Tag Archives: Cusco

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

Eat Like a Local, Street Food in Cusco

17 Dec

By Julian Kircher

So you’re in a foreign country, everything looks and sounds and smells strange, nothing more so that the food. Fruit reminds you of the fruit back home but there is always some important difference: the colour is wrong, it’s too big or the wrong shape or smells funny. The good news however is that locals have been eating these things for a long time and most of them look almost alive and healthy. So we can assume the food here is safe and perhaps even delicious. Well let me try and convince you that with an open mind and empty stomach Cusco can be exceptionally rewarding. So I have compiled a sample menu that will rival any fancy French restaurant, except here you won’t find any snooty waiters floating around the place and you probably won’t be served swan lightly fried in unicorn tears and served on a bed of moonrock. Also the whole thing will cost you less than $10 and you will get to see and experience a handsome chunck of Cusco.

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Where to start? Well you will want a hearty meal to start out with. San Pedro is the place to go for this. A bustling hive of vendors that sell fabrics and trinkets and most importantly food. Food of every sort is found here. Hidden away at the back of the market there is a large space where dozens of tiny food stalls, with a small rickety bench in front of them, serve food of all description. Most of these places will have set menus and for around 4 – 6 Soles you can get a starter (usually soup) and a choice of mains. Served with a little fruit juice. This is the authentic experience. You you will set next to the local workforce, enveloped by the steam and the sumptuous smells from hundreds of bubbling pots. This experience will make you feel like a local. Everything is made fresh and personally this is the one place where I have never gotten sick.

Now that your stomach has stopped rumbling you will want dessert. Remember you are on holiday so don’t count those calories. As such I have collected several post-meal options here because let’s face it: that is all we really wanted anyway. But before we become too unhealthy let us make a quick and nutritious stop. Fruit juices!

At the opposite end of San Pedro a horde of waving ladies wait patiently behind unstable looking mountains of fruit and vegetables. Ready to shred and blend any combinations of fruit possible. They will assist you in picking out delicious combinations. So far the following combinations have proven to be the best: banana, mango, strawberry as a milkshake with honey (this is the rich, creamy sweet option) if you want something else (although I don’t know why you would) then a combinations of strawberry, apple and orange or a combinations of banana, mango and papaya will give you slightly fruitier tastes. Juices are approx. 6-8 Soles.

Now we have assuaged our inner Nutritionist it is time to move onto something more unhealthy. Take a stroll behind the San Pedro market. There you will find a street with an army of vendors shouting and crying, their wares displayed at their feet. Among this bee hive of activities and noises you will find one or perhaps several Picarones stands. 12395291_10153859257388258_577545405_nThis is what we have all been waiting for. Sweet dough made from sweet potatoes then quickly deep fried and covered in honey. Go on you’ve earned it. This deliciousness is made fresh in front of your eyes and the smell alone will remain with you for a long time. Around 2-4 Soles.

Now you are probably almost full, your stomach may be hurting since you left self-control behind at San Pedro. Well then the answer is to stop off at an12386752_10153859257773258_236457748_n Emolientes stand. These pop up around evening time and you want have to walk long to find them. A small cart containing a big pot of hot water and about half a dozen bottles, each filled with a different coloured liquid. This cart looks more like a mobile improvised chemistry lab. Don’t shy away! These are all herbal infusions which are mixed, all together, with hot water and a bit of gelatin. This creates a very thick and herby concoction which will act as an internal heating system for you as well as aid with digestion. This is the least you can do for your poor stomach. Usually around 1 or 2 Soles.

Well there you have it. My menu. Hopefully you are feeling as hungry as I am, luckily this is exactly what I will eat tonight, you will have to make the journey over here too in order to enjoy these culinary treats.

A Glimpse of Cusco at Night

10 Dec

By Julian Kircher

Around Cusco there are a lot of great bars that offer a varied nightlife – especially for tourists. However tucked in between these more popular bars there are some true hidden gems. Meeting places for the locals and expats living here and offering a type of entertainment that you won’t find anywhere else.

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One of these treasures is called Ukukus. Only about 100meters from the plaza de Armas this bar/club is reached through an unassuming little doorway on calle plateros (the north-west offshoot of plaza de Armas)

You won’t find the normal glitz and glamour of the upscale bars and hotels that seem to cater exclusively to the tourists in Cusco. Here you will find hand painted walls, an eclectic mix of locals and long term travelers and a very intimate vibe. Don’t expect any house/electro or typical Peruvian music that they seem to play everywhere to impress the tourists. The bands here play all kinds of music, though you will see a lot of Rock/alternative fused with Andean rhythms. An amazing sound you won’t find anywhere else. They offer a program most nights of the week featuring art shows, culture shows and of course all kinds of amazing live music. They have a program on their Facebook page – just search for Ukukus Bar.

