Our Peru Women 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 Peru 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 Peru 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 uniform, 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.