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Peru riding holidays

Peru, South America
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    Wild and Exotic Pancho Fierro ride

    Pancho Fierro ride summary

    Pancho Fierro (1810-1879) was a Peruvian painter of mixed Spanish, indigenous, and African descent. He was self-taught and was probably illiterate; his paintings remained unsigned, and their titles were possibly added later. He became the leading costumbrista artist in Peru. His works were usually characterized by their gentle caricature and depicted a great variety of people-street vendors, laundresses, soldiers, clergymen, and wealthy women with their maids-and places, such as shops, gambling scenes, processions, and dress balls. The watercolour paintings he made of life in Lima, recorded the people and events of the transitional phase between the colonial and Republican periods.

    Starting from the heart of the historically rich and colourful Sacred Valley, the ride follows ancient cobblestone roads and takes you along secluded mountain trails to access Peru’s hidden marvels. The route passes through isolated villages of the Quechua and Q’enco Indian communities with numerous visits to the finest Inca ruins. This 6-day luxury riding adventure includes 5 riding days, 5 overnights at charming hotels in the Sacred Valley and Cusco, wonderful meals and a support team of grooms, cooks, trail-guides plus a 4×4 back up vehicle throughout the ride.

    In addition to this week long ride we also offer two shorter riding adventure in Peru using the same pure bred Peruvian Paso horses. The Monastery ride takes in the Salinas saltpans, picturesque mountain villages and various impressive Inca sites in the Peruvian Andes. On this 3 day riding adventure guests stay in comfortable lodgings, enjoy delicious picnics and sample the locals pisco sours. The second and even shorter ride is a two day adventure with an overnight stop at the Sonesta Posada del Inca hotel. The first day is given over to a demonstration of classic Peruvian equitation and the following day guests visit the village of Maras “Ciudad de Las Portadas (City of doorframes)”, the Inca store houses at Checoq and the amazing agricultural terraces of Moray. Please contact us for further information on either of these short rides.

    Pancho Fierro ride sample itinerary

    Day 1: Today you will be collected at approximately 08:30hrs and transferred by road for one hour to the Hotel Sonesta Posada del Inca in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The charming hotel is perfectly located in the heart of the Sacred Valley, between Cusco and Machu Picchu, and only 3 miles from the stables. Once you have settled at the hotel you will be transferred to the stables, where you will have an opportunity to become familiar with our beautiful Peruvian Paso horses and the traditional Peruvian riding gear. There will be a demonstration of classic Peruvian equitation, followed by an introductory Peruvian riding course and a barbeque.

    After lunch you will mount your horses and set off in the direction of Maras. You will cross the Urubamba River and then on to the Salinas, the salt pans from Inca times. The locals are still using the saltpans to extract the salt from the mountain spring water. The saltpans consist of a series of platforms where the salty water is channelled through an impressive irrigation system and left to evaporate in the sun. You will continue your ride to Maras, a typical Andean village with a beautiful 400-year-old colonial church. From Maras you will ride to the church of Tiobamba, where you will arrive at around 16:00 hrs and leave your horses for the night. You will be transferred by road back to the hotel in the Sacred Valley in time for dinner at the Overnight hotel Sonesta Posada del Inca in Yucay or at the Hotel Casa Andina.

    Day 2: This morning after breakfast at your hotel, you will be transferred back to Tiobamba, where your horses and their grooms are waiting. You will follow primitive trails across the altiplano; the scenery is spectacular with snowcapped mountains, wildflowers and beautiful mountain lakes. You will meet smiling Quechua children with their herds of sheep or cattle and see campesinos plowing their fields in the traditional way, oxen hitched to a wooden plow. You will follow the trail to Chinchero where your awaiting you will find your picnic lunch. On a clear day the views from Chinchero are tremendous; to the west and northwest stretches a vista of rolling altiplano, ringed in the distance by the dramatic snowcapped peaks of the Cordilleras Vilcabamba. After lunch you will continue your ride and arrive at approximately 16:00hrs at Lake Piuray where you will leave the horses before being transferred back to Chinchero.

    The main square of this village is famous for its massive Inca wall, set with ten of the largest trapezoidal niches known among Inca structures. This was probably the base wall of a palace – perhaps that of Topa Inca – that once overlooked the square. At Chinchero you will also visit a textile workshop where you will see an impressive demonstration of ancient techniques of spinning, dying and weaving. The beautiful weavings are still made as in times of the Incas. After your visit to Chinchero you will be driven back to your hotel in the Sacred Valley. After some rest and a warm shower you will have dinner at one of Urubamba’s local restaurants. Overnight at the hotel Sonesta Posada del Inca in Yucay or at the Hotel Casa Andina.

    Day 3: At 09:00hrs you will be collected and transferred to Lake Piuray where your horses and grooms will be waiting. From Lago Piuray you will ride through the rough and sturdy Andean landscape, passing remote Quechua communities, herder’s huts and small farms called chacras. Today is one of the most beautiful riding days; you will travel a cobblestone-paved section of the network of Inca roads called the Capac Ñan, and enjoy beautiful vistas as you climb to an altitude of 4000 m/13,125 ft. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking, with impressive views of the many snowcapped mountains and the altiplano. You will pass many impressive Inca ruins, like an ancient Inca aqueduct and Inca irrigation channels. Today some technical riding is required as you will cross some difficult gorges along the trail. It is not a dangerous ride, but some uphill canters are necessary and our hardy, sure-footed mounts will be well up to the task.

    After a hard day’s ride following old Inca trails, you will arrive at the historic city of Cusco at approximately 17:00hrs, the oldest continuously inhabited city in South America and the former capital of the great Inca Empire. The Incas called their empire Tahuantinsuyu, “The Four Quarters of the Earth.” Cusco, meaning “the Navel of the World,” was the center of Tahuantinsuyu; its main square, the Huacapata (today’s Plaza de Armas), marked the heart of Cusco and of the Inca Empire. You will have dinner in Cusco and the night will be spent at the comfortable Hotel Libertador or Novotel (5-star) located just a few blocks from the Plaza de Armas, the heart of Cusco’s archaeological center. If you still have energy you can explore Cusco’s legendary nightlife.

