A choice of 3, 7 and 8 night rides exploring Colombia's coffee region and staying in local guesthouses and hotels
Where In the tropical coffee growing provinces of Risaralda & Quindio, to the west of Bogota.
What is it like Full of lush vegetation, fruits of every shape and size, colourful birdlife and charming brightly painted towns. Famous for its wax palms, some of which are 60 meters high, and enchanting colonial towns such as Salento and Marsella you will be saturated by culture, scenic landscapes, flora and fauna. The ride base is a typical 150 year old colonial hacienda and most itineraries include a night or two here, with routes taking you off the beaten track, over challenging terrain into the Andes, stopping to spend the night at remote coffee farms, in village hotels, guesthouses and occasionally in 'glamping' resorts.
Who does it suit If you are after an adventure, keen to explore a buzzing, culturally rich and diverse South American country, try this! Rides are for confident, well-balanced riders - although the pace is not particularly fast, you need to be secure in the saddle over a variety of terrain, happy to take what comes and fairly fit.
Why we love it Colombia is full of vibrant colour and tradition, best enjoyed by horse which has long been integral to it. This is a way to not only see a part of it, but to be a part of it.
Riding: 5-8 hours a day
Horses: Colombian criollos, Appaloosa, Paso Fino and Percheron crosses
Pace: moderate, slow in places due to terrain
Riding ability: intermediate to experienced riders only
Weight limit: 90 kg (14st 2lbs)
Accommodation: comfortable guesthouses, glamping resorts, 2-3* hotels
Group size: max 6
Season: year round
Price: 7 night trail from USD 2850 (approx £2190) per person
Horses: Mostly local Colombian criollos, with some Appaloosa, Paso Fino and Percheron crosses. They are between about 14.2hh and 15.2hh, sure footed, sensible and well suited to the terrain. Your guide is English and the horses are carefully schooled to respond to both western and English aids.
Hours: There is usually between 5 and 8 hours in the saddle each riding day, although hours vary with the route.
Pace and experience required: The pace varies with the terrain and altitude but overall is moderate to slow. There wil be some good chances to canter along wide dirt tracks but there are some steep climbs and you are often riding on narrow winding paths or where the vegetation is thick and the pace must be slow. The horses are sensible, calm and responsive but you are expected to be a competant rider, secure and well balanced in the saddle at a walk, trot and canter, and with experience riding over different types of terrain. You should also be comfortable getting on and off and handling a horse from the ground.
Accommodation varies from day to day. Some nights are in comfortable guesthouses, some in coffee farms, you may stay in luxury yurts or at a glamping resort depending on the route. Most rooms have their own bathrooms attached with shower and loo - though you may be asked to share bathrooms on one or two nights. There are swimming pools at some of the accommodation stops, including at Rancho Saman, a lovely colonial building which is the base for the rides,where 2 nights are spent on the 7 and 8 night itineraries.
Jewel of Risaralda (8 nights) - USD 2950
Jewel of Risaralda
Itinerary in Brief - Ruta de Oro - please enquire for other itineraries
|Day 1||[Fly to Bogota, internal flight to Pereira] You will be met on arrival at Pereira airport and driven about 40 minutes to Rancho Saman. Time to relax and meet the horses before briefing over dinner. Night Rancho Saman.|
||Breakfast and set off by vehicle to the hills of Quindio province. Lunch and saddle up for a first afternoon ride through coffee, plantain and avocado farms - your first taste of riding in Colombia.|
||A full day ride into the "corredor de los monos" where you will ride to the sound of howler monkeys (and hopefully catch a glimpse). A picnic lunch surrounded by hummingbirds then continue to the night's accommodation. Dinner in the nearby picturesque town of Filandia.|
||Breakfast and set off again, riding through deep valleys and climbing higher into the mountains. Accommodation tonight is in luxury yurts and the evening is spent around a camp fire under the stars with the horses grazing close by. Dinner in the bustling tourist town of Salento.|
||After tacking up, head into the mountains, to the edge of national parkland where you should see and hear a great variety of birdlife. Stop for a picnic lunch by a hidden waterfall, then continue to your spectacular accommodation, with views to the valley below and an open air jacuzzi.|
||Breakfast and set off riding along eucalyptus-lined tracks into the cloud forest above Salento. Passing rivers and volcanoes you reach a lovely farmhouse where the night is spent.|
||A short ride through the forest, past the giant wax palms for which this region is famous, to reach a secluded waterfall. Continue to the town of Salento for lunch. Then a chance for some shopping before transfer by vehicle back to Rancho Saman. Relax by the pool before a farewell dinner. Night Rancho Saman.|
|Day 8||Breakfast and transfer to Pereira airport for onward travel.|
|Contact us on 01837-82544 for further information, detailed itineraries, dates and answers to questions|
The meeting point for the rides is Pereira. Avianca have direct flights from various European destinations (including London, Paris, Madrid) to Bogota, with onward connections to Pereira. Airfares vary depending on the airline and season but expect to pay between £750 to £950 for an economy return, including internal sectors.