The Great Inca Trail – Part IV

June 22nd, 2017 | by Nicholas Stanziano

The team approaches two months on The Great Inca Trail, hiking for miles every day to undertand and share its story, past and present


Lodge versus cruise: Exploring the Peruvian Amazon

June 22nd, 2017 | by Nick Dall

You haven’t truly experienced the wonders of South America until you’ve immersed yourself in the canopy of the Amazon and explored its many waterways. Until you’ve got up close and personal with a macaw and heard a howler howl…


5 iconic Amazon animals

May 24th, 2017 | by Nick Dall

Your once in-a-lifetime adventure to the world’s largest and richest rainforest will be packed with wildlife highlights from start to finish. Here are a few of the most exciting species found near Puerto Maldonado


Everything you need to know about Peru

May 9th, 2017 | by Nick Dall

From the vibrant colors of the Amazon to the wispy clouds of Machu Picchu, Peru has it all. We’ve sifted through our archives to compile one megablog that covers every corner of this magnificent country…


Making the most of your Lima layover

April 27th, 2017 | by Nick Dall

With a fascinating colonial past, a thriving culinary scene and a gorgeous coastline, Peru’s bustling capital is so much more than a layover


Meet the Qhapaq Ñan crew: Kevin Floerke

February 28th, 2017 | by Nick Dall

A bona fide archaeologist with a special interest in Inca roads who also just happens to be a drone pilot, rock climber and videographer...Kevin was made for our Qhapaq Ñan expedition


Meet the Qhapaq Ñan crew: John Leivers

January 30th, 2017 | by Nick Dall

Veteran Australian adventurer John Leivers has spent more time walking in the Andes than most llamas. His vast knowledge and on-the-ground experience of the Qhapaq Ñan make him an irreplaceable member of the team


Five staples of Andean cuisine

November 16th, 2016 | by Nick Dall

When you combine high altitude, low rainfall and bitter winters you get hungry people. This week’s blog looks at five cornerstones of the Andean diet


Qhapaq Ñan–Second Expedition,Part 2

November 4th, 2016 | by Nicholas Stanziano

Hilarious and captivating stories from SA Expeditions Founder, Nick Stanziano, as he boldly walks 200 miles over 2 weeks thru Southern Peru with a trusted team of llamas to bring the magic of the Great Inca Road, Qhapaq Ñan, to all of us


Qhapaq Ñan–Second Expedition,Part 1

November 4th, 2016 | by Nicholas Stanziano

Journey along side Nick Stanziano as he prepares to hike 5 months along the Great Inca Road - Qhapaq Ñan - connecting Ecuador and Peru, with a team of Inca Trail experts and a pack of somewhat unruly llamas


Things to do in Puerto Ayora, Galapagos

November 2nd, 2016 | by Nick Dall

Most first-time visitors to the wildlife wonder that is the Galapagos are surprised that it's got a bona fide town, with shops and restaurants and schools. Read on to find out more about Puerto Ayora's main attractions


Lodge to lodge treks near Machu Picchu

September 16th, 2016 | by Nick Dall

Dilemma: You’ve always wanted to do the Inca Trail but you also value the finer things in life. Get the best of both worlds by doing one of the luxurious lodge to lodge treks on offer near Cusco


What to do on your Guayaquil stopover

September 12th, 2016 | by Nick Dall

Many Galapagos itineraries include a stopover in Guayaquil, the so-called Pearl of the Pacific. Follow these tips to make the most out of your time in Ecuador's largest city.


Choquechaca: An Interlude to the Qhapaq Ñan

September 6th, 2016 | by Nicholas Stanziano

I would have never come up with the crazy idea to hike 2,000 miles on the Qhapaq Ñan without Choquechaca. When I first arrived in Choquechaca 12 years ago a new chapter of my life began


Qhapaq Ñan – Week 2 / Semana 2

August 22nd, 2016 | by Nicholas Stanziano

Read on for a blow by blow account of the second week of our Chief Explorer's Qhapac Ñan adventure from Chavín in the highlands to Casma at the coast.


