Set in the hills only 20min from Gibraltar we find a traditional Spanish Cortijo situated in a large private estate. Formerly a royal hunting lodge, the beautifully restored main house is set in 3200 acres of natural cork forests, an area ideal for riding with many sandy tracks. There are nearby beaches, castles and white Moorish villages all connected by miles and miles of riding tracks through natural forests. Every day we explore in a different direction. This destination offers fast riding and high service levels.
The owners ride endurance and have a stable of fit, forward-going yet good-natured horses, general tuition is offered onsite and specialised dressage and jumping tuition can be organised at nearby Sotto Grande Hippica. There is a range of other activities available both onsite (archery, kayaking, rock climbing, walking tours) and nearby (kite surfing, golf, polo) and with a rental car the beaches of both the Mediterranean and Atlantic Coast are within easy reach as well as the typical villages of Tarifa, Ronda or Casares, the Moorish castles of Castellar and Jimena and the Roman towns of Baelo Claudia and Carteia.
There are three options for accommodation depending on the time of year. In addition to Finca Alcadeisa there is a small and friendly beachfront hotel or luxury 'resort' accommodation on a nearby golf resort in Soto Grande, ideal for families and golf enthusiasts.
Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.
Review received from NT of Zurich on 26/10/2019
From the airport you will be transferred by car to the Cortijo in Finca Alcaidesa, beachfront hotel or golf resort. From Gibraltar airport it is 20 min driving and the transfer is included. Before dinner we will go over the programme for your stay. You´ll be told about the special characteristics of our horses with an opportunity for a one to one conversation designed to find every rider their perfect horse.
PLEASE NOTE: If you wish to ride on your arrival day there is an extra charge for this. This can be added at the time of booking, otherwise you will be charged on site.
Today we ride in Finca Alcaidesa. This estate is one of the area´s best keep secrets. It has an impressive size of 1.500 Hectares with wild olive trees, cork oak trees and pine trees, this natural habitat is ideal for the wild goats, deer, boar and foxes which inhabit the area. We ride through the ancient pine forest and stop in the oak forest for a picnic.
Today we head for the beach (available 5 September to 15 June with a €50 supplement, payable on site. Please ask for availability in advance). We ride on the unspoilt Guadalquiton beach with amazing views of the Rock of Gibraltar and Africa. The Guadalquiton cork oak tree woods are the last remaining Mediterranean eco-systems of its kind by the coast. It is a three-hour ride and we stop for the lunch in the “Chiringuito” (typical Spanish beach bar). Riding on the beach is a unique and relaxing experience, the gateway to the Mediterranean as a backdrop will make it unforgettable. If we are unable to ride on the beach, or if you would prefer not to then we can enjoy a trail to the King´s Pine forest. In the year 1800 the Spanish Navy created this park to grow pine trees to build their ships. After the battle of Trafalgar they stopped using the wood of this forest. The riding is truly spectacular! Along sandy tracks, perfect for long canters under the shady ancient pine trees. We´ll stop for a picnic before riding back to the stables.
Depending on the time you need to depart for your flight and your preference you can choose from many different rides available on the estate e.g a visit to “Sierra del Arca”, a seven hundred metre high “table” mountain with stunning views over the bay of Algeciras, Gibraltar rock, Africa and de Mediterranean or ride to a vast grassland where horses and cattle are grazing quietly. It is an amazing opportunity for exhilarating canters, experiencing total freedom in the saddle, combined with the beauty of nature.
Before your flight you will be transfered to the airport.
For longer stays full day rides to visit nearby Castellar, convents and villages are also possible. The riding in this area is superb and unlimited in variety and scope.
Extra riding: When booking please be sure to select the correct priced based on how many days you would like to ride. Shorter stays have an option to ride every day including arrival and departure, longer stays have an option to ride on day of departure, depending on flights. Additional riding can be booked on-site for €140 per day (2019).
Between Easter and September it is forbidden to ride on Spanish beaches so we substitute this ride with another special “experience” like a “sunrise ride” to enjoy the best of nature as it awakens or a magical moonlight hack.
