This ride covers a region of more than 100,000 acres!
Highland Canyons Explorer Ride (Progressive Ride)
The daily buffet breakfast allows you to choose your own start for the day, according to your preferences.
After each day's riding you are picked up and driven back to the ranch.
There you can relax, go for a swim in the infinity pool, or enjoy a Margarita in the hot tub.
Each evening you will be served a delicious dinner in our large dining room, all guest dine together, so you will have plenty of opportunity to discuss your adventures with one another.
Saturday – Day 01
Arrival - San Agustin Afternoon Ride
You are met at Mexico City airport and driven directly to the ranch.
This first day gives you the opportunity to get to know the beautiful ranch, its many amenities and get settled into your room!
Depending on your arrival time you can go for your first afternoon ride to the local village of San Agustin with its ancient church dating from the 1700’s. During this ride you will be able to familiarize with your horse. Afterwards you can relax in our hot tub overlooking the waterfalls with a Margarita or go for a swim in our infinity pool.
Then, later, you can enjoy your first 4-course “Nouvelle Mexicana” dinner with the other guests in our elegant dining room.
Sunday – Day 02
Rancho Las Cascadas – Daxthi Sunday Market - La Copa - Deguedo
After a tasty breakfast overlooking the pool and surrounding countryside you start your ride passing along the lake of La Goleta. The soft flat lake shore offers excellent opportunities for a canter, especially if you are new to the Western riding technique. Then on to the hacienda called ‘La Goleta’ which was built around 1690 by the Spaniards. The wrought iron in the windows was brought from Sweden, the tiles covering the front porch from Spain and you can still admire part of the original blue wall paintings. The old aqueduct still provides water for the many families living there. The route then follows field boundaries, irrigation channels and country lanes through Zaragoza village and into the small town of San Juan Daxthi where the Sunday market takes place.
After lunch and a nice stroll through the market you ride on to see ‘La Copa’ in Santiago Oxthoc, a waterfall ending in a ‘Martini glass shape’ sculpted rock formation. The ride then takes you 1,000 feet up the mountain. The ride across the high plains provides you with a great view of the surrounding area. Don’t forget your camera! The ride ends after a nice ride through the forest.
You leave the horses for the night close to Deguedo and our pick-up truck will take you back to the ranch for relaxation and dinner.
Monday – Day 03
Deguedo – Cerro de los Caballos – Russian Ortodox Monastery – Cathedral de Canalejas - Canalejas
From the little ranch where the horses stayed overnight with the wranglers you will head towards the ‘Cerro de los Caballos’ the horse’s mountain. The monument stands for the battle that took place there, where the Mexicans defended their territory using cavalry and dragoons, and won! You then pass through a rural landscape of small plot farms and settlements encountering ancient churches, lakes and rivers. Lunch will be served in a ‘Fonda’ a little local Mexican restaurant in Palos Altos. Our ethos is to help the local community by supporting local services, enabling guests to feel comfortable. Our ongoing relationship with the owners is there to ensure maintained standards.
In the afternoon the ride takes you through gentle open countryside to a remote Russian orthodox church, where you will be able to admire the ceiling frescos which took 3 Russians 6 months to complete. This is also a place to have a coffee and chat with the monks, who still tend this monastery.
Before arriving at the horses’ night stop in Canalejas we will visit the Cathedral there, which was built by the locals after they discovered an image of the ‘Virgin of Guadalupe’ the black virgin of Mexico, when they split open a rock in that spot. The image of her inside that rock can still be seen on the altar in the Cathedral. The Virgin of Guadalupe is a national icon in Mexico and represents a fusion of pre-Columbian religious ideas with popular Catholicism.
The pickup truck will collect you for a 40 min drive back to the ranch. Enjoy a shower, a swim, pre-dinner drinks and a chance to catch up with your email. A nice candlelit dinner completes the day.
