Level of Experience
Number of people
2-4, 5-6, 7-8
Type of ride
The folklore of Rio Grande do Sul, dignifies the magnitude of the gaucho soul, legendary in the history and true lover of his brave companion: the horse. Do not conceive a gaucho without his horse. “Is the horse that open the doors, and with a horse, you blend in Rio Grande do Sul.” It is around the fire in a real invitation prose and warmth that the gaucho welcomes visitors with a chimarrão (hot typical drink made from erva-mate).
• Tips are commonly paid in Brazil. Tipping is not essential, but if you are happy with the service you have been given, then it will be gratefully received.
• If you wish to tip, then we recommend a tip of c. US$10 per guest per night. (can be paid in local currency).
• Open March – June and August – November
• Set departures & private groups
• 6 nights / 5 days riding
• 4 – 6 hours riding per day
• Weight limit: 15 st 9 lbs (100 kgs) (219 lbs)
• Usual maximum: 2-8
• Nearest airport: Porto Alegre
Type of ride
Location & Weather
This area has four distinct seasons including a winter between July and August when daytime temperatures can drop to zero. A good time to see the spectacular canyons is March to May but they are also very stunning from september to november. If swimming in the rivers appeals, then come in March or November when the water is not too cold.
Meet Your Guide
Paulo Junqueira Arantes:
He started riding, still as a child, in his grandparents’ farms in São Paulo and Minas Gerais. Participated in the time of the traditional hunts in the south of Minas Gerais and on horseback games in farms of São Paulo. Following his passion for travels, he went to the United States to learn English and to search for new knowledge. At this time he had the opportunity to ride in Texas and Wyoming.
It was for some years, a Mangalarga horse-breeder, director of the Breeders Association in the South of the country. In this position, he participated of the organization of many trail rides.
Due to his passion for horses and horseback riding, he has made many horseback ridings in all regions of Brazil, and in several countries such as Argentina, Australia, Botswana, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, Hungary, Italy, Mongolia, Morocco,Namibia, New Zealand, Peru, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, United States, Uruguay and Zimbabwe.
In 2017 he became a member of the Long Rider’s Guild.
Living together with animals and nurturing a great love for horses since childhood, Julia Leonforte pursued a career in horseback riding. When she was five years old, her father gave her mother a horse as a gift for Valentine’s Day. She rode once and that was enough to fall totally in love with horses its lifestyle. Therefore, Julia began to dedicate to jumping and competed in many categories. She won a lot of awards, becoming National Champion, among others. She also worked with an Olympic rider and trained dressage in the Netherlands, one of the best countries in this discipline.
She already visited more than 35 countries and in 2017 decided to unite two of her biggest passions: horses and travels. So, she became a partner of Ride in Brazil to add all efforts and promote even more horse riding holidays around Brazil.
She also founded a social project, the Horsoul Institute, a non-profit organization that involves the horse in education, sport, mental and physical health practices.
Reception at Porto Alegre airport and transfer (4 to 5 hours) to the Ranch in São Jose dos Ausentes. Imagine arriving in the southern lands of Brazil, and be welcomed in a typical Fazenda (ranch) with the hospitality and good food of the Gauchos. After taste a local drink (made with cachaca and fruits) you will be introduced to the Gaucho who will guide you throughout the ride.
After a delicious dinner, join the group at the bar of the Fazenda to listen your guide’s instructions for the next day.
Night at Pousada Fazenda Potreirinho.
After a good breakfast we mount our Criollos and start riding on the high altitude trails towards Lopes family Ranch, a typical fazenda surrounded by a beautiful forest. Our first sight will be Cachoeirão, the biggest Waterfall of this area. It is impressive and we will have chance to take good photos. Next we will continue our ride going up and down many hills, opportunity of fantastic panoramic views of the landscape on top of the hills. We will trot, canter and feel the sense of freedom on that great outdoors. We may stop to eat something under a tree and after around 5 hours on horseback we arrive to a typical ranch with the warm Gaucho atmosphere. Lopes family will be waiting the group with a delicious brunch and taste of their famous cheese. They produce a very famous and special cheese. This Gaucho family work and live the same way as more than 100 years ago. Gauchos, cattle and horses all together, an integration difficult to imagine today. After rest a while we ride one more hour to the traditional Fazenda Monte Negro where a delicious dinner will be waiting for us.
