riding lake
Sabindas Ranch break
Mexican criollo
Hacienda Sepulveda
Spa
Pool
Group photo
seating area
dining room
Group photo at the Dam
Bedroom
Group photo at the Hacienda
outside hacienda
Bedroom
Courtyard view
Riding through the cacti
Views
sitting room
terrace with whirlpool
cross and fountain in grounds

This luxurious spa hacienda is located at a historic horse ranch in the state of Jalisco. The main building was erected in 1684 and belonged to the same family for generations before being renovated 8 years ago into a high-class, boutique spa hotel with a full range of treatments.

Jalisco& is known for its fine horsemanship and horse-breeding. The hacienda is also a working cattle ranch and is strategically positioned in an area with little rainfall and many hours of sunshine all year round, perfect for both summer and winter vacations. This scenic, tranquil area offers great experiences and good horseback riding opportunities over the mountains on the many camino real (historic royal) trails.

The perfect setting combined with high service levels, excellent accommodation, spa treatments and many non-riding activities& make for a top class equestrian vacation.

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Enjoy the comforts of the hacienda and spa, take daily rides on the Hacienda property, join the cattle work or visit neighbouring Haciendas. The riding is varied and exciting: expect river beds, forests, canyons, corn fields and pasture land - great terrain for a good canter!

There is chance to meet other hacienda owners and learn about their daily lives and be invited to tour local homes, view saddle collections, and learn the unique art of Mexican roping. As the hacienda is also a working cattle ranch there will be the opportunity to join the 'charro's' in their daily work with the cattle. Natural horsemanship training is also available. Beginner riders can be accommodated with tuition given for an extra charge. Beginner rides/non-riders can be taken by vehicle to the various hacienda's and lunch spots.

This programme is suitable for riders and non-riders alike and can be tailored to suit. When not riding, relax in the spa or take a guided tour of nearby Lagos de Moreno, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city tour will take in the beautiful plazas and ancient buildings and will visit the historic downtown, with the opportunity to shop for antiques in the store of 'Montecristo' and traditional equestrian 'charro' equipment at 'El Malecon'. Two spa treatments are included in the price of this holiday.

Based Stay Suggested Itinerary:
Below are some suggestions of things that guests may like to include on their visits, each programme can be adapted to the guest's requirements. Some options are depending on the availability of the hacienda.

Day 1
Arrival to Leon Airport (BJX) or Aguascalientes Airport (AGU). Guests are met in the arrivals at the airport and Transfer to Hotel Hacienda Sepulveda & SPA (50min by car using highway 45 D toll road). Welcome cocktail and a complimentary hand massage will be offered on check-in. Be welcomed by the hosts (all horse fanatics) who have owned the hacienda for generations. After a tour, check-in to a large and comfortable Master Suite, with all the amenities of a Luxury Hotel: TV, telephone, free Wi-Fi internet, bathrobe, information pamphlets; 3 types of pillows etc. Some rooms have terraces and some have a hot tub and Jacuzzi. Introductory short ride to get to know the horses, and meet Juan Alfonso Serrano and Lupe Sanchez, the professional guides during the ride. Welcome dinner with some specialties of this Hacienda. Overnight at the Hacienda.


Day 2 - Ride to La Puerta del Coche Ranch
Ride towards Hacienda La Estancia along the old Camino Real, Royal Highway. There are opportunities to canter in some parts of the trail, (3 hrs). Arrive at the La Puerta del Coche Ranch, a very nice Ranch and Hotel and be welcomed with Tequila and cold beer. Tour this recently built private ranch, with horse stables, round pen and arena. After enjoying lunch, ride back to Hacienda Sepulveda on an early evening ride on well-maintained trails. Arrive at Hacienda Sepulveda for a hot tub and relax. Dinner in Restaurant Mamalena. Overnight in Hacienda Sepulveda

