You only need to step into the wild and wonderful world of Colombia’s cowboys to experience a rural culture at one with its surroundings.

Visitors now have the chance to live the life of these talented herds people on the country’s eastern plains, in a part of Colombia known as the llano colombiano.

Traditional ranches in the region double as eco-lodges for a fully immersive experience into the culture and wildlife of this incredible place.

Known as hatos, these ranch houses are surrounded by sweeping scenery and unimaginable flora and fauna, including jaguars that roam the region.

What is a hato?

The hatos llaneros are traditional ranches in the Colombian Amazon-Orinoco region, home to authentic Colombian cowboys and girls. They offer the chance to experience a typical day on the plains and the freedom of the outdoors, with comfortable lodgings and activities including horseback riding, cattle herding, wildlife observation, and birdwatching.

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Here we recommend the top five hatos in the llano colombiano.

Hato San Pablo

The Hato San Pablo sits on the banks of the Cravo Sur River, and is home to biodiverse wildlife that will delight you non-stop. In true hato tradition, adventure and modernity converge, and this hato’s focus on livestock offers an unparalleled cowboy experience.  

The ranch’s most outstanding activities include horseback riding alongside native plainsmen, wild animal observation, birdwatching, and stunning scenery. There’s also the opportunity to paddleboard, hike, take a bicycle tour and play tennis and volleyball.

You can get under the skin of cowboy culture by helping carry out the daily activities on the ranch, including herding and branding. 

El Encanto de Guanapalo Natural Reserve

Made up of almost 9,000 hectares of protected land, El Encanto de Guanapalo Natural Reserve is the ideal place to encounter Colombia’s incredible biodiversity.

It is home to three hatos, each offering incredible views of different parts of the reserve: the Mata de Palma, Altamira, and Montana. These three hatos are the heart of Encanto de Guanapalo, a family legacy of love and care for nature and traditions.  

There is much to do and enjoy in this beautiful place, including the much-loved llano colombiano safari. You can go on horseback, tractor, or in a 4×4 and look for animals including capybaras, deer, alligator, wild horses, anteaters, herons, iguanas, ducks, howler monkeys, owls, armadillos, foxes, wild pigs, and cougars.

discover first-hand

You can also go birdwatching. With 270 registered bird species, this is the ideal place  and the reserve has an environmental interpreter who guides guests in this experience and points out the homes of the most exotic species. 

Curiara rides are also highly enjoyable and allow guests to discover first-hand the secrets of the plains. Curiaras are traditional boats, taken out with a professional guide. 

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Savanna Orinoquia Lodge

Savanna Orinoquia Lodge is a luxury ranch house on the banks of the Cravo Sur river and the Canacabare river. Its bungalow-style accommodations offer exclusive amenities, including private pools. This ranch house is the ideal place to reconnect with nature in comfort and exclusivity. 

Activities include horseback riding and the famous parranda llanera, where guests can experience an authentic cowboy celebration accompanied by classic music and songs from the region, as well as rides in bongos, local canoes through the magnificent Canacabare and Cravo Sur rivers.

Ecolodge Colombia Juan Solito

The Ecolodge Colombia Juan Solito, is a small boutique hato inside the La Aurora Nature Reserve, near the Ariporo River. This ecolodge has a traditional architecture and  rooms in tune with nature, offering spectacular wildlife encounters.

The llanero safari is its most celebrated offering, and with jaguars on its vast lands, this will no doubt be the highlight of your trip. There’s also the chance to see anteaters, anaconda, capybara, multitudes of birds and the famed giant otter, on river walks.

Horseback riding is another popular activity, as well as hikes and treks with local guides on the reserve's many paths and a spot of traditional joropo dancing in the evening.

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La Fortuna EcoHotel

This ranch/nature reserve is on a mission to preserve the environment and the customs of the Colombian plains, offering traditional activities and an authentic experience.   

Ecohotel La Fortuna’s standout activities include its unforgettable Moon Melodies, balmy nights of stories and song next to a campfire, with live music, storytellers, and traditional liquors from the region. 

Aquatic hiking is also a much-loved choice. Guests walk along the freshwater beaches alongside the Cravo Sur river and discover hidden treasures in the sands.

Most hatos offer private flights in small planes to obtain a completely different view of the llano colombiano. A visit to the hatos here will create memories for a lifetime.

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