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Horse Riding in South America: Top Trail Rides You Can't Miss

by Lystia Putranto

The go-to resource for planning your horse riding holidays. Find all you need to know about the top destinations and take your riding skills to new heights.
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Been dreaming of going on a horse riding holiday in South America? While all the colorful countries in the region offer breathtaking horse riding trails, a handful rank above the rest. 

Curious to find out what are the best horse riding destinations in South America? From Argentina and Brazil to Colombia, Chile, and Peru, here are our top picks of countries with spectacular trails that you simply have to experience in your lifetime!


Trail riding in Argentina

Trail riding holidays in Argentina

Famed as the home of the Tango, elegant architecture, and delicious wine, this beautiful country is also blessed with a strong equine culture and a diverse landscape that makes it a slice of heaven on Earth for horse riding enthusiasts. 

If exploring the country’s scenic landscapes is what you have set your eyes on, there’s no better way to do so than to go on a pack trip.

This multi-day trail riding and camping adventure offers ample time for you to bond with a trained criollo, a native breed that descended from the region’s wild horses.

While there are plenty of trails worth discovering, the vast and lush pampas (the South American grassland) in the center and the breathtaking Patagonian plateau in the south come highly recommended – especially for beginners. 

If you are a seasoned rider looking for a challenge, then head for the trails in the rugged Andes mountains, the longest continental mountain range in the world. Guided by some of Argentina’s most skilled gauchos (cowboys/cowgirls), this is certainly an experience not to be missed. 

Should you prefer a more pampering excursion, head to the trails of the Mountains of Mendoza. This area is renowned for its good food and fine wine so you’re guaranteed to be spoiled with a decadent experience you won’t forget anytime soon.

Soak in the fresh crisp air as you ride along the snow cap peaks of Condon del Plata. On top of that, this region is also home to the last remaining Andean (wild) condor so you may just be lucky enough to spot these majestic birds!


Trail riding in Brazil

Trail riding holidays in Brazil

Thinking of heading to Brazil sometime soon? While you’re there, be sure to set aside some time for a horse riding trip! You’re guaranteed to be wanting for more.

If you’re looking to enjoy some of the most spectacular mountain sceneries, we recommend you head to Rio Grande do Soul for a breathtaking ride along the country’s canyons and waterfalls. Here, you can find quite a few ranches that have bred and trained horses for seven generations so you can rest assured that you are in good hands.

Enjoy drinking coffee as much as you adore riding horses? If so, the São Paulo State in the southeast region where you need to be. Ride along beginner-friendly trails surrounded by the highlands and Brazil’s most historic coffee plantations. This laid-back ride will allow you to make stops along the way so you’ll have plenty of time to sample a variety of delicious coffee.

Brazil is blessed with rich flora and fauna – one of the best places to spot them is Pantanal, a collection of ecosystems that makes up America’s largest wetlands. A top destination for wildlife viewing, it is ideal for wildlife lovers. The good news is that you have the option to explore it on horseback and there are plenty of trails to choose from.

Last but not least, with its strong beach culture, it’s no secret that the country is home to some of the most phenomenal beaches. If you’re been dreaming of going on a beach horse riding holiday, why not opt to do so in Bahia?

Imagine yourself galloping across the Praia do Encanto beach and ending the ride with a memorable view of the sunset. It really doesn’t get any better than that!


Trail riding in Chile

Trail riding holidays in Chile

As Chile shares a border with Argentina, there are ride worthy trails that will allow you to explore both countries such as those found in Patagonia and the Andes

Get a taste of life as a gaucho as you go on a horse riding adventure across the captivating landscapes of Chilean Patagonia.

During your excursion in the wilderness, you will have a firsthand look at Bagualeo, a program of tradition, value, and skill which was developed here.

Depending on the trail that you choose to embark on, you will be able to explore routes along Estancia Consuelo, Torres del Paine National Park, Glacier Grey viewpoint, Altos de Lircay National Reserve, and much more. A boat trip, such as the one you can take to the Last Hope Sound, is often included as part of the experience.

Other visit-worthy routes can also be found in the north part of the country in the high desert of the Atacama, known as the Wild West of South America. Located in the west of the Andes Mountains, this plateau covers a vast stretch of land on the Pacific coast and is the driest non-polar desert in the world. 

Here, you will be able also to visit the traditional village of the Atacameños (people of the desert), who are direct descendants of the Incas.


Trail riding in Colombia

Trail riding holidays in Colombia

Located in the most nothern part of South America, Colombia has the most diverse terrains in the continent! From beautiful beaches, lush rainforests, majestic mountains and highland plains, this enchanting country it has it all! 

When it comes to horses, Colombia has its own indigenous breed, the Colombian Criollo (Paso Fino). Though it is somewhat similar to the typical criollo found all over South America, this particular breed is elegant in stature and have a smoother gait compared to its cousins.

Horses are a big part of the country’s culture and history which is why it is not a rarity that you’ll encounter horse parades and festivals throughout the year. It is a perfect destination for riders looking to have a combination of unique horse riding and cultural experiences.

Similar to Brazil, Colombia is also blessed with fertile soil so it’s no wonder that you’ll find plenty of plantations such as those you’ll find in Quindio where you’ll find vast fields of coffee, cocoa, and banana trees. There are excursions that offer the opportunity to explore trails along these beautiful plantations and surely, you’ll be given ample time to sample the produce that Colombia is renowned for!

Seeking a challenging yet rewarding adventure on horseback? Boyacá is your best bet. Located in the vicinity of Bogota, here, where you will discover the mountainous area of the Raquira region surrounded by lush oak trees. The trail will lead you to the valleys of Villa De Leyva, Raquira, and Tinjaca.

During this excursion, you’re likely to also have a chance to visit Laguna de Fúquene, one of the country’s largest lakes, and San Miguel De Sema, a charming rural town.

Wildlife lovers will not leave disappointed as Colombia boasts a huge range of flora and fauna. If wildlife viewing tops your list, The Colombian Eastern Plains and Tayrona National Park, are very much worth considering. 

While the Eastern Plains offer vast flatlands, you can travel from beach to beach on horseback on horseback, allowing you to explore the park’s coastal jungles where you can get up close and personal with various endemic species. 


Trail riding in Peru

Trail riding holidays in Peru

Though some of the horse trails in Peru are indeed challenging, there are trails available for all levels of riders. Nevertheless, you will feel assured that you are in good hands as you will be riding in the company of experienced guides and on a sure-footed Peruvian Paso horse. 

Nicknamed the “Rolls Royce”, this local breed is highly regarded for its good temperament and smooth gait. The combination of the two will guarantee a comfortable and memorable ride. 

There’s no better way to discover the Peruvian side of the Andes than on horseback. That said, note that the trails in the Andean Highlands are reserved for experienced riders.

Embark on a pack trip of a lifetime in the Cusco region where you will trek trails across its vast terraces, the Sacred Valleys of the Incas before you decent to the magical Machu Picchu, the former citadel of the Incan empire.

Here, you will be able to ride ancient paths as you learn about their cultural and historical importance to the Incan civilization.

During the evenings, you will camp in the great outdoors within walking distance of the Salineras (salt mines) and be spoiled with views of the majestic Andes. It is certainly an excursion that you won’t be able to replicate elsewhere in the world.

Looking for even more great destinations for trail riding? Be sure to check out our vast selection of trail riding in the Americas & Caribbean

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