DAY 1: Horseback Riding & Chagras (Quito-Machachi-Latacunga)
Departing to the south we travel for about one hour from Quito before descending into the valley of Machachi, a green area covered mainly by dairy farms, before arriving to Hacienda La Alegría, a great place to be introduced to the spirit of the Andean haciendas and to learn about a local farm operation. We will visit the grounds and then get suited for an approximately two-hour horseback ride along old cobblestone roads and trails leading to a viewpoint that overlooks the entire valley and where we can see the majestic mount La Viudita. The panoramic views give us a great opportunity to take photos. We then return to Hacienda Alegría to enjoy a typical Andean lunch hosted by the hacienda’s owners.
An exciting feature of this hacienda is its newly inaugurated bullring where, after lunch, we’re in for an exciting demonstration by the chagras (Andean cowboys), where they will show us their amazing riding and roping skills.
Next, after this impressive and unique activity we will continue driving south and into the valley of Latacunga to visit Hacienda El Porvenir, a beautiful mountain cattle ranch. Dinner will be hosted by the owners and a restful night in the countryside will give you time to take in all you have experienced today. Overnight at Hacienda El Porvenir. (B/L/D)
DAY 2: Horseback Excursion (Cotopaxi National Park)
After breakfast we will start our day on the edge of the Cotopaxi National Park. After getting suited with riding chaps, ponchos and hats we head off for a lovely horseback excursion across the foothills of the Rumiñahui Volcano on the extensive Andean meadows covered by natural pasture. Here we are in open country with panoramic views and chances to see various interesting birds and plants.
Afterwards it’s back to the Hacienda to enjoy a nutritious Andean-style lunch.
In the afternoon we have time to explore the grounds or rest before a home-cooked dinner. Overnight in Hacienda El Porvenir. (B/L/D)
DAY 3: Local Market & Hacienda La Cienega (Latacunga –Sangolqui-Quito).
Today will be devoted to cultural interaction and a connection with local daily life. After breakfast we depart for Latacunga, a city where we will visit a local, colorful market to discover friendly faces and a great variety of fruits and vegetables. This is a fantastic experience and chance to learn about local produce and traditions. After a pleasant walk in the market we will travel to a nearby village to learn about the interesting handicraft skills of local artisans. Colorful ceramics and paintings are typical here so we will visit some workshops to give us a chance to buy directly from the actual craftsmen and artists.
Later we will continue on to Hacienda La Cienega, a 300-year-old stately mansion that was converted into a hotel and restaurant, where we will have lunch. The grounds of La Cienega are a great place to discover local history.
After exploring this beautiful place we will depart for Quito and stop on the way at Hacienda La Carriona, another old property that has been surrounded by the growing city. Here we will enjoy a traditional cup of coffee and homemade bread before the last leg of our journey. (B/L/-)
Included: Private English speaking guide and driver with A/C vehicles, all meals as detailed on the program, accommodation in selected properties, visits, excursions daily bottled water and activities. This excursion is a private basis tour however it might include certain shared or group visits on some locations.
Not Included: Beverages, tips or personal expenses.
For other languages than English (German, Italian or French) please ask for the surcharge.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The itinerary could be modified due to regulations from National Parks, restoration of certain areas at haciendas or colonial houses or force majeure events.