This incredible riding trail in Peru on Criollo horses takes you on a journey through the mighty Vilcanota mountain range. Ride vast wild pampas with grazing llamas and alpacas; pass striking blue mountain lagoons; cross high passes at 5,000m and marvel at the snowy peak of Ausangate, draped in a magnificent glacier. This horseback ride through Peru offers the splendour of the Andes and the Inca empire in one jaw-dropping trip.
- Visit the stunning sites of Peru including Cusco, Macchu Picchu, Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Lake Titicaca and Taquile Island
- A mixture of riding and sightseeing/hiking
- Experience beauty and majesty of the Andes mountains and the Sacred Valley of the Incas
- Guided and supported by a Peruvian team who are local and familiar with the mountains
- As the expedition is an exclusive ride of Equus Journeys departure dates are flexible. Don't hesitate to propose yours and we will try to organise it.
Day 11 : EUROPE - LIMA
International flights are not included.
On arrival at Lima airport, you will be met and transferred to your 3 star hotel for the night. The evening is free for you to rest and recover from the flight. Dinner is not included, payable locally.
Day 22 : LIMA - CUSCO - No riding
After breakfast, you will be transferred back to Lima airport for your short flight to Cusco (3400m) - flight not included. Upon your arrival, you will be met at the airport and taken to your hotel.
In the afternoon, you will be taken on a guided visit of the Inca capital, Cusco. Modern day Cusco, built on the foundations of the ancient capital of the Inca empire, is a true testament to ancient architecture and advanced town planning. After their conquest over the Inca empire, the Spanish transformed Cusco in the belief that by building a bigger and more beautiful city they would be able to hide the city's Inca roots.
You will explore the city centre through a maze of narrow streets lined with inca walls and out into the main square, Plaza de Armas; you will visit the cathedral and the Santo-Domingo convent which was built on the remains of the inca site Korincancha - the ancient temple of the Sun.
This first day spent in the city will help get you used to the altitude and get over any residual jet-lag. Lunch and dinner are yours to organise as you wish and are payable locally.
Day 33 : CUSCO - No riding / 4 hours walking
A second day of acclimatisation in Cusco with a magnificent walk up into the hills which dominate the city.
You will be taken by bus to Tambomachay at 3,700 m. From here you will begin your walk by visiting a beautiful Inca site called the Temple of Water, it is steeped in the glorious history of the Incas. Your walk will take you past the sites of Pucapucara, a fortress which guarded the entrance to the capital and offers a beautiful view out across the valley and Andean summits, as well as Quenqo, an important religious sanctuary and the site of altars where llamas and alpacas were sacrificed.
Set apart form the city, your walk will lead you to the temple of Sacsayhuaman with its cyclopean masonry symbolising the head of a puma - where Cusco is believed to represent its body. Your walk will end in Cusco where you will have some more time to explore.
Lunch and dinner are yours to organise as you wish and are payable locally.
Day 44 : CUSCO - PISAQ - OLLANTAYTAMBO - AGUAS CALIENTES - No riding
An early morning departure will see you discovering the lush Sacred Valley of the Incas. Your bus will first make a stop in the colonial village of Pisaq (2900m), where after visiting the craft market, you will ascend a twisting road to a lookout across the town with a breathtaking view of its terraces, fountains, watchtowers, rooftops and temples.
Continuing on by road, you will cross the valley shadowed by the Urubamba mountains until arriving into the village of Ollantaytambo, where you can find Inca houses and streets dating back to the XV century. Late afternoon, you will catch the train to Aguas Calientes where you will enjoy your evening meal and spend the night in a hotel.
Day 55 : AGUAS CALIENTES - MACHU PICCHU - CUSCO - No riding
Early in the morning, you will take the shuttle to Machu Picchu. This ancient lost city of the Incas is located in the middle of lush tropical vegetation and high above the Urubamba river, whose current is likely the only sound you'll hear in this world apart. Re-discovered on July 24th 1911 by the American explorer Hiram Bingham, Machu Picchu remains a jewel of Inca architecture: brickwork, squares, royal houses, large agricultural zones, winding paths and observatories. After the visit, you will be able to climb Huayna Picchu for a fantastic view across this wonderful site (optional).
