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This holiday is perfect for all country riders who want to start trail riding with a romantic landscape, small white towns, and a beach ride at the Atlantic! Starting with rides around the ranch through the romantic Andalusia countryside, followed by a day at the Atlantic beach and a four-day tour through mountain villages from the Mediterranean Sea to the mountains, this riding holiday is designed for riders who want to experience trail riding for the first time but also want the comfort of staying in the same location each night!
Rancho La Paz, a little white town in the mountains of Mijas and the home of about 100 Andalusian horses. In the south of Andalusia, between Malaga and Marbella, in the mountains of Mijas with views over Fuengirola and Costa del Sol, you will find La Paz, an independent little white town that has grown up during the years; 27 rustic typical Andalusian apartments are distributed all over the ranch, between palms and oleander, the swimming pool invites to refresh during the “Spanish siesta” in summer.
On the roofed-over terrace in between lots of flowers, you will have your meals and spend time together in the evenings. For the colder wintertime, you will have a salon with a small library corner to relax, here you will also find a TV with national and international channels. You will have an internet connection and a PC for free at your disposal.
At La Paz, everything moves around the horses, as about 100 of them in all ages mention it their home. Most of them are born there and have grown up in the spacious corals in herds, waiting to show you their homeland and typical marks; nobles, hardness, and safety. The tract with the boxes for the youngsters, which are in training, surrounds the patio where the trail horses get prepared for the rides, here you get to know “your” horse, clean it before riding and shower it after; the guides always saddle the horses.
At La Paz, you will live in between the horses, you will wake up with a snicker and fall asleep with a snuffle from the corals. In a relaxed moment, you can observe the young foals with their mums, the youngsters playing, and the riding horses spooning with the others. Surely you fall in love with the youngsters that are on the first training!
The rustic apartments are all in Andalusian-style furnished and with their own bathroom with shower. You can book single, double, or triple rooms. The rooms are equipped with air-conditioners to cool down in summer and warm up in winter. Towels and bedclothes, as well as the daily cleaning, are included in the service.
Between palms and oleander, the swimming pool invites to refresh during the “Spanish siesta” in summer. For the pool or a visit to the beach, you should bring your own towels. On the roofed-over terrace, in between lots of flowers, you will have your meals and spend time together in the evenings.
For the colder wintertime, you will have a salon with a small library corner to relax. Here, you will also find a TV with national and international channels. You will have an internet connection and a PC for free at your disposal.
This program is for experienced riders who want to try trail riding with the possibility to get used to horses and a way of riding on two shorter rides on the first day. This program can be combined with any program of La Paz and a minimum of four clients is required in order for the holiday to take place. Please note that on the days of arrival and departure, there will be no riding program.
You will ride with Andalusia mares and geldings in Spanish saddles with long stirrups and a hackamore on one hand; a very easy and comfortable way of riding for riders and horses. You will ride in walk or canter. On the four-day trail, you will have to walk on some parts so please wear comfortable shoes.
You have to know how to be safe in handling a horse and have the necessary riding experience in outside rides to have your horse in all gaits in a group safe under control, you can mount and dismount without help and you are able to stand up in the stirrups during the canters and longer climbing parts in the mountains to help your horse.
On some parts, you will have to walk so please wear comfortable shoes. Please note that the maximum weight of a rider is 95 kilos with complete riding clothes and you will be riding for about four to six hours per day.
Before going out on the four-day ride from town to town, you will spend a day getting to know your horse and riding in the surrounding countryside. During the trail, each night, the horses are stabled at different places while you are driven back to La Paz. For the Atlantic ride, you will be driven, with the horses, over to the Atlantic beach by Zahara de los Atunes and have a ride over the opened endless beach between Zahara and Barbarte; during this day, lunch at a restaurant will not be included.
Arrive in Malaga and transfer to La Paz.
After a good breakfast, you will have an introduction to the horses and explication of the Spanish riding style. Two rides, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, will give you the chance to get used to the horses and the way of riding but also for you to get confidence in climbing with the horses. Lunch and dinner will be at the ranch.
In the morning, you will load the horses and drive with a minibus along the Costa del Sol, cross Marbella, Estepona, the historic rock of Gibraltar, and by good weather, enjoy fantastic views of Africa. You will cross Tarifa, the southernmost point of Europe and come to Barbarte; here, you will start your ride along the sandy beach with views to the costs of Africa.
Except during the summer months, you will just cross some local fishermen and cows enjoying the warm sand. In Zahara de los Atunes, one of the oldest fisher towns with a long tradition of tuna, you will have a rest. On your way over the beach, you'll cross some "vereas", the old cattle driveways. Nearby Barbarte, load your horses and have a late lunch in a typical "venta" (restaurant) with local dishes (lunch will not be included on this day).
Today is the first day of the four-day trail ride. After breakfast, begin your journey; under the shadow of pine tree forests, you'll cross the mountains of Sierra de Mijas to Alhaurin El Grande. You'll have fantastic views over the busy Costa del Sol and the city of Malaga with its port, the costs of Africa, and as contrast the inland with its hills and small white villages. On the way, you'll have a picnic lunch and later, the horses will stay in a corral close to Alhaurin. For dinner and overnight, you'll be driven back to La Paz.