Day 3 - Ride to Hacienda San Cayetano
Breakfast in the garden. Saddle the horses and ride towards Hacienda San Cayetano, passing by a mesquite forest, enjoy a canter on the trails and while admiring the types of Cactus, Nopales, and Pirules. This cross-country ride has lots of adventures ascending, and then descending the hills, through the Canyon, passing cows and bulls (4:00 hrs riding in morning - 2hrs after lunch). Hosts, Pita and Juan Alcazar welcome riders with a cold beer or Tequila and snacks, Lunch at the hacienda, enjoying Pita's food, and in the evening, after a good Mexican wine or Tequila, Pita will explain equinotherapy to the group. She has been practicing this for the last 20 years and it is interesting to know more about the topic. Juan will also show us how he trains his registered quarter horses, and give the group an explanation of the Mexican rein.

Day 4 - Ride to Sabindas Ranch
Breakfast in the Hacienda before travelling to Sabindas Ranch with the horses in the trailer. Unload the horses at Sabindas Ranch and ride aprox 4 hrs through beautiful landscapes of mesquite and cactus forest. Ride through this huge ranch to meet the owner, Ernesto Serrano, who gives riders a warm welcome. Continue riding in around this spectacular ranch on good trails with views of the Sabindas reservoir. Follow the cattle path to the reservoir dam and ride besides the water. During the rainy season, there is the possibility of having to swim the horses across the dam to continue the journey. After watering and resting the horses, continue the ride back to the ranch for lunch. After lunch transfer by car to the Hacienda Sepulveda for a special dinner at the Corral de los Magueyes.

Day 5 - Ride to The Equestrian Centre “ La Herencia”
Ride from Sepulveda towards The Equestrian Centre named “La Herencia”, 2:30 hrs, in this place where Eugenio Macias a very well know horse trainer and horse whisper will show us how its done the Natural Horseman ship. We will be able to ride in the arena, do some team penning, learn how to rope and not learn more about horses and the Mexican style of riding. You can also do horseback jumping and they have obstacles. We will have a Ranchero meal (Cowboy lunch) with a nice cold beer.  After lunch we will take you by car to the downtown of Lagos de Moreno, a beautiful colonial town and UNESCO world heritage. Enjoy a city tour to learn about buildings, churches, theatre, museums, etc. Diner in a Restaurant in Lagos de Moreno and experiance the life of the locals in this nice town. Transfer by car to Hacienda Sepulveda. Overnight in our comfortable Master Suite.

Day 6 - Ride to Hacienda San Cayetano
Breakfast in the garden. Saddle horses ride towards Hacienda San Cayetano, we will pass by mesquite forest, we can canter on the trails and enjoy nice landscapes of different species of Cactus, Nopales, and Pirules. Today we will ride to another part of this ranch. We will ride towards el Potrero de la Angostura, where in rainy season there is a beautiful waterfall and we will continue rriding to enter the potrero where the mares are. In this part of the ranch there are lots of Palma del Desierto and Desert Palms. We will get back to the Hacienda, 4 hrs riding. They do cattle drives and branding their cattle at this ranch and hopefully when you are here, this will happen and you will be able to see the vaqueros in action. If you are capable and courageous you may be able to participate in roping the cattle. For lunch we will have Discada, a vaqueros meal, made on an iron disc, with wood fire. It’s a delicious food, made of beef, pork, chicken, bacon, onions, pepper, pineapple etc, we cannot share the recipe. Get back to the horses and continue riding to Hacienda Sepulveda. Enjoy your last day in this Hacienda which has been award one of the best Hotel Haciendas in Mexico by Travel & Leisure magazine. Farewell dinner in the Corral, with a special Mexican diner. Overnight in Hacienda Sepulveda.

Day 7 - Ride to Hacienda San Cirilo or Hacienda La Troje
Start the ride near the Lagos river along comfortable paths and get the chance to canter. Visit the Hacienda Sanfandila with their Equestrian Centre for a lesson in Natural Horsemanship, and some tips to improve ways of riding. Enjoy a homemade lunch before touring their workshop to see the handmade Chaps, Belts, covers and saddles. This handmade technique is a dying art, which makes this tour even more special, having had the chance to meet the artist responsible. Ride back to Hacienda Sepulveda with a chance to canter on the early evening ride (2:30hr). Dinner and overnight in Hacienda Sepulveda.

