If your passion is nature and adventure then this is the trail for you. This is a horseback expedition that takes you through mountains, majestic landscapes, small mining towns, abandoned mines, typical Mexican villages, farms, forests, valleys, enjoying traditional food and a unique wildlife along the way.
You will discover the deepest and oldest part of Mexico, the Central Sierra. This unspoilt and protected area this relatively unknown but with your knowledgeable guides will have the opportunity to ride through these unexplored and long-abandoned yet beautiful natural environments. Encounter magical towns and typical, rural communities of the mountains far off the beaten track. You will have the chance to learn about their culture and experience the genuine warmth of its people.

This trail opens the door to an unseen Mexico and atop a horse you are able to step back through the centuries and explore the area as it might have been experienced in ancient times, with specialized guides in the highlands of central Mexico.
Along the way you will cross the most bio-diverse area of the state of Guanajuato, which boasts the natural habitat of species like the puma or American lion, coyote, bobcat, deer, raccoons, armadillos, cacomixtles, red-tailed eagle, golden eagle, hawks, quail, wild turkey, among many others.

The accommodation is in hotels, camps and a mountain retreat, all in the region once dominated by the tribes Chichimecas, Guamares and Otomi.  A trail packed with historical and ecological wonders, this is a trip for nature lovers wishing to ride through remote mountain landscapes only accompanied by the whisper of rivers, wind and birds.



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Day 1: Guanajuato Airport BJX to Hotel
Riders will be greeted at the airport Del Bajio (BJX code) or bus station in León City or Guanajuato City and transferred to the hotel located in the heart of the historic centre of the city of Guanajuato.
Guanajuato is a colonial city with beautiful buildings; it contains the elements of the two main cultures that created the city, Indian and Hispanic, and marking the source of our nation, conserves its architectural features and environment. Protected by its inhabitants and government, state and municipal, it was declared by UNESCO as an “Historic Town of Guanajuato and Adjacent Mines” in December 1988.
Today it is considered the most beautiful colonial city in all of Mexico.
Up on arrival at the hotel the riders will have the opportunity to meet the rest of the staff, and get to know about the details of the riding programme along with an explanation of the route. The week ahead will be discussed along with a delicious welcome cocktail on the terrace of the hotel.
We will enjoy a welcome dinner at a nice restaurant in the garden of the union, where every night regional music groups like Mariachi bands or trios delight walkers with rancheras era songs; it creates a magical atmosphere.

Accommodation: Hotel Socavon *** (or similar)
Meals included: dinner

Day 2: Guanajuato – Mountain of Peregrina
After a delicious breakfast, we will begin our adventure towards the mountain range of Peregrina, part of the massif of the Central Sierra. We will reach a small mining town that holds stories and legends derived from its fascinating working history. As we pass through this unique town we shall ride over ground containing remnants of this once-mined silver; in the very dirt small granules can still be seen. We will ride along the old trail that borders an area of mountains and passes through a cave that houses a spring of clear water. This seeps through the mountains of Peregrina. We will continue ascending within these natural areas into the woodland, home to hundreds of animal species such as mountain lions, coyotes, raccoons, armadillos and many others.
This day takes us to the “valley of blue birds” where we will make our camp and enjoy our first night in this magnificent natural setting.
At night we will enjoy a ranch style “roast dinner”prepared by our guides.

Journey: 23 Kilometres
Ground: Mountainous
Accommodation: Camp
All meals included


Day 3: Peregrina to Santa Rosa
Sunrise in this place, with the sound of birds and the smell of fresh coffee, is like waking up in paradise. The guides will cook a delicious country breakfast for us that we will enjoy before continuing the adventure riding.
Today the natural landscape will continue amazing us, especially when we approach the Santa Rosa Mountains, which reach heights of 2,800 metres above sea level.
We will pass by old buildings dating from the colonial era which today have been reduced to ruins, largely because of the hunters, who during centuries have searched the area for hidden treasures. We will see ancient “haciendas”, abandoned mine shafts, and wonderful rock formations. 
Our next destination is the village of Santa Rosa, a small settlement nestled in the heart of the Sierra, which emulates the typical Mexican landscape of mountain villages and is renowned for its cuisine based on natural products. 
Tonight to complete the journey, we will enjoy delicious cocktails based on different kind of tequilas in our modest accommodation mountain retreat, and we will also enjoy a typical dinner of Mexican cuisine, which for its originality of various flavours, colours, smells and textures is considered extraordinary and will be something you have never tasted before.

