Santa Catarina - Gaucho Trail Ride

From Florianopolis to Florianopolis
  • Brazil
  • Custom
  • Wildlife
  • Farming
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Tour Description

Experience life as a gaucho – the traditional South American cowboy. This is an 8-day small group tour where your companion is a beautiful Criollo horse, and together over 6 days of riding you will explore green hillsides, clear rivers and traditional Fazendas (Haciendas) of southern Brazil. Accompanied by your guide Paul and his team of gauchos you can immerse yourself in their traditional way of life. Each night will be spent in a comfortable Fazenda and the days are bookended with good food, drink and song.  The gauchos play out their folk tales accompanied by guitars and accordions.

From Florianopolis every day will be spent travelling from Fazenda to Fazenda. The scenery is varied, offering incredible vistas and glimpses of history such as the Tropiero Route - a cobbled stone corridor that was used as a trade route. You may encounter other gauchos working along the way. Watch them and their natural relationship as they work effortlessly with their horse. Perhaps you can help the gauchos with their tasks, herding livestock, learn roping – or simply watch. This escorted tour is an active adventure where you can feel the excitement of a canter or gallop over vast grasslands.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1

Your “Gaucho do Brasil” trip leader Paul will be waiting for you upon arrival at the airport of Florianopolis. Transfer (3hrs drive) to Coxilha Rica and Fazenda da Chapada near Lages. You will be welcomed with a local drink upon arrival at the fazenda. You will be introduced to Daniel the owner of the farm and the Gauchos who will accompany you throughout the trip and will even get acquainted with the horses. Installation in the cozy and comfortable  rooms of the fazenda. After a delicious dinner, we can socialize at the bar of the fazenda. Local gauchos will perform music and folklore of the region. It’s a great first evening! 

Day 2
Fazenda da Chapada Fazenda Rodeio Bonito

After breakfast, we saddle our horses early and leave around 09:00 direction Fazenda Rodeio Bonito. After the first few minutes you will notice already how beautiful the region is, we ride through wide and rolling green countryside dotted with Araucaria trees and cross pristine rivers. You will never forget your first canter with your criollo horse. After a ride of 4 hours we arrive at a typical fazenda where lunch is waiting for us. After a good meal and a siesta, we mount our horses again around 14h. We continue towards fazenda Rodeio Bonito through the beautiful landscape of Coxilha Rica. 

Here we find the well-preserved colonial Tropeiro Route. This 250-year-old tropeiro route was the route of cattle and mules between Rio Grande do Sul and Argentina to Sao Paulo. Gauchos drove herds thousands of kms being away for months via this route. Goods on livestock traveled along the route, so the tropeiro became also a trade. The route, consisting of an approx 4m wide corridor made of stone was built by slaves. The corridor runs hundreds of kilometers through Coxilha Rica and the State of Santa Catarina. Tropeiro means Trooper. (The route of the troops). 

We follow a few miles this historic route and arrive around 17:30 at Fazenda Rodeio Bonito. We are welcomed by the owner Lucia. A hearty and delicious dinner is being prepared for us. We spent the night at this traditional Gaucho fazenda.

Day 3
Fazenda Rodeio Bonito 

09:00, after a hearty breakfast we mount our criollos and trek through a rugged Coxilha landscape. We climb and descend, trot and canter, crossing rivers and seeing waterfalls. On top of a green mountain you have a fantastic panoramic view of the landscape, just you and the great outdoors! Coxilha is since colonial times a great cattle region. Most cattle ranches (fazendas) consisting of thousands of acres are already over 200 years old. We arrive at a little farm where Dona Vera has prepared a fantastic lunch. In the afternoon we ride another 3 and half hours until we arrive back at the Fazenda Rodeio Bonito. After a refreshing shower and a delicious dinner, a soft bed waits for you at this very cozy fazenda. 

