Rare are the experiences that leave such a profound impact that they feel as if they were just lived, even when recalled from memory. In the hustle and bustle of these “fast-paced” times, we often overlook life’s intricate details, making truly “memorable” moments feel increasingly scarce and consequently more valuable.
As humans, our essence is shaped by the experiences we encounter. Among these exceptional encounters, there are those that transcend ordinary boundaries. They have the power to transform us, aiding in our personal evolution, and when we emerge from them, we are undeniably changed.
Tierra del Volcán, an innovative experiential tourism operator nestled in the Ecuadorian Andes, strives to offer precisely this: more than just an experience, a fresh and profound connection with the world.
Paramo warms the heart
“The páramo warms the heart,” says María José Andrade, owner of Tierra de Volcan. The metaphor explains the true soul of this unique ecosystem.
It may sound ironic, but it’s undeniably true. There are few places that offer a warmer embrace than the páramo, those windswept landscapes situated over 3,500 meters above sea level would seem cold to any mortal. Yet “warmth” defines the two haciendas managed by Tierra de Volcán: Hacienda El Porvenir and Hacienda El Tambo. Defying the cold actually becomes an exhilarating experience when you immerse yourself in the majestic elfin forests or rolling paramo grasslands, a feeling words cannot fully capture. Overcoming that cold while nestled in front of a crackling fireplace in a rustic, cozy adobe building amidst the mountains, where the winds carry whispers from distant glaciers, is an unparalleled sensation. A sensation of warmth few could come by. Don’t just take our word for it—experience it yourself. We are sure you will agree.
The páramo, renowned for its wintery climate, invites you to embark on an unforgettable journey—a captivating adventure brimming with emotions and adrenaline. Few experiences generate such a profound sense of refuge. By reimagining it in this way, one breathes new life into the entire experience.
Closely intertwined with the “chagra” culture of the high Andes, both haciendas offer an intimate glimpse into the lives of the local, rural denizens. You can witness rodeos, get to know these Andean cowboys as they tend to their wild cattle. Viewing life through the lens of a unique way of life is a transformative experience in itself. Being exposed to a new way of understanding the world amid the high mountains of the equatorial Andes, offers an opportunity to expand our horizons. A similar transformation awaits at Hacienda El Tambo, where you are completely detached from the outside world, enveloped by snow-capped mountains on an isolated paramo “island”. A profound disconnection from our hyper-connected lives awaits, bringing us closer to our planet’s heart. The ultimate irony, for sure: nowhere else will you feel more connected than in this remote sanctuary. The paramo truly becomes a refuge!
Self-discovery through a horse’s eyes
In the heart of the Andes, nestled at the foot of the Mount Cotopaxi, horses have been an enduring presence for centuries. They gracefully dominate the endlessly undulating landscape. These lands are inhabited by domesticated horses, ridden by local chagras, as well as the wild horses that have ventured into the mountains to never return. The horses’ experiences in these lands mirror our own – they are social beings that move in herds, make group decisions, and have maintained an intimate connection with both their surroundings and the humans who have accompanied them throughout history. They act as a bridge between us and the world.
“Communication with a horse is often intense and can be remarkably profound, but we don’t always explore it at that deeper level,” explains María José. “What we do here is delve into that connection as much as possible, and it’s a truly remarkable journey.”
Horses are incredibly sensitive creatures; they can absorb and understand our emotions, sometimes revealing facets of ourselves that we may not have been aware of.
“They are constantly aware of their environment. They can hear what’s happening miles away. They listen when we are nearby. When we speak, they take notice. They also perceive our emotions. Whether we are afraid, anxious, or calm, they sense it. In the presence of a horse, every emotion has value.”
And thus, the journey begins.
The path of communication with a noble creature like the horse is both astounding and transcendental. It transcends language; a journey that deepens from the moment of first contact as we learn how to interact with our equine companions.
Horses seek leadership. They recognize both security and insecurity. In doing so, they assist us in confronting our fears, unraveling our mixed emotions, all without the barriers of language, time, or routine. Learning takes its natural course. María José explains, “when we connect with a horse, we embark on a journey. And every journey has a destination.” Every journey is a voyage of self-discovery, an experience not easily forgotten.
Discover this transformative páramo experience in Tierra de Volcán. Follow this link!