This 7-day/6-night horseback riding adventure to the Ecuadorian village of Piñán is like traveling back in time. Along the way, you can stop at magnificent colonial-era haciendas, witness ancient pre-Incan earth mounds, and make contact with authentic highland cowhands who herd their livestock the same way this was done a hundred years ago. This journey will take you through pristine highland valleys surrounded by imposing mountains as you make your way around snowcapped volcanoes, shimmering waterfalls and mountain-top lakes bathed in green. This horseback ride to Piñán will take you to an altitude of 3,112 meters above sea level in the heart of the Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve, one of the largest and most biologically diverse reserves in Ecuador. The trip is suitable for people with or without previous riding experience, though the ride is still challenging enough for intermediate and even expert riders. Strong and well-trained horses will carry you along mountain trails and around the lakes, while the tour itself is led by an experienced multilingual guide. All of this provides an opportunity to profoundly reconnect with nature, taking in awe-inspiring panoramic views of Andean volcanoes, summits and valleys.

Highlights

Otavalo Indigenous Market, Piñán, Cotacachi-Cayapas National Park, Lake Yahuarcocha

Detailed Itineraries

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Arrival in Quito – Hacienda Pinsaqui

AM:

PM: As soon as you land at the new Quito international airport, you will be welcomed and driven to Hacienda Pinsaqui (or comparable lodgings). The hacienda’s pleasant, meandering corridors are adorned with hanging baskets and natural mosses, leading to central courtyards, numerous outbuildings and lush tropical gardens – a great place to relax before beginning your Ecuadorian travel experience.

AM: This morning, we will visit the biggest indigenous market in Ecuador: the Otavalo market, which is brimming with authentic handicrafts as well as the aromatic food markets that are a feast for all the senses.

PM: Enjoy your time at your leisure, go for a stroll around glassy Cuicocha Lake, or simply stop to people watch in this colorful market town.

AM: This morning we will mount up for some horseback riding through agricultural areas in which sugar cane and other crops are grown. This horseback ride is one of the best in Ecuador, as the landscapes range from the “paramo” grasslands to cloud forests. Along the way, it’s even possible to spot condors.

PM: Hacienda San Francisco will be the destination for this afternoon. Hosteria San Francisco offers rural accommodations in a charming farmhouse that overlooks the mountains in Chachimbiro. Indeed, Hacienda San Francisco can be described as not only a hotel, but also an “activity center,” as it will allow you to recover your energy as you enjoy the beautiful setting. The hacienda features a restaurant and a private orchard. In addition, regional homemade dishes prepared with natural ingredients can be ordered at the hacienda’s restaurant, while “Temazcalli healing and cleansing treatments” practiced by local tribes can be requested at the spa. Guests can also unwind in the hot spring pool or make use of the hacienda’s Turkish baths.

AM: Our destination for the day will be the village of Piñán, near Cotacachi-Cayapas National Park. Today’s horseback riding to Piñán can be along any one of several routes – from Intag, Chachimbiro (in the Urcuquí area), Sachapamba or Buenos Aires. In all, there are more than 35,000 hectares of paramo, forest and mountain areas for you to discover. This region is crowned by Cotacachi Volcano (reaching a height of 4,937 meters) and the Yanaurcu Volcano (4,535 meters), among other peaks over 4,000 meters. Due to the elevation of this area, it offers the best place for acclimatization in the Ecuadorian Andes.

PM:

AM: This morning – like every morning on this tour – will bring with it new experiences and a chance to contemplate the beauty of Ecuador’s majestic mountains and valleys. Friendly “chagras” (Ecuadorean cowhands) are likely to take a pause from their work to greet you, exchange news and views, and even to offer you a drink as a way of wishing you luck on your travels.

PM: Our ride for today will also incorporate visits to the Cotacachi and Yanahurco volcanoes as we spend the day riding back to Hacienda San Francisco along a route different from the one that brought us to Piñán.

AM: After breakfast at Hacienda San Francisco, we will ride out along the “Old Trail” to Lake Yahuarcocha, riding through El Chota Valley on the way to the San Miguel de Yahuarcocha community.

PM: This evening, we will drive back to Quito, where you will spend the night

AM: Following breakfast, you will be accompanied to the Quito airport in time for your flight home or onward.

PM:

Price per person

Tourist

USD$ 2800

Included in the price

  • Use of horse, spare horse(s) available
  • Services of an expert bilingual guide leading the trip (also, at least one skilled, local horseman accompanies the group
  • Saddlebags and ponchos (wool & rain) provided for each guest
  • Guide and local groom(s) who saddle and unsaddle the horses etc.
  • 3 meals per day (from lunch day 1 to breakfast day 8)
  • Snacks and water on rides
  • Six (6) nights’ accommodations
  • Entrance fees to national park/private reserve 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

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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.

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