A horseback riding adventure is undoubtedly one of the best ways to see Central & South America. After all, this part of the world boasts a sophisticated equine culture that predates riding in the United States by several hundred years. When planning your 2020 trip to Costa Rica, Chile, Peru, Argentina, or any nearby country, consider booking one of these best horseback riding adventures in Central and South America.
Andes Grand Traverse
Equus Journeys offers the Andes Grand Traverse horseback riding adventure through Chile. The 16-day equestrian tour treks from Argentina to Chile, allowing riders to experience two amazing South American countries. Highlights include riding across the virgin steppe, trekking through endless pampas, and exploring rainforests.
Atacama Desert Trail
Equestrians interested in a thrilling, fast ride should consider the Atacama Desert Trail from Unicorn Trails. This 10-day ride gives adventurous riders the opportunity to ride through Chile’s Atacama desert, the driest desert on Earth. Since much of the terrain is flat, there are plenty of chances to gallop on the sturdy horses.
Bahia Beach Ride
In the Saddle
This tropical beach ride offered by In the Saddle begins at Pousada do Outiero in the largely underrated Brazil region of Bahia. The seven-day trip consists of exploring on horseback the coast and its many traditional fishing villages. Riders will experience all sorts of terrain, from white-sand beaches to lush rainforest. And because it’s a beach ride, there’s plenty of time to relax along the way.
Adventurous riders are sure to have a blast on the Barichara Ride offered by Equitours. This 10-day point-to-point trip takes riders from historic Boyacá to Santander through diverse landscapes, authentic villages, and varied terrain. The ride is led by a Colombian local and experienced horseman, who is just as knowledgeable about horses and equestrian sports as he is about the local people and culture. Nights are spent in a combination of local hotels and historic farmhouses.
Beaches, Dunes, and Mangrove Trail
Riders who book a spot on Unicorn Trails’ Beaches, Dunes, and Mangrove Trail trip will spend nine days in the Brazilian state of Alogas. Seven of these days are spent riding along beaches, through lush jungle, and via historic colonial villages. This region of Brazil is still relatively unexplored, ensuring guests an authentic and unique experience. Besides riding, participants will have opportunities for wildlife viewing, boat trips, and swimming in the river.
Canyons and Waterfalls
In the Saddle
On In the Saddle’s six-night, five-day Canyons and Waterfalls horseback riding adventure, equestrians will trek over the high plateau that is Rio Grande do Sul. It’s a unique setting of grassland and araucaria forest. From there, riders will continue on over a stunning landscape of cliffs, waterfalls, rivers, and farmlands. Trip highlights include getting to know local gauchos, and wine tasting.
The Coffee Trail
In the Saddle
Brazil is one of the world’s foremost coffee producers, and equestrians can experience the country’s beautiful “coffee trail” on this horseback riding adventure offered by In the Saddle. The six-day adventure consists of 5-6 hours of riding each day. Riders will begin and end the trip at Fazenda Nova, one of the oldest plantation homes in the region and the place where the trip’s horses were bred and trained.
Colca Canyon Trail
Equus Journey’s Colca Canyon Trail is a 14-day trip through Peru. Nine of those days are spent aboard Peruvian Paso horses, trekking into the beautiful Andes Mountains. In addition to exploring the Peruvian landscape, riders will have the opportunity to learn all about Inca and pre-Inca culture and heritage.
In the Saddle
On the eight-day Colonial Hacienda horseback riding adventure offered by In the Saddle, riders will trek from the valleys of Ecuador’s northern highlands, to beautiful Cotopaxi National Park. Along the way, riders will experience vibrant rural villages and busy local markets. Also in store is some of the most stunning scenery to be found anywhere on Earth. At night, riders will relax in historic haciendas, many of which date back to the 17th and 18th centuries.
Emerald Coast Estancias and Beaches
Uruguay is home to some of the most beautiful coastal scenery in the world, and riders can experience it all on Equitours’ eight-day Emerald Coast Estancias and Beaches ride. Riders will have the opportunity to ride smooth-gaited Criollo horses, a type of horse known for its astounding endurance. Over the course of the tour, riders will travel along the Atlantic coastline, highlights of which include:
- a unique collection of flora and fauna
- pristine beaches
- real working farms with the opportunity to help gauchos work cows.
