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(copyright Jesus Cornejo)
(copyright Jesus Cornejo)
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This trail is a point to point trail overnighting at a different carefully selected historic haciendas and hotels. Your host Juan-Alfonso has lived in the area all his life and is well acquainted with all the surrounding haciendas ensuring you are warmly received as honoured guests everywhere. This ride is a great way to see the real Mexico; from family-run working cattle hacienda's, exploring the local scenery, heading through the mountains and stopping en-route in small historic towns and villages. One thing is for sure on this trail, the atmosphere will be fun with the tequila flowing, excellent Mexican food and superb riding!

The horses are Mexican Criollo and Quarter Horses; all well-mannered, sturdy and strong. There is a horse for everyone, some are laid-back whilst others are more sporty and forward-going. Riders must be at least at an intermediate level and be fit enough to handle a full days ride each day. A more luxurious version of this ride is available on request (overnighting at more upmarket hacienda's and hotels).

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 YM of Guildford on 06/02/2019

Ride Summary
We had a fabulous time, it really was an immersion in the real Mexico. My horse was super sensitive, the cowboys were funny, charming and so talented. Lupe could cook, he could sing, he played the guitar, and of course he rode like, well like a cowboy! We also had Enrico with us, he had excellent English and was just great fun to be with. The Haciendas were just wonderful, atmospheric and authentic, and the scenery ws unexpectedly beautiful. I can thoroughly recommend it.
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     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Efficiency     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Knowledge     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Other(please specify) I don't eat cheese but this got lost somewhere so I had a coupe of evenings on thin rations     (   ) 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     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern for Safety     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Leadership     (   ) Excellent     (X) 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     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (X) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern with Environment     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Language skills     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Additional Comments
First couple of days were slow and we lingered too long snoozing after lunch only to end up riding in the dark to get to the hotel. After that we sped up!
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
I loved my horse, he was brilliant. He jogged a bot on the second day but I got the measure of that, puts our English horses to shame
Meals
Meal Quantity     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Quality     (   ) Excellent     (X) 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     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (X) 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:

Was there anything you should have known and were not told?     (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
Well I kind of knew it would be cold at night (not during the day as it warmed up to a pleasant 23 degrees). What I didn't know is that some of the accommodation had little of no heating. We slept in ALL our clothes, including my coat!
What could we do to improve this ride?
Make the first couple of days faster and ditch the cheese
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
5
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
Pretty easy really
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:

May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Any other comments:

Unicorn comments: Thank you for your feedback. Glad you had a great time! I will pass on your comments to Juan re. the cheese, as the hosts are always sent full details of dietary requirements. I will add some notes to the packing list too for the chilly evenings :)

Day 1
You will be collected from the Airport and transfered to Echological Hotal in Comanja de Corona. Time to relax before dinner served in the restaurant then enjoy a comfortable ambiance around the bonfire. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 2
Breakfast at the hotel. Your horses will be ready to ride, today it is to Comanja Viejo approximately 2 hrs. This is a old ghost miner town, many years ago it was abandoned by the Spanish and Criollo settlers because of an attack by the Indian Chichimecas. They escaped and left behind the town which was deserted for many years. Now it is privately owned after being completely restored. You will be able to see the old coin house, the cemetery, the old municipality, the houses of the miners and settlers, there is also a mine you can go into it and visit. You will continue riding along trails and old roads, with nice views, places to canter heading to Comanja, approximately 2 hrs. You will ride through the town towards Hacienda La Ferreria, and visit a very old Farriery. There are beautiful gardens and this hacienda is full of history - a nice place to visit.
After a short ride you will arrive at Restaurant Hacienda Los Caballos, the owner is a famous horse trainer called “Machin”, he has dancing horses! It will be a good experience to meet with this friendly horse lover! You will be served lunch at his restaurant afterwhich he will give you a demonstration of the horses he has in training. After lunch you ride to Echological where you will have time to relax before dinner.

Day 3
After Breakfast you will ride to la Sierra, (Mountains) from the hotel. Enjoy spectacular views of the high mountains, passing a reservoir, the terrain is varied but you will have the opportunity to canter in some parts. You will also ride cross country on a narrow rocky trail, it is very interesting to see how the vegetation is changes, in some parts you will ride across small rocks and down creeks to the reservoir of La Sauceda. You will ride to Hacienda San Bernardo (approx 5 hours) where a cold beer and excellent tequila will be served as a welcome refresher! The Hacienda will provide a speciality homemade lunch, afterwhich you can explore the stables and corrals of this cattle ranch. Time to relax before dinner and overnight stay here.

