Peruvian Caballo de Paso: A Glimpse into the Mircaculous 5-Day Horse Festival in Peru

Enjoy the spectacle at Peru's 5-day horse festival
Enjoy the spectacle at Peru's 5-day horse festival | © Tomas Sobek / Flickr
Photo of Brandon Dupre
25 April 2018

The Peruvian horse festival is the most important event for horse breeders in Peru, when the county’s finest all descend on Mamacona, a short distance from Lima. It’s not just about the horses though, the event is a celebration of Peruvian tradition, culture and is full of music, good food and plenty of drinks. Here’s what you need to know about Peru’s largest horse festival.

The horses

The horses are the attraction that brings everyone from Lima to Mamacona, an area that is otherwise unknown to most travelers. The horses come from the north of Peru and are famous for their smooth ride and unusual trot. Their interesting movements trace back to the Spanish conquest and they have been bred with their distinct characteristics for the last 400 years.

The days are filled with events to find the country's finest horse | © Tomas Sobek / Flickr

The events

The tournament is all about finding the most beautiful and elegant horse, which is decided on after several days of events. The dance is called the Marinera and comes from the north of Peru. It involves a man on a horse and a woman dancing barefoot in the area. The horse and the woman dance with each other in a display of finesse and elegance. Through the 5-day tournament you’ll get your chance to see remarkable horsemanship, but make sure not to miss out on the Marinera dance, the pride of northern Peru.

A closer look at the Peruvian Paso | © Tomas Sobek / Flickr

The food and drinks

Like every great Peruvian festival there is plenty to drink and eat. You’ll find stands whipping up pisco sours and other pisco cocktails as well as plenty of beer being served. The food selection represents all of Peru in one place. You’ll find classic Peruvian dishes like ceviche plus fusions like chifa, a Chinese Peruvian dish. If you’ve never tried Peruvian food before or want to get a good feel for it, this is your place. You’ll find it all at the horse festival.

A young Peruvian Paso | © Tomas Sobek / Flickr

Pachacamac ruins

The festival takes place only a short bus ride away from the Pachacamac ruins, one of South America’s oldest ruins. They are often overlooked for Inca ruins and because they’re slightly off the popular Peruvian Gringo Trail, but the Pachacamac ruins are one of the most important ruins in the country and some of the oldest too, pre-dating the Incas by hundreds of years. The site is well known for its large temples and pyramids.

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