Chiapa de Corso Day 1
Day 2 Canton Sumidero
Day 2 Canyon Sumidero
Day 2 San Cristobal Centre
Day 2 San Cristobal church
Day 2 San Cristobal after rain
Day 2 San Cristobal
Day 2 San Cristobal
Day 3 ride
Day 3 ride
Day 4 groom with horses
Day 4 Hacienda La Valvidiana patio
Day 4 Hacienda La Valvidiana bedroom
Day 5 Hacienda ride
Day 5 Hacienda ride
Day 5 farm traffic - ox carts
Day 5 heading into Vila Morelos for lunch
Day 5 lunch under the tamarind tree
Day 5 Swim at Tolan dam
Day 5 Swim at Tolan dam
Day 6 ride to La Spultura reserve
Day 6 ride to La Spultura reserve
Day 6 ride to La Spultura reserve
Day 6 old Hacienda en route
Day 6 local cottages
Day 6 lunch hosts
Day 6 reserve flora
Day 6 our guide
Day 6 views in reserve
Day 6 evening descent to coast and mango sellers
Day 6 hotel in Puerto Arista
Day 7 to the beach
Day 7 to the beach
Day 7 riding on the beach
Day 7 riding on the beach
Day 7 cantering along the beach
Day 7 beach gallop
Day 7 beach gallop
Day 7 beach gallop
Day 7 beach gallop
Day 7 in the surf
Day 7 playing in the waves
Day 7 riding through the water
Day 7 horses have the salt wter washed off
Day 7 turtle conservation centre
Day 7 turtle types found in Mexico
Day 7 leatherback turtle hatchlings for release
Day 7 holding leatherback turtle hatchlings
Day 7 holding leatherback turtle hatchlings
Day 7 conservation team in Peurto Arista
Day 7 to Madresal eco resort island
Day 7 luggage to Madresal on boat
Day 7 Madresal eco resort
Day 7 Madresal room
Day 7 evening at Madresal
Day 7 sunset at Madresal
Day 7 sunset
Day 8 morning mangrove tour
Day 8 morning mangrove tour
Day 8 morning mangrove tour guide
Day 8 morning mangrove tour
Day 8 morning mangrove tour
Day 8 morning mangrove tour leopard heron
Day 8 morning mangrove tour heron
Day 8 white mangroves
Day 8 morning mangrove tour guide
Day 8 morning mangrove tour
Day 8 morning mangrove tour heron
Day 8 morning mangrove tour kingfisher
Day 8 morning mangrove tour
Day 8 morning return
Day 8 relaxing on the beach
Day 8 relaxing
Day 8 lunch
Day 8 relaxing
Day 8 kitchen

This trip combines adventure and eco-exploration with relaxation in comfortable charming hotels and historic haciendas, ending at a unique eco resort on a private island at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Chiapas is the southernmost state of Mexico, an area full of historic sites of pre-Columbian Mayan civilizations. Here we explore lush canyons, canter across large hacienda estates, ride through the dry forests of the highlands and on hidden steep trails that lead us through tropical vegetation down to the coast - ending up on the pristine beaches of the Pacific with its mangrove swamps.

Starting at 7,000ft in the highlands we have time to explore the cobbled streets of the old Spanish colonial city of San Cristobal with our knowledgeable, warm and welcoming hosts, Gloria and Juan. Then we head to a beautifully maintained very traditional hacienda where we are hosted in style while exploring the surrounding countryside. En route we stop of to visit local villages, riding at a good pace over sandy tracks, taking in lakes and small villages. If it is hot we can swim with the horses and fish in the Tolcan Dam. We continue down to Puerto Arista on the coast where we have the chance to ride 10 miles along the pacific ocean on pristine deserted beaches and take the horses into the waves. Here we visit the next door turtle preservation centre and in the turtle season (see below) can participate in the emotional release of the baby turtles at night. Lastly we head to an eco reserve with a wonderful beach and take a tour of the mangroves in the early morning to see the innumerable species of birds and wildlife before heading back. A fast ride with a wide variety of experiences and comfortable en suite accommodation throughout and magical beaches. For more videos see our You Tube Channel.

