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This is a journey on horseback past Inca ruins, across high wooden bridges and through colourful villages. As you ride you’ll see local people working their fields; often their donkeys, dogs, chickens, pigs, llamas and cows are close by.
The ride includes a visit to the extraordinary site of Machu Picchu – a symbol of the Incan Empire.
Your host is Eduard van Brunschot and his Peruvian wife Maria. Of Peruvian and Dutch descent, Eddy grew up in Holland but returned to Peru in the 1990’s.
A real highlight of this trip are the pure-bred Peruvian Paso horses – a gaited breed, known as the cadillac of horses for their smooth paces.
You should be competent rider, balanced at all paces and capable of controlling a forward-going horse. You must be confident in the saddle because you'll have to try out a new style or riding. The demonstration of Peruvian equitation and introductory riding sessions will help you adjust.
You ride the distinctive Peruvian Paso, which is famous for its smooth 'paso llano' gait. They stand between around 14hh and 15.3hh, are very willing and enjoy their work.
This is not a pacey ride and you will not do much canter work. Because of the very high altitude and difficult terrain, the horses cannot be expected to do fast work. You are asked never to push the horses and if they want to slow down, then this is fine.
As there are some steep slopes to negotiate, you should have a good head for heights and be fit enough to hike at altitudes of around 4,400 metres.
The horses are ridden in traditional Peruvian tack, which is handmade in the local area. It is designed for the comfort of both horse and rider, making it ideal for long hours on the trail.
The bridles are made from woven rawhide and can take up to a year to make. The saddles distribute the body weight across a wide surface area and feel like a cross between a dressage and a Western saddle. The wooden box stirrups may feel unusual at first, but you will soon become used to them.
There is a strict rider weight limit of 85 kg including riding gear. There are scales at the stables and riders may be required to step on the scales. Anyone exceeding the weight limit may be excluded from the riding and no refund will be made.
There is no guest accommodation at the horses' base, so you stay at two comfortable hotels in Cusco and the Sacred Valley. The guest rooms all have private bathroom facilities.
On Machu Picchu and The Sacred Valley ride, you spend the first night in Cusco, which helps you to become accustomed to the altitude. For the next four nights you stay in the Sacred Valley, then have two more nights in Cusco. You return to the Sacred Valley for the final three nights.
In Cusco you stay at either Costa del Sol Hotel or the Hilton Garden Inn. Both hotels are ideally located close to the city's historic centre. In the Sacred Valley you stay at Sonesta Posada del Inca Hotel, which is a former monastery set in pretty gardens.
During the ride you will have breakfast at your hotel. Lunch will be a saddlebag picnic, or is brought out to you in the support vehicle. The evening meal will be at Perol Chico or a local restaurant.
Set departures for the Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley ride are listed below.
Outside of these set dates, we can arrange the six night Pancho Fierro ride between April and October for private groups of two or more. Please enquire for details.
|Holiday||Experience LevelExp Lvl||Arrive - DepartArr - Dep||Price||Itinerary||Availability|
|Machu Picchu and The Sacred Valley||16 Apr 2023 - 26 Apr 2023||10 nights 10 ngts||$6,250.00||Book|
|Machu Picchu and The Sacred Valley||7 May 2023 - 17 May 2023||10 nights 10 ngts||$6,250.00||Book|
|Machu Picchu and The Sacred Valley||4 Jun 2023 - 14 Jun 2023||10 nights 10 ngts||$6,250.00||Book|
|Machu Picchu and The Sacred Valley||16 Jul 2023 - 26 Jul 2023||10 nights 10 ngts||$6,250.00||Book|
|Machu Picchu and The Sacred Valley||20 Aug 2023 - 30 Aug 2023||10 nights 10 ngts||$6,250.00||Book|
|Machu Picchu and The Sacred Valley||17 Sep 2023 - 27 Sep 2023||10 nights 10 ngts||$6,250.00||Book|
|Machu Picchu and The Sacred Valley||8 Oct 2023 - 18 Oct 2023||10 nights 10 ngts||$6,250.00||Book|
INCLUDES Accommodation; most meals; riding; entrance fees to ruins; train bus and entry to Machu Picchu; airport transfers.
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT $877.78 which is refunded if we find you a sharer.
PAYABLE LOCALLY Meals at Machu Picchu and in Cusco; guide at Machu Picchu; drinks; tips.
NEAREST AIRPORT Cusco.
TRANSFERS Included on the first and last days of the ride from Cusco airport.
The collection point for the ride is Cusco, in the heart of the Sacred Valley.
There are no direct flights to Cusco, so you will likely have to travel via Lima. Airport transfers are included on the first and last days of the Sacred Valley Ride itinerary. If you arrive in Cusco before the start day of the ride, then you will need to make your own way from the airport to your hotel. On the first day of the ride, the earliest possible collection time from Cusco airport is 08:00am (any earlier than this and you will need to wait until after 08:00am or take a taxi to your hotel at your own expense).
Check-in at your hotel is from 11:00am, so we recommend a flight arriving mid-morning. If you arrive earlier than this, you will be able to make use of the hotel's main facilities until your room is ready. The first day is an opportunity for you to rest and become accustomed to the altitude.
On departure day, check-out is after breakfast and then you are transferred to Cusco airport (a journey of c. 1.5 hours). Flights should ideally leave Cusco between 11:00 and 14:00. If your homeward route is via Lima your onward flight should depart from Lima after 17.00. These guidelines for flights between Cusco and Lima are because strong winds can affect flights over the Andes late in the afternoon which can sometimes cause flight delays or cancellations (especially between mid-July and the end of August).
In the Sacred Valley, which lies at the heart of the Peruvian Andes.
The weather in the Sacred Valley is at its best for riding between April and October.
Day-time temperatures are more or less the same all year round, averaging about 20°C. Sometimes the afternoons can become cloudy or windy, in which case the temperature drops.
During the winter months of June, July and August, overnight temperatures are at their lowest.
You are riding in the mountains, so you should dress in layers and be prepared for changeable weather.
This is more than a riding holiday. A culturally enriching experience which gives the opportunity to ride incredible Peruvian horses across epic landscapes, meet local people, observe the way of life in city, valley and mountains, sample delicious locally grown food and see the markets and farmers at work. I came back a more confident rider and more knowledgeable about Peru and South America. An experience not to be missed.
Charlotte, NorfolkOverall rating: 5/5