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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 FT of Preston on 04/06/2021

Ride Summary
Very much enjoyed the riding, the stays at the old haciendas with their gracias hosts, meeting and sharing adventures with locals, and being immersed in the rich horse culture that is there. The pre-trip itinerary did not always match what we did but what we did was often better.
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Day 1
You will be picked up from the Airport and transfer to Hacienda San Cirilo. a warm welcome of Pancho and Lena Serrano the owners of this Hacienda that it’s an Equestrian center. This estate has been refurnished by this entrepeneur couple, and has nice bedrooms decorated with horse crafts. Welcome meal in San Cirilo with delicious dishes of our good Mexican food. Short ride in the afternoon to meet and get acquainted with the horses. They have a saddler workshop of leather products as Chaps, Belts, saddles, etc., interesting to see how they made the leather products handmade, very artistic. A good dinner will be served with a Tequila Testing. Overnight in San Cirilo (or similar)

Day 2
Breakfast in the Hacienda San Cirilo. We will ride to an very nice Hacienda call San Nicolas, we will have the opportunity to visit this well know Hacienda, who has the particularity of having their own private Bullring in the state. The ride along de canal and passing by the village of Primero de Mayo. Lunch in San Nicolas, the owners specialize in cooking local trending food. Enjoy the ride back seeing the Alfalfa fields a nice trail where we can canter. En the afternoon we can see how Lena works with the horses with the natural horsemanship training techniques Dinner and overnight in San Cirilo (or similar).

Day 3
Today we will ride towards a very nice Ranch, call La Puerta del Coche, a nice Hotel with a spacious and confortable rooms; riding in trails with many trees and pleasant views enjoining the landscape, we will pass by Hacienda La Estancia one of the largest in the region, we will continue riding and we will pass through a dairy stable, after 3.5 hrs. in the saddle we will arrive. Upon arrival, many of the riders enjoy the pool along with good Tequila Lunch in the restaurant, the food you are going to try here is very authentic Mexican, made for foreigners not very spicy. After eating we will ride for 2 hours through the pastures of this ranch. Light dinner will be served in the restaurant around 8 PM. Lodging in the rooms of Hotel La Puerta del Coche (or similar).

Day 4
A Tasty Mexican Breakfast buffet will be served. Saddle horses for today’s ride, we will ride 2.5 hrs. to Sabindas Ranch, this cattle ranch belongs to Ernesto Serrano and family with its 1200 hectares; we will be riding along the trails and paths of this ranch aprox 3 hours, visiting the sabindas dam there is a path that surrounds the dam while we ride enjoy a nice view of the oaks and rocky formations, this semiarid property has lots of Cactus, Nopales, Garanbuyos and Desert Palms, this is a Cross Country trail for good riders because of its rocky trails, with nice landscape. Lunch in the Ranch with another riders, cowboys, horseman and the Serrano Family, we will eat a delicious Pork “Carnitas” you have to make your self the tacos and try a good salsa, we will have for you cold beer and off course a very good Tequila; will have a good time when Lupe of our guides plays de guitar signing his songs and Mexican popular music. After lunch ride back to la Puerta del Coche 2 hours a nice ride in the evening enjoying the trail. Dinner and Lodging in La Puerta del Coche (or similar).

Day 5
A morning coffee and fruit will be available, a succulent breakfast we will have. Saddle horses and ride to Hacienda Tlalixcoyan; this Hacienda has been on the Gomez Portugal Family for more than 400 years, it’s a merit of this family to keep this hacienda for many generations, a warm welcome of Pablo the owner. We will eat Lunch in this hacienda, the food made with special recipes of the Family will be served. The food in this place is delicious, it's made by Pablo's wife, Horalia, who cooks very tasty. Free evening, this hacienda has a nice trail by the river and bird watching Dinner in a bonfire enjoying the starry sky.

Day 6
Breakfast in the Hacienda Tlalixcoyan Saddle horses for today’s ride, we are going to ride next to the irrigation canal of the dam of Cuarenta, during the tour we will have the opportunity to gallop and enjoy the sunny day, we will continue riding along the muleteer trails seeing the alfalfa and corn fields. After 2.5 hrs. we will arrive to the village of San Miguel del Cuarenta, continue riding in a wooded path next to a creek, we will arrive to La Soledad Casa Rural, will have a superb lunch in this Rural House, this unique and charming place and will offer the best of its food and attention. After lunch we can try a refreshing digestive call Carajillos. Ride back to the Hacienda enjoying a pleasant afternoon ride. Dinner and lodging in Tlalixcoyan (or similar).

Day 7
Homemade breakfast in the Hacienda, we leave our luggage ready and go to the horse stables to get to the horses-; the first part of our trail we pass through open fields where they grow alfalfa (main ingredient of a typical healthy drink called agua de alfalfa, also its a premium cattle and horse pasture) Riding along the Lagos river, we have plenty of shadow and some of opportunities to do some cantering, then we will be riding in the ancient silver road The Camino Real some part of the old road has a wall of adobes in both sides and you will see the old brick bridges. We will pass a deserted hacienda “Cieneguilla” a beautiful sight for pictures! 3.5 hrs. ride we will arrive to the Hotel Hacienda Sepulveda & SPA, one of the best Hacienda Hotel in the region. Dinner in the mamalena restaurant with a good range of dishes to choose from. Overnight in a Suite in Sepulveda (or similar).

Day 8
A la carte breakfast in the Hacienda garden. The horses will be ready to ride to the Hacienda San Cayetano ; we will ride 1.5 hrs. along a rural road, continue to The Canyon of the Alcazar, Cross country ride with lots of adventures ascending and then descending the hills riding through the Canyon, we will see the cows and bulls, nice and adventurous ride we will have today. After riding through the pastures and cross-country trails of the property we will arrive to the Ranch, 3.5 hrs. ride, where Pita and Juan Alcazar the owners of this Hacienda will receive us with a courtesy drink and snacks, The food offered at this ranch is homemade food with house specialties. in the evening, after a snack with a good beer, red wine or Tequila, Pita will show us about the Equinotherapy, she has been doing this for the last 20 years, it’s interesting to know more about it; Juan will give us a demonstration of handling the horse with the charra rein. Have a nice time with this friendly family listening to music and enjoying the atmosphere of this hacienda Get back to the horses, so after 1:30 min riding arrive to the Hotel Hacienda Sepulveda Free evening to enjoy hotel facilities, Swimming pool, hot tub, the Bar, and after some days of horseback riding you can have a nice relaxing massage in the SPA. Special farewell dinner in the restaurant. Rest on your last day in a comfortable suite.

Day 9
Breakfast in the Restaurant Mamalena; enjoy the morning in the Hacienda, 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

2021: TBC
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 £
20209d/8n7double pp1,449
20209d/8n7single supplement309
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
20209d/8n7double pp1,709
20209d/8n7single supplement365
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
20209d/8n7double pp1,889
20209d/8n7single supplement399
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
20209d/8n7double pp17,495
20209d/8n7single supplement3,705
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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