Tag Archives: Machu Picchu

Introducing our new route to Rainbow Mountain

30 Mar

By Lisa McClendon Sims

You may have recently noticed in popular social media and on the Internet the discovery of a fascinating new destination in the high Andes which is being referred to as the Rainbow Mountains of Peru. This mountain range is well-hidden in a tucked away area in the middle of the glacial mountains of the Vilcanota Range in the south of Peru, specifically in the shadow of the highest mountain in the Cusco Region, Apu Ausangate, which comes in at just under 21,000 feet elevation (6,300 meters), about a 4-hour drive from Cusco.

This discovery has recently generated a lot of interest and we have been receiving requests for treks to this area. So at the request of our clients, on Friday, March 18th Alpaca Expeditions sent an exploratory expedition of our guides, porters and horsemen to this newly discovered natural wonder and to find the best path and to be sure we know the conditions of the landscape. We are happy to announce that we are the first tour operator to offer organized treks to the Rainbow Mountains of Peru!

This is more of a wilderness trek, totally off the beaten track – above the tree line with magnificent views of the Andes and glacial peaks. The Rainbow Mountains are composed of stratified layers of sandstone. These fine grained rock layers contain abundant iron and other mineral compounds which provide the pigments for the various colored stripes of which the mountains are made.

Along the way there are many beautiful things to see – turquoise lakes, incredible glacial views, llamas and alpacas. There are still the wild vicuña to be seen along the way, which are now protected by the government and it is illegal to keep them in captivity. Vicuña is the most expensive wool in the world due to this fact and that they can only be shorn once every three years Their wool is incredibly warm and fine. The local Quechua campesinos call this event a “chaccu” when they herd the animals by making a huge circle of people, interlocking arms, to trap and shear the animals before setting them free again. Since this law passed in 1974, the vicuña population has increased from 6,000 to today’s population of 125,000! This wool sells for US$1800-$3000 (compared to cashmere wool which is $100 per yard) and is exported to make superfine cloths, sweaters and scarves.

Finding the best route for our clients took a few days of exploration and discovery – even when asking the locals most people have no idea where to find these magnificent mountains!! Finally, on Day 4 of our exploratory expedition we came over the crest of a mountain and BOOM! – there were the magnificent Rainbow Mountains in all their glory!!

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We will be ending this trek in the village of Chilca which is a part of the Quispicanchis Provence, then make the 4-hour drive back to Cusco. The best months for this trek will be April to November when we are not in our rainy season and there is not so much rain and snow.

So if you were disappointed to find that you are too late to hike the Classic Inka Tail this year (it is sold out through September now), be one of the first pioneers to make this trek with us!

We are considering offering this as a 6-day trek/tour which will encompass the Rainbow Mountain trek and also include a tour of the Sacred Valley of the Inkas and a day at Machu Picchu as well!

Watch this space for more information on this new development!

Check out now our 4 Day Trek to Rainbow Mountain.

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The Majestic Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu – Machu picchu tours

17 Mar
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Created by an Amazing Alpaca Trekkers. Check out there blog at PennyCaravan.Com

By Lisa McClendon Sims

The Salkantay Trek is the #1 Alternative Trek to the Inca Trail for several very good reasons.  The lanDSC_0354.JPGdscapes are absolutely magnificent and nature abounds, encompassing five different ecosystems which you will pass through during this trek. You will start with snow-capped glacial mountains dominated by Apu Salkantay at nearly 21,000 feet above sea level (6,271 meters) eventually descending into the lush tropical cloud forest. There are also many fewer trekkers along the way than you will find on the Inca Trail.

As you may have heard, the Classic 4-Day Inca Trail is sold out now through August and most of September. Unfortunately, the Peruvian government does not allow for refunds or replacements due to cancellation for any reason whatsoever. Unless you have an advance booking, it is now impossible to hike the Classic 4-day Inca Trail through any agency. This is not due to any individual agency not having space – it is that the Peruvian government has reached its limit of 500 people per day to enter the Inca Trail through most of September of this year. Many people are turning up in Cusco without reservations and are disappointed to find that after coming all this way, they cannot get entry into the Inca Trail.

