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Horseback riding in Peru - Activity Info. - Peru

Peru is a country of spectacular vistas and incredible natural diversity, and one of the best ways to experience it is on horseback.

The Peruvian Paso horse is a specific Peruvian breed, descended from the original horses brought over by the conquistadores over 400 years ago. The Paso horses feature a four-beat gait (called the paso llano) that, despite being rather spirited, makes them exceptionally smooth to ride.

Peruvian horses are often trained differently than in other parts of the world: if you're an experienced rider, you may find that your horse does not respond to the commands you’re used to. If this is the case, simply take a little time to become accustomed to the proper commands and ask the guide if you have any problems.


  • Most horseback tour operators in Peru are reputable and take excellent care of their horses, particularly those that offer multi-day excursions. However, some of the smaller operators and those specializing in day trips don't take as good care of their horses as they should. If you think your operator is a little sketchy, ask to see the horses beforehand. If they look unhealthy or have saddle sores, you may want to find a different operator: nothing can ruin a riding trip like thinking your mount has been abused. Please advise Viva Travel Guides if you find inhumane situations at any stables.
  • Some of the horses are tamer than others, and some can be downright squirrelly. If you feel like you have no control over your horse, don’t hesitate to ask for a change.
  • If the tack (saddle and bridle) looks old, cracked, or too worn, ask to have it changed. A fall can lead to serious injury. Be sure the girth band is tight and make sure the stirrups are the right length: if they’re too short or too long it will make your ride difficult.
  • Your guide will usually be the person who takes care of the horses: chances are he will know more about horses than local culture, flora or fauna, and may not say much during the trip. If the horses are healthy, clean and well-behaved, be sure to tip at the end of the ride. A couple of dollars per rider should suffice.

Different areas for horseback riding:

The north of Peru, the Cajamarca-Trujillo-Chiclayo area, is a popular one for multi-day horseback trips. Northern Peru receives significantly less visitors than the Cusco/Machu Picchu area, and the rides are therefore more rustic. There are still ruins to ride through, and many museums and hot springs to visit.

The Ayacucho area is also popular, as it offers stunning Andean vistas along with good markets for shopping. Many multi-day horseback trips in the Ayacucho area go from the highlands to the coast, and take little trips to Ica and the Nasca lines.

The Sacred Valley, with its picturesque towns, Andean culture, and ancient ruins is another favorite horseback riding destination. There are many nice hotels as well where you can spend the night. Many of the longer tours include side trips to Machu Picchu and Cusco. Expect to see fields of wildflowers, smiling children herding sheep and goats, and spectacular mountain vistas.

In the far south, Arequipa is a popular destination for horseback riding, and it is easy to find trips into the nearby Colca Canyon. There are several travel agencies in town that can hook you up with a reputable horseback tour.

Activity Info., Horseback Riding Info.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Peru: Pucallpa Nature Park, Lamas Ethnic Museum, Blue Lagoon, Trekking and Climbing in Peru, The Association of Gente del Manana, Awamaki, Tumbes National Forest, Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco, Sandboarding in Peru and Quinua.

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