Qhapaq Ñan – Week 1 / Semana 1

August 14th, 2016 | by Nicholas Stanziano

Today we begin a series of expeditions that will keep us busy for the next 12 months. In total we will walk nearly 3,000 miles of the great Inca road system known as the Qhapaq Ñan


5 must-sees in Quito’s gorgeous Old Town

July 15th, 2016 | by Nick Dall

Quito’s Old Town is so jampacked with incredible experiences, that it can be hard to choose which ones to visit. We’ve done the legwork for you and handpicked 5 of the very best


Buenos Aires in the shoes of Evita

June 27th, 2016 | by Nick Dall

Lionel Messi, Jorge Luis Borges, Che Guevara and Diego Maradona…Argentina has produced plenty of global icons, but none more famous than Evita Peron. When you visit Buenos Aires, be sure to follow in her footsteps a little


Gallery: Hummingbird heaven in Ecuador

June 11th, 2016 | by Nick Dall

Ecuador is home to an incredible 132 species of hummingbird - more than any other country in the world - and their spectacular diversity is a reason in itself to visit the country.


A closer look at Inca rope bridges

May 31st, 2016 | by Nick Dall

The vast Inca road network relied on about 200 rope bridges to traverse the steep valleys and canyons of the Andes. Only one such bridge remains…


Climbing Machu Picchu Mountain

May 21st, 2016 | by Nick Dall

There’s no denying the 3 to 4-hour hike up Machu Picchu Mountain is tiring, But the views from the top more than make up for the exertion…


5 of the best Buenos Aires hoods

May 2nd, 2016 | by Nick Dall

Buenos Aires is an enormous city. With 14 million inhabitants, you could spend a month here and feel like you hardly know the place. Fortunately it’s divided into neighborhoods, each one distinct from the other. We've rounded up 5 of the best


Introducing Chile: Land of extremes

March 24th, 2016 | by Nick Dall

Preposterously long and thin, Chile’s absurd natural extremes make it every adventurer’s dream. What’s more, the people are charming, the culture is infectious and the wine is world class


Zika virus: All you need to know

February 10th, 2016 | by Nick Dall

The Zika virus has been dominating headlines for the past month or so and there is no doubting the challenge South America is facing. But for tourists there isn't too much to worry about. Unless, of course, you are a pregnant woman


Famous South Americans: René Favaloro

December 18th, 2015 | by Nick Dall

The Argentine surgeon who pioneered heart bypass surgery in the 1960s and 70s was also responsible for bringing world-class healthcare to Argentina’s rural poor. He was a national celebrity and his suicide in the year 2000 is still mired in controversy


The Magic of Travel

August 22nd, 2015 | by Nicholas Stanziano

What is it to travel? Technically speaking it’s really just getting yourself from one place to another. Yet for those



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    4 months ago

    Quinoa genome unveiled in search for hardy crop to feed world

    Have scientists found the answer to global food security in the Andes? #Quinoa #Peru

    Some strains can tolerate 38-degree days, salty soils and high altitudes, say researchers

    4 months ago

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    Sara Hensel is next in our #saexpeditionsuniverse series that introduces all the people around the world that allow us to build life changing experiences.

    Sara’s emerged from small town America,

    Sara does not dwell on what has already come though. She’s a roll-up your sleeves and bring on tomorrow type. Her path has taken her through corporate America, Argentina, Peru, Colombia and many other projects far from the homogeny of McDonough. Her generation has learned that change is the only constant and that adversity is not bad, but instead a necessary path towards true achievement. Progress for Sara is not about conquering, it’s about pliability and knowledge. As our latest and greatest Destination Expert, she designs experiences that stay true to her senses that travel can bring wisdom.

    Cheers to Sara! The #saexpeditionsuniverse looks forward to continuing our journey of enlightenment through travel with you See more

    4 months ago

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    4 months ago

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    Aaron Welch is next in our #saexpeditionsuniverse series that introduces all the people around the world that allow us to build life changing experiences.

    Being an accountant for small and medium

    Nerds and their ability to manage data rules in the digital age. Considering this and the fact that Aaron plays Ringo Starr in a Beatles cover band, he begins to define what is cool. We’re just lucky that he decided to be cool with us!

    Cheers to Aaron! The #saexpeditionsuniverse looks forward to continuing our journey of enlightenment through travel with you. See more

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    VIDEO: The jawdropping beauty of Uyuni in the rainy season

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    5 months ago

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    Collin McNew is next in our #saexpeditionsuniverse series that introduces all the people around the world that allow us to build life changing experiences.

    Collin came barreling into the SA Universe

    This was how travel began with Collin. It started as a pursuit of sport that evolved into a pursuit of experience and learning. It was soccer that brought him to Brazil for the World Cup in 2014, where he stayed in the Amazon for four months, which he wrote a book about. Since, he’s lived in Ecuador and explored across Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina. He now turns his passions for travel into developing trips for his clients as a Destination Expert for SA Expeditions where his unique energy and experiences greatly strengthens our mission to share South America with the world.

