Horseback Riding Cusco Reviews
May 23, 2005
Cuzco is one of the "must see" cities in Peru. It is most visitors' first stop on the way to Machu Picchu. But plenty of amazing ruins can be seen just outside the city. The best way to see many of these sites, along with some beautiful Peruvian scenery, is on horseback.
The first step to take is purchasing a "Boleto Turistico del Cuzco." For about 70 soles ($22) you get a ticket that will let you into about 15 sites and museums around the city. That is a much better price than paying for each site individually. (Check the website http://www.boletoturisticocusco.com for site list and any price updates.) The Boleto office is off the south-east corner of Plaza des Armas, down Avenida Sol. The office can also give you information about where to sign up for a horseback riding excursion. If you choose not to purchase a Boleto, you will have to pay individually for each site along the horse riding trail.
Many offices around the city offer horseback riding, but they usually all bring you to the same starting point and follow the same trail. The only thing to compare is price. The cheapest tickets I found were $10. Often times, booking offices can sell you tickets for other excursions (biking, whitewater rafting, train tickets to Machu Picchu), so be sure to look at any other offerings they have. Also, if you opt to get picked up at your hotel, make sure the booking agent knows where the hotel is! The map on the back of your Boleto is excellent for this.
Horseback riding excursions leave throughout the day. Best advice: get an early departure time. The day is coolest in the morning, fewer people are on the trail, and you can spend longer at each site.
Before departing the stables, you'll be put into a group. If you booked as a large group, you probably won't be placed with others. If you are by yourself or in a small group, you will be mixed with other trekkers. Most mixed groups are only 6-8 people. You will also be given 2 or 3 guides to walk the horses, and a guide to take you around each site.
The excursion I took visited 5 Incan sites: Amarumachi, Q'enqo, Tambomachay, Pukapukara, and Saqsaywaman. It also stopped by some natural rock slides, which you can climb up and skid down on the seat of your pants! All the sites are amazing. We had a guide with us who walked around each site, explaining the meanings of the sites' names, ancient carvings in the rocks, and what ceremonies and rituals were performed at each one.
Between the sights, the horses pretty much drive themselves. The guides are there to keep them from getting spooked and make sure they stay on the trail. The trail itself winds its way across fields, between rolling hills, down dirt and paved roads, all against the gorgeous backdrop of the Andes mountains.
Most trails end at Saqsaywaman. You can arrange at the booking office ahead of time for transport back to your hotel. Treks last about 3-4 hours, plus 30-40 minutes driving time each way
All-in-all, horseback riding around Cuzco is one of the most memorable adventures on any Peru trip. For a minimal cost, you get an amazing experience in a beautiful country. Happy trails!
Part of the Peru 2005 travel blog
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