Day 8 - Ride to Hacienda Tlalixcoyan
Today is a three hour-ride to the beautiful Hacienda Tlalixcoyan. The first part of the trail passes through open alfalfa fields (the main ingredient of a typical Mexican drink called agua de alfalfa, and also a premium cattle feed). Follow the ancient Camino Real with its beautiful little bridges before following the Lagos River. Riding along this river where there is plenty of shade and the opportunity for cantering. Pass a deserted hacienda “Cieneguilla” where sometimes cows stand grazing in the living room: a beautiful sight for pictures! (3hr). Arrive at the Hacienda where Pablo Gomez-Portugal, the owner, will be waiting to meet us on his horse with a bottle of tequila! Drink a tequila shot on horseback, before reaching the hacienda where a superb Mexican meal awaits. After lunch there is a tour of the Hacienda, Mount the horses a last time for the trip back to Hacienda Sepulveda, following the Lagos River and the old Camino Real. Say goodbye to the horses before relaxing in the sauna or steam room, or maybe with a holistic massage at the SPA. Diner in Mamalena Restaurant.

Day 9
Transfer to the airport after breakfast.

Other Activities
This holiday is perfect for riders and non-riders alike. Also on offer from the hacienda is: mountain biking, fishing in nearby lakes, billiards, table tennis and of course the on-site spa. This spa dates back to the 1890's and its natural and well-preserved secrets provide a lovely atmosphere of serenity, health and wellbeing. Enjoy treatments such as massage, reflexology and reiki as well as chocolate body wraps and Winetherapy (yes really - a relaxing treatment which starts with an anti-stress massage before being covered with red wine and a thermal blanket for deep relaxation). There are several golf courses which can be reached within 45 minutes of the hacienda.

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 around 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 ride is ideal for intermediate riders onwards, however beginner and novice riders can also be taken with advanced warning. Tuition can be given in the arena and the rides split allowing novice riders to ride their own trails and be transported by vehicle to a hacienda/lunch spot.

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.

There are 6 comfortable junior suites and 9 large suites in the hacienda and each one is beautifully decorated with special touches such as antique furniture, hand-painted tiles, beautiful fabrics and hand-woven rugs. All rooms are en-suite and 3 of the bathrooms feature a jacuzzi bath. Some rooms have terraces facing the gardens and some have windows overlooking the swimming pool and courtyard. Satellite TV and the internet is available in every bedroom. The resort features an outdoor swimming pool, jacuzzi and spa with the opportunity to book many different types of treatments. There is a restaurant serving delicious Mexican cuisine and a cosy bar which also serves a wide selection of drinks and snacks. A movie room is available for anyone who fancies watching a film and there is a variety of games available. There are also meeting rooms with modern conference equipment.

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. The food is delicious; it is homecooked using traditional Mexican recipes and the ingredients are locally sourced. Some international dishes are served too and vegetarians are well-cared for. 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 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 within reason can be accommodated with advance notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests before booking.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

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

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

Health authorities have classified Mexico as having a risk of Zika virus transmission.

On arrival in Mexico City and other high altitude areas, you may feel a lack of energy, shortness of breath or headaches.

Drink only boiled or bottled water and avoid ice in drinks.

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

Please take along sun cream and anti-allergy medicine for possible insect bites.

Health (ride specific)

There are no specific health requirements in the area of the ride although do remember sun block!

Electricity

In Mexico the supply voltage is 127V. If the appliance or its power supply are not dual voltage rated, the single voltage appliance will have to be used alongside a voltage transformer or converter to allow the appliance to work safely and properly (unless the appliance operates at 127V).

Mobile, WiFi and charging

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. If you are using a GoPro, please ask the group if they are willing being filmed.

