Alpaca Expeditions is a proud local company centered in Cusco, the Andean region is always craving for help and that’s why we provide as much help as possible to make their lives easier and happier.
So, What does Alpaca Expeditions do for their community?
The list is large but it will never be enough, we have different kinds of social projects to contribute as much as possible.
Gifts given to the kids in Christmas, education projects to improve the learning skills of our kids, gender equality by hiring female guides and porters, health campaigns to mention a few. We want you to be part of this and with that humble intention we will list the projects we have towards our community so you can join us in this dream.
Alpaca Expeditions Toy Drive for Christmas
Alpaca Expeditions has been working together with the small and secluded Andean village of Wakatinku, located deep in the Andean mountains. A village that supplies many of the porters whose tireless efforts ensure that your trek is the best it can be and a truly unforgettable experience. Many of the porters still have families who live in this village and who often lack even the most basic amenities that we take for granted. Because Alpaca Expeditions was founded on an altruistic principle we have been trying to give back to this village, and to say thank you to the backbone of this company – the porters, by supplying their families with some basic necessities.
Over the past we have given hygiene products, school supplies, sports equipment and many other small but necessary things. We have even paid for an extra teacher to be sent to the village since the local school was sorely understaffed.
This Christmas we want to bring the children of Wakatinku something special for Christmas and we would love your help. Imagine this:
‘’Christmas is almost upon us; the shops are lit in bright lights and sparkling tinsel, everywhere the food is becoming more and more fatty and delicious. We start ignoring our last new year’s resolutions and buy that sumptuous chocolate cake that glistened a dark and luxurious brown from the window of our favorite bakery. And that is ok! Christmas is the time to think about the pleasure and joy in others and to let ourselves feel that same pleasure and joy. The shops are filled with rows and rows of toys which we all look forward to placing into the hands of beaming kids. We are even humble enough to tell our children that this toy is not from us but from the magical Father Christmas, who is flying around and making children everywhere giggle. Imagine that feeling!’’
Alpaca Expeditions "Sharing is also learning"
Our job is solely to make children happy. Can there be anything more purely good than that? Luckily a vacancy has just opened up and we want you to fill it! Imagine being Father Christmas for a day, being someone magical and exotic who will delight and enchant the children. Well, we would like to give you this opportunity.
If you are planning a trip to Machu Picchu, or have any other tours booked with us we ask you to bring along a small toy, or anything else that tickles your fancy, to give to the children of Wakatinku. If you want to feel like Santa Claus to children that will appreciate just about anything you give them then here is your chance. It is actually quite easy. See picture below for instructions:
We are planning to surprise these children with our own Santa Claus and to give them a true Christmas shower of gifts. If you would like to be a part of this then we would welcome any small gifts or tokens that you would like these children to receive at Christmas. Remember that thing you never really use – that would probably be perfect, or that stuff collecting dust in the attic – perfect. We want to make Christmas as truly magical for these children as this time of year is for us. In that spirit we invite you to bring anything – whether it is simply something useful (soap, clothing, school books etc.) or something that is simply going to bring them joy (toys, footballs (they REALLY love football over here) etc.)
Alpaca Expeditions will do this activity every year, so you are welcome to join if coming to Peru near these holidays dates. If not you can bring a toy and we will save it until it’s time to give it to a kid.
We look forward to welcoming you to Peru.
Cultural Sundays by Alpaca Expeditions
“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.”
“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.”
To enhance the values and cultural identity of the new generations.
To facilitate mechanisms that guarantee equal opportunities and non-discrimination of economic and/or social grounds for children from remote communities.
To maintain our vision of supporting the local communities by reinvesting in them.
This exercise was to promote the inclusion and rights of children and young people in situations of social vulnerability of remote populations, through the development of cultural interventions to the areas of the Sacred Valley of the Inca.
Training in basics of project management to implement a model of cultural intervention of the local areas that is sustainable over time.
Parents & children of the community of Lares
Encourage contact with nature, knowledge of our historical and cultural heritage of the different socio-economic realities that coexist in our country.
Value the importance of school excursions to experience and relate pedagogical issues with which to make human and natural.
Favor social, cultural and recreational exchange
Appreciate through direct experiences the applications and processes that have become the specific subject of classroom learning
Value teamwork and organizational techniques for the realization of all types of projects.
Our goal is to collaborate with the Andean communities to overcome social and cultural challenges through work on sustainable projects.
We started our tour on September 21, where we picked them up from the town of Lares at 7 in the morning. We started our journey to the archaeological center of Pisac, where they could learn more about the history there. They were full of questions, doubts, and were surprised while listening attentively to the explanations of our guide.
