Sacred Valley Ride - (3 days)
The most popular section of our Secrets of the Andes Ride leads us on hidden trails towards, along and above the beautiful and magical Guayllabamba river valley, that was visited and settled by ancient Ecuadorian cultures longtime even before the arrival of the Incas. Hence, the Sacred Valley. Ancient paths, nearly forgotten nowadays, traced and used by over 1000 year old cultures, some of who's many different testimonies we shall encounter and admire on our ride:
Pre-historical fortresses, ceremonial places, grave hillocks, terraces and stone carvings in midst a pleasant climate and lush vegeta- tion, are an experience to enjoy in three interesting riding days.
This trip addresses to rather experienced riders, as it is a great combination of steep adventurous climbs through dense vegeta- tion, and gallop stretches on mountain ridges with wide open views. Phyical fitness,, confidence and safe seat are crucial on this trip.
Transport from Quito to the Green Horse Ranch, inside the National Reserve Pululahua, about 25 miles north from Quito. Already the jeep ride is a true experience that offers outstanding picture-stops. From the ranch, robust and amiable mountain horses will take us through the stunning land-scape of this volcanic caldera. Before we head out to the remoteness and the demanding trails into the Sacred Valley, we use this first day as a warm up ride, to get used to the terrain and to well define the best horse and saddle for each rider.
While circling the central lava cone, we witness volcanic history and nature, interesting geological formations, mineral avalanches blooming with wild orchids and traditional Andean agriculture.
Riding time about 4 hours.
Along cloud-forest covered mountain slopes, we'll be passing by deep gorges, carved by lava streams thousands of years ago. Through the narrow passage of the Rio Blanco canyon, we finally reach the valley of the Rio Guayllabamba, a sacred valley for prehispanic cultures, with its warm and tropical climate, where we shall find coffee trees, fields of sugar cane and a lot of tropical fruits. Legendary historical sites can be observed along the way. When the afternoon light breaks through the clouds over the pre-Inca-fortress Portalanza, this mountain-valley looks most certainly like taken from a fairy tale. "Aguacatal" is the name of the very remote (no electricity!) and beautiful farm that offers us beds for tonight in cozy wooden cabañas (alternatively ancient Jesuit Hacienda Niebli de la Compañia, depending on availability). Welcome drink and great home-made hot meal.
Another day for the adventurous and nature lovers! Following the course of the furious and turbulent waters of river Guayllabamba downstream, we sure enjoy more than one breathtaking view. From the back of our horses, we're overlooking the steep and winding gorges, a comprised version of the Grand Canyon. This valley has been settled long before the arrival of the Incas, by cultures who were farming the steep difficult land, building temples for their gods and knowing the exact position of the equator line.
Today’s ride combines steep adventurous climbs through dense vegetation with gallop stretches on mountain ridges with wide open views. We shall also take a look at mysterious 1300 years old stone-carvings from the Yumbo-culture. We'll be crossing the cristal clear waters of Rio Blanco on horseback on our way back home to the crater valley. Hiking parts are necessary. Arrival at the Green Horse Ranch and transport back to Quito.
3 Days Price/ person: 575,- USD
Requirements: 2 to 8 participants with outdoor riding experience and physical fitness