Our Team

Our guides are locals from Cusco and the Sacred Valley. Some of them were raised in their small villages speaking only their native language of Quechua. They grew up as farmers and went to local schools. Most of them spoke only their native language until high school. After graduating from high school some of them started working as porters on the Inka Trail. Then they went to the University in Cusco to study the profession of TOURISIM. All our guides have degrees as professional tour guides from Cusco National University where they had learn about the history, archeology, anthropology, trekking adventures, first aid, astronomy, and the local flora and fauna as well as geography. They will share their wealth of knowledge with you during your days of trekking. Our trekking tours are not only adventures but also learning experiences about Peruvian history, visiting each Inka site – including Machu Picchu.

All our guides are extremely well trained to assist you in safety in case anything might happen along your trek. Every year in February we receive specialized training from doctors of the clinic O2 in Cusco, especially for those who suffer from altitude sickness, digestive problems, and twisted ankles. These are the most common incidents but our guides are also prepared for other more serious accidents. All our guides are extremely experienced most of them have done more than 500 Inka trails treks under their belts. They pretty much know every single stone along the Inka Trail.

All our guides speak beautiful English which they learned at University. They then specialized at ICPNA – CUSCO (Centro Cultural Peruano Norte Americano), one of the most famous English schools in Peru. ICPNA is part of Michigan University in the USA.

We at Alpaca Expeditions feel so lucky to have these tours guides who do everything possible to create amazing experiences on your trekking days to Machu Picchu. Your trip depends a lot on the tour guide. It is very important to have tour guides who have good English skills, a great personality, good sense of humor, and intimate knowledge of the trail, history, flora and fauna.

Alpaca Expeditions’ ideology is to keep improving every day.  We keep helping our guides do this by offering many specialized courses with knowledge and training in different fields of what they need to know about their jobs and he trails. At the same time we think is very important that our guides have all the tools they need to be able to be the best guides possible for our clients. Alpaca Expeditions provides excellent backpacks, backpack covers, rain ponchos , trekking poles, binoculars , compass, uniforms , sleeping bags, air mattress. and more……  Travel with us and you will experience the journey-of-a-lifetime with our team!!

Our Trekking Chefs:

Being a trekking chef is not as easy as many think. Being a trekking chef requires even more skills than being a chef at any restaurant in the city. Cooking delicious meals in quantity also quality requires a lot of training. All our chefs have studied for 3 years of cooking classes at Instituto Latinoamerica Cusco where they are trained in how to transform the everyday foods into sumptuous feasts on our adventure trekking tours. There won’t be a meal that you won’t want to sample. Each meal is extremely tasty from breakfast right through to dinner.

All our chefs are native Quechua-speakers from local villages. They all studied at schools in their villages. Then they started working as porters on the Inka Trail where they got their first taste and desires to become a future trekking chef. They studied and practiced each recipe and studied about how many calories and carbohydrates one might need to eat at each meal depending of the altitude and distance walked each day, We have calculated for each and every meal served on the trail and created our own menus (which are served buffet-style). All our meals are freshly prepared at each campsite in the dining tent by our professional chef.

Our chefs are extremely experienced, and have done this trail more than 500 times each. They are very skilled people and love their jobs. If you are vegetarian or have any food restrictions or allergies, do not hesitate to go on the trail. Just let us know and your chef will provide lots of varieties of meals taking into account your personal requirements. Our chefs use extreme care in the hygiene and preparation of the meals they serve, taking into account everyone’s needs.

The dishes we use on the trail are carried by our porters for each trek. We have hotel quality dishes which are used for each meal. They are all cleaned right after each meal at the campsites. Of course, we also bring napkins and hand sanitizer,

 

Alpaca Expeditions Porters

Our porters are the hardest workers in our company. Our porters are the heroes on our expeditions to Machu Picchu. Our porters are epic! Our porters are called The Green Machine with respect on the Inka Trail and our Alternative Treks to Machu Picchu. Our porters are the ones who will carry your camping equipment, your duffle bags, sleeping tents, dining tent, sleeping mats, and all your food. Without porters it is practically impossible to do the Inka Trail. Most of our porters are farmers and Quechua-language speakers (the ancient language of the Inka), most of them have at least 5 children who are going to school. The reason why they work as porters is because they want to provide the best education possible for their children.

