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Inca Trail Trekking Map

20 Apr

In 2013 Alpaca Expeditions had a trekker on the Classic Inca Trail Trek named Rusty Rayner. Rusty has a website development and graphic design company in based in Rockledge, Florida in the USA. Rusty had traveled to over 30 countries prior to his trip to Peru, but he felt that his Inca Trail trek was one of the most memorable adventures he had ever experienced.

When he returned back home, he became fascinated by researching the old Inca Trail maps. With his talents and abilities, he decided to create a customized map of the Classic Inca Trail he had just trekked. This stylized map was designed to look old, hand-drawn and heavily worn, as if it accompanied Hiram Bingham when he first rediscovered Machu Picchu in 1911.

itm_the_rusty_pixel_sampleInitially the map was intended only as a personal custom photobook of his trek, but Rusty shared it with us at Alpaca Expeditions and we loved it! One of our pet projects at Alpaca is our Social Programs to benefit the families of the men who act as our porters on the Inca Trail. These men are subsistence farmers back in their villages and are supplementing their meager incomes in agriculture, in hopes of offering their children a better education and their families a little better lifestyle.

We suggested to Rusty that he consider sharing his maps with our other clients by offering the maps for sale.  He agreed to donate 10% of the profits to our Social Program to help the families of the porters who made his Inca Trail trek possible in the first place! Having been on the trek with Alpaca, Rusty knew just how hard the porters worked and their importance to the overall experience and enjoyment of the trip. So he agreed and this website is the result of this partnership.

alpaca_expeditions_inca-trail01bIf you are interested in owning one of these beautiful maps, please go to Rusty’s website at http://inca-trail-map.com. The map highlights not only the route taken during your trek but the important ruins, camp sites, and passes encountered along this ancient path, known to the Inca as the Qhapaq Ñan, to Machu Picchu. An altitude and elevation chart shows the various peaks and passes during the trek. You can also customize your map by adding your trekking dates, name or whatever you would like.  It will likely become a conversation piece for friends and family and one of your most cherished works of art.

Hiking the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you will remember and treasure for years to come. This unique map makes the perfect souvenir that you can proudly display anywhere. We hope you enjoy this Classic Inca Trail map for many years to come!

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Trekking to Machu Picchu, 2016 – Machu picchu tours

1 Mar

KM 82

By Lisa McClendon Sims

The Inca Trail’s new season starts TODAY, March 1st, 2016. Ever since Machu Picchu earned the distinction of being one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007, its popularity has been increasing steadily and we are seeing people from every possible corner of the world now in Peru sporting trekking poles and camelbacks!

Journey is the DestinationDid you know that the Inca Trail Trek is sold out through most of August already? Many people don’t realize that there is a limit of 500 trekkers per day to start the Inca Trail, and that number includes all of the support staff – guides, cooks, and porters. In order to preserve the integrity of this famous part of what the Inca called the Qhapaq Ñan – the 24,800 mile system of paths that run through the Andes and the ancient Inca Empire and is now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site – no hooved pack animals are allowed along the majority of what is now known as the Inca Trail. We therefore have to rely on people to help us carry camping gear, food, sleeping and cooking supplies. In ancient times these people were called “chaskis” that ran like lightning along these paths tag-team style, and were famed for the speed in which they could get messages across the vast expanse of the Inca Empire.

Today, for each group of 6 trekkers, Alpaca Expeditions will have 11 porters, 1 chef and 1 guide. So you can see that we need triple the number of permits to enter the Inca Trail as we have trekkers. Thus the high demand for the 500-per-day permits.

Obviously, if you are wanting to hike the Inca Trail Trek in 2016, you need to make plans now! We still have all of September, October and half of November this year before our rainy season begins again in mid-November and the weather becomes a bit less predictable. We can make bookings through January of 2017 now. February 1st 2017 the Inca Trail will close for a month – February is our wettest month – during which time maintenance of the Trail is also carried out.