We finished our tour in Pisac and boarded our bus for lunch that was prepared by the cooks of ALPACA EXPEDITIONS. After our lunch, we went to the archaeological center of Ollantaytambo, where our guides shared with them the history of this archaeological center. In Ollantaytambo, our group could observe the hill of Puncylluna. This place hid the mysteries of the Inca era. They learned so much about the history of the region, but were a little exhausted and ready for dinner. The whole group was tired since it was almost 7 p.m. and it was time to take the train to the town of Aguas Calientes. Many of them were amazed as it was their first time on a train. They were filled with joy and laughter as they made jokes in Quechua on the way. Finally, we had reached the town of Aguas Calientes exhausted, so we took them to their hotel for much-needed rest.
It was precisely 5 AM, and our group was ready to begin their adventure, so our guides directed them to breakfast. Ready for our journey, we boarded the buses that would take us to Machupichu. Once there, tourists looked at us with amazement and happiness. We went through the entrance of Machu Picchu and had it almost all to ourselves. Once they were inside the majesty of the complex was so amazing that it left them in aw. It was a unique experience that they shared among families. We made the complete tour, and our group learned that the city was built around the harmony of “Pachamama” , the Inca deification of Mother Nature. That energy that it gives off is almost tangible that makes our group happy and satisfied. We set out to return to Aguas Calientes for lunch once our tour was over and then boarded the train to go to the town of Ollantaytambo. The group was so happy to have these experiences and adventure. It was almost time to say goodbye sadly as the company bus picked us up and we took them back to Lares and finished our beautiful trip. The residents of Lares gave us potatoes and other native products in gratitude. Without a doubt, it was a beautiful group and an experience that we will never forget.
Thanks ALPACA EXPEDITIONS!
Encourage cultural exchange
Create a climate of group life, based on affection, respect, and freedom
100% of our porters work on the Inca trail, and only 5% ever get to see Machu Picchu. In this sense, ALPACA EXPEDITIONS considers the experience of educational trips as valuable. Implementing methodologies, and strategies to be able to instill in them the history of their people. We chose this small town of Lares, which is 3’171 meters above sea level. It has a population of almost 60 residents among children and adults all of the same family.
Alpaca trekkers visit Llullucha school
Our goal is to collaborate with the Andean communities to overcome economic and social challenges through a working association that directs resources towards sustainable projects. Special attention is given to support the children and their educational efforts.
This year, Alpaca Expeditions chose the small town of Llullucha, at the base of Apu Ausangate, one of the highest snow-capped peaks of Peru. In the Ocongate region, accompanied by two of our international tourists Anna and Melissa expressed interest in connecting with the local children and providing them with a truly authentic Peruvian cultural experience. We were very excited to do this project with the children of Llullucha with teacher Chang Wagner who is directing the English and Computer programs on behalf of Alpaca Expeditions, who until then has given so much interest in learning of the students of the school of LLullucha, It goes without saying that times have changed, and that the parents of these communities want to see their children have some of the opportunities offered to the people of the largest cities. So on July 26, we embarked on this community to have a unique experience and that our passengers can see these children on their own and confirm that they are already learning to master the English language and the computer course , we were greeted with a beautiful ceremony full of drums and flutes played by the children’s parents; they sang the national anthem of Peru in Quechua (mother tongue), as a sign of pride for their land in the same way we made dynamics that helped us to live this day with these little children from the initial grade, to the sixth grade, and then ready to give delivery of the school supplies we had brought for them, having finished the delivery, and about to return to the city of Cusco, the parents surprised us with a rich Cuy al Horno which is a typical dish of the area. Grateful for such beautiful hospitality of children and parents and eager to stay in that place both for the people and the family atmosphere that they felt.
Alpaca Expeditions Hires First Female Porters and Guides in Peru
In these days of women’s empowerment around the world, Peru has fallen very short. Especially in our villages and poorer areas, women are expected to be quiet and obedient. They are less educated, expected to marry young and raise their children. Very sadly women are mistreated every day and do not feel confident enough to speak up or get help.
Alpaca Expeditions is trying to give a voice to these women. Give them a safe place to say “I want more.” We have opened our doors for women to enter tourism in every and any capacity they feel fit to handle. In 2017 we hired our first female guides. We followed that in 2018 with female porters. Now we have women working in every role: chefs, managers, porters, guides, sales, accounting. We support them at home with services for their children while they are working, good salaries to help support their family, and healthcare for them all.
There are many reasons that the Peruvian women want to work for Alpaca Expeditions. Some are single parents, others have always wanted a career sharing their love of the Andes Mountains with visitors from around the world. Some of them come from families where their fathers or brothers work as guides and want to continue the family tradition. Whatever the reason, the women of Alpaca Expeditions are leading the way into a new era in Peru.
Alpaca Expeditions believes strongly in being an equal employer for all people. Women have not had the opportunity to have key roles in tourism companies and Alpaca Expeditions is working hard to change this. They are creating an environment that allows women to work successfully in the tourism industry.