In the afternoon, you will return to Ollantaytambo by train and then to Cusco by private transfer.
Dinner is yours to organise as you wish and are payable locally.
Day 66 : CUSCO - No riding
Today will be a relaxation/ free day for you to explore and make the most of your time in Cusco and its surroundings.
Lunch and dinner are yours to organise as you wish and are payable locally.
Day 77 : CUSCO - PAUCARTAMBO - HUAMANCACA - COCHAMOKO - 5h transfer + 2 hours riding
Early in the morning, you will be transferred by bus to the village of Paucartambo, where you will make a stop to see the Carlos III bridge and a small colonial church. Another bus journey will take you to the town of Chuachua (4000m). After a 5-hour drive, you will meet your mule team, horses and riding guides. You will mount up for you first experience riding the Criollo horses and ride for around two hours to reach Cochamoko (3800m) where you will camp for the night.
Day 88 : COCHAMOKO - COL COCHAK'ASA - PERKIPAMPA - ANCASSI - 6-7 hours riding
After a descent to the village of Cochamocco, you will then climb again to the pass of Cochak'asa (4,750m). From here, you can see Yuraccocha lake, at the foot of the peak. After a short break, you will ride down into the valley of Perkipampa (4,350m) and, riding along the river, you will finally reach the village of Ankasi (4100m) where you will set up your camp.
Today you will follow a path which descends into Perkipampa valley to the village of Anccasi (4,100m). You will then ride another path, which goes up to the high pass at Ajoipiña (4,910m). From here, you should experience a view over the most highest peak in the Vilcanota mountain range, the Ausangate (4,385m). Riding back down to the Q'oylloritti religious sanctuary, where the most important pilgrimage within Peru takes place. You will follow the same path as the pilgrims until reaching the village of Mahuayani, at 4,100m where you will camp for the night.
Your day will start with an ascent towards the snowy summit of Ausangate - at 6,300m this mountain is considered the "guardian" of the region. Crossing the region of Marampaqui (4,190m) and then the river of the same name, you will reach the village of Pacchanta (4,340m) where you will set up the camp for the night. Here, you will be able to relax in the natural hot springs and bathe in view of impressive Ausangate.
Day 1111 : PACCHANTA - UPIS - COL ARAPA - PUCACOCHA - 6-7 hours riding
After breakfast, you will continue along a path alongside the Ausangate river. Today, you will most likely have the opportunity to catch a glimpse an indigenous and slightly odd animal: the "vizcacha", a kind of wild squirrel. Arriving at Azulcocha lake (4,600m), you will have a spectacular view of mountains towering at more than 6,000 metres in height.
Riding down to Upis (4,400m) and then crossing the pass at Arapa (4,750m), you will ride to Pucacocha (4,700m) where you spend the night.
Today you will ride up to the Pucapunta pass (5,010m), from where you will have an exceptional view over the Nevado Ausangate and the valley of Queshouno.
Dropping down into the valley and passing through a number of small traditional villages, you will arrive into the village of Chilca, a place of huge commercial importance. Then, you will follow a path into the Jahuaycati valley (4,650m) where you will camp for the night.
Start your trail ride today with a short ascent to reach the Sallma pass via a small plateau (Pulpera). You will reach Sibinacocha lake, one of the largest lakes in the mountains where you can spot the local wildlife and enjoy views of the ChumpiOrcco. You keep riding until reach the small hamlet of Murmurani where you will set up camp for the night.
Another day on horseback in the Andes. Today's ride will take you around the lake, until you reach the river. Ride up to the Yanamari pass at an altitude of 5050m with the most gorgeous views of the snow-capped peaks of the Ambrajaet Montura. After a long day in the saddle, you ride down to 4900m where you camp will be made ready next to the Ccascara Cocha lake.
Day 1515 : CCASCARA COAH - PHINAYA DAM - SIBINACOCHA - 6-7 hours riding
You will ride forward today, leaving the lakes behind to reach a pass that will take you to a small shepherds' village named Alpagas Phinaya. On the way, you will enjoy views of the Quelccaya glacier - the largest in Peru. You will ride on to a dam on lake Sibinacocha where you will stay tonight.