AlpacaExpeditions_Fotos_SantiagoPascual_037.jpgWere you wanting to hike in Peru before August of 2016? Not to worry!! Alpaca Expeditions specializes in Alternative Treks as well! Our two most popular alternative treks are the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu and the Lares Trek. These less well known but fascinating treks and each have their own distinct flavor and style and fewer other hikers along the way. No permits from the Peruvian government are required for many of our alternative treks, and we are able to use pack animals, so they tend to be a bit less expensive than the Inca Trail Treks. The Salkantay to Machu Picchu trek scenery is perhaps even more stunning, and many of our trekkers feel that it is more challenging than the Inca Trail Trek.

The Lares Trek offers a few more cultural opportunities than the others. It starts in the Lares Valley and offers the opportunity to experience one of the few the thermal baths or “hot springs” in the Sacred Valley area. We trek through 3 highland villages and have the opportunity to meet with some of the colorful locals whose lifestyles have been frozen in time for the past several centuries, seeing how they live and bringing a little bit of prosperity to their villages along the way. This trek also passes through the Sacred Valley and ends with a tour of Machu Picchu.

There are many other alternative hikes that we offer.  Some of them end in Machu Picchu but do not require permits – like the Huchuy Qosqo Trek, our Cachicata Quarry Trek and also the Vilcabamba Trek. We have a couple of other fascinating treks which do not go to Machu Picchu, for those of you who have perhaps already been and so fallen in love with the Andes you want to see more. Choquekiraw is an amazing site that many say that more resembles Machu Picchu in the years before it became so popular and touristed (we do offer one tour that does take you to Machu Picchu after your Choquekiraw trek). Ausangate mountain towers over the Sacred Valley at nearly 21,000 feet above sea level (6,400 meters) and we offer 5 and 7 day Ausangate Treks. All of these treks are detailed on our website under Alternative Treks.

And maybe you don’t want to trek at all! We also offer train tours, Sacred Valley Tours, and individualized itineraries all over Peru! Regular entrance tickets into Machu Picchu don’t have such strict limitations, so we can book a train tour for you into Machu Picchu with much less notice.

Now is the time to book your trip to Peru! Let us help you decide which trek or tour is best for you! Check us out on Trip Advisor and you will see that we are #1 with over 1200 reviews! Call us, chat online or send us an email if you have any questions. We promise that you will love Peru!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lisa has been falling in love with Peru for 11 years, and lived in Cusco permanently for the past 5 years. She has been working with Alpaca Expeditions for 2 years. She has recently written a book called “Doves Fly in My Heart: My Love Affair with Peru” available on Amazon.com. Pick it up and fall in love!

https://www.alpacaexpeditions.com

machu picchu tours

(100% Local Company Focused on Giving back to Our Villages – Dedicated to improving the lives of our porters)

Inca Trail Trek,  Salkantay Trek,  Machu Picchu Tours,  Treks To Machu Picchu, Lares Trek

Prepping for 2016 – Lares trek

26 Feb

The government closes the Inca Trail for all of February. Mostly because this is typically the rainiest month here in Cusco, but also for the government to do some maintenance on the trail and to the campsites. So while New Years is celebrated worldwide on January 1st, we celebrate March 1st.

12675249_10207954826244284_871770348_oWe have spent this month making sure our team is ready and equipped. All our guides spent time with a professor from the local university in Cusco refreshing their history. We spent two evenings at the Planetarium in Cusco reviewing the galaxy so we can help those on our alternative treks find the constellations with our new telescopes. We had a medical doctor retrain our first aid skills and park rangers review trail rules and maintenance.

We even built a new campsite for our 5 Day/4 Night Salkantay Trek. Guides, porters and local villagers all worked together to build beautiful Inca terraces and plant local flowers around. We hope you will all enjoy.

12788503_10208082203428634_2013881786_oBut it wasn’t all work. We had an amazing party celebrating what a wonderful and successful year we had in 2015. We brought more porters and their families to Machu Picchu to introduce them to the place they have worked so hard for others to visit. We visited some of our porters homes with food, boots and supplies for their kids to use in school.

