Sierra Ride Itinerary

Begin this ride at traditional Oaxaca horse ranch

Day 1

You’ll be picked up at the airport or a city hotel for afternoon arrival at Rancho Pitaya, nestled at the edge of the tiny cheese-making village of Rojas de Cuauhtemoc. Settle into a comfortable guest suite, sip a welcome margarita and if your arrival time permits, ease back into the saddle with a guided sunset ride into a very exotic cactus forest. Dinner and overnight at the ranch.

Riding through the rare old growth organ cactus forest west of the ranch.

Day 2

This is a day to explore some seldom visited nooks in the foothills of the Valle de Tlacolula. Here’s a chance to ride next to gigantic candelabra cacti and emerald green alfalfa fields. Horse or donkey drawn carts are a unique look to the valley and something not seen in the sierra. Smooth footing on age old camino reales are prefect for extended trots and relaxed canters. Picnic lunch will be waiting out on trail with ice cold drinks and shade to relax in.

Back at Rancho Pitaya take a siesta before the option of visiting one of the close-by sites of special interest that include the delightful 16th c. churches of Tlacochahuaya or San Juan Teitipac.

Dinner on the terrace at the ranch. Get a good sleep there’s a big day ahead.

Day 3

Ride historic trails through unique and beautiful ecosystems

Bags should be packed as they will be transported separately to each day’s ride destination. Have a freshly prepared breakfast on the ranch’s dining terrace before riding north through the valley of Tlacolula to the trailhead of the historic Ruta de Juarez. This multi-day trail is named after the 19th c. president Benito Juarez who traversed it on his travels from his birthplace of Guelatao, deep in the Sierra Juarez to the city of Oaxaca.

Criss-cross streams twenty times on a slow ascent before climbing through old growth oak forests rich in native bromeliads and orchids. Picnic lunch halfway up this trail that begins at 1,550. meters and ends at 2,700. mts.. Ride into the charming hamlet of La Neveria where we overnight in their collectively run ecotourism lodging. Settle into your cabin; relax over sunset cocktails and a freshly prepared dinner in the ecolodge’s charming dining room.

Camino Real to Amatlan

Day 4

After a hot breakfast, ride deeper into the Sierra Juarez following the Ruta de Juarez north to the village of Latuvi. Descend along age-old paths bordered by fieldstone walls through quiet farmlands. Some off-horseback walking is optional on steep descents.

You may see yoked oxen plowing in the same way it’s been done for centuries. Ride into the village of Latuvi, tie up the horses, stretch your legs and enjoy a mid-morning brunch.

The afternoon trail was trodden long before the Spaniards ever set foot or hoof in the New World.  Orchids, bromeliads, exotic mosses and cacti make this ride an enchanted garden tour. Some off-horseback walking may be required on steep descents.

Your Guide Mary Jane ( see her shirt ) has been riding for over a decade in these mountains.

This trail meanders along a ridgeline full of grand vistas down to crystalline streams lined with exotic cacti, rare agaves and festive bromeliads.

Late afternoon picnic by the pristine stream that flows into  the colorful farming village of Chicomezxuchitl, known for its pretty flower gardens.

Back in the saddle, long shadows accompany the panorama views of the Sierra Juarez as we near this day’s destination of San Miguel Amatlan. Settle into their comfortable ecotourism cabins with fireplaces. Sip sunset cocktails looking out over the dramatic landscape across the canyon of the Rio Yavesia. Enjoy a leisurely dinner to finish this great day.

Swim with your horse in quiet, crystalline streams

Day 5

Riding the Rio Veinte trail

This is road-trip day with Mary Jane.  Hop-scotch your way deep down into a lush river valley lost in time. Pre-historic tree ferns emerge from primordial forests that give way to well-tended coffee plantations and sugar cane fields. Meet friendly potters with great crafts to take home.

Visit the “pueblo magico” of Calpulapam. This nationally acclaimed village has a colonial mexican church that far surpasses the best art museums.  Everything is interesting in it, from the steps at the entrance to the intricate baroque woodcarving inside. Overnight again in Amatlan. We’ll be serenaded by local musicians at a fireside dinner in our friend Magdelana’s tiny cafe.

Move out in the high sierra on fit, well-trained horses

Day 6

Lush Cala lilly beds grow by the mountain streams

Have your bags we’ll overnight in the neighbouring village of Lachatao.

After a freshly prepared breakfast ride along the banks of the Rio Yavesia, a picturesque stream at the bottom of a deep river valley. Dismount from your horse at the ruins of an old silver mining hacienda. Naturally clean pools along the river invite you to go swimming  – with your horse if you like! The horses love it! Relax over a fresh picnic lunch; take a siesta.

Back in the saddle, nice wide trails ascend through oak forests, past grazing sheep and old adobe homesteads. . Stop to visit the fascinating old church in Lachatao bursting with odd and interesting relics and memorabilia. Grilled dinner under the stars.

Overnight in eco-tourism cabins in Lachatao.

 

Zeb & Mary Jane in Sierra Juarez

Top of the world views from the Sierra Juarez

Day 7

After breakfast, say your goodbyes to friendly Lachatao. A big day of riding lays ahead. Today we ride up – major ascent to the  southernmost ridge of this mountain range at 3,000. meters!

Ride past log cabin homesteads, abandoned aqueducts and fields of wildflowers. Old trails trade off to quiet backroads that end at a relaxing picnic lunch in the pines.

The afternoon portion of the ride ascends ever higher  through mystical oak forests dripping with silver moss. Mutant-size agaves border the trails as we near 3,000 meters and our final riding destination of Cuajimaloyas. Transport will be waiting for horse and riders with refreshments before the scenic drive back to the ranch. Your luggage will be at the ranch when you get there.

Enjoy a  farewell dinner under the stars at Rancho Pitaya.

Day 8

Departures following breakfast.

Itinerary subject to change.