Day 1616 : PHINAYA - SANTA BARBARA - SICUANI - PUNO - No riding
After breakfast, you will take the bus, on an unpaved road, to Sicuani (3,535m) where you will stop for lunch. Continuing your bus journey by crossing the altiplano you will eventually arrive into Puno (3,812m), the folkloric capital of Peru, situated on the banks of the highest navigable lake in the world : Lake Titicaca.
Dinner is yours to organise as you wish and are payable locally. You will spend the night in a 3 star hotel in Puno.
Day 1717: PUNO - TAQUILE - No riding
On a guided boat tour, you will visit the floating islands of Uros, built out of reeds (totoras) and moored to pickets so that they don't drift away. The inhabitants fish, hunt, forage for eggs, and make home-made crafts and objects, all of which are sold in Puno.
You will sail to Taquile Island where the Quechua communities still live in accordance with their old traditions, you may pass the Quechua children herding sheep and cattle. You will have a chance to explore this beautiful island on foot and discover its system of intricate terrace cultivations. You will climb up to the highest part of the island from where you will have a view over the lake, Puno bay and the snow-peaked mountain ranges, standing at over 6000m.
You will spend the night in the home of one of the island's inhabitants.
Early in the morning, you will watch the sunrise and explore the island by yourself - enjoying the tranquillity. In the afternoon, you will return to Puno by boat and spend the night in a 3 star hotel. Dinner is yours to organise as you wish and is payable locally.
You will take the road to Juliaca with a stop in Sillustani to visit the funeral towers. On your arrival into Juliaca, you will head to the airport to catch your flight to Lima.
On arrival in Lima, you will be transferred to a 3 star hotel for the night. Lunch and dinner are yours to organise as you wish and are payable locally.
Day 2020: LIMA - EUROPE
In the morning, you will have a guided tour of the colonial city of Lima and a visit to the Museum of Gold. Lunch is yours to organise as well as dinner depending on your departure time.
You will then be transferred to Lima airport for your flight home. Flights are not included.
Day 2121: EUROPE
It is likely that your flight will arrive back into Europe in the morning.
Dates & prices
No departure for this destination. Please contact our travel advisers for more information.
IMPORTANT : As this trip is exclusive to Equus Journeys, we can be flexible with the dates, contact us if you are interested in doing this ride on different dates!
- Flights (international/domestic) are not included, but can be booked on request - please contact us for rates. Flights from Lima to Cusco and Juliaca to Lima are currently priced at around $340/£265 subject to change.
- Rates are per person, based on two riders sharing a twin or double tent.
- Groups are composed of a minimum of 6 international riders and a maximum of 10 riders, plus guides. Please note: the ride will also confirm for 3-5 riders on payment of a supplement. Once the group has reached 6 people, we will remove this supplement from your invoice and refund you if you have already paid it.
> For three riders in the group, the supplement is c. $525/£415/€475 per person
> For four riders in the group, the supplement is c. $470/£365/€430 per person
> For five riders in the group, the supplement is c $280/£215/€255 per person
> There is a discount of c. £130/€150 per person if there are more than 8 riders in the group
- There is a single supplement of c. $370/£295/€335 if you are not prepared to share your room/tent with another rider. There is no single supplement if you are prepared to share with another rider.
INFORMATION : A shorter version of this ride (12 days) also takes place - please see the Inca trail (short version) on the website.
The itinerary may be modified at anytime for security reasons, meteorological or events beyond our control such as blocked roads, rivers in flood, drought, strikes and local holidays. Equus Journeys, our local partners and their local guides will always strive to find the best solution and will alter the itinerary as needed.
The names of the hotels and accommodation are given for information only and depending on availability, they may be modified without notice and replaced by another of a similar standard.
