Horseback Riding in Colombia

Barichara Ride

Overview

Barichara and the surrounding region of Santander is often recognized as the birthplace of Colombia’s independence from years of Spanish dominance and rule. The region is well known for its great colonial architecture, royal roads, dense woodland and cascading waterfalls. Here you will be given the chance to discover a quaint countryside, inhabited by a unique people and home to a fascinating culture.

This trail is designed specifically for adventurous riders who want to take part in a challenging horseback experience that will leave you feeling fulfilled. Discover the extreme landscapes of Colombia as you follow the Royal roads first used by the Conquistadors, and later by the revolutionaries fighting against the Spanish king in the early part of the 19th century. The routes will lead you from the historic lands of Boyacá to the state of Santander. You will explore wild and diverse landscapes, as well as villages bustling with a vibrant, colorful culture. You will meet people who have known hardship and adversity in the recent past but who are now emerging into the future with a sense of renewed freedom and energy. Your host and guide is an experienced horseman and Colombian national who has dedicated much of his life to breeding and cultivating equestrian athletes, firstly in the competitive sport of polo, then for  Endurance racing and now for the trail of discovery. Together with a hardworking ground team, he hopes to share with you the unique relationship of horse and rider, the physical demands of the trail and the magic of Colombia.

During this ride you will be accommodated in a combination of comfortable local hotels and fascinating historical farmhouses. The properties have been selected for their location, individual charm and interesting characteristics. All provide a comfortable bed, warm and friendly hosts, as well as delicious home cooked food and an insight into the lives of the local people.

Single rooms can be limited, so please check with us at the time of booking if you are not willing to share a room with another rider of the same gender.

Food on these rides is all typical Colombian fare which includes a lot of red meat (beef and pork), as well as chicken, freshwater fish, rice, plantain, avocado, maize, cheese, potato, coconut and a whole variety of fresh tropical fruit.

  • Overview:
    Horses are Anglo and purebred Arabian, as well as some Criollo/Arab cross; all are hardy and built for the long hours required of this ride. They are very fit, forward going and responsive and many have won championships in Colombia for endurance racing. Predominantly McClellan saddles, although quality English leather saddles are offered for more advanced riders.
  • Horse Breeds:
    Arabian, Criollo cross
  • Trip Pace:
    Moderate to fast
  • Tack:
    McClellan and English
  • Weight limit:
    220 lbs in riding gear

This is not a recommended option for non-riders. For those taking part in the riding, the program incorporates visits to local artisan producers, guided walks and historical talks about the villages you visit, coffee tasting sessions and refreshing dips under giant waterfalls.

You are met at the Bogotá airport upon arrival and transferred to the accommodations for the first night.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival to Bogotá during the day, where you will be met by host and guide before being transferred to a hotel in the city. Once here you will check-in and possibly have some time free to take a look around the city before you enjoy dinner with your fellow guests and host that evening.
Overnight at the hotel (meals not included on this day).

Day 2

This morning you will set off for the Colombian countryside. The drive is long but you will be able to enjoy the winding roads and stunning vistas as you pass through the regions of Cundinamarca, Boyacá and finally to Santander. You will stop for lunch at a typical Colombian restaurant along the way and enjoy plenty of time to ask your hosts questions about the trail, hear some interesting stories about the local region and it’s history and get to know your fellow adventurers.
You will reach the rural town of Oiba with time to enjoy the pool here and freshen up before dinner.
Transfer time approximately 5 hours

Day 3

After a tasty and filling breakfast your riding guide Julio will talk you through the safety procedures of the trail and present each one with a wristband containing a unique number in case of an emergency. Now is your chance to check gear and ask any important questions about the trail.
The horses will be saddled and waiting for you outside the hotel. The morning will see you following dirt tracks through picturesque farmland and beautiful woodland, surrounded by abundant vegetation and crystal clear streams. There are chances to stop at an old foresters camp for a refreshing drink and then onwards through the mountain passes until you stop for a picnic lunch with a spectacular view. Along the way you may stop at an old school, community shop or local traditional basket weaver’s house to see how life is lived in this part of the world.
By mid-afternoon you will arrive in the noble town of Charalá, where you will be able to admire the spires of the great central cathedral from miles away. You will stop at a hotel on the outskirts of the town, where you can help to wash down and settle the horses for the night.
At sunset you will also be given the chance to take a guided tour of Charalá in order to discover it’s pleasant cobbled streets, take in the mild night time temperatures and eventually enjoy a late dinner before retiring to the hotel for a well-deserved nights rest.
Riding approximately 5-6 hours

Day 4

After another delicious breakfast, you will aim to leave the hotel by 10am. Riding along the royal roads which border the majestic Fonce River you will follow the river course as it is joined by the smaller Pineta and Tâquiza, often via a dramatic cascade of water some 30-40 meters high. To your right you will also witness mountainsides planted with a variety of sugarcane, coffee and cocoa crops and see the farmers and local people working on the harvest at specific times of year. The gently undulating tracks with offer plenty of opportunity for long trots and canters as you work to cover the ground on this long day of riding.
At midday you will cross over the Fonce River by means of a road bridge then continue a short way before entering the Juan Curi Falls Reserve. Here you will settle your horses to graze in the grounds before enjoying a replenishing meal, followed by a refreshing dip in the cascading waterfalls (an experience which is both thrilling and life-affirming in equal measure).
Not long to rest before you will need to re-mount your horses in order climb the tracks up above the Juan Curi heading to the remote village of Páramo. The afternoon ride is long and may see you riding after sunset. You will follow farm tracks and quiet country roads before arriving at the traditional hacienda in a coffee and sugarcane plantation which will be your home for the night.
After a long day in the saddle, you will be thankful for a warm home-cooked meal and a comfortable bed.
Riding approximately 8-9 hours.