Day 4
After breakfast you will ride through La Sauceda reservoir, then continue to a small village where you stop for a cold beer or soda. You will cross the main road and continue in the Camino de Arrieros, pass by Hacienda La Galera and El Tlacualeche reservoir, riding next to the water's edge. Following on you will arrive at  the charming Hacienda La Troje with nice gardens, then continue to Hacienda San Cirilo Equestrian Center, where you will be welcomed by the owners. They have a workshop of hand made artistic leather products as Chaps, Belts, saddles. You will have dinner and night in San Cirlo.

Day 5
Tack up horses for today’s ride along the canal to the reservoir, there are some places to canter and enjoy the landscape. You will make a short visit to Hacienda San Nicolas and then continue riding along nice trails and Alfalfa seeds. After a couple of hours you arrive at San Miguel del Cuarenta, where you will have a superb lunch in the Hotel La Soledad Casa Rural, this unique and charming Hotel and will offer the best of its food! After lunch try a refreshing digestive call Carajillos. Enjoy a relaxing evening before dinner and lodging in Casa Rural La Soledad.

Day 6
After breakfast you will ride towards La Puerta del Coche ranch, riding along tree covered trails enjoying the landscape, with the opportunity for a few canters. You will have lunch with cowboys and horseman, the food you are going to try here is very authentic Mexican, made for foreigners not very spicy. Later in the afternoon you will head out for a 2hr evening ride before a light dinner. Lodging in the rooms of the Ranch La Puerta del Coche.

Day 7
After a tasty Mexican breakfast you can saddle the horses for today’s ride. Ride for 3 hours to Hacienda Tlalixcoyan. This place has been in the portuguese Gomez family for more than 400 years, you will be given a warm welcome by it's owner. The delicious food is made with special family recipes. Time to relax before appetizers around the bonfire and of course a Tequila shot! Dinner is served in the Dinning Room and overnight stay in the Hacienda.

Day 8
A hearty rancher breakfast will be served in the morning around 8am. The horses will be taken in the trailer and you will be driven to Hacienda San Cayetano. The horses will be ready on arrival, and you will set off to the Canyon of the Alcazar, riding  across country with lots of adventures ascending and then descending the hills riding through the Canyon. After riding through the pastures you will arrive at the ranch where you will be met by the owners with a welcome drink and snacks, the food served here is all homemade with house specialities.  In the early evening, after a snack and a beer, wine or Tequila, your hosts will demonstrate Equinotherapy, they been doing this for the last 20 years followed by a demonstration using a Mexican charra rein.
Back on the horses for a short ride to the Hotel Hacienda Sepulveda, enjoy the spa and hotel facilities, swimming pool, hot tub, and Bar. Farewell dinner in the Corral, or restaurant and overnight in the hotell.

Day 9

Enjoy breakfast and the morning at the Hacienda followed by transfer to the airport.

This itinerary is to your guidance and may be subject to change.

New Year Ride

Day 1
Arrive in the morning and transfer from the airport to Hacienda Jaramillo. Meet the horses and ride from Hacienda Jaramillo to Comanja. Visit Hacienda La Ferreria and enjoy dinner at Hacienda Los Caballos. Overnight at Cañada Verde, with the evening free to relax.

Day 2
Ride from Cañada Verde to the mine of Horcon, then continue to Comanja Viejo and stay overnight at an eco lodge.

Day 3
From the eco lodge ride to Sierra Alta Las Antenas for lunch. Return to the same ecolodge for the evening.

Day 4
Ride to Sierra Alta and stop for lunch, then continue to Hacienda Vergel de la Sierra.

Day 5
From Vergel de la Sierra, ride to El Cantil for some wine- and mezcal-tasting. Ride back to Vergel de la Sierra for the evening.

Day 6
Ride from Vergel de la Sierra to Comanja, where the horses are loaded into the trailer. Drive to Hotel Hacienda Sepulveda for the evening.

Day 7
Ride out from Hacienda Sepulveda to Hacienda San Cayetano , returning for a special New Year’s dinner.

Day 8
Ride from Hacienda Sepulveda to La Herencia equestrian center. Leave the horses here and visit the town of Lagos de Moreno. Look around the shops before returning to Hacienda Sepulveda for the evening.

Day 9
Transfer to airport and fly home.

