Lovers of horseback riding will find several areas in Peru to pursue their interest, as well as hotels and operators that can arrange everything from a couple hours in a saddle to 2-week trips on horseback. The best areas for treks on horseback are the Colca Canyon, near Arequipa, and the Callejón de Huaylas, the valley near the peaks of the Cordillera Blanca; a couple of local and international tour operators offer horse trekking in those areas. Otherwise, your options are mostly limited to a few country hotels in Cajamarca, the Sacred Valley, and Colca Valley.
In the area around Pisco, horseback riding is available in Ica at Hotel Las Dunas. For riding on the outskirts of Cusco, the Casa Andina hotel group (www.casa-andina.com) arranges excellent day-long trips, available for walking between the ruins (Sacsayhuamán, Q'enko, Puca Pucara, and Tambomachay) just beyond Cusco and in the countryside. In the Sacred Valley, check out Sonesta Posadas del Inca and Sol y Luna Lodge & Spa; in Ollantaytambo, you can usually arrange horseback riding along valley trails by asking around the main square. The Las Casitas del Colca has horses for treks in the Colca Valley and Canyon; local agencies in Arequipa that arrange horseback treks through the Colca Canyon include Colca Trek (tel. 054/202-461; www.colcatrek.com) and Peru Trekking (tel. 054/223-404). In Huaraz, try Andino Club Hotel or Monttrek, which arranges good horseback mountain and valley treks. A number of country hotels just outside Cajamarca have horses for riding, including Hotel & Spa Laguna Seca, Hotel Posada del Puruay, and Hostal Portada del Sol Hacienda. Finally, most people go to the jungle for bird-watching or canoe trips, but Manu Expeditions (tel. 084/226-671; www.manuexpeditions.com) organizes horseback riding from the Manu Wildlife Center.
Adventure Specialists (tel. 719/630-2086; www.adventurespecialists.org) organizes horse-supported Machu Picchu treks, including the unique 8-day "Machu Picchu Pony Express."
Monttrek (tel. 043/421-124), based in Huaraz, offers horseback riding and other adventure sports in the area around the Cordillera Blanca.
Perol Chico (tel. 084/9846-24475; www.perolchico.com), in Urubamba, operates a ranch and is one of the top horseback-riding agencies in Peru, offering full riding vacations with Peruvian Paso horses and stays at the ranch, as well as 1- and 2-day day rides (and up to 12-day horseback adventures in the Sacred Valley).
Southwind Adventures (tel. 800/377-9463; www.southwindadventures.com) offers horse-packing among its roster of adventure trips in Peru.
Sol y Luna Lodge & Spa in Urubamba also organizes horseback-riding programs that range from a half-day trip to 14-day trips in the Sacred Valley on Peruvian Paso horses.