You will be collected from your hotel in the ancient Inca capital of Cusco (altitude 3.338 m / 10,952 ft) at 9:00 am. From here, it is a one-hour drive to the ranch in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. This base is perfectly located in the heart of the Sacred Valley between Cusco and Machu Picchu, the famous lost city of the Incas.
Today you will have a chance to familiarize yourself with the beautiful Peruvian Paso horses and the traditional Peruvian riding gear. Upon arrival at the ranch you will be given a demonstration of Peruvian equitation by your host, a Peruvian chalan (horse trainer). After a short riding course in the Classic Peruvian Equitation and safety briefing we will evaluate your riding ability (and take into account your horse preference) and match you with a suitable mount.
Around 12:30 pm enjoy a typical Peruvian barbecue at the ranch. A Pisco Sour (our national cocktail) is part of the Peruvian tradition and, of course, included. After lunch we will mount our horses and climb with the horses almost 800 m (2,600 ft.) to the reach the Andean high plateau. The climb takes about two hours, and will be at an easy pace. Once at 3600 m / 11,800 ft., the stunning scenery and the snow-capped mountains of Chicon, Veronica and Pumahuanca are impressive. On our way up we pass the saltpans from Inca times which are still being used by the locals to extract salt from the mountain spring water. Ride to the typical Andean village of Maras, where you will meet the back up staff and car. The horses stay with the grooms for the night and the car will bring you back to the valley where you will spend the night in a quaint hotel. After refreshing with a hot shower and a rest enjoy dinner at one of the local restaurants.
The opportunity to visit Peru in the hands of these hosts is an incredible trip of a lifetime. The trip is even more exciting than described - I should have been warned that I would want to move to Peru! It is one of the most beautiful countries I've visited, but I think these hosts could make any ride fun.
Melissa and Addie York, 2011