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 NR of Hornchurch on 22/01/2015

Ride Summary
This really was a truly amazing holiday, it has certainly given us the desire to go on more holidays like this. An unforgettable trip.
What was your overall impression of the holiday

Unicorn Trails sales staff
Professionalism     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Friendliness     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Speed of response     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Efficiency     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Knowledge     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Other(please specify)     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Riding tour leader
Professionalism     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Horsemanship     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Pacing of Ride     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern for Safety     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Leadership     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Friendliness/availability     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Culture     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Flora/Fauna     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern with Environment     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Language skills     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Additional Comments we could not have asked for a better guide. Gloria does not only have great horsemanship skills she has great knowledge of the culture, landscape, food and works tirelessly to ensure everyone is happy and gets the best from their trip. We had mixed ability riders in our group and her leadership skills ensured safety was paramount without holding back the more advanced riders. She made sure the riders were well matched with the horses and comfortable before setting off.
Horses and Tack
Condition of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Condition of Tack     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Performance of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Additional Comments The horses were really fit and sure footed. Great care was taken to look after the welfare of the horses during our tour. I rode Kishba, he was so sweet natured and I always felt safe, even on the fast gallops! A stunning horse. My husband, a beginner also felt very comfortable. The horses were all comfortable in each others company and very responsive yet safely controllable.
Meals
Meal Quantity     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Quality     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Punctuality     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Accommodation
Camping Equipment     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (X) N/A
Hotels/Lodges/Inns     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Hygiene standards     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Miscellaneous
Transfer arrangements     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Other office staff     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (X) N/A
Other ride staff     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Weather     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?     (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response I expected the hotels to be more basic but all of them had their own beautiful charm, were very clean good size rooms and very comfortable. The hacienda stay was a highlight. I expected buffet style meals but almost every meal we were eating in restaurants and were offered a really good choice. Very plentiful big breakfasts, followed by a very generous lunch and dinner and it was a joy to visit all the different places. All the food was delicious!
Was there anything you should have known and were not told?     (X) NO     (   ) YES
Please give more details to explain your response Not really, we were just unsure if we were being picked up from the airport in Tuxtla and because we were flying we lost communication but it was not a big problem. We soon discovered that Tuxtla airport has an official taxi desk inside the airport. You pay upfront at the desk, get a ticket and give to an official taxi driver outside. Its really organised and easy.
What could we do to improve this ride? It was a fantastic ride, if it can be improved I would love to know how!
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced? 7
Please explain why you scored it as you did beginners looking at this ride should have a certain amount of confidence as the terrain is varied, some experience of trotting and cantering, if only a few times is also best.
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?     (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response the staff are really friendly and work hard to advise and help tailor your holiday. the standard of our ride was very high and it was a comfort to know that safety is paramount. I would definitely book again and recommend to friends.
May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?     (   ) NO     (X) YES
Any other comments This really was a truly amazing holiday, it has certainly given us the desire to go on more holidays like this. Every day was different and we got to experience so much great riding and see so many things, the landscapes were spectacular and very interesting to see the indigenous communities. It was emotional to say goodbye to Gloria, the horses and the rest of the group. An unforgettable trip.
Unicorn comments Thank you for your lovely feedback Natalie

Day 1: Arrival
After arriving at the Tuxtla Gutierrez airport (there are direct flights from Houston on Wednesdays), take a shuttle transfer (approx. $22 per car) to Chiapa de Corzo and check into your hotel. Meals are on your own today.