Journey: 31 Kilometres Ground: Mountainous
Accommodation: Retreat mountain
All meals included



Day 4: Santa Rosa to Mountains of Guamares
After our breakfast in the mountain retreat we will prepare for a day continuing through the central highlands, the most biodiverse area of the state; through mountains, forests of oak, pine and arbutus, followed during the course of the day by the gentle sound of the birds, and surrounded by a majestic natural environment. Our next destination is in the mountain of Guamares, which owes its name to one of the Chichimeca tribes that inhabited the area hundreds years ago.
During the day we will have the opportunity to pass by the old mine "Down" which, during the colonial era, was very important for its silver vain.
At night in the camp, we will enjoy a delicious “cena ranchera”, prepared by our guides, accompanied by red wine and a glass of tequila.

Journey: 25 Kilometres Ground: Mountainous
Accommodation: Camp
All meals included


Day 5: Mountains of Guamares to Mountains of the Otomís
After our delicious breakfast served 'rancher style' we will continue our riding expedition through the mountains of the central highlands, this day is a day of variety, riding through mountain paths, valleys and cross country, crossing the territories of Puma, Coyote and wildcat, at the highlands of central Mexico. We will observe sites which, during the Revolutionary War, were hidden army barracks for “Pancho Villa” and his brave soldiers. In the evening we will return to our camp to enjoy dinner and overnight.

Journey: 18 Kilometres Ground: Mountainous
Accommodation: Camp
All meals included



Day 6: Mountains of the Otomís to Dolores Hidalgo 
Today we ride to the heroic city of Dolores Hidalgo, known as the Cradle of Independence of Mexico, because the court of his parish witnessed the famous cry of freedom for all America, which was the initial call to take up arms against the colonial regime and the Spanish crown issued by priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla on September 16, 1810.
We will make a brief tour of the historic centre, visiting some of the most emblematic buildings of the war for independence from Mexico.
By the evening we will enjoy our dinner in a typical and unique Mexican restaurant, located in the main garden, it is an old house dating from the eighteenth century and which is known for serving delicious traditional dishes. Lit by fireflies flitting through the gardens and the fresh scent flowers, we will enjoy the culinary arts of the area, mainly based on natural products, which by its simplicity excite the senses.

Journey: 32 Kilometres Ground: Mountainous with valleys
Accommodation: Hotel 3*** 
All meals included



Day 7 Dolores Hidalgo to San Miguel de Allende
In the morning after enjoying a delicious breakfast, accompanied by a typical Mexican coffee named “café de la olla”, we will conduct a tour of the city and visit some of its most representative buildings. Later we will go to San Miguel de Allende in a private transfer.
San Miguel de Allende is characterized by its rich traditions, in which events and festivals play an important role. San Miguel is a town full of magic and mysticism which preserves ancient traditions. It is full of culture and art that serves as a stage for different traditions and customs that occur in this magical place.
It is inscribed by UNESCO as the Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Titled “fortified town of San Miguel and the Sanctuary of Jesús Nazareno de Atotonilco”, this distinction by UNESCO was awarded because of its cultural and architectural contribution to Mexican Baroque and its importance in the struggle for Independence from Mexico to Spain.

Accommodation: Hotel Guadiana *** or Similar
Meals included: breakfast and dinner


Day 8: Farewell to Mexico
Before 12:00 pm private transfer to the airport BJX, or bus station.



For groups of 6 or more departure dates can be arranged on request subject to availability.
 

This ride can be confirmed for one rider for a supplement, this will be refunded if another rider books.

Additional sightseeing can be arranged - please enquire with your sales consultant.


Reading List
We're avid readers here at Unicorn Trails and have selected several books connected to this ride. If you're interested in reading more about the area before you travel, or want to get into the cultural background, here are some suggestions that may inspire you. Click on the links for more information.

Sons of the Shaking Earth - Eric Wolf. A wonderfully readable introduction to Mexican history.
The Maya (Ancient Peoples and Places) - Michael D Coe
Aztecs: An Interpretation - Inga Clendinnen. A fascinating, thought-provoking and vividly dramatic look into the heart of Aztec society.
Distant Neighbors: A Portrait of the Mexicans - Alan Riding, is an excellent guide to understanding modern Mexico and its love-hate relationship with the United States.
So Far So God: A Journey to Central America - Patrick Marnham. A vivid account of a trip from California, through Mexico to the badlands of Central America. The title comes from the saying 'Poor Mexico! So far from God, so close to the United States.' 
Like Water For Chocolate - Laura Esquivel. This book created a huge interest in things Mexican when it was published in 1989. Set in rural Mexico at the time of the revolution, the novel manages to combine fantasy with recipes. 
All the Pretty Horses - Cormac McCarthy. A poetic tale of three young latter-day cowboys riding south of the border.
European novelists have long been attracted by Mexico. Graham Greene's 1930s travelogue The Lawless Roads and his great novel The Power and the Glory; Aldous Huxley's Beyond the Mexique Bay and DH Lawrence's burdensome The Plumed Serpent, which is intent on asking all the big questions about Mexican life.
The Mango Orchard: The extraordinary true story of a family lost and found   A young Englishman who travelled in Columbia, Guatemala and Mexico, in part to trace the fascinating story of his great grandfather's adventures in Central America a century ago. There is a great twist at the end, which we won't spoil.

