ON THE TRAIL
Enjoying a trekking vacation is only possible when you know that everything is well taken care of, allowing you to focus on hiking through the Andes admiring the breathtaking scenery. At Alpaca Expeditions, we take this responsibility seriously, especially when it comes to safety.
Guides have the job of making sure their entire team of trekkers is safe at all times, as well as his Alpaca “Green Machine” team. We equip our guides with knowledge and tools that are refreshed every year. Our guides go through extensive training in first aid every February, where they learn how to rescue and evacuate people in case of emergency, as well as how to treat major and minor problems.
Three years ago we created a partnership with Clinic 02 and Medical Cusco to give us direct access to medical professionals at all times. A doctor on the team leads the training in February and they are our partners throughout the year to make sure our guides are up to date with the most recent protocols.
Part of the allure of hiking to Machu Picchu is disconnecting from the world and immersing yourself in nature. But its important to have a lifeline in case anything happens. Alpaca Expeditions was the first company to introduce satellite phones and we are the only company to include them on every trek we go on. This allows us to get in touch with our team back in Cusco for extra help or connect a client to their family back in their home country. It also connects us directly to a medical professional on staff or at our partner clinics, where the guide can talk directly to a doctor if needed.
While we need to be prepared for the most serious difficulties, these are extremely uncommon. Most people suffer more from complications due to the altitude or minor scrapes, blisters or belly aches. All our guides carry a full kit of first aid with supplies to deal with pain, swelling, cuts, scrapes and blisters. It also includes some medication like ibprofen and cipro. They always have full canisters of oxygen and larger groups with a second guide will have a second tank. They also carry thermometers, oximeters, blood pressure cuffs (tensiometers).
For our clients on one of our alternative treks, anything other than the government sanctioned “Inca Trail,” whenever a horse is allowed on the hike, there will always be an additional one that is reserved for our clients. Our emergency horse can be used for emergencies if needed or just a little break for the trekker who can use a bit of a break.
And everything that we have and offer to our clients is offered to our guides, chefs and porters. Our team hikes with radios to keep the channels of communication between the team flowing.
Last year, we hired a full time doctor to work at our porters house to have someone dedicated to just our porters needs since they are working so hard and often do not have the ability to get quality healthcare.
Finally, the key to succeeding on one of these treks is hydration. This is made even more important in the altitude, which is something you will need to tackle on every one of our offerings. We take glacier water which is collected from the river or stream and boil, then filter it before cooling it down to offer our clients. Purification pills are not needed to take for these hikes.
Water will be distributed at every meal and we recommend that you take 2-3 liters at a time. You do need to bring your own water for your very first morning as we will not have a chance to clean the water until your first lunch.
You should feel comfortable knowing that you are choosing a company that takes your safety as well as our own teams very seriously. To review what is most important to us and what makes us unique, below is a quick review of what we include on every trek and for all our team.
- Yearly first aid training and refreshing courses
- Partnership with medical clinics to help with information and services 24/7
- Full first aid kits on every trek packed with the basic like bandages, alcohol wipes, a variety of medications as well as extra precautions like
- Satellite phones on every trek
- Full tanks of oxygen on every trek
- Radios for team to communicate
- Emergency horse on alternative treks
- Full time doctor for our porters!