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Cotopaxi National Park

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Ride Amongst Ecuador Cowboys with Tierra del Volcán  Latacunga  Ecuador

Ride Amongst Ecuador Cowboys with Tierra del Volcán

Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of being a cowgirl. Now, years later, I find myself living my childhood fantasy—in Ecuador. As part of a three-day repunte, or roundup, organized by adventure outfitter Tierra del Volcán, I ride alongside 20 local cowboys known as chagras, driving a herd of bravo cattle, the Spanish breed of fighting bulls that graze freely throughout the Andes, to the corrals of the Hacienda El Tambo ranch. I’m in no hurry to keep pace as my horse and I take in the views of the Cotopaxi volcano, and when we reach the corrals I’m little help as the chagras brand the cattle. But come evening, I still have a cowboy’s appetite when we gather around a fire to eat traditional Andean dishes such as locro de papas (a potato and cheese soup) and tamale-like humitas. The more aguardiente we drink, the louder we sing. And “Home on the Range” sounds just as good in Spanish. Three-day repunte $700.

This appeared in the August/September 2014 issue.