    Day 4: Today is a relaxing day and it can be spend as you wish. You can visit the numerous ruins, churches, cathedrals and museums of Cusco, do some shopping, or just relax in one of the many coffee shops, restaurants, or bars. Some may opt for a one-day rafting adventure on the Urubamba River. The evenings in Cusco are full of exciting nightlife.

    According to Inca legend, Cusco was founded around 1200 AD by Manco Capac and Mama Occlo. Manco Capac selected the site when the golden staff given to him by his father, the Sun, sank into the earth and disappeared. Each Inca emperor built his own palace and compound during his reign. The Spanish initially tried to raze the Inca buildings to the ground, but soon realized that because of their quality construction, it was easier to reuse the Inca foundations for their own buildings. For this reason, you can still see many of the original Inca walls throughout Cusco. Cusco today is a vibrant city of some three hundred thousand, the vast majority of whom are native Quechua Indians. Despite being a major tourist destination, both for its own treasures and as a staging point for the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, Cusco has managed to hold on to its own distinct flavor. It retains a natural charm that is irresistible. Overnight at the comfortable Hotel Libertador or Novotel (5-star).

    Day 5: After breakfast you will continue your expedition, visiting more mysterious places along old Inca trails. Today’s ride will take you through open country with spectacular views providing another memorable riding day in the Andes. The horses will be waiting for you just outside of Cusco at Sacsayhuamán. You will start by following a footpath leading north. After climbing gently for about 450 m (1,480 ft.) you will see a stone-lined Inca irrigation channel which parallels the trail for about 800 m (2,625 ft.). Ascending a steep and narrow valley, you will reach a pass at 4350 m (14,275 ft.), and enjoy the view of the small, shallow Lake Quellacocha. This is the highest point of your ride. A group of stone corrals lies beyond the lake and in clear weather the snowcapped peak of Sawasiray is visible. You will descend the high trail around the north end and have lunch at Lake Quellacocha. After lunch you will ride eastward towards Lake Qoricocha and herds of llamas and alpacas can be see grazing around you. The scenery en route is absolutely spectacular and you will have plenty of breaks to soak up the atmosphere before the descent to the village of Umaspampa where you will leave the horses with their grooms. Tonight, dinner will be at one of Urubamba’s local restaurants or at the ranch. Overnight at the hotel Sonesta Posada del Inca in Yucay or at the Hotel Casa Andina

    Day 6: After breakfast you will leave for your last day with the horses. You will follow a trail along Lake Piuray towards Chinchero. You will have lunch along the route. From Chinchero you will continue your ride following an old and almost forgotten Inca road that leads to the village of Urquillos in the Sacred Valley. This road is part of the famous Capac Ñan. At one point you might have to lead your horses for a while (approx 200-meters) as the road is a bit rocky and narrow. The scenery during the two hour descent is absolutely spectacular and after a 2-hour descent you arrive at the Hacienda Falabella where you will say goodbye to your horses. You will be transferred by road back to the ranch where you will have the last chance to sample our last Pisco Sour before saying good bye. You will be transferred to Cusco (or any other place in the Sacred Valley) at approximately 17:00hrs.

    Notes:

    Please note that this itinerary is flexible and changes may occur due to weather and other unforeseeable circumstances.

    The price is inclusive of all activities described, together with full board and lodging, based on two people sharing, except on day 4 when lunch and dinner are not provided. A single supplement may occur for those who do not wish to share accommodation. The price does not include international or domestic airfares, items of a personal nature, gratuities, etc.

    Neither Wild and Exotic nor the operators or suppliers can accept any responsibility for changes to itineraries or dates that may arise due to weather or unforeseen circumstances such as changes, disruptions or delays to airline flights for whatever reason. This holiday is subject to Wild and Exotic’s terms and conditions, a copy of which is available on this website under the general info tab.

    Wild and Exotic Pancho Fierro ride fact sheet and recommended clothing list

    Accommodation: The accommodation used on the ride, like the scenery, is varied and interesting. Four nights are spent in hotels with private bathrooms. The hotels in the Sacred Valley are very comfortable and unique, but not always five star. In Cusco you will stay at the luxury Hotel Libertador or Novotel (both 5 star) for two nights. All the hotel accommodation (apart from when in Cusco)  is a short drive away from the ranch, as there is no guest accommodation onsite, but you are always picked up from your hotel and taken to the ranch/restaurants/Inca sites promptly and at the allotted times.

    Activities: There is really not much time for other activities, apart from during the free day in Cusco, when you may opt to do a one-day rafting adventure on the Urubamba river. If rafting sounds very un-relaxing, then don’t worry as Cusco is full of exciting day and nightlife with plenty to see and do with interesting museums, churches, cathedrals, bars, restaurants and night clubs. Please note that while this ride is a truly wonderful way to learn about the Peruvian culture, there is not too much quiet time. If you want to have some more time to yourself then you may like to consider having a few extra days in Cusco after or before the ride perhaps. Do let us know if you would like us to help with any extra arrangements.

    Children: Competent teenagers (16 yrs old plus) are accepted on the ride.

    Location: Your ride takes place in ‘El Valle Sagrado de los Incas’ or ‘The Sacred Valley’ as it is more commonly known. It is the portion of the Urubamba river valley from Pisac to Ollantaytambo and is about an hour’s drive from Cusco (itself is an hour and a quarter’s flight from Peru’s capital, Lima). The beautiful city of Cusco (3,338 m), which you will have the opportunity to visit, was once the foremost city of the Inca Empire, as well as the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city. The Sacred Valley was home to several cultures prior to the rise of the Inca Empire. These pre-Inca cultures include the Chanapata (800-300 BC), the Qotacalla (500-900 AD), and the Killke (900-1420 AD). The Inca actually only controlled the valley for little over a century. The Urubamba River feeds this fertile valley, which enjoys a pleasant and sheltered climate. The majority of its inhabitants live a life little changed since the arrival of the Spanish. Farming is done largely with the help of wooden ploughs pulled by oxen, travel is largely by foot, and the native population speaks Quechua, which bares no resemblance to Spanish at all! All of this and much more is what you will see and enjoy on this superior trail ride

