Over the roof of the Andes.
Travel and Adventures on horsetrek.
In the highest mountains of Venezuela.
The most beautiful sites of the Andes.
The warm hospitality of its inhabitants.
Come and discover the magic lands of the Andes with Sylvie et Jacky, who have been living for many years in the mountains of Mérida. The charm of this land, combined with their fondness for horses, has captivated them. For over ten years they've been sharing this passion with their guests.
All the tours leave from the FINCA YEGUA BLANCA, located at 2000 m. high. There, you will find a lovely view of the Sierra Névada de Mérida, especially the Humboldt glacier, an agreeable and surprising climate where strawberries grow at the foot of banana trees, the blue lupines surround trees, a host to multiple flowering bromeliads, and the song of the thrush blends itself with the buzz of the hummingbird and the tucusito.
In this idyllic location, they raise and train their horses. They maintain the saddles and the hooves themselves, and they also shoe their horses so that the rider and his/her horse get the best comfort possible.
They speak French, Spanish, English and German.
They also offer lodging for those who don't go horseback riding. A peaceful moment surrounded by the enchantment of nature. Perfect for children. Warm and humble hospitality, family cooking, as natural as possible (the best homemade bread).
You'll sleep in old fashion beds.
The path winds through steep trails, passing hundreds of frailejones (Espeletia), miraculous plants of these high meadows, going through colorful woodland, with giant ferns, following the course of a ravine sparkling with trout, the roar of waterfalls, silences, enchanted lagoons and the ever mysterious mist.
In the sky, an eagle is looking endlessly for its prey.
A mixture of the often subtle smells, and scents of nature, the sweat of the horses, the leather, the smoke of the campfire.
Nights are spent in tents, in a cave, in an old forgotten mountain house or, sharing the basic life of the parameros (mountaineers).
The horses are of a local breed, sure footed, and resistant. They are accustomed to the difficulties of the path as well as the altitude which can rise above 4000 meters.. Occasionally one needs to lead the horse on foot.
The variety and magnificence of the landscape and the skill of the horses provide moments of strong, deep emotions, which will contribute to delight the riders, be they beginners or experts. Apart from the numerous Andean trekking routes available, and the highest (4700m) and longest cable-car in the world, Mérida is also a good place to practice paragliding.
A four-hour- drive outside Mérida leads you to Los Llanos, land of the Venezuelan cow-boys. Blessed with the most varied fauna of South-America, the immense plains, which can be discovered by car, horseback riding or canoe, will overwhelm the safari-photo amateurs and, weather permitting, those who love rafting.
If it is your desire, we can help you organize you stay
YEGUA BLANCA RANCH OFFERS YOU THE FOLLOWING TREKS:
Valley de la Mano Poderosa (3 hours)
The shortest excursion can be done by anyone in three hours , of eight years or older. The tour includes picnic lunch, surrounded by nature.
You will be seduced by the variety of scenery along the way. The trail goes through pasture and the cloud forest, with a wonderful ecosystem of epiphytic plants (orchids, bromeliads, anthuriums), mosses and ferns, crossing the river now and then; revealing the best views of the Sierra Nevada and the Valley La Mano Poderosa (valley of the powerful hand). With a little luck you can hear the grunt of the very rare local vegetarian bear called the "oso frontino".
The horses are adapted to each rider’s level of experience, with comfortable saddles, certified bilingual guides and basic instructions for mountain horseback riding.
Reservation must be made one day in advance, giving with the participants’ weight, age and experience.
Bring sport shoes, long pants, warm clothes and raincoats (just in case).
Half-day tour (5 hours)
We climb an old camino real up to the Páramo El Escorial 3000m high, where we have our picnic, enjoying a vast panoramic view of the Sierra Nevada. Then we return to the Ranch.
One-day cavalcade (8 hours)
We take the same road as in the half-day tour and then, starting at 3000 m, the path begins to get narrower and wilder, surrounded by frailejones up to Quintana (ancient abandoned house) where we rest and eat. Return to the Ranch.
Bivouac in the mountain (2 day / 1 night)
The first day, we ride up to Quintana where we stay overnight. After morning breakfast, we visit a few small lagoons which overview Mérida and then, we undertake our way back to the Ranch. There is a daily average of 4 hours horseback riding and the option to extend the trek the second day. This tour includes 2 picnics, 1 supper and 1 breakfast.
Starting those 3 treks, we climb half-an-hour on foot, leading our horses by their halter. This is the first contact for the rider with their horse. It is recommended you bring along casual boots for walking, pull-over and raincoat. For the overnight treks, we suggest that you also take along your own sleeping bag.
To help us choose the best partner for each one we would need to know weight, height, age, nationality and experience or lack of it of each member.
Getaway to the Andes
El Rodeo (3 days)
First day: Yegua Blanca Ranch - La Victoria. We cross the rain forest of Raiz de Agua (orquideas, bromeliads, arborescent ferns (maporas)) to reach the Páramo La Victoria - 3000 metres high - with its typical vegetation. We sleep overnight in a tent. Average of 5 hours horseback-riding.
Second day: La Victoria - El Rodeo. We enter the upper mountain. The vegetation is scarcer, stone stairs, difficult steps for your mount until you arrive at cueva del Rodeo - 3600 m. high -. Average of 3 hours mountain riding.
Third day: Return to base camp along the same path. Variables depending on experience level and weather. We sleep at the farm.
Los Aranguren (5 days)
This trek takes us twice above 4000 m.
First day: Yegua Blanca Ranch - La Victoria
Second day: La Victoria - El Rodeo
Third day: El Rodeo - Los Aranguren. We ride over the mountain pass of Cardenillo - 4100 m - to get down to one of the most beautiful valleys of the Sierra Nevada, Los Aranguren - 2900 m high - with an old stony path, small wood of coloraditos. Six hours riding.
Fourth day: Day of rest, possibility to fish for trout.
Fifth day: We come back through the mountain pass of Cardenillo - 4100 m - down to the Yegua Blanca Ranch where we spend the night. 8 hours riding.
Gavidia (6 days)
This tour , which also takes us twice above 4000 m, gives you the opportunity to enjoy a full round trip of mountain riding. Each stop-over offers a different landscape. After 3 days on horseback , we reach "el Valle de los Aranguren"
where we stay overnight.
Fourth day: El Valle - El Altico de los Aranguren. The road takes us through the Don Alfonso glen, lovely canyon that gives access to the mountain pass. 3 hours riding.
Fifth day: We pass over Santo Cristo pass - 4100 m - down to the small village of Gavidia -3100 m - (farming population). 5 hours.
Sixth day: Gavidia - Yegua Blanca Ranch: Gradual return to civilization. Night at Yegua Blanca Ranch. 8 hours riding.
During the trek, the necessary supplies are carried around by mules guided by native muleteers.
These three circuits require some previous horse riding experience and team spirit . It is important to arrive at the Yegua Blanca Ranch the previous night to get to know each other and the horses before departure. Transportation is included in the fare.
It is recommended to bring along casual boots to walk, warm coat, hat, raincoat, sun cream and sleeping bag.
To choose the best partner for everyone, we would need to know weight, height, age, nationality and experience level. If you send us all this information when you reserve any of the tours we propose, we would be grateful.