    Cheers to Collin! The #saexpeditionsuniverse looks forward to continuing our journey of enlightenment through travel with you. See more

    5 months ago

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    5 months ago

    Old and New: 16 Photos of Santiago, Chile

    The metropolitan city of Santiago is Chiles largest and has been its capital since it was founded in 1541. Santiago’s cityscape is shaped by its 19th century neoclassical architecture, Mapocho River

    Santiago is a great starting point to explore the colorful ocean city of Valparaiso, dry arid Atacama Desert, world famous Chilean wine regions, wild and rugged Patagonia and the mysterious Easter Island.

    #Chile #Southamerica See more

    Home to modern skyscrapers and historic colonial architecture, Santiago offers visitors the chance to step between past and present just by crossing the street.

    5 months ago

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    “SA Expeditions was a wonderful find for our group of 15. We were so impressed with the level of attention and details that Staci put together for our #Rio, #Iguazu, #Amazon, #MachuPicchu, #Lima See more

    5 months ago

    Explorers Are Diving the Galápagos. This is What They’re Finding. Pictures — Pristine Seas — National Geographic

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    Explore animals in the Galápagos with the Pristine Seas team.

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    6 months ago

    SA Qhapaq Ñan

    The third and final preparation trek has come to a close, before the big trek begins in April 2017…

    Qhapaq Ñan – Day 8

    *Versión en español abajo*

    In the end, we made the 170 miles walk from Jauja to Antioquia in seven days, two day less than planned. The improved management and behavior of

    In parallel with sharing the historical, ecological and cultural marvels, we aim to place the Qhapaq Ñan alongside the great long distance walking trails on the planet . The 2000 miles path from Cuenca, Ecuador to Cusco, Peru can become a vein of economic activity through tourism. A feat that will require persistence and common vision from local and national governments alongside private industry. The Pacific Crest Trail going from Mexico to Canada along the spine of the Sierra Nevada’s and Cascade ranges was a vision began in 1932 by Clinton C. Clark, which took 60 years to be considered complete and with a network of “trail angels” overseeing its maintenance.

    Although the Qhapaq Ñan has already been a contiguous stone trail along the spine of the Andean since the 1400’s at the height of the Inca Empire and the traditional communal work structure of the Andes, which road maintenance was a part of, is a cultural practice already in place that can be organized and directed just like the “trail angels” of the Pacific Crest Trail. This is not even mentioning that the Qhapaq Ñan is one of the greatest public works of ancient man, with millennial cultures still along its route.
    It will become one of the great long distance hiking trails in the world, and our explorations and stories along the way we hope will serve for generations of walkers who come after us.

    Nick Stanziano
    Chief Explorer
    SA Expeditions

    ________________

    Qhapaq Ñan – Día 8

    Culminamos con la expedición de 320 kilómetros desde Jauja a Antioquia en solo siete días, dos días menos de lo planeado. El progreso en el manejo y control de nuestras llamas en esta caminata significó poder dedicar unas horas extras al día explorando en lugar de re-ordenar la carga o tener otros retrasos que se producen con un equipo menos entrenado. Durante siete días caminamos en promedio alrededor de 40 kilómetros por día, distancia que equivale a la caminata de cuatro días en el tradicional camino inca desde el Valle Sagrado hacia Machu Picchu – 41 kilómetros en total.
    Si buscamos un punto de comparación podemos decir que caminar estos 40 kilómetros cada día por el Pacific Crest Trail desde Sierra Nevada hasta los andes Cascade en Estados Unidos es la misma distancia que caminaremos por día en la expedición que realizaremos por el Qhapaq Ñan en nuestro gran proyecto durante cuatro meses en Abril del próximo año,

    No solo queremos compartir las maravillas históricas, ecológicas y culturales del Qhapaq Ñan, si no también queremos establecer a este gran camino inca a la par de grandes caminos de larga distancia en el mundo . El tramo de 3,200 kilómetros de Cuenca, Ecuador hacia Cusco, Perú puede convertirse en una principal actividad económica a través del turismo. Una hazaña que requerirá persistencia y trabajo de la mano de los gobiernos locales y nacionales junto con la industria privada. El Pacific Crest Trail que va de México a Canadá a lo largo de las cordilleras de Sierra Nevada y Cascade fue una visión que Clinton C. Clark tuvo en 1932, la misma que tomó 60 años para ser considerada completa y con una red de trabajo de personales responsables que se encargan del mantenimiento de la misma.

