Horseriding in Colca Canyon

peru horseback riding aracari

For travelers who looking for an outdoor adventure, Peru has wonderful opportunities to horseback ride through impressive landscapes  One of our favorite places to ride is in the Colca Valley in Southern Peru, home to a range of alternative adventure activities, cultural and historical attractions. Here we share our expereince horseriding in Colca Canyon on a short trail of three hours. We also offer a longer horseback ride in Colca which takes around five hours.

Horseriding in Colca Canyon

On an inspection trip to the valley, I was delighted to discover that this is a terrific way to experience the beautiful Colca region. I met with my Chalan (an expert equestrian guide) early in the morning at my hotel, near the small village of Corporaque, and we set out on a short route through the Colca Valley, lasting around three hours. We trotted through the outskirts of the village, passing by locals, before continuing through fields of native crops like quinoa and habas. We began to move uphill, where the view of the valley opened up beneath us: gorgeous green terraced fields with distant snowy peaks illuminated on the horizon.

Pre-Incan Burian Graves of the Colca Culture

On the horseride you get to visit the Yuraq Qaqa graves, also referred to as Aya Wari or “House of the Dead,” where you will observe the burial rituals of the ancient Colca cultures in which bones and skulls are still visible. Then you’ll pass back through the main square of Coporaque, visiting the Colonial temple of Santiago de Apostol, built in 1569 on your way.

The Peruvian Paso Horse

Despite the fact that I do not have extensive experience in horseback riding, it did not take long for me to become accustomed to my steed, a Peruvian Paso Horse. My guide explained that the Peruvian Paso Horses are great for beginners and are incredibly versatile, sure-footed creatures and ideal for riding through the rough terrain of the Andes. Although at some points we went up large slopes, across streams and over plenty of rocks, I always felt secure in the saddle of my horse. He was incredibly responsive to my gestures, and I never felt like I would lose control. Soon I was comfortable on the horse, which allowed me to relax and soak in the scenery of Colca while listening to the guides’ fascinating explanation of native flora and fauna and the livelihoods of local people in rural Colca.


Contact us for travel advice on visiting the Colca Canyon


Getting Off the Beaten Path in Colca

When compared to the Cusco region, Colca is still seldom visited by foreign travellers. Those who do come here tend to focus on a strict and inflexible circuit, travelling early in the morning to the Colca Canyon and the Condor Cross in tour busses before going to the villages of Yanque and Cabanaconde.  While these attractions are important – and we do visit them with Aracari in our own way – for me, horseback riding opened up another side of the destination. As well as getting to see parts of the Andes with no tourists, which enriched the experience invariably for me, it was an invigorating adventure experience that far surpassed the predictability of travelling everywhere by car!

But I think what was most impressive and authentic about this experience is that you feel that this is what it must have been like for the first Europeans to travel through the Andes. You get a real sense of what it must have been like for them to navigate through the mountains for the first time, and this is heightened by the fact that many areas of the Colca are still very isolated and remote. The Paso horse was originally brought to Peru by the Spanish conquistadors, so this only adds to the sensation.

A longer Horseback ride in Colca

If you’re looking to spend longer in the saddle, a great alternative is the Achoma horseback ride in Colca. This similarly takes you along rural backgrounds until you reach the lookout point of Achoma, above the village of the same name. The route is not harder, just longer. We recommend the shorter route for almost all, unless you are an experienced rider, as you will find you put little-used muscles to action and will feel the effect the following day if you opt for the longer ride.

Travel With Aracari to the Colca Valley

After a few hours horseriding in Colca, I arrived back at the hotel to continue my Colca tour. Cantering in the Colca Valley is a must for Aracari guests who travel to this region.

Contact us or email us on travel@aracari.com for more information on horseriding in Colca Canyon and planning a tailormade trip to Peru.

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