Day 2: Cañón del Sumidero - San Cristóbal de las Casas
After breakfast we meet you and our week long adventure begins. We start with a spectacular boat ride along the Grijalva River. Our boat leaves from the Cahuaré Docks and takes us on a magnificent ride of 26 kilometers (approx. 3hrs) through the famous canyon“Cañón del Sumidero”. (If the weather is rainy, it is important to have a waterproof jacket, lightweight clothing or bathing suit at hand. In any case, please make sure to bring your sunglasses and your camera!).

The canyon’s creation began around the same time as the Grand Canyon in the U.S. state of Arizona, by a crack in the area’s crust and erosion by the Grijalva River, which was named after the Spanish conquistador Juan Grijalva. With its vertical walls reaching as high as 1,000 meters and with the river turning up to ninety degrees during the narrow passage runs, the Sumidero Canyon is one of the most impressive natural spectacles of Mexico! During the tour we will have the opportunity to observe tropical forests in their natural state as well as some animals such as monkeys, crocodiles and numerous species of birds. The boat tour ends at the Chicoasén Dam, one of the most important hydroelectric power stations in Mexico and Latin America.

After visiting the canyon, we will stop at the "El Campionario" restaurant for lunch and then transfer (approx. 50 min) to San Cristóbal de las Casas. The town is located in the Central Highlands region of Chiapas. Due to its high altitude of 2,100 meters, the temperatures are lower in San Cristóbal and it is colder than in the canyon, so you may need to change your clothes. We will stay at the Hotel Posada Los Morales, a charming Mexican-style hotel, which offers a magnificent view of the city. After we are settled in, we enjoy a delicious welcome cocktail followed by a special dinner.

San Cristobal de Las Casas, founded in 1528 by Diego de Mazariego, has maintained its beautiful Spanish colonial layout, with narrow cobblestone streets, roofs covered in red clay tile and wrought iron balconies with flowers. The facades of the buildings vary from Baroque to Neoclassical and Moorish, painted in various colors. After dinner you have time to explore the historic city center with its interesting sites like Central Plaza, the Cathedral of Santo Domingo, Arc del Carmen and the indigenous craft markets. Dive into the lively and safe streets of San Cristobal and appreciate the local culture and friendly people! Taste the excellent coffee of the region and visit the best amber and jade jewelry shops in Mexico. At night, many bars and restaurants along the three main streets - Santo Domingo, Guadalupe and Del Carmen - offer live music. Here you can enjoy excellent wines and delicious Mexican food, as well as French, Italian and Argentinean cuisine. Overnight at the Hotel Posada los Morales (D).

Day 3: San Cristóbal de las Casas – Eco-Park “Arcotete - San Cristóbal de las Casas
After a traditional Mexican breakfast-buffet at the hotel, we are transferred to the riding centre, which is located on the outskirts of San Cristobal. At the riding centre we get to know our horses and equipment before heading out on our first 5-hour ride to the protected ecological reserve called “Arcotete”. On our journey we will cross mountains and encounter interesting paths like narrow roads winding through magnificent pine and oak forests. We will also see several species of birds. We will ride through Tzotziles communities where we have the chance to glimpse the daily activities and work of the indigenous farmers.

Upon arrival at the Ecological Park Arcotete, we enjoy lunch and take a walk along wood paths towards a stone arch carved by the water of the river “Rio Amarillo”. Here we offer optional activities such as a canopy tour for those who are looking for an adrenaline rush. You can also take it easy and relax or walk along the river bank. Afterwards we ride back to the equestrian centre, where a delicious Mexican-style BBQ is waiting for us, with smoked meat, chorizo and sausages and plenty of salad.

After the hearty meal we head back by car to the Hotel Posada Los Morales, where we have the rest of the day free to relax and explore the beautiful city of San Cristobal de las Casas. Overnight at the Hotel Posada los Morales or similar (B, L,D) 

Day 4 San Cristóbal de las Casas – “Sima de las Cotorras” - Hacienda La Valdiviana
After savoring a delicious breakfast, we are transferred (approx. 1.3 hrs.) to Ocozocoautla, towards the magnificent “El Aguacero” waterfall in to the Canyon La Venta where we can enjoy an energizing hiking, after we reach the access road to the “Sima de las Cotorras”. Here horses are already waiting for us and we start our 5-hour journey of the day. We enjoy gallops on dirt roads and ride through rural communities and cultivated agricultural landscape, getting to know the daily life of local farmers. We also bypass the rock “El Cerebro”, the so called “Brain”, which is a unique rock formation, consisting of eroded sandstone.

