[:en]Many travelers come to Peru with the expectation that they’ll cross paths with a llama or two while wandering Cusco or visiting Machu Picchu, but how about sharing the hiking trail with a small pack of llamas and walking right in stride with these comical and iconic camelids through picturesque Andean and Sacred Valley settings?
What started as a project to revive an ancient Inca llama breeding practice and bring new income to impoverished rural mountain communities of the Sacred Valley, the Llama Pack Project has become a popular partner for the region’s tourism sector, offering travelers a unique and unprecedented experience on the trail with everyone’s favorite pack animal while creating an opportunity for travelers to give back, support, and engage with the local and indigenous communities of the area.
The Llama Pack Project
Founded by a couple of outdoor enthusiasts, the Llama Project Project grew out of many walks in the breathtaking Sacred Valley and countless chance encounters with local families in the remote villages they passed along the way. They noticed that these impoverished communities were sitting on a valuable and untapped resource: llamas. A strong pack animal when bred with the ancient methods practiced by the Incas, llamas had the potential to bring a new source of sustainable income to these rural communities via tourism.
Today, tour operators and agencies like Explorandes can offer guests a new line up of alternative and experiential half- and full-day treks for their visit to Cusco and the Sacred Valley, thanks to Llama Pack Project.
The Llama Treks
Sacred Valley Llama Trek
This easy to moderate half-day hike through the picturesque surroundings of Urubamba in the Sacred Valley involves a leisurely 40-minute uphill hike. Your mission is to bring a pack of llamas to their grazing spot, where you too will sit down for a picnic lunch in the beautiful Andean setting.
Llama Trek to Archaeological Remains
This full-day there-and-back trek through native forests and along rivers includes a visit to the archaeological remains of Inkarakai as well as a scenic picnic lunch overlooking the Pumahuanca Valley. Llamas will accompany you for the entire six- to seven-hour trek.
Llama Trek to High Andean Community
In the company of llamas owned by the community families of the Llama Pack Project, this full-day trek takes you through native forests and amazing rock formations to the community of Cancha-Cancha, home to 54 native Quechua-speaking families. From the village, enjoy stunning views of Chicon, Sirihuani, and the Coque Cruz glaciers. You’ll have the opportunity to step inside a local home for lunch with a local family before heading back to the starting point.
By trekking with the Llama Pack Project, travelers can feel good about their impact on the environment and communities they visit. For one, llamas are native and eco-friendly animals whose soft hooves don’t damage trails and ecosystems like mules and horses do. And two, a trek with Llama Pack Project provides work and income to families in the high Andes.
For more information about booking a llama trek, you can contact us here.