They refer to themselves as a culture laboratory and that is certainly the feeling you get when you walk in for the first time – the culture seems so different and – dare I say it- alternative that it does feel like an experiment gone right.

This is a perfect place to get to know some of the locals and people from all around South America. The vibe is friendly and very open and everyone seems keen to talk – although a lot of people there may not speak English so a small amount of Spanish would go a long way.

If you want to avoid the throngs of tourists mingling in generic bars, enjoy all kinds of different live music and appreciate a relatively cheap beer (around 10-15 soles although they do have a happy hour) then this is the place for you. Be prepared to dance!

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If you prefer places where you can bump into other tourists and will most likely be able to talk in English then here is a list of some fantastic places to visit

Paddy’s Irish Pub – Of course there is one in every town and this is no different. A stylish and traditional Irish Pub, a popular spot for English speaking people this Pub reportedly sells the world’s highest Guinness – unfortunately not on tap. Have a pint here and enjoy the simple but delicious bar food. Also usually shows sports on the TV’s (football and rugby) so come here for important games (located right on the plaza de Armas)

Beer Prices –$5-7 for a pint so a little on the expensive side

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Nortons – A self-styled biker bar this is a popular spot with the tourists and has a great vibe. Enjoy one of many local craft beers on the balcony overlooking the Plaza der Armas. Nortons also has an excellent and delicious menu at quite reasonable prices (around 15 soles/5$ for a main course meal). This place will also show all important games though only in football. (located on Plaza de Armas)

Beer Prices – a little cheaper than Paddy’s. Craft Beer will be around $5 a pint and very tasty

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Mushrooms – more of a lounge than a bar, here you will always find a DJ playing a mix of electronic and Hip-hop music. A great place to chill, play some billiard and enjoy some delicious Pisco Sours. (Located on Plaza de Armas)

Prices- Around $8 for a Pisco Sour though they are two for one during happy hour

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Faces of Cusco – probably the most chilled out place of all of these. A gathering spot for mostly American expats, here you can watch American football, chill with a local craft beer and have some delicious food. During the day faces also offers all kinds of activities such as a tour of the local San Pedro market, dancing lessons, cocktail workshops and many more. Thursday night there is live music from local artists. (Also located right on Plaza de Armas)

Prices: Around $3-5 for a beer. Food will be around $10 for a main course but offers the best food on this list.

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

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Congratulations Graduating Class of Wakatinku Village

7 Dec

Over a year ago we started working with Wakatinku village and always focused on helping their school and schoolchildren. We have installed computers and internet in the school and sponsored a teacher to make sure their English and math education continued – and it has been such a pleasure to watch these kids grow and learn during this time. We feel honored to have been a small part of it.

When the Director of the school explained to us that this would be the first graduating class ever from the school, we knew we needed to do something a little extra special for them. We invited the 17 graduating students, their families and some teachers – 52 people all together, to enjoy our 2D/1N Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu tour.

It was their first time visiting Machu Picchu and it was so clear that they were in love with the citadel as soon as they entered. We of course all learn about our history growing up in the small villages outside of Cusco, but seeing our history alive is truly special!
This is how we spent the 2 days:

Nov 7th: Pick up was at 6.00 am from their village. We travelled the 4 hours back to Cusco to visit one of the most important ruins, Sacsayhuaman. Amazing Alpaca Tour Guides, Amoroso, Herlin, and Franzs explained everything to them, in their native language Quechua. After spending quite a bit of time there, we continued on to Pisaq Inka site. Everyone enjoyed a lovely picnic lunch in Urubamba and afterward we headed to our final stop, Ollantaytambo. Dinner was after the tour and then the 9PM train to Aguas Calientes for the night.

Throughout the day, many of the students approached Raul Ccolque, owner of Alpaca Expeditions, about how much they appreciated this opportunity. These kids never imagined getting to these places and it is a moment we will never forget.

Nov 8th : Early breakfast at the same restaurant where all our past clients have had lunch and dinner: El Tupana Wasi. At 7 am we boarded 2 buses for the 25 minute ride up to Machu Picchu. Words cannot describe the faces of the 52 villagers seeing Machu Picchu for the first time. What is amazing is that a lot of the families are our porters – and even though they have done the trek 100s of times, they have never had the chance to actually go inside – until now. It reminded us of how important these social projects are and renewed our dedication to keeping them up and expanding them.

