Horseriding in Cueva del Esplendora, Colombia

I woke up with a light streaming through the open window hitting my face.

As I turned to hide from the light, I noticed an unfamiliar pain between my legs and a tightness in my stomach muscle. Groaning, I pushed myself up on my elbow and remembered where these pains came from.

Gosh, we’re definitely too old for this.

Yesterday, a 6 hour horse ride to an underground waterfall, called Cueva del Esplendora, sounded like a perfect way to spend the day.

Sounds so perfect that when our guide suggested an option to do the first half of it in a jeep, we scoffed at the idea. Absolutely not! Horses all the way.

And until this morning we never regretted the decision.

The ride up to the waterfall was beautiful and quite possible the highlight of the trip itself – the trail climbed up above Jardín, a pueblo 4 hour south from Medellin, Colombia providing us with a bird’s eye view of the city.

Jardín is located in a valley which is surrounded by low lying mountains dotted with coffee and banana plantations.

Sceneries along the way to Cueva del Esplendora
Sceneries along the way to Cueva del Esplendora

Lush mountains, valleys, and forests surrounded us. It was as if we’d donned glassed painted with green.

The trail was steep, rocky and muddy and at any second we expected our horses to slip and stumble. Slip and stumble they did, but somehow we managed to hang on.

Cueva del Esplendora
Cueva del Esplendora

We went up, higher and higher traversing along the side of a mountain. Soon we couldn’t see the pueblo anymore. Coffee and banana plantations were replaced by rolling grazing farmlands dotted with occasional farmhouses.

We finally realized this is why people raved so much about Colombia. This was the landscape that we came to see.

It seems that every turn brought us to even a better view.

After a 3 hour of mostly uphill ride, we got off the horses and followed our guide on foot. We went down into a slippery ditch covered with trees and we could already hear the thunderous sound of water before we could see it.

Cueva del Esplendora is a cave, but not just an ordinary cave.

The powerful impact of a waterfall above it has carved a hole on its ceiling through which the waterfall is now streaming through. The water rushes in with such force that the whole cave was filled with tiny water sprays.

The deafening sound of the waterfall echoed around the chamber. The light streaming in from the hole reflected off the water giving the scene an almost surreal experience.

I think the picture would speak for itself.

Cueva del Esplendora
Cueva del Esplendora

We quickly got drenched from all the water sprays and it was cold in the cave. So after taking pictures, our guide signaled (it was so loud we couldn’t hear each other) that it was time to head back.

The ride back was slightly worse because our horses were stumbling and sliding even worse than before.

There were times when we were tempted to get off the horses and walk instead. So scared were we of tumbling over and having the horses land on us. Maybe having 4 legs are not necessarily better, eh?

So here we are in the morning after and as I was massaging the tender area on my inner thigh, I heard Jack mutter beside me,

“We’re never going to have kids because of that horse ride, you know?”

Would we recommend a trip to the Cueva del Esplendor then?

Absolutely, but unless you’re an experienced horse rider, or have groins made of steel, we recommend that you take the jeep.

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Bio:Jack and Jill left their job to travel and are currently working as volunteers in South America. Follow their (mis)adventures around the world on their blog: Jack and Jill Travel The World.

Have you experienced horse riding in beautiful areas like this before? Share your experiences in the comments section below

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12 thoughts on “Horseriding in Cueva del Esplendora, Colombia”

  1. Years ago, also in Colombia, I ventured on a short horse ride…. alone! The ride went well for about ten minutes. After that, the stubborn horse just stopped. Being a very unexperienced rider, everything I did was having no effect. Horse was not moving. I was stucked for what it seemed an eternity. Finally, moving the reins made the horse walk in circles…. and voilà! we were moving again -after a good number of circles on the same place-. Once you recover from the ride, it will be a funny story to tell.
    I wish I could go visit Cueva del Esplendor. Looks beautiful, almost ethereal!

  2. I cannot handle horse riding for very long. I’ve done it a couple times (Dominican Republic and Costa Rica) but luckily only for short periods of time. I also seem to get the crazy horses that can sense that I have no idea how to control them.

  3. Wow, six hours on horseback…that’s intense! After about two hours I’m very ready to be done. I spent three hours on a crazy horse in Mongolia and by the end I just asked to be roped up to the guide and his horse – I couldn’t take it anymore, it was hard enough to stay on, let alone control it!

  4. I have been thinking about taking a horseback riding tour in Peru and couldn’t decide between the two hour tour or the four hour tour. After reading this, I think I am going to take your advice and go with the two hour one- I’m a complete amateur. Despite all the pain, the scenery is beautiful and I love your photo from inside the waterfall!

  5. Well as they say in life – if you have to, regret the things you’ve done and not the things you haven’t =) Great experience though – LOVED Jack’s line about kids; poor guy haha

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