    Desde el año 1400, el Qhapaq Ñan fue un camino de piedra del Imperio Inca construido a lo largo de la cordillera, su tradicional estructura y el mantenimiento vial era realizada con trabajo en conjunto de las personas de los andes. Esta práctica cultural era organizada y dirigida por los “ángeles del rastro” del Pacific Crest Trail. El Qhapaq Ñan es una de las mayores obras públicas del hombre antiguo, con culturas milenarias que existen aún a lo largo de la ruta.

    Se convertirá en uno de los grandes senderos de larga distancia en el mundo, y esperamos que nuestras exploraciones e historias a lo largo del camino sirvan para las generaciones de caminantes que vienen después de nosotros.

    Nick Stanziano
    Jefe Explorador
    SA Expeditions See more

    6 months ago

    The Two Day Inca Trail – The Best Kept Secret

    The 2 day Inca Trail is a great option for those who don’t have the time or desire to hike the full 4 day Inca Trail

    6 months ago

    SA Qhapaq Ñan

    The journey continues…

    *Versión en español abajo*

    Qhapaq Ñan – Day 1

    The team departed this morning from Jauja with 12 llamas heading along a transversal Qhapaq Ñan towards Pachacamac, 200 miles west, near the

    In three days by foot west, we’ll arrive to the great Inca stairway in the shadows of the great Apu Pariacaca (mountain deity). The set of 1800 steps will be the entry to another three days on some of the most spectacular Qhapaq Ñan anywhere on the 25,000 mile network. Ten days from now, we should arrive to our finish point at Antioquia, where the Qhapaq Ñan starts to disappear closer to the coast. The terrain for most of our trek will float between 11,000 and 16,000 feet above sea level, perfect for the llamas with plenty of Ichu grass along the way.

    Our first day on the route covered 15 miles and with better behaved llamas and more efficient llameros (llama handlers). Our llameros, Flavio, Nicolas and Valentine are getting better at their craft. We also have two local llameros, Tito and Antonia, the latter being our first female llamero in 500 miles of Qhapaq Ñan we’ve trekked thus far and adds an interesting dose of female energy into the group. She’s probably the most able llamero of the group and it’s her animals were working with while in the region. The majority female team at SA Expeditions might find this amusing that even on the Qhapaq Ñan I find myself collaborating with strong and talented women.

    Nick Stanziano
    Chief Explorer
    SA Expeditions
    ___________________
    Qhapaq Ñan – Día 1

    Desde Jauja, esta mañana el equipo inició la expedición junto a doce llamas a lo largo de una transversal del Qhapaq Ñan en dirección hacia Pachacamac, 320 kilómetros al oeste, cerca de la costa sur peruana en el Océano Pacifico.

    Hace 600 años, en la cima del reinado del Inca, Jauja fue un importante centro de administración que apoyó la expansión del imperio hacia el norte desde su capital, a 770 kilómetros al sur, en Cusco.

    Pachacamac, fue un importante centro religioso que se remonta a dos milenios e influyó en las siguientes culturas incas. Tiene sentido que el camino que une estos dos centros antiguos haya contado con tal planificación y grandeza. Es un ejemplo que se suma a la lista de obras extraordinarias a gran escala del imperio.
    Luego de tres días de caminata en dirección al oeste, estaremos llegando a la gran escalera Inca localizada en las sombras del gran Apu Pariacaca. El conjunto de mil ochocientos escalones será la entrada durante tres días a uno de los lugares más espectaculares de todos los 40,200 kilómetros que conforman el Qhapaq Ñan. En estos diez días de expedición llegaremos finalmente a Antioquia, más cerca a la costa donde el Qhapaq Ñan comienza a desaparecer. La mayor parte de nuestra caminata se realizará en alturas que van desde los 3,350 y 4,900 m.s.n.m, lo que es perfecto para las llamas ya que encontraremos abundante hierba de Ichu a lo largo del camino.

    En el primer día de ruta se ha cubierto 25 kilómetros. Las llamas se han comportado mejor y los encargados de ellas, los “llameros”, están realizando su trabajo de manera más eficiente. Flavio, Nicolás y Valentín están mejorando en su labor. A ellos se han sumado dos llameros locales, Tito y Antonia, siendo esta última la primera mujer en acompañarnos luego de 800 kilómetros de expediciones por el Qhapaq Ñan. Ella añade una interesante dosis de energía femenina al grupo y debo mencionar que, probablemente, es la cuidadora con más capacidad dentro del grupo.

