From Mount Aconcagua to the Amazon, South America is brimming with adventure. This continent, home to 12 countries, has a wide and varied landscape for nature lovers and horse lovers to explore.
Horseback is the perfect way to see these countries like never before. Horse riding holidays in South America let you experience the wilderness up close and personal.
With Horse Tours Club, you’ll find a tour that lets you be a tourist and an explorer. Discover the wildlife, explore the mountains, and travel the continent in style—on the back of a beautiful horse!
While you may know that the Spanish brought horses to the Americas, you may not know that these were not the only horses to ever live on the continent. There are two species native to South America that Darwin himself found evidence of—Equus neogeus and Hippidion.
These species lived during the Pleistocene and went extinct around 10,000 years ago, though not much is known about their extinction.
In 1531, horses returned to South America with the Spanish conquistadors. The horses these conquistadors brought would go on to populate both South and North America, the predecessors of all the modern horse breeds of the Americas.
There are many horse breeds in South America, some of the most notable being the Paso Fino, Mangalarga Marchador, Peruvian Paso, Criollo, Falabella, Pampa, Campeiro, Campolina, Brazilian Sport Horse, and Chilean Horse.
The Paso Fino comes from Colombia and Puerto Rico after it was brought from Cuba, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic where Christopher Columbus established a breeding program. The Paso Fino has a smooth gait from its Jennet ancestors and a distinct look from the Barbs and Andalusians it’s been crossed with.
The history of the Mangalarga Marchador goes back to King John VI of Portugal. The king avoided capture from Napoleon by fleeing to Brazil, bringing his horses with him. Later this breed became the national horse of Brazil, known for its speed, smooth gait, and stamina.
Also called the Peruvian Horse, the Peruvian Paso has a natural, four-beat, lateral gait called the paso llano. During the 1600s, there was a shortage of horses on the South American continent as Spain was fighting to gain control. The horses that were in Peru were isolated, breeding only with each other, and the result was the Peruvian Paso.
After some horses escaped during a conflict between the Spanish and the indigenous people of modern-day Argentina, several horses survived in the Argentine pampas, and their descendants became the Criollo. The gauchos who lived in Argentina tamed the horses and taught them to work cattle. Criollos are known for being hardy and having exceptional endurance.
These are just some of the horses you may find on your South American adventure.
Your Horse Riding Holiday
While on your horseback riding vacation, your itinerary can include a variety of landscapes, including the beach or mountains and desert or tropical climates. You’ll have the opportunity to see countries such as Peru, Costa Rica, Argentina, Uruguay, and more.
In Peru, you can see lesser-known Inca sites and picturesque villages. Travel through a forest of eucalyptus trees to one of the largest Inca cemeteries in the Sacred Valley. Cross the Tarabamba suspension bridge to enter the Salinas de Maras, a natural salt field with salt pools still tended by local families.
You’ll also be able to visit famous sites such as Machu Picchu, or the “Lost City of the Incas”, which was never actually lost. It was built in the 15th century for Emperor Pachacuti and abandoned in the 16th century during the Spanish conquest.
Follow a trail through the Andes, the longest continental mountain range in the world where you can enjoy breathtaking vistas. These mountains have everything from glaciers to volcanoes, grasslands to lakes and forests. Some of the wildlife you may see there includes chinchillas, small rodents with extremely soft fur, and condors, the largest flying birds in the world by combined measurement of weight and wingspan.
Take a route to Senqa, an ancient mountain sacred to the Inca, and visit Qoricocha, a gorgeous lake situated over 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) above sea level. Camp near the lake and then ride and hike to Huchuy Qosqo.
Also spelled Yuchuy Cuzco, meaning “Little Cuzco”, this is an Incan archeological site that was inhabited around 1400 AD. From here you can see spectacular views. You’ll also be able to participate in Qíntu, an Andean ritual offering coca leaves to the Gods and saying a special prayer to honor them.
In Uruguay, you’ll be able to experience the gaucho culture and see the unspoiled coastline. Trot along deserted beaches, over sand dunes, and through stunning pastures, wetlands, and woodlands. You’ll pass fascinating shipwrecks and gorgeous lagoons.
Visit Cabo Polonio National Park, which rests on a peninsula that extends into the Atlantic. There are no streets here, making it the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of normal life. You can walk along the beach and see the sea lions that love to swim along the cape.
At night, you’ll be able to return to your bungalow and watch the beautiful sunset over the wetlands. You even can try delicious local food and Uruguayan wine.
There are endless activities and sights in South America. A horseback riding experience here will be the trip of a lifetime, one you’ll never forget. You’ll be able to encounter South American culture and terrains like never before.
Horse Tours Club will coordinate the perfect trip for you. We offer horse riding tours worldwide, ensuring quality and safety for our customers. Book your South American horseback riding tour through Horse Tours Club today!