Ride the Continental Divide
Sweeping vistas are a highlight of this progressive ride that goes from 1,500 meters (5,000 ft) to 3,000 meters (10,000 ft). Cross the Continental Ride twice and experience some of this planet’s most varied biodiversity. Ride from candelabra cacti groves to old growth oak forests to an ecosystem co-inhabited by pine trees and mutant-sized agaves. Rare rattail tree-cacti, wild orchids and pineapple-shaped bromeliads are just a sample of the exotic flora on this ride.
Support several of Oaxaca’s most ecologically aware villages by staying in their comfortable ecotourism cabins. Ride through the protected communal lands of the Pueblos Mancomunados.
- 25 - 30 hours of riding. There is considerable mountain trekking that is interspersed with stretches of quiet dirt road appropriate for extended trots and canters.
- Horses: Ride fit, steady horses that love their job! Arabian, Arabian crosses & Mexican Criollo horses.
- Tack: Comfy Endurance and English saddles with sheepskin pads and shock absorbing padded stirrups.
- Trail riding instruction available.
- Weight Limit: 220 lbs./ 100 kilos.
- Minimum of 2 and maximum of 4 riders.
- Alternative dates: Parties of 2 or more, feel free to inquire about alternative dates for suit your travel time.
Day 1 Ranch arrival
Arrive 9 a.m. at Rancho Pitaya by pre-arranged transport from the airport or a Oaxaca-city hotel but also consider booking an extra night's lodging at Rancho Pitaya and arrive the day before. It’s a short drive to the ranch located 16 km from the city center or 20 km from Oaxaca’s international airport. The ranch is nestled on the edge of the cheese-making village of Rojas de Cuauhtemoc.
Settle into one of the three individually decorated guest rooms.
Meet Mary Jane, owner of the ranch, and along with her son Gabriel, your guide for the week. There's a briefing on the upcoming week of riding, then meet your horse and ride into the lands surrounding the ranch to test the tack for comfort and to be sure horses and riders are well-matched.
Lunch at the ranch. Spend the afternoon relaxing or a taxi service can be arranged to visit sites of interest. Enjoy a fresh-made Margarita at sunset, then savor Oaxaca’s world-famous cuisine for dinner.
Day 2 Ascent to the Sierra
Ride north from Rancho Pitaya across the bottleneck of the valley of Tlacolula to the trailhead of the historic “Rio Veinte” trail, named for the twenty stream crossings traversed en route. The trail ascends for hours through changing eco-systems of rare biodiversity. There is a magical track of oak forest properly festooned with bromeliads and orchids.
A relaxing tailgate lunch is waiting when we emerge from forest trails to cross the first small road seen all morning. A couple of historic brick and stone bridged are a highlight of the shorter afternoon ride into the town of Latuvi. Overnight in their comfortable eco-tourism cabins.
Day 3 Orchids and Oaks
A magical trail through forests dripping with bromeliads and orchids, ferns and moss lead to the lush and charming village of Chicomezuchitl. After a picnic lunch by a crystalize stream, enjoy massive vistas, lovely canters and extended trots into San Miguel Amatlan perched on the edge of a steep river canyon. Unpack your bags for the two night stay.
Day 4 Road Trip in the High Sierras
Awaken to sweeping vistas north across two deep gorges. Today is the non-ride day. Take a fun road-trip to to the ruins of the abandoned silver-mining hacienda of Cinco Señores, visit artisans for charming ceramics and explore a fascinating colonial church. Dinner and overnight in Amatlan
Day 5 Pine and Agaves
Ascend through preserved communal forests of oak, pine, madrone and mountain laurel. Massive agaves border the quiet dirt roads. Cross pristine streams, ride past small farming homesteads dotted with content cattle. Apple orchards and flower plantations mark the entrance to the charming mountain village of Cuajimoloyas. Overnight in eco-tourism cabins on the edge of a broad mountain meadow.
Day 6 Valley Vistas
Tiny roads lost in preserved oak forests lead to the continental divide. We cross this time farther east where the forests are rich mixes of conifers, oaks and wild flowers. Stout cattle graze in the occasional pastures and hardworking campesinos wave from their corn fields. Views of the valley and wondrous geological formations accompany the descent to the edge of the Zapotec community of San Miguel del Valle. We overnight in their eco-tourism cabins.
Walk your horse on the steep descent through the village where native women in smartly embroidered aprons smile and little girls shyly whisper in their native Zapotec as we pass. An age-old trail lined with huge candelabra cacti announce our arrival on the valley floor. Long canters on smooth “caminos reales” are in order as the horses know they are heading home. Lunch awaits us in the shade on the edge of a spring-fed wetland where egrets and flycatchers ply the waters.
At the top of a winding pass, the western slopes of the Valley of Tlacolula come into view; the ranch is 12 km away. Trots and canters meander through fertile farmlands where micro-sustainable farming has thrived for millennia. Coming up on the imposing limestone escarpment this ride ends at Rancho Pitaya.
Day 8 Departure
Riders depart with pre-arranged transport after breakfast on the open-air terrace at Rancho Pitaya.
NOTE: The above is only a suggested itinerary. There are endless trails, routes and destinations, some more appropriate from one season to the next. The pace of the ride requires a confident riders comfortable with extended posting trot and canter but also able to lead their horse on steep descents.
- 6 days of riding
- 1 non-ride road-trip excursion day
- 7 nights lodging: Two nights deluxe lodging at Rancho Pitaya and five nights in comfortable ecotourism cabins.
- All meals and drinks: Good, honest food. Rancho Pitaya’s signature fresh salads and homemade baking will supplement local specialities to ensure tasty and varied meals. For most lunches the supply vehicle will meet riders for scrumptious tailgate feasts. As always there’ll be lots of fresh brewed Oaxaca coffee in the mornings and, artesan mezcal, cold bear and good wine as the sun gets low.
- Personal guide, fluent in English & Spanish
- Entrance fees to protected communal lands
- Arrival & departure transfers from the ranch to airport or city hotel.
- Not included: Massages, taxis for additional excursions and delayed flight arrival.
- Suitable clothing: long pants, long sleeves, covered shoes
- Water bottle (refills available)
- Sunglasses, sunscreen and insect repellent
- Personal medication
$2950 US per person
Discounts and surcharges
$200 return rider discount
$200 early bird discount for full non-refundable payment upon reserving
$300 single occupancy supplement surcharge
Notes: Solo riders please inquire about other confirmed participants
Novice: From first time riding to comfortable on a horse to do occasional trail rides.
Moderate: Have ridden for a minimum of 100 hours & can post a rising trot and canter on calm but fit horse outside of the area.
Experienced: Have ridden for a minimum of 500 hours & accustomed to riding independently a spirited horse outside of the arena & comfortable riding with English or plow reining NOT exclusively western neck reining.