1 tour leader 1 local horse guide
1 cook 1 assistant cook 1 horse equipped with saddle and bridle per rider Pack horses, pack mules and one team in charge of them
Private bus (except from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu) Airport transfers except if your travel dates are different from the rest of the group Boat excursion on day 17 and 18 Train + bus to Machu Picchu
2 people in a 3-man tent and foam mattresses Double rooms in a 2 or 3* hotel
Full board except while you are in Lima, Cuzco and Puno
First aid kit
Tourist site fees
Price doesn't include
Beverages and personal extras Lunch and Dinner are not included in Lima, Cuzco and Puno (breakfast is included). The 13 meals to be paid for are: lunch on day 2,3,6,19,20 and dinner on day 1,2,3,5,6,16,18, 19, 20.
International flights Airport local fees from Lima (internal + international flights) Internal flights Lima-Cuzco on day 2 and Juliaca-Lima on day 19
Tips to the local team Small group supplement. For price list see the note above in price details
Cancellation and travel insurance are not included. Please note that insurance is mandatory. We recommend taking out an insurance policy as soon as your trip is booked in case of cancellation.
Single room supplement
We are currently updating our dates and prices they will be online soon.
If you want details of this holiday, please do not hesitate to contact us.
You will ride Criollo horses which have been bred in the mountains. They are small, docile and ideally suited to the terrain and harsh conditions.
Minimum riding ability
Minimum riding ability
You must feel comfortable on horseback and secure in the saddle as the terrain is very hilly and variable.
The rider weight limit is 90kgs, contact us if you weigh more than this and wish to ride
The riding pace is slow and at a walk due to the difficult terrain.
Tacking ability and participation
You will be asked to assist with tacking, untacking and grooming your horse. You are also welcome to assist with feeding and watering the horses and mules, if you wish.
Trip conditions and Requested experience
Your need to be physically fit and active with experience of outdoor living. You should also have experience riding for a number of consecutive days on a trail. The terrain is difficult and there are significant elevation changes - you will be asked to dismount and lead your horse at times.
The ride is at an altitude of 3,000m - 5,000m and requires you to be in good health. The weather in the mountains can be variable with cold nights (down to -10c) possible at the high altitude camps.
Visiting a new country offers the opportunity to meet other cultures with different mentalities, therefore it is important to accept these differences and respect the local way of life.
Tack will be local with simple snaffle bridles. You are supported by mules for the entire riding trip and all your belongings will be carried with you.
In Cusco and Lima you stay in 3 star standard hotels. In Puno and Aguas Calientes the hotels are simpler, yet still clean and comfortable.
On the trail, you will camp in spacious two man tents with mattresses provided. There will be a central mess tent for the kitchen/dining complete with small table and chairs.
On the island of Taquile, you will stay in homestay accommodation with the locals.
The hotels you stay in may differ to those shown in the itinerary depending on availability at the time of booking. All alternative hotels will be of the same standard as those listed in the itinerary.
On the trail all meals will be prepared by your cook using fresh local produce. In the cities, you will eat in restaurants with a focus on traditional Peruvian cooking.
You should bring purification tablets such as Micropur.
Peru has two seasons - one wet and one dry.
In the heart of the Andes, the wet season runs from October to April, and the dry season from May to September. To make the most of the view and the atmosphere, the dry season is the best time to visit.
In Cusco (3,250m) temperatures can drop to as low as zero celsius in July/August, and as high as 23c in November.
In Arequipa (2,525m) temperatures can drop as low as 6c in July/August and as high as 23c in November. There is very little rainfall in this area.
Generally there are cold nights and mornings because of the altitude, but the days can be sunny and pleasant.
Guide and local team
You are escorted by a guide and accompanied by a cook and a team of mules and mule herdsmen. Your guide is a Spanish speaker and although they are not fluent in English, they know enough to provide information and help throughout the trip.
Tips are not expected but are very welcome. You should tip what you feel is appropriate given the level of service you receive. We recommend c. £5 - £10 per person to be split between your team.
Throughout the ride, all of your luggage will be transported by mules. "Travelling light" in order to minimise the load is something to consider.
