Peru not only has some of the best mountains on the planet, but also a natural beauty that rivals the best in the world. The Peruvian Andes mountain range has some spectacular and imposing peaks, surely some of the best you can see. A characteristic of the Peruvian highlands is the different native animals of the area. And among them are the popular llamas and alpacas that you should know on any trip to Peru. And for this reason, together with the experts from Machu Travel Peru, we have prepared a small article about the llamas and alpacas that you can find in Peru.
All you need to know about the Llamas and Alpacas in Peru
- Where to observe llamas and alpacas in Peru?
- Find them in Machu Picchu
- Some differences between llamas and alpacas
- Purpose of these animals
- Guanacos and Vicuñas
- Animal fabrics
WHERE TO OBSERVE LLAMAS AND ALPACAS IN PERU?
If you dream of seeing these beautiful and friendly animals in their native environment, then you will have to visit the mountainous regions of Cusco, Puno, and Arequipa. If you want to see large herds, take the Lares or Ausangate treks in the Cusco regions. These are excellent places to appreciate these beautiful animals. For those of you who like to take photos, especially in Cusco. You will find some local women in traditional costumes accompanied by llamas or alpacas. They will allow you to take pictures with these beautiful animals for a small fee.
Not far from Cusco city is the naturally wonderful Sacred Valley of the Incas. The valley was utilized by the Incas for agricultural purposes. The climate of the valley is milder and perfect for growing fruit and vegetables, which still happens today. While in the Sacred Valley visit Awanacancha, a working llama and alpaca farm. Here, you will see the wool being processed and woven into fabric. Its also knitted into garments. The proceeds of Awanacancha go to the local communities.
FIND THEM IN MACHU PICCHU
The mountainous regions of Peru were once home to the fabulous Inca Empire. And this is reflected in the many ancient sites that can be found in this area. And among the many sites available, thousands of tourists come to Peru every year to visit Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu is surrounded by mystery and unsolved questions. This is because scientists and archaeologists are still unsure of the purpose of the beautiful citadel. Just as puzzling is why the site was abandoned after only one hundred years of inhabiting it. Despite this, today you can enjoy an unparalleled architectural marvel. And if you have planned to visit the well-known archaeological complex of Machu Picchu, you have to think about complementing it with a visit to Machu Picchu mountain. Along the way, you will find some of these loving animals.
You can find a large number of llamas and alpacas throughout the Peruvian Andes. Especially inside Machu Picchu, where you can see llamas grazing around the great main square. Peru is home to a wide variety of animals, including the camel family. This family has llamas, alpacas, and vicuñas that are usually the least known. Llamas were traditionally used as transport animals to carry supplies in mountainous regions. And this can also be seen in contemporary times. So on your next visit to Peru, there is a high probability that you will notice these friendly animals.
SOME DIFFERENCES BETWEEN LLAMAS AND ALPACAS
Despite the great resemblance of these Peruvian animals, there are a few differences between llamas and alpacas. First of all, alpacas generally have short ears with pointed shapes. While Llamas have banana-shaped ears. In terms of size, alpacas can weigh around 150 pounds. And the Llamas are somewhat larger, weighing up to about 400 pounds.
Alpacas tend to produce a much finer fiber than llamas. Alpacas also tend to produce much more fleece in a wide variety of colors than the charismatic llamas. Besides, llamas do not have as much hair on their head and face, unlike Alpacas. Another big difference is that Alpacas are herd animals, while Llamas are much more independent. In terms of their personality, alpacas are usually more skittish, submissive, and friendly to humans. And llamas have a much stronger character, coming to be used as guard animals for the same alpacas and other small animals.
PURPOSE OF THESE ANIMALS
Over a period of more than 5000 years, alpacas were used for the clear purpose of fiber rearing. But in Peru, Alpaca meat is one of the many delicacies that you have to try. While llamas have been raised primarily as pack animals and their delicious meat.
Traditionally, alpacas (really the most attractive of the two) were used for their wool. In addition to the delicious meat that appears on many fine-dining menus across the country. Many Peruvian companies have taken advantage of the fineness of alpaca wool and have set up clothing companies. In these, you can buy clothes made especially of fine wool. An alpaca garment is something that will last forever and a good memory on your trip to Peru.
The last of the camel family is the Vicuña. You are more likely to find the animal within the Arequipa district in Peru. Vicuñas are found in great numbers in one of the largest canyons in the world, the Colca Canyon. Therefore, you have to take advantage of traveling to this unique destination full of impressive views. As these animals are less numerous than their cousins, the llamas and alpacas, the vicuña is raised mainly for its wool. And most of the fiber is exported abroad. Wool is used all over the world, especially in the fashion industry. And it is one of the best quality you will find.
GUANACOS AND VICUÑAS
The Llamas and Alpacas have distant cousins not so well known to people. We are talking about the Guanacos and the Vicuñas. These wild species are also found around Peru and South America in general. Guanacos are usually smaller than llamas but larger than Alpacas. It is believed that they are close ancestors of the contemporary llama that we can appreciate. Whereas Vicuñas are wild and undomesticated relatives of the charismatic Alpaca. Vicuñas are much smaller than Alpacas. Vicuñas were until recently considered an endangered species in most countries. You can still find many places where these animals are protected in Nature Reserves and are considered a threatened species. Despite this, Vicuña has a very valuable fiber. For this reason, Vicuña wool is also highly valued in the textile and fashion industries.
80% of the Alpacas in the world have their home in Peru and this is not surprising, due to the great biodiversity in Peru. And its luxurious wool is exported internationally throughout the world. Thanks to this, the textile industry flourishes within the Andean country. And when we talk about quality Alpaca products, there is no better place than Peru. This is not to mention that by buying any of the available products, you will be benefiting some of the various Andean communities. These communities earn their living by raising the different Alpacas, either for their meat or their wool. And fortunately, there are several types of fabrics.
- LLAMA FABRIC: The Llama has two main layers. The top layer is usually very rough and thick. This top layer usually protects the bottom layer, which is quite soft. So you have utilities for rugs, ropes, rugs, and some other decorations. The bottom layer is often used for fine, quality garments. But since both layers are so different, it is usually a very difficult fabric to process.
- GUANACO FABRIC: This is considered quite superior to the Llama cloth. This is because it is much easier to process. The Guanaco, like the Llama, has two layers.
- ALPACA FABRIC: Alpaca cloth is one of the most desired in the world market. Because it is thin, resistant, durable, thermal, soft, and hypoallergenic among other characteristics.
- BABY ALPACA FABRIC: This is a type of Alpaca fabric, it does not mean that it comes from a newborn Alpaca. It has this name because it is the first shave of an alpaca. It is usually done when the Alpaca is one year old or less. During this time, the Alpaca’s coat is usually finer.
- VICUÑA FABRIC: Vicuña cloth is recognized as one of the best in the world. It is quite smooth, fine, and of exceeding quality. It is even said that only the Inca royalty could wear the Vicuña cloth. Today, due to being a threatened species, it remains a rare fabric. Making it even more exclusive than the Alpaca.
“ADVENTURE YOU SAY? ALPACA MY BAGS!”
Spend your next vacation visiting Peru and all that the country has to offer. The wonderful native animals of Peru are the highlight of any visit. Not only are the animals great to see, but the people of Peru are warm and friendly. And they are waiting to welcome you with a warm smile and open arms. Together with the experts from Machu Travel Peru, we hope we have been of help. Remember that if you need to know about our different tours in Peru, you can consult with our team of qualified advisers. We will be waiting for your soon visit!