Overview

Experience the history and culture of the Machu Picchu lodge to lodge ride.
Those in search of a true once-in-a-lifetime experience can choose to make their pilgrimage to Machu Picchu in comfort with sure-footed horses as their ideal travelling partners. Guests on horseback stay in Mountain Lodges of Peru’s outstanding collection of satellite lodges along an uncrowded route that led early Incas to the great city of Machu Picchu.

The pristine natural beauty that envelopes you throughout the seven day trek, takes you through fifteen unique ecosystems, and will inspire you to challenge yourself, as you navigate changing altitudes (even a 4,572 m/15,000 ft mountain traverse) and varied terrain. Along the route you encounter picturesque hamlets populated by Andean families, who maintain centuries-old traditions, while you simultaneously witness environmental and social initiatives created to maintain the integrity of their culture and improve the quality of life.

Key Facts

  • Runs 31 March to 31 December 2018
  • Set departures and private groups
  • Minimum 2 / Maximum 8 riders
  • Trail with progressive riding
  • 8 Days / 7 nights (6 days riding)
  • 3- 5 hours riding per day
  • Suits intermediate to advanced riders
  • Weight limit – 90 kilos

Riding Level and Horses

Mountain Lodges of Peru has bred a number of its own Quarter Horses, and also use Peruvian Pasos, Arabs and Thoroughbreds which are specially exercised and trained for this trip, so they are highly aware and accustomed to the local terrain, wildlife and to performing at high altitude, making them a very secure ride.  They combine responsiveness, energy, bravery and manners to produce the perfect trail horse. All horses are picked from a pre-selected pool especially for each trip, according to their fitness level at the time. The horses are specially trained for high altitudes and the rugged terrain. For extra pre-caution all horses are fitted with boots or bandages to protect them and ‘replacement’ or back-up horses are taken on every trip. These horses are suitable for intermediate to advanced riders. Novices are welcome but they will have a specially selected type of horse and have direct assistance from a horseman.

Two types of saddles are offered: Firstly, Uruguayan Endurance Saddles (assimilates to English-type) leather saddles. Secondly, American Endurance saddles (assimilates to Western-type) synthetic saddle.

We keep groups small, carefully match horses to riders, see that people of similar skills ride together, and train ride leaders carefully.

The horses are forward going, strong, reliable, good natured and sure footed and vary in height from 14hh to 16hh.

Ride and terrain: 3-6 hours in the saddle per day including breaks for lunch.  Walk, trot, canter on open roads, some steep ascending trails and open fields.

Experience Level & Health: Strong novice to advanced (some trail experience recommended).  You need to be very fit and healthy due to the high altitude and demands of the terrain.  If you are over 65 years a doctors letter is required.

All guests must have valid proof of insurance coverage as a minimum for Medical Emergency Treatment and Evacuation. Make sure that the insurance policy includes Adventure Travel Activities or similar coverage.

Helmets are strongly recommended and a packing list will be provided when you book the ride.

Itinerary

You will need to arrive a day before your trip start date and arrange a hotel. You will also need to spend a night in Cusco on the last day of your trail (dependent on flight times). Please ask your travel consultant for advice. Please note services start for collection from hotel at 7 am on day one. Note: On the evening before this day there will be a briefing with your guide in Cusco.

DAY 1 – Cusco to Salkantay Lodge
After an early breakfast, you are picked up starting at 7:00 am at your Cusco hotel by a MLP guide and vehicle. En-route we take a short break to visit the Inca ruins of Tarawasi near the town of Limatambo (approx. 1.5 hrs from Cusco). After leaving Limatambo, we pass through the mountain village of Mollepata where we stop for a short coffee break before ascending a winding mountain road to Coronilla Ranch.  Here, after a short period of familiarization with the equestrian team and the horses, we begin our ride to Soraypampa. This is a good opportunity for everyone to acclimatize while enjoying a beautiful 3-4 hour ride. Salkantay Lodge takes its name from the majestic peak at the head of the valley—Mt. Salkantay, the second most sacred peak in Inca mythology and, at 6,270m, the highest in the region. After a warm welcome by our friendly staff, we are shown to our rooms and have time to freshen-up, before tea and cookies. The trip leader will hold a briefing by the fireplace, followed by aperitifs and dinner. Riding time: Approximately 5 hours (including picnic lunch en- route). | Ride and terrain: Walk, trot, canter, gallop on open roads, some steep ascending trails.  Overnight: Salkantay Lodge at 3,869m.