We Treat Our Porters Very Well!

Many companies say that they respect the law regarding their porters; however you will be the best witness as a traveller on the Inka trail as to whether this is true or not. Alpaca Expeditions is owned by an ex-porter, Raul Ccolque. The founder of Alpaca Expeditions worked as a porter on the Inka trail for 3 years (between 2003 and 2006), for several different adventure companies and he knows how it feels to be a porter. Raul knows what they need, what the best way to treat the porters well is and what their families need.

We Treat Our Porters Better Than Any Other Company

As we said, our porters are the hardest workers on our adventure tours. We also treat them the best we possibly can. Not only because they deserve better wages than our competitors pay, but we also feel that they should be properly outfitted for this hard work and valuable service they provide, so we provide them with the best outdoor equipment possible. We provide them with comfortable, supportive trekking shoes, warm jackets, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, flashlights, hats, and health insurance.

Porter Trekking Outdoor Gear:

Alpaca Expeditions does not charge our porters at all for the excellent gear that they receive throughout the year. It is important that they have good trekking shoes, pants, T-shirts, jackets, fleeces, warm hats, sun hats and trekking poles for each porter.

Hiking Shoes:

We have a contract with a gentleman in Lima at Gamarra Commercial Center, a Mr. Jorge Godin, a man of 50 years of age. Three times now he has made 150 pairs of hiking shoes for our porters at Alpaca Expeditions. These shoes are made especially for trekking, have good ankle support and good insoles. We provide these to our porters twice a year.

Hiking Pants, Jackets, T-shirts and Hats:

We work with tailors at Centro Commercial Frontera in Cusco where they are specialists in creating different sized pants, T-shirts and jackets for our porters that we also provide more than twice a year. Our porters absolutely don’t pay for this gear, we do provide for them for free.

Sleeping Bags and Sleeping Pads:

Alpaca Expeditions has a tailor who is a specialist in making down sleeping bags for each of our porters that is provided once a year for free. It’s very important to us that all our porters have all the best equipment necessary to stay warm at night at the campsites of the several treks we do to Machu Picchu. We provide foam mats and sleeping bags each year and everything is custom-made by Alpaca Expeditions.

Health Insurance for All Our Porters and Cooks:

Having a job as a porter and carrying heavy loads while doing the Inka trail frequently can be hard on one’s health. Most of the time porters start either too young or too old but they can work for 10 or 15 years at the longest before they start to feel medical issues. Knee problems are the most common, but it can also be hard on the kidneys and bones in general. Alpaca Expeditions provides free health insurance for each porter that at any time (not only just when they feel ill) they can go to the hospital and be checked by their doctors and always stay healthy. It is very important to us that they stay healthy and so their families. Our company signs up each year with a health insurance with a Company called Seguros la Positiva Peru.

It’s very unfortunate that the government does not provide medical care for the porters even though the government charges US$16 from each porter to do each Inka trail (of course, we pay this fee for them.) We have experienced porters from other companies who have suffered several illnesses and even had very big accidents that no one really cared about them, but our company is trying to change that and be responsible not only with our clients and tourist, but  also with our staff.

A Place to stay:

Our porters are not from the city of Cusco because this job is not really for city person. All of our porters grew up in farming communities – walking and carrying large loads. They are used to walking and though they are small people they are very strong, all of them. Most of them only speak their native language of Quechua. They don’t have a place to stay in Cusco in between their Inka Trails treks so Alpaca Expeditions provides an accommodation at our storage facility for them to stay. They have a room and each porter can rest well after their each Inka Trail, with hot shower, cable TV, and confortable beds. Alpaca Expeditions is working on a project to have a porter house in the near future not only for our porters, but also for our guides and cooks with a GYM included!