Finally we arrive at the famous “Sima de las Cotorras”, a gargantuan sinkhole (known as “sima”). Almost perfectly circular, the sinkhole is 160 meters across and a stomach-lurching 140 meters straight down – like a giant round hole cut into the limestone crust. At the bottom is a small forest, which seems like a lost rainforest due to its lushness in contrast to the dry surrounding environment. This place is a naturally protected summer nesting area for the sinkhole’s namesake residents: thousands of cotorras parrots, which translated means “chatterbox”. As the name indicates, the air is filled with the noises of several thousands of these restless parrots! Enjoy this natural spectacle and watch them flying gracefully in spirals out of the sinkhole to the surface. Nearly as impressive are a set of ancient cave paintings, such as painted handprints in red and black colors, as well as drawings of the moon and other figures of the cosmos.

After enjoying lunch in a restaurant nearby, we continue our ride for 1 hour until we are transferred to the ancient Hacienda “La Valdiviana”, which was founded in 1902. The charming hacienda provides a pool and also internet access, and it is the perfect place to rest your body after a day on horseback. Enjoy the hospitality and culinary skill of the owners, who will prepare a delicious dinner us.
Overnight at the Hacienda La Valdiviana (B, L,D)

Day 5: Hacienda La Valdiviana – Tolan dam - Hacienda La Valdiviana
We start the day with a delicious breakfast of fresh fruits and local dishes before starting our 5-hr ride to the Tolan dam.
We enjoy long trots and gallops on smooth, sandy and flat roads and marvel at the valley and surrounding mountains. During the ride we will pass several hacienda ruins, and we will have the chance to observe different species of birds, such as bearded vultures, magpies and many more until we reach the agricultural community of Villa Morelos. Here we take a break and we will be invited by a local family to join them for lunch. We will have the opportunity to test our ability to prepare our own hand made tortillas and to try “taberna”, a traditional alcoholic beverage of Southern Mexico, which is made of palm trees and known for its invigorating properties.

After the lunch break we continue our journey to the village of Rosendo Salazar, where the Tolan dam is located. Enjoy this peaceful place with its beautiful view of the mountain range “Sierra Madre de Chiapas”! Here you have the opportunity to go fishing, take a boat trip or enjoy swimming in the lake with the horses. In the afternoon you will be transferred back to the Hacienda La Valdiviana (approx. 30 min), where we will have dinner and spend the rest of the evening. Overnight at the Hacienda La Valdiviana (B, L,D)

Day 6: Hacienda La Valdiviana – Reserve “La Sepultura” – Puerto Arista
Breakfast will be prepared by our hosts, whose flavors will certainly spoil your palate! Afterwards you will be transferred back to the Tolan dam, where our horses are waiting for us and ready to head towards the community Valle de Corzo. During the 35-km ride to the community, which is located in the coastal plain of Chiapas, we will pass the biosphere reserve “La Sepultura”, undoubtedly a place of stunning natural beauty! We will also visit the remains of an old textile factory from the 1920s, which became important in the textile industry of Central America. Afterwards we climb up a dirt road, always surrounded by beautiful pine forests, until we reach the “Corzo Valley”, where we take a break, we leave the dirt roads behind and continue a hicking mountain trails through the “Sierra Madre de Chiapas”. We will stop at the summit, where the breathtaking view of the mountains will be more than a reward for the effort of the climb. Depending on the weather conditions, you may even see the Pacific Ocean on the horizon! The vista is stunning and you will have the chance to see different kinds of birds and animals that live in the surrounding highlands and low-growing forests, on a path that was once used as the royal road to Chiapas.

