Discover the Colca Canyon trail on horseback

Colca Canyon trail

Explore the impressive Colca Canyon on this stunning horseback trail aboard Peruvian Paso horses. Ride deep into the canyon amidst a landscape of volcanoes, high in the Andean mountains. Discover the Inca and pre-Inca heritage of this fascinating country and visit the beautiful city of Arequipa.
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Trail Riding
13 days / 7 days riding
From £1,690
Open to non-riders

From the horse’s mouth

  • Colca Canyon trail
    September 2017 Jane aged 52
    Really enjoyed my holiday. The horses were great - keen, surefooted, well-looked after and responsive rides. Food and accommodation were excellent. The first 5 days riding was faster than I expected from the description. The scenery was stunning and the longer ride into the Colca Canyon was well worth it. Slow riding... Read all
  • Horses and riders enjoying the Colca Canyon
    Be amazed by the beauty of the Andean landscape
  • Peruvian Paso horse swimming on trail in Peru
    A quick cool down in the fresh waters of Peru
  • Horse and rider enjoying Peruvian traditions
    Horses enjoy dancing too!
  • Horse and rider high up in the Andean mountains
    On top of the world, high in the Andean mountains!
  • Riding trail in the heart of the Andes
    Discover the beautiful Andean landscape on horseback
  • Horseback trail aboard Peruvian Paso horses
    Let the Peruvian Paso horses guide you on this trail
  • Horses and rider on trail ride in Peru
    Ride across the magnificent landscape of Peru

Itinerary

Highlights

- Discover the deepest canyon in the world - Colca Canyon has walls over 4,000 high making it a spectacular location for a riding trail
- Beautiful Andean landscapes of volcanoes, blue skies and traditional villages
- Gentle acclimatisation and comfortable accommodation
- Ride the amazing Peruvian Paso horse with its unique gait - the paso llano
- Discover the treasures of the Inca culture in the heart of the Andes
- Visit Arequipa - the beautiful, white colonial city, and the world's highest lake, Lake Titicaca.
  • Day 1 1: HOME - LIMA - AREQUIPA

    Fly to Lima - final destination is Arequipa. There are no direct flights from the UK to Lima and so it is likely that you will fly via a hub city such as Madrid or Sao Paulo and arrive the following day (D2).

    Flights are not included but can be booked upon request.

  • Day 2 2: ARRIVE IN AREQUIPA

    Villa Elisa Hotel Boutique
    You will be met on arrival at Arequipa airport and transferred to your four star hotel. This afternoon is free for you to relax after the long flight or to take some time to explore the city. Arequipa has a splendid colonial style.

    Lunch and dinner are to your own account today.
  • Day 3 3: AREQUIPA

    Villa Elisa Hotel Boutique
    An English-speaking guide will take you on a guided visit of Arequipa, including the lovely Santa Catalina convent. Lunch is included in a traditional "picanteria" before you can enjoy a visit to the Sillar route of Arequipa, exploring the stone formations and discovering why Arequipa is called the White City!

    Dinner to your own account.
  • Day 4 4: AREQUIPA - YANQUE - 2 hours riding

    TRADICION COLCA
    After breakfast depart at 8:00am to the Colca Valley. Your journey takes you through the “Salinas y Aguada Blanca” reserve where alpacas, llamas and vicuñas live. You will see the Mirador volcano and cross passes at 4,900 meters above sea level, and descend into valleys at 3,500m.

    After lunch in your hotel you will visit the stables and meet your Peruvian “Paso” horses and specialized “chalanes” who are the peruvian grooms and horse guides. You will go for a first ride (2 hours riding) around the village until the Church dedicated to the Virgin of Chapi and the Colonial mill.

    Return to the hotel or to use the sauna or jacuzzi (available from 6:00pm to 8:45pm).

    Dinner and overnight at Tradicion Colca.

  • Day 5 5: YANQUE - COPORAQUE - UYO UYO - YANQUE - 4-5 hours riding

    TRADICION COLCA
    After breakfast at the hotel depart for your horseback ride to Coporaque Village and its pre-Inca cemetery where the mummies of Collagua Lords were formerly safeguarded. You will have to dismount and climb a hill for 20min to reach the graves.

    Continue on to the lost city of Uyo Uyo, the ancient capital city of the “Collagua” culture. These old houses, ancient irrigation ducts and a lot of other relics prove the co-existence between the “Collaguas” and Incas. From there you will continue on through the “amphitheater”- amazing Pre-Inca terraces carved into the mountain in circular form. Along the way, you will also see the “Colcas”, a kind of hidden granary that gave the name to the river, and the "amphitheater" (farming terraces highly valued by the Incas to improve cultivation of quinoa, corn...). Finally you will reach Coporaque Village, where you can see the Main square. The church has a fountain dedicated to the Inca.