Yesterday we had our final meeting with park rangers and about 70 of our porters (we have close to 300 total now). We reviewed the maintenance of the equipment, how to properly dispose garbage and waste, and how to communicate with our clients without speaking the same language. Then we enjoyed a feast. 12788588_10208082204468660_541316078_o

Our team also spent time resting and enjoying time with their families. They are now rested and ready to make 2016 Alpaca Expeditions best year ever. We know that we could not do an amazing job without our team, and we think we have the best and happiest in Cusco. We are so excited for you to meet them.

 

Alpaca Expeditions offers Peru And Machu Picchu Tours, 4 Day Inca trail to Machu picchu, Hiking Salkantay, Sacred Valley and Pisaq Tours. We have 5 star Reviews with a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor and is a fully licensed Inca Trail tour operator. 100% Local Peruvian Tour Operator. Inca Trail Trek, Salkantay Trek, Machu Picchu Tours, Treks To Machu Picchu, Lares Trek

https://www.alpacaexpeditions.com

machu picchu tours

Inka Trail 2016 Update – Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

8 Dec

By Lisa McClendon Sims

We are happy to report that Alpaca Expeditions has now passed all of the qualifications and documentation required to requalify us as a licensed 2016 Inka Trail Tour Operator!

ARE YOU LOOKING TO TREK THE INKA TRAIL IN 2016?

Trekking the Inka Trail has become enormously popular since it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007. We expect permits for hiking the Inka Trail for this season (which starts March 1st, 2016) to be released around January 10th.

Last year, the entire month of May and quite a bit of April and June were completely sold out on the first day the permits were released. The rest of the year quickly sold out and people who were looking to book the Inka Trail found they needed to book as much as four months in advance to get Inka Trail permits, as only 500 permits are issued per each date.

The people who got the dates that they wanted in May only got them because they pre-booked prior to the permits being released. We were on the doorstep of the Ministry of Culture the moment they opened and we had all our ducks in a row – if one piece of information is missing or incorrect, they turn you away. We are happy to say that 99% of all our pre-booked reservations got the dates they wanted last year, and the other 1% got their second choice date.

We highly recommend that if you want to hike the Inka Trail in the first half of 2016 that you pre-book with us NOW! We will ask you for the date you want to travel, and then we will ask you for 2 alternative dates to insure that you get the dates you want. Many people on tight schedules wait until we have a permit date for them before making their flight arrangements.

We only ask for a deposit of US$200 per person to pre-book – the balance can be paid upon your arrival in Cusco. However – and this is very important – once we have a permit in your name and with your date – it is etched in stone – the Peruvian government does not allow any changes of any kind – no date changes, no name changes, totally non-fundable for any reason. So please be 100% certain of your dates before you book!
Having said that, should you miss the date that you were wanting to hike the Inka Trail, we do offer numerous alternative treks that do not require permits – the most popular being the Salkantay trek and the Lares trek, each of which have their own individual flavors and allure. There are many other alternative treks, all of which are described in great detail on our website or feel free to call our toll free number if you want some guidance in choosing which trek is best for you!

So if you are thinking Inka Trail 2016 – to avoid disappointment, pre-book now!

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Alpaca Expeditions offers Peru And Machu Picchu Tours, 4 Day Inca trail to Machu picchu, Hiking Salkantay, Sacred Valley and Pisaq Tours. We have 5 star Reviews with a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor and is a fully licensed Inca Trail tour operator. 100% Local Peruvian Tour Operator. Inca Trail Trek, Salkantay Trek, Machu Picchu Tours, Treks To Machu Picchu, Lares Trek

https://www.alpacaexpeditions.com

machu picchu tours

Our Inca Trail Porters First Visit to Machu Picchu

13 Mar

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By Raul Ccolque Ccolque

In February the Inka Trail is closed due to heavy rains, government maintenance and the cleaning of the Trail. Alpaca Expeditions took the opportunity during this off month to create lots of activities such as, cleaning the trail for the Lares trek, the Huchuy Qosqo Trail, Inka Trail, and the training for our chefs and guides. We decided to reward our best Inka Trail group of porters and their families with a journey to Machu Picchu. They are from the community of Wakawasi located in the Lares Valley – all of them native Quechua-language-speakers who had never been to Machu Picchu even though they had trekked the Inka Trail hundreds of times. Wakawasi porters were the most organized and responsible porters in 2014. In total there were 65 people who went to Machu Picchu – 35 adult porters and their wives and the rest were children around the age of 8.

