Llama Trek, an Unforgettable Experience!
Getting to Cusco is in itself an amazing experience, walking through the main square, around its streets and stoned walls is a magical feeling; everybody who have gone there will know what I mean.
This was my third visit, but unlike the previous, this time I was here for work, so I would have to make completely new activities.
Many of us have been to Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley and other traditional places in Cusco, but why do we always do the same when this place can offer us a lot of new activities that can make our stay a totally new experience? can you imagine walking over 4800 m in a breathtaking scenery, accompanied by the sound of nature, with local guides and also surrounded by llamas?
Back in the valley, very early and full of energy of this new adventure, I came to a small community called Willoq, here waiting for me was Mr. Francisco, Juliana and 11 year old girl named Rebecca, they would be my guides in a 13 km hike, how unusual this tour would be that we will be accompanied by llamas, a wonderful experience was about to begin.
An important fact before starting the adventure is that families of Willow belong to a particular ethnic group, since according to some writers, they are the last to have a direct line blood with the last Inca, which is corroborated by his surname as Sinchi, Pukha, Cusipaucar, Tupha, among others.
We began to descend the 4800 meters, the first hour walking was easy, since almost everything was flat, that allowed me to take photos very easily. As we walked I start chatting with Mr. Francis, listening a 62 years man, that most of his life lived in this place, which has dreams like us, dreams so noble and righteous, that make you admire his way of thinking and his simple way to see the world, it was really rewarding.
It was time to keep moving and after having walked about 2 hours, it was time for a break, a little water and a fruit were two excellent options, but what was not in my plans was that the small community would have prepared us a welcome in which they taught me the way they live, and how rural tourism is helping them to keep forward in a sustainable way. Then we were served fried trout, accompanied by boiled potatoes and hot “muña” a local root, it was really spectacular! Everything was so delicious that I forgot to take a picture.
Just before we resume the hike, Juliana approached me, I had not talked much with her all the way, she asked me if I was tired, I said no, that it was all right, she said smiling: very good young man because the slope is very close and with a small smile she began to walk.
Actually I was not tired, I'm quite used to walk but it was a bit uncomfortable because of my camera and other accessories that I had to carry.
Now the trail was totally different, no longer walk along a wide path, now we were glued to the hill in single file, the path was all uphill, the temperature began to rise and noon and we were midway, with an extremely high temperature, and literally climbing the mountain. It was very tiring but the view was spectacular.
It was time to rest for a while and it was necessary. How delicious is a bottle of water when you are thirsty, I approached to Mr. Francisco to ask him if we were still far from our destination and he said we had to climb a bit but then it would all be downhill.
It was time to start the descent and believe it or not it was more complicated, the road was a little bumpy, there were many slips but nothing major to complicate the hike. To breathe and feel part of nature and share a day with my new friends was amazing and one of the best experiences I've had. After a few hours, we reached the final destination, I was exhausted but really happy to have made this great activity.
I am fortunate to have visited several countries, many with surprising landscapes, but it is easy to realize that Peru is an incredible country, with everything a traveler could dream of. This adventure will be in my memory and will be one more story to tell.
If you are planning to go to Cusco ask for the Llama Trek, visit this community of Willoq and if you can, buy them their souvenirs, they will thank you forever.
Francisco, Juliana, Rebeca and the llamas made my adventure one of the best I've experienced.