Overnight at Fazenda Monte Negro.
After breakfast introduction to your horse, start riding to the peak of Monte Negro, with its 1,403 meters is the highest point of our ride, with a horizon of majestic landscapes. There is no way not to be taken by a unique feeling of freedom. We return to the Ranch for lunch. After a short siesta we continue riding by Canyons, cliffs and fields in the afternoon.
The whole area was formed from intense volcanic activity that happened millions of years ago. Successive lava hemorrhages created the Planalto Sul brasileiro, covered by clean fields, forests of araucarias and countless of crystalline rivers. There are many canyons distributed throughout the region, some of them are very impressive, prevailing where enormous rocky cliffs outline the undulating landscape of the sloping foothills giving the feeling of surprise and fascination when approaching their edge. The sharp vertical hillsides of basalt, present a coloration of resultants tones of the liquens and of vegetation of herbs and small bushes that alter with the nude rock. Around 5 hours on horseback.
Night at Pousada Fazenda Monte Negro
We continue our journey along the escarpments of the Aparados da Serra, where the marvels of nature almost overwhelm the actual riding. We stop at a beautiful Waterfall, with awe-inspiring cascade. After a photo stop and perhaps a dip in the pool of the cascade, we stop on the field for lunch. After a short siesta rest we start our afternoon ride on trails with majestic landscapes passing through some forests of rare beauty and important biodiversity. Some slopes will invite us to canter with our Criollo horses. You will likely spend about 5-6 hours in the saddle today.
Overnight at Pousada Fazenda Monte Negro.
After breakfast we leave by car to Alan’s Ranch (1 ½ hours). He is the son of Alencar, our new Gaucho guide. He is a cattle rancher and has a lot of experience. During the next days we will have the chance to see how a real Gaucho works on his daily job.
With new horses, we start our ride traversing canyons, fields and forests. During this day we will see some very beautiful waterfalls and have a picnic lunch on the banks of a river, while our horses rest in the shade of a forest nearby. After our picnic lunch, we continue our ride covering an area of outstanding beauty, in typical scenarios of Campos de Cima da Serra, highlighting the greatness of the Atlantic rain forest in the lower part of Canyons, fields stretching across the plateau, and ferns lilies and bromeliads that sprout in rich slopes.
In the afternoon we may see the mysterious fogs (called viracão by the locals), drift in. On our afternoon ride we will pass by many Araucaria trees and cross a few pristine rivers.
At the end of the day we arrive at Alencar’s Fazenda Santana and his newly built Huts and bungalows. Another delicious dinner and overnight Around 5-6 hours on horseback.
After a good breakfast we leave with our horses to see more canyons, cliffs or as the locals call “the peirais of the Aparados” and beautiful waterfalls. The Mata Atlantica runs along the lower portion of the canyons, while fields spread across the plateaus, interspersed in the damp areas by peat bogs, that are rich in moss, lichen and bamboo. Vegetation such as ferns, lilies and bromeliads, sprouts from the slopes, and a curious species the ‘Bigsting Nettle’, with its enormous leaves measuring up to 1.5 meters, attaches itself to the rocks along the slopes. We will be in Alencar’s, our Gaucho guide neighborhood and may have a chance to help the Gauchos rounding-up the cattle on horseback. We will be able to feel how our horses are happy to do some good canters.
At the end of the day we arrive at a river bank where our minibus will be waiting, say goodbye to our horses and guide and drive (45 minutes) to the Pousada Fazenda Baio Ruano.
Our special farewell special dinner will be in a typical restaurant in the small village of Cambara do Sul. Around 5 hours on horseback this day.
Departure after breakfast with the destination of Porto Alegre airport (3 hours transfer).
Note – The itinerary can be changed due to weather conditions and availability on the ranches.
The accommodation on this ride is in rural farm-stays.
Fazenda Potreirinho, Fazenda Monte Negro, Fazenda Santana and Fazenda Baio Ruano Ranch are simple, but full of Brazilian charm.