10 night hotel based trips exploring Peru's Sacred Valley of the Incas, with some nights in Cusco and a visit to the legendary ruins of Machu Picchu.
Where In the Peruvian Andes, south east of Lima, starting with a night in Cusco.
What is it like Carefully designed to ensure acclimatisation to the high mountain environment, after a first night in Cusco, you'll be taken to a farm at about 8,500 feet in the heart of the Sacred Valley and introduced to Eddy's beautiful Peruvian Paso horses. There is a day to get used to the horses and unique Peruvian riding style, then a visit by train to the Inca ruins of Macchu Pichu. After this, you'll head off riding a route across the Urubamba River, following old cobblestone roads and dry dirt trails, past small mountain settlements and highland terraces to lush high pasture. You'll meet local Quecha Indian children who watch over sheep and cattle in the mountains and families who eek out a living in the hills, a real insight into local rural life. Nights are in a comfortable hotel in Yucay, allowing plenty of time for rest after high altitude exertion, with another night in Cusco mid-way. The riding isn't fast but you need to be a well-balanced, fairly experienced and confident rider to adapt to the smooth Paso gait of these wonderful Peruvian horses.
Who does it suit If Cusco and Macchu Piccu are on your bucket list, this is the trip for you! You'll return with a greater understanding of the people of Peru, its history, local life and culture - and a better rider to boot .
Why we love it It has everything that is special about Peru - local life, legendary historic sites and really wonderful Paso horses (we're certain they are the best you will find on any ride in Peru). Enriching travel and an unbeatable way to 'do' Peru.
Riding: 3-6 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: comfortable hotels (good 4* standard)
Group size: max 6
Season: April to November
Price: 10 night trails from USD 6250 (approx £5435) per person
Horses: The horses are pure bred Peruvian Paso, a unique breed, laterally gaited from birth, which makes them an extremely comfortable ride. They are sensitive, 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. Hand made Peruvian tack is used, the style a result of 400 years of tradition, 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 between 3 and 6 hours riding most days, with breaks for rests, lunch and sightseeing. Riding days are broken up with days for sightseeing to allow rest time for acclimatisation.
Pace and experience required: To take part in these rides you need to be a reasonably experienced rider who is comfortable, well balanced and secure on a well schooled horse at a walk, trot and canter. You should also be confident riding in open country and over varied, sometimes steep terrain. The riding pace is not fast but the unique Paso gait requires a quiet 'centred' rider - and you should also have a reasonably good level of general and riding fitness to cope with the altitude.
Accommodation is in good quality hotels of approximately international 4* standard. Rooms have private bathrooms and the hotels are chosen for their comfort, convenience and local or historic character.
Sacred Valley Ride (10 nights) - USD 6250
Sacred Valley Ride
Average temperature guide
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 a 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 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 to the top of the Cordillera Vilancota is rewarded by stunning views. A break and snack before riding down to a secluded valley for lunch, before continuing back to the ranch. Dinner and night Yucay.|
|Day 4||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. Then in the afternoon, on to the ruins of Cheqoq and the church of Tiobamaba. Leave the horses here and driven back to the hotel in Yucay for dinner and night.|
|Day 5||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 before riding 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 6||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 7||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 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||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 dinner and the night at the hotel in Yucay.|
|Day 10||Take the train from Urubamba to Machu Picchu to visit the legendary ruins, discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911. Return train to Urubamba in the late afternoon and short drive to the ranch for dinner. Night 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.