We separated into three groups, with our guides continuing their presentation and took countless photos. It made everyone involved so proud to be Cusqueñan and the descendants of the amazing Inka civilization. For three hours we walked around and explained more of our history, exploring The Temple of the Sun, the Quarry, the Intiwatana (Sun Dial).

After the tour they had some time to explore on their own, take their own pictures (perhaps some selfies!) and they promised each other they would come back one day.

Once we were back in Aguas Calientes, lunch was ready for them. Everyone did a little shopping and exploring in Aguas Calientes before their evening train back to Ollantaytambo and 5 hour drive back home.

This story might seem repetitive of the previous trip to Machu Picchu last February when we took our porters and their families to Machu Picchu, but it is amazing (and a bit sad) how hard it is for our own people to visit this amazing Wonder of the World. We will never stop taking these trips. It is a shame how expensive it is for people to get to and get in Machu Picchu. We love sharing our ruins with our friends from other countries, but it is not right for these private companies who own services like the trains to charge so much to Peruvians which make it prohibitive for our people to visit. It is important for all Peruvians to be able to witness first hand our history. We hope to help make that happen.

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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7 Day Salkantay and Inca Trail Trek

27 Aug

We have been so lucky to have so many of our clients post amazing reviews about their experiences with us on sites like TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet and other travel forums out there.  But some of these sites do not publish reviews of “multi-day” day tours – trying to avoid large travel companies from using the site.  But it also prevents some of your reviews from being published.  We recently had a trekker who really wanted to share her experience with everyone, but was not able to get TripAdvisor to publish, so I am publishing for her here.  Hope you enjoy!

Thank you Lillian.

 

BEST VACATION EVER!!!!

I have done my fair share of traveling, of all types. Without a doubt this was THE BEST TRIP OF MY LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We did a private week-long trek to Salkantay and the Inca Trail. What a bargain for $1200 USD per person. I read over and over from satisfied clients that the food was better than restaurants and that they came back gaining weight. My first interpretation was that of course food was going to taste good after being starving from hiking all day. No, the food really is terrific and MUCH MUCH better than what we ate at restaurants in Peru. We were thoroughly pampered by our wonderful crew, Cesar (guide), Julian (head chef), Francisco (aka Pancho, sous chef), the chaskas – Cipriani, Beltran, Ephrahim, and Benefio, and our horseman.

Cesar, our guide, is truly passionate about the history and archeology of Peru. Nothing made him happier than having us ask him questions about the various archeological remains. He did everything to make our trip memorable. When I accidentally broke my camera on the first day, he gave me his camera to use. He was able to balance time in such a way that we had plenty of time with him and his guidance, but wasn’t always around so that we felt that we had a babysitter. It was the perfect amount of time with a guide and having privacy. Because of our great experience with Cesar, we know consider him a good friend.

Every morning we were woken up with a cup of hot coca tea. Then we were delighted with a hot breakfast (various different kinds of porridge, pancakes, fruit, eggs, etc). Before we left, we got a snack (fruit and some kind of cookie or cracker) and we went on our hike. The chaskis (porters) packed everything up and beat us to our lunch time location. Then they set up the dining/cooking tent and prepare a wonderful multi-course hot lunch – appetizer, several courses (meat and vegetables) and dessert. After stuffing ourselves, we took a quick nap. Then we went on our afternoon hike. Again, the chaskis packed everything up and beat us to our evening camping spot. When we arrive, it was happy hour time with tea, hot chocolate, cookies, and freshly popped popcorn. Next was dinner, another multi-course meal. They fed us so well that we usually couldn’t eat our snack

 

Machu Picchu is a HOT SPOT in 2013

6 Mar

Machupicchu_hb102013 was a historic year for Machu Picchu, bringing the largest amount of visitors so far.  Nearly 1.2 million people explored the ancient Inca citadel and 2014 has already proved to try to surpass those numbers..

The record-breaking figure of 1,177,308 visitors is contained in the annual totals published by the Ministry of Foreign Commerce and Tourism (MINCETUR).

Built in the 15th century by the 9th Sapa Inca Pachacutec, Machu Picchu is considered by most who come to Peru a must see experience. Most travelers plan a trip to Machu Picchu without realizing the other treasures of Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Peru as a whole.  We plan on  continuing to showcase our country and all the beauty to all visitors making Peru the destination and not only our world wonder.

And Peruvian authorities are helping with that mission, working on developing Peru’s other amazing ancient archaeological sites to help take some of the pressure off Machu Picchu.

Come and visit Peru – it will be a vacation that you will never forget!  Especially when you see it with this guy!Raul and Machu Picchu

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.