Beach rides: A supplement of €60 per person (minimum 3 riders) is payable on-site for the beach rides. This covers transporting the horses and riders to the beach.
Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.
There are 12 horses to choose from including Spanish Horses, Arabs, polocross, an Achal-Teke and a beautiful Palomino Lusitano, many are competing in endurance and all are very fit. They range in size from 14.2-16.2hh and are light-boned warm-blooded. Breeds include Arab and X, Andalusian and X and several polo ponies. They are very responsive and forward going, some more so than others. They all come back to hand easily and don't have any vices. They are ridden in English tack, mostly with snaffle bits. The ride leader carries saddle bags with water and refreshments.
The riding is at all paces and the ground is mostly sandy tracks, in and out of shady forests with minimal road work (only to cross the occasional road and ride into villages). The countryside is rolling, there are no drop offs and the terrain is ideal for long canters and some gallops.
Riding is available on the arrival and departure day too (at an additional cost payable on -site) and can be taken as day rides or half days, more riding can be arranged on site. General tuition is included in the programme and for an additional cost specialist dressage or show jumping tuition can be arranged at the nearby Hippica Soto Grande where full facilities are available.
We recommend riders are intermediate onwards to get the most out of this ride. Novice riders can also be accommodated but on separate dates with shorter riding hours. There is an arena available to try your horse before heading out. Children from 7 years onwards. The minimum riding age is 10 years.
The weight limit for this ride is 220 lb/100 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
There are 4 accommodation options for this holiday, depending on the time of year that you travel: Finca La Alcadeisa - available all year round. An 18th century ducal hunting lodge and estate which is now a government owned natural park and rural hotel. The estate has an impressive surface area of 1,500 hectares with wild olive trees, cork oak trees and pine trees, this natural habitat is ideal for wild goats, deer and boar that inhabit the area. Visitors will find a fully-restored Andalusian country house on offer as rural accommodation of the highest standard. There are 2 courtyards, tiled floors throughout and antique furniture. There are 2 suites with double beds, 2 rooms with twin/double and 1 apartment with 2 rooms: a double bed and bunk beds. There is a swimming pool on the estate but please be aware that it is not always available to use during certain times. Please check with your travel consultant. The meals are freshly prepared onsite and served in the courtyard or dining room. Meals follow a format typical of the region with an aperitif, a first plate, a second plate and dessert followed by coffee.
Beachside Hotel - available March to November, Hotel Patricia is located on the coast around 10 minutes from the stables and has direct access to the quiet beach. This small and friendly hotel has 30 rooms, all with en-suite bathrooms, air-conditioning, fridge, television, telephone and a safe. The bathrooms all contain a shower and bath. All exterior rooms have a sea view and the hotel has free WiFi throughout. The hotel café has a large terrace with beautiful views over the sea and serves breakfast and snacks throughout the day. There is a wide variety of restaurants and chiringitos within walking distance of the hotel, serving both European and traditional Spanish food, including excellent tapas and freshly caught fish and seafood. Each night on the holiday riders will meet at the different restaurants and enjoy dinner together with the hosts.
San Roque Club Suites - available November to March; For those more focused on golf, or who prefer the full facilities of a resort, accommodation is also available at the nearby (10 min) San Roque Club Suites. The suites offer 50 bungalows consisting of a suite (King and twin) and a double joined via a communal terrace or booked or separately. The suite also has room for an extra bed. Facilities include: golf, library, gym, sauna and steam rooms, massage, full size swimming pool, 3 restaurants and supermarket/shops a 10min walk away or 2 min with a golf buggy. This may be a good option for families and can be booked on a room only basis with the riding.
Venta Manolo - available all year. Hostal Venta Manolo is a small guest house located in San Enrique de Guadiaro, 10 minutes’ drive from Torreguadiario’s beaches. It has a garden, free Wi-Fi and an à la carte restaurant. Each simply decorated room at Hostal Venta Manolo has a small terrace. All rooms have heating, air conditioning, a TV and a private bathroom. The Venta Manolo is set next to San Enrique’s polo pitches and a range of golf courses can be found within 15 minutes’ drive. La Línea de la Concepción and Gibraltar are approximately 25 minutes’ drive from the guest house. Algeciras is 19.9 miles away
Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. If Visa’s are required the requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate on request.
