Every weekend here in Ecuador is an opportunity for me to try something new. This weekend, I took a bus from Quito to Machachi, a city surrounded by the Avenue of the Volcanoes, located approximately 35 km. south of Quito. Here, I went horseback riding through beautiful landscapes and made new friends along the way.
The bus ride to Machachi takes about an hour from Quito, and it provides a pretty good view of the hilly landscape. You can take a small road off the busy Panamericana Sur Highway to get to Hosteria Papagayo. A hidden gem nestled away from the inhabited world. This is the starting point for 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, and the atmosphere around the place is cozy and intimate. We received a warm welcome from some enthusiastic dogs, and were given something to drink. We rested a bit, as it was a warm day and we had just traveled quite a bit.
My friends and I went to the stables and met the horses. We gave them some healthy snacks and got an introduction from Mira, our guide. She told us about the biology and behavior of the horses, and how to handle them, in addition to providing us with some safety pointers. We put on the riding caps and got on our horses. We practiced steering and working together with the horses in the area designated for this. The horses were very calm and well trained, so it wasn’t hard to get used to each other. After 5 or 10 minutes, we all felt very comfortable and we left on our tour.
Three of the dogs from Hosteria PapaGayo ran in front of us, leading the way. We rode past ecological rose farms and took 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 eat some of the grass from the side of the path. I just let it, as it seemed to know that it could not stop for too long.
When we came to 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 quite a steep hill and were surprised by the beautiful views of the mountains. Lucky for us, it was a very clear day and we could see Cotopaxi Volcano and many other tall mountains of the Andes. The view was amazing, and the route felt rural and peaceful.
We passed many animals, such as cows and alpacas, and were greeted by a loud hee-hawing donkey, which was very comical. The dogs accompanied us the whole tour, and cooled off whenever they could find water.
Connection With Nature
After about an hour, I could really feel that Pirata (the horse) and I were really on the same page. We built a bond and it was easier to control the horse. Sometimes we went into trot or gallop. After three hours of riding through the Andes countryside, it only felt like an hour had passed. You don’t notice time when you are just silently riding through the beauty of nature.
The Most Delicious Lunch
After riding you get very hungry. Luckily for us, we could eat lunch at the Hosteria. First, we had a great quinoa soup, and then we were served a delicious plate full of mushroom pasta with salad. To top it off, we got dessert; a fresh piece of cake with sauce. We discussed the memorable day on the patio and played some table soccer and ping pong to end the day.
Hosteria Papagayo is a wonderful, peaceful place where you can really get in touch with yourself. It ended up leaving me with memories I won’t easily forget, and I will surely return here before I try to climb Cotopaxi Volcano.
If you are interested in more information about this amazing adventures.
Contact Gulliver Expeditions for more information.0