Estancia Los Potreros
Estancia Los Potreros, located near Cordoba, Argentina, was recently named one of the “Top 100 Hotels in the World” by TIME. By booking Unicorn Trails’ Estancia Los Potreros trip, adventurous equestrians can spend time on this working cattle farm, riding out each day with real gauchos. Guests can even choose to learn to play polo, a favorite pastime among Argentinians.
Fin del Mundo
In the Saddle
Adventurous equestrians can ride to the “end of the earth” on In the Saddle’s 12-day Fin del Mundo horseback riding tour. The trip is billed as “an expedition ride on the island of Tierra del Fuego, at the extreme tip of South America.” Needless to say, this is a pretty unique experience. Over the course of the adventure, riders will explore true wilderness on the Mitre Peninsula, witness a stunning array of wildlife, and follow in the footsteps of some of Patagonia’s earliest explorers.
Glacier Camping Ride
The Glacier Camping Ride is a 10-day horseback riding adventure offered by Equitours. The adventure takes riders on a trek through Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park. Days are spent riding point-to-point, with time left over for hiking, photography, and relaxing in the shadows of epic views. Evenings are spent camping at a mix of both established campsites and “wild” spots.
Hacienda to Hacienda Ride
Equitours’ Hacienda to Hacienda Ride in Ecuador is an eight-day trip consisting of seven full days of saddle time. Riders will follow the well-worn “Avenue of Volcanoes” route through vast plains, spacious valleys, and historic villages. Nights are spent in haciendas brimming with charm and history, and provide riders the unique opportunity to experience local culture.
In the Saddle
In the Saddle offers equestrian travelers the opportunity to spend a minimum of four nights at Hacienda Zuleta in Ecuador. This historic working farm, which belongs to the family of a former Ecuadorian president, has a ton for guests to do. Myriad trails radiate from the hacienda, and most guests spend 1-5 hours riding each day. One of the many out-of-the-saddle activities offered is a visit to the Condor House, an important conservation project that exists on the hacienda’s premises.
Haras Las Tordillas Ranch Stay
Haras Las Tordillas Ranch is a luxury working ranch in Uruguay. By booking this trip through Unicorn Trails, guests will be able to spend their days trail:
- riding with hardy Arabian horses
- swimming in rivers and waterfalls
- wine tasting
- enjoying authentic regional foods.
There may be no better way to experience Cuba than Unicorn Trails’ Havana Experience. This five-day horseback riding adventure consists of 2-3 hours of riding each day. In the evenings and afternoons, guests are immersed in local culture. There is even an opportunity to learn the national dance of Cuba from a professional dance teacher.
Inca Trails Cattle Drive
A cattle drive is a major bucket list item for a lot of horse lovers, and the Inca Trails Cattle Drive from Unicorn Trails is an excellent way to check that box! The nine-day trip takes place high in the Andes of Argentina, where riders will help gauchos drive cattle into pens, then help with sorting and branding. After long days taking part in one of the last truly authentic cattle drives on Earth, guests will spend evenings resting in mountain cabins.
In the Saddle
In the Saddle’s Lake District horseback riding adventure is a five- to seven-night trip through the Puelo Valley, a remote section of the Andes in Chile’s Lake District. This rugged ride is a true adventure, as riders will cross the Puelo River at various points throughout the trek. Personal belongings are carried by pack horses, and nightly lodgings are basic, yet comfortable.
Mayan Jungle Ride
Equitours offers this six-day horseback riding adventure through the thick Mayan jungle of Belize. Though it is certainly an adventure, the ride is also relaxing, as the varied terrain does not lend itself to too much fast riding. Riders will travel at a leisurely pace past Mayan ruins, myriad other archaeological sites, natural rock pools and waterfalls, and so much more natural beauty. Be sure to keep an eye out for wildlife. Birds and animals like toucan and marmots are commonly sighted.
