Ride Overview - The Inca Legends Ride
An amazing horseback riding vacation in the Sacred Valley of Peru with a non-riding visit to Machu Picchu! Our signature ride in the Sacred Valley, selected by National Geographic as one of the top 10 horseback rides in the world, is at the heart of the Andes between Cusco and Machu Picchu. This is one of Peru’s most beautiful and atmospheric places with dramatic scenery of snow-capped mountains, deep blue lagoons and spectacular flora and fauna.
The ride follows a route across the Urubamba River, up through mountain pasture where smiling Quechua children herd sheep and cattle, to highland terraces and small, mountain villages, where the horses’ hooves echo on ancient cobblestone roads. Oxen pull wooden plows through the fields, travel is largely by foot and the native people speak Quechua, the language of the Incas. Experience the magic of the Peruvian Paso horse in its native land and discover why they are known as the ‘Cadillac’ of horses. ‘Rising-trot’ goes out of the window as you cruise through the stunning Peruvian countryside either at a walk or at the smooth ‘paso llano gait’ (a four beat lateral gait). This is the preferred gait of these beautiful horses and you will be amazed at how quickly you cover the ground without ever having to canter. The trip includes a visit to the legendary Inca citadel of Machu Picchu and a 2-night stay (mid-trip) in the ancient Inca capital of Cusco.
A 6-day ride plus a day to visit Macchu Pichu is also available, contact us for the details.
“I can give you nothing but superlatives about my ride in Peru. Maria was a wonderful host and fantastic cook. I’ve never had such amazing lunches on the trail in all my rides. Eddy is a horseman par excellence, knowing and loving his horses and making sure we were riding them properly. The horses were the most spirited and beautiful I’ve ridden and the paso llano is SO comfortable. Maybe I would have spilled a few drops of my drink if I had held one, but it was very smooth indeed. The scenery, spectacular, and the introduction to the food and heritage of Peru was wonderful. All in all, I run out of words of praise long before I run out of good things to mention about the trip. It was well worth the price!” J.L.
Ride Itinerary - The Inca Legends Ride
The meeting point of the ride is in Cusco. Our representative will be waiting for you at the Cusco airport on your arrival. He/she will carry a sign with your name, so when you pass customs please look out for it. Our representative will welcome you to Cusco and ensure that you have a safe transfer to your comfortable hotel near the center of this historical and beautiful city. Today, it is very important that you relax, rest and become acclimatized to the high altitude, before we start our exciting riding expedition high in the Andes. We have made your reservation at the wonderful Hotel Costa del Sol, a 4-star establishment, and only 2 blocks from the famous Plaza de Armas. Check-in time from 11:00 AM. Please make sure that you rest well because tomorrow you will meet and ride your Peruvian Paso horses and learn all about the classic Peruvian riding style. Lunch and dinner are on your own.
After a delicious breakfast, you will be picked up at 9h15 outside your hotel. From Cusco, it is a 1hr 15-minute drive to your accommodation in the Sacred Valley. 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.
After a hearty breakfast at your hotel, you will be taken to the ranch to mount up for your ride. You will ride along an old and forgotten path which leads to a breathtaking summit on Cordillera Vilcanota. You will feel like you are close to heaven! Next, hidden trails will lead you across unspoiled landscapes. The guide keeps these routes secret and exclusive. The first part of the ride will be a serious climb following narrow but beautiful mountain trails with lots of vegetation. You can observe the rich flora of the Peruvian Andes, such as the Molle tree or “Pepper tree” (the Incas once used the resin to embalm mummies), the Sauco tree (which produce small and very tasty purplish-black fruits), the Capuli fruit tree (its fruit is almost the size of a cherry and its color, when ripe, is very attractive), the Qeuna tree (the trunk is quite twisted and the reddish bark flakes and peels as paper, leading some of the people of Cusco region to call it “the tree of tourists”), the Tamarillo tree (tree tomato), Cantutas (a.k.a. the flower of the Inca), Aguaymanto (Peruvian cherry or cape gooseberry), Muña (A mint-like Peruvian herb) and many other botanical specimens native to the Peruvian Andes. Once your group reaches the top of the mountain, you enjoy the spectacular view as your horse rests. There are really no words to describe the panorama. After some snacks and a drink, your group will continue to the ride descending lush and secret trails. A delicious fresh trout lunch will be served in the beautiful valley. You will then return to the ranch around 4:00 – 4:30. Dinner will be at the ranch or at a local restaurant. Overnight at the Hotel Sonesta Posada del Inca in the Sacred Valley.
