Explore Chiapas Mexico on Horseback (9 Days / 8 Nights) – Enduro Ecuestre

Progressive Ride (no camping)
Tour Meeting Location: Chiapa de Corzo
Nearest Airport: Tuxtla Gutierrez (TGZ)
Riders: Min 4 riders Max 7 riders
Cost:
USD$2,050 per person, double occupancy
USD$380 single room supplement
USD$320 per person small group supplement if less than 4 riders

Dates: Remaining 2015 tour dates and updated availability: October 14-22; November 11-19; December 2-10
Dates: 2016 tour dates and availability: January 5-13; February 2-10; March 1-9; April 5-13; May 11-19; June 7-15; July 5-13; August 2-10; September 6-14; October 4-12; November 2-10; November 29-December 7

Chiapas Mexico

This 9-day inclusive journey combines adventure, adrenaline and nature exploration with relaxation in comfortable charming hotels and historic haciendas, as well as at a unique eco-resort on a private island at the edge of the Pacific Ocean.

Chiapas, once part of Guatemala, is the southernmost state of Mexico and the stage of our new unique riding adventure. It is an area full of historic sites of pre-Columbian Mayan civilizations. Here we explore canyons, canter across dirt roads of large hacienda estates, ride through the forests of the highlands and on hidden steep trails that lead us through tropical vegetation down to the coast – ending up on the pristine beaches of the Pacific.

Our adventure leads us through the stunning highlands of Chiapas, where we pass through magnificent pine forests and indigenous communities where we have the chance to glimpse local life. We explore the majestic Canyon “Rio La Venta”, one of the most important natural areas of the region. After a refreshing swim in the crystal-clear water of the waterfall “El Aguacero”, we spend time in a restored ancient hacienda, founded in 1902, and enjoy the hospitality of our hosts and the delicious local fare. The next day we enjoy long canters and gallops along old bridle paths until we arrive at the Tolan dam, where we can fish, take a boat trip or simply relax and enjoy the beautiful view of the surrounding mountains. Our journey then leads us through the biosphere reserve “La Sepultura”, a place of stunning natural beauty. We continue our ride on mountain trails through the “Sierra Madre de Chiapas”. Then a technical descent to the coast and a transfer horse and riders takes us to the seaside town of Puerto Arista. Here we find the perfect place for long canters on sandy beaches, always accompanied by a nice sea breeze! In order to reach the final destination of our tour, the Madresal Ecological Center, we have to take a boat transfer through the mangroves and across the lagoon. Madresal seems like a lost paradise in the Mexican Pacific and is a great location to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. Here we have the opportunity to observe wildlife from a canoe through the Mangrove Forest and relax on the sandy beach.

Itinerary Day by Day Explore Chiapas

Day 1: Arrival

After arriving at the Tuxtla Gutierrez airport (there are direct flights from Houston on Wednesdays), take a shuttle transfer (approx. $22 per car) to Chiapa de Corzo and check into your hotel. Meals are on your own today.

Day 2: Cañón del Sumidero – San Cristóbal de las Casas

After breakfast we meet you and our week long adventure begins. We start with a spectacular boat ride along the Grijalva River. Our boat leaves from the Cahuaré Docks and takes us on a magnificent ride of 26 kilometers (approx. 3hrs) through the famous canyon“Cañón del Sumidero”. (If the weather is rainy, it is important to have a waterproof jacket, lightweight clothing or bathing suit at hand. In any case, please make sure to bring your sunglasses and your camera!).

The canyon’s creation began around the same time as the Grand Canyon in the U.S. state of Arizona, by a crack in the area’s crust and erosion by the Grijalva River, which was named after the Spanish conquistador Juan Grijalva. With its vertical walls reaching as high as 1,000 meters and with the river turning up to ninety degrees during the narrow passage runs, the Sumidero Canyon is one of the most impressive natural spectacles of Mexico! During the tour we will have the opportunity to observe tropical forests in their natural state as well as some animals such as monkeys, crocodiles and numerous species of birds. The boat tour ends at the Chicoasén Dam, one of the most important hydroelectric power stations in Mexico and Latin America.