    Meals: You will eat like an Inca king! Breakfast, is always enjoyed at your hotel. It typically will consist of coffee/coca tea (normal tea is also available), fruit juice – usually more exotic than just orange or apple, bread rolls and jam and then you are usually also invited to order eggs, scrambled or fried. Chunks of melon, pineapple and papaya are normally also available. Dinner on some days is served at the ranch house at an enormous wooden table. You will always have three courses, all delicious and the servings are very generous. Once on the trail either a support vehicle meets you for lunch and you are issued with a tupper-ware full of goodies, maybe a succulent chicken breast or a cold pork chop with sweet potato and salad, or (on two days) you take lunch with you in your saddle bags. Saddle bag lunches usually consist of two enormous and tasty rolls with different fillings. Fruit, cookies, wine and coffee/tea also usually available.  Except on a couple of occasions, proper cutlery and crockery is always used. Hand wipes/ wash are available before each meal on the ride. Full water bottles are also packed in your saddle bags everyday, so there is no need to bring your own. Dinner is also three courses and you will be eating tasty regional cuisine. Dishes are made from fresh vegetables, local dairy products and good meat/ fresh trout etc. On some nights you will also eat out at some of Urubamba’s excellent restaurants. Meals at restaurants include soft drinks only, alcoholic beverages such as wine are not included. Vegetarian and other dietary requirements will be accommodated with prior notice. At the end of each day’s ride you are always offered a little something to tide you over until supper. You will also be offered the traditional and national cocktail, the Pisco Sour, which is truly delicious. It is made from Pisco, a locally produced white-grape brandy, blended with lemon juice, ice, egg white, sugar syrup and topped with bitters. If you don’t like it, then beer or wine is also available.

    Meeting point: Clients will be met in Cusco on day 1.

    Money: The best currency for exchange into Peruvian soles is the US dollar. The dollar bills must be in excellent condition: worn, torn or damaged bills are not accepted. When receiving local currency ask for small denominations as these will be more useful to you when making most purchases. Twenty soles notes will be of most use. Travellers cheques are charged at a slightly lower rate than cash.

    Lima and Cusco will both have ATM machines (Visa, Mastercard or Cirrus) and they should accept your debit card. Try and avoid using credit card where you can for you are usually charged a 8% fee for using them.

    Passport Visa and Health Information: You do not need a visa to enter Peru, but your passport should have at least six months validity beyond your departure date. Upon entering the country you are permitted to a 30 day stay (90 day stays are also possible) which is stamped into your passport and you are also given an embarkation card (a flimsy white bit of paper which is very easy to lose) that you keep and return upon leaving the country.

    Immunisations are also not currently required for entry. If you are visiting the jungle before or after the trip then yellow fever and malaria are usually necessary. You should consult your GP for further advice.

    Riders Requirements: Riders must be comfortable in the saddle for five to seven hours, be comfortable at the walk, trot and short canters, be able to ride up and down steep hills, be physically able to hike at high altitudes (9,000 – 14,000 ft)

    Weight limit: 200 pounds / 90 kg
    Age limit: 16

    Riding: To enjoy the journey you should be a competent and experienced rider and above all happy to ride a forward-going horse and try out a new way of riding, Peruvian style. Upon first arrival at the ranch you will be given a fantastic display of Peruvian Equitation by your half-Peruvian/half Dutch host, Eduard (you will soon get to know him as Eddy), and also by his Peruvian chalan (horse-trainer). After the demonstration you will then have the opportunity to have a go yourself and you will be forgiven for feeling a little nervous prior to mounting these magnificent animals. The riding is built up gradually over the duration of the 5-night trail ride to enable you to acclimatise to the high altitudes. The riding takes place between 2.850 and 4.350 metres (9,350 and 14,275 ft. !!!). This is therefore a high altitude trip and some people can take longer to adjust to these heights than others. Adverse effects on blood pressure, digestion and energy levels are all possible and you should consult your doctor before undertaking this trip if you think the altitude could cause you a problem. Most people will just feel a little breathless when climbing stairs for example or when bending over to pick up something off the floor. As long as you take things easy on the first few days, then you should have no problems at all.  On average you will be riding for five hours a day, though initially it will be less and on some days you will be riding up to six-plus hours a day.

    You will soon realise why the Peruvian Paso horse has earned itself the reputation of being the ‘Cadillac’ of horses. You will enjoy a very smooth ride. Rising trot goes out the window as you cruise along the stunning Peruvian countryside either at walk or at the ‘Paso Llano gait’ (four-beat lateral gait). The horses are exceptionally well cared for, strong, and even-tempered. They are treated like athletes, eat very well and are rugged up at night whilst on the trail. You won’t do much, if any canter work, but you will understand that the ‘paso llano’ is the preferred gait of these beautiful horses and it is something which they can do for hours on end and you will be amazed at how quickly you cover the ground. You will soon get a feel for the gait and understand what the fuss is all about. Be warned, it is highly likely that you won’t want to ever go back to riding a ‘normal’ horse again! The ride is also not for though who dislike heights. Some days you will be riding along some very steep little tracks/Inca paths. The horses are remarkably careful and sure-footed over the tricky terrain. There are also some steep uphill climbs (on horseback) which the horses also tackle magnificently.

    The Peruvian Paso Horse:   Due to its isolation for over 400 years, the Peruvian Paso horse has evolved as one of the purest breeds in the world and as a unique entity in the horse kingdom. The existence of this breed has been called “the greatest triumph of genetic selection ever achieved by a group of breeders.” Thanks to its unique, inbred, four beat lateral gait, the Peruvian Paso horse is (as mentioned earlier) undoubtedly the smoothest riding horse in the world. The trademark of this breed is a special, inherited, and completely natural four beat lateral gait called paso llano. The paso llano is a broken gait. It consists of a permanent, harmonic and rhythmic tapping in which the animal makes a gentle and pleasant alternating movement. It is a quick advance in which the center of the horse’s gravity stays almost immobile, producing the smooth ride.

