As many other tourist cities, the Cusco tourist business is monopolized by large foreign companies who do not share the history of the area or have a passion for our people. As Machu Picchu grows in popularity, more and more foreign companies are operating tours in our backyard, bringing all the profit back to their homes.
However, we are proud to say that Alpaca Expeditions is a 100% PERUVIAN business based in Cusco city which was the heart of the Inca empire and the closest city of Machu Picchu.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF TRAVELING TROUGH A LOCAL COMPANY?
Nobody knows the land and the people like locals. Everyone who operates our tours has been raised in the valley surrounding Cusco and understands how this city operates. In case there are any logistic issues such as flight cancellations, train stoppages, an unexpected strike occurs, we are all here on the ground ready to help and adjust the plans. And if someone ends up with altitude sickness, we have been taught many family secrets on how to help. Our relationship with this city can not be replicated and its helpful to properly serve our clients.
Other than the benefits to you, the client, there are many for Cusco as well. Every penny we earn is then spent back in our home. We can pay all our people higher wages because we don’t have the high overhead of maintaining many offices and huge staff.
IS IT SAFE TO TRUST A LOCAL PERUVIAN COMPANY?
You can 100% trust us as your tour provider. Since 2012, Alpaca Expeditions has been a licensed tour and Inca trail tour provider. All of our guides are also licensed by the Ministry of Culture. And our past clients are the most vocal, happy group constantly writing reviews on TripAdvisor, Google and even our Facebook site. We appreciate that trusting a local company might be difficult at first, but we will very hard to maintain that trust and make this your best vacation yet.
IS IT SAFE TO SEND MY MY MONEY AND BOOK WITH PERUVIAN COMPANY?
Absolutely YES. Our reputation is everything to us and we work hard to maintain our top spot on TripAdvisor. As soon as you contact us from the first time, you will receive a response within 24 hours. Once you book your tour with us, we will send you an invoice and all details with a booking number for easy reference. If you ever have any problems or questions about the trip, we are available by email, phone (US and Peruvian numbers) or by chat. Once you arrive to Cusco we will be ready with all logistics required for you and ready to go. Your job is to stay positive, take your time and ENJOY THE LIFETIME EXPERIENCE.
HOW DO I BOOK WITH A LOCAL COMPANY LIKE ALPACA EXPEDITION FROM A WESTERN COUNTRY
Easy! First contact one of our sales team to make sure your preferred start date is available. Once you have your start date settled, fill in our booking form found on this website. Make sure you have your passports ready, we will need all your details including your passport number you will be traveling to Peru with. Finally pay your $200 per person deposit (might be higher for larger itineraries) through PayPal. We will purchase any permits needed immediately and once they are in our hands, send you a complete invoice and confirmation note, again repeating all details you submitted to make sure we have everything correct. 2-4 weeks before your tour, we will reach out to you once more time with a detailed Trip Reminder.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE COMPANY DOES NOT MANAGE TO GET MY PERMITS ? DO THEY KEEP MY MONEY?
Not at all. Firstly, we typically get all preferred start date permits for our clients. If by any chance we are not successful getting your permit for any of the days you have chosen, we will refund your money completely. Once the permits are purchased and your trip has been confirmed, this is when the deposit is no longer refundable. Since the government will not refund the cost for the permits to us, we enforce this rule, but if you end up getting sick and unable to do the trek, we will absolutely provide a letter to your insurance company to help you get some money back.
WHY SHOULD I TRAVEL WITH A PERUVIAN COMPANY LIKE ALPACA EXPEDITIONS?
Trips, particularly treks, through the Andes is quite different than other type of travelling. And if you are choosing to do the Inca Trail you NEED a tour operator. So choosing a local company full of passion like Alpaca helps Cusco region and the people here and also provides a lot of value to you the client. For example:
- Helps local economy
- Creates jobs for locals then to their families
- We treat the best our staff
- Believe strongly in porter welfare (known as green machine)
- Sustainable tour operator
- Environmentally friendly company
- We go back to our Andean children way doing social projects
- We work hard in quality of service.
WHO OWNS ALPACA EXPEDITIONS?
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. Once he graduated from University, he worked in a local companies office for a bit and finally became a 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. He created Alpaca Expeditions with the sole purpose of doing better. Providing a better life for all those who are associated with the company. Today he is lucky to work along his brother and sister, both work in the office of Alpaca. And along some of the hardest working men and women of 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.
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 ecofriendly company
WHO IS THE ALPACA EXPEDITIONS STAFF?
Alpaca Expeditions has been growing year by year, not only in number of clients, also the number of employees. By the end of 2017, we are so happy to employ more than 300 people.
Our Guides: Our guides are considered the best guides in the business. 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 degree in tourism and English, some of them have additional degrees in history and archeology. We have about 50 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 true medical professional when or if needed.
Our Trekking Chefs: You don’t image 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. 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 Porters: Our porters are known as 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 200 porters in total and they come from different villages from 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. Its always an amazing thing to witness their faces the first time.