- Equus Journeys strongly recommend that you wear a riding helmet and that you take your own to ensure a correct fit. There are many lightweight options available nowadays
- Sunhat for when not riding
- Sunglasses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana
- Warm hat for cold nights when camping
- Thermals (long or short sleeved)
- Long sleeved shirts provide protection from the sun and are an extra layer
- Lightweight fleece or jumper
- Warm fleece or jumper
- Warm and waterproof jacket - it can rain at any time of year and the evenings can be particularly cold
- Lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- Casual trousers for the evenings, such as jeans or tracksuit bottoms
- Waterproof over trousers
- Lightweight, comfortable trousers for non-riding days
Hands and Feet
- Comfortable riding boots. We recommend short boots with half chaps but you may wish to take long chaps as an extra layer against inclement weather. We don't recommend taking your favourite long leather boots in case they get damaged
- Waterproof shoes/boots can be useful for abundant dew in the mornings or when it rains
- Trainers or equivalent light shoes for moving around the camp in the evenings
- Several pairs of warm, thick socks
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun, cold or rain whilst riding. Waterproof gloves can be particularly useful
- Sleeping bag. You need at least a comfort factor down to minus 15 celsius, or minus 20 if you feel the cold.
- Sleeping bag liner - silk, cotton or fleece - adds an extra layer
- Pyjamas or tracksuits or thermals for sleeping in
- Please don't take a hard sided suitcase. Your luggage should be soft sided with a capacity of 60-80 litres. We recommend taking a backpack or similar. Remember that you are supported by pack horses/mules so please pack light.
- Backpacks cannot be worn whilst riding. We recommend a small bumbag or a coat with pockets so that you can carry small items with you during the day (camera, sunscreen, lipbalm etc)
- We recommend travelling in your riding boots and carrying your hat and some riding clothes in your hand luggage - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!
- Even if foam/floor mattress is provided, we recommend to take your own inflatable mattress.
Other useful items
- Swimsuit - for swimming/bathing in rivers
- Small backpack for accessing items required during the day (carried by support crew)
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery
- Bumbag for carrying your camera and small items whilst riding
- Headtorch or small torch for moving around camp at night - bring spare batteries and bulbs
- Water bottle (2 litres or 2 x 1 litre)
- Wet Wipes or equivalent (for when washing facilities aren't available)
- Toilet paper and a lighter to burn it with
- Small plastic bags for rubbish
- Ear plugs (for light sleepers)
In your hold luggage
- Any liquids, such as shampoo, moisturiser, deodorant unless they are less than 100ml and all bottles can fit in a small, clear, plastic ziplock bag. We recommend biodegradable washing products where possible.
- Swiss army knife (or equivalent)
In your hand luggage
- Any valuables, such as your camera, ipod, ipad etc.
- Your riding hat
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor
- Insect repellent, preferably containing deet
- Any medication you regularly take
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc...
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Eye drops
- Imodium or similar anti-diarrhoea medication
- Re-hydration sachets
- Water purification tablets
- Antiseptic wipes
- Handwash gel
You may wish to ask your doctor for some specific medication for travelling at High Altitudes. We recommend that you discuss this directly with your doctor who is best placed to advise on your personal medical history.
- We recommend taking a copy of your passport and insurance documents with you in case you lose your originals
- Please take your rubbish home with you. There are no recycling facilities in Peru, so take your used batteries, aerosols etc back home and dispose of them appropriately. Try to leave excess packaging material at home before travelling
Did you know?
Did you know?
During the time of the Incas, the Incan people saw neither cow, sheep, pig or horse; the only animal that the Incas existed alongside was the llama, which they domesticated. Later, horses were introduced by the Spanish conquistadors and they became an integral part of Peruvian life; for both work and travel.
In Colonial Peru where there were immense homesteads, the farmers needed solid and reliable mounts to hold over 12 hours as they inspected the sugar cane and coton plantations often covering over 50 km of dust tracks which separated one verdant valley from the other before, at the end of a long day, repeating that distance to return home without breaking stride. It is during these long days in the saddle that the caballo de paso came into its own, with an ambling pace of which the hind-leg movements are extremely fluid and therefore make for a very comfortable ride.
In contrast, in the Andes, the nature of the work and movements of the horses over time have favoured the development of a horse that is small in stature, sure footed and has extraordinary endurance.