Horseback riding near Cusco can be a great alternative for your first days in high altitude. Cusco is definitely Peru’s most popular city, and every year over a million tourists pass through, most heading for Machu Picchu. However some are unprepared for the altitude, it’s recommended you rest for up to two days to acclimatize and avoid altitude sickness. Cusco sits at an elevation of around 3,4000 meters, and this normally poses only a mild inconvenience to some people, in some rare cases it can be serious.
Honestly, you should have a buffer period before you undertake anything strenuous–it could seriously ruin your holiday. In this time you can enjoy the city’s vibrant food scene and nightlife. (careful because altitude causes alcohol to effect you quicker!) After that you can begin to explore the region, either hiking, climbing, or other enjoyable physical activities. Of these options, horseback riding is probably the best way to ease into being active at high altitude. Keep reading to learn how you can organize a wonderful adventure around Cusco!
Where’s the best place to ride near Cusco?
Around 25 minutes by bus from central Cusco, past Saksaywaman and Cristo Blanco you can find beautiful landscapes that offer panoramic views of the city and mountains. Horse riding tours are organised here. There are numerous tour operators located in the city centre that run horse riding tours. They will prepare every detail of the trip, including transport, a guide who will explain the history of the ruins you will pass (the hills around Cusco are full of them) and equipment. Alternatively, you could go directly to Saksaywaman and hire a horse directly from the owner. The second option is surely cheaper!
Exploring the mountains, filled with typical Andean villages, is a great way to become familiar with Cuscos surroundings. Most importantly: with minimal physical effort. Plenty of trails, pure nature! If you’re short on time, a horse is a quick and easy way to see as much as possible.
Inca Ruins and horse riding adventure combined!
If by the time you take a horse-riding trip you haven’t been to Saqsaywaman, Puka Pukara and Tambomachay, you can visit these ruins by horse. It’ll be a two-for-one. The three ruins are located in a row north of Cusco, and are accessible by trail and road.
If you enjoy seeing the world on horseback, Cusco region has plenty of great places to visit. One example is the picturesque town of Ollantaytambo in the sacred valley. Take a look at this article for more info: Tips about horse riding and trekking from Ollantaytmbo to Inti Punku.