11035629_750335275062319_7191463342050698082_oThis journey started on Saturday, February 28th, 2015. Wakawasi is at 3800 meters above sea level. We collected them from their village in two buses to transfer them to Ollantaytambo (a very colorful Inka town) to catch the 7:00PM train to Aguas Calientes. It was so nice to see how excited they were (especially the children!) considering that this was happening for the first time in their lives! After the two hour train journey we arrived in Aguas Calientes. We took them to the restaurant El Tupana Wasi to enjoy dinner as one big family and to enjoy our vacation together.  After dinner we headed to our hotels, all provided by Alpaca Expeditions. We decided to meet the next morning at 5:00AM to be first in line to catch the first buses up to see the ancient ruins at Machu Picchu.10987449_750334635062383_4899141120942871699_o

On Day 2 we met at the hotel lobby for an early breakfast and then walked to the bus station. All the tourists and other Machu Picchu visitors were so captivated to see such a big group -all wearing their traditional clothing! We were on one of the first buses to leave and everyone was so happy to have such a nice morning. We arrived at Machu Picchu and the most exciting part for them was when we got to the Watchtower House of the Inkas. Our porters, their wives and children were overjoyed that they were at the New Seventh Wonder of the World, a dream-come-true for these farming families who frequently never leave their villages. And here they were in the magnificent ruins that were built by their ancestors, the Inka! After checking identification at the Entry Checkpoint, we all headed to the popular lookout point for Machu Picchu where they all got their family pictures.  We then began with their tour of Machu Picchu (in Quechua!!)- thanks to our marvelous guides, Amoroso, Elio, Yoel, and Sabino. We explored all of Machu Picchu and took loads of pictures of them which we are going to make into a DVD/ video for them. Finally we returned by bus from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes for lunch, then took the afternoon train at 2:55PM to Ollantaytambo where Alpaca’s buses waited for then and drove to their village arriving, around 8:00PM.

10922310_750335071729006_8999043211195843062_o Who are the Wakawasi People?

Wakawasi village is located at 3800 meters above sea level; they are part of the Lares Valley and located in Urubamba province. Their main economic activity is agriculture and they farm potatoes mostly, though of course, they do have llamas and alpacas as well. Our company employs most of the people of this village as porters and horsemen.

We want to make this a tradition.

Machu Picchu, as a New Seventh Wonder of the World should not only be visited by tourists. It should also be known and visited by the local people, to put them in touch with their history and heritage. Unfortunately, even the cost of travel makes the likelihood of this happening prohibitive for them. Alpaca Expeditions has now begun this tradition and we hope in the future, to be able to share Machu Picchu with all our porters and their families, especially their children. Not just for them, but also for other villagers who have never been to this magical Inka citadel.

11044556_750334895062357_8865716279022568440_oOur next group will be in August, which is during winter vacation for the schools in Peru (Southern Hemisphere). We decided that we will be taking the residents of two small villages from the area of Ocongate. Ocongate is located at 4100 meters above sea level and belongs to the Ocongate district and Qusipicanchis region. The villages are called Wakatinku and Ullucha and we are expecting at least 100 people including our porters, wives and their children. Then next year in February, during our summer break we will be inviting other villages such as Choquekancha –Lares and Pisaq Communities.

You may be wondering why it is that our porters have hiked the Inca Trail so many times, yet never seen the ruins. The Peruvian government rules do not allow our porters to enter Machu Picchu from our last campsite, so their only options are to go on their own, or not go at all.

