Ride Through the Forests and Volcanoes of Ecuador with Hacienda La Alegria
Join in on an adventure of a lifetime riding through central Ecuador's incredible and diverse landscape through jungle forests, mountains, and the land of 9 volcanoes. Experience local culture at the family run working farm and lodge that has bred and trained horses for over 100 years. Hacienda La Alegria is in the heart of Ecuador’s “Avenue of the Volcanoes” 45 minutes south of the historic colonial city of Quito, the capital of Ecuador. The Hacienda offers luxury rooms for rent in a century old Hacienda, day trail rides, and 9- and 12-day multi-day trail rides to Cotopaxi and Quilotoa volcano.
Hacienda La Alegria Lodge and Farm
Hacienda La Alegria specializes in horseback vacations in the beautiful surroundings of the high Andes of Ecuador. Your host Gabriel Espinosa comes from a family steeped in equestrian tradition, and his enthusiasm for riding and horses is at the core of everything they do at La Alegria. We cater for experienced riders and total beginners, everyone will be catered to and looked after. Equestrian sports run in the Espinosa family and taking part in them is a tradition that goes back hundreds of years. His grandfather bred racing horses close to Quito and his father, Renato Espinosa was a keen polo player. Gabriel followed in the same footsteps as a young man, horse-jumping and playing competitive polo.
Hacienda La Alegria
Magnificent Horses at Hacienda La Alegria
At Hacienda La Alegria, their beautiful horses are their pride and joy and each one is considered part of the family. The farm has a total of 90 horses, 30 mares and a pecheron stallion. Most of their herd has been bred on the farm from mixed Criollo (native South American), English Thoroughbred and Arabian stock – this wonderful combination has resulted in a near perfect mix of toughness, agility, calm temperament and “mountain sense”.
Hacienda la Alegria is happy to follow the Natural Horsemanship principles and after 5 years of training the foals we can appreciate a big benefit for horses and riders. Beginners and experienced riders alike have found them easy to ride, willing and good mannered. If you have previous riding experience you will be given plenty of opportunity to canter. We have a range of tack including North American style, English style, Mclellan calvary, Chillean and traditional Ecuadorian “Chagra” style with its intricate leatherwork and saddle horn.
Rest and Rejuvenate at the Lodge and Comfortable Accommodation
Whether you are looking for a short-day ride or a multi-day trip riding though the volcanoes, you are sure to have a comfortable place to sleep. The Hacienda La Alegria is a beautiful lodge 45 minutes south of the historic colonial city of Quito, the capital of Ecuador. There are a total of 11 rooms in the Hacienda that can accommodate up to 28 people in single, double, triple, and split-level family rooms that sleep 5 comfortably. The guest rooms have been tastefully restored with solid cypress floors and beams and modern en-suite bathrooms with hot water and powerful showers. The Hacienda offers a full board package by day which includes all meals, horseback riding and accommodation. When on a multi-day trek through the wilderness you will stay in lodges situated near a stopping point that are all wonderful hosts that Hacienda La Alegria partners with.
Hacienda La Alegria
Enjoy an Exhilarating 9 Day Volcano Ride Through Quilotoa
Experience riding through the beauty of the Ecuadorean Andes on horseback with experienced English/Spanish speaking Chagras (Ecuadorian Andes Cowboys). This 9 day ride takes you through a variety of natural habitats of Ecuador, from Montagne Cloud Forests to higher altitude arid volcanic environments. The ride climbs mountain ridges and switches from the eastern to the western Andes Mountain Chain towards the spectacular Quilotoa Crater Lake.
Day 1: Arrival
Arrive at Hacienda La Alegria and meet your host, the Chagras, and become comfortable at the higher altitude. Enjoy a short ride at the Hacienda arena.
Day 2: La Alegria
Ride in the arena, then around the neighboring Haciendas to get familiar with your horse and the tack. Enjoy lunch at the Hacienta, visit the milking barn, aging cheese cave, and enjoy the hot tub and fireplace.
Accommodations: Hacienda La Alegria
Riding hours: 4 hours
Day 3: Bomboli
Crossing extensive pastures and eucalyptus forests, we will have a nice view of the “Volcano Avenue”. From there we can appreciate the green and fertile Machachi Valley and we can also see the routes we will take the next day at the east mountain chain. We will ascend by Corazon Volcano up to 4,000 meters and descend through the Cloud forest reserve.
At the cloud forest we will be able to observe a great biodiversity of plants and flowers, including giant guneras, orchids, and birds such as the turkey of the forest.
In the afternoon we will arrive to Hacienda Bomboli at 3,000 m, and relax by the fireplace enjoying the sunset and watching the lights of the villages near the coast, we will arrive at teatime, then enjoy a great meal.
Accommodation: Hacienda Bomboli
Riding hours: 4 hours
In the morning we will walk at the Hacienda gardens to learn about orchids and cloud forest plants. We will ride up hill admiring the forest and the hundreds of flowers and plants; we will use the old road that was built in 1873 to connect Quito with the coast. Arrive to Hacienda La Alegria for lunch, relax and enjoy the hot tub and the fireplace.
Accommodation: Hacienda La Alegria
Riding hours: 6 hours
We will start the ride one hour south of Hacienda La Alegria; transferred by car to this point to start our 4-day adventure at the southern Andes. We will ride by the Inca trail and dirt trails that will take us to Isinlivi.
From here it is possible to admire the nice scenery from one valley to another. The colors and the mountains make the changes from paramo to eroded land full of different color patches. At the distance we will see the Eastern Mountain Chain.
