Llama Trekking in Peru
When I first started Llama Expeditions, I had planned to offer a lot of llama treks throughout Peru. After all, Peru is synonymous with llamas. Plus, the name Llama Expeditions would seem to allude to expeditions involving llamas. Achieving this goal, though, has not been as easy as you might imagine.
First, llamas, at least to some extent, seem to have fallen out of favor with the locals. Horses have become the pack animal of the Peruvian Andes because they can carry heavier loads than llamas. Favorability towards llamas is starting to change, though, as the locals are realizing how much llamas can draw tourists.
Second, offering llama treks can be a challenge because llamas can’t go everywhere. When I did the Salkantay Trek last year, I learned much to my dismay that horses, not llamas, would make the trek with us. I heard various reasons for the absence of llamas. The Salkantay Pass is too high for llamas. The terrain is too rocky for their soft feet. The rapid change in altitude from the Salkantay Glacier to the Peruvian rainforest is too difficult for the llamas’ systems. I don’t know if any of these reasons are correct, but I can tell you with certainty that I didn’t see a single llama on that trek.
Third, llamas are not allowed everywhere. On the Inca Trail, porters, not llamas, transport backpacks and camping gear. Llamas are not permitted to serve as pack animals on the trail. The only llamas I saw on the Inca Trail were wild llamas.
To be sure, llamas are available at other locales for trekking. Llama Expeditions currently offers a multiday trek through the beautiful Lares Valley with llamas. And, we offer a day hike in the Sacred Valley that is supported by llamas. I also have plans to investigate llama trekking options in the following locations: Ausangate, Colca Canyon, and Huaraz. So, stay tuned for more information on llama treks in the Peruvian Andes.