Riding time 4-4,5 hours. Altitude 2,800 – 3,600 m / 9,190 – 11,800 ft.
Today, you will cross the Urubamba River via a bridge to Pichingote, an old Andean riverside hamlet. Next, your narrow trail will ascend to Salinas where you will see salt pans from Inca times 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. Your climb continues to reach the Andean altiplano. This climb takes about two hours and will be at an easy pace because the change of attitude also affects 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. Afterward, you will ride to Maras, a typical Andean village with a beautiful 400-year-old colonial church. The church at Maras was built just after the Conquest and is one of the ten oldest churches in South America. A picnic lunch will be served. 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 by 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. Your final trail leads to the beautiful churchyard of Tiobamba. The horses are left at a nearby village with the grooms and you will be returned to your hotel. After some rest and a hot shower, your group will 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.
Riding time: approximately 3,5 – 4 hours. Altitude: 2,800 – 3,550 m/9,190 – 11,650 ft.
After a sound and restful sleep, you will be picked up at 9:15 AM and transferred back to the village near Tiobamba where your horse will be waiting for you. Today is a day to follow primitive trails across the altiplano, enjoying spectacular scenery along the way with snow-capped 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 with oxen hitched plows. You may even share a chicha (a traditional maize drink) with them. Just before Chinchero, a delicious picnic lunch and our back up team awaits you. 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, your ride continues past small villages to Lake Piuray. Your ride ends at one of the villages. If time allows, you will visit Chinchero (if not, you will visit on the morning of day 8). At Chinchero, there may also be the chance to visit a textiles workshop and see a demonstration of ancient techniques of spinning, dying and weaving wool. The beautiful fabrics are still made in the same way as they would have been made in Inca times. Take some money as you may want to buy some souvenirs (although please do not feel obliged to buy anything). Next, you will be transferred to 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 center. Enjoy dinner in Cusco on your own. If you still have the energy, you can explore Cusco’s legendary nightlife! Riding time: approximately 4-5 hours. Altitude: 3,550 – 3,800 m/11,650 – 12,470 ft.
Relax and spend the day as you wish. You can 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 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 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 flavor. Overnight at the comfortable Hotel Costa del Sol or the Hotel Marriot in Cusco. (B).
After breakfast, your riding expedition continues. You will be met at 9:30 AM in your hotel in Cusco. Trails passing along old Inca trails and through open country with spectacular views will provide another memorable riding day in the Andes. The scenery is breathtaking (quite literally) with impressive views of the many snow-capped mountains and the altiplano. Herds of llamas and alpacas have usually been seen grazing. Sometimes, your group will have to ride along non-existing mountain trails which means that your guide will have to improvise and find the best way to get from one side of the mountain to the other. You will be impressed with your horse at how they are able to handle the difficult terrain and climbs. At one point, you will reach a pass at 4,350 m (14,275 ft.) and see the small, shallow Lake Quellacocha; the highest point of the ride. At the lake, you will stop for lunch. After lunch, your tow hour zigzag trail descends from the altiplano into the valley of Umaspampa. During the descent, you have to lead your horse for a short while (15 minutes or so) to cross some rocky terrain. Close to the village of Umasbamba, you will leave your horse in the caring hands of yur groom and you will be transported to your hotel in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Dinner at a local restaurant or at the ranch. Riding time: approximately 5 to 6 hours. Altitude: 3,300 – 4,350 m/10,820 – 14,275 ft.
Today is another stunningly scenic day and you will enjoy plenty of breaks and photo-stops. 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 main roads clearly recognizable, plus many secondary roads. After another beautiful afternoon ride, you arrive at the village of Racchi where your group will enjoy lunch. Afterward, you will ride to a small village not far away from Maras where the horses will stay with the grooms for the night. You will be transferred to your hotel in the Sacred Valley. Dinner at a local restaurant or at the ranch. Overnight at a 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.
You will be collected after breakfast for your last riding day. Today, your group will 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 meters 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, you will mount up to follow a trail with great views of the Urquillos Valley to the village of Maras. From Maras, you will continue the descent into the Sacred Valley arriving back at the ranch and journey’s end at around 4:00 PM in time to celebrate your return with a traditional Pisco Sour. Tonight, you will enjoy dinner at the ranch or at a local restaurant. Overnight at the Hotel Posada del Inca in Yucay. Riding time: approximately 4 hours. Altitude: 3,550 – 2,800 m/11,650 – 9,190 ft.
