ALPACA EXPEDITIONS 100% PERUVIAN COMPANY
A lot of people ask us about the importance and meaning of being a local company and why are we feeling so proud about this feature. Cusco is the touristic city by excellence, almost of all the residents are involved in this industry in some way or another making it very important for their economy. This revolution caught the attention of a lot of businessmen all over the World and they started investing in Cusco due to the stock access they had and have.
For that same reason, starting a business as a local is a challenge. Starting with a very limited stock and also competing against big brands adds difficulty to the equation. The only way to stand and fight is to provide a top notch service, something the client will never forget and that’s what Alpaca Expeditions started to do by Raul Ccolque’s hand. Fighting with awesome customer service and the best quality in every service, having him working as a guide for the first years of the company.
We are proud of where we are right now and are craving for more in our near and long future. Travelling with locals will give you the security of experiencing the real adventure and knowing the hidden secrets this amazing land has to offer. When you want to try the best pizza, you go to Italy, the best sushi is in Japan. The best way to trek and conquer Machu Picchu is with Alpaca Expeditions.
We can’t start to talk about our team without mentioning the founder first. The person who with an ideal and a lot of hard work started what Alpaca Expeditions is now. The owner and our proud boss, Raul Ccolque.
Raul Ccolque Ccolque, the owner and director of Alpaca Expeditions, was born in one small village near sacred valley. He was raised speaking quechua - the local language. His parents still live on his family farm coming into the city once a week to sell their vegetables. He studied his elementary and high school in the same village and when he graduated he went to the army as he always dreamed of being a police officer. Along the way, a friend from his village invited him to be a porter on the Inca Trail and he immediately changed his focus, falling in love with the sounds of the tourists – their language, their habits. He immediately enrolled in the University studying tourism and English while working as a porter at the Inca Trail. Once he graduated from University, he worked in a local company's office for a bit and finally became a licensed tour guide. Working in all these different capacities in tourism and for several companies, he always felt the companies were too focused on money and less on people.
Most of the companies were just focused on profit and kept the staff aside, just asking them more effort and hard work. He was shocked by this and the idea of making a change was always in his head. He worked hard, saved money, made sacrifices and got the minimum stock to create Alpaca Expeditions with the sole purpose of doing better. Providing a better life for all those who are associated with the company. As a former porter, office staff and guide, he knew exactly how not to treat the employees and based his company in equality and respect to everybody. Today he is lucky to work along with his brother and sister, both work in the office of Alpaca.
Creating the family environment he was always craving. And along with some of the hardest working men and women of the Cusco region. We are also one of the first agencies to employ female guides including trekking guides…giving everyone the ability to make their lives better with these amazing jobs. Gender equality was always a dream of his and the fact he made it true was just the perfect proof that Alpaca Expeditions was created to start the change.
When Mr. Ccolque started Alpaca Expeditions in 2012, he wanted to be a leading travel tour operator with better ethics and customer service. He had the following goals:
- Be the first local operator competing with foreign companies
- Provide more respectable jobs for porters, guides, drivers, cooks, and other providers
- Help Andean children with their education and health
- Leave this earth in better condition focusing on being an eco friendly company
WHO ARE THE ALPACA EXPEDITIONS’ GREEN MACHINE?
Alpaca Expeditions has been growing year by year, not only in number of clients, but also the number of employees. By the end of 2017, we were so happy to employ more than 300 people. Most of our staff works along the treks providing the best and safest experiences. Each one of them are part of the powerful Green Machine!
Our Guides: Our guides are considered the best guides in the business. We are very strict when it comes to hiring our guides because we can only work with the best to create the best memories for our clients. Well respected for the amazing job they do on the tours, our guides are known to be the most informative and qualified guides.
They all have a degree in tourism and English, some of them have additional degrees in history and archeology. We have about 60 guides in total who are the perfect combination of smart, informative, fun, happy, and organized who believe strongly in their leadership role. They are all trained and re-trained in first aid and carry satellite phones for any emergency to be connected to a true medical professional when or if needed. We can assure our guides will make you feel like hiking with your own family and friends. An experience you will never forget and a friend for a lifetime.
Our Trekking Chefs: You don’t imagine how tasty the food is on our treks. It is said so often that the meals they have prepared by the Alpaca Expeditions chefs are the best meals people have in Peru (and Peru has some amazing food). The main difference with mountain cooking and meals in a restaurant is the preparation. All of our clients were expecting camping food or canned food but no, our chefs are the real deal. Here on the mountains our chefs have basic conditions and use a combination of skill and magic to make the most delicious dishes and lots of options, even for those who have food restrictions such as vegetarians, allergies, vegans, and kosher. Our company employs about 50 chefs in total.
Our trekking chefs are always getting capacitations and cooking classes every year at a real cooking school. We train both our chefs and sous chefs since we strongly believe in them to take the leading role when feeling ready.
Our Porters: Our porters are known as the main gears of the “Green Machine” of the Inca trail. They will blow you away. They are the hardest working people in the company. They will carry all your belongings, all the food, tents – all logistical equipment. We thank them for this hard work by making sure they have the best treatment here in Cusco. All hiking gear including shoes, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and meals are provided free of charge from the company. We provide better wages than any company in Cusco so they can live from the wages and provide for their families. We are proud to say that we have at least 300 porters in total and they come from different villages from the Cusco region, such as Pisaq, Lares, Calca and Ollantaytambo.
Every February we take our porters and their families on a tour to Machu Picchu, which is most of the time the first time they have ever been inside to see the ruins. It's always an amazing thing to witness their faces the first time.