Of course a mandatory copy of Lonely Plant Guide is invaluable.

 

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

The horses used on this trail are mainly Quarter horses and Mexican Criollo, they are fit, responsive and willing ranging from 15hh - 16.2hh. The tack utilised on trail is Mexican or Western as standard although 2 English saddles are available on request.


Rider requirements

This trail requires a confident rider secure with all three paces. (walk, trot and canter), riders will be covering 25-35km/day over 6-8 hours so a reasonable fitness level is necessary. Depending on the group, gallops in open spaces may be proposed by the guide.
There will be some narrow paths to navigate both descending and climbing. Riders can, if they want, saddle and unsaddle their horse but this is optional and the guide is happy to do this. The minimum age for this ride is 14 years.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 242 lb/110 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

3 nights in 3* hotels, 3 nights in camps and 1 night in a mountain retreat. The hotels used for this trail have been chosen for their charm and quintessential Mexican atmosphere, from the colonial style architecture to the warm hospitality and excellent food. The mountain Retreat on night 3, with its simple decoration and old world charm, is located in the former mining village of Santa Rosa, an enclave in the heart of the mountainous area of Sierra Central. The retreat has 16 simple rooms, very comfortable, all with private bathrooms. In the lobby, the lodge features a fireplace and a spacious lounge. The camps are set up in strategic sites that allow guests to enjoy the natural environment surrounding them. The tents have an awning in case of rain (2.7 x 2.7m - floor area of 7.5m2 and a centre height of 1.91m) with a capacity for 4 people (shared between 2 guests) and there is also a dining gazebo with table of 4.00 x 2.75m and chairs for each rider, LED lighting for the perimeter of the camp and cooking utensils. Meals are based on regional Mexican food and include: beef, pork, chicken, eggs, fruits, vegetables, cereals, rice, milk, coffee, natural fruit juices, purified bottled water. During the horse trail most of the food is prepared by the rural communities we visit, made with qfresh ingredients and hygienically prepared. In many cases with pre-hispanic ancestral recipes are used, showcasing some unique flavours and textures.


Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

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.

General information:

At the time of going to print visas are not required for UK passport holders, check www.fco.gov.uk or call on 0207 008 0232/0233 for up to date travel advice.

In Mexico City the UK high commission is at Rio Lerma 71, Col Cuauhtemoc, 06500 Mexico City, Rio Lerma 71,Col Cuauhtémoc ,06500 México City. Tel: (52) (55) 5242 8500 Fax: (52) (55) 5242 8517.

The Mexican Embassy in the U.K is at 16 St George Street, Mayfair, London, W1S 1LX. Tel: 020 7499 8586 Fax: 020 7495 4035 Email: mexuk@easynet.co.uk.

Climate Summary

This ride can be done all year round. From January to March, cooler weather; April to June is drier and hot, from June to December, more humidity and temperate climate.
January to March: fresh (day: 17 to 23 ° C - night: 8 to 12 ° C), Rain (unlikely).
April to June: hot (Day: 25 to 40 ° C - night: from 23 to 28 ° C), Rain. Rare in June
June to September: average temperature (day: 17 to 25 ° C - night: from 12 to 20 ° C), Rainy season, rain common at the late evening
October to December: Mexican cold! (Day: 17 to 25 ° C - night: 5 to 10 ° C), Low chance of rain.

Climate Chart

Guanajuato, Central Mexico

 

 

Health

At Unicorn Trails, the health and safety of our customers is of paramount importance.
Although there are no compulsory vaccinations it is recommended you see your local doctor for up to date information. Air pollution in Mexico City is extremely high between November and February. Water must be purified or boiled.

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. You can also check the Department of Healths website at www.dh.gov.uk.

Health (ride specific)

There are no specific health requirements in the area of the ride although do remember sun block - the ride takes place at some altitude and the sun is always stringer the higher you are. Please see your doctor for the most up to date information.
At the time of going to print visas are not required for most European and US/Canadaian citizens but do check with the Mexican embassy before travelling.

Electricity

110V, 60Hz as in the USA, appliances may require an adaptor before being pugged in as well as an international adapter. Check the voltage inout of the appliance.

Film and Camera Equipment

Film and camera equipment is widely available in Leon and other towns en route but we advise to take along plenty just in case. Digital camera's can be charged at the hotels overnight with suitable adaptors (US style).

