The legendary ruins of Machu Picchu, fabled lost city of the Incas, and pure-bred Peruvian Paso horses, the mount of the Conquistador. A magical combination.
Starting from a farm in the heart of the Sacred Valley at about 8,500 feet, the Sacred Valley Ride follows a route across the Urubamba River, up through mountain pasture where smiling Quecha Indian children herd sheep and cattle, to highland terraces and small, mountain villages, where the horses' hooves echo on ancient cobblestone roads. Nights are spent in charming hotels close to some of the world's most remarkable ruins.
The itinerary includes visits to both Machu Picchu and Cusco, capital of the ancient Inca empire.
Riding: 4-7 hours a day.
Horses: Pure bred Peruvian Paso Horses.
Pace: slow to moderate with unique Paso gait.
Riding ability: intermediate riders and above.
Weight limit: 85 kg (13st 5lbs).
Accommodation: 3*, 4* & 5* hotels, private houses.
Group size: max 6.
Season: April to November
Horses: The horses are pure bred Peruvian Paso horses, a unique breed, laterally gaited from birth, which makes them an extremely comfortable ride. They are forward going, sure-footed and responsive to ride. They are trained to neck rein and are generally used to a lighter contact with the mouth than most English horses. Average height is around 15.2hh and they are a medium build, similar to the Andalucian horse. They are ridden in hand made Peruvian tack which is a result of over 400 years of tradition and is shaped by the need for comfort over long distances and difficult terrain. Groups are normally limited to a maximum of 6 guests.
Hours: There is usually 4 to 6 hours riding a day, with some breaks for rests, lunch and sightseeing.
Pace and experience required: To take part in these rides you need to be a reasonably experienced rider. You should be comfortable, secure and in control on a well schooled horse at the walk, trot and canter and used to riding in open country and over varied terrain. You should have a reasonably good level of general and riding fitness.
Accommodation is in 3*, 4* and 5* hotels or private houses. Hotel rooms all have private bathrooms and are chosen as far as possible for their comfort and local or colonial character or special setting.
Sacred Valley Ride (10 nights) - USD 4950
12th to 22nd May
Itinerary in brief - Sacred Valley Ride
|Day 1||Arrive Cusco mid-morning. You will be met at the airport and driven to your hotel in town. A relaxing day in Cusco to acclimatise. Own arrangements for lunch & dinner. Night at a hotel in Cusco.|
|Day 2||Breakfast and then drive of about an hour to the ranch in the Sacred Valley where the horses are based. Lunch with your host followed by a demonstration of classic Peruvian riding. Dinner and night at a charming hotel in Yucay, a small town in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.|
|Day 3||Breakfast, a short drive to the stables and set off riding along little used mountain paths surrounded by the rich flora of the area. A steep climb brings you to the top of the Cordillera Vilancota to be rewarded by stunning views. A break and snack before heading down to a secluded valley for lunch, before continuing back to the ranch. Dinner and night in Yucay.|
|Day 4||Take the train from Urubamba to Machu Picchu to see the incredible ruins, discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911. Return train to Urubamba in the late afternoon and transfer to the ranch for dinner. Night in Yucay.|
|Day 5||Breakfast then set off riding, crossing the Urubamba river and climbing away from the river valley, passing the Inca salt pans of Salinas, still in operation today. Ride on to Maras and stop for a picnic by a beautiful colonial church. Ride on to the ruins of Cheqoq in the afternoon and then to the church of Tiobamaba. Leave the horses here and drive back to the hotel in Yucay for dinner and the night.|
|Day 6||Ride on across the altiplano (high plains) with magnificent views of snow-capped mountains and lakes surrounded by wild flowers, passing smiling Quechua children driving their sheep and cattle. A picnic lunch then ride on to Lake Piuray, passing small villages and leaving the horses at one of these. Drive to the town of Chinchero with it’s impressive Inca ruins and traditional textile industry then on to Cusco for the night.|
|Day 7||The day free to explore Cusco, to raft the Urubamba river or relax at your hotel. Night at a comfortable hotel in central Cusco. Own arrangements for lunch and dinner.|
|Day 8||Breakfast and meet the horses again where you left them. Ride north today, across open mountain country, passing herds of llamas and alpacas along the way. Ride past Lake Qoricocha at about 14,000 feet, and then down from the altiplano to meet the vehicle which will drive you to the Sacred Valley for the night.|
|Day 9||Re-join the horses and from the village of Umaspampa head northeast back towards the Sacred Valley. Passing several villages and arriving in Chinchero again. Stop for lunch and then continue to Huaynacolca where you leave the horses and drive to the Sacred Valley. Night in a hotel in the Sacred Valley.|
|Day 10||Breakfast and re-join the horses for the final day’s ride, descending to the Sacred Valley and arriving at the stables in the afternoon. A celebratory pisco sour before farewell dinner and the night at the hotel in Yucay.|
|Day 11||Transfer to Cusco airport for a flight to Lima. Onward journey from Lima.|
|Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on tel (+44) (0)1837-82544 / 825440 for further information, detailed itineraries, dates and answers to questions.|
The meeting point is Cusco airport and you will need to fly via Lima (Peru's capital). There are flights to Lima from London with Iberia via Madrid, or via Amsterdam with KLM, and also with several US airlines via the States - usually day flights, arriving Lima in the evening. For flights from London budget around £850 economy return (fares vary with the airline and season).
There are regular internal flights from Lima to Cusco, cost is around USD 350 return.