This 4-day horse trek shows you the best of the Andes. The number of species found here are incredible. You can find the Andean deer, spectacles bears, Andean fox and pumas, as well as a variety of birds like the guarro (Andean eagle), curiquingeu (cara-cara), the kilico (falcon), chugshi (owl), bandurrias (black ibis), urco paloma (sea gull), ducks, and the majestic condor.
Transportation from Quito to the Pululahua Crater where your journey will start. Once on our horses, we enter a tropical climate with bamboo, sugar cane and banana trees, before we start climbing gently but continually in order to leave the valley towards the south-west. On our picturesque trail up the mountain, we only come across a few small farmhouses, where the highland farmers scratch a meagre income from the steep, infertile land beside the forest.
Looking backwards, the valleys and mountains unfold below us like from bird's perspective.
Accommodation in a 300 years old colonial Hacienda or alternatively we rest and learn about organic farming and solidary economics in the community lodge of Yunguilla.
We'll be riding across the Valley of Nono, along green, hilly pastures, passing several stately farms, where we can observe fighting bulls and flower crop for exportation, getting a good impression about present and past of the country. Some extensive canters along fields and pastures make our way shorter this time. This picturesque valley is also the home and breading place of many beautiful horses. Drawing closer to Pichincha volcano, which towers above us at almost 15.000 feet, we shall reach the tiny colonial village of Nono, where we find shelter in a traditional farm-house, still built in colonial time. Next to a hot chimney fire, our host Don Lucho, known as the “Wild West Cowboy of Nono” is always willing to tell some interesting stories about people and lifestyles, while sharing tea and locally burnt brandy with us.
Today we leave Nono, climbing up to the edge of the paramo grassland, catching views on the ashy slopes of Pichincha Volcano and the surrounding valleys. After crossing a ridge that divides the Interandean Valley from the Pacific Andean slopes, we start heading downhill into a lush green region of virgin forests studded with waterfalls toward the fishing resort of Tandayapa. Once back on the road, we say goodbye to the horses and shall meet our accompanying vehicle that brings us up the rest of way to Bellavista nature reserve, where hundreds of hummingbirds have found their home. We'll be welcomed into a comfortable lodge with hot showers and delicious, wholesome food. From the balcony of our shared room, we can enjoy a breath-taking view far over the cloud forest and listen to the sound of exotic birds.
After a hearty breakfast, a tour of Bellavista reserve is open to whoever wishes. Self-guided trail-maps help you to design your adventure through this Andean jungle. We have plenty of time to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and the variety of plant- and bird-life, before our accompanying vehicle will bring us back to Quito after lunch.