river crossing
watery gallop
galloping gaucho
round up
another view
another lovely sunset
gaucho man
sunset gauchos
horse 1
nice horse
happy chappys

An 8-day equestrian adventure in the southern wilderness of Brazil; the ultimate trail blaze for horseback riders looking for a truly exciting experience living the gaucho way of life and riding gaucho style.

Brazil offers a landscape as diverse and beautiful as a backdrop, and the chance to sample the real gaucho world, These hardened cowboys and their agile beloved “Criollo” steeds make a formidable combination. The “Gaucho do Brasil,” refuses to break with tradition, making it the liveliest equestrian culture in the world.  If you are dreaming of a unique horseback riding experience and a thoroughly authentic equestrian holiday, this is it! The locals of Santa Catarina will welcome you in traditional style!

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Day 1 
The “Gaúcho do Brasil” trip leader will meet guests upon arrival at the Florianopolis airport. Transfer (3hr drive) to Coxilha Rica and Fazenda Barreiro, near Lages. Guests are welcomed with a local drink upon arrival at the fazenda and be introduced to the Gauchos who will accompany the riders throughout the trip before meeting the horses. Settle into the cozy and comfortable double rooms and after a delicious dinner and drink at the bar of the fazenda while gaúchos entertain with local music. It’s a great first evening!

Day 2 
After breakfast, the group saddle-up and leave around 8am in the direction Fazenda Roderiro Bonita, riiding through the wide and rolling green countryside dotted with Araucaria trees and crossing pristine rivers. The first canter on a Criollo horse in this lanscape is unforgettable. After approx 4hrs the group arrive at a typical fazenda where lunch is waiting. The ride resumes at around 2pm after a good meal and a siesta and continues towards fazenda Ferradura through the beautiful landscape of Coxilha Rica. This is the well-preserved 250 year-old colonial Tropeiro Route. This was the route for cattle and mules between Rio Grande do Sul and Argentina to Sao Paulo. Gauchos drove herds thousands of kilometres for months via this route.The route is approx 4m wide corridor and made of stone. It was built by slaves. The corridor runs hundreds of kilometers through Coxilha Rica and the State of Santa Catarina. Tropeiro means Trooper. (The route of the troops). The ride follows this famous route a few kilometre before arriving at Fazenda Roderiro Bonita (or similar) at approx 17:30pm, the overnight stop 

Day 3 
Set off on horseback and trek through a rugged Coxilha landscape. The route climbs and descends, allows for trots and canters, crosses rivers and admiring the waterfalls. On top of a green mountain one has a fantastic panoramic view of the landscape. Coxilha has been a great cattle region since colonial times. Most cattle ranches (fazendas) consist of thousands of acres are over 200 years old. Arrive at the colonial fazenda  for lunch before riding another 3.5hrs until arriving at fazenda Roderiro Bonita (or similar). After a refreshing shower and a delicious dinner, it is relax time before bed.

Day 4 
Today's ride starts at 08:00hr and heads for the high pampas of Coxilha Rica, with its wonderful views. The group of horses, the Gauchos, the landscapes, the atmosphere in the group, the sense of freedom, ... it is hard to think of traveling back home after this trip. After a lunch in the field the ride continues to the next fazenda. Rancho Lua Cheia (or similar) is the stopover for tonight, where a good meal and excellent company await.

Day 5 
Today is a real gaucho day and riders can help the gauchos rounding-up the cattle on horseback. Driving the herd is always always a highlight. The cattle are herded to the corral, where they are either vaccinated or receive a decontamination bath. This is the Gaúcho's daily job. Riders not wishing to participate in the activities can watch the proceedings. Learn rope skills from the masters of the art. After lunch riders continue to the Fazenda São João to freshen up before a welcome meal, a cool beer, or a warming Pinga (local rum).

Day 6 
Today is a later start and as the route unfolds through nature and the daily scene of other gauchos busy at work. These South American cowboys still live and work the same way as roughly 100 years ago. The partnership of Gaúchos and horse living a life that few can imagine or dream of. Climbing and descending, one slope steeper than the other, the ride offers the chance for the occasional canter. Arrive at Fazenda Ferraadura (or similar) where the group spend the night.

Day 7 
The morning is spent relaxing at the fazenda. After lunch the ride departs for Fazenda da Chapada (or similar) for a delicious final meal of the ride and to be entertained by the local musicians and gauchos in fine voice. Once the Pinga has been passed around and the rhythm takes hold, it is hard not to get up and dance. Overnight at the faenda.

Day 8 
After breakfast and fond goodbyes to Fazenda da Chapada, the guides, gauchos and horses, and drive to direction Florianopolis (around 8:00am - dependednt on flights). Guests can either be dropped in town (if staying longer) or taken directly to the airport.

