Day 1: Welcome to Ecuador
Arrival in Ecuador and transfer from Mariscal Sucre Airport Quito to the hacienda. The Hacienda is situated 20 minute’s drive north of Quito in the Guayllabamba Valley (2100m altitude). Accommodation and dinner at the Hacienda’s own cabins in a hidden valley.
Day 2: Hacienda La Victoria
Breakfast at 8.30am. We meet the horses, prepare the luggage and equipment for our journey to Piñan. Explanation of the journey. Lunch at the Hacienda. In the afternoon we visit the old part of the hacienda, typical of the colonial era and over 100 years old. We also tour of our horse stables. Alternatively, those feeling tired from the altitude can rest and enjoy the peace. Dinner at 7.30pm
Day 3: Beginning of Piñan Trail
After an early breakfast, we will transfer to San Blas in the Imbabura province. This will take approximately two hours and during the trip, we will be able to see the majestic Cayambe volcano, 17,000 feet (5,830 meters) above sea level, the Imbabura volcano (14,000 feet) and the Cotacachi volcano (15,000 feet), covered with snow. We will also pass by the San Pablo lake, close to Otavalo city, a place famous for the Indian Market. Once in San Blas, we will saddle the horses and we will start our ascent to the eastern cordillera, from 7,000 feet up to 12,000 feet. We will follow a trail still in use by local peasants to pass over the big highlands (paramos) full of good pastures for cows and horses. During this ride, we will have very good and beautiful views of the valleys below us and the mountains on the horizon. We will notice the changes in vegetation as we go up until we arrive at 9,000 feet where only native grass called pajonales is found. This grass is common on the high lands in the Andes. This trail is very demanding for horses and riders, and the weather may change suddenly – the rain may appear faster and the temperature can drop to low levels in minutes. For this reason, we should be well prepared with appropriate clothing including ponchos! During our travel through the high mountains, we may encounter some animals and birds characteristic of the high Andes, such as deer, rabbits, wolves, bears, hawks, and eagles. If we are lucky enough we will see a condor flying with his spectacular wings. The night will be spent resting at a quiet river with clean waters running down where we will set up our tents. We take a good rest recovering from the long first journey with a hot and delicious dinner.
Day 4: Piñan Lake
Next morning after breakfast we will saddle the horses again and we will continue through the valley until we reach a 400-year-old farm. Here it is still possible to see native Indians living in chozas (huts) and wearing traditional clothes. After mid day we will see suddenly a beautiful lake with blue-green waters surrounded by forest. We will set up camp and if we wish we may go fishing to catch a trout for dinner.
Day 5: Explore the Paramo
Today will be spent around Piñan Lake. During our time here we admire the pristine and beautiful Andean páramo that few people see. We set up camp and enjoy the rest of the day swimming, walking, fishing, bird watching and generally enjoying the mountain scenery. And, of course, we may swim in the clean and cold waters to renew our bodies and restore our energy!
Day 6: Cloud Forest ride
Today we will come down through the mountain to the cloud forest cover with unique vegetation of bromelias, orchids, and parasitic plants. The temperature will increase and the trail continues up and down until we reach the first houses in the lukewarm valleys. Here coffee beans, corn, sweet potatoes, sugar cane, papaya, guava and other exotic fruits are planted. The ride will be long and we should push the horses as fast as possible to avoid night falling before we reach our destination in Nangulvi where a hot spring bath awaits us a reward for our efforts. We will spend the night in a nice resort close to a noisy river, and we will sleep with the sound of the water coming down from the mountains to the jungle.
Day 7: Back to Hacienda La Victoria
After breakfast, we return by vehicle to the hacienda. In the afternoon we can visit the flower plantation of the Hacienda. There you can see summer flowers industry and the unique bromelia plantation of Ecuador.
Day 8: Back to your homeland
Departure after breakfast.