La Escondida Farm provides this 8-day/7-night horseback riding experience that will take you across the foothills of the Antisana and Cotopaxi volcanos in the heart of the Ecuadorian Andes. Designed for spirited travelers seeking awe-inspiring equestrian journeys, you will stay at magnificent colonial haciendas after full days of jaw-dropping vistas, contact with authentic highland cowhands, and long rides on some of the gentlest horses you’ll ever find. These mountain horses have been bred in this area, so they’re perfectly suited to the terrain. These horses are all friendly, easy-going, sure-footed, and have plenty of stamina, while all of the tours are led by an experienced multilingual guide. As for the trails, these are appropriate for intermediate riders while still challenging and interesting enough for even more experienced equestrians. All of this provides an opportunity to profoundly reconnect with nature, taking in astounding panoramic views of Andean volcanoes, summits, and valleys. Mounted on horseback, your journey will take you through pristine highland valleys surrounded by imposing mountains. As you make your way around mountain-top lakes bathed in green, you’ll pass snowcapped volcanoes and are likely to see waterfalls and strikingly dramatic views beneath the clouds – and sometimes even above them! What’s more, all of these trips are custom-designed based on the experience and interest of each rider.

Highlights

Ecuador, Quito, Riding the Range, Antisana Volcano, Cotopaxi Park, “Avenue of Volcanoes”

Detailed Itineraries

escondida horse

Arrival in Quito – City Tour (optional)

AM: Upon your arrival in Quito, you will be welcomed at the airport and driven to a local B&B for a one night stay.

PM: This afternoon, you will have time to explore Quito on your own, or a city tour can be arranged for you (extra). Quito, with its beautifully restored historic district, became the planet’s first UNESCO-declared World Heritage Site, in 1975. Among the sights in this quarter is the La Compañía Church, which – with 15 tons of gold along

AM: This morning, we will drive an hour outside of Quito to meet your horse and begin our ride. This first day of horseback riding offers a very varied route, including some tricky sections where we will have to dismount and let the horses negotiate rocky riverbeds on their own. During this 5-6 hour ride, we will also do some riding along country lanes, through forests, and across grasslands.

PM: In the afternoon we will reach a working hacienda (ranch), where we will have to carefully negotiate the pastures, as this ranch is famous for its feisty Spanish fighting bulls! The scenery is spectacular and varied, with green valleys and rolling hills, while surrounded by jagged rocky summits and snowcapped peaks. We will then leave the horses to descend down the valley to a beautiful old Jesuit hacienda in time for tea and to later admire the sunset in these magnificent surroundings before for dinner and the night.

AM: This morning, we will rejoin the horses and follow scenic trails and cobbled roads through deep gorges, then up the valley to a large hacienda (ranch). Riding through vast grassy fields, you can enjoy some exhilarating canters across the pastures while riding to Antisana National Park, which is home to the snow-capped Antisana Volcano. While this summit dominates the skyline, it clearly marks the continental divide, as the precipitation that falls on the western side runs down and ends up on in the Pacific Ocean, while streams on the eastern side eventually join the Amazon River and flow into the Atlantic Ocean via Brazil.

PM: Having avoided the fighting bulls (this hacienda is famous for its feisty Spanish bulls!), we will turn westwards and cross a river to reach Hacienda Guaytara (a working farm at the base of Antisana Volcano), where you will have dinner and spend the night.

AM: Today we will ride across stretches of pasture on the hacienda, up into the high “paramo” (Andean grasslands above the tree-line but below the snow-line). This will take us through a sea of long grass, then into areas of low brush and lichen-covered ground. As we navigate various steep ascents and sharp descents, you are likely to observe “Hill stars” (Andean hummingbirds) flitting between the native Andean bushes, as well as condors and other birds of prey soaring overhead. In this area, it’s also not uncommon to come upon wild horses roaming free with their long manes and tails flowing. They will sometimes even gallop alongside riders, curious to “check you out.”

PM: Crossing streams and wetlands at the head of a valley, and following the tracks made by the wild horses and bulls close to craggy Sincholagua Peak, we will reach an altitude of 4,000 meters and then descend into the Cotopaxi National Park. This area presents a good opportunity for some fast-paced riding on the flat, open plains close to the volcano. You will spend the night at Hacienda Yanahurco, which is in a truly stunning location that possesses spectacular views of the nearby Cotopaxi Volcano, the national park, and other summits.

AM: Today we ride south for about 6 hours through the Cotopaxi National Park. The ride starts with some exhilarating canters across the arid expanses and lunar-like landscapes. Then we will ride down into the “Avenue of Volcanoes” aptly named by Von Humboldt, an early explorer who spent a great deal of time studying this area. The views are magnificent, with rocky, rounded, glacier-covered and snow sprinkled volcanoes lining the central valley. Our destination is a small hamlet in the Lasso valley.

PM: Riding through pine and native forests, we will make our way along sandy trails that are ideal for some more fast-paced riding. In other places, we will ride over layers of pumice stone deposited by the volcanoes. We will later leave the horses in a pasture and spend the night at a charming old hacienda that has a cozy bar-dining area. The original building was a farmhouse built out of Inca stone, and the owners have put fireplaces in each room so that riders can enjoy comfortable nights. These rooms are twin bedded rooms (with partitions dividing the sleeping areas) with shared bathrooms. As there is no “light pollution” in this area, the Equator sky is packed with stars, which you can delight in after dinner and before turning in for the night.