    The Paso Llano is executed with a distinctive action in the front legs, called termino, a graceful, flowing movement in which the forelegs are rolled towards the outside as the horse strides forward, much like the arm motion of a swimmer. Termino is a spectacular and beautiful natural action. It is not a wing or paddle and originates in the shoulder giving the horse the ability to swing the leg forward with minimum vertical force back. Both the gait and the flashy leg action are naturally passed on to the offspring.

    Until the seventeenth century, the majority of the world’s horses were naturally gaited. Nearly all traveling was done on horseback. Horses with natural gaits were considerably more comfortable to ride than trotters, which were called “bonebreakers.” Trotters were better suited for pulling carts and carriages for long distances, as well for horseracing. As these uses for horses eclipsed travel riding, the numbers of trotters grew. The Peruvian Paso remained one of the very few breeds that not only retained its natural gait, but was celebrated for it.

    The modern Peruvian horse descends from the horses introduced into Peru by the Spanish in the sixteenth-century. The Spanish Conquistadors brought with them both Hacks (amblers) and Chargers (trotters) of the same breed to the New World, and as recorded in the Archives of the Indios, the Spanish horse, the classic Andalusian, was a breed consisting of Galician (Celtic) horses of the North, Sorraia, and Barb of Morocco.

    In Peru, the classic Andalusian horse became the foundation for the Peruvian horse, which has kept most of the characteristics that made the Andalusian so valuable during the conquest of South America. It is interesting to note here that the Andalusian horse in Spain has since changed through the influence of other European breeds introduced by foreign Royal Houses that ruled Spain for two centuries.

    The Peruvian Horse is a “hot blood,” a purebred Spanish horse that was selectively bred for the amble after reaching the shores of Peru. No outside blood has been introduced into the Peruvian breed, as there was no need to cross with other breeds to produce taller, heavier or faster horses, as was the case in other countries such as Mexico, Argentina or the United States. The Peruvian horse was mainly developed to satisfy the need for a smooth and comfortable ride when overseeing plantations and travelling from one settlement to another. Selective breeding coupled with such factors as climate and forage, served to modify succeeding generations and create a new breed, which possess characteristics different from those of any other horse in the world. Peruvian Paso horses come in all basic, solid colors as well as greys and roans. The average height of the Peruvian is between 14 and 15.3 hands and their weight is about the same as for Morgans and Arabians.

    A major principle with Peruvian breeders is that great Peruvian horses are born – not trained. Training is designed to bring out the animal’s inherent ability but not modify it artificially. The breed is said to combine qualities which may be considered “contradictory.” He is very high-spirited – though easy to handle while loose and relaxed in his movements. He has sparkling, brilliant action in the forelegs – yet he is extremely smooth and sure-footed. He has a refined appearance – yet he is powerful. This has been accomplished due to the intelligence, love, and devotion of innumerable breeders (many anonymous). Their arduous and silent work has made the Peruvian Paso horse one of the country’s greatest treasures and a unifying source for its people.

    Tack: Peruvian tack is also the result of over 400 years of tradition. It was shaped by the need for comfortable rides over long distances and difficult terrain. Owners of large estates often needed to cover more than 40 miles per day to manage their property. The bridles, which can take up to a year to make, are made from a double layer of hand-woven rawhide. They have matching halters, which allow the horse to be dismounted and tied quickly. They also have the distinctive eye patches, or tapa ojos, which allow the horse to stand, waiting for its rider’s return, when nothing is available to tie it to. This is often the case in the high plains, where most shrubs are less than a foot high. The saddles, also handmade, are built to easily distribute the body weight across a large portion of the horse’s back, thus minimizing strain on both the horse and rider. These saddles feel like a comfortable cross between a dressage and Western saddle. The saddles also have the guarnicion, or tailpiece, a remnant of the Conquistadores traditional tack. The saddles are cleaned every morning prior to the morning ride and the crupper is greased each morning as well to ensure the horse’s comfort. The saddles you will be riding on have detachable saddlebags which easily hold your picnic lunch and water bottle. The final distinctive element of Peruvian tack is the wooden box stirrups, or estribos. When the Spaniards arrived in Peru, they could find no local source of iron for making stirrups. As a replacement, they designed the box stirrup from wood, and began to adorn the stirrups with silver. Reins and bridles are also often ornately adorned with handmade silver decorations. The box stirrups may feel strange at first to those used to smaller English irons, but you will soon come to appreciate them for their comfort. At lunch times when the horses are tied up to trees, the box stirrups are removed so that they do not bang unnecessarily against the horse’s sides.

    Tipping: Tipping is discretionary. If you have been happy with the ride and would like to leave a tip then you should pass this on to your head guide or Eduard at the end of the ride and he will distribute this to the rest of the staff. You should give what you feel you want and also what you can afford. Tips can be made in either US Dollars or Peruvian soles. The exchange rate is usually somewhere in the region of 2.90 soles to the dollar. It is always useful to have a few one dollar notes handy, so that you can tip baggage handlers etc.

    Note that if you have run out of soles, then US Dollars are rarely turned down in Peru (at restaurants etc), but of course it is better to have Peruvian currency where possible.

    Weather: Peru’s climate varies widely. During the months in which the ride runs, you should experience good weather. The daytime temperatures can be very hot, in the high 30s, but at night the temperature may drop considerably. There may also be some rain, but this would usually apply more to the rides at either end of the season in April or October. In any event, you should dress in layers and be prepared for every eventuality. See our ‘what to bring list’ at the end of this information sheet.