DAY 2 – Ride to Lake Humantay and the Chakana
Today’s excursion takes us first to Humantay Lake, fed by glacier far above on the slopes of the impressive Mt. Humantay. Our 1-hour ride there is followed by a short 20-minute walk, which is necessary in order to reach the lake, but the view is well worth it and those brave enough can go for a swim.  After a short snack break we hike back down to where we left the horses, and from where we begin a 30-minute ride to our next dismount spot: the gateway to the “Chakana” (the mystical Cross of the Incas, located on a view point high above Soraypampa). From here, we begin a one-hour excursion on foot to our destination, the actual “Chakana”. This excursion allows guests to enjoy the best views of the Soraypampa Valley, Mt. Salkantay and Mt. Humantay, and is truly one of the high points of our journey…which should not be missed! A mystical offering to Mother Earth (or “Pachamama”) at the Chakana, performed by a local Shaman, in full view of the awe-inspiring Mt. Salkantay, tops off this unique experience. We return to the lodge for lunch with your afternoon at leisure, after which you may choose to trade the glacial swim for a relaxing soak in our outdoor jacuzzi. Additionally there is the option of riding out again for a couple of hours in the surrounding area. All meals are served at the Lodge. Riding time: Approx 4 hours. Ride and terrain: Walk, trot, canter on open roads, some steep ascending trails and open fields. Overnight: Salkantay Lodge at 3,869m.

DAY 3 – Crossing the Salkantay Pass
Today we continue our journey towards Machu Picchu, riding up the Rio Blanco valley and circling Humantay Peak across from Salkantay Peak. The highest point of the ride is the Salkantay Pass at 4,638m. At the pass we stop to take in views of snow-capped peaks of the Vilcabamba Range in every direction, with the glaciated south face of Salkantay towering above us. We will keep our eyes out for Andean condors, often visible in this area. From the pass we descend towards the Wayra Lodge, (“Wayra”: wind; from the name of the location “Wayracmachay”: ‘the cave where the wind lives’) our destination for the evening. A hot lunch is taken en-route; dinner and overnight at the Lodge. Riding time: Approximately 5 hours including hot lunch en-route. Ride and terrain: Walk, trot, on mostly steep trails and some open slopes. Overnight: Wayra Lodge at 3,906 m.

DAY 4 – Descending  into the Cloud Forest
On this day we enjoy a leisurely breakfast at Wayra Lodge, and then we continue downhill above the Salkantay River, descending into the cloud forest, through increasingly verdant scenery. We can feel the warm air rising from the jungle, accompanied by colourful butterflies and striking orchids. Upon arrival at Colpa Lodge we are greeted with a Pachamanca, a traditional festive Peruvian meal cooked by layering meat and vegetables with hot stones. Everything is then covered with hot stones, plantain leaves, high Andean grass and local herbs and the contents are baked in this underground oven. Colpa Lodge is located on an open plateau at the confluence of three rivers. We spend the afternoon relaxing or exploring the nearby orchid trail. Dinner and overnight at the lodge. Riding time: Approximately 4 hours. Ride and terrain: Walk or trot, on narrow trails. Overnight: Colpa Lodge at 2,870 m.

DAY 5 – Following the Santa Teresa River Valley
Today we ride along the Santa Teresa river valley, through more populated rural areas. We pass through banana, passion fruit, avocado orchards and coffee plantations. The coffee grown here is said to be one of the best organic coffees in the world. Our ride takes us to the beginning of the “Llactapata Inca Trail”, which is where we say goodbye to our horses and equestrian staff. A short 30-minute walk through an avocado orchard brings us to Lucma Lodge.  Dinner and overnight at the lodge. Riding time: Approximately 5 hours. Ride and terrain: Walk, trot, and canter on steep trails and some open roads. Overnight: Lucma Lodge at 2,135 m.

DAY 6 – LUCMABAMBA | EXPLORING LLACTAPATA PASS
After a hearty breakfast, we tackle the last day of our trek. We head uphill for 2-3 hours towards Llactapata Pass (2,736 m/8,974ft), where we come upon a distant but spectacular view of Machu Picchu Sanctuary from the southeast, a view few travellers ever get a chance to admire. We take a short break to explore the Llactapata Ruins, which have recently been restored. Lunch is served at a scenic viewpoint, looking out to Machu Picchu. After which we begin our final descent to the Aobamba River through lush bamboo forests, orchards and coffee plantations. We then board a train for a scenic ride (approx. 1 hour) to Aguas Calientes, the town of Machu Picchu. Upon arrival, we check into an award-winning hotel for a celebration dinner with our guide and one last briefing. Trekking time: 4–6 hours. Hiking level: Moderate to challenging. Overnight: Aguas Calientes at 1,900 m.
Note: Those who prefer not to hike can go to the train station by van after a leisurely morning including breakfast and lunch at the lodge. They will meet the rest of the group at the train station for the ride to Aguas Calientes together.