In their lives in their villages, our porters are subsistence farmers, living very close to the land. Many of them use the barter system to get the things they need, trading potatoes and other things they farm for what they cannot grow. Money is very hard to come by; therefore many of the things that cost money remain out of reach for them.

Going to Machu Picchu costs money. First they have to get from their remote villages to Cusco. They need transportation, hotels, meals, and bus tickets to and from the ruins. Plus they usually have several children in tow to take into account.

11041876_750334728395707_8281490073575946790_oHow can you help to be part of this project?

Just by choosing us as your trekking company you are already helping these families make it a reality to have the opportunity to visit Machu Picchu. Alpaca Expeditions is working to make the lives of our porters and their families better, from the viewpoint of learning about our culture and environment.

You can help us to create trips to Machu Picchu for more people who have never been and help them have the opportunity to see what their ancestors created. You can help with making contributions toward purchasing train tickets, hotels or simply economically supporting this project. We can purchase any tickets on your behalf for them – just contact Alpaca Expeditions.

11053296_750334845062362_1530075635549176087_oWhy did we start this project?

Just as many of us (and as many of you) love to travel and explore the various attractions all over the world, our local people would also love to travel. Unfortunately, due to their economic situation they are not able to make it happen. But we at Alpaca Expeditions consider that is very important for them to know their heritage, especially living so close to one of the Seven Wonders such as Machu Picchu. We decided that by helping them to make this happen it would help them to better appreciate their magnificent culture in Peru.

Believe it or not, there are even some children that have never even been to the city of Cusco. We would love to help them have the opportunity to get to know some of our other heritage and history besides Machu Picchu.

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http://www.alpacaexpeditions.com

 

First Aid Training for ALL Alpaca Expeditions Guides

26 Feb

By Lisa McClendon Sims

11007491_10205473364009279_1592226164_nThe Inka Trail is closed for maintenance during the month of February which gives our busy guides the opportunity to do some additional training and community service projects.

In addition to Culinary Classes for our chefs and a Beautification Project on the Huchuy Qosqo Trail this month, our guides all met in our Cusco office for two days this week for additional training. This included continuing education classes of First Aid, High Altitude Illness Training and Injury Prevention and Treatment courses.

If you have trekked with Alpaca Expeditions, you know that our guides are not only great organizers and motivators, very knowledgeable and entertaining but also very competent at handling just about any situation that can be thrown at them while guiding our trekkers safely through our magnificent Andes Mountains.

Still, on rare occasions something unexpected happens and we want to be 100% certain that our guides are prepared to handle surprise situations. We work in conjunction with O2 Clinics who help us with our annual training. Basic First Aid and CPR Training are obviously valuable as well as training in other health issues that can affect people in the high mountainous regions of the Andes.

It is also very important that our guides understand the basic physics of high altitude and the effects it can have on people who have not acclimatized well to our higher altitudes.  They are trained in how to recognize the symptoms of High Altitude Illness and what to do to help the body with recovery and acclimatization. They carry with them and are trained in how to use a Pulse Oximeter which monitors oxygen saturation and heart rate and also how to administer oxygen if necessary, which they also carry.

We then spent the afternoon on studying various bird and orchid species that are native to the area.

We are now ready to start the 2015 Season! So come and enjoy the majesty and beauty of our Inka Trail and Alternative Treks in and around the Sacred Valley of the Inkas in Peru and know that you are in good hands with Alpaca Expeditions.

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When to book your 2015 Inca Trail

8 Jul
KM 82

KM 82

Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu has become one of the most popular vacation adventures.  But do to this popularity, and some heavy regulations by the Peruvian government, getting your permit is not so easy.  In order to hike the Inca Trail you must have a permit to do so.  Only licensed tour operators, like Alpaca Expeditions, can obtain these permits on your behalf.  You can NOT enter the Inca Trail without a permit and you will enter through a checkpoint where the permit will be matched to your passport – must match perfectly.