Why not enjoy Brazil while here? See the classic hightlights of Brazil, Foz do Iguaçu waterfalls, go for a samba to Rio de Janeiro, discover the 70 Islands and colonial beach town of Paraty, go for a jungle adventure to the Amazon, discover the colonial towns and cities along the Estrada Real in Minas Gerais, or stay a while longer inSanta Catarina to relax at one of the 40 beaches of Florianopolis.

Important information
We will do everything possible to follow the indicated itinerary, although spot changes can occur due to unforeseen circumstances. Rides are subject to change depending on weather, location and difficulty of terrain In the unlikely event that this happens on your trip, we ask you flexibility and understanding. This is a sporty and adventurous vacation!

Staying some more days in Brazil?
Feel like having a break on the beach after a week of riding? Only 200 km away from Coxilha Rica you will find Florianopolis, a beautiful coastal city. We will be glad to help you to arrange an optional extension to the coast. Rather go somewhere else in the country?…You can fly from Florianopolis to all mayor cities in Brazil. Flying time to São Paulo: 40 minutes, to Foz do Iguaço waterfalls: 40 minutes, and only 1 hour from Rio de Janeiro and Argentina.


The start point of this itinerary: Santa Caterina Trail

A particularly nice time is the spring (Oct/Nov) and autumn (March/April).

Open Bar
There is an option to pay fixed amount in USD (approx $110) on day 1 for all drinks to be included for the week (alcoholic & soft beverages). This includes beer, caipirinha, guarana, Coca Coca, Fanta, Sprite, coffee, tea, milk, water etc. Wine is not included but you can buy this at each farm (price dependent on brand).
Aprox US$60pp for soft drinks included all week.

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.

Horses & Riding

We have 35 well trained criollo horses to choose from. The Criollo (Crioulo in Portuguese) is the native horse from Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, and may have the best endurance of any horse breed in the world next to the Arabian. In fact, due to the crioulo's low basal metabolism, it may be a better long-distance horse than the Arabian in prolonged races over a week in duration with no supplemental feed. The breed is most popular in its home countries, and is known for its hardiness and stamina. The terrain consists predominantly of large lawn type fields, for both rider and horse a real dream terrain. There is plenty of chance to enjoy a good trot and canter. The riding style is the relaxed Gaúcho style, similar to western riding and trail riding. Are you a classically trained rider? Do not worry, the gaucho way of riding is easy to pick up and very comfortable.

Rider requirements

The ride is suitable for intermediate to experienced riders. You should be confident on a horse at all paces. The pace is varied to include walk, trot and canter.
We have horses for all levels. Together with the guide you will choose according to your riding level, your height, weight, and preference the right horse in the stable.

Is this your first riding holiday? Do not worry, as a rider you know that both rider and horse cannot trot or canter 8 hours a day. Every ride is always a relaxed ride. You ride with loose reins, and enjoy the fantastic nature, once in a while a trot and a good canter. On average we are about 6 hours per day in the saddle

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 275 lb/125 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

This trail-riding holiday is not a 'dude ranch' vacation where you stay in a tourist ranch-hotel and  just a number, but a riding holiday where you stay on authentic working fazendas (ranches) without any fancy hotel service. Some nights are in guest rooms at the house of gaucho families. One fazenda might be more simple than the other, but all fazendas are authentic, colonial, cozy and very clean. The fazendas do not all have a standard type of room. Most have double rooms, some fazendas also have 4 bedded rooms with connecting bathroom. There is always a soft bed and refreshing shower.

Brazil has a rich cuisine. The country is a mixture of European, Indian, African and Asian cultures and this is reflected in the way the Brazilians cook. Not only the population is mixed, also their habits and customs are as well. Fusion cuisine was alive and well long before the Europe fusion trend, Local ingredients include rice and beans (Feijão) and sauces, with lots of meat or fish, and salads, depending on the region. Along the coast you will find more fish and shrimp dishes, in the south, the tasty meat grill's (Churrasco). In Santa Catarina, real healthy country meals are often prepared on wood stoves that add a special extra flavor. During the trip the group eats breakfast, lunch and dinner at the fazendas.

Vegetarian or other dietary requirements within reason can be accommodated with advance notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests before booking.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip.

NB: Be sure to check the COVID status of the country you plan to visit including entry procedures and requirements while travelling.

Oct 2023 - Brazil reintroduces visa requirements for tourists from US, Australia, Canada, and Japan

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Brazil.

You can travel to Brazil without a visa as a tourist for up to 90 days; however Visa 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 should you need a visa.

In the UK the British Foreign Office gives advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/brazil

In the US: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Brazil.html

In Canada: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/brazil

Climate Summary

This region consists of the southern states of Paraná, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul. Both along the coast and in the plateau districts inland, the climate is warm-temperate rather than tropical, and is similar to that found in Uruguay and northern Argentina. Even on the coast there is a distinct cooler season when frost can be expected in the winter months. Here winter has a real significance and the difference between the seasons is determined by temperature rather than rainfall.

