This luxurious spa hacienda is at the heart of a historic horse ranch in the state of Jalisco. The main building was erected in 1684 and has belonged to the same family for many generations before being renovated 8 years ago to a high-class boutique spa hotel with a full range of treatments. Jalisco is known for its fine horsemanship, horse-breeding, Tequila and "Mariachi" and those traditions are followed at the spa hacienda today.
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 getaways. The scenic and tranquil area offers great experiences good riding opportunities over the mountains on the many camino real (historic royal trails).
The beautiful historic setting, combined with high service levels, excellent accommodation, spa treatments and exquisite cuisine! make for a top class holiday.
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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 Hacienda's. The riding is varied and exciting: expect river beds, forests, canyons, corn fields and pasture land - great terrain for a good canter!
There will also be the opportunity to meet other hacienda owners and to learn about their traditional trade whilst being 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 where you will have the opportunity to shop for antiques in the store of 'Montecristo' and tradtional 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 you may like to include on your visit, each programme can be adapted to your requirements. Some options are depending on the availability of the hacienda.
Arrival to Leon Airport (BJX) or Aguascalientes Airport (AGU) Guest are met in the arrivals at the airport and transferred to the hotel only 50 minutes away by car.
On arrival enjoy a welcome cocktail and meet members of the family (horse fanatics themselves!) who have owned the hacienda for several centuries. A tour will be offered to see the Hacienda in all its glory.
Your room will be a large and comfortable master suite, with all the amenities of a luxury Hotel: TV, telephone, free wifi internet, bathrobe, pamphlets; 3 types of pillows. Some rooms offer terraces and some have hot tubs.
Once you have settled in, time allowing, enjoy an introductory short ride to get to know the horses. Meet Jorge Serrano, alias Pancho, who will be your professional guide during the ride. Welcome diner with some specialties of the Hacienda,
Day 2 - Ride to Hacienda San Rafael
Breakfast in Mamalena Restaurant. Sample the best eggs in the region, they come highly recommended! After breakfast ride to Hacienda San Rafael along the old Camino Real where we can have some good canters. and enjoy a wonderful view of the mountains of the Sierra of Cuatroalba. There will always be time to chat while walking along, be sure to ask Pancho his stories of the history of the area.
After a few hours riding we arrive in Hacienda San Rafael, built in 1845. We stop for lunch and enjoy food based on antique Mexican recipes, spiced with fresh herbs grown in the orchard and used in a very special way. This Hacienda has a special ambience; it has positive energy and is very relaxing with lots of butterflies and birds to see. Hiking is a popular activity here, you can visit San Antonio reservoir and Cañaditas´ reservoir within the property's 500 Hectares. After lunch we heard back home (around 2.5hrs). Dinner and overnight.
Day 3 - Ride to Sabindas Ranch
After breakfast the horses will be transferred by trailer to Sabindas Ranch while we will transfer by car as this is too far for a one day ride. Here we ride for approximately 4 hours through a landscape of mesquite forest, sross-country and to the dam of Sabindas. After riding we will have a superb lunch, normally Ernesto cooks a traditional Mexican BBQ, the speciality here is lechon (pork) or fish.
After lunch transfer by car to back home where tonight can have a special dinner in The Corral de los Magueyes.
Day 4 - Option A, Ride to Hacienda La Labor
The host and owner of Hacienda La Labor is Don Jesus Vega, a well-known Charro, who of course will dress in his Charro gear to welcome us as his guests. After our morning ride we will enjoy lunch and then afterwards watch a roping demonstration on the main patio where Don Jesus’ grandchildren will show us all kinds of tricks with the rope. After, the Vega family will proudly show us their trophy room with trophies on display from the prize-winning cattle and the saddle collection from the Mexican Charro to others from the American continent.
Back to the horses and then continue riding back home. Relax and have a free evening, perhaps the swimming pool, spa or jacuzzi.
Before dinner The Alipuz Bar will be at your service so you can go and taste good Tequila, or other spirits of course. A good time is always had here!
Day 4 - Option B, ride to Hacienda La Estancia
Ride to Hacienda La Estancia, one the bigger Haciendas in the area and one of the most spectacular. We ride along the Camino Real (Royal Highway), used many years ago to transport silver and gold from the mines in Zacatecas and Guanajuato to Mexico City. It's nice to see the old bridges and in some parts of the road are walled on both sides; on some parts we can canter.
At Hacienda La Estancia the Anaya Family welcomes us and show us around this spectacular Hacienda, including the well known antiques collection and beautifully decorated rooms. The dining room is something special with very old Italian furniture from the XVII century. We can also enjoy a tequila, wine or beer in the unique bar and see the saddle collection. Ride back, dinner and overnight.
Day 5 - Ride to Hacienda San Cirilo
Our route takes us near the Lagos river, riding over smaller paths and enjoying a canter where terrain allows. En route we stop at Hacienda Sanfandila before continuing riding on to Hacienda San Cirilo. This is where our guide, Pancho, and his wife Lena live. It is an equestrian centre where Pancho and Lena can demonstrate Natural Horsemanship, roping, and offer some suggestions to improve our riding.