Our Camping Equipment:

After the owner of Alpaca Expeditions completed more than 800 treks including the Inka Trail and alternative treks, he learned what was is good and what was not so good regarding camping equipment, tents, sleeping pads, sleeping bags, and other necessary logistics. Our company has better equipment that our competitors. Most of our equipment is purchased in the USA and is used by Alpaca Expeditions on the Inka Trail and alternative hikes.

Our Sleeping Tents:

In our experience is very important that after long days of walking that you have very comfortable tents. They have to be spacious and comfortable, it has to be long enough that you can stretch out and keep all your camping belongings in your tent – clothes and shoes – especially at night. Our tents are ERUEKA Timberline SQ 4XT, this tent is a 4-person tent, but we only put 2 people in each tent. This means that you will have private tents for 2 people, if you are single traveller, you can either stay with another single traveller from the same gender or you can have single tent, just let us know, if you prefer to stay in a single tent we don’t charge any extra for this.

When you arrive at our campsites your tent will be all set up and the only thing you need to do is enjoy the amazing views that surrounds around and get ready for dinner.

Our foam mats, sleeping bags and inflatable sleeping pads:

Our foam mats are made in Cusco with foam and rubber backing so that if it rains the foam pad won’t absorb water and you will stay dry during treks in the rainy season. Our inflatable sleeping pads are Thermarest which are purchased in the USA. The foam mats are provided on every trek. The Thermarest inflatable sleeping pads add much comfort and are optional rentals.

Our sleeping bags are made in Cusco especially for these kinds of adventure treks where the nights are cold. Our sleeping bags are for minus 15 degrees Celsius, clean and each has an inner liner. The sleeping bag weighs 2 kg/4 pounds and is carried by our porters along with your clothes. Every morning before leaving the campsite, make sure it is in your duffle bag so that you are using the same sleeping bag each night. Our sleeping bags even have a hood for use at night. Of course, if you prefer to bring your own sleeping bag that is fine too.

The foam pads weigh 1kg, and the inflatable sleeping pad weighs 1 kg.

Our dining tents, kitchen tents, tables and chairs

Our company uses a kitchen tent that is set up at each meal place where your trekking chef will prepare amazing delicious meals. In the kitchen tent they have cooking gas and a gas stove. The kitchen tents are about 2 meters by 2 meter square. This is also where the chef’s assistants do the washing up .

Our dining tents are waterproof so that even when it is raining it won’t be a problem. It’s like a little house that even has a window.  It depends on the number of people on each trek how large a dining tent we bring along. Inside the dining tent they will set up the table which is made in our storage facilities by Alpaca’s staff, and we also bring along chairs so that  you can sit and enjoy your delicious meals in comfort .

Our Toilet Tents

Toilet facilities are the biggest issue for many on the Inka trail. While everyone else uses the public toilets that are used by the 500 people who are admitted to the Inka Trail daily (and are consistently not well-cleaned by the rangers) we decided to introduce our own portable eco-friendly toilets that are used exclusively by our groups. When we have less than 8 trekkers in a group we have one toilet. When we have more than 8 people, we have two toilets tents which are set up at our campsite so you don’t have to walk 15 -20 minutes to public toilets after  a whole day hiking (or at night!).  It’s difficult to find the public toilets at night, especially when is raining.

It is very important to understand that though our porters carry the toilet tents and the eco-friendly toilets (which are made exclusively for camping), that it is all properly disinfected and cleaned and the porters absolutely do not have any contact whatsoever with the waste.

The public toilet facilities on the Inca Trail are unfortunately left in very poor condition. The park is supposed to be better about cleaning them, but because of constant use and rangers that are already too busy, they are just left with waste and dirt all over. Because of this, Alpaca Expeditions uses portable eco-friendly toilets for use only by our trekkers. Not only are these in pristine shape, but they are also part of your camping site, avoiding a long walk to the public facilities in the middle of the night. The toilets that we use are eco-friendly toilets made exclusively for camping. While our porters will help to clean the tents and disinfect, it is important to know that they will never have to come in contact with any waste and it is disposed of properly before packed up and brought to your next camping site. When we purchased our system, we made sure that this would be good on the environment and completely sanitary for both the trekker and our amazing porters.

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