The government limits the amount of permits for each day to 500.  Everyone needs a permit to enter the trail – even the crew that is hiking with you – so this limits the amount for travelers to about 200.  While this seems like a very small number, you will actually be thankful for this as you hike because it does limit the crowds along the way.  You only need a permit for your start day.

The government has a website, http://www.machupicchu.gob.pe/, that shows how many permits are available for each day.  As I type this, they are all sold out until November 1st – today is July 8th, so you can see how quickly they sell out.  You can currently book a permit through the end of January and then the trail is closed for all of February for maintenance.

Inca Trail Map - Rusty

Map of the Trail

But what happens if you are looking to trek in March 2015 or sometime after?  These permits are not for sale from the government until January.  Around New Years, the Park office will tell us the exact date the permits are released, but for now we guess some time in the middle of January.  But this does not mean you should wait to book your 2015 Inca Trail trek until January.  Most companies like Alpaca are already taking reservations.  The day the permits are released is a bit hectic in Cusco and usually ends with a few days completely sold out of permits.  Last year several days in May sold out within just a few hours of the permits being released.  So its good to have your reservations secured early and have a company like Alpaca fight on your behalf for your perfect start date.

So start thinking of when you would like to visit us.  We ask for three possible start dates, in order of preference, and we will do everything we can to get your number 1 choice.  By getting all your information into us early you will be added to our list, helping us to keep organized and giving us a better chance to get that top choice of yours.

There is actually no risk to you to book early and lots of advantages.  While we do require a $200US deposit per person which is normally non-refundable, we will refund these deposits for 2015 until January.  If we were not able to get any of your 3 chosen start dates, we would refund your deposit 100% as well – but this will not happen.  And by securing your trek for 2015 this year, you are also locking in our current rate for the Inca Trail, which will be a savings.

So when should you book your Inca Trail trek for 2015 – why not now.  We would love to show you the Andes and be your guide and we promise, if you choose Alpaca, you will have the most amazing vacation adventure of your life.

Trek with Alpaca – you will remember this trip for a lifetime.

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http://www.alpacaexpeditions.com

 

Huaynapicchu

29 Jan

First of all, Happy New Year to everyone.  Sorry we have been neglectful of our blog, but we were busy securing all our permits for 2014 and doing a little travelling ourselves.  As man you are booking your treks and visits to Machu Picchu now, many people wonder about hiking Huaynapicchu and why there are two prices for this trek.

Huaynapicchu
I will begin with, can you hike Huaynpicchu…OF COURSE YES!!!  While Huaynapicchu is limited to 400 hikers a day, if you plan early and book this extra hike at least 2 months in advance, we will definitely purchase your permit for the hike.

The permits are given for a window of time, either from 7-8AM or 10-11AM.  This is when you need to start the hike.  It takes approximately 45 minutes to the top, snap some photos, and then another 45 minutes down.

We purchase the second time slot for all our travelers, the 10-11AM time slot, so that you can enjoy your tour of Machu Picchu with your guide first.  Once your tour of the ruins are over, your guide will show you where you begin this hike.  This is usually done on your own, but if you need your guide to join you, please let the office know and we will arrange beforehand.

just let us know if you want the permit for Huaynapicchu.  The permit is $25 per person to hike UNLESS you are doing one of our Inca Trail treks.  Unfortunately if you are trekking the Inca Trail, no matter how long of a trek you chose, it will be $65 per person to climb Huaynapicchu.  Why so much more for Inca Trail trekkers?

So when we purchase your permit for the Inca Trail, the permit includes entry to Machu Picchu.  You don’t need a physical ticket into the Lost City of the Incas.  But when you climb Huaynapicchu you need a permit for the hike, plus a physical entrance ticket to Machu Picchu.  This is something required by the Park office and not something done by Alpaca.

When choosing to purchase this extra hike please remember that it is challenging, quite steep.  While the views are extraordinary, they are similar to the Sun Gate which is free to access and it does get crowded.  But if you choose to do this hike, you will have your facebook profile photo for life – the views are incredible.

