What to do

Horse Riding in Brazil

An overview of some of Brazil's best riding destinations...

Sunset in the Pantanal
Horses in the Pantanal
Praia da Barra - Trancoso

While many will immediately associate horse riding in South America with Argentina, there is an important riding tradition throughout Brazil, especially in farming and agricultural areas. Whether you’re looking to experience the way of life of the gaúchos, traverse national parks or ride along tropical beaches, Brazil has a variety of different options to satisfy the keenest of riders.

One of the main advantages of heading to Brazil for a riding holiday is the enormous open spaces in which to do it. While there isn’t an out and out area, which specialises solely in riding, there are areas, which are well set-up for riding holidays. Take the Reserva do Ibitipoca for example, a hundred miles inland, north of Rio. It is an abandoned 7000-acre farm, which has been converted into a nature reserve, with riding trails that take you past mountain valleys, waterfalls, streams and lush greenery.

For those looking to combine the best of Brazil’s beaches and riding, Brazil has some of the best beach riding in the world. In Bahia and Paraty, white sandy beaches and coves and are backed by lush rainforest, making them the perfect setting for exhilarating rides. In addition to this, in the UNESCO listed town of Paraty and the tiny fishing village of Trancoso, high quality accommodation and restaurants are a welcoming prospect after a day in the saddle.

Undoubtedly one of the best areas to experience riding and traditional gaúcho culture is the Pantanal wetlands. In these seasonally flooded wetlands, most of the land belongs to cattle farmers who have built guest lodges on their land to take advantage of wildlife tourism. Due to the nature of the Pantanal wetlands, fazendas stretch for miles and cattle graze far and wide, meaning horses are a key part of day-to-day life here and many of the lodges offer riding to their guests. Horse riding not only offers a unique way of taking in the wetlands but also offers an insight into the traditional way of life of the gaúchos who have a remarkable affinity with the land and their horses.

The native breed of horse in Brazil is the Mangalarga Marchador. It has an arched neck and thick mane and tail. The breed is renowned for its smooth gait, making it extremely comfortable to ride. Some of the main qualities of the Mangalarga Marchadores include being able ranch horses who can withstand working long days in hot and humid conditions, making them a reliable partner on long rides.

When to go to Brazil:

  • YJan
  • YFeb
  • YMar
  • YApr
  • YMay
  • YJun
  • YJul
  • YAug
  • YSep
  • YOct
  • YNov
  • YDec
  •   = Yes   = No   = Maybe

    At a glance…Brazil

  • Population: 201 million+
  • Location: Central South America
  • Recommended time to go: 3 to 14 nights
  • Time to visit: Year round
  • Go here for: Beaches, culture, nature and wildlife, activities
  • Further reading...

  • › Family Holidays to Brazil
  • › Nature and Wildlife in Brazil
  • › When to go
  • › Itinerary Finder
  • Our Top Five Horse Riding Hotels in Brazil for 2017/18:

    1. Uxua Casa Hotel

      Uxua Casa Hotel

      With probably the best location of all of the hotels in Trancoso, right on the Quadrado, and with beautifully designed private ‘casas’, Uxua Casa Hotel is the height of laid-back luxury. Uxua aims to make its guests feel as if they are in their own home while offering all of the amenities of a 5*... More...

      Our rating:
      5
      User rating:
      5
      Price:
      5
    2. Villa Etnia - Swimming pool and bar

      Villa Etnia

      Located within walking distance of the Quadrado, Villa Etnia is a great option for clients looking to stay in the heart of Trancoso but without the price tag of Uxua. With carefully put together guest rooms and villas set within ‘jungle’ gardens, this hotel provides a welcoming and relaxing... More...

      Our rating:
      4
      User rating:
      4
      Price:
      3
    3. Pousada Estrela D'água - Swimming Pool

      Pousada Estrela D'água

      The Estrela D’água is a real beachside retreat and perfect for those looking to be able to walk directly out onto golden sands from the hotel. Surrounded by well-kept gardens and with a two large pools and a large sweeping deck looking out towards the beach, this hotel is ideally suited to those... More...

      Our rating:
      4
      User rating:
      4
      Price:
      4
    4. Villas de Trancoso - Swimming pool

      Villas de Trancoso

      The Villas de Trancoso is a small luxury boutique hotel, which has won awards for its comfortable accommodation, excellent service and fine dining. Perfect for families and couples looking to enjoy more privacy, this is a peaceful hotel set within private gardens, separated from the beach by... More...

      Our rating:
      4
      User rating:
      4
      Price:
      4
    5. Barra Mansa

      Barra Mansa

      A family-run lodge in the heart of the southern Pantanal, Barra Mansa is one of the more difficult lodges to reach in the Pantanal but for that reason it is one of the most rewarding. Set on the banks of the Rio Negro, Barra Mansa’s remote waterside location makes it one of the best places for... More...

      Our rating:
      4
      User rating:
      4
      Price:
      4