Alpaca Expeditions has focused on making sure they have help at home when they are working, receive fair salaries and are treated with respect at all times. By listening to them they hope to expand their group of women who are working on the mountain. These women amaze Alpaca every day with their strength, courage and disposition as they are making mountains move with a smile on their face every day. #hikelikeagirl
Empowering Women and Opening the Door to Women in Tourism
We understand the importance of extra safety measures to make sure our female guides and porters are comfortable at all times. Sexual harassment is real in all industries, but with women and men sleeping so close together, we needed to be clear on proper behavior. We decided to hire an outside coach to review with everyone on our team the Do’s and Don’ts. He helped to reinforce the rules we have at Alpaca Expeditions, like no drinking on the job (this leads to poor choices), no touching, careful language, be respectful to everyone. And a reminder that we are a team and we need to stick up for each other and ourselves. Speak up if someone makes you uncomfortable…let management know. Take care of your fellow employee as they are your little brother or sister. Make sure that nobody else is bothering them – from other companies or even clients.
Alpaca Expeditions: Social Consciousness
Alpaca Expeditions is a Peru-based tour company founded by Raul, an exporter. Peru is a great tourist destination highlighting the great Machu Picchu (The Old Mountain) and Inca trail in the Andes. To show off these landmarks to tourists in a socially-conscious way, Alpaca Expeditions opened its doors to the visitors to give them a tour of the Andes and to make their vacation unforgettable.
How is Alpaca Expeditions "Socially Conscious?"
At our company, we hire local tour guides and porters – 400 local men and women – who have grown up in the hills of Cusco with the tales of Inca civilization and who are well versed in the terrain. Many people from all over the world arrive in Peru annually to learn more about Inca Ruins. If you want to get the most out of your trip, you should trek with us. At Alpaca Expeditions, we will provide you with the right equipment for the journey. Additionally, we offer porters to assist you with your luggage, and boast tour guides who have diverse knowledge of Peruvian history. Our company has created strong bonds with the community, so when you hire us, we will help you to interact with the locals who live in the mountainous terrain.
The founder of the company created Alpaca Expeditions to try to give something back to the community. Alpaca Expeditions employs many locals. At our company, we take care of our employees, providing them with the right gear and personal protective equipment that they need for their duties. At no time will you ever find one of our porters with worn-out boots. We also make sure that porters carry reasonable weight and give them personal time.
When it comes to the surrounding community, we engage in school and hospital-building programs. We assist children in need by giving them scholarships. Every three months, we provide schools with hygiene supplies and books, as well as computers. When it comes to the environment, we are very cautious. First, we make sure we follow environmental laws set by the state. We eliminate any signs of our passing left after a trek. We also plan tree-planting exercises.
At Alpaca Expeditions, we have an unparalleled commitment to our community. If you are interested in booking one of our tours, or have any questions regarding special accommodations, then feel free to contact us at Alpaca Expeditions. Alpaca Expeditions is a Peruvian travel operator with a main office located in Cusco, Peru, and we are the top-rated tour operators of the Inca Trail.
Our Female Porters Visit Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu as Tourists
When one starts talking about visiting Machu Picchu, they quickly learn it’s full of history and culture. Machu Picchu is an amazing place to visit, but not always an easy place to get to for all. For most locals, the expense to just get to Machu Picchu is too much for them.
At Alpaca Expeditions, we try to open these amazing ruins up for all our team – inviting them on a weekend vacation as a tourist. For an entire weekend, our employees become clients…and their eyes and hearts open to their own history, seeing their traditions come alive.
Alpaca Expeditions employs at least 350 male porters and about 20 female porters. 150 of our male porters have visited Machu Picchu with us so far. We include everything – logistics, entrance tickets, guides, food and lodging – all paid by the company.
On February 16-17, 2019, Alpaca Expeditions took our first group of female porters on this trip. These women are ground breaking in this male dominated industry and they have led the way for other women to find employment in all jobs of tourism. These women have conquered all of our treks working the Inca Trail, Lares, and Salkantay. This is not an easy job, but they do it with so much pride and happiness – you notice their smiles right away. This is just a small step for us to acknowledge how amazing they are: our super ladies and thank them for being such an inspiration and important part of our team.
Watching these women walk inside Machu Picchu for the first time was incredible. They have a different energy and emotion and it’s very clear how impressed they were immediately. They were not only so overwhelmed by being inside Machu Picchu citadel, they also were so proud for people to see them and ask them about being a female porter.
We first invited women onto our team of porters in January 2018. We assumed it was too hard of a job, only men can do the job. We were so wrong. Of course having female porters introduces new challenges for us as a company. While they are learning this new trade from us, we are learning so much from them and trying to make Alpaca Expeditions a home for them. We hope to grow the number of women in the company and look forward to a day where we are truly 50/50. A few have started training to be a chef and later this year we hope to have a few female trekking chefs in our groups.