Later that day we will be driven (approx. 2hr) to the seaside village of Puerto Arista. After checking into the Hotel, which is located across from the beach. Overnight at Hotel in Puerto Arista (B, L,D)

Day 7: Puerto Arista - Madresal Ecological Center
This morning we start with an early morning ride along soft and sandy beaches, enjoying long canters and wonderful riding for 15 kilometers! With a bit of luck we may be followed by a pod of dolphins just beyond the wave line, or a flock of curious birds.  Enjoy the freedom of the horses and the nice sea breeze as the horses play in the waves – one of the best experiences for true horse lovers.

Later we will have a delicious seafood brunch, before transferring to “Madresal Ecological Center”, which is about 1 hour drive away from Puerto Arista. In order to reach Madresal, we have to cross the estuary by boat, giving us the opportunity to see the mangroves. Madresal is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful beaches in Chiapas. A lost paradise in the Mexican Pacific, it is a wonderful place surrounded by nature and full of kind respectful people. It is overseen by the community of Ponte Duro, which has built a restaurant and comfortable “palapas” (open-sided dwellings with thatched roofs made of dried palm leaves) where we sleep in a clean bed or in a hammock. Upon arrival, we have some time to relax on the beach, go for a swim, meet local fishermen and learn about the local fishing traditions, before we meet again for a delicious fresh fish dinner at the beach restaurant.

During "Turtle Season" you can participate in the release of the “Tortugas golfinas”, the most numerous species that spawns on the coasts of Chiapas. Participating in the release of the baby turtles is a very emotional experience. The ceremony is performed at night, facing the beach where the baby turtles are freed and wished luck at sea. Only a small percentage (less than 10%) will reach adulthood and return to the beach where they hatched, in order to spawn (SEASON). Overnight at Madresal Ecological Center (B, L,D)

Day 8: Madresal Ecological Center - Tuxtla
Today we get up early and after a quick breakfast we take a 2+ hr canoe tour to observe birds and crocodiles through the mangrove forest with wonderful opportunities to photograph wildlife. When we return, we have some time to relax on the beach. After a late lunch we transfer back to Tuxtla by later afternoon. We check into a local hotel and meet for a farewell dinner and if you like a dance at a local bar. (B,L)

Day 9:Tuxtla - Tuxtla Gutierrez airport
If you are booked on the direct flight to Houston on Continental (8:20 am), we will transfer you early morning (6 am) before breakfast to the Tuxtla Gutierrez airport, where the adventure across Chiapas ends. If you are booked on a later flight, you can take your time, have breakfast at the hotel and depart on your own for your flight departure (shuttle is about US$25 per car). (B)

 



Turtles arrive to the beaches on Peurto Arista all year round but the majority of the activity takes place between July and November. We arrived in March and were able to participate in the release of 3 nests of turtles. Please download our further details for more information on the turtle sanctuary.

The horses are transported between destinations and this is not a traditional point to point ride where you ride from one overnight place to another, arriving at each one on horseback the terrain does not allow for this. There is a lot of emphasis on historical/cultural and eco points of interest. You see and do a lot on this trip, so while the hours in the saddle are not huge each day is busy.

 
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

There are 30 riding horses available varying in size from a 13.2hh Spotted Pony to a 16.1hh Warmblood X. There are pure Arabs and crosses, Quarter Horse crosses and Mexican Criollos. The horses are all extremely fit and well cared for. They are well shod and ridden in English saddles, although there are a few western saddles available if necessary. The pace of the ride is above average and the western saddles are not ideal for the long trots and canters. The horses are all extremely kind and well loved and schooled in English style. Their nature varies from fast and sensitive to sensible but all are extremely willing, fit and surefooted.