    La mayor parte del equipo de SA Expeditions, conformado por mujeres, encontrara divertido que incluso en el Qhapaq Ñan me halle trabajando de la mano con mujeres fuertes y con mucho talento.

    Nick Stanziano
    Jefe Explorador
    SA Expeditions See more

    6 months ago

    SA Qhapaq Ñan

    Follow founder Nick Stanziano as he hikes 2,000 miles.

    Get ready for more Qhapaq Ñan!

    6 months ago

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    The Galapagos giant tortoise is the largest living species of tortoise, weighing up to 900 lbs. Galapagos tortoises are native to seven of the Galápagos Islands, the volcanic archipelago 620 miles See more

    7 months ago

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    Walking and enjoying #Chile.

    7 months ago

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    It will be impossible not to be surprised with more than thirty beautiful lagoons and waterfalls that you can find in #Huancaya, in the highlands six hours from #Lima town.

    7 months ago

    Five staples of Andean cuisine

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    Larco Museum – #Lima

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    One of the best places to enjoy sunsets.
    #GalapagosIsland.

    8 months ago

    Photos from SA Expeditions’s post

    Qhapaq Ñan – Day 8

    Today we’ve arrived to the town of Hospicio after the pass at Apacheta Chico, the highest point of this expedition at 16,000 feet. In the 12 years since I arrived to Peru with

    Getting to Hospicio took us 8 hours of walking through remote Andean puna on a Qhapaq Ñan preserved by cold dry air and almost no people. We passed dozens of native flocks of Vicuña, a rare and prized Andean camelid, and a stunning virgin landscape of Queñua forests. I had my doubts that in 2016 such an Andean world still exists, but I am now a believer and more humbled by my complete vulnerability to the mountains and the local inhabitants of this place.

    Also an important note for anyone interested in exploring the remote sections of the Qhapaq Ñan by foot…Do not take the venture lightly. Be absolutely sure that you are with native Quechua speakers and either yourself or someone else on your team has deep experience in the Andes. Had our team not spent many months planning for all eventualities, our arrival to Hospicio could have been a much more serious had things got lost in translation. We had maps of our route, letters of introduction, native Quechua speakers and a team with decades of experience in similar situations. This is the moment in the story when I say…Don’t try this at home! Unless of course your adventurous soul is accompanied by a strong sense of preparation.

    Nick Stanziano
    Chief Explorer
    SA Expeditions

    _________________

    Qhapaq Ñan – Día 8

    Hoy llegamos a la ciudad de Hospicio después de atravesar el pase de Apacheta Chico a una altura de casi 4,900 m.s.n.m., el punto más alto de esta expedición
    Hace doce años llegué a Perú con una mochila y después de haber explorado gran parte del país, puedo decir que Hospicio es el pueblo más desconectado del mundo exterior que conocí. Los locales solo hablan quechua y solo las personas que son autoridades del pueblo tienen un nivel de español muy básico. La explicación del por qué llegamos de entre las montañas con diez llamas escapa de toda lógica en este lugar. De alguna manera logramos convencer a la supersticiosa población de que no tenemos intensiones siniestras como un pishtaco (alguien que roba órganos humanos) o ladrones. Luego de esto, nos brindaron un pequeño espacio de tierra en donde pudimos acampar con un poco de pastizales decentes para nuestras llamas.

    Llegar a Hospicio nos tomó ocho horas, caminando a través de una remota puna andina sobre una parte del Qhapaq Ñan muy bien conservado por el frio aire seco y por la escasa presencia de personas. Pasamos junto a decenas de rebaños de vicuña, un camélido andino muy apreciado, además de poder contemplar un paisaje impresionante de los bosques vírgenes de queñua. Tenía mis dudas de que en este 2016 todavía existiera un mundo tan “andino”, pero puedo confirmar que ahora soy aún más creyente y además me siento vulnerable contra estas montañas y los locales de este lugar.

    Para cualquier persona interesada en la exploración de las secciones remotas del Qhapaq Ñan a pie, tengan en cuenta la siguiente nota… no tomen el riesgo a la ligera. Deben ser capaces de comunicarse con los locales de cada lugar, tener en cuenta que deben estar acompañados con quechua hablantes o nativos y expertos que tengan amplia experiencia en temas relacionados con los andes. Al no haber tenido muchos meses para planificar todas las posibles eventualidades que se podían presentar, nuestra llegada a Hospicio podría haber sido más grave si no hubiéramos sido capaces de conversar y poder explicar los motivos de nuestra presencia. Sin embargo, teníamos con nosotros mapas de la ruta que estábamos tomando, cartas de presentación, quechua hablantes nativos y un equipo con décadas de experiencia en situaciones similares. Este es el momento en la historia que digo… ¡no intenten esto en casa!, a menos que, por supuesto, su alma aventurera vaya acompañada de una fuerte preparación.