Packing List

- Riding Helmet - we strongly recommend that you wear a properly fitted riding helmet of the current standard which is PAS015 or BSEN1384
- Gloves
- Jodhpurs - jodhpurs, breeches or other comfortable trousers (jeans may rub and can also be quite hot).
- Riding Boots - it is important to have correct shoes or boots for horse riding. Jodhpur or ankle boots with a rubber sole are recommended but sturdy shoes with a definite heel are acceptable (such as walking boots).
- Half Chaps - these are great when worn with ankle boots and help prevent the stirrup leathers rubbing against your legs.
- Hat
- Handkerchief or bandana (for neck)
- Sleeping bag (Comfort Zone -10°c to 10°c )
- Sweater
- Jacket
- Towel
- Sunglasses
- Sunscreen
- Lip Sunscreen
- Personal Items - toiletries, any medicines you require and please be sure to take insect repellent.
- Chafing cream
- Refillable Water Bottle - it's very important to drink a lot of water when it's hot, especially when doing physical activities.
- Camera, spare Batteries/Chargers - an absolute must! It is also a good idea to take a camera case you can strap around your waist or onto a belt for whilst you are riding.
- Torch and batteries
- Small knife
- Visa
- Recommended Currency: Dollars, U.S Dollars or Euros
- Travel Journal Guides
- Medical Cards

Programmes

9d / 8n programme with 7 riding days. Available on request all year-round. Shorter stays available on request with a minimum of 3 nights.

Departure Dates

2024: 9-day fixed date rides: 19 Jan; 16 Feb; 7 Mar; 19 Apr; 9, 31 May; 21 Jun; 5 Jul; 2, 23 Aug; 20 Sep; 10 Oct; 8, 29 Nov; 12 Dec.
Other dates on request for groups of 4 upward. Minimum 3 nights.

Pricing
Single supplement must be paid if booking alone.


No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
2024 Luxury Spa Based 9d/8n7double pp in Master Suite2,139
2024 Luxury Spa Based 9d/8n7single supplement455
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2024 Luxury Spa Based 9d/8n7double pp in Master Suite2,549
2024 Luxury Spa Based 9d/8n7single supplement539
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description US $
2024 Luxury Spa Based 9d/8n7double pp in Master Suite2,909
2024 Luxury Spa Based 9d/8n7single supplement615
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2024 Luxury Spa Based 9d/8n7double pp in Master Suite30,145
2024 Luxury Spa Based 9d/8n7single supplement6,375
Recommended Reading

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 the mandatory copy of Lonely Plant Guide is invaluable.



For the equestrian traveller who would like to see what is possible on horseback visit www.thelongridersguild.com Also a fantastic place to acquire your equestrian travel books is www.horsetravelbooks.com


Other Activities

This holiday is perfect for riders and non-riders alike. Also on offer from the hacienda is: mountain biking, fishing in nearby lakes, billiards, table tennis and of course the on-site spa. The spa dates back to the 1890's and its natural and well-preserved secrets provide a lovely atmosphere of serenity, health and wellbeing. Enjoy treatments such as massage, reflexology and reiki as well as chocolate body wraps and Winetherapy (yes really - a relaxing treatment which starts with an anti-stress massage before being covered with red wine and a thermal blanket for deep relaxation). There are several golf courses which can be reached within 45 minutes of the hacienda.

Other haciendas:
The other hacienda's visited on this holiday each have their own speciality: one is saddle-making (Mexican saddles) and leather work (chaps, belts, horse gadgets, etc.). One of the hacienda's have livestock on over 2000ha of pasture land and here you may have the opportunity to ride out to help check or drive the cattle. Another hacienda has a butterfly farm and also astronomy telescopes; the location is excellent to watch the moon and stars at night.

From your base shopping trips to Leon can be arranged on request and tours by horse and carriage can be arranged for those who do not ride.

Wildlife

Wildlife which may be spotted in the area: 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 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 flora. 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:
Included from meeting point.
Flight Guide:
London - Leon from £750pp return
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