    What to Bring:

    Lightweight, warm clothing worn in layers is highly recommended. Dinners are casual; there is no need to bring special attire.
    Comfortable riding trousers
    T- shirts (three)
    Long sleeved cotton shirts (three). These are without doubt the best thing to ride in. Sleeves can be rolled up or down for protection from the sun and the collar helps to protect your neck too.
    Wind-bloc Fleece or warm jacket  – for cold evenings especially at these high altitudes.
    Waterproofs – Ideally a Goretex or similar wind and rain proof jacket. Waterproof leggings are also a good idea. You will be provided with woollen and waterproof ponchos, but it is often useful to have another waterproof jacket underneath your waterproof poncho for added protection. It may not rain, but better to be prepared.
    Riding boots with rubber sole, also suitable for walking (around Inca ruins etc) – the best would be a pair of the dual purpose Ariat or Mountain Horse riding/leisure boots.
    Protection for the lower leg – either full or half-chaps.
    Hat  – We recommend a hard hat for riding and something with a wide brim is advisable as protection against the sun (baseball caps work well). Your hard hat must be secure on your head.
    Riding gloves
    Light pair of shoes – for après-riding and for wearing around the campsite.
    Good sunglasses – with a neck cord. Your eyes will become bloodshot if you do not wear sunglasses.
    Sunscreen and Lip Balm – essential because of the altitude and dry air. Suggest at least Factor 30, if not total block.
    Insect repellent
    Leather saddle bags are provided for you. Each person has a set of saddlebags and carries what they need for the day. Jackets and ponchos can be tied behind the saddle so it is easy to put them on and take them off. To keep your saddle bag contents clean, a good idea is to put all your things in a plastic carrier bag/Ziploc bag first and then into the saddle bags.
    Spanish Phrasebook/dictionary
    Casual clothes – for when you are not riding.
    Small medical kit with antiseptic cream, good supply of ibuprofen, aspirin, antihistamine tablets, hay-fever sufferers should remember to bring their medicine. Any medication you regularly take.
    Scarf/bandana – useful for protection against the sun.
    Additional passport photos – always a good idea just in case.
    Copy of passport/visa and debit cards – another good idea.
    Wash bag – a supply of baby wipes will be invaluable. We also recommend bio-degradable personal washing products.
    Ziploc bags/supply of plastic carrier bags


    Wild and Exotic Sacred Valley ride

    Sacred Valley ride summary

    This lodge based ride takes you through the world famous Sacred Valley, in Peru. You will ride at high altitude through the stunning scenery of the Andes: surrounded by wild flowers, beautiful mountain lakes and snow –capped mountains. The ride will be punctuated by a day and night spent relaxing in the historic, and lively, city of Cusco, the former capital of the great Inca Empire.  At the end of the ride you will travel by train on the spectuacular journey to the phenomenal and romantic ruins of Machu Picchu.

    In addition to this week long ride we also offer two shorter riding adventure in Peru using the same pure bred Peruvian Paso horses. The Monastery ride takes in the Salinas saltpans, picturesque mountain villages and various impressive Inca sites in the Peruvian Andes. On this 3 day riding adventure guests stay in comfortable lodgings, enjoy delicious picnics and sample the locals pisco sours. The second and even shorter ride is a two day adventure with an overnight stop at the Sonesta Posada del Inca hotel. The first day is given over to a demonstration of classic Peruvian equitation and the following day guests visit the village of Maras “Ciudad de Las Portadas (City of doorframes)”, the Inca store houses at Checoq and the amazing agricultural terraces of Moray. Please contact us for further information on either of these short rides.

    Wild and Exotic Sacred Valley ride sample itinerary

    Day 1:  You will be met on arrival at Cusco airport and transferred to your comfortable hotel near the centre of this historical and beautiful city.  Today it is very important that you relax, rest and get acclimatized to the high altitude, before we start our exciting riding expedition high in the Andes.  At 16h00 the owner and ride leader of Perol Chico, Eduard van Brunschot Vega, will meet you and the other participants in the hotel lobby, and after introductions will give an informal briefing about the ride ahead, the horses and the safety guidelines on the trails. Please make sure that you rest well, because tomorrow you will meet and ride our Peruvian Paso horses and learn all about the classic Peruvian riding style.  Overnight Cusco.

    Day 2:  After a delicious breakfast you will be picked up at 9h15 and transferred by vehicle to your accommodation in the Sacred Valley (approximately 1.25 hours).  For the next three nights you will be staying in comfortable accommodation in the heart of the Sacred Valley of the Incas; just a short drive from the stables. Once you have unpacked and refreshed yourself, you will be collected and transferred to the ranch. Today you will have an opportunity to become familiar with the beautiful Peruvian Paso horses and the traditional Peruvian riding gear.  Enjoy a delicious barbeque lunch at the ranch, some good wine and of course Maria’s famous Pisco Sours. In the afternoon, there will be a demonstration of classic Peruvian equitation, followed by an introductory Peruvian riding lesson, during which your riding ability will be evaluated. We will then match you with a mount in accordance with your riding ability, preference, personality and weight class. All horses are forward going, very well trained and a pleasure to ride.  Dinner will be at the ranch or at a local restaurant. Overnight at the Hotel Sonesta Posada del Inca in the Sacred Valley. (B, L, D).

    Day 3:  After a hearty breakfast at your hotel, you will be taken to the ranch and set off on the ride. You will cross the Urubamba River via a bridge, and pass Pichingote, an old Andean hamlet built along the river.  The trail continues up a narrow track where you will see salt pans from Inca times (Salinas) which are still being used by the locals to extract salt from the mountain spring water. The salt pans consist of a series of platforms where the salty water is channeled through an impressive irrigation system and left to evaporate in the sun.  Today you and your horse will climb nearly 850m to reach the Andean altiplano. This climb takes about two hours and will be at an easy pace, because the change of altitude does not only affect the horses! Once at 3,550 m (over 11,400 ft.), you will be surrounded by stunning scenery and the snow-capped mountains of Chicon, Veronica and Pitusuray.  Continue your ride to Maras, a typical Andean village with a beautiful 400-year-old colonial church, where a picnic lunch will be waiting for you. The church at Maras was built just after the Conquest and is one of the ten oldest churches in South America.  From Maras, you will visit the ruins of Cheqoq.  Here the Incas constructed fascinating cold-storage areas (pre-Hispanic refrigerators) to conserve the agricultural produce of the region. Cooling of the products was achieved using a system of wind tunnels to circulate the air, and a network of water channels to circulate the cold water from a nearby mountain spring. You will continue riding to the beautiful churchyard of Tiobamba, which you should reach shortly before 16h30. The horses are left here with the grooms and you will be returned to your hotel. After some rest and a hot shower, we will take you to enjoy dinner at one of Urubamba’s local restaurants, or at the ranch.  Overnight at the Hotel Sonesta Posada del Inca in the Sacred Valley.(B, L, D)

    Riding time: approximately 3 – 4 hours.  Altitude: 2,800 – 3,550 m/9,190 – 11,650 ft.

