DAY 1: OTAVALO MARKET & INTRODUCTORY RIDE
Meet at the Casa Aliso in Quito at 7.30 AM with the bilingual guide and drive into the northern highlands of Ecuador, through an arid valley with avocado orchards then into Imbabura province ‘the land of the lakes’. Visit the famous and very colorful Otavalo market.
Afterwards it’s a short drive to a historic hacienda frequented by the great South American liberator, Simon Bolivar. Members of the charming family (horse fanatics themselves!) who have owned the hacienda for several centuries greet you warmly. With its courtyards, ornate fountains, terraces and gardens graced with citrus, palm and monkey puzzle trees, it is an ideal location to leisurely drift into the relaxing Andean atmosphere.
An introductory ride of about 3-4 hours will take you along the tracks and through the tiny fields and hamlets surrounding the hacienda. You often see the very friendly but dignified locals in their immaculate traditional dress working in the fields, using hand tools or cattle to work the land. These tiny fields are surrounded by stone walls and earth banks topped with sisal plants and an array of wild flowers. The guides and grooms are available to assist and give instructions along the way if necessary.
After a welcome drink in the cozy bar, accompanied by the music of an excellent Andean band and a delicious, traditional dinner (a la carte), overnight at this 18th century hacienda. Most of the rooms have fireplaces.