Please let us know if you have any further questions about Huaynapicchu, Machu Picchu mountain or the Sun Gate.

 

 

 

 

 

Alpaca Expeditions Wins Silver for Best Travel Agency in Cusco in 2013

17 Oct

On Saturday evening, October 12th, Alpaca Expeditions won the Silver Q’ente Prize for Best Travel Agency in Cusco in the Adventure Tourism Travel Agent category. Alpaca was one of three agencies chosen out of hundreds that entered this year. The Q’ente Prizes are extremely prestigious as they are chosen by the Regional Tourism Board of Cusco.

These awards are given to companies that are dedicated to corporate responsibility. They encourage companies to create amazing vistor experiences while giving back to the local communinity in the Cusco region. Raul Ccolque, the owner of Alpaca, created this company with those exact goals in mind. While Alpaca aims to create treasured memories for all our travellers, we are also focused on making life better for those employed by Alpaca – guides, porters, office staff. We provide our entire team with proper wages, equipment and healthcare. We understand we would not be where we are today if it was not for our amazing “Green Machine” and are committed to them 100%. We also help all the villages that we pass through on our many different treks. We bring an extra porter with us on alternative treks to help clean the path as these trails are not protected by the National Park and are often left in bad condition from other trekkers. We bring food and provide hot drinks to the families that live there.

Alpaca is a young company but we hope with each year we will learn how we can improve conditions for everyone in the Cusco region and are dedicated to making life better for all.

Alpaca Expeditions founder Raul Ccolque and Manager Ronaldo Ccoqlue accepted the award on behalf of the company. It was a great night for us and we hope with hard work we will be celebrating many more.

Award Ceremony 2

Founder Raul Ccolque and Manager Ronaldo Ccolque accepted the Hummingbird Award

Award Ceremony 3

Presented the award by the President of Cusco Region, Jorge Acurio

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Ccolque Brothers with their awards

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Many of the Green Machine was on hand to celebrate this major achievement.

Hiking Huaynapicchu: Logistics

10 May

HuaynapicchuAs amazing as visiting Machu Picchu is, the beauty of the ruins is best appreciated from above.  While all you Inca Trail hikers will get to see this before you even get to “Lost City of the Incas” from the Sun Gate, all other travellers will need to do a little walking, or hiking, to get this perspective.  And while the views from the Sun Gate are amazing, there is nothing that beats the view from Huaynapicchu.

Because of Huaynapicchu’s popularity, and because the climb up is a bit challenging and narrow, the government has decided to limit the amount of hikers each day to 400 people.  These 400 tickets are split into two windows of time to visit – and you must begin your hike within your allotted window: either between 7-8AM or 10-11AM.  During the busiest time of year, tickets for this hike sell out about a month in advance, so book early.

The hike begins from within the Machu Picchu citadel.  You typically hike this on your own, but an Alpaca guide (or anyone within the complex) will direct you to where to begin this hike.

So here is my advice for those who want to hike Huaynapicchu:

** I will say this often, but book this hike early.  You must also have an entrance ticket to Machu Picchu to hike Huaynapicchu so it makes the hike a bit expensive for Inca Trail hikers, who access Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate rather than the entrance gate and do not need an actual Mapi ticket.  To climb Huaynapicchu is $65 for all Inca Trail hikers and $15 for all other travellers who already are visiting Machu Picchu (this includes all alternative trek hikers).

** Most of our guests book the 10-11AM time slot for this hike since they will be on their tour of Machu Picchu until then, if you prefer the earlier slot, please let us know.

** The hike is challenging.  Even if you have completed a long trek, Huaynapicchu will not be a breeze, be patient with yourself and with your fellow hikers.

** Bring your camera.  The views from Huaynapicchu are absolutely incredible, so please make sure you have battery life and a good camere – you will want these photos forever.

** Most importantly – have fun.  How often do you get to be in the Andes staring at one of the 7 Wonders of the World.  It’s amazing.