    You return to Yanque for lunch. In the afternoon, return to the hotel for a massage (included today) and free use of the indoor pool. In the evening have a go at star-gazing in the Observatory of Astronomy with a Dobson-type Ø18 inch Telescope and projection of a 12mn movie about the Solar System in the Planetarium.
  • Day 6 6: YANQUE - MACA - YANQUE - 5 hours riding

    Tradicion Colca
    After breakfast at the hotel you will depart at 08:00 am for a full day ride to the left side of the Colca Valley to explore the tranquillity and beauty of the landscape. On the way you pass wonderful Pre-inca terraces with their crops and have a picnic lunch.

    Cross the villages of Achoma and Maca where the horses will spend the night with the chalan, while the group are transferred back to the hotel in Yanque (c. 1hour) for a late lunch. In the afternoon you will be taken to the Hot Springs for a relaxing swim. Before dinner, use the spa facilities at the hotel before dinner if you wish (this is not included today and payable locally).
  • Day 7 7: YANQUE - MACA - MADRIGAL - YANQUE - 4 hours riding; 1h30 walk

    Tradicion Colca
    After an early breakfast at 5:30 am, you will be transferred to Maca before crossing the Colca river to reach the village of Madrigal.

    This morning you walk for c. 1h30 to the “Chimpa” fortress, located at the top of the mountain. You will observe a miniature template of the area made of stone including the emperor’s throne. The panoramic view of the valley is splendid and unique because you are able to observe both sides of the Colca Canyon and the valley where condors fly freely. The “Chimpa” fortress is a strategic military facility of the “Collagua” culture made with mountain stones.

    Transfer back to Yanque - the horses stay behind for the night.

  • Day 8 8: YANQUE - MADRIGAL - YANQUE - 5 hours riding

    Tradicion Colca
    8 a.m. transfer to Madrigal. You ride in the Colca Valley to the villages of Ichupampa and Lari before making your way back Yanque in the early afternoon.

    On the way you can view the landscape of the Colca Valley, full of Pre-Inca terraces, mountains and animal life (cows, bulls, alpacas, llamas and sheep, attended by local people, wearing traditional clothes and costumes.) You may also see plantations being ploughed, irrigated or harvested, according to the season of your stay.
  • Day 9 9: YANQUE - PINCHOLLO - YANQUE - 5 hours riding

    Tradicion Colca
    After an early breakfast, you will be transferred back to the horses before you can start your ride to the geyser of Pinchollo and Cabanaconde. On the way you will pass through amazing landscapes composed of high, snow capped volcanoes, waterfalls and huge mountains. Following the river you will finally reach the active geyser « Hatun Infiernillo » (4,450m). Transfer back to Yanque in the afternoon.
  • Day 10 10: YANQUE - PUNO - 2 hours riding

    One last early wake up before you get to the horses for a last ride. Lunch at the hotel and transfer to Chivay, before you catch your bus to Puno (3800m), the gateway to Titicaca! Settle in your hotel. Dinner is not included.
  • Day 11 11: PUNO - TITICACA - PUNO - No riding

    Breakfast at 7:00am and then depart by boat (in a group with an english-speaking guide) to cross Lake Titicaca and visit the magnificent Taquile island. After lunch (not included) continue your journey across the lake towards the Uros floating islands and return to Puno. Arrival in Puno around 4:00pm.
  • Day 12 12: LAKE TITICACA - DEPARTURE

    Your flight can depart today or we can book an additional hotel in Puno for you (or an extension to visit other parts of Peru). Transfer to the airport is not included (see dates and prices)

    From Puno you will need to schedule a transfer to Juliaca Inca Manco Capac Airport, fly home via Lima and a hub city such as Madrid.

    Alternatively, you could extend your holiday to visit other sites in Peru, such as Cusco. There are many opportunities please enquire.

    We can provide an extension in Cusco to include Macchu Picchu on request - please enquire. Approx. 6 days/5 nights.
  • Day 13 13: Arrival home

    Arrival home

Dates & prices

Price details

- Flights to your destination (international/domestic) are not included, but can be booked on request - please contact us for rates. Please note that the arrival airport (Arequipa) is different from the departure airport (Juliaca).