Day 5

Today you will continue your ride heading toward the historic town of El Socorro, birthplace of patriots and martyrs of the independence movement toward the end of the 18th century. You will again pass great coffee plantations and begin to move into more wild, mountainous terrain during this section of the ride. The town has been built on the side of a great mountain and as you pass through the centre you will have the feeling of riding towards the edge of the world. Passing amazing architecture and exquisite colonial homes, you will eventually join the course of the River Suarez which is famed for its demanding rapids (a favourite among rafting enthusiasts).
Your guide will describe the detailed passage of the Suarez River which has flowed through this valley for many years, shaping it into existence with unyielding force and eventually finishing in the canyons of Chicamocha (which you will appreciate further on).
In the afternoon you will reach the beautiful town of El Palmar, home to a very famous and historic Ceiba tree in the main town square. You will again spend the night in a beautiful local hacienda.
Riding approximately 7-8 hours

Day 6

Crossing back over the Suárez River by way of the road bridge, you will start to ride today by picking up the track to the small rural village of Cabrera. This little settlement is well regarded locally for it’s exceptionally well preserved Colonial architecture. From here you will follow the ancient royal roads as they lead you down to the Plateau and the historic town of Barichara. The town is recognised as the emblematic jewel of Colombian history.
Entering the town by way of the royal bridge, you will have some time to appreciate Barichara’s quaint cobbled streets, observe its numerous ceremonial parks and magnificent old churches. Later in the afternoon you will make your way to a spectacular country house on the outskirts of town. Here you will enjoy a delicious home cooked meal and a restful nights sleep.
Riding approximately 5-6 hours.

Day 7

This morning will see you enjoying a pleasant ride through the rural tobacco plantations of the Barichara plateau, heading toward the great canyon of Chicamocha. This grand natural valley has been nominated amongst a very strong group of contenders for the honour of being titled one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Here you will experience what can only be described as a “not-to-be-missed” visual spectacle, offering vast and uninterrupted views over the mountainous terrain and down along the cursive path of the great river below.
Following either a light picnic lunch or a typical santanderean meal at a local family’s house close to the canyon’s brim, you will mount up and begin to head back toward Barichara for the night.
Riding approximately 6 hours.

Day 8

Today you will be able to enjoy a free day of rest and relaxation in the heart of Barichara.
Often described in literature as the “prettiest town in Colombia”, Barichara has a lot to offer visitors in such a small and unassuming place. The tranquility offered by this little town is quite unparalleled.  a real treasure of a national monument with its roots deeply ingrained in the time of the Spanish Conquests. Here you will discover perfectly pretty whitewashed houses with red-tiled roofs, surrounded by quiet stone streets. Occasionally you will stumble across an artesanal craft shop, or perhaps the odd lovely little bar or restaurant , as well as the great many churches.
Beginning in the main square, you can find the “Templo de la Inmaculada Concepción y San Lorenzo” (the temple of the immaculate conception and Saint Laurence); originally hand built from local stone by the village’s artesanal craftsmen. Then, the “Capilla de San Juan de Dios” (the chapel of Saint John of God); a gorgeous church with an intriguing cemetery. The “Capilla de San Antonio” (the chapel of Saint Anthony) with it’s attractive shaded courtyard, or the “Capilla Santa Bárbaba” (the chapel of Saint Barbara) whihc is now used most regularly for cultural events. Of particular note should also be the museum at the home of Aquileo Parra, former Colombian president between 1876-78.

Day 9

Today will mark the very last day of your trip through the independence routes of Colombia. You will return to the capital city of Bogota where you will be accommodated in a comfortable hotel in the city. (meals not included).
Transfer time approximately 6 hours.

Day 10

Transfer to the airport in time for your flight home or onward travel plans.

Itinerary Addendum

This itinerary is flexible and changes are possible at the guide's discretion due to unforeseen circumstances.

Trip Map

Trip Dates & Pricing

Departure Dates

Trip Starts
Trip Ends
Jan 18, 2020
Jan 27, 2020
Mar 28, 2020
Apr 6, 2020
May 30, 2020
Jun 8, 2020
Jul 25, 2020
Aug 3, 2020
Sep 12, 2020
Sep 21, 2020
Nov 21, 2020
Nov 30, 2020

Pricing & Options

  • Base Price
  • $3,470
    pricing for 2-3 riders booked
  • Pricing Variation
  • $2,900
  • $2,600
  • Single Supplement
  • $35 per nightpayable if you are unwilling to share a twin room with another single traveler of the same gender. * Single rooms can be limited, so please check with us at the time of booking.

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Contact Biggi Hayes

The trip was amazing! I had the best time! The horses were incredible, the route we took was beautiful and the pace of the ride was perfect. Julio was a great host and all of our guides were fantastic! Thank you!

Millbank, 2018