    Day 4:  You will be collected at 09h30 and transferred back to Tiobamba, where the horses will be waiting for you. Today is a day for following primitive trails across the altiplano, and enjoying spectacular scenery along the way, with snow-capped mountains, wildflowers and beautiful mountain lakes.  Meet smiling Quechua children with their herds of sheep or cattle and see campesinos ploughing their fields in the traditional way; oxen hitched to a wooden plough. You may even share a chicha (a traditional maize drink) with them. Just before Chinchero, our back- up team awaits you with a delicious picnic lunch. On a clear day the views from Chinchero are tremendous; to the west and northwest stretches a vista of rolling altiplano, ringed in the distance by the dramatic snow-capped peaks of the Cordilleras Vilcabamba and Urubamba.  After lunch there is a short ride to Lake Piuray where you will leave the horses and take a short trip by car to visit Chinchero. At Chinchero there may also be a chance of visiting a textiles workshop and seeing a demonstration of the ancient techniques of spinning, dying and weaving wool. The beautiful fabrics are still made in the same way as they were in Inca times. Take some money as you may want to buy some souvenirs (although please do not feel obliged to buy anything).  Transfer back to your hotel is by vehicle. Dinner will be at a local restaurant or at the ranch. Overnight at the Hotel Sonesta Posada del Inca in the Sacred Valley. (B, L, D).

    Riding time: approximately 4 hours. Altitude: 3,550 – 3,800 m/11,650 – 12,470 ft.

    Day 5:  You will be collected after breakfast and transferred back to Lake Piuray. From here, you crisscross through the rough Andean landscape, passing remote Quechua communities, herder’s huts and small farms called ‘chacras’. Today is one of the most beautiful riding days. You will travel a cobblestone-paved section of the network of Inca roads called the Capac Ñan, and enjoy wonderful vistas as you climb to an altitude of 4,000 m/13,125 ft. The scenery is breathtaking (quite literally), with impressive views of the many snow-capped mountains and the altiplano.  You pass numerous Inca ruins; an ancient Inca aqueduct and Inca irrigation channels. Lunch will be enjoyed at a scenic spot and will be organized, as always, by our support crew. In the afternoon some technical riding is required with a tricky gorge to cross before we reach Cusco.  After a hard day’s ride following old Inca trails, you will arrive at around 16h30 just outside the historic city of Cusco, the oldest continuously inhabited city in South America and the former capital of the great Inca Empire. For the next two nights you will stay at the very comfortable Hotel Costa del Sol or the Hotel Marriot located near the Plaza de Armas, the heart of Cusco’s archaeological centre. Enjoy dinner in Cusco (for your own account) and let us know if we can recommend a restaurant for you. If you still have the energy you can explore Cusco’s legendary nightlife! (B,L).

    Riding time: approximately 6 hours. Altitude: 3,800 – 4,000 m/12,470 – 13,125 ft.

    Day 6:  Relax; today is yours to spend as you wish. Visit the numerous ruins, churches, cathedrals and museums of Cusco, enjoy some shopping, or just sit in one of the many coffee shops, restaurants, or bars and watch the world go by.  According to Inca legend, Cusco was founded around 1200 AD by Manco Capac and Mama Occlo. Manco Capac selected the site when the golden staff given to him by his father, the Sun, sank into the earth and disappeared. Each Inca emperor built his own palace and compound during his reign. The Spanish initially tried to raise the Inca buildings to the ground, but soon realised that because of their quality construction, it was easier to reuse the Inca foundations for their own buildings. For this reason, you can still see many of the original Inca walls throughout Cusco.  Cusco is now a vibrant city of some three hundred thousand inhabitants, the vast majority of whom are native Quechua Indians. Despite being a major tourist destination, both for its own treasures and as a base point for the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, Cusco has managed to hold onto its own distinct flavour. It is great place to be for a day.  Overnight at the comfortable Hotel Costa del Sol or the Hotel Marriot in Cusco. (B).

    Day 7:  After breakfast, the riding expedition continues. Today’s ride will pass along old Inca trails and through open country with spectacular views, providing another memorable riding day in the Andes. You will be collected from your hotel and taken to the horses – waiting where you left them, just outside Cusco in the countryside beyond Sacsayhuaman.  Starting at 3,300m you will follow a footpath leading north, and after climbing you will see a stone-lined Inca irrigation channel which parallels our trail. On ascending a steep, narrow valley, we reach a pass at 4,350 m (14,275 ft.) and see the small, shallow Lake Quellacocha; the highest point of the ride.  After lunch we descend the high trail around the north end of the lake and ascend eastward to Lake Q’oricocha. At the lake you will stop for lunch.  Herds of llamas and alpacas are usually seen grazing. The people living at this high altitude are friendly, hard-working farmers who grow mainly potatoes. From Lake Q’oricocha the ride heads northeast in the direction of the Sacred Valley. We descend with our horses from the altiplano into the valley of Umaspampa on a zig-zag trail for about two hours. During the descent you have to lead your horse for a short while (15 minutes or so) to cross some rocky terrain.  Transfer to the Hotel Sonesta Posada del Inca in the Sacred Valley. Dinner is at a local restaurant or at the ranch. (B L D)

    Riding time: approximately 5 to 6 hours. Altitude: 3,300 – 4,350 m/10,820 – 14,275 ft.

    Day 8:  Today is another stunningly scenic day. From the village of Umaspampa we ride to the villages of Cuper Alto and Cuper Bajo, arriving in the early afternoon at Chinchero.  Much of the riding today is along trails that are part of the great Inca Empire’s road system, the Capac Ñan. The Inca road network was one the greatest engineering feats ever undertaken in the New World, rivaling the Roman road system in the Old World.   The 25,000 km network linked Cusco, the Inca capital, to the empire’s far-flung domains. The road system reached almost all of the Andean territories, including Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina and Chile and was formed by four clearly recognizable main roads, and many secondary roads.  After another beautiful afternoon ride you arrive to the village of Racchi where we have lunch.  After lunch we will ride to Tiobamba where the horses will stay with our grooms for the night. Transfer to your hotel in the Sacred Valley.  Dine at a local restaurant or at the ranch, and overnight at the comfortable Hotel Posada del Inca in Yucay. (B L D)

    Riding time: approx. 5-6 hours. Altitude: 3,800 – 3,550 m/12,470 – 11,650 ft.