This is your day to visit Machu Picchu by train. Since its discovery by Hiram Bingham in 1911, Machu Picchu has captivated the hearts and minds of the modern world. Before it was declared a World Heritage by UNESCO in 1983, the Inca citadel was quite unknown to the world. However, since then, visits to Machu Picchu have increased to the point of becoming one of the favorite tourist destinations for travelers from all over the world. During all these years, the Ministry of Culture of Peru has established some rules to keep intact and preserve the facilities of this Wonder of the World, and the most recent update takes effect on Saturday, July 1st, 2017.
– There will be 2 entrance times: Morning: From 06:00 to 12:00 hrs and Afternoon: 12:00 to 17:30 hrs.
– The capacity of the Citadel is 2,500 visitors per day, which will be distributed in the 2 shifts mentioned
– The maximum length of stay in Machu Picchu will be 4 hours
– Visitors that wish to re-enter the Machu Picchu Citadel will be required to purchase a new ticket.
– Tickets cannot be changed on dates, names or shifts. In case a modification is required, a new ticket must be purchased.
– According to the new regulations, visitors will not be allowed to enter without a guide to the Citadel of Machu Picchu*.
Three (03) circuits have been designed within the Citadel of Machu Picchu. The visitor will choose the route that he wants when buying his ticket. Each course lasts from 2:30 – 3:00 p.m.
The circuits are marked with strings. Circuit 1 is the classic route and the most challenging from a physical perspective. Circuits 2 and 3 are more suitable for those who want a more relaxing visit.
Visitors are not allowed to leave these defined areas, and anyone who is doing so can be removed from the site.
* There are ‘official’ guides available at the entrance of the ruins. The service of the guide is not included in our trip price. Unfortunately, we can not guarantee the quality of this service and therefore we do not include a guide. The price for a guide is approx. US$ 40.
Depending on availability, your group will visit Machu Picchu in the afternoon shift. This will allow you to rest well after our riding expedition. You will be transferred to the train station in Ollantaytambo and when you return you will be picked up at the same station. AFterward, you will enjoy dinner at the ranch and make the most of the last chance to sample Maria’s legendary Pisco Sours! Overnight at the Hotel Posada del Inca in the Sacred Valley.
Early in the morning, you will be transferred to the Cusco Airport for your flight to Lima (driving times 1hr 15 minutes). Please note that the earliest possible departure time for your international flight from Lima is 5:00 PM.
The itinerary is flexible. Changes may occur due to weather and other unforeseeable circumstances.
Ride Details - The Inca Legends Ride
Dates: April 7 – 17th, May 12th – 22nd, May 26th – June 5th, July 14th – 24th, August 4th – 14th, September 8th – 18th, September 22nd – October 2nd, October 6th – 16th (six-day option is also available)
Meeting Place: Cusco Airport
Daily Riding Hours: 3 – 6 hours
Riding ability: ADVANCED: Confident and in control at all paces including posting trots, two point canters and gallops in open spaces. Comfortable in the saddle for 6 hours or longer. Capable of riding across rivers and along narrow ascending and descending trails. Capable of leading horses along narrow trails.
Health Alert: You must be physically able to hike at high altitudes (9,000 – 14,000 ft). If you have heart or lung problems, please consult your health advisor before taking this high altitude trip.
Weight limit: 188 lbs/85 kg
Horses: Peruvian Paso
Saddles: Peruvian box saddle with deep seat
Group size: 2 – 6
Accommodations: 3*** and 4**** hotels
$4,950.00 per person, double occupancy with total group of 4 – 7
$5,150.00 per person, double occupancy with total group of 2 – 3
$790.00 single supplement
Six-day option is also available. Contact us for dates and prices.
Includes: 10-night inn accommodations, most meals, professional trail guides, Peruvian Paso horses, tack, all trip gear, land travel, entrance fees to the ruins, train, bus and entrance fee to Machu Picchu
Not included: international airfare, domestic airfares LIMA-CUSCO and CUSCO-LIMA, lunch at Machu Picchu and lunch and dinner on day 1 and 8, airport taxes, alcoholic beverages, gratuities, optional activities, personal expenditures and travel insurance.
ANNUAL TEMPERATURE AND RAINFALL:
The Inca Legends Ride: Gallery
The Inca Legends Ride
Sacred Valley, Peru