After visiting the canyon, we will stop at the “El Campionario” restaurant for lunch and then transfer (approx. 50 min) to San Cristóbal de las Casas. The town is located in the Central Highlands region of Chiapas. Due to its high altitude of 2,100 meters, the temperatures are lower in San Cristóbal and it is colder than in the canyon, so you may need to change your clothes. We will stay at the Hotel Posada Los Morales, a charming Mexican-style hotel, which offers a magnificent view of the city. After we are settled in, we enjoy a delicious welcome cocktail followed by a special dinner.

San Cristobal de Las Casas, founded in 1528 by Diego de Mazariego, has maintained its beautiful Spanish colonial layout, with narrow cobblestone streets, roofs covered in red clay tile and wrought iron balconies with flowers. The facades of the buildings vary from Baroque to Neoclassical and Moorish, painted in various colors. After dinner you have time to explore the historic city center with its interesting sites like Central Plaza, the Cathedral of Santo Domingo, Arc del Carmen and the indigenous craft markets. Dive into the lively and safe streets of San Cristobal and appreciate the local culture and friendly people! Taste the excellent coffee of the region and visit the best amber and jade jewelry shops in Mexico.
At night, many bars and restaurants along the three main streets – Santo Domingo, Guadalupe and Del Carmen – offer live music. Here you can enjoy excellent wines and delicious Mexican food, as well as French, Italian and Argentinean cuisine. Overnight at the Hotel Posada los Morales (D).

Day 3: San Cristóbal de las Casas – Eco-Park “Arcotete – San Cristóbal de las Casas

After a traditional Mexican breakfast-buffet at the hotel, we are transferred to the riding center, which is located on the outskirts of San Cristobal. At the riding center we get to know our horses and equipment before heading out on our first 5-hour ride to the protected ecological reserve called “Arcotete”.

On our journey we will cross mountains and encounter interesting paths like narrow roads winding through magnificent pine and oak forests. We will also see several species of birds. We will ride through Tzotziles communities where we have the chance to glimpse the daily activities and work of the indigenous farmers. Upon arrival at the Ecological Park Arcotete, we enjoy lunch and take a walk along wood paths towards a stone arch carved by the water of the river “Rio Amarillo”. Here we offer optional activities such as a canopy tour for those who are looking for an adrenaline rush. You can also take it easy and relax or walk along the river bank. Afterwards we ride back to the equestrian center, where a delicious Mexican-style BBQ is waiting for us, with smoked meat, chorizo and sausages and plenty of salad.

After the hearty meal we head back by car to the Hotel Posada Los Morales, where we have the rest of the day free to relax and explore the beautiful city of San Cristobal de las Casas. Overnight at the Hotel (B, L,D)

Day 4 (from February to May): San Cristóbal de las Casas – Canyon “Rio La Venta” – Hacienda La Valdiviana

After savoring a delicious breakfast-buffet, we are transferred (approx. 1.5 hrs) to the “Valle de Cintalapa” until we reach the trailhead, the bridge “Las Flores”. Here our horses are already waiting for us and we start our 6-hr journey towards the magnificent “El Aguacero” waterfall.

During the ride we enjoy gallops along sandy river banks, entering the Canyon “Rio La Venta” with its majestic scenery. The canyon walls are abundantly covered with low-growing rainforest vegetation and they become higher and narrower as we pass through. Finally we reach the waterfall, where we have a delicious picnic lunch. Afterwards you have the opportunity to swim in the crystal-clear water of the 20-meter high waterfall – undoubtedly an unforgettable experience!

The Canyon “Rio La Venta” is one of the most important natural areas of the region, preserving vestiges of pre-Hispanic cultures that had trade routes from the center down to the south of Mexico. Along these routes there are numerous caves, which contain archaeological relics.