    Day 9:  You will be collected after breakfast for your last riding day. Today we visit the agricultural terraces of Moray. Moray is quite unique – hundreds of years ago, people in the region took four huge natural depressions in the landscape and sculpted them into multi-level agricultural terraces that served as an experimental agricultural station for the development of different crops. This was possible due to a remarkable natural phenomenon: the climates of many different ecological zones were present at a single site. In the thirty or so metres of altitude between the bottom and the top levels of Moray’s depression, scientist John Earls once recorded a full 15 degrees C difference in temperature. This is equal to the difference between the mean annual temperatures of London and Bombay! It is possible that Moray played a key role in the original transformation of maize into a high-altitude crop. There are no great ruined structures in Moray to impress; it is more for the contemplative traveler or farmers!    After a delicious lunch near Moray we mount our horses and follow a trail with great views of the Urquillos Valley, arriving once more at the village of Maras. From Maras you continue the descent into the Sacred Valley, arriving back at the ranch and journey’s end at around 16h00, and then it’s time to celebrate your return with a traditional Pisco Sour!Tonight you will swap stories of your Sacred Valley adventure over dinner at the ranch or at a local restaurant. Overnight at the Hotel Posada del Inca in Yucay. (B, L, D)

    Riding time: approximately 4 hours. Altitude: 3,550 – 2,800 m/11,650 – 9,190 ft.

    Day 10:  An early start today (usually pick up is at 06h00!), as you catch the train from Urubamba to the ruins of Machu Picchu. The experience of visiting Machu Picchu is not limited to the ruins themselves; the train journey is one of the most spectacular in the world.   The Vistadome train brings you to Machu Picchu an hour before the main tourist train arrives from Cusco.  Since its discovery by Hiram Bingham in 1911, Machu Picchu has captivated the hearts and minds of the modern world.  In the afternoon you take the train back to Urubamba, arriving late afternoon. Enjoy dinner at one of Urubamba’s famous restaurants or at the ranch and make the most of your last chance to sample Maria’s legendary Pisco Sours!  Overnight at the Hotel Posada del Inca in the Sacred Valley (B, D).

    Day 11:  Early morning transfer to Cusco airport for your flight to Lima (driving times 1hr15).

    Neither Wild and Exotic nor the operators or suppliers can accept any responsibility for changes to itineraries or dates that may arise due to weather or unforeseen circumstances such as changes, disruptions or delays to airline flights for whatever reason. This holiday is subject to Wild and Exotic’s terms and conditions, a copy of which is available on this website under the general info tab.

    Sacred Valley ride fact sheet

    Riders Requirements:  To participate in these rides you need to be a reasonably experienced rider; intermediate level or above. You should be comfortable, secure and in control at all paces on a well-schooled horse, and used to riding in open country and over varied terrain. You should have a reasonably good level of general and riding fitness.

    Beginner:  A rider who has limited experience, is unable to apply basic aids and does not have a firm and balanced seat.

    Novice:  A rider who is capable of mounting and dismounting unassisted, capable of applying basic aids, comfortable and in control at the walk.

    Intermediate:  A rider who has a firm and balanced seat, who is capable of mounting and dismounting unassisted, comfortable and in control at all paces but does not ride regularly.

    Strong Intermediate:  An intermediate rider who is currently riding regularly and is comfortable in the saddle for at least 6 hours per day.

    Advanced:  All of the above, plus an independent seat, soft hands, and capable of handling a spirited horse in open country.

    Rider’s Weight:  There is a rider weight limit of 14 stones (89 kg/ 196 pounds, dressed). We reserve the right to request that a rider is weighed prior to the ride setting off. Riders exceeding our weight limit may be excluded from the ride and no refund will be made.  Please bear this in mind when you make your booking.

    Age Limit:  16 or older.  No maximum age limit as we had very fit and experienced riders of age 75+ on our rides.

    Pace of the ride:  Due to the very high altitude and rough, rocky mountain terrain, this is not a fast-paced ride. The horses are asked to work at altitudes of between 2,800m and 4,350m, and we should remember that the altitude and reduced oxygen makes their job of carrying us much more difficult!! On this ride you will experience the fabulous ‘paso llano’ and some short gallops where the terrain allows, but this is not a fast- paced ride by definition.

    Meals:  While on the Sacred Valley of the Incas Ride, guests are treated to wonderful meals representing tasty regional cuisine. Dishes are made from fresh vegetables, dairy products, and fresh trout. Most meals are included in the trip price, with the exception of lunch and dinner in Cusco on Day 1, dinner in Cusco on day 5, lunch on day 10 (Machu Picchu) and lunch and dinner on Day 6, the free day in the city of Cusco.  Vegetarian or other dietary requirements will be accommodated with advanced notice.

    Responsibility of ride participants:  All care will be taken, but we assume no responsibility for injury, loss or damage in any way.  Guests are responsible for having an adequate, valid insurance policy including coverage for all the sporting activities that they are likely to participate in. Appropriate medical insurance is obligatory. It is understood by Perol Chico / Maria Zans Gia EIRL that guests are in a suitable condition to partake in a riding tour, are not riding against any medical advice, and that guests know of no reason why they should not be participating in such a tour. Guests will be required to sign a waiver of liability at the start of the tour. Ride participants have a certain responsibility to Perol Chico and to the other members of the ride. Participants are responsible for understanding the requirements of the ride, and for selecting a ride appropriate to their ability. Participants with medical problems or special dietary needs are responsible for informing Perol Chico of these issues well in advance.  For the protection of all participants, the ride leader reserves the right to prevent anyone from riding who displays inadequate ability, or whose behaviour endangers the safety of other riders, themselves, or the horses. No refund will be made to a participant who is rejected for any such reason, or who is unwilling or unable to complete a tour.  Participants are responsible for arranging travel to and from the ride’s meeting point, for carrying valid travel documents, and for obtaining immunizations appropriate to the destination.  Participants are responsible for understanding what is and is not included in the price as outlined in the detailed ride itineraries.  Anyone who does not want pictures of themselves to be used in promotional materials should notify Perol Chico accordingly.