The ride continues thru several hills, arriving to a small village called Insilivi founded in 1857. Here we will find our Lodge for the night, which was started by an entrepreneur from the UK 16 years ago and is now owned by a Dutch couple.
Accommodations: Lodge at Insilivi
Riding hours: 4-5 hours
In the morning, we will take a small walk to get the horses on a hill a viewpoint of the Canyon formed by the Volcano. We will then start our ride up hill to reach the Quilotoa crater lake Volcano the volcano via a beautiful old trail.
The soil is composed by pumice from the Quilotoa volcano that erupted 1,280 years ago. In the afternoon, we will arrive to the Quilotoa volcano summit at 4,000 meters above sea level, where our Lodge is awaiting. At the edge of the volcano we will enjoy and amazing view of the breathtaking Quilotoa Crater Lake. The 3-kilometer-wide caldera was formed by the collapse of this volcano after the last eruption.
Accommodations: Quilotoa Lodge, next to the crater lake 4000 meters high
Riding hours: 5 hours
Today is a long journey on the saddle.
We ride to Sigchos, the village that was known as the “last home” of the Inca general Ruminahui.
After breakfast, we head north by the ridge of Quilotoa Crater Lake. The trail goes across the highest mountain heading west. There we will find some small dairy farms and a couple of artisanal cheese makers. As we descend to the Canyon the environment becomes arid and desolate.
Arriving at the afternoon to Hacienda San Jose, a working dairy farm and guesthouse, in time for a good meal, Jacuzzi, sauna and a comfortable night. Our horses will have lush fields of fresh grass.
Accommodations: Hacienda San Jose
Riding hours: 7 hours
We will ride through a dramatic landscape, including steep ravines and narrow passages.
Even though we can visualize where we are heading and it looks near, we will have to cross several mountains chains to get there. This area is a combination of forest, rock peaks and eroded land from the past centuries.
The last day riding at the region will pass through several narrow old paths ascending to the high Andes paramo. We will make our way back to Hacienda La Alegria by car about six pm, dinner and overnight at home.
Accommodations: Hacienda La Alegria
Riding hours: 7 hours
Day 9:Hacienda La Alegria
Breakfast and finish of our services, Transfer to airport
$ 2600 US dollars
* excludes transfers to and from airport and tips, taxes
Minimum of 2 riders, 12 years and older, intermediate riders preferred
- --7 days quality horseback riding at the Ecuadorian Andes with all the necessary equipment, such as wool ponchos, rain ponchos and chaps, horse bag, helmets.
- --8 nights: 4 nights at hacienda la Alegria, 4 nights at different hacienda, starting Friday finishing on Saturday
- --Bilingual guide (Spanish/English) and Support vehicle all days
- --Lunch boxes on most of the rides
- --Your choice of saddle, wool protected, as well as half chaps and helmets.
- --Min 2 riders-Max.12 riders.
- --Suitable for families with kinds from 10 years old with good riding skills and resistance for long journeys. 15% discount for children up to 15.
- --Single supplement US $150 dollars.
- --First 2 rider confirmed as small group (up to 3) 150 dollars per pax small group fee
- --100% horseback trip (Once you start the ride you are not transfer by car on any day of the trip)
- --Pace: Moderate, trots and canters
- --High quality, easy to ride, trained horses full of stamina owned exclusively by Hacienda La Alegria
- --High-quality, well-maintained equipment (tack, camping equipment, 4-wheel drive SUV)
- --Visits and ride at 5 of the highest Ecuadorian mountains
- --Hacienda La Alegria maintains close relationships with and supports two local, rural schools. We promote the preservation of the local culture and educate visitors about the “chagras” (local cowboys). Hacienda la Alegria is environment-friendly (we produce organically, conserve energy and water, and compost), Smart Voyager Certified.
Day temperatures can vary considerably in the mountains (65F during day, 30F during night). Bring lots of layers, cotton or wool shirts, long sleeves, sweaters, fleece jackets, vest, thermal underwear top and bottom, bandana, waterproof gloves, wool or polypropylene socks, waterproof lightweight hiking boots, sunglasses, sunblock, lipstick, and a flashlight.
Hacienda Shuttle from Quito Airport
Quito International Airport is 1 hour from the Hacienda. This international airport offers flights to and from many countries around the world. From the airport, Hacienda La Alegria can arrange a private transfer for you if you reserve in advance. We offer transfer services to and from the Hacienda to Quito or the Airport, with drivers we know them. Round Trip from Quito up to 4 guests for 50.00 USD.
One way from the airport up to 4 guests for 50.00 USD.
If you are traveling in a larger group or need a transfer somewhere other than Quito or the Airport let us know.
Car from Quito Airport
From Quito take the Simon Bolivar highway towards the south, once you reach the town of Tambillo continue south by the E35 (PANAMERICANA SUR) and take a right at the turn-off towards the Santo Domingo/Coast highway E20. Drive for 2 km towards Sto Domingo and take a right when you see a hardware store called “Disensa”, go straight for 1km1/2, you will reach a small town called Rumipamba, take a left. After 400 mts you will see a large stone arch, turn left through the arch and continue straight until you reach a yellow house which is La Alegria.
Bus from Quito Airport
Buses leave Quito on average every ten minutes and take approximately one hour to Aloag. You should take the Trole Bus in Quito and get off at La Villlaflora Station. In that station you have to take a green bus that says Mejia and get off when you reach Aloag, or the junction to Santo Domingo. There you take a white and green pickup truck, they are close to the gas station and tell them you want to go to Hacienda La Alegria. That should be 3.00 usd. All the drivers know where it is.