Visa are not required for U.K. or other European nationals. In the UK the British Foreign Office gives travel advice on travel insurance, passport and visas, health and vaccinations, legal issues and emergency issues. They can be reached on 0207 008 0232/0233 or at www.fco.gov.uk
The British Consulate in Madrid is at the Calle de Fernando el Santo 16, 28010 Madrid. Tel: +34 91 7008200. Email: email@example.com www.ukinspain.com.
The Spanish Embassy in the U.K can be found at 39 Chesham Place, London SW1X 8SB. Tel: (020) 7235 5555.
The ride takes place further inland and the hills mean it is a little cooler than Gibraltar which has a Mediterranean climate (details below).
No special health precautions are required for visits to Spain, for further details please see your local doctor. We do advise taking plenty of sunscreen!
For up to date information on specific health concerns please contact the Medical Advisors For Travellers Abroad. Their website can be found at www.masta.org
Be sure to take some sunscreen.
Voltage is the same as in the UK and most appliances such as battery chargers for videos, hair dryers etc. can be plugged in with appropriate adapters. These are available for purchase at most airports and travel shops.
230V 50HZ with a two pronged round pin plug
There is electricity available each night, wifi at most hotels (although of variable speed and accessibility) and mobile phone reception in most places.
Nothing specific is needed for this ride, dress in the evenings is casual.
Light summer clothing is needed on most departure dates. You need a riding helmet or broad rimmed hat which must stay on firmly and sunglasses with string. Riding trousers and half chaps are recommended, riding gloves, jersey, warm jacket (Winter, Spring and Autumn), shorts, long sleeve shirts, T-shirts, sarong or wrap, swimsuit, socks, raincoat (seasonal), sun block, camera on a shoulder strap with a pouch which can be secured to your belt, binoculars, lightweight riding boots with a tread for grip and a change of footwear - trainers or sandals.
A range of riding helmets are available on site. You may not have a saddle bag on your horse but the guide will carry one with water etc and the vehicle is available at lunch times.
Any day arrival all year round except July and August, minimum stay of 3 nights.
2019: Departure dates upon request - between 1 Jan - 15 Jul and 25 Aug - 30 Dec.
No beach riding between 15 Jun - 1 Sept.
Low season November - February (excluding Xmas and New Year)
Single supplement and non-rider prices available. Please contact your travel consultant.
|Riding days||Product item description||£|
|2019 - 4d/3n (Low Season)||4d/3n||3||double pp 3 days riding||549|
|2019 - 4d/3n (Low Season)||4d/3n||3||double pp 4 days riding||625|
|2019 - 4d/3n (Low Season)||4d/3n||3||upgrade to Andalucian farm house||40|
|2019 - 4d/3n (Low Season)||4d/3n||3||upgrade to beach hotel||53|
|Riding days||Product item description||€|
|2019 - 4d/3n (Low Season)||4d/3n||3||double pp 3 days riding||625|
|2019 - 4d/3n (Low Season)||4d/3n||3||double pp 4 days riding||709|
|2019 - 4d/3n (Low Season)||4d/3n||3||upgrade to Andalucian farm house||45|
|2019 - 4d/3n (Low Season)||4d/3n||3||upgrade to beach hotel||60|
|Riding days||Product item description||$|
|2019 - 4d/3n (Low Season)||4d/3n||3||double pp 3 days riding||739|
|2019 - 4d/3n (Low Season)||4d/3n||3||double pp 4 days riding||839|
|2019 - 4d/3n (Low Season)||4d/3n||3||upgrade to Andalucian farm house||54|
|2019 - 4d/3n (Low Season)||4d/3n||3||upgrade to beach hotel||71|
|Riding days||Product item description||SEK|
|2019 - 4d/3n (Low Season)||4d/3n||3||double pp 3 days riding||6,735|
|2019 - 4d/3n (Low Season)||4d/3n||3||double pp 4 days riding||7,649|
|2019 - 4d/3n (Low Season)||4d/3n||3||upgrade to Andalucian farm house||485|
|2019 - 4d/3n (Low Season)||4d/3n||3||upgrade to beach hotel||649|
If the group has non-riders or people interested to combine riding holidays with a deeper understanding of Andalusian culture or sightseeing in the area there are a multitude of possibilities here.