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 mainly Mexican although there are 2 Western and 2 English saddles available too upon request. Mexican Charro saddles differ slightly from Western as they have wider horns at the front and 2 grips at the back which were traditional used to help the Charro riders hold on during Charreadas (rodeos). The rides tend to start at 10am with a break for lunch after around 3 or 4 hours. In the afternoon there is then 2 or 3 hours of riding. There is 1 guide to 5 riders. Minimum age 14.

Rider requirements

This trail is suited to intermediate riders who are happy and secure in walk, trot and canter. Experience over rough terrain is also beneficial, as is controlling a horse in open spaces. Riders should be fit and ready for the 4-6 hours of riding per day.

Riders are not required to groom and tack-up their horse and help with feeding etc but can do so if they wish.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 264 lb/120 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

The hotels and B&B's used have been chosen for their charm and quintessential Mexican atmosphere, from the colonial style architecture to the warm hospitality and excellent food. On several nights riders will be hosted by the owners of the hacienda's, giving a real insight into true Mexico and making them feel part of the family. Bedrooms throughout the trail have twin or double beds with private bathrooms. Other facilities include sitting rooms and verandahs and there are swimming pools on some nights.


Breakfast is a big occasion in Mexico and guests are invited to help prepare their own breakfasts if they like, such as 'Chilaquiles' which are tortilla chips with tomato sauce, cheese and sour cream or 'Molletas' which is bread with beans, ham and cheese. You will also find eggs cooked to your liking, bacon, cake and a selection of juices such as orange, lime, watermelon, carrot, pear, papaya and pineapple. Lunches may be a saddlebag picnic depending on your chosen activity and there is often a BBQ lunch or dinner with a variety of grilled meats as well as fresh salads and vegetables. Drinks during meals can be put onto a tab and paid at the end of the day or holiday. Meal timings are roughly based on the following: Breakfast; 7:30 to 9:30am, lunch 2:30 to 4:30pm and dinner, 8:00 to 10:00pm.

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 boasts year-round good weather with an average of around 22 celsius in the daytime. January and December can be chilly in the early mornings and evenings. The rainy season is July to September with the rain mostly coming at night and it can be humid at this time of year.

Climate Chart

 

 

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!

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/batteries and camera equipment are available in Lagos de Moreno but we advise to take along plenty just in case. Digital camera's can be charged overnight with suitable adaptors (US style). There is mobile phone reception at Hacienda Supluveda but there are parts of the trail where there is none.
There is free internet access at Hacienda Supulveda.

Packing List

Riding hat
Riding boots and optional chaps
Riding trousers/jodphurs
Gloves (optional)
Sun hat or cap
Sunglasses
Sun block
Handkerchief or bandana (for neck)
Comfortable shoes for after riding
Summer shirts
Long-sleeved shirt
Waterproof raincoat
Jacket for cool evenings/mornings during January and December
Jumper/sweater

Additional list:

• Valid passport international
• Recommended Currency: Mexican Pesos
• Personal medication and toiletries
• Travel Journal Guides, etc...

Programmes

This is a 9 day/8 night programme with 7 days riding available year-round, dates on request for 2 or more.

Departure Dates

2020: Jan 17; Feb 14; Mar 13; Apr 24; May 22; Jun 12; Jul 3, 25; Aug 22; Sept 18; Oct 17; Nov 12, 27; Dec 19, 27.
Other dates available upon request for 4 or more riders.

Pricing
Single supplement must be paid if booking alone.


No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
20199d/8n7double pp1,489
20199d/8n7single supplement315
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
20199d/8n7double pp1,729
20199d/8n7single supplement365
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
20199d/8n7double pp1,949
20199d/8n7single supplement415
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
20199d/8n7double pp18,625
20199d/8n7single supplement3,945
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

Other activities arranged on some of the hacienda's: fishing, bird watching, hiking, games, painting and pottery. There is always something else to take part in in addition to the riding!

Wildlife

Wildlife which may be spotted during the trail: deer, coyote, wild cats, raccoon and armadillo. Local flora includes, amongst others: cacti, nopal, organo, bisnaga, mezquite, pirul, encinos, robles, pine and oaks.

Other Information

Horses are a big industry in the area of Lagos de Moreno; it is known as being the capital of the Quarter Horse in Mexico and is a very important region with around 700 horses in training. The Charreada, a competition similar to that of a rodeo and Mexico's national sport first began in Lagos and it is said that the first Vaqueros (cowboys) who travelled to California were from Lagos.

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), Aguascalientes (AGU) or Guadalajara (GDL)
Transfer:
Included from Leon Airport, extra cost from Guadalajara (GDL)
Flight Guide:
London - Leon return £850 - £950
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