This is a place of incredible natural beauty, where we have the opportunity to observe numerous birds and flocks of parrots, feeding on the canyon walls before heading back to the bridge “Las Flores”. From there we will be transferred (approx. 40 min) to the ancient Hacienda “La Valdiviana”, which was founded in 1902. The charming hacienda provides a pool and also internet access, and it is the perfect place to rest your body after a day on horseback. Enjoy the hospitality and culinary skills of the owners, who will prepare a delicious dinner us.
Overnight at the Hacienda La Valdiviana (B, L,D)

Day 4 (from June to January): San Cristóbal de las Casas – “Sima de las Cotorras” – Hacienda La Valdiviana

After savoring a delicious breakfast-buffet, we are transferred (approx. 1.1 hrs.) to Ocozocoautla, until we reach the access road to the “Sima de las Cotorras”. Here horses are already waiting for us and we start our 5-hour journey of the day.

We enjoy gallops on dirt roads and ride through rural communities and cultivated agricultural landscape, getting to know the daily life of local farmers. We also bypass the rock “El Cerebro”, the so called “Brain”, which is a unique rock formation, consisting of eroded sandstone.

Finally we arrive at the famous “Sima de las Cotorras”, a gargantuan sinkhole (known as “sima”). Almost perfectly circular, the sinkhole is 160 meters across and a stomach-lurching 140 meters straight down – like a giant round hole cut into the limestone crust. At the bottom is a small forest, which seems like a lost rainforest due to its lushness in contrast to the dry surrounding environment. This place is a naturally protected summer nesting area for the sinkhole’s namesake residents: thousands of cotorras parrots, which translated means “chatterbox”. As the name indicates, the air is filled with the noises of several thousands of these restless parrots! Enjoy this natural spectacle and watch them flying gracefully in spirals out of the sinkhole to the surface. Nearly as impressive are a set of ancient cave paintings, such as painted handprints in red and black colors, as well as drawings of the moon and other figures of the cosmos.

After enjoying lunch in a restaurant nearby, we continue our ride for 1 hour until we are transferred to the ancient Hacienda “La Valdiviana”, which was founded in 1902. The charming hacienda provides a pool and also internet access, and it is the perfect place to rest your body after a day on horseback. Enjoy the hospitality and culinary skill of the owners, who will prepare a delicious dinner us.
Overnight at the Hacienda La Valdiviana (B, L,D)

Day 5: Hacienda La Valdiviana – Tolan dam – Hacienda La Valdiviana

We start the day with a delicious breakfast of fresh fruits and local dishes before starting our 5-hr ride to the Tolan dam.

We enjoy long trots and gallops on smooth, sandy and flat roads and marvel at the valley and surrounding mountains. During the ride we will pass several hacienda ruins, and we will have the chance to observe different species of birds, such as bearded vultures, magpies and many more until we reach the agricultural community of Villa Morelos. Here we take a break and we will be invited by a local family to join them for lunch. We will have the opportunity to test our ability to prepare our own hand made tortillas and to try “taberna”, a traditional alcoholic beverage of Southern Mexico, which is made of palm trees and known for its invigorating properties. After the lunch break we continue our journey to the village of Rosendo Salazar, where the Tolan dam is located. Enjoy this peaceful place with its beautiful view of the mountain range “Sierra Madre de Chiapas”! Here you have the opportunity to go fishing, take a boat trip or enjoy swimming in the lake with the horses. In the afternoon you will be transferred back to the Hacienda La Valdiviana (approx. 30 min), where we will have dinner and spend the rest of the evening. Overnight at the Hacienda La Valdiviana (B, L,D)

Day 6: Hacienda La Valdiviana – Reserve “La Sepultura” – Puerto Arista

Breakfast will be prepared by our hosts, the Esponda family, whose flavors will certainly spoil your palate! Afterwards you will be transferred back to the Tolan dam, where our horses are waiting for us and ready to head towards the community of Colosio. During the 35-km ride to Colosio, which is located in the coastal plain of Chiapas, we will pass the biosphere reserve “La Sepultura”, undoubtedly a place of stunning natural beauty! We will also visit the remains of an old textile factory from the 1920s, which became important in the textile industry of Central America. Afterwards we climb up a dirt road, always surrounded by beautiful pine forests, until we reach the “Corzo Valley”, where we take a break. Strengthened by lunch, we leave the dirt roads behind and continue on mountain trails through the “Sierra Madre de Chiapas”. We will stop at the summit, where the breathtaking view of the mountains will be more than a reward for the effort of the climb. Depending on the weather conditions, you may even see the Pacific Ocean on the horizon!