Rider requirements

Riders should be accustomed to English style riding and have a secure seat at a walk, trot and canter. Riders should be fit enough to ride for 5 hrs with a good amount of trotting and cantering. Children are welcome from about 12 years, younger children will find this trip too physically tiring. There is some walking on this tour to visit scenic and archeological sights, walking for up to an hour at a time over uneven terrain and steps. There is always help at hand to mount/dismount and the horses are taken care of by grooms.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 16 st/220 lb/100 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

On the arrival day accommodation is in a hotel 35 minutes the airport to facilitate differing arrival times. You will take a taxi shuttle from the airport on arrival payable on site (about US$25 per car in 2013). Accommodation is comfortable with double rooms and en suite bathrooms. The hotel has a swimming pool and is situated in the small town of Chiapas del Corso. 3G phone access and internet access are available. The hotel in San Cristobal is centrally located in the old town, perfect for exploring. Rooms are very large and well furnished with en suite, there is 3G mobile phone reception and wifi internet access. The historic Hacienda Vivaldiana has 5 very spacious rooms with a king-size and double bed in each and en suite bathroom. There are 2 swimming pools. The hacienda has various restored rooms, verandas and seating areas as well as wifi internet access although mobile telephone reception is poor. The hotel in Puerto Arista is a 70’s style hotel with smaller but perfectly adequate rooms with 2 double beds, en suite bathrooms and air conditioning. There are 2 swimming pools in the hotel complex and the hotel is right on the beach and right next to the turtle conservation centre (which is the last building in the town). There is 2G phone reception. Madresal Eco resort offers rustic palm covered chalets enclosed in mosquito netting with fan and 2 double beds, en suite and porch with hammock. There are various outdoor palapas (palm thatched roofs) acting as restaurant and seating areas on the beach. Sun loungers are available. There is very little mobile phone reception here and no internet. The hotel in Tuxtla is en suite with double bedrooms, air conditioning and swimming pool. Please note: bathroom in Mexico usually means a toilet and shower, double room usually means 2 double beds or a double and single bed.

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

Climate Summary

Due to altitude at 7,000ft above sea level, San Cristobal is usually cool in the day and cold at night. As soon as you descend even 1500ft to Tuxtla or the canyons the temperature is immediately far warmer. In general Chiapas has a dry and wet seasons with the dry season.

Climate Chart

Health (ride specific)

There are no specific health problems on this ride. Strong sun protection is advised. On the walk in the Reserve La Seputura on day 6 there may be small ticks in the long grass, so we suggest to bring a spray on insect repellent for boots/trousers and a change of clothes for after the walk. These ticks do not carry disease but can be uncomfortable if you are bitten.

Film and Camera Equipment

There is electricity on most nights for charging cameras and laptops and telephone reception on most days at some point. Once out of San Cristobal it is hard to buy film and batteries.

Packing List

Pack one set of warm clothes for the time in San Cristobal, the rest of the time it will be warm to hot and sometimes humid on the coast.
Jodpurs and spare
Riding boots suitable for walking in
half leg chaps
t-shirts and some cool long sleeved shirts to keep the sun off
riding helmet with brinm
sun hat
swimming costume
shorts
sandals
camera with zoom for wildlife
binoculars

Programmes

Set dates all year round except at Easter or Christmas,

Departure Dates

2017: 18-26 Jul; 15-23 Aug; 5 Sept; 17-25 Oct; 7-15 Nov; 5-13 Dec (confirmed)
2018: 5, 20* Jan; 6 Feb; 6 Mar; 15 May; 5 Jun; 17 Jul; 7 Aug; 4 Sept; 9 Oct; 6 Nov; 3 Dec (*8 days/7nights)

Pricing

From:

No single supplement is charged if the rider is willing to share with someone of the same sex, and a sharer can be found.