    Price:  Price includes meals as reflected in the itinerary, a professional English- speaking trail guide, horses, tack, all trip gear, land travel, entrance fees to the ruins; train, bus and entrance fees to Machu Picchu and all accommodation (including 9 nights in hotels). Price does not include lunch and dinner on day 1, dinner on Day 5, lunch & dinner in Cusco on Day 6 and lunch at Machu Picchu on Day 10, alcoholic beverages during meals at restaurants, sleeping bags, gratuities, optional activities, personal expenditures and travel insurance.

    * Single supplement:  The price for each ride is based on shared occupancy. If you are traveling solo and wish to share accommodation, we will make every effort to find a roommate (always of the same gender). If you are willing to share and no roommate materializes, then the customary single supplement will apply. A single supplement is always applicable for participants who specifically request single accommodation.

    Cancellation:  The following cancellation policies and fees are in effect:

    Cancellation 61 to 90 days before trip departure – Full trip payment less $500 is refunded.

    Cancellation 60 to 31 days before trip departure – 50% of the trip payment is refunded.

    Cancellation 30 days or less before trip departure – No refund is given.

    Cancellation Insurance:  We strongly recommend you purchase cancellation insurance to protect yourself from unexpected circumstances that may cause you to cancel your trip.

    Suggested Packing List:  Since you will be riding at elevations between 2, 800 and 4, 350 meters (9,185 and 14,275 ft), lightweight, warm clothing worn in layers is highly recommended. Dinners are casual; there is no need to bring special attire.

    – Comfortable riding trousers (two pairs)

    – T- shirts

    – Long sleeved cotton shirts. These are without doubt the best things to ride in. Sleeves can be rolled up or down for protection from the sun and the collar helps to protect your neck too.

    – Thick socks

    – Wind-block fleece or warm jacket for cold evenings, especially at these high altitudes.

    – Waterproofs. Ideally a Gore-Tex or similar wind and rain proof jacket. Waterproof leggings are also a good idea. You will be provided with woollen and waterproof ponchos, but it is often useful to have another waterproof jacket underneath your waterproof poncho for added protection. It may not rain, but it’s better to be prepared.

    – Riding boots with rubber sole, also suitable for walking (around Inca ruins etc). The best would be a pair of the dual purpose Ariat or Mountain Horse riding/leisure boots.

    – Protection for the lower leg, either full or half-chaps.

    – Hat. We recommend a hard hat for riding and something with a wide brim is advisable as protection against the sun (baseball caps work well). Your hard hat must be secure on your head.

    – Riding gloves

    – Light pair of shoes for après-riding.

    – Good sunglasses with a neck cord. Your eyes will become bloodshot if you do not wear sunglasses.

    – Sunscreen and Lip Balm are essential because of the altitude and dry air. We suggest at least Factor 30, if not total block.

    – Insect repellent (Machu Picchu and the surrounding area can be prone to mosquitoes).

    – Spanish Phrasebook/dictionary

    – Casual clothes – for when you are not riding.

    – Small medical kit with antiseptic cream, good supply of ibuprofen, aspirin and plasters, antihistamine tablets, any medication you regularly take.

    – Scarf/bandana, useful for protection against the sun.

    – Additional passport photos

    – Copy of passport/visa and debit cards

    – Wash bag. A supply of baby wipes will be invaluable. We also recommend biodegradable personal washing products. Hair-dryers are available at all hotels on the trail.

    – Ziploc bags/supply of plastic carrier bags – always useful for wet/dry kit.

    – Camera

    Leather saddlebags are provided for you. Each person has a set of saddlebags and carries what they need for the day. Jackets and ponchos can be tied behind the saddle so it is easy to put them on and take them off. To keep your saddlebag contents clean, a good idea is to put all your things in a plastic carrier bag/Ziploc bag first and then into the saddlebags. On request we provide each rider with a warm Alpaca poncho and rain poncho during the ride.


    Peru general information and map

    Capital: Lima

    Getting there: There are no direct flights to Lima from the UK, but there are regular flights with major airlines via several European cities including Amsterdam and Madrid. Flying time from Madrid to Lima is approximately 12 hours.

    Time: GMT minus 6 hours

    Try not to miss: The sacred valleys surrounding Cusco including the Inca site at Ollantaytambo, the Andean town of Pisac, and the Urubamba valley. You must not miss the legendary ruins of Machu Picchu, which were only discovered in 1911. The well preserved Inca citadel can be reached after a 4 day trek along the Inca trail, or by the Hiram Bingham train (complete with champagne brunch) having spent the night in one of our preferred hotels in Cusco, our favourite being the 16th century Monasterio hotel.

    Lake Titicaca the highest navigable lake in the world, famous for floating reed islands that are home to Uros Indians. En route visit the cathedral town of Lampa, an unspoilt and charming Andean village with many fine examples of colonial architecture. We recommend the private island of Suasi for your stay at Lake Titicaca, where the wildlife of the surrounding high antipano includes vicuna, llama and guanaco.

    The Peruvian Amazon rainforest, where are selected eco-lodges offer guided and informative explorations of the jungle, excursions by canoe, and walkways high up amongst rain forest canopies to better view some of the 33 species of parrot and macaw that inhabit this pristine environment.

    Visas: No visa is required for visits of up to 90 days for UK citizens.

    Why Peru: The epicentre of the lost Inca civilisation, and the best preserved examples in the world of Inca architecture.

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    “Eddy, Maria and all of their staff were extremely friendly. The horses were fantastic! We really enjoyed riding the Peruvian Pasos…and being gated they had the added benefit that throughout the five days of riding not one of us had any sign of soreness. The route offered a mixture of towns, countryside, and high planes and you really felt as if you were getting off the beaten path and seeing a more authentic view of rural Peruvian life. The side-trip to Machu Pichu was absolutely great.”
    Lorig family, Pancho Fierro ride, Peru, April 2011

    PANCHO FEIRO RIDE

     

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