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Llamas and Alpacas at Machu Picchu

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Llamas and Alpacas at Machu Picchu

Perú is associated with 2 thing: first the imposing and misterious lost city of the incas Machu Picchu and then many people think about this cute and famous animals that you will have the opportunity to see there. We are talking about the famous Llamas of Peru. Likewise, we can not fail to mention the adorable cousin of Llamas; the alpacas. In this blog you will learn more about those south animals that maybe conques your heart during your expedition in Machu Picchu and which you can take unforgettable photos. Let´s start with the king of your tour, the Llamas, a domesticated South American mammal, a descendant of the guanaco. The indigenous peoples of South America have used it to carry some foods or useful thing for them and also as a transport for thousands of years.



The llamas are known by the scientific name of Lama glama. There are 4 type of camel animals very similar in South America, known, logically, as the one of South America, or camels of the New World; They are the llama and the alpaca, which are the familiar animals of the vicuña and the guanaco, which are the wild species. One of the most impressive facts of Peruvian llamas is that they were essential in the construction of the old city of Machu Picchu. The llama was trained in Peru between 4000 and 5000 thousand years ago. It is a member of the family of camelids, and shares certain peculiarities of the camel as a long neck and a split upper lip, but does not share the capacity camels to survive long periods without water.



The llama has a long, thin neck and thick fur that varies from dark beige to white, although the most common pattern is reddish brown with white or yellow spots. The face is narrow with round ears and a cleft upper lip. It has 32 teeth, of which the lower incisors protrude. Their legs are provided with 2 fingers with thick pad on the plants.It has a large amount of hemoglobin and its red blood cells are oval. This is an adaptation to allow survival in low oxygen environments, since the flame passes its life at high altitudes.This camelid weighs 130 to 200 kilograms and measures approximately 1.7-1.8 meters in height.



The llama manifests a sociability in a general way. His life takes place within groups made up of 20 individuals, of which about 6 are females with their babys. The dominant male can be aggressive with other males to defend their territory and sometimes physical encounters occur. If it feels threatened, it is sure to spit, kick or bite the intruder who dares to approach their domain or dominated. Llamas do not usually spit out frequently, and they usually spit if they have any reason, especially in their psyches. The females spit particularly to teach disinterest for a male who wishes to mate. This is such a common behavior that llama breeders use a spit test to determine if a woman is pregnant or not.



The herbivore feed of the llama is composed mostly of lichens, shrubs and almost any type of vegetation found in the mountains. Water is almost always obtained from the vegetables it consumes. When the baby is able to swallow 2 to 3 liters in one sitting. Digestion consists of a longer process than in mammals because it is a ruminant. Therefore, he has to regurgitate his food and pass it through his 3 stomachs.



The alpacas are one of the most beautiful South American camelids. Related to Llamas, Guanacos and Vicuñas, Alpacas have been valued for their fiber since pre - Inca times due to the properties and quality of their hair.There are mainly two types of alpacas: Huacayo and Suri.



The alpaca, a member of the Artiodactyla order and of the Camelid family, is distinctive because it is the most numerous and small South American camelid species. Similar to the llama and the guanaco in its external appearance, it differs in weight and size since an adult specimen is between 81 and 99 centimeters tall and weighs between 48 and 84 kilograms. It has large and pointed ears. The body is thin and protrudes a long narrow neck; Of course, said thin neck is perceptible when it is not covered with wool, since it grows up to 50 centimeters and has a variety of white, brown and black colorations. The coat can be of a uniform or multicolored color. Its canine teeth are positioned in both jaws and measure about 3 centimeters in length. The female does not have the canines as developed as the male, but with the exception of this characteristic, both sexes are physically similar.



The alpaca is a social animal and lives in family groups. Some researchers argue that the groups are organized hierarchically: they are composed of an alpha male, female and male alpacas and their babys. Alpacas are able to warn their peers about a danger by producing a kind of croak. It also usually defends itself by spitting or kicking the intruders.



It is an exclusively herbivorous animal and its diet is composed of grass, hay, stems, bark, leaves of trees and grass species such as Festuca nardifolia, Agrostis Tolucensis and Descampsia Caespitosa. When eating, the alpaca chews the food by 8 movements. Then he swallows it and goes through 3 cameras to continue with the digestion process. You need too much food to satisfy their body's requirements. Alpaca breeders usually supplement the diet of animals daily with a dose of cereals that provide important vitamins for growth.


More information about the Llamas and Alpacas:

  • Llamas have a special way in the form of blood cells to store oxygen at high altitudes.
  • Male llamas sharpen their teeth to fight and can damage another if they do not move away.
  • Llamas were used to load the construction materials throughout the construction of Machu Picchu.
  • Alpacas and llamas often interbreed, and the result is called a huarizo.
  • Currently the alpacas have a value of hundreds of thousands of US dollars, they make it to their unusual wool, called fiber
  • Alpaca fiber is softer than wool

Amazing Tours to see Llamas in Machu Picchu

Many are the routes that take you to Machu Picchu, but none is like the Inca Trail Tours, the most famous pedestrian path in the Americas. After flying from the capital of Perú, Lima, you will arrive in Cusco to walk for four days along a path through forests and dense fog, millenary stone steps and discovering the ruins of ancient fortifications and Inca cities, and all the time enjoying majestic views. 

If you want to visit Machu Picchu, we recommend you to book your Machu Picchu Ticket in advance, so you will enjoy your Vacation in Machu Picchu without any problem.


When is the best time to watch llamas and alpacas in Machu Picchu?

The best season is during the dry season, which covers the months April to the end of September. In October the rains begin and you can find Machu Picchu covered by clouds. If you travel in June, we recommend you to book the Inti Raymi 2020 Tour that takes place in June 24th, and also hike the Palcoyo Mountain Tour, which is an incredible Rainbow Mountain located in the Andes. 


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