However, what people don’t realize is that the Inca Trail is not just the 45 kilometer stretch that many people think it is. The Inca Trail, or Qhapaq Ñan as the Inca called it, is a 24,800-mile vast system of trails throughout the Andes Mountains

mp1Our Salkantay Trek is very special indeed, and a part of it does go along the Qhapaq Ñan.  Alpaca Expeditions has created our own private campsites for the first 2 nights of camping (with our own private toilet tents as well!) Our campsite on Dalunch-spoty 3 directly overlooks Machu Picchu, right below the ruins of Llactapata which we will also visit. On Day 4 we make our way to Aguas Calientes partly along the same path that Hiram Bingham took en route to his rediscovery of Machu Picchi in 1911.  This night you will spend in the comfort of a hotel bed in the town of Aguas Calientes, rising early on Day 5 to witness the sunrise over one of the New Seven Wonders of the World – Machu Picchu!

image2The Salkantay to Machu Picchu trek is considered a fairly challenging trek – many feel it to be slightly more challenging than the Inca Trail, so be sure to take a couple of days in Cusco to acclimatize to the altitude and do your best to get in shape before your arrival in Peru. We do offer 4 and 5 day treks, with the 5-day trek being a bit more leisurely than the 4-day trek.

When you are checking out the various tour companies, one caveat we offer is to be sure you know exactly what you are getting. When you are perusing the internet you will find reviews from people who thought they were getting a really good deal, only to find a number of the expenses were not included – things like transportation, water, food, English-speaking guides and the like.

P1090419Alpaca Expeditions takes great pride in the fact that we are Peruvian-owned and we hire locals whenever possible to help support the community. We outfit our support staff and porters with excellent equipment and offer a variety of social projects to support their villages (see our Social Projects page). Our trekking chefs continue to amaze our clients with sumptuous meals – the only complaint we’ve received is that there was too much food! Check out our reviews on Trip Advisor and you will see that over 1200 reviewers have rated Alpaca Expeditions #1!

View from Salkantay Campsite

Taken in March by Alpaca Trekker from our 3rd Camping site at Llacatapata

https://www.alpacaexpeditions.com

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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

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Navigate the skies with us – Inca trail

5 Feb

For those of you booked with us on one of our Alternative Treks, we have now added Telescopes to our campsites (one campsite on each trek). See how the Peruvian skies differ from your sky at home. Learn about our constellations and why the Incas relied on them so much for weather and farming conditions.

For those of you coming from the northern hemisphere, this will be especially interesting. With the South Pole facing the galactic center of the Milky Way, the southern skies provide a much brighter white stripe of the Milky Way – and the majestic Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (our Milky Way’s satellite galaxies).A northern observer will see things topsy-turvy when looking at the southern skies – familiar constellations seem upside down – but getting a glimpse of Crux, the Southern Cross, which is the smallest and the most famous constellation in the southern hemisphere (it is displayed on the New Zealand, Australian, and Brazilian flags) is a thrill that reminds you how dependent we used to be on the stars to navigate our way across the world. Equally impressive is the glowing band of our own galaxy – the Milky Way – with its patches of light and dark stretching across the sky. The non-luminous part of the Milky Way is called the Great Rift (or more poetically “the Dark River”); it is made of overlapping dust clouds containing about 1 million solar masses of plasma and dust situated in the Sagittarius Arm of our galaxy Differences For Northern and at a distance of about 300 light years from Earth.
Image of the Milky Way (source)

The Incas’ Constellations:

For the Incas, “Mayu,” (the Milky Way) was a life-giving river in the heavens with its earthly counterpart – the Urubamba River in the Sacred Valley, high up in the Andes Mountains. The Incas grouped constellations into two different types – luminous and dark. The first was made up of sparkling stars that depicted geometric forms in the sky. These luminous constellations were seen as inanimate. The other kind – the dark cloud constellations – were contained within the dark blotches of the Milky Way, and were considered living forms, representing animals the Incas knew. These dark patches represented the silhouettes of animals that came to drink from the waters of celestial river, obscuring the heavenly glow of Mayu.