During the warmer summer months temperatures reach similar levels to those found farther north in the tropical regions of Brazil. This region has a generally healthy and pleasant climate with an average of eight to nine hours' sunshine a day in the summer months.

Inland, where the land is higher, frosts are quite common in winter but snow is very rare. Inland the wettest months are during the summer, in contrast to the coastal district.

Climate Chart


At Unicorn Trails, the health and safety of our customers is of paramount importance.

COVID: Be sure to check the latest COVID regulations for travelling in any country you visit.

Tap water is heavily treated giving it an unpleasant chemical taste but is safe to drink in most urban areas providing it has been passed through a charcoal filter system; you should check with your hotel/restaurant management before drinking tap water. Tap water in remote areas can be unsafe even if filtered; stick to bottled mineral water, which is available virtually everywhere.

UK health authorities have classified Brazil as having a risk of Zika virus transmission and chikungunya, yellow fever and dengue are present.
Cases of dengue fever have increased, especially in the north, south-east and central-west of Brazil.
You should take steps to avoid mosquito bites.

Please refer to your country’s latest health guideline for travel in Brazil and contact your own GP for up to date advice on vaccinations and prophylaxis prior to travel.

Health (ride specific)

If required, you should commence anti - malarial precautions before arrival, please see your doctor for details.
Please take along sun cream


Brazil is one of the very few countries that do not have a standard mains voltage, but at the same time it has only one official type of socket. In other words, you cannot tell the difference between a 220 V and a 127 V socket. Most states use 127V electricity, but a couple of them are on 220 V. Make sure to check with your hotel or hosts when checking in.

Mobile, WiFi and charging

We recommend that you bring all required equipment, including batteries with you when you arrive. You should contact your network provider for mobile phone coverage. If you want to bring a GoPro please be advised that you will have to have permission from all other guests and guides that they are willing to be filmed.

Packing List

Travel Gear:
• Valid international passport
• Travel Insurance

• Pocket money (you can change EUR/£/USD in the airport)
• A sweater and a jacket
• 4 or 5 T-shirts and minimum 1 a shirt with long sleeves.
• jodhpurs or jeans to ride with
• Riding shoes or boots / riding shoes with mini-chaps or long chaps. (Gaucho boots can be bought on location)
• A second pair of shoes for the evening
• Swimsuit
• Comfortable clothing + a Hat
• One towel
• Toiletries
• Sun Cream
• Water canteen
• Camera…
> we have raincoats and saddle bags available for you
> It is recommended to put your luggage in travel bag instead of a hard suitcase. 10 bags are easier to get in the backup vehicle than 10 suitcases. (thanks!)


This is an 8 day/7 night programme with 6 days riding available on set dates.

Departure Dates

2023: 25 February; 15 April; 23 September; 1 November.
2024: 17 Jan (FULL); 3 Feb; 5 Mar; 12 Oct; 9 Nov


Guests should be prepared to share with someone of the same sex. Due to the nature of the accommodation on this ride single rooms are not always possible, but may be arranged subject to availability. Please enquire.

No of   
Riding days Product item description £
20238d/7n6double pp2,169
No of   
Riding days Product item description
20238d/7n6double pp2,509
No of   
Riding days Product item description US $
20238d/7n6double pp2,729
No of   
Riding days Product item description SEK
20238d/7n6double pp28,519
Other Activities

There is plenty of time for wildlife observation and photography, swimming in the rivers, fishing, etc.


There are many species of animals and plants living of this part of the tropical highlands. Birds such as red-headed macaws, trogons, siriemas and corucacas and many others, are often seen. The area is also the habitat of the puma and you may be lucky to discover its trail, while he is far ahead or...behind you. There are also azur blue jays, black birds (Gnorimopsar chopi) and coatis,capibaras (Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris) , crab-eating foxes (also interpreted as wild dogs, Pseudalopex gymnocercus ).

Other Information

Allergic to horses?

Here we also offer riding holidays for people with allergies!

Curly Horses are horses with curls. Not only the mane and tail but also the coat, fetlocks, hair in the ears and eyelashes are curled. The curly coat is not the only thing that makes these horses unique. For people who are allergic to horses Curly's offer a great solution, because they are hypoallergenic. This means that allergic people do not or hardly react to a Curly horse. Under the microscope, the hair of a Curly looks more like mohair (wool) than on plain horsehair. The fact that these horses do not give allergy to people who are allergic, makes this horse really interesting. There are many people allergic to horses who would love to go riding but can not without taking a bunch of pills. Gaucho do Brasil has some Curly horses so that also the allergic rider can go for an unimpeded riding holiday!

Other Country Information

Around 156,000 British nationals visit Brazil each year.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Florianopolis Airport (FLN)
Transfers included, pick up approx. 12 noon and drop off approx. 11am.
Flight Guide:
London - Florianopolis return from £850
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