Indigenous-owned tour company offers women-only hiking trips in Peru’s Sacred Valley

Sep 9, 2023 | 0 comments

By Stacey Leasca

An indigenous-owned tour company is offering something special to female travelers. In 2024, Alpaca Expeditions, a company specializing in sustainable travel in Peru, is launching its first-ever women-only Sacred Valley and Salkantay tour to Machu Picchu.

The women-only Alpaca Expeditions hiking tour includes camping in glass domes and Peruvian cooking lessons.

According to tour operators, the seven-day hiking tour will provide guests with a mix of scenery along the way and unique glamping and community visits that are not available to those hiking the more popular Inca Trail.

“This trek is very much an off-the-beaten-path alternative trek that also goes to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Machu Picchu,” Raul Ccolque, the founder and CEO of Alpaca Expedition, told Travel + Leisure. “Trekkers will not see many other hikers or groups on the trail, adding to the intimacy of the experience in the vastness of the Andes mountains.”

As for where guests will stay during their journey, the company explained that travelers will spend two nights in glass cabañas, which provide panoramic views of the Salkantay mountain range, and one night in hobbit houses, an accommodation exclusive to Alpaca Expeditions.

The other two nights on the trip include tent camping: one within the Salkantay Mountains and the second at a campsite overlooking the ruins of Machu Picchu at Llactapata. Guests will spend their final night in a hotel in the mountain village of Aguas Calientes, which sits at the foot of Machu Picchu.

Along the route, guests will spend their days taking cooking classes to learn how to make Peruvian dishes and visiting a coffee farm on the way to Llactapata. And, unique to this trip, guests will get to meet with members of the Asociación de Turismo Rural Sahuayaco — a coffee collective that grows, roasts, packages, and sells Choquequirao coffee beans around the world.
“The collective is primarily made up of Indigenous women,” Ccolque shared. “Guests will enjoy a special addition to the cuisine on this tour: an introduction to Peruvian wine. While Chile and Argentina are famous for their wines, Peru is not so well known, yet has some delicious vintages that we will get to taste.”

On the trek, guests will also stop in at a small alpaca farm and weaving center to learn the differences between llamas, alpacas, guanacos, and vicuñas, and get to watch women use traditional methods to dye dyeing wool and weave the wool.

And, of course, guests will also experience Machu Picchu, as the culmination of the trip. Those interested can also add an optional climb to Huayna Picchu, or Machu Picchu Mountain, after touring the ancient citadel.
So, why a women’s only trip?

“We have seen a rise in women-only travel, solo women travelers, and requests for women-only tours over the last few years,” Ccolque said. “While these trends have been in mainstream travel for a while, they have really grown in active adventure travel and for more remote kinds of trips.”

However, this trip isn’t only about female guests. The journey is truly by women for women, as it only includes female guides, porters, and chefs, making it a true women-only tour.

“This aligns fully with our mission to support women,” Ccolque explained. “This kind of tour has not yet been done before by a local, indigenous tour operator in Peru, and we are honored to lead the charge on what we hope will be a growing movement.”

Bookings have yet to open for this trip, which will begin at $995 per person and cap out at groups of eight to 10, but you can stay tuned to alpacaexpeditions.com for upcoming trip information.
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Credit: Travel & Leisure

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