- Rates are per person, based on two riders sharing a twin or double room/tent during the ride.

- The group is composed of 1 - 5 riders plus an English speaking guide.

- Although there is no single supplement if you are willing to share a room/tent with another guest of the same sex, a small supplement of €20/£15/$25 may apply for the night in Puno. To guarantee your own room/tent there is a single supplement of c. $245/€220/£190.

- The transfer from Puno to Juliaca (Day 12) is not included and payable locally - fom US$60-100 depending on the number of guests.

- Children from 10 years and older are welcome as long as they are accompanied by adults. They must be capable riders and happy on horses as there are no ponies. There is a discount for younger riders aged 10-17 of $390/€350/£310

- Accompanying non-riders are welcome - $1950/€1765/$1570.

- Maximum weight limit: 90 kg/200 lbs/14.7 st

- A riding extension inside Colca Canyon is available (4 days). A non-riding extension to Macchu Picchu is also possible. Please contact us.
Please Note
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.

Price includes

Support Team

1 English speaking horse guide
1 English speaking tour leader for the visit to Puno
1 local horse guide assistant

Logistics

1 horse equipped with saddle and bridle per rider

Inland transport

Airport transfers from Arequipa
Private bus from Arequipa to Colca and from Colca to Puno
TITICACA : Sightseeing bus Chivay-Puno
Boat transfer from Llachon lake to Uros islands in Puno

Accommodation

Double room in 4* hotel in Arequipa
Nights in a 3* hotel in Yanque and Puno

Meals

Full board during the ride.
Water included during the horse ride except at restaurants (drinks not included).

Extras

Massage included on the first day at Tradicion Colca (subsequent treatments not included). Sauna and Jacuzzi every day between 6pm and 8.45pm at Tradicion Colca Hotel in Yanque.
Entry to the Observatory of Astronomy home to a Dobson-type 18 inch Telescope at Tradicion Colca Hotel in Yanque
Tourist site fees described in the itinerary: Tourist entrance fees to Colca Valley and Titicaca Lake Islands; entrance to Yanque Hot Springs

Price doesn't include

Meals

Beverages and personal extras
Meals are not included in Arequipa and Puno unless otherwise stated.

Transport

International and domestic flights. Please note that the arrival airport (Arequipa) is different from the departure airport (Juliaca).
Airport transfer from Puno to the Airport of Juliaca or Cuzco.

Extras

Tips to the local team

Insurance

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.

Optional

Accommodation

Single room supplement

Extras

Extension to Cusco and Machu Pichu (tailor made itinerary)
Additional massages and activities at Tradicion Colca. Massages can be booked with prior notice.
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Equestrian info

Horses

You ride the Peruvian Paso horse (pure and cross breeds). This breed originated in Peru and descends from Spanish horses brought in by the Conquistadors during the early 16th century. The Peruvian Paso has a characteristic extra gait called the Paso Llano - this four beat running walk is extremely comfortable and surprisingly fast.
The horses are all shod due to the rough terrain.

Guide & local team

An Equestrian touristic English-speaking guide, and a Peruvian Spanish-speaking Chalan (stable boy and horse trainer) will lead you for
the entire duration of the Horse ride, with a support vehicle between Yanque, Madrigal and Pinchollo.

Minimum riding ability

Minimum riding ability

You need to be a competent rider who is comfortable at all paces across varied terrain. You need to be open to a new style of riding and be ready to adjust to the incredibly smooth extra pace of your horse - the "paso llano".

Maximum weight limit: 90 kg/200 lbs/14.7 st

Pace

You will mainly walk or paso llano - the running walk pace of the Peruvian Paso horse. This four time beat is very comfortable and can reach the speed of a trot or canter. Peruvian Paso horses rarely trot and so the paso llano is the preferred pace. There may be some opportunities to canter if the terrain is suitable.

You will be expected to dismount and lead your horse on occasion.

Tacking ability and participation

You can assist with tacking and untacking your horse if you wish.
Pack mules are used for the day you ride through the canyon and these will be tacked by the horse team.

Trip conditions and Requested experience

You need to be fit and in good physical condition as the ride is at altitudes varying frm 3,500m - 4,900m. You will also need to be fit enough to walk some technical sections on foot.

Equestrian equipment

You will ride using traditional Peruvian saddles called Montura de Cajon which are similar to Iberian and Portuguese saddles. They are very comfortable and make for a good seat. The rings
for the stirrups and cinch are covered with rawhide flaps. The back of the horse is protected by a woollen blanket and another leather
blanket above ("carona"). Stirrups are made of wood or leather, wooden ones in pyramid shapes and often decorated with nickel,
both with a closed front.