    Nick Stanziano
    Jefe Explorador
    SA Expeditions See more

    8 months ago

    Shopping for souvenirs in Buenos Aires, Argentina

    Heading to Argentina? You’ll want to see this…

    Argentina is a shopper’s paradise – If you know what to look out for and where to find it. This blog gives you the inside scoop on three quintessentially Argentinean gifts

    8 months ago

    SA Qhapaq Ñan

    Tune in daily for captivating updates from SA Expeditions’ Chief Explorer, Nick Stanziano, and his team as they set out on their second ambitious expedition along the Great Inca Road, Qhapaq Ñan, See more

    Our Second Expedition Begins…

    Qhapaq Ñan – Day 1

    After 14 hours of traversing treacherous Andean roads, in route from Cusco towards Ayacucho, we arrived to Vilcashuamán. Vilcashuamán was a

    Being in the Andes, we will also be supported by our team of 12 llamas which arrived by truck after two days on the highway from Northern Peru. While llamas are an iconic Andean symbol, their use and familiarity has been declining since the Spanish introduced hooved animals as the principal beast of burden. Although the llama, in its elegance and native familiarity in the high Andes, give it certain advantages on long distance travel here. We want to understand and rely again, as the Inca’s did before us, on how to use of the llama as a pack animal.

    Today though, in our efforts just to get them loaded, we were reminded we were no Incas…The circus that ensued brought more than a 100 townsfolk and gawking tourists to watch us chase llamas around the archeological park in town that is the tallest ushnu (raised ceremonial platform) in the whole Inca empire. We had gangs of young children, in an amazing display of ability skipping across the terraced Andes, pursuing llamas that were on the loose escaping their load.

    Half the town must have been in some way part of the llamas’ presence and our ragtag team of 3 Cusqueños and two gringos, as we chased them down. In the end, we found one of the llamas so ornery and with a zeal to run, that we decided to sell it for 300 soles (90 dollars) to the man who also played dressed as the Inca king to take pictures with tourists. We declined his first offer, but soon found it a convenient way to find it a home that wasn’t part of our expedition. In the end, we decided to camp another night and think about things and find some more clarity on how this is all going to work out.

    I’ll close this first post with optimism and braced for the 200 miles of adventure ahead on the great Qhapaq Ñan.

    Nick Stanziano
    Chief Explorer
    SA Expeditions

    _________________

    Qhapaq Ñan – Día 1. Comenzando la segunda expedición..

    Luego de catorce horas de atravesar dificultosos caminos andinos, desde Cusco hacia Ayacucho, llegamos a Vilcashuamán. Vilcashuamán fue el centro del Imperio Inca durante el siglo XV, siendo el punto medio geográfico del mundo Inca que iba desde el norte de Argentina hasta el sur de Colombia a lo largo de la costa occidental de América del Sur. Se dice que Vilcashuamán fue la casa de retiro de Pachacutec, el gran inca rey que muchos creen construyó Machu Picchu. Vilcashuamán toma aproximadamente cuatro semanas a pie o en llama en el gran camino del Inca, el Qhapaq Ñan, trayecto que estaremos haciendo el año que viene. Pero esta visita comienza con otra expedición a lo largo del Qhapaq Ñan por una distancia de 320 kilómetros en ruta hacia el Pacífico a un oasis en el desierto cerca de la moderna ciudad de Ica, a donde llegaremos a finales de octubre.

    Estando en los Andes, también recibimos el apoyo de nuestro equipo de doce llamas que llegaron en camión después de dos días de viaje por la carretera desde el norte de Perú. Mientras que las llamas son un símbolo icono de los Andes, su uso y la familiaridad ha ido disminuyendo desde que los españoles introdujeron otros animales principales de carga. Sin embargo, la llama, con elegancia y familiaridad nativa de los Andes, tiene ciertas ventajas en viajes de larga distancia en este terreno. Queremos entender y confiar de nuevo, como lo hicieron los incas antes que nosotros, los contextos de uso de la llama como animal de carga.