Packing List

Recommended equipment for the horse trail:

Sleeping bag, Comfort Zone -10 ° to 10 ° C
Towel
Lantern
Razor
Canteen
Hat or cap
Sunglasses
Sun block
Handkerchief or bandana (for neck)
Boots
Comfortable shoes for after riding
Summer shirts (2)
Long-sleeved shirt (2)
Pants comfortable to ride (2)
Waterproof rain (0.26 cm prec. prom)
Jacket for warm (average temperature / / Day 25 / / night 8th)
Sweater or jacket
Leggings or chaps
Gloves
Camera and / or video camcorder with sufficient batteries.

Optional equipment:

Tent
Chafing cream


Additional list:

• Valid passport international
• Visas (if necessary)
• Recommended Currency: Dollars, U.S. Dollars or Euros.
• Personal medication
• Travel Journal Guides, etc...
• Medical Card (A deliver the guide).

Programmes

This is a 9 day/8 night programme with 6 days riding available on set dates throughout the year, dates on request for groups of 4 or more. Set date programmes can be privatised for groups of 6 or more riders, and can then be customised.

Departure Dates

2019: 22 July; 19 August; 16 September; 14 October.
Other dates available on request.

Pricing
No single supplement payable if willing to share with someone of same sex. Should you wish to book a single room, please see supplement price below.


No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
20199d/8n6double pp1,479
20199d/8n6single supplement149
20199d/8n6supplement for 1 rider519
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
20199d/8n6double pp1,715
20199d/8n6single supplement175
20199d/8n6supplement for 1 rider599
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
20199d/8n6double pp1,935
20199d/8n6single supplement195
20199d/8n6supplement for 1 rider679
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
20199d/8n6double pp18,479
20199d/8n6single supplement1,865
20199d/8n6supplement for 1 rider6,469
Recommended Reading

Sons of the Shaking Earth, by Eric Wolf, is a wonderfully readable introduction to Mexican history. Mexico and The Maya, by Michael D Coe, Aztecs, by Inga Clendinnen, is a fascinating, thought-provoking and vividly dramatic look into the heart of Aztec society. Distant Neighbors: A Portrait of the Mexicans, by Alan Riding, is an excellent guide to understanding modern Mexico and its love-hate relationship with the United States. So Far from God: A Journey to Central America, by Patrick Marnham, is a vivid account of a trip from California, through Mexico to the badlands of Central America. The title comes from the saying 'Poor Mexico! So far from God, so close to the United States.' Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate created a huge interest in things Mexican when it was published in 1989. Set in rural Mexico at the time of the revolution, the novel manages to combine fantasy with recipes. Cormac McCarthy's marvelous All the Pretty Horses is a poetic tale of three young latter-day cowboys riding south of the border. European novelists have long been attracted by Mexico Graham Greene's 1930s travelogue Lawless Roads and his great novel The Power and the Glory; Aldous Huxley's Beyond the Mexique Bay; and DH Lawrence's burdensome The Plumed Serpent, which is intent on asking all the big questions about Mexican life. Of course a mandatory copy of Lonely Planet guide is invaluable. For the equestrian traveller who would like to see what is possible on horseback visit

Other Activities

enjoy good Mexican tequila and wine (!), reading, playing cards, listening to Mexican music.

Wildlife

Type of vegetation you can observe: Semi-desertic area, Valles of cactus, oak and madrone, forest, wetlands.

Type of animals you can observe: Cougars, coyotes, bobcats, raccoons, foxes, ringtails, Hare, Armadillos, opossums, deer, snakes, pumas and more than 100 bird species.

How can you guaranty to see animals? We cannot guarantee that we´ll see animals in the forest because they get frightened hearing us arriving. But our staff are highly trained in animal observation, which gives us a lot of probability that we´ll see some. In addition, during our expedition we will show several of the tracks that animals leave in their walk, and some traces. To give an idea of richness and biodiversity we have in this region.

Other Country Information

Mexico is a vast country. The Sierra Madre and Rocky Mountains run south from the border with the US. The interior consists of an elevated plateau. Northern Mexico is dry and desert-like, while the south is mountainous jungle containing the ruins of ancient Mayan and Aztec city complexes. These indigenous civilizations are credited with many inventions including: building pyramid-temples, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, highly-accurate calendars, fine arts, intensive agriculture, engineering, an abacus calculation, a complex theology, and the wheel. Without any draft animals the wheel was used only as a toy. The only metals they apparently knew how to use were native copper and gold.

The people of Mexico today are a mixture of descendants from Spanish and other immigrants, mainly Europeans, who settled in Mexico from the sixteenth century onwards, and mestizos - mixed European and indigenous ancestry, as well as the many indigenous groups. It is a nation where affluence, poverty, natural splendour and urban blight rub shoulders. It is also one of the worlds most bio-diverse countries with an incredible and colourful array of fauna and fauna.

Mexico is six to eight hours behind 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 is +52.




Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Leon Airport (BJX)
Transfer:
Approximately $30 each way Payable on site
Flight Guide:
London - Leon (BJX) return £850 - £950
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