Take a last look from the summit before we start our technical descent. The trails here are smaller and the slopes are steeper, so we have to dismount the horses and lead them through difficult terrain several times. The vista is stunning and you will have the chance to see different kinds of birds and animals that live in the surrounding highlands and low-growing forests. On the way we also pass by several sites of interest such as the “Jaguar stone” and waterfalls. We will cross a river and ride through a low-growing forest, on a path that was once used as the royal road to Chiapas.

We will take a lunch break en route and after arriving at the village of Colosio, we will visit a typical “cantina” in order to quench our thirst and try some tasty local snacks such as “Piguas”, which are prawns of the area. Later that day we will be driven (approx. 1h) to the seaside village of Puerto Arista. After checking into the Hotel Murano, which is located across from the beach, we have time for a first beach ride during sunset.

Overnight at Hotel Murano in Puerto Arista (B, L,D)

Day 7: Puerto Arista

This mooring we start with a 3-4 hour ride along soft and sandy beaches, enjoying long canters and wonderful riding for 15 kilometers! We also have the opportunity to swim with our horses in the ocean and enjoy the freedom of the horses and the nice sea breeze – one of the best experiences for true horse lovers!

Later we will have a delicious seafood lunch, before transferring to “Madresal Ecological Center”, which is about 1 hour drive away from Puerto Arista. In order to reach Madresal, we have to cross the estuary by boat, giving us the opportunity to see the mangroves. Madresal is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful beaches in Chiapas. A lost paradise in the Mexican Pacific, it is a wonderful place surrounded by nature and full of kind respectful people. It is overseen by the community of Ponte Duro, which has built a restaurant and comfortable “palapas” (open-sided dwellings with thatched roofs made of dried palm leaves) where we sleep in a clean bed or in a hammock. Upon arrival, we have some time to relax on the beach, go for a swim, meet local fishermen and learn about the local fishing traditions, before we meet again for a delicious fresh fish dinner at the beach restaurant.

During “Turtle Season” you can participate in the release of the “Tortugas golfinas”, the most numerous species that spawns on the coasts of Chiapas. Participating in the release of the baby turtles is a very emotional experience. The ceremony is performed at night, facing the beach where the baby turtles are freed and wished luck at sea. Only a small percentage (less than 10%) will reach adulthood and return to the beach where they hatched, in order to spawn (SEASON) Overnight at Madresal Ecological Center (B, L,D)

Day 8: Puerto Arista – Madresal Ecological Center

Today we get up early and after a quick breakfast we take a 2+ hr canoe tour to observe birds and crocodiles through the mangrove forest with wonderful opportunities to photograph wildlife. When we return, we have some time to relax on the beach. After a late lunch we transfer back to Tuxtla by later afternoon. We check into a local hotel. (B,L)

Day 9: Madresal Ecological Center – Tuxtla Gutierrez airport

If you are booked in a early flight, The hotel includes a continental breakfast, where this adventure across Chiapas ends. If you are booked on a later flight, you can take your time, have breakfast at the hotel or visit some attractions of Tuxtla Gutierrez (B)

Includes: 8 nights accommodations; 3 meals daily – BLD – as shown in itinerary; Bilingual guide English-Spanish; Horses and equipment; local transportation during the tour.

Does Not Include: Airfare or transportation to start of tour; travel insurance; tips for guides; alcoholic beverages; personal expenses and purchases; meals not listed as included. Transportation to the airport or to your onward destination after the tour ends.

Reservations must be made and paid in full at least 45 days prior to scheduled tour start date.