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8 Day Full Deluxe Classic Inca Trail Horse Riding Holiday from Cusco to Machu Picchu, Peru

Cusco, Peru

Sacred Valley Horse Riding Holiday Peru

This horse riding holiday in Peru is a lodge-to-lodge exploration of Inca Trails on horseback from Cusco to Machu Picchu. It is an educational journey on quality horses to key Inca ruins finishing with famous Machu Picchu. Participants may ride all, hike portions of the route or choose to travel in a vehicle joining the riders at lunch, major Inca sites and each night. This expedition is available all year round with private custom dates for a group as few as two. Discover the classic Inca trail on your horseback as you embark on a trip of a lifetime!

Key information

  • Rider weight limit: 220 pounds / 100 kilograms
  • Horse height range: 14-15 hands
  • Tack type: South American style
  • Horse breed: Peruvian Paso/Spanish Barb mix

Meet the instructors

Gary , Amy, & Edwin
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Highlights

  • 3 riding days
  • Deluxe Sacred Valley horse trip
  • Machu Picchu visit by train with a narrated interpretive tour
  • Archaeology specialist guide and skilled wranglers and horse handlers
  • 4 nights accommodation at comfortable, quality hotels in Sacred Valley
  • Roundtrip airport/hotel transfers and ground transportation
  • 3 nights accommodation at a quality Cusco hotel
  • Walking tour of Cusco

Styles


6 days with instruction in English
The organizer also speaks: Spanish
Group size: Minimum of 2 participants
Airport transfer included: Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport
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Accommodation

During this horse riding expedition, you will be accommodated three nights at a quality hotel in Cusco and four nights comfortable, quality hotels in Sacred Valley.

Program

Sample Itinerary

The route from one trip to another may vary but count on seeing and experiencing the best of the Inca heartland.

Day 1

Meet your arrival at Cusco's Alejandro Velasco Astete Airport (CUZ). The afternoon is scheduled for a walking introduction to the archaeological and colonial highlights of the old capital of the Inca universe. You will also visit the impressive ruins of Sacsayhuaman overlooking Cusco. The tour leader describes the colorful rituals and ceremonies that would have taken place at the massive walled limestone constructions and sculptured terraces surrounding the immense central plaza.

You will finish with a summary of the battle here in 1536, which ended the life of Juan Pizzaro. In the evening, you will gather for drinks and discussion. Dinner is on your own in one of the many cafes and restaurants recommended by your guide in Cusco. You will stay at one of several carefully chosen, comfortable Cusco hotels, where breakfast on the next day is included.

Day 2 (4-6 hours riding)

You will drive to the rim of the Cusco basin to meet the waiting horses. The journey begins in rolling hills, noticeably etched by ancient fields and agricultural terraces. You will climb over a pass and down to several blue lakes hosting a noisy assortment of Andean shorebirds. You will have a gala lunch and a discussion of Inca activities there.

You then ride to the famous town of Chinchero at around 12,000 feet in altitude. An early colonial period church and large plaza frame well-made Inca walls that once were part of the Emperor Topa Inca’s Royal Estate.

For non-riders, you will drive a short distance upriver to visit the seldom seen pre-Inca, Huari culture ruins of Piqtillacta. There, your guide will tell the story of what happened prior to the rise of the Inca. This Huari administrative center had 200,000 buildings associated with its compound as well as a recently found burial site. Afterward, you’ll stop to see Tipon, an Inca experimental crop, waterworks site.

The group all unites in unique accommodation, lower in altitude in Urubamba, slipping into the hotel bar for a warming spirit, then off to a hot bath before meeting again for dinner (included) in the hotel.

Day 3 (6-7 hours riding)

A leisurely breakfast and shots of strong local coffee fuel you for the day's adventure. You will travel a short distance in a support vehicle back to the horses in Chinchero. Cinches pulled up tight, girths to you Brits, Yankee easterners, and other flatlanders, you will move smartly out at a trot along gentle, level trails through small farms and country villages on a high plateau of rolling hills and immense grasslands.