We started Alpaca Expeditions not only to do a better job for clients, but even more so for the local people here in Cusco. Our team is as important as our clients. We provide every single one of them with all of their uniforms, including jackets and boots, for free. Each gets a down sleeping bag and sleeping pad for treks. All equipment they need is given for free as well as food.
All of our porters – men and women – come from Andean villages where life is more difficult. We go directly to their villages with goods for their families including medical equipment, food, even sports equipment for their children. They are such an important part of our company and we try to show them our gratitude every single day.
As a company, we are so excited that we made their childhood dreams come true to visit the most important place in our history, Machu Picchu.
Our Female guides, Marizol, Luzmarina, and Lourdes started the expedition from Cusco in our van and drove to Calca. Calca is a small village in the Sacred Valley of the Incas at 2800m. Here they met our porters who had driven about 1.5 hours from their village.
At 8.00 am they drove to Pisac Inca site. Pisaq is a very large site located in one of the ranges in the sacred valley on top of the mountain. This site has a large number of terraces and several houses located in different locations which were used as guard houses, houses for farmers, religious people and astronomers. Pisaq’s name comes from Pisaca, a bird that lives in this area.
Our guides sat down with our female porters and explained all the history: how they built it up, how they brought water in, what they farmed, how they buried their loved ones, etc. They took their time to review and answer all their questions including how women were treated at the Inca time compared to today
They visited the farming area, guard houses and spent about 1.5 hours walking around and enjoying.
Next stop was Pisac market where they enjoyed some choclo con queso, corn with cheese, a traditional food in the Sacred Valley.
They continued on to Urubamba where our inca trail chef cooked a picnic lunch for them. And then finally headed to Ollantaytambo, located at 2700meters. Ollanta means a name of the inca king and tambo means a house or place where people stayed. Ollantaytambo inca site is an impressive inka village built with massive square stones that may weigh about 10 tons each. These were brought from at least 8 km away – amazing. It’s really hard to understand history and explain how these stones were taken so far. Our guides explained to our porters this history and the current hypothesis about how these stones were moved and what was the rule of women here.
Finally after a long day of touring and exploring, we headed to a Pollo a La Brasa restaurant for dinner. This kind of cooking is not traditional in villages even though it is famous in Peru, so it was quite the treat for everyone. We then headed to the train for our 7PM departure to Aguas Calientes for a nice night to sleep.
The new regulations around Machu Picchu are for all, so we purchased 8AM entrance tickets allowing the team a nice later morning wake up time. They enjoyed their breakfast at Tupana Wasi restaurant: soup and a main course (in Peru, we prefer a nice salty breakfast rather than coffee and fruit). Everyone finished up and headed to the buses for the 25 min bus ride up to Machu Picchu. Just like we do with our clients, we headed directly for the most picturesque place so we could take photos of and for everyone.
Since our guides are experts in Machu Picchu, they created a memorable day here for our female porters. Remember that this was their first time exploring this citadel. One of our porters, Martha, said that this is something that she will show her family and kids in the future with so much pride. They explored the citadel visiting the most important places: farming areas, temples, observatories, tombs, houses for living. A few thought their kitchens back home looked similar to a small mud stove.
Machu Picchu means old mountain or old peak, which is the mountain background. No one really knew the name of Machu Picchu, but Professor Hiram Bingham from YALE university in 1911 named it after a farmer told him the name. According to our guides Machu Picchu was the most important religious, astronomical, spiritual spot with the last inca university.
And women had a role in the inca civilization. There was aclla wasi, aclla wasi means house of virgins where they learned about weaving, cooking, medicine and how to be part of religious ceremony. The history said that an inca had one wife but several concubines (second wives). Thankfully we got rid of this custom.
Finally after all exploring and taking pictures they decided to get one last group shot. They each took time to thank us and let us know how much they appreciated the two days. It was really special for all of us involved.
We could not be the company we are today without our porters. It is not possible to offer the level of service we offer without the help of these men and women. They work SO hard, doing every set up, cooking every meal, carrying everything necessary, just to let a foreigner visit their homeland. We don’t think it’s only for visitors – it’s for us. Alpaca Expeditions owner and many of our guides started as porters in this business and know exactly what these individuals give to us to do the job…and what they leave behind at home.
Peru is still a country where machismo is very strong. We are behind the times it seems in women equality. But perhaps we can be a leader and change this. We already see a few other companies in Cusco adding women to their workforce and hopefully this will expand. Women should be allowed and encouraged to do any job they feel up to doing. Helping their family with more income is something that brings them joy and pride.
At this time, 15 women with their children. We hope this number keeps growing in the future and that more and more women can do this job and we can make anything happen for them.