Equitours recently announced the Pantanal Ride, a new horseback riding adventure through the Pantanal region of Brazil. The Pantanal is the world’s biggest wetland and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s well known for its wildlife, including jaguar, tapir, toucan, giant anteaters, and much more. On this eight-day ride, adventurers will spend their days riding out from a total of three different lodges. They’ll cover a variety of terrain, and work with guides to spot wildlife both common and rare.
Pioneers of Patagonia
Unicorn Trails’ Pioneers of Patagonia ride includes seven days adventuring through Argentina’s pristine Patagonia region. Riders will spend 5-6 hours each day riding trails through uninhabited lands, much of which can only be reached by horseback. Uniquely, this ride is appropriate for confident novice riders, and the minimum age is nine.
Que Viva Cuba!
Equus Journeys offers the Que Viva Cuba! horseback riding adventure. This 15-day guided group trip is the ideal way for any equestrian to experience all that Cuba has to offer. Eight of the days are spent riding through the Viñales area, Valley de los Ingenios, Playa Clara, and Escambray Mountain. When not in the saddle, guests have the opportunity to learn about traditional Cuban cultural aspects like:
- salsa and reggae music
- tobacco cultivation
- good-hearted equestrian games.
Ride Across the Andes
On this great horseback riding adventure from Equitours, riders spend eight days trekking across the Andes Mountains from Puerto Varas in Chile’s Lake District to Nahuel Huapi national park in Argentina. Local guides lead the group through hidden Patagonian valleys, past crystal clear lakes, and into local villages where guests can overnight in the homes of locals. The terrain is varied, but the pace is slower, ensuring plenty of opportunity to enjoy the local surroundings.
Sacred Valley of the Incas Ride
Adventurers on this trip get to ride smoothly gaited Paso Finos. They’ll also get to experience Peru’s most impressive Pre-Columbian civilization. Highlights of Equitours’ 11-day Sacred Valley of the Incas Ride include:
- shopping for local arts and crafts in Cuzco
- riding through the Quechua-speaking villages in the mountains
- visiting the ruins of the lost city of Machu Picchu.
Short Break Tropical Riding Adventure
Want a quick Costa Rican getaway with horses and beaches? Book the Short Break Tropical Riding Adventure with Unicorn Trails. This six-day horseback riding adventure treks along the Old Spanish Trail, a gorgeous route which includes rainforest, beaches, and lots of wildlife. There is an emphasis on natural horsemanship on this trip.
In the Saddle
Of all the countries in Central and South America, Uruguay may just be the most underrated. This friendly and beautiful country remains largely unexplored by foreigners, and those who book a spot on In the Saddle’s Ultimate Uruguay horseback riding adventure will be one of the few to learn this country intimately. The 11-night trip includes 10 full days of riding. Highlights include:
- the chic coastal town of Jose Ignacio
- the white-sand beaches of Rocha
- the traditional estancia Balcon del Abra, located inland.
The Volcano Trail: From Cotopaxi to Quilotoa
One of the only ways to experience Ecuador’s many volcanoes is on horseback via The Volcano Trail. This thrilling trail leads riders near volcanoes like Cotopaxi and Quilotoa, through the beautiful cloud forest, and across the wild Ecuadorian paramo. Adventurous equestrians can do it all by booking the 13-day The Volcano Trail offered by Equus Journeys.
Equus Journeys’ Wild Andes tour is perfect for those looking to immerse themselves in both culture and adventure. The 13-day tour includes nine full days of riding through a whopping three different ecosystems. This region is well known for its epic scenery, and riders will travel through much of it, including multiple volcanoes!
In the Saddle
Many travelers head to Costa Rica to experience the country’s “wild” natural setting. By booking a spot on In the Saddle’s Wilderness Ride horseback riding adventure, equestrians can experience even more of Costa Rica than the typical tourist. This eight-night trek includes six full days of riding through tropical forest, spotting sloths and other interesting wildlife, and getting to know true Costa Rican culture.
By BHB Staff
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