Tag Archives: Treks to 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.

The Majestic Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu – Machu picchu tours

17 Mar
Salkantay_Map.png

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

machu picchu tours