Tag Archives: 7 Wonders of the World

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!

Pisac_Peru_13

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

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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

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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We Never Stop Learning

26 Feb

At Alpaca Expeditions, we understand that there is always room to grow and learn – we really strive to be the best.  Of course our entire team believes in this ideology including our guides.  While they are all experts in the Inca history, there is always room to learn more.  So for the next three day our guides are in class.

Alpaca Expeditions has hired a local professor of Inca history to teach our guides.

Teacher and student

Going ruin by ruin, he is reviewing the history, the culture the importance of each site.  Small hidden stories that are fun to share.  Fun for them to eventually teach to you.

Presentation

Part of the guides job is to be a teacher, and we want to make sure that all of our teachers offer the most valuable information to you.  It is our job to make this part of history come to life, and we hope we can do that for every single one of you in 2014.

Class Photo

Alpaca Guides in Class

Guides never stop learning

Attentively Learning

  Trek with Alpaca Expeditions.  Learn. Hike.  Love.

Machu Picchu: Interesting Facts

13 Jul

Machu Picchu, a pre-Columbian Inca site, has acquired worldwide fame for its powerful vortex energy and sacredness that are of great appeal to the dedicated pilgrim. As the Mayan calendar is approaching its end, Machu Picchu is becoming the hub of interest because of its profound Mayan history. For the spiritually disposed, it seems to symbolize the end of yet another era in the evolution of mankind. The hypnotizing grandeur of this telluric site is indescribable and its energy is unclouded despite the numerous pilgrims and visitors who negotiate its grounds throughout the year. Seven of the most interesting facts about Machu Picchu are described below.

Machu Picchu Means

The term ‘Machu Picchu’ literally means ‘old mountain’, and the place is also spoken of as ‘The Lost City of the Incas’, after the title of the book written by Hiram Bingham, an American historian, who rediscovered the site in 1911. This book drew international attention to the place, which has become a famous pilgrimage site and vacation spot in Peru. The site was established in the mid-fifteenth century, but was abandoned by its residents, the Incas, after a century, and remained unknown until its rediscovery in 1911.

Unfortunately, most cities built by the Inca civilization were destroyed by the Spanish conquest. Machu Picchu was in a hidden location – invisible from below – and not found, making it one of the most well-preserved Inca cities and an archeological gem.

Original Inca Stone

Trekking on the Inca Trail is the most popular way to approach Machu Picchu through several portions of original Inca stone pathways. It is a four-day journey, but the government restricts the number of trekkers to 500 due to fear of wearing away the trail. Compulsory porters are included in the trekking expedition.

The porters sleep on the trail with a piece of mirror or a gleaming piece of metal under them, in order to prevent being whisked by spirits emerging through the earth. Most of them recount experiences of feeling spirits pulling them out of their tents.

New Seven Wonders of the World

Voting from Internet audience has caused Machu Picchu to acquire a place in the New Seven Wonders of the World which were announced in 2007.

With increasing recognition worldwide, UNESCO has declared Machu Picchu as a World Heritage Site in 1983. The magical city, along with an area of 325 kilometers surrounding it, has gained recognition as a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary in 1981.

The Complex

Machu Picchu is made up of more than 150 buildings ranging from baths and houses to temples and sanctuaries.

The compound contains more than 100 separate flights of stairs. Most of the individual staircases were carved from one slab of stone.

Although many of the stones that were used to build the city were more than 50 pounds, it is believed that no wheels were used to transport these rocks up the mountain. Rather, it is thought that hundreds of men pushed the heavy rocks up the steep mountain side.

The Incas were some of the best masons in the world. The structures were so well built with a technique called ashlar (stones that are cut to fit together without mortar) that not even a knife blade can fit in between stones.

Machu Picchu was an astronomical observatory, and its sacred Intihuatana stone accurately indicates the two equinoxes. Twice a year, the sun sits directly over the stone creating no shadow.