A spectacular panorama of the great ice peaks of the Vilcanota range crowns the near horizon. Sometime around mid-day, you will arrive at an isolated cathedral seeming lost and forgotten by time and modern civilization. You are pleasantly surprised to discover your support vehicle and crew awaiting you with the table set for lunch.

The destination for the afternoon ride is the Salineras. This is a huge area of terraces which form hundreds of baths all fed by a single saline stream. The salt water is allowed to evaporate leaving the salt to be mined and carried out by burros. The Salineras are worked now much as they were in pre-Hispanic times.

For non-riders: For those who prefer, the support vehicle will take you to the site for an extended visit before driving you to the inn. Or those in for the full day ride will have the opportunity for some faster riding across the high plateau before descending into the valley of the Salineras on a spectacular trail above the glittering white pools.

You will return to the same comfortable and friendly Inn in Urubamba. Valet parking with the wranglers seeing to the needs and comfort of your hoofed friends, you will amble toward the evening watering hole. Dinner and breakfast are included.

Day 4 (6-7 hours riding)

Saddled up, ponies energized, rearing to go, you ride out in early morning light, horseshoes clattering along the ancient stone-paved trail. The powerful equatorial sun reflects brilliantly off of high ancient ice fields. Riding past the picturesque village of Pichingoto, you'll ascend almost 1,000 meters above the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The trail takes you to the little known magical Inca site of Moray.

Located in a complex geological region, you will pass ancient salt mines, sinkholes and other natural phenomena to arrive at a complicated, unusual archaeological complex of circular walls, structures and terraces that remain a mystery to modern science. Colorado archeo-hydrologists Ken and Ruth Wright have conducted an investigation at Moray. After a lunch outside overlooking the Sacred Valley, you will ride to the colonial town of Maras.

For non-riders: For those who prefer, the support vehicle will take you to the site for an extended visit before driving you to the inn.

You will sadly say goodbye to your equine companions and the wrangler crew and hop a short ride in the support vehicle to deluxe accommodations in Ollantaytambo. The rooms are tastefully furnished in the best of neo-colonial style around stone-lined gardens full of blooms. You will dine together (included) at the wonderful hotel dining hall.

Day 5

By foot, you visit the ruins of Ollantaytambo. Probably built by the great Inca ruler, Pachacuti in the 1460s, it was the site of Hernando Pizzaro’s defeat by Manco Inca in 1536. Constructed of finely cut polygonal stones and rhyolite blocks, the fortress and nearby town represent the best of Inca architecture and construction.

Large worked blocks, some weighing as much as 100 tons were quarried from a site more than a thousand vertical feet above the valley floor using a technique of pecking with hammer stones, then skidded down and across the Urubamba river several kilometers to the temple site. Inclined ramps were built to raise the blocks several hundred feet uphill to the construction area. In the afternoon, you will visit a seldom seen ruin above the town.

Hiking through ancient walls dating to pre-Inca times, your guide translates a picture of the life experienced here before you travel in the support vehicle over the spectacular Malaga Pass to an eco-lodge in Santa Teresa just down river from Machu Picchu. You will travel by iron horse the next morning to the Machu Picchu station.

Day 6

This magical journey concludes with a private tour of the famous "Lost City of the Incas”, located several thousand feet above the river. You will transfer by the site bus shuttles to the top for the hike through the Citadel ruins separate from the arrival of the tourist train from Cusco, allowing for quiet contemplation and uncluttered views and photo opportunities.

The guide walks you through magnificent architectural monuments and temples, pointing out key ceremonial features that represent mountain and sun worship incorporated into the design by Machu Picchu's builders under the royal mandate of the Inca Emperor Pachacuti. Break for lunch at your own discretion.

You will return on the train for an evening in Cusco with everyone on their own to try out the different cafes and restaurants for dinner.

Day 7

This is the day to relax, shop, and wander around Cusco on your own or with friends. The city abounds with small shops and street side vendors selling their wares. Colorful weavings and handmade alpaca sweaters are popular gifts for friends at home. Try out a local restaurant for lunch, take a hike, or just sit in the plaza. Dinner on your own at your favorite place.