One of the most important dark cloud constellations was Yacana –the llama, which rises above Cuzco, the ancient capital city of the Incas, in November. It consists of two llamas – the Mother Llama, seen between the Southern Cross and Scorpio, and the Baby Llama, suckling at her mother’s breast. Although The Llama is a dark cloud constellation, the eyes of the Mother Llama are the two bright stars from the constellation Centaurus. One is Alpha Centauri, which is the third brightest star in the night sky (to the naked eye it appears as one star, but is in fact a binary star system), and the other – Beta Centauri, is a trinary star system.

Another dark constellation is the Serpent – Mach’acuay –a wavy black ribbon between the star Adhara, in Canis Major, and the Southern Cross. It appears above Cuzco in August and sets in February, when its earthly counterparts become visible and more active in the area. Mach’acuay was in charge of all snakes and vipers on Earth, and offerings were made by the Incas to protect themselves from snake bites.

This painting shows some of the animal shapes that the Incas saw in the dark spots of the Milky Way Photo by Koricancha Sun Temple/CuscoThis painting shows some of the animal shapes that the Incas saw in the dark spots of the Milky Way. Two black spots near the Southern Cross are Hanp’atu, the Toad, and Yutu, the Andean ground Partridge. These two keep a safe distance from the Serpent in the east, and from Atoq, the Fox, in the west. The dark constellation of Yutu (the Partridge) occupies the same area as the dark Coalsack Nebula in the constellation Crux, which in Australian Aboriginal astronomy is the head of their dark constellation “Emu in the Sky.”

The reason why the Incas revered the skies and celestial events was two-fold. First, their observations of stars, of constellations (dark and stellar), and of the movements of the sun and moon, provided them with units of time, and a calendar system which helped them plan agricultural and herding activities.

Second, although the Incas worshipped dark constellations, they thought of themselves as descendents of the sun god – Inti. The Festival of the Sun “Inti Raymi “ is still celebrated in indigenous cultures throughout the Andes. “Inti Raymi” was celebrated by the Incas on the shortest day of the year during the winter solstice, and was the most important event in their lives. Little did they know that the object of their worship was a gigantic ball of hot plasma with an internal temperature of 15 million degrees Celsius, and racing inside their celestial river “Mayu” at the speed of 225km per second.

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

 

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

 

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

Time To Celebrate

7 Feb

Every year, on the first day of February where the whole team is back from trekking and touring, Alpaca has a party to say THANK YOU.  We know that we have the best team in the Andes and we start with them, thank you to all of the GREEN MACHINE for working endlessly to make sure that every traveler had an amazing journey.  Thank you to all our CHEFS who somehow create magic on the mountain and create culinary masterpieces for everyone to enjoy.  And thank you to our GUIDES for being the incredible leaders they are – making sure that every member of our team has what they need, does a proper job, all while teaching, guiding and of course entertaining our new friends visiting Peru for the first time.

And thank you to our office staff, including our amazing leader RAUL CCOLQUE, for making sure all emails are responded to immediately, all questions are answered completely and all bookings are made flawlessly.  And for winning the Alpaca Cup in our Futbol Tourney.  🙂

Our Crew

The Entire Green Machine Team

That leads us to how we celebrate.  We begin with a tourney, office v. guides v. chefs v. porters.

Champions

Champions: Office staff (oddly missing Bonnie and Susan)

It went down to the Cooks v. the Office and of course my boys were victorious.  We may not be as fit from not trekking every day, but we still have some moves.

After the trophy was given, and each member of the team was named and celebrated, we started our party where we enjoyed some chicken, cervezas and of course, many laughs.

  Sea of Green

But of course, none of this would be possible and none of us would be doing this without you, the traveler.  To all of you who have traveled with Alpaca – THANK YOU.  Thank you so much for all of your feedback as we are still learning how to be the best in the business.  Thank you for cheering us on and for so many of you writing about your experiences with us on TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet, blogs, everywhere.  So many of you recommended us to others.  All of this is so amazing and we appreciate it more than words can explain.

And THANK YOU to all our new travelers.  We think that 2014 is going to be our best year and we are so excited to meet you all and show you Peru.  We can’t wait to teach and laugh with you and will go out of our way to make this your best vacation ever.

This is OUR HOME.  But YOUR ADVENTURE. 

We respect that and will make sure it is everything you have dreamed of.

Thank you Alpaca Team and thank you Alpaca Traveler.