DAY 7 – Visit Machu Picchu Sanctuary
After a very early buffet breakfast at the hotel, you will make your way to the bus station for the ride up to Machu Picchu Sanctuary (approx 30 minutes). Your trip leader will give an introductory two hour guided tour of the ruins, after which you will have the option to explore freely through the site for 2 hours. Afterwards, you will meet up with your guide again to return by bus to Aguas Calientes for a late lunch and an afternoon train ride back toward Cusco. The ride from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo takes about 1½ hours, from where a private vehicle will then take over for the drive back to Cusco (an additional 1½ hour). Upon arrival in Cusco (approximately 7 or 8 p.m.), you will be dropped off at the hotel of your choice. (Accommodation not included tonight).  

Accommodation and Food

The boutique lodges welcome you with all the comforts of home.  The mountain lodges were built using traditional Inca building techniques with sensitivity to the surrounding environment with all the comforts of home all at a high standard.

With innovative Andean cuisine and mountain-luxury amenities so at the end of each day, you will enjoy hot showers, fine gourmet meals, select wines, goose-down bedding, massages, outdoor jacuzzis and highly personalized service from our local staff.

This is a trip of a lifetime creating superb travel experiences and wondrous memories and on some occasions even life-changing ones.

Dates and Prices

Dates 2018: 18-24 April, 22-28 May, 20-26 June, 13-19 July, 21-27 August, 26 Sept – 2 October, 24-30 October, 22-28 November, 30 December – 5 January 2019.

Cost: The prices are based in US dollars (Please contact us for the Australian dollar conversion, we use the ANZ bank for conversion.)

Low Season:  1 November to 14 December 2018 USD$3125.00 Twin/double share Single supplement USD$1562.50

Mid-Season:  1 – 3 March 2018 USD$3700.00 Twin/double share Single Supplement USD$1850.00

High Season:  1 April – 31 October 2018 USD$4125.00 Twin/double share Single supplement USD$2062.50

If you are travelling solo and prefer to share there maybe an opportunity to share and if we can’t find someone to share there is a 25% discount on the single supplement.

Rates are based on the USD dollar and are subject to currency fluctuation, so please contact us for the most up to date pricing for your riding holiday.

Includes

  • Support vehicle and transfers to all riding locations during your stay
  • 6 nights accommodation in Lodges (5 nights in MLP Lodges and 1 night in Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel or similar in Aguas Calientes)
  • All meals, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages (except breakfast on the first day and dinner on the last day)
  • At Lodges filtered and sparkling water, tea, coffee, juice and soft drinks are included
  • Transfer services where stated in the itinerary
  • Guides and all ground transportation, including trains
  • Entrance fees and permits to tourist and archaeological sites
  • Tips for staff at the Lodges and staff in the field are included

Not included

  • International flights, transfers and travel insurance (compulsory)
  • Alcoholic beverages, bottled water and sports drinks
  • Breakfast on Day 1 and Dinner on Day 2
  • Arrival and departure nights (night before trail starts due to early morning pick up and departure day finishes late)
  • Guides tips.  It is suggested between US$5 – $10 per day
  • Rate does not include mandatory entrance fee of US$50.00 pp to ride on Salkantay trail.  Paid locally.
  • Single room supplement on application

Other Information

Location
Cusco, Peru

Weather
Cusco has only two climate seasons: a dry season from April to October, and a wet season from December to March.  June to August are often the coldest, driest months.  Shoulder seasons can be more variable.  The weather in the mountains can change quickly and you should be prepared for 4 seasons in one day. It is recommended to bring winter clothing and rain gear at all times. Expect temperatures ranging from -5°C to -10°C at night and up 20°C during the day.

Activities
Non-riders are welcome to join riding friends and they can hike and have other activities planned for them.  There is a specific non-riding itinerary available please ask us for further details.

Languages spoken
English and Spanish

Closest Train or Airport
Cusco, Peru

Terms and conditions and terms apply to this riding holiday

Please contact Snaffle Travel for further information, booking terms and conditions to info@snaffletravel.com.au

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