Day 8

Breakfast at the hotel (included) then Adventure Specialists will help you onto the morning flight to Lima. Adios amigos. Buen viaje.

Suitability

Adventure Specialists raises and trains horses at their ranch above Cusco. These well-cared for horses (a Peruvian Paso/Spanish Barb mix) are no-nonsense, experienced, sure-footed, mountain trail horses affording a secure, comfortable ride on steep pathways.

Although you do not need to be an expert rider, some previous riding experience and confidence around horses are recommended. The team will give instruction and attention to the less experienced as you travel. Skilled Quechua speaking wranglers give careful attention to each rider as needed and care for your mounts while you lunch or hike through ruins.

Families and kids

This route, logistical flexibility and nature of the trip offer an excellent program for kids to enjoy. Modified itineraries that permit riding and/or a day or two travelings along with the support vehicle can easily be arranged.

This is the latest itinerary (2019) in which Adventure Specialists make every effort to follow. However, Peru is subject to strikes, weather, landslides, and many events beyond control, which may cause changes and delays. They may also change the route from time to time for other good reasons. Please come prepared to cheerfully accept the unexpected with the assurance that you are in the hands of the most experienced and best adventure program operator in Peru.

Included excursions

  • Cusco walking tour
  • Visit the ruins of Ollantaytambo
  • Machu Picchu visit by train with a narrated walking tour
  • Private tour of the famous "Lost City of the Incas”

Instructors

Gary Ziegler

Amy Finger

Edwin Duenas

Location

Food

All meals are included, except two dinners and lunches in Cusco, one dinner in Ollantaytambo, and lunch at Machu Picchu. Near-gourmet trail lunches are also included.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

It is recommended that you arrive at Cusco a day or two before the program if possible. You will enjoy added time exploring the many interesting aspects of the region and extra time helps acclimation to the high altitude. Adventure Specialists can arrange hotels, other services and suggest itineraries for a 10% service fee over the actual cost.

What's included

  • 3 nights accommodation at a quality Cusco hotel
  • 4 nights accommodation at comfortable, quality hotels in Sacred Valley
  • Deluxe Sacred Valley horse trip
  • All meals except two dinners and lunches in Cusco, one dinner in Ollantaytambo, and lunch at Machu Picchu
  • Near gourmet trail lunches
  • Machu Picchu visit by train with a narrated walking tour
  • Entrance fee
  • Inca Specialist guide and support staff
  • Skilled wranglers and horse handlers
  • New, comfortable South American style saddles
  • Large capacity saddle bags for day items
  • Private tour bus/van/car support vehicle for transportation of personal overnight items and for those not riding
  • Ground transportation from/to Cusco
  • Airport/hotel transfers in Cusco

What's not included

  • Airport taxes
  • Air travel
  • Bottled drinks and alcohol
  • Gratuities
  • Optional activities
  • Personal expenditures
  • Some meals
  • Costs resulting from illness or injury and emergency evacuation
  • Program changes and delays beyond Adventure Specialists' control

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (CUZ). Transfer from and to this airport is included. Adventure Specialists will pick you up at the airport.

On the departure day, flights from Cusco arrive between 8:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. in Lima. Depending on your connecting flight schedule home, you have several options. US-bound flights seem to leave either late at night or early in the morning. Taking a room in Miraflores for the day or overnight is recommended if leaving the next morning. Miraflores is a bustling upbeat suburb of Lima above the beach where one can enjoy relaxing or endless activities. Adventure Specialists can make hotel arrangements and transfers to and from the airport.

Airport: Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport Airport transfer included: Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 16% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.
8 days / 7 nights
from --
Special discount

Discounts are available for groups, families, and more. Please send an inquiry to Adventure Specialists Inc for more details.

 

Availability

This tour is available from April to November every year. Please select an arrival date below.

Minimum group size

This trip requires a minimum of 2 participants

Select your package:

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