No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
20179d/8n8double pp2,405
20179d/8n8single supplement375
2018 9d/8n9d/8n8double pp1,925
2018 9d/8n9d/8n8single supplement369
2018 8d/7n8d/7n7double pp1,829
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
20179d/8n8double pp2,719
20179d/8n8single supplement425
2018 9d/8n9d/8n8double pp2,175
2018 9d/8n9d/8n8single supplement419
2018 8d/7n8d/7n7double pp2,069
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
20179d/8n8double pp3,089
20179d/8n8single supplement485
2018 9d/8n9d/8n8double pp2,469
2018 9d/8n9d/8n8single supplement475
2018 8d/7n8d/7n7double pp2,349
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
20179d/8n8double pp26,409
20179d/8n8single supplement4,119
2018 9d/8n9d/8n8double pp21,129
2018 9d/8n9d/8n8single supplement4,065
2018 8d/7n8d/7n7double pp20,099
Wildlife

Your hosts are avid wildlife enthusiasts. The multitude of rare birds to be see on this tour is truly amazing, the variation in ecosystems from the highlands down to the tropical mangrove swamps enables you to see a huge variety. Larger mamals such as crocodiles in the swamps and many different species of turtle on the beaches can also be observed. The visit to the turtle sanctuary and participation in the nightime release of newly hatched turtle is a highlight of the tour for many.

Other Activities

The tour incorporates many must see sights in Chiapas such as boating on the Canyon Sumidero walks in various ecological areas selected to showcase the variety of ecosystems Chiapas is famous for. In addition a boat tour of the mangrove swamps and beach/water activities are included.
We recommend extensions to see the impressive archeological site of the Mayan city state Palenque. This a the foremost Mayan site in Mexico and not to be missed. The villages of San Juan Chamula and Zinacantán are culturally unique. They are inhabited by Tzeltal Indians who still preserve the indigenous traditions and clothing. The church of San Juan Chamula has no priest serving mass, instead an autonomous religion has been developed where offers are being placed to the Virgin Mary, Christ and the saints San Juan and Santiago.

Other Information

Puerto Arista turtle sanctuary a state-sponsored turtle protection and preservation programme, located 2.5 km west of town next to the Villa Murano Hotel. It is located on a property with 500 hectares of mangroves and beaches. It is one of four sanctuaries in the area along with those in Boca del Cielo, Costa Azul, and Barra de Zacapulco.
Puerto Arista is one of the 144 beaches in Mexico where sea turtles come to lay eggs. It is also one of twenty two beaches where these nests of eggs experience a high risk of being pillaged. In addition, marine turtles have turned up injured or dead on these shores, generally blamed on illegal fishing, especially shrimping, with nets in prohibited areas. There is still some illegal hunting of turtles and turtle eggs despite a federal ban.
The sanctuary’s main function is to patrol the beach by foot and ATV for fresh turtle nests in order to relocate the eggs to protected enclosures. Later, the hatchlings are released back into the sea. It allows visitors to participate in both the collection of eggs and liberation of hatchlings. Activities take place all year round but most turtles come here to nest between July and November. In 2008, the governor of Chiapas visited the sanctuary to participate in the liberation of over 7,000 hatchlings for the inauguration of the Centro Integral de Conservación. In that year, about a half a million were released, with 25,000 visits. In 2010, the sanctuary was nearly abandoned with almost no personnel and deteriorated facilities. However, since then, there have been rehabilitation efforts. In addition to the egg hatching and release programme, injured turtles are taken in all year round.

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):
Tuxtla Gutierrez Airport, Mexico
Transfer:
by taxi to first hotel (about $30 in 2016)
Flight Guide:
London - Tuxtla return from £800
Riders who booked this ride also considered
Riding on the beach in Uruguay
Uruguay, Estancias and Beaches
Ride at working estancias, tropical palm groves, protected w...Read more >
from $3,689
Cotopaxi Volcano rising in the background
Ecuador, Avenue of Volcanoes Trail
Point to point trail along the Avenue of Volcanoes in the Ec...Read more >
from $2,399
Enjoying a Canter
India, Rajasthan Kumbalgarh Ride
Ride Marwari horses through Rajasthan staying at historic fo...Read more >
from $2,019