Saturday, February 12, 2011

What is responsible tourism?

To help enjoy the richness of Peru, we suggest you think about the following during your visit.
Be sensitive to local customs.

Conduct that may be acceptable in certain Western communities (ie. Drug use, nude sun bathing, loud and gregarious public conversation) is not appropriate in this region and culture.

Don’t hand out sweets, loose change or small gifts, this only serves to corrupt and create begging mentality where none existed before.

Churches are often viewed as tourist attractions; however, their primary purpose is as houses of worship for local residents; visitors should be quiet and respectful.

Be aware of people’s sensitivity to be photographed; always ask first.

Be perceptive of your own cultural values and how they affect your judgment of others. There are many different concepts of time, personal space, communication etc. which are not wrong or inferior, just different.

Act as an example for other travelers who are less informed than you!

Be flexible in your expectations

Approach your travels with an open mind and you won’t be disappointed. Sometimes plans change and an chance for more in-depth learning or a unique cultural experience presents itself.

Adapt yourself to the situation rather than trying to change the situation to you.

Bridging the cultural gaps

Take the opportunity to be a cultural ambassador. Much of the world’s image of western tourists is based on the unrealities of television and magazines. Look for situations for cultural exchange whereby learning about each other’s lives is mutual. Getting to know the person sitting next to you on a local bus or the person cooking your food takes is often a rewarding experience (and a good chance to practice your Spanish!).

Practice environmental minimum impact

Follow the international “Leave No Trace” rules. Pack out everything that you bring in, including toilet paper (if there is no toilet) or plastic water bottles. Relieve yourself at least 70 meters from any water source. Remove litter that others leave behind.

When hiking, stay on the trail. Don’t trample delicate vegetation or remove any form of plant or animal life.

Don’t approach, surround or chase animals you may observe in order to get a photograph.

Accident in Colca Canyon sends three tourists to the hospital

by the Colca Specialist

Colca Canyon is literally the main attraction in Arequipa. Many visitors from all around the world come to visit the condors realm,but not everything is perfect.

Yesterday the travel agency Peru Andes, a trekking operator travel agency from Arequipa who operates Colca Canyon circuit had a terrible accident, when one of his buses was coming back to Arequipa from a tour in Colca Canyon. The result was a tour guide severely injured and three tourists whose holidays will be inside the hospital.

The fog and the heavy rains in this season make this circuit dangerous in this season. There are many landslides in places like Cabanaconde for example because of the heavy rains.

Long time ago, because of several accidents on the road, the local authorities recommended the visitors not to take the one day tour to Colca Canyon because it is not safe for the visitors. But as it seems travel agencies don´t care a bit about safety and now we see the results.

The tours depart everyday at 03:30 am from Arequipa and then they go straight to the condor cross to see the condors and then back to Chivay at Midday for lunch and hotsprings.After this they go back to Arequipa to arrive to the white city at 05:30 pm aproximatedly.

If we calculate the driver has to drive 13 to 14 hours aproximatedly.That is too much. And it is against the laws ,but don´t forget that in Southamerica the law is just a word that is not put into practice. There is just one driver during all the tour and that is dangerous. There is no a substitute driver.

After the hot springs and lunch the poor driver is sleeping on the steering wheel and that provokes accidents.

On the way back to Arequipa, 90 percent of the drivers chew Coca leaves to avoid falling asleep. But, let me tell you something, Coca leaves don´t do miracles. If that driver is falling asleep, it is because he was doing several tours the same week ,and be sure that that tour van is a candidate to win the last ride prize. If you see your driver chewing Coca leaves on the way back to Arequipa, it means that that driver is about to fall asleep.

On the way back to Arequipa everybody goes sleeping and as everybody knows sleeping is contagious.

One day tours are not recommended in Colca Canyon because of these situations. The other problem is that there are very cheap tours in Arequipa and those are the ones who are provoking the accidents. We have free market. The laws don´t regulate prices and there are tours that are expensive and others that are very cheap. Travel agencies don´t have a quality certification eventhough some owners of travel agencies say they do.

The driver comes back to Arequipa after a tour and the next day the same driver is travelling again and that is dangerous for the tourists.

One day tours are not recommended. Many accidents happen in Arequipa specifically in Colca Canyon circuit, accidents that are hidden from the eyesight of the press. Scandals are not good in tourism, because it means no sales, so that is why we have to be very careful before buying a tour. Visitors should check the weather news and it is irresponsible not to be well informed about the areas where we are planning to spend our holidays.