There is a swimming pool on-site for relaxation and many self-guided walks are available on the large estate. On-site (for an extra cost) you can enjoy archery, kayaking and rock climbing. Nearby there is excellent kite surfing available in Tarifa and polo at the neighbouring Soto Grande complex. The best beaches of both the Mediterranean and Atlantic are within easy distance of the finca (10-30min) as are 8 of the best golf courses in Spain e.g. Valderrama, Alcaidesa, Sotogrande, Almenara - all less than 15min drive.
Culturally the typical Moorish villages and towns of Tarifa (30min drive), Casares, (30min drive) and Ronda (55mindrive) are all nearby and make for a fascinating afternoon or day.
Day trips to Algiers in Morocco are very easy to arrange too.
The old roman towns of “Baelo Claudia” and “Carteia” are also less than an hour away as are the Moorish Castles of Castellar and Jimena.
This is an ideal base for exploring Andalusia with in depthadvice and help in arranging trips from your knowledgeable hosts.
Species list for the finca grounds and the nearby Parque Natural Los Acornocales:
Storks (white, Ciconia ciconia; black, Ciconia nigra)
Kites (black-winged, Elanus caeruleus; red, Milvus milvus; black, Milvus migrans)
Buzzards (Buteo buteo)
Spanish imperial eagles (Aquila adalberti)
Vultures (Eurasian black, Aegypius monachus; griffon, Gyps fulvus; Egyptian, Neophron percnopterus)
Egyptian mongooses (Herpestes ichneumon)
Common genets (Genetta genetta)
European otters (Lutra lutra)
European polecats (Mustela putorius)
Wildcats (Felis silvestris)
Weasels (Mustela nivalis)
Iberian lynxes (Lynx pardina)
Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus)
Fallow deer (Dama dama)
It is a good idea to rent a car to take advantage of the many possibilities in the area if staying for a week.
Your hosts design their horse riding holidays to share with clients the least known and best preserved Andalusian landscapes, culture and traditions.
Apart from tailor-made riding holidays they also offer the possibility for people from abroad to participate in endurance, with their own horses or with one of the stables.
Ferdy Coopman. (Holland 1965) Certified guide by The Royal Spanish Equestrian Federation.
More than thirty years of experience working with horses (Polo horses in Argentina and Belgium, race horses in Mijas, endurance horses in Estepona and Sotogrande.
Experienced teacher for beginners. Competes in endurance.
Fluent in English, German, Dutch and Spanish.
Daniel Rojas. (Spain 1983). Specialist in Spanish Country Dressage.
More than twenty years of experience working with horses.
Cristina Sempere. (Spain 1971)
She takes care that our clients have a “real Spanish experience” and chooses for you the best places to stay and eat. She can arrange all special requests to make your holiday unique.
Speaks English and Spanish.
Spain is a beautiful and diverse country, the second largest in Europe. The official language is Castilian Spanish but Catalan, Galician and Basque are also spoken. Territory includes two island archipelagos – the Balearics and the Canaries – and two enclaves on the North African coast, bordering Morocco – Ceuta and Melilla. The African influence can be found throughout Spain but especially in the south, for example the guitar was invented by the Spanish when they added a sixth string to the Arab lute. Music and art permeates Spanish culture, most obviously displayed in the fire and passion of the Flamenco and the stunning modern architecture found in the cities.
The famous siesta is still enjoyed by the majority of Spaniards, most shops close at lunchtime for two or three hours so everyone can escape the often scorching afternoon sun. Evening meals are served late into the evening with plenty of wine or sangria. Often meals can last two or three hours, especially if your host is serving Tapas, small and varied dishes of meats, bread, vegetables. Paella is also a delight and very popular across the country.
Spain is one hour ahead of GMT and they use the metric weights and measures system, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. There is approximately 1.6 kilometres in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram. The international dialling code for Spain is +34.