive massages and other wellness joys. Return to Quito in the afternoon.

Optional Day 10: Again, instead of leaving you in Quito on day 9, we keep on driving to Otavalo where we shall offer you Bed and Breakfast in a nicely decorated hotel within walking distance from all the markets in Otavalo. Many options for the morning: The “early-ups” might check out the animal market starting by dawn or watch the indigenous people build up the textile market. Others might want to sleep in and visit the lively, colorful indigenous market after breakfast. The small Andean town is world-famous for its handicrafts and wool products, these textiles are successfully sold around the world. After shopping, our program still offers an optional visit to the leather town of Cotacachi, the beautiful crater lake of Cuicocha, encircled by rugged mountain walls, as well as a boat-trip around the islands in its midst. Return drive to Quito in the afternoon.

Prices 2014 per person: $1712, 75 per person (based on a minimum of 2 people)

The Price includes:

  • transport from and to Quito
  • an accompanying provisions vehicle for the whole tour
  • transportation of the horses
  • accommodation for 8 nights
  • your horse and its equipment
  • the tour guide and helpers
  • tours of the natural reserves

Doesn't include:

  • travel insurance
  • breakfast of the first / dinner of the last day
  • drinks
  • tips
Note: This trip can also be booked as a travel package including hotel nights with B&B in Quito before and after the ride, transfers from and to the airport as well as a guided City Tour through the colonial town centre, which UNESCO declared cultural heritage of humanity. Price for 11-day-travel-package: USD1980
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Call us toll free in The US at: 1-877-436 7512. Also try our local US numbers: 415-8306075, 305-7671490. UK: 0208-133-3456
Business hours: 8.30 AM-6 PM (GMT-5)