    Sin embargo, hoy en nuestro esfuerzo de alistar a las llamas, recordamos que no somos Incas… lo que a continuación pasó fue un circo que logró que más de cien ciudadanos y turistas nos observen en una persecución de llamas por el parque arqueológico de la ciudad que es el más alto ushnu (elevada plataforma ceremonial) en todo el imperio Inca. Tuvimos bandas de niños pequeños, dándonos una impresionante muestra de la capacidad de saltar al otro lado de las terrazas andinas, persiguiendo llamas que estaban a punto de escapar de su carga.

    La mitad de la ciudad fue partícipe de la organización de las llamas, junto a nuestro equipo de tres Cusqueños y dos gringos. Al final, encontramos una de las llamas tan intratables y con un afán de correr, que decidimos venderla por 300 soles (90 dólares) al hombre que estando ahí vestido como un Inca aprovechó en tomarse unas fotos con los turistas. Inicialmente rechazamos una primera oferta, pero pronto pareció una manera conveniente de encontrarle una casa a esta llama. Al final, decidimos acampar otra noche y pensar en las cosas y encontrar algo más de claridad sobre cómo todo esto va a funcionar.

    Voy a cerrar este primer post con optimismo y preparándome para los 320 kilómetros de aventura por delante en el gran Qhapaq Ñan.

    Nick Stanziano
    Jefe explorador
    SA Expeditions See more

    8 months ago

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    8 months ago

    Mi Teleférico: La Paz’s brilliant urban cable car network

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    Alexa Bermudez is next in our #saexpeditionsuniverse series that introduces all the people around the world that allow us to build life changing experiences.

    Both of Alexa’s parents are from

    Yet she is not the stereotype of a first generation immigrant family in the United States, living happily ever after in Gringolandia. Migrations of people and opportunity are always in continual shift and Alexa’s intelligence and pursuit of opportunity are a continuation of her family before her. By her early twenties, she notched up time living and studying primates in the Peruvian Amazon and Southern plains of Paraguay. She had also travelled much of Western Europe, South America and Australia. She understood that learning and becoming flexible around the world was much more important to her future in the 21st century, than a simple geographical place in the world.

    This has been her path before becoming our latest and greatest Destination Expert. Her roots and experience in Latin America is a critical asset in designing experiences for her clients as she does so with a deep understanding of the destinations and cultures in which we work in.

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    10 months ago

    SA Qhapaq Ñan

    First expedition done with success! 250 miles and 14 days later on the Great Inca route, Qhapaq Ñan, from the Andes to the Pacific Coast.

    Qhapaq Ñan – In Summary

    In this first expedition of the project, we made great strides in understanding the limitations and management of the llama. As well as progressing on the many technical

    A big thank you to our friends and close partners at Lima Tours in providing generous support of capital and logistical assistance. Especially, Miluska, Jose and Diego who have been critical to the project and whose influence for eventually establishing real economic value in tourism along the Qhapaq Ñan will be key.
    We had numerous people and animals along the way in which my brief daily correspondence could not pay sufficient justice to their hard work and support. A big thank you to Cordillero Blanca in Huaraz for arranging the local team of llamas, llameros and local assistance. Especially Nelson who spent the good part of two weeks adjusting to our expeditions needs. His son Rodrigo who spent a few days at a critical section descending towards the town of Tambo with his expertise on the route. Thank you to the hospitality that Cynthia and Wilson provided at the national “Tambo” in Olleros with a comfortable bed and many other details so appreciated after 10 days of trekking. To John Rick for the generous time he gave in sharing the wonders of his archeological dig in Chavín. As well as Victor Lopez in the main plaza at Casma. He is a one-man guide, driver, ambassador, and scholar of 5,000 years of Casmeño history that was very appreciated.
    To all those who came along for the adventure…Antonio, Leo, Alejandro, Edder, Ivan, Freddy, Mangus the dog and our 11 llamas. Especially to Rolando, our dedicated cook, who was the only one who loyally walked every mile of the expedition alongside myself. To John, for his constant mentorship, as well as defying what is physically possible at 65 years old.

    A big thank you to all those in the SA Expeditions Universe, who without their daily efforts around the world, none of this would be possible. Especially Alicia for her excellent translation to Spanish of my daily correspondence…And Riva, who’s is my biggest cheerleader and who’s brilliant leadership in managing the growth of SA Expeditions is critical while I’m on the Qhapaq Ñan…And last but not least, the SA Expeditions Destination Experts…You are the very best in the world at what you do. The value you create in capital and goodwill with your clients is the fuel that allows us to pursue such lofty ambitions.

    Stay tuned to our next adventure when the expedition will go from Vilcashuaman, near Ayacucho in Southern Peru to the coast near Paracas. We will have some new friends along and will be continuing to prepare for our 2,000 mile grand Qhapaq Ñan expedition next year.