Saddle bags are provided for small items such as sunblock or an extra layer of clothing.

Equus Journeys strongly recommend that you wear a riding helmet and that you take your own to ensure a correct fit

Travel info

Comfort

In Arequipa you stay in a 4 star hotel in double/twin rooms with private bathrooms.
In Yanque you stay in a 3 star spa hotel with sauna, jacuzzi and one massage included.
In Puno you stay in a 3 star hotel.

If you do the extension (Inside the Colca Canyon):
In Pinchollo, Llahuar, Sangalle and San Juan you stay in rustic homestay cottages and must bring your own sleeping bag liner.
You do not need to bring a sleeping bag but a sleeping bag liner is recommended for extra warmth.

Please note that it is possible that on two nights there will be no hot shower - view it as an adventure!

Meals

All meals are provided on the trail as well as drinking water except at restaurants (drinks are not included).

Lunches are picnics and evenings meals are provided by the hotels.

Drinks are at an extra cost when dining out in hotels/restaurants.

Please contact us in advance should you have any dietary requirements or allergies.

Climate

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.

Tips

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.

Packing list

Please note: For nights spent in rustic cabins, you should only pack the bare necessities: please bring a small bag (max 3kg) for your toilet kit and spare clothing. We will tie it behind your saddle; your suitcases and bags will stay at Yanque, no luggage is carried.
The nights are cold and the days can be warm so please make sure to pack accordingly.
From December to April rain clothing is particularly recommended, although it can rain all year-round.


Head
- 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

Upper body
- Thermals (long or short sleeved)
- Long sleeved shirts provide protection from the sun and are an extra layer
- T-shirts
- Lightweight fleece or jumper
- Warm fleece or jumper (and a spare in case one gets wet)
- Warm and waterproof jacket - it can rain at any time of year and the evenings can be particularly cold

Legs
- Lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- Thermals
- 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 hiking 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. Short riding boots are not recommended as they may not provide enough traction on steep/rocky paths.
- 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

Nightwear
- Sleeping bag liner
- Pyjamas or tracksuits or thermals for sleeping in

Our Recommendations
- 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 for part of the ride 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!

Other useful items
- Swimsuit
- 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

Medical kit
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor. This is really important as the sun is really strong!
- 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.

Miscellaneous
- 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

Sustainable tourism

  1. Travel light. It's a little known fact, but the lighter you pack, the better for the environment as heavy bags will produce higher emissions (when flying a plane or driving a car!).
  2. Reduce plastic waste. Take your favorite reusable bottle with you. Avoid single-use bags, cups, or straws.
  3. Preserve nature. Always take your rubbish with you during the ride and recycle them. Leave all the flowers or plants as you found them, and never get too close when observing wildlife. Make sure to use eco-friendly products such as body wash or laundry detergent (if camping) to protect both your skin and the environment.
  4. Choose your experiences carefully. Respect animal life by not participating in any activities that abuse wild animals (shows, elephant rides, etc.).
  5. Support local populations. Buy local handicrafts, be respectful of customs, and learn about the culture of local communities.
  6. Share! Raise awareness among your family and friends about sustainable tourism.

For more information please see this page.

Did you know?

Did you know?

The Colca Canyon is almost twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the USA. At its deepest point, the canyon falls 4,160 metres from its rim to the floor. That's an incredible 4 kilometres!

From the sides of the canyon it is possible to watch condors cruising on thermals at the same height as you, allowing for some spectacular sightings. Condors are seen almost year-round from the viewpoint at Cruz del Condor, where the canyon is 1,200m deep. These enormous South American vultures have a wingspan of 3.2 metres, which is exceeded only by seabirds such as the albatross.

Discover this spectacular canyon and view these amazing birds on a horseback riding trail in Peru.


Customer reviews

Customer reviews

All of our reviews are real, honest opinions from riders who have recently travelled with us. Upon their return, our riders will receive an email inviting them to share their experiences from their trip. Good or bad, each review will be published on our website, provided that they respect our editorial guidelines.
  • Jane aged 52 Abergavenny 1 trip
    September 2017
    Really enjoyed my holiday. The horses were great - keen, surefooted, well-looked after and responsive rides. Food and accommodation were excellent. The first 5 days riding was faster than I expected from the description. The scenery was stunning and the longer ride into the Colca Canyon was well worth it. Slow riding... Read all
    • Horses
    • Programme
    • Accommodation
    • Local guide