My brother, who lives in Ajijic, and I had the most enjoyable horseback ride on Celina's Ranch, perched above Lake Chapala and overlooking a most beautiful area of Mexico. It is clear that Celina has put - and continues to put - her heart and soul into this endeavor, and cares for a host of animals, including chickens, cows, a pot bellied pig, several cats, dogs and a gorgeous donkey, in addition to the 26 multi-variety horses she has rescued and trained. Celina, along with her only helper Jose, took my brother and I on a four-hour ride on the ranch, settling down by a lake for a hot, cooked lunch of chicken, potatoes, rice and veggies. Many of her pastured horses came by to join us after lunch, and three of her precious dogs came along for the ride as well.
Celina is full of energy and does a great job trying to feed and care for so many horses in a country where it is difficult - and expensive - to buy hay and the appropriate medications to keep them wormed and healthy. Celina has owned this property for only three years, and has built everything from the ground up in a very tough area to ranch. The property was overgrazed and loaded with parasites; she is cleaning up and healing the area slowly but surely. Celina is a lovely hostess, and her horses are friendly, well trained, and appreciate the love they are shown. I rode the smaller horse Pirate while my brother rode Illuvia; both are very sweet and disciplined and enjoyed the apples we brought along.
The ranch is a little difficult to find, but Celina's directions were very specific and her use of descriptions (i.e., red gate, home, windmill) got us there without problem. An SUV is advisable as the last unpaved road is rather rough and rocky. There are no signs to the property, which might have been helpful. But we got there without getting lost at all.
Jose and Celina are busy during the "high season" but really need more guests at this time of the year so she can continue to feed and care for the horses. Bringing a few carrots with you will also help! And, by the way, the house on her website IS her private home (and also lodge), and the guest houses are very cute but a little rustic. I would stay there anytime, and hope to do that soon!
All in all, Hacienda de Taos is an incredible experience, with friendly and informative guides, great cooks and terrific horses. I highly recommend Celina and Jose, and will continue to support this business as much as I possibly can. You should too, if you love to see loved and cared for animals, and help this ranch prosper and grow.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- HACIENDA DE TAOS is an authentic working Guest Ranch located south of Lake Chapala in the state of Jalisco in Central Mexico just over an hours’ drive from the Guadalajara International Airport. We are dedicated to the natural and organic ways of sustainable living and provide our guests an opportunity to commune with nature and enjoy year round activities with our horses, cattle, goats and a multitude of farm animals. Our donkey Cleopatra is always there to welcome you. In addition to our main offering of horseback riding ranging from 2 hour trail rides to week long camping excursions, we also offer horsemanship seminars, riding lessons and group events such as Artists/ Writers retreats, Women’s groups, Yoga, Meditation, and many other types of retreats. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Hacienda De Taos Mexico/Jalisco