Only a few miles from the touristy and fully developed coast, time seems to stand still. You'll ride past small farms where donkeys and mules are still used as a means of transportation. Here, you'll find endless orange and lemon plantations. In spring, you can admire the magnificent almond blossoms.
Lunch is in a venta, a small, typical restaurant close to the town of Coin, before you ride on towards the Rio Grande, the "big river" which runs water throughout the year. The horses stay here overnight and you'll return to La Paz.
Andalusia's inland is romantic and peaceful, the exact contrast of the Coast. The Andalusia people are hospitable and everywhere, you'll receive a warm welcome. Ride along old cattle drive trails and have a picnic on the way. In the late afternoon, reach one of the typical White Mountain villages, Casarabonela, where the horses stay overnight. You are again driven back to La Paz for your overnight stay.
Today, the hills become mountains. Through pine forests, cross the Sierra de Alcaparan and the Sierra de las Aguas on soft, winding forest trails and enjoy great views over green valleys and endless mountains range with few scattered villages. At Puerto de Carmen, then, the horses are loaded in the trailer and all will be driven back to the ranch.
Transfer to the airport in Malaga and departure.
The ranch is a bit outside, situated away from the troubles of Costa del Sol. You can walk up (about 40 minutes) to the town of Mijas, famous for the donkey taxi and with lots of small alleyways with typical handwork shops and bars with snacks and drinks. To the beach of Fuengirola, Rancho La Paz offers transfers (with a small fee). For sightseeing trips, you can rent a car for half or full-day directly on La Paz (bring your driving license). If you do not want to drive yourself, there is a bus and train station in Torreblanca/Fuengirola.
Daily full board meals, as well as table wine, will be provided. Lunch on the beach day is not included in the price.
The location from La Paz is perfect for all kinds of trips in Andalusia. In just 10 minutes, you are at the Costa del Sol, which in summer is very animated with a lot of nightlife, long sandy beaches, fish restaurants, and uncountable bars and shops; in winter, the Costa calms down. The recreation possibilities are indefinite and can satisfy anybody’s demand: the sportive ones can find an assortment of golf courses, routes for walking, and biking, as well as all kinds of water sports for professionals and beginners nearby.
For culture lovers, the well-known towns offer a lot of history: Malaga (20 minutes) with the Picasso museum and the old town, Seville and Cordoba (2 hours) with lots of cathedrals, or Granada (2 hours) with Alhambra, Generalife, and the gypsy town. There is an excellent road network but you should not underrate the temperatures in summer in the cities.
A nice day trip passes over the small mountain roads through the white villages to Ronda, the historic town divided into two parts by the Tajo. A visit in the narrow alleys with all the typical shops of ceramics and leather things can be topped with a tapas meal in one of the small restaurants. Later, the street brings you down to the coast. Nearby Marbella, you will find the biggest and luxurious sail hunt port of the Mediterranean, restaurants, bars, and all kinds of shops that are opened during nearly the whole night in summer.
Directly behind the tourism coast, you can find typical small villages with the church and its church square as a meeting point for everybody in the center. Old traditions and handworks get cultivated and small bars offer all kinds of plain fare.
Jerez is the stronghold of the Spanish horses. The Real Spanish Riding School shows their white horses in the show “asi bailan los caballos andaluzes” but you also can visit the morning training and the historic buildings with the stables, the museum of the carriages, and the own saddlers.
In the center of Jerez, you'll find the military deposit of the PRE stallions. During the season, the stallions are shared in all towns of Andalusia but in autumn and winter, you can visit them here. Nearby Jerez, the famous stud Yeguada la Cartuja opens its doors for visitors. Every Saturday, they show their mares, youngsters, and well-trained working horses as all kinds of carriages in a beautiful show.
Jerez is also famous because of all the old bodegas with the different sherry (the name comes from “Jerez”). You can get a guided tour in different languages and try all kinds of sherry. Tarifa is not just the southern point of the European continent but also the most popular windsurfing area because of the Levante, the wind coming from Africa. From here, ferries leave to Ceuta and Melilla. Dolphins are living in the deepwater of the “Street of Gibraltar” that you can visit by guided tours.
Near Estepona you can cross the big wildlife park, Selvo, by jeep and get near to a lot of wild animals. Each town has its own patroness they honor with a great festival once a year, the feria. Most of these ferias start with a romeria, a procession with horses and go in the center with lots of dances in traditional costumes, sherry, and meals. Each festival has its own customs and some of them continue up to one week; to visit them is a real experience.
The possibilities are unlimited, just think about that, you can have a sunbath at the sandy beach in springtime, just 2 hours away in one direction, you can go skiing in the Sierra Nevada, and about 2 hours in the other direction, you can go windsurfing at Tarifa. Rancho La Paz is at your disposal with the planning of your trips. For your independent planning, it is recommended for you to rent a car.
Please arrange your flight to arrive at Málaga Airport (AGP). Transfers from this airport are included, Rancho La Paz will pick you up at given times. Special transfers can be booked at an extra cost of 30 EUR to give you more flexibility with your flight booking.
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