Speed excess is another problem, tour vans have a reputation of being the fastest, but come on guys we don’t need speed but safety.

The roads in this season are very foggy and rainy so it is better to be very careful and to avoid travelling to places in the highlands that in this season cannot be really appreciated because of the heavy rains and the fog.

There are many trails in Peru that get closed during the rainy season because of safety reasons.
The Colca specialist will keep you informed about all the aspects that deal with the condors realm Colca Canyon. Thank you for your attention and good luck.

The Colca Specialist.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Peruvian Paso Horses in Colca Valley

by the Colca Specialist

Horseback Riding in Colca Valley with Peruvian Paso Horses

Colca Horse el Herraje ranch whose owner is Sofía Málaga Cáceres offers you the oportunity to discover the beauty of Colca Valley not by bus bus but riding the famous peruvian paso horses.

Colca Horse el Herraje awarded by the Municipality of Arequipa

Sofía Málaga has her own ranch called Colca Horse el Herraje in the picturesque Yanque village, the favorite place of the Nobel Prize Mario Vargas Llosa in Colca Valley.

lateral facade of a colonial church in Yanque

Surrounded by a beautiful scenery,Colca Horse el Herraje Peruvian Paso horses can take you to Coporaque village (see walking in Coporaque with the Colca Specialist) or to other beautiful places,far from the noisy touristic groups in Chivay.

If you love nature and peaceful places Yanque is a good option. Yanque has very good hotels too and in the afternoon after your arrival horseback riding allows you to visit the inca complex called Uyo-Uyo which is very interesting or Coporaque village and its main attractions. At the end of the horseback riding in Yanque you can enjoy the hotsprings in Yanque village.

They are not far from the village and they are located next to Colca river. The scenery is impressive and you can enjoy the hot springs while sipping a good Pisco Sour ,courtesy of our friends from Colca Horse el Herraje. After the visit you can come back to your hotel in Yanque or in Chivay satisfied of having had a wonderful tour in Yanque.

Colca Horse El Herraje Address:

Pallaclli street 608 Yanque village, Caylloma province Arequipa,Perú.

Phone: 054-785243 or 054-958861880

What is a Peruvian Paso Horse?

The Peruvian Paso or Peruvian Horse is a
breed of light pleasure saddle horse known for its smooth ride. It is distinguished by a natural, four-beat, lateral gait called the paso llano.


Smooth-gaited horses, generally known as Palfreys, existed in the Middle Ages, and the Jennet in particular was noted for its ambling gaits. Peruvian Pasos trace their ancestry to these ambling Jennets; as well as to the Barb, which contributed strength and stamina; and to the Andalusian which added style, conformation and action.

Horses arrived in South America during the Spanish Conquest, beginning the arrival of Pizarro in 1531. Foundation bloodstock came from Spain, Jamaica, Panama and other areas of Central America. Importations increased after 1542, when the Spanish created the Viceroyalty of New Castilla. This later became the Viceroyalty of Peru, an important center of Spain's New World colonies in the eighteenth century.

Once in Peru, they were used primarily for transportation and breeding stock. In the north of Peru, the vast size of sugar and cotton plantations meant that overseers needed to travel long distances, often taking days to cross the plantation. In the south of Peru, the arid deserts that separated settlements required sturdy, strong horses. 

In both cases, smooth-gaited horses with good endurance were required. On the other hand, Peru did not develop a livestock-based economy, and thus did not need to breed for the speed or agility characteristic of stock horses.

Over time, Peruvian breeders kept the bloodlines clean and selectively bred primarily for gait, conformation, and temperament. They wanted strong, hardy animals that were comfortable to ride and easy to control. Over four centuries, their dedication to breeding only the best gaited bloodstock resulted in the modern Peruvian Paso.

A decline in the use of the Peruvian Paso horse was seen in the southern part of Peru in the early 1900s, following the building of major highways that allowed motor travel to replace the use of the horse. Many of the major breeders in the area gave their best horses away to peasants living in the nearby quebradas (valleys). It was in one of these quebradas that breeder Gustavo de la Borda found the horse that was to become the most important modern sire in the breed, Sol de Oro (Viejo).

The Peruvian Paso continued to flourish in the northern regions because it was still needed for transportation on the haciendas. This changed with the harsh Agrarian Reforms instituted by the government of Juan Velasco Alvarado in the late 1960s that had a devastating effect on the Peruvian Paso horse within Peru. Major breeding operations were broken up and breeding stock was lost.

