Simon Bolivar, liberator of large parts of
South America, rode throughout the mountains of Colombia while
defeating the Spanish Conquistadores hundreds of years ago. You too,
can travel throughout large parts of Colombia on a horseback riding
tour. Horseriding is possible throughout almost the entire country,
though some areas are better known for it than others. Broadly
speaking, horseback riding is a possibility in any of the Andean
highland regions that are frequented by tourists.
The most famous region for horseriding in
Colombia is the Llanos,
a region of sprawling savannah like plains. The lifestyle of the
legendary cattle herding Llaneros cowboys of Los Llanos is legendary,
and the horse forms an important part of their lives.
Alternatively, head to the countryside
surrounding Popayan which
has some very scenic horsebacking riding tours available. The Circuito
Ancestral is an historic 15km trail through beautiful countryside and
small villages east of Popayan. Further east, the ancient stone
sculptures of San Agustin
are best visited by horse, and the countryside offers a spectacular
backdrop for horseback riding tours.
If you're a fan of horses, make an effort to
go to some of Colombia's local festivals
and ferias. Each town has it's own festival, and horseback
riding processions (Cabalgatas) are commonly a major feature of the
celebrations. Most famous is the Cali Festival (Feria de Cali) from 25
December to 31 December which used to be the best option for such horse
processions, but sadly the horses were so badly treated by the drunken
locals that the Cabalgatas were banned as of 2007. An alternative are
the horse shows offered by certain large out of town
rumba-style-restaurants, that are complete with dancing horses (they
actually dance to local music).
Travel note - it's traditional among
Colombians to drink a few shots of Aguardiente whilst horseback riding.