    Nick Stanziano
    Chief Explorer
    SA Expeditions

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    Qhapaq Ñan – Resumen

    En esta primera expedición – que forma parte de este gran proyecto -, hemos realizado significativos avances en la comprensión y gestión relacionados a temas como el equipo de llamas, las que estuvieron con nosotros durante todo este tiempo. Además, comprendimos los diversos aspectos técnicos sobre la transmisión en tiempo real de la información y aspectos mentales que experimentamos a esa elevada altura. Hemos aprendido mucho acerca de nosotros mismos, observando diferentes perspectivas para poder perfeccionar nuestros procedimientos y equipos para la cercana expedición que llevaremos a cabo, la misma que durará 5 meses y en donde caminaremos desde Cuenca, Ecuador a Cusco, Perú, por una distancia de 3,200 kilómetros.

    En lo que respecta al equipo, me gustaría rendir homenaje y dar gracias a los que están detrás de todo esto, empezando por nuestros grandes amigos y socios de Lima Tours, quienes prestaron el generoso apoyo de capital y asistencia logística. Reconocer de manera especial a Miluska, José y Diego que han sido pieza clave en esta primera expedición y cuya influencia para determinar el valor económico real en el turismo a lo largo del Qhapaq Ñan será decisiva.

    Muchas personas y animales nos acompañaron durante esta expedición y quiero decir que los pequeños relatos que realicé a diario no son suficientes para poder rendir homenaje a su gran trabajo y apoyo. Un gran agradecimiento al operador Cordillera Blanca de Huaraz, por poner a disposición el equipo de llamas, a las personas encargadas de estos animales y la asistencia local. Queremos agradecer también, a Nelson que pasó gran parte de estas dos semanas con nosotros y que se adaptó a nuestras necesidades durante la expedición. Así mismo, agradecer a su hijo Rodrigo, que pasó unos días junto a nosotros en una sección complicada de la ruta que desciende hacia el pueblo de Tambo y que con su experiencia nos ayudó a cruzar de manera favorable. Gracias a la hospitalidad que Cynthia y Wilson nos ofrecieron en el “tambo” ubicado en la comunidad de Olleros, quienes nos brindaron una cómoda cama y muchos otros detalles tan apreciados después de 10 días de caminata. Para John Rick, por la generosa información, por el tiempo que nos dio y todo lo que compartió sobre las maravillas de su excavación arqueológica en Chavín. Gracias también a Víctor López quien nos esperó en la plaza principal en Casma. Él no solo cumplió la excelente labor como guía, sino también como chofer, embajador e impartió todos sus conocimientos de 5.000 años de historia Casmeño con nosotros, detalle que fue muy apreciado.
    Un agradecimiento a todos los que estuvieron con nosotros sólo por ser parte de esta gran aventura … Antonio, Leo, Alejandro, Edder, Ivan, Freddy, Mangus – el perro – y nuestras 11 llamas. Un agradecimiento especial a Rolando, nuestro hacendoso cocinero quien fue el único que estuvo en cada milla de la expedición junto a mí. Gracias a John, por su constante orientación y por redefinir lo que puede ser físicamente posible a los 65 años de edad.

    Un gran agradecimiento a todos los que forman parte de nuestro universo de SA Expeditions, ya que sin el esfuerzo que realizan a diario desde diferentes partes del mundo, nada de esto sería posible. Gracias a Alicia por el trabajo realizado en la traducción al español de los relatos enviados a diario… Y a Riva, que es la mayor creyente y animadora de mis sueños, quien cuenta con un brillante liderazgo en la gestión del crecimiento de SA Expeditions, quien fue imprescindible mientras realizaba esta expedición a lo largo del Qhapaq Ñan. Y, por último, pero no menos importante, a nuestros expertos en destinos, nuestro equipo de ventas, quienes son los mejores en el mundo.

    El valor se crea en el capital y la buena voluntad hacia los clientes quienes son el combustible que nos permite buscar realizar tales ambiciones.

    Sigan atentos a nuestra próxima aventura, la expedición que empezará desde Vilcashuamán, cerca de Ayacucho en el sur de Perú hacia la costa, muy cerca de Paracas. Haremos nuevos amigos a lo largo de la ruta y seguiremos en la preparación y perfeccionamiento para nuestra próxima gran expedición de 3,200 kilómetros por el gran camino inca, Qhapaq Ñan.

    Nick Stanziano
    Jefe explorador.
    SA Expeditions See more

    10 months ago

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