Because interest in the Peruvian Paso horse was growing in the United States and Central America at the same time, many of the finest Peruvian Paso horses were exported, leading to a period where it appeared the Peruvian Paso horse would fade in its homeland.

The past thirty years have seen a resurgence in the Peruvian Paso horse's fortune in Peru. The annual National Show in Lima is a major event in Peruvian cultural life. The Peruvian Paso has been declared a Patrimonio Cultural (Cultural Heritage) of Peru in an attempt to shore up the breed within the country. There are now laws in place that restrict the export of national champion horses.

Peruvian Paso horses are noted internationally for their good temperament and comfortable ride. As of 2003, there are approximately 25,000 horses worldwide, used for pleasure riding, trail, horse shows, parades, and endurance riding.



The horse is medium sized, usually standing between 14.1 and 15.2 hands tall, with an elegant yet powerful build.[2] The Peruvian horse has a deep chest, heavy neck and body with substance without any trace of being hound gutted in the flank area. A low set, quiet tail, clamped tightly between the buttocks is a vital quality. Stallions have a broader chest and larger neck than mares, and are known for their quality temperament. The coat color can be varied; and is seen in chestnut, black, bay, brown, buckskin, palomino, gray, roan or dun. Solid colors, grays and dark skin are considered the most desirable. The mane and forelock are lustrous, fine and abundant. White markings are acceptable on the legs and face.


Instead of a trot, the Peruvian Paso performs an ambling four beat gait between the walk and the canter. It is a lateral gait, in that it has four equal beats and is performed laterally — left hind, left fore, right hind, right fore.

The Peruvian Paso performs two variations of the four-beat gait. The first, the paso llano (a contraction of Paso Castellano), is isochronous, meaning that there are four equal beats in a 1-2-3-4 rhythm. This is the preferred gait. The second gait, the sobreandando, is faster. Instead of four equal beats, the lateral beats are closer together in a 1-2, 3-4 rhythm, with the pause between the forefoot of one side to the rear of the other side is longer.

This characteristic gait was utilized for the purpose of covering long distances over a short period of time without tiring the horse or rider. The gait is natural and does not require extensive training. Purebred Peruvian Paso foals can be seen gaiting alongside their dams within a few hours of their birth.

The gait supplies essentially none of the vertical bounce that is characteristic of the trot, and hence posting (moving up and down with each of the horse's footfalls) is unnecessary. It is also very stable, as the execution of the gait means there are always two, and sometimes three, feet on the ground. Because the rider feels no strain or jolt,
gaited horses such as the Peruvian Paso are often popular with riders who have back trouble.


A unique trait of the Peruvian Paso gait is termino — an outward swinging leg action, originating from the shoulder, in which the front lower legs roll to the outside during the stride forward, similar to a swimmer's arms. Individual horses may have more or less termino. High lift or wide termino is not necessarily a sign of a well gaited horse; in fact it may be detrimental to a good gait.


Brio refers to a horse’s vigor, energy, exuberance, courage and liveliness; it automatically implies that these qualities are willingly placed in the service of the rider. Horses with true brio are willing workers.

Their attention does not wander but is focused on the handler or rider, and thus they are quick to react and fast to learn. Horses with brio attract attention, and combined with the stamina of the breed have reserves they can tap to travel long distances for many hours.

Breeders and judges look for Brio, often translated as "spirit," but this does not capture the complexity of the term. Brio describes a somewhat contradictory temperament, which combines arrogance, spirit, and the sense of always being on parade, with a willingness to please the rider. Brio is an intangible quality of controlled energy that creates a
metamorphosis in ordinary-looking horses and is an important trait of the Peruvian Paso.

The Question of "Paso"

Because of the shared word Paso, a close relationship between the Peruvian Paso and the

Paso Fino breed is incorrectly assumed. "Paso" simply means "step," in Spanish, and does not imply a common breed or origin. Although the two breeds share ancestors in the Old World, and have some similarities, they were developed independently for different purposes.

The two breeds are different and easily distinguishable. The Peruvian is somewhat larger, deeper in the body and wider. The Paso Fino is not bred for "termino" and its finest show gait does not require the length of stride that was required in Peruvian horses for traveling long distances.

The Peruvian Paso has been called the "national horse" of Peru. On the other hand, the Paso Fino was developed from horses throughout northern Latin America and the Caribbean, with major centers of development in Colombia and Puerto Rico. The Peruvian Paso is also increasingly referred to in North America as the "Peruvian Horse" in an attempt to differentiate its breed from that of the Paso Fino.