AM: Once again we will leave the area’s thatched huts and patchwork fields behind to ride across huge expanses of wild grasslands. Enjoying views of several of the peaks of the “Avenue of Volcanoes,” we will cross beautiful paramo grasslands on which there is not a single house in sight.

PM: After another delicious picnic surrounded by breathtaking scenery, we will cross over a ridge and come even closer to the Sincholagua Volcano. Very few people manage to visit this stunning area, and the wonderful tranquility and huge expanses of almost uninhabited open space can be appreciated by all. Amid this amazing scenery, riding along a river bed and across the grasslands close to the jagged Quilindana summit, riders appreciate the vastness of this Andean habitat. There is a good chance of seeing majestic Andean condors, deer and Andean fox. On these rides, we occasionally run into a lone chagra (an Andean cowhand) with their trusty dog, riding out to check their cattle.

AM: This morning we will turn west and ride back into Cotopaxi National Park, through the northern foothills of the volcano. Firstly, following a wide river floodplain, we will then cross the river and carefully traverse the marshlands between a series of small lakes. Andean duck, teal, and Ibis are often seen here among wild irises and other Andean species of plant life.

PM: As we continue our ride, the valley opens out to allow us to follow a hardened lava flow that has strange conical hills “popping out” at intervals; these mounds were formed by volcanic hotspots (now cooled down) and create quite a bizarre topography. We are likely to run into a large herd of llama-like alpaca, bred for their wonderful soft wool; their long necks and strange way of moving is quite a sight. We will later ride onto some wonderful grassy plains that provide for some long canters that are often joined by wild horses in the area.

AM: Following breakfast, guests will be accompanied to the airport in time for their onward flight or will be picked up to continue on an extended horseback riding tour.

PM:

Price per person

Tourist

USD$ 3800

Included in the price

  • Use of a horse(s)
  • Accommodations for seven (7) nights
  • 3 meals per day (from lunch on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 8)
  • Services of an expert bilingual guide leading the trip (also, at least one skilled, local horseman accompanies the group)
  • Saddlebags and rain ponchos provided for each guest
  • Guide and local groom(s) who saddle and unsaddle the horses, etc.
  • Snacks and water on rides
  • Entrance fees to national park/private reserves etc.
  • Transport from & back to Quito (normally from/back to your hotel)
  • Transport of bags between lodgings
  • All local taxes

Not included in the price

  • Bottled soft drinks & alcoholic drinks
  • Pre/post tour meals & accommodations
  • Misc. expenses (telephone calls, laundry, etc.)
  • Discretionary tips & gratuities
  • Souvenirs

back cafeok1

Get in touch with us

Interested in more information about any particular South American destination or trip?

Simply let us know your interests or question, and one of our travel experts will be more than happy to assist you -- at no charge, of course!

Plan your trip (Top)

La Escondida Farm Gallery

Welcome to the "La Escondida Farm" photo section! Here you can explore the beauty and charm of this incredible destination through a selection of stunning images. Let yourself be inspired by the natural and cultural wealth of La Escondida Farm, and start dreaming about your next adventure in this hidden paradise.

Best Destinations of the Season by Surtrek

Discover the best destinations of the season with Surtrek, your guide to extraordinary travel experiences in South America. This season’s top picks include the awe-inspiring Galapagos Islands, where you can explore unique wildlife and pristine landscapes, and the enchanting Amazon Rainforest, offering unforgettable eco-adventures. Plan your ultimate seasonal adventure with Surtrek’s expert recommendations for a truly remarkable journey.

La Escondida Farm

Piñán

Southern Ecuadorian Andes

Cotococha Lodge

La Escondida Farm

Piñán

Southern Ecuadorian Andes

Cotococha Lodge

Tripadvisor Reviews

default avatar 2020 1

Jen L

May 2024 • Family

"

We went to Quito, Isabela and Santa Cruz islands in the Galapagos. Jorge planned an amazing trip - all details were taken care of and the trip was seamless. We stayed at Patio Andaluz Hotel in Quito, Casita de la Playa in Isabela, and Ikala Galapagos in Santa Cruz - all were great. The tours and guides were all fantastic! Evelyn and the team at Surtrek ensured that the trip went smoothly. It was a trip of a lifetime. I would highly recommend!
default avatar 2020 58

An S

Feb 2024 • Solo

"

Sutrek - Juan Pablo - helped me plan a 2 week solo trip to Chile (the entire length frim North to South) with arrival in Santiago. It was really well planned, even though it was a last minute request. The communications were prompt and clear. Throughout the trip - i had full detailz and felt safe & well taken care off. Even when I wanted to change anything / or wanted improvements during the trip - it was addressed. I highly recommend Surtrek.
default avatar 2020 24

cubigon

Jul 2023 • Family

"

We used Surtrek for our Galapagos trip. It was the best decision we made. Karla Leon created our itinerary and was amazing. She was always available and communicated with our group all the time while in the Islands. We will be using them again in the future. I recommend them 100%

default avatar 2020 51

Nic

Feb 2024 • Friends

"

And amazing trip and great organisation. Everything went smoothly which made the trip a pleasure. All guides and tours were excellent and I recommend highly. Booking was a pleasure with Juan helping us to build a customised trip to see everything we wanted to in Brazil, Bolivia and Chile.
default avatar 2020 52

Exploration137916

Nov 2023 • Solo

"

I traveled with Surtrek and the team made everything orgnized and meanwhile I had a wonderful time with local people. The guides were very friendly and answered my questions about local nature and history. The operation team made every aspect smooth and I didn't have to worry about anything. recommend highly.

see all reviews