Tuesday – Day 04
Canalejas – Lago de Huapango - Jilotepec
Today's ride takes you to the big lake of Huapango (aprox. 10, 000 acres when full), famous for its fishing. Species such as catfish, lobina, trout and carp are caught here. Angling is popular with local people, not only for sport but to feed the family. It is also an important habitat for birds. Pelicans, great egrets, snowy egrets and many more migratory species can be seen here depending on the season.
This day's riding takes you to a wide open landscape of low impact agriculture and common rangeland. A paradise for any rider, as there are endless trails to canter and gallop. We organize a picnic on the lake shore which gives you time to soak up the views. The afternoon ride takes you over hills and through forests. The day's riding concludes at the next overnight stop of Jilotepec, where we rest the horses.
Transportation back to the ranch (aprox. 30 min), where another mouthwatering dinner awaits.
Wednesday – Day 05
Jilotepec – San Pablo Huantepec – La Cañada de Madero - Santiago Tlautla
Your horses are waiting, ready to go on another adventure with you. Today you pass by the town of Jilotepec de Abasolo and we will visit the charming village of San Pablo Huantepec. Guests have some time for shopping at the colorful little art shops. Depending on the season you may ride past farmers ploughing their fields with horses or oxen. The route takes us down quiet pathways and field boundaries offering the chance to canter.
After a welcome picnic lunch at a little creek you will ride through some scenery which looks like some of the scenes from the Karen Blixen biography film “Out of Africa’. The volcanic rocks, the red tinted soil and the flat topped thorn trees do look like the Kenyan rift valley, however the presence of Carambullo and Nopal Cacti make this landscape uniquely Mexican.
The ride takes you through La Cañada onto the village of Santiago Tlautla. Once a place of many Haciendas (Estates), now a place where many rich Mexicans have their weekend houses. This village is a reminder of the recent history of Mexico, when the great Haciendas (Estates) dominated rural life. These days the economics of farming in a semi-arid region are less attractive. Tonight our horses spend the night at one of these ranches.
After a day in the saddle you will be transported back to the ranch (25 min) for a much-appreciated shower, swim and well-earned dinner.
Thursday – Day 06
Santiago Tlautla – Atlantes of Tula
Today we ride through the mountains and into the always green plains ofTula. This region produces the Alfalfa for our horses and is watered by a series of crisscrossing irrigation channels. Across these plains there are some charming villages which make you feel like they have evaded the passage of time. This more managed landscape offers some excellent gallops along quiet dirt roads.
The lunch stop is taken in a little local restaurant and you can try some traditional Mexican food. We then leave the horses for a short visit to the archaeological site of the Atlantes of Tula. These statues are impressive and the site is thought to be the most important Toltec site in Mexico. The Toltecs preceded the Aztecs. This abandoned temple / settlement has given scholars a great insight into the rich history of this region. The great Atlantes are four huge warriors (remarkable sculptures over 6 m high) of black basalt on a pyramid. This platform is encircled by a low relief frieze depicting jaguars and coyotes, and Tlaloc (rain god) masks adorn the walls. Water was as important to the Toltec’s as it is to us today. You ride the horses to their last overnight stop and then return to the ranch to relax and dine at leisure.
Friday – Day 07
Tula – Los Organos - Rancho Las Cascadas
Back into the more rugged landscape surrounding San Agustin, you might think you were returning to a western movie set, these trails cross old overgrown train rails hidden between cacti. We will ride to ‘Los Organos’ a place forgotten in time. The trail leads you by San Miguel de las Piedras down into the canyon along rivers, where wild horses roam. You visit the ‘Peregrinos Petrificados’ a big rock formation in the middle of nowhere where it is said that “the Pilgrims were turned into stone because they did not want to finish their pilgrimage”.
The lunch time picnic is taken by the river. Goats and sheep graze nearby. Here the river is mixed with a volcanic warm spring so it is quite nice for a swim while the horses are resting. Homeward bound you climb up the canyon and pass through the village of Heroes de Carranza with its church dating from 1697, then a last n