Day 4
Fazenda Rodeio Bonito Fazenda Lua Cheia 

We leave on horseback at 09:00 hiding for the high pampas of Coxilha Rica, the views are wonderful. The group of horses, the Gauchos, the landscapes, the atmosphere in the group, the sense of freedom, ... nobody wants to travel back home after this trip. After a lunch in the field we continue our ride to the next fazenda; Fazenda Lua Cheia where owners Dido and Sonia have prepared he best roasted lamb in the world. Dido is a vet and loves to BBQ and prepared meat.  We make it cozy with a drink and some life Gaucho music

Day 5
Fazenda Luca Cheia Fazenda Sâo Joâo Rancho

After breakfast we saddle our horses. Depending on the season sometimes before heading off we give the gauchos a helping hand at the farm rounding-up some cattle or sheep on horseback. We drive the herd to the corral, where they are either vaccinated or receive some treatment. So here or on another farm during our week you will see the Gaucho perform his daily job. Those who prefer not to participate in the activities can easily watch. Want to learn how to rope? Our Gauchos teach you the tricks of the trade! After lunch we continue our ride to the Colonial Fazenda Sâo Joâo. Upon arrival at this Portuguese style Fazenda we pull off our boots, take a shower and are called to the table for a good meal, a cool beer or a warming Pinga (local rum). 

Day 6
Fazenda Sâo Joâo Fazenda Ferradura 

After breakfast we saddle the horses and leave for another great day in the saddle. We regularly ride into other gauchos whom are busy at work. These South American cowboys still live and work the same way as roughly 100 years ago. Gauchos and horses matching great together, living as we can only dream of . Climbing and descending, one slope steeper than the other, the ride regularly invites us for a nice canter. The horses are fun to ride with. We arrive at Fazenda Ferradura and are welcomed by the owner Gaucho Benjamin Krüzen. A hearty and delicious dinner is being prepared for us. We spent the night at this traditional Gaucho fazenda. Dinner at the fazenda.

Day 7
Fazenda Ferradura Fazenda da Chapada 

After breakfast we depart for the last day in the saddle, a good ride until we arrive at Fazenda da Chapada. Daniel, the owner of the farm welcomes us with Caipirinha & hugs.

The ladies of the house make us a delicious dish while the musical talented gauchos bring their best songs, guitar and accordion into the barn. The bottle of Pinga is eagerly passed around and sometimes we dare to dance!

It's always such a pleasant evening, we enjoy the warm gaucho atmosphere and forge friendship with the locals. Overnight at the fazenda. 

Day 8
Fazenda da Chapada Florianopolis

After our last breakfast around 08:00 we say goodbye to Fazenda da Chapada, the guides, gauchos and horses and drive around 08:00 (depending the flight) direction Florianopolis. People staying longer can have a drop of downtown Florianopolis, for the others the holiday comes to an end at the airport of Florianopolis. End of the program.

Brazil is a huge and very diverse country,...staying longer in the country is without doubt a good idea! See the classic highlights of Brazil, Foz do Iguaçu waterfalls, go for a samba to Rio de Janeiro, discover the 70 Islands and colonial beach town of Paraty, go for a jungle adventure to the Amazon, meet the colonial towns and cities along the Estrada Real in Minas Gerais or stay some time more in Santa Catarina and relax at one of the 40 beaches of Florianopolis.

Important information:

We will do everything possible to follow the indicated itinerary, although spot changes can occur due to unforeseen circumstances. Rides are subject to change depending on weather, location and difficulty of terrain in the unlikely event that this happens on your trip, we ask you flexibility and understanding. This is a sporty and adventurous vacation! 

What’s Included

  • Included Copy 20 7 nights in authentic, rustic and comfortable farm rooms in different fazendas. Based on double-room
  • Included Copy 7 Single Supplement
  • Included Copy 20 Full board. (From dinner first day to breakfast last day)
  • Included Copy 7 Alcoholic beverages & soft drinks
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 Guides & Gauchos
  • Included Copy 20 Backup Vehicle: brings your personal luggage to the daily overnight place/fazenda.
  • Included Copy 20 Horses & tack, including saddle bags and raincoat
  • Included Copy 20 Transfer: From the Airport of Florianopolis (FLN) to the Fazenda and vice-versa. (See Practical info
  • Included Copy 7 Insurance
  • Included Copy 7 Flights
  • Included Copy 7 Personal expenses
  • Included Copy 7 Tips
  • Included Copy 7 Booking Sales Tax
Land, Air, Ship, Train ...

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8 days

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$2,320 USD

Per person, twin share

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