They will prepare lunch for us and later show us the workshop where they make chaps, belts, covers and saddles by hand. This handmade technique is unique and definitely worth a look. Ride back a different trail where we can canter and enjoy our good horses. Dinner and overnight.
Day 6 - Ride to The Equestrian Centre “La Herencia”
Visit The Equestrian Centre named “La Herencia”, a 2.5 hour ride where Eugenio Macias, a very well-known horse trainer and horse whisperer will show us his Natural Horsemanship techniques. We will have the opportunity to ride in the arena and do some team penning, learn how to rope and perhaps do some jumping too if you like.
Today we have a Ranchero meal (Cowboy lunch), with a nice cold beer. After lunch visit Lagos de Moreno, a beautiful colonial town which is a UNESCO world heritage site., perhaps taking a city tour of the churches, theatre and museums. Dinner will be in a restaurant in Lagos de Moreno so that we can experience the lives of the locals in this special town. Transfer by car back and overnight.
Day 7 - Option A, Ride to Hacienda La Troje
After breakfast, ride to Hacienda La Troje crossing the Lagos River and riding on a well-maintained trails with lots of mesquites. See Hacienda La Galera in the way and pass by the reservoir of Tlacualeche, well known for its ducks, heron's and other water birds.
We will be welcomed by the Cardenas-Lomelín family who will offer us lunch. Free afternoon, relax in this hacienda, visit the saloon and enjoy a cold beer or a glass of wine.
In the late afternoon we will ride home. Free evening: perhaps enjoy the spa? After some days in the saddle a holistic massage in the spa is highly recommended, or perhaps one of the other treatments. Dinner and overnight in the Hacienda.
Day 7 - Option B, Ride to Hacienda Tlalixcoyan
Enjoy a three hour ride to a beautifully authentic hacienda; Hacienda Tlalixcoyan. The first part of our trail we will pass through open fields where alfalfa is grown (the main ingredient of a typical Mexican drink called agua de alfalfa, also a premium cattle food) and then we start following the ancient Camino Real with its beautiful little bridges. After 1.5 hours we follow the Lagos River. Riding along this river, we have plenty of shade and opportunities to do some cantering!
On our way to Hacienda Tlalixcoyan we also pass a deserted hacienda “Cieneguilla” where sometimes cows stand grazing in the living room; a beautiful sight for pictures!
Pablo Gomez-Portugal, the owner, will be waiting for us on his horse with a bottle of tequila! As we drink our tequila shots on horseback, we get closer to Hacienda Tlalixcoyan where a superb Mexican meal awaits us, all homemade by the lady of the house, Horalia. The homemade flan is the best there is in Mexico! After Lunch the hosts will show us their Hacienda before going back to our horses and enjoying a 3 hour ride back home. Dinner in Mamalena Restaurant and overnight.
Day 8 - Ride to Hacienda San Cayetano
Breakfast in the garden. Saddle horses and ride towards Hacienda San Cayetano passing by mesquite forest, cantering on the trails and enjoying the different species of cacti, nopales and pirules. Riding cross-country we head to o the Canyon of the Alcazar with lots of adventures ascending and descending the hills and riding through the Canyon. 4 hours riding.
Pita and Juan Alcazar the owners of this Hacienda will welcome us. In the afternoon, after a snack with a good beer, wine or tequila, Pita will teach us about the Equinotherapy which she has been practising this for 20 years. Juan will also show us how he trains his registered Quarter Horses.
After enjoying our time with this friendly family we'll get back to the horses and continue riding back home for 1.5 hours.
Enjoy your last afternoon in this Hacienda. Farewell dinner in the Corral, with a special Mexican dinner.
After breakfast transfer to the airport.
There are 6 comfortable junior suites and 9 large master 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.
The hacienda features an outdoor swimming pool, jacuzzi and spa with the opportunity to book many different types of treatments. There is a restaurant serving Mexican cuisine and a cosy bar which also serves a wide selection of drinks and snacks. There are also meeting rooms with modern conference equipment.
Horses and 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. There are stables on-site and nearly 791 acres (320 hectares) of pasture land which surrounds the hacienda and its beautiful gardens. The horses are ridden Western style in traditional Mexican saddles which are lighter than American Western saddles and have a wider horn at the front.
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.
All meals and table water are included. The food is delicious; it is homecooked using traditional Mexican recipes and the ingredients are locally sourced. Each meal is a feast in itself! 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 is tortilla 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Each meal is a feast in itself! 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 can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.
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.
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: email@example.com.
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.
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.
There are no specific health requirements in the area of the ride although do remember sun block!
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/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.
Riding boots and optional chaps
Sun hat or cap
Handkerchief or bandana (for neck)
Comfortable shoes for after riding
Jacket for cool evenings/mornings during January and December
• Valid passport
• Recommended Currency: Mexican Pesos
• Personal medication and toiletries
• Travel Journal Guides, etc...
This is a 9 day/8 night programme with 7 days riding available on request all year-round. Shorter stays available on request with a minimum of 3 nights.
All year round on request for a minimum of 2 riders - please enquire
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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.