As a former porter Raul Ccolque provided the porters with medical attention by a professional doctor at the Porter house Alpaca Expeditions owns in Ollantaytambo. A place where our porters can spend the night, take a hot shower before and after the trek and also the place where the doctor will provide them attention for free.
As well in 2017 Alpaca Expeditions created the program ‘’Hike like a girl’’, which helps female porters to be part of the Green Machine. Gender equality was always a dream of Raul Ccolque, a dream that is becoming true one step at a time.
Why is it mandatory to have porters on the Inca Trail?
Before 1990, the Inca Trail was not regulated by the Peruvian government. Unfortunately many of these early hikers left a lot of trash along the way. The government took note of this problem and initiated a project to protect the trail.
The Green Army All our porters are quechua language speakers who come from farming villages. Alpaca Expeditions will help them to keep growing their community, especially in education, health and culture. We have different ongoing projects and hope to add many more.
Every time we accomplish a goal, we can’t help trying to find new challenges and new ways to improve ourselves. But, as the beginning, we also keep our first goals as commandments.
- Provide sustainable and informative tours of Macchu Picchu
- Educate about Incan culture and its history
- Offer a memorable and enjoyable trekking experience
- Maintain the company as 100% locally owned
- Uphold the view of supporting our local community by reinvesting back into the community
- Provide equitable services to the Green Army (our porters)
We offer quality and personalized tours, no matter the type. Those who choose to take a train to Machu Picchu are treated with the same dedication as those who spend days hiking through the mountains.
We are recognized as the leading tour agency and operator in the Cusco region, and one that contributes greatly to the development of the tourism sector.
- Honesty and integrity
- Clients become our friends
- Commitment to the culture and society of the Andean world
- Work as a team by sharing knowledge, experience and dedication
- Creativity and innovation form solidarity
- Replace attacks and criticisms with proposals and actions
- Made by Peruvians
We hope to build an entirely sustainable company that provides top-quality service to visitors, while at the same time, develop methods to provide children and families in the Cusco region with opportunities for education and support.
We can only talk about ourselves as the leading tour company for trekking the Inca Trail and the different alternative treks to Machu Picchu by following every single rule the government commands. Alpaca Expeditions is fully licensed, every single tour and trek with do is according to the safety and sustainable tourism standards. Every step is correctly taken with us by your side which also is the best way to guarantee you are in good hands while travelling with us.
Committed to our social projects
Since Alpaca Expeditions opened, we have engaged in many social projects benefiting the Andean people. In addition, we help the villages our porters live in, focusing, in particular, on children’s needs. We provide hygienic supplies every three months, regularly supply computers, books and other educational necessities, and we’re proud to have even brought teachers to the schools. It would be hard for us to give back to the community without the help of our clients, who trust us to take them on their journeys. We don’t just provide great services, but we also send your money to support our social projects, for the benefit of the villages and their children.
By traveling with Alpaca Expeditions, you choose to take part in these wonderful projects that our company is creating and supporting. Our goal: To collaborate with Andean communities to overcome economic and social challenges through a working partnership that directs resources toward sustainable projects. Special focus is given to support our kids and their educational endeavors.
IN THE SHOES OF A PORTER
Alpaca Expeditions is a 100% Peruvian tour operator based in Cusco – Peru. We are a family owned company focused on quality of service and sustainability. We have a passion for social projects and have begun a non-profit organization called "In the Shoes of a Porter" where we hope to help one village at a time with necessities like warm boots and proper healthcare.
Tourism has been Cusco’s largest industry for years, especially now that Machu Picchu keeps growing in popularity. Most of us that live in this city touch tourism in some capacity – men and women. Women have always been present in the office helping to sell tours, answer emails, work in accounting. Even our lawyer is a woman. But they always stayed off the mountains.
Alpaca Expeditions Kids
Meet the Kids of I.E.PRIMARIA Nº 50542, an elementary school in DEL CENTRO POBLADO DE LLULLUCHA. These are the children of many of our porters and the students of Professor Chang Wagner Naola Ccorimanya. Professor Wagner teaches English, Mathematics and Literature as well as heads the computer lab at the school.
To mention a few. As a local company we are and always be looking forward to providing as much help as possible. We are happy to retribute to the land who provide us their space and wonders but also the amazing staff we have in the city and especially at the mountains. Our Social projects are very important for us and you can be as well part of them.
Our cooks are truly professional chefs, constantly improving their skills to provide the best and most delicious food on top of the mountains. Its impressive how our cooks make some of the best food that you can taste while you are traveling in Peru. Each year we sign a contract with some of the most famous cooking schools on Cusco, Instituto Latino Americano and Cenfotur, and our chefs take specialized courses to help teach them learn new recipes and new ways of cooking that can be adapted on the mountain. We make sure to include different kind of food restrictions, as we are always learning of new diets ourselves and how to make amazing meals for everyone. Most of our food is organic and farmed in the skirts of Cusco city. Remember that for our ancestors or the Incas, the main economic activity was agriculture. Today our second main economic activity is agriculture and most families in the Andes mountains still farm organic vegetables that are purchased by Alpaca Expeditions to be provided to our hikers to ensure the freshest ingredients (and to support our community). All our meals are provided as buffet style (or family style) with appetizer, entrees, every evening dessert and some digestive hot drinks.
Things they improve each year are:
- Food handling on the mountains
- Dish Handling in the mountains
- How many calories each trekker needs per day
- Why it is important to eat organic and vegetables more than greasy, heavy foods
- Learn more about providing local cuisine concentrating on proteins
- How to include traditional quechua meals for everyone to eat
- New recipes
- Updating our desserts (mmmmm)