Every weekend here in Ecuador it is time for me to try something new. This weekend I took the bus from Quito to Machachi, a city surrounded by the avenue of volcanoes about 35km south of Quito. Here I went horseback riding through beautiful landscapes and made new friends along the way.
The bus ride to Machachi is about an hour from Quito, and already gives you a good view of the hilly landscape. When you take a small road off the busy Panamericana Sur highway, you can get to Hosteria Papagayo. A Hidden gem, away from the inhabited world. From here it is possible to start many activities such as: horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking and climbing tours.
The Hosteria looks and feels like a classic inn but is in surprisingly perfect state for being over 150 years old. The wooden appearance is very stylish, the atmosphere around the place feels cosy and intimate. We were friendly welcomed by enthusiastic dogs and were given something to drink. We rested a bit, as it was a warm day and just had some travels behind us.
Me and my friends went to the stables and met the horses. We gave them some healthy snacks and got an introduction of Mira, our guide. She told us about the biology and behavior of the horses, and how to handle them as well as safety precautions. We put on the riding caps and got on our horses. We practiced steering and working together with the horses in the designated area for this. The horses were very calm and well trained, so it was not hard to get used to each other. After 5 or 10 minutes, we all felt very comfortable and we left for our tour.
Three of the dogs of Hosteria PapaGayo ran in front of us, leading the way. We rode past ecological rose-farms and followed the path up the hill. The horses were very obedient and did not ‘’misbehave’’ once, they were trained very well and seemed to enjoy it almost just as much as we did. Occasionally, my horse made a mini stop to grab some of the grass from the side path. I just let him/her as it seemed to know that he could not stop for too long.
When we came at a crossing, we were asked whether we would like to take a two or three-hour tour, and we choose the latter, as we really enjoyed it so far. We went up a quite steep hill and were surprised by the beautiful sights of the mountains. Lucky for us it was a very clear day and we could see the Cotopaxi Volcano and many other high Andes mountains. The view was amazing, and the route felt rural and peaceful.
We passed many animals such as cows, alpacas and were greeted by a loudly hee-hawing donkey, which was very comical. The dogs accompanied us the whole horseback riding tour, while in the meantime cooling off at whatever water they could find.
Connection With Nature
After about an hour I could really feel that Pirata (the horse) and me were really on the same line. We build a bond and it was easier to control him/her. Sometimes we went into trot or gallop. After three hours of riding through the Andes landscape, it only felt like an hour had passed. You don’t notice the time when you are just silently riding through the beautiful nature.
The Most Delicious Lunch
After riding you get very hungry, luckily for us we got lunch at the Hosteria. First, we got a great quinoa soup, after which we got a delicious plate full of champignon pasta with salad. To top it off we got desert, a fresh piece of cake with sauce. We discussed the memorable day at the patio and played some table football and ping pong to end it.
Hosteria Papagayo is a wonderful peaceful place where you can really get to yourself. It ended up leaving me with memories I won’t easily forget, and I will surely return here before I try to climb the Cotopaxi Volcano, as it is a0