Tag Archives: tours

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!


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!


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


machu picchu tours

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: 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.


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

Thank you Alpaca Team and thank you Alpaca Traveler.




What makes Alpaca Expeditions different?

10 Jul

Trekking to Machu Picchu has become more popular than ever.  Peru has now become a hot spot for travellers, which has been amazing, but it has also caused a lot of people to create tourism companies selling treks and other adventure trips around the country.  We understand that it can be overwhelming to choose among the 100’s listed and we want to point out what makes Alpaca Expedtions stand out from the rest.

Alpaca Team on Salkantay Trek

The Importance of Being a Local Andean Company

Alpaca Expeditions (AE) was started by Raul Ccolque Ccolque.  Raul has lived in the Andes all his life and has worked on the Inca trail since he was 18 years old.  He was born in a small kechuan village called Seque Raccay (meaning Chicha village) where he went to a Kechuan speaking elementary and high school in his local village and then went on to continue his studies at Cusco University where he studied tourism.

Raul created AE with the goal to create a superior experience for our travellers, while focusing on giving back to the local community by providing jobs and investing in the community.  Since Raul started working the Inca Trail first as a porter before he became a guide and owner, he understands how some companies mistreat their porters.  AE makes sure that all porters have proper clothing and equipment, proper salaries and health insurance.  You will not find porters treated better than those wearing Alpaca’s signature green.

Some companies advertise that they are a sustainable and responsible tour company.  We believe that these two characteristics are extremely important and we operate with all the basic principles.  We hire only local people, buy only local products, we teach our travellers about our customs and our environment and how to respect it, and we support local projects/charities such as helping children get the proper school supplies and items for daily life.

Working with our Client to Create their Dream Vacation

Peru has so many wonderful things to explore.  Machu Picchu is amazing and one of the 7 Wonders of the World, but it is only one of our treasures.  Lima and her beaches, the Amazon, Lake Titicaca, the Nazca Lines, Colca Canyon, and the cobble stoned city of Cusco are just a few places to visit.  We understand that each traveller has their own needs and expectations from their trip to Peru.  Our site lists many itineraries for trips around the country, but these are just suggestions.  We will talk to each client and based on their time limit and what they are looking to see and do, create the perfect trip.

This is true for treks to Machu Picchu as well.  There are many options on days and routes for treks to Machu Picchu.  Those with a few days in the area can opt for the 2D/1N trek Inca Trail trek or the 3D/2N Huchuy Qosqo trek.  We have 7D treks for those with an unlimited amount of time – the possiblities are endless.  Again, depending on each clients needs, we can adjust our starting point for alternative treks to make them longer or shorter.

Before we start our trek, we ask each traveller about food restrictions, any health issue they may have.  We receive the trip with you to make sure you are prepared and not nervous.  Everyone can do it and we will be by your side reminding you of that every step of the way.

Our Guides are the Best!!! 

There are many good guides out there, but ours really are the best.  They all speak English and Spanish fluently.  Their knowledge and passion for the history is unmatched.  They are fun and full of spirit, but know when they need to be serious.  They are all trained in emergency care and are ready to help out if anything happens.  We hope that you feel like they are your friend by the end of the trek.  Test them on their knowledge – they will blow you away.

We Listen

We know we can’t be perfect, that doesn’t stop us from trying.  We hope that everyone leaves Peru thinking that it was the best vacation they have ever had.  We hope that we helped to create that amazing trip.  But that doesn’t stop us from asking, how can we improve.  How can we give more to our client and more to our community.  Please let us know how we can continue being the best tour company in Cusco.

We would love to hear from you – if you have suggestions on how we can be the best company on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, please let us know by leaving a comment.  We hope to see you soon in Cusco. 

Book your 2013 Trek Now!!!

9 Jul

Alpaca Expeditions is now taking reservations for 2013.

 In fact, if you book your trip before September, we will give you 25% off the price of your trek/tour.

So don’t delay booking your trip visiting one of the 7 Wonders of World.  With Alpaca Expeditions, you will get to enjoy the sites and treasures of the Incas with the most knowledgable and passionate tour guides in Peru.  We promise we will work with you to create the trip of a lifetime.  And now with a little extra incentive – 25% off.  Book now at info@alpacaexpeditions.com.