Cotopaxi Horseback Riding and the Coolest Airbnb Ever!

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Nicollee Hammer
January 27, 2024
My horse for the day:)

            One weekend, when all the other classes were on a field trip, me and a few friends from my class decided to go spend the weekend at Cotopaxi National Park and explore the area by horseback riding. Although planning last minute can sometimes be hard, we ended up finding the coolest Airbnb I’ve ever stayed in, which also ended up being in the middle of the national park without service:/ 

            Since it was our first time going to Cotopaxi, we didn’t know exactly what to expect especially with the roads and the process of getting there, but boy was it a long journey. The ride from Quito to our Airbnb was about two and a half hours, majority being cobblestone road with 4 people packed in the backseat. It wasn’t an ideal situation, but once we got to the house, we realized it was all worth it. Our Airbnb had a perfect view of Cotopaxi and a long winding path around the property that led to fields of horses and bulls! 

            As I said the house didn’t have service and along with that it also didn’t have heat, so we had to learn how to make a fire to stay warm but somehow, I succeeded (although it did go out during the night). We sat outside and watched the sunset completely change the scenery around us and stayed outside to star gaze until we all got too sleepy and headed in for the night.

            The next morning, we woke up bright and early and had a delicious breakfast of banana oatmeal and fruit before we headed to horseback ride. Once we arrived, we got to meet all the horses and pair up with our buddy for the next 4 hours, and our guide even gave us our own ponchos to wear for the day! We set off on our ride through the national park riding along streams, beautiful meadows, and of course, Cotopaxi.

            Halfway through our ride our guide led us to an area where the local farmers also known as “Chagras” of the Kichwa people keep their bulls during the 2 times of the year that they round them up. When the bulls are rounded up it’s called a “rodeo”, and our guide said the locals ride for 2-3 days to round them up and bring them back to the pastures to vaccinate and count them. We got to stay and watch one of the bulls that hadn’t been rounded up with the original group get maneuvered into the pasture area, and one of the cowboys even came and let us try a medicinal drink that they make.

            After hours of galloping through fields and along rivers, we made our way back to the ranch and had a big lunch before our long bumpy ride home. Although it was a short trip, I know it was extremely memorable for all of us and that we would always think back to that weekend.

            If you’re studying abroad or planning to study abroad in Ecuador or anywhere for that matter, always go on spontaneous weekend trips and explore the country as much as you can because you only have so much time there before your semester comes to an end and it’s also a great bonding experience! 

Other fun trips we’ve done in Ecuador: Mindo, Papallacta (hot springs), Baños during Carnaval, Otavalo market (day trip), Lake Cuicocha, Cotocachi, Teleférico (Quito)

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Nicollee Hammer headshot

Nicollee Hammer

I'm from Ohio but I've traveled since I was little so I've got to see many different countries and experience different perspectives and ways of life. I enjoy meeting new people and trying new things. I can't wait to see what Ecuador has to offer!

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Auburn University
Biological Sciences
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