Qhapaq Ñan

Published on December 13th, 2016 | by Nicholas Stanziano

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Qhapaq Ñan – Third Expedition

Qhapaq Ñan – Day 1. Third Expedition.

The team departed this morning from Jauja with 12 llamas heading along a transversal Qhapaq Ñan towards Pachacamac, 200 miles west, near the Pacific coast in southern Peru. At the height of the Inca’s reign, 600 years ago, Jauja was a major administration center, serving the empire’s expansion northward from their capital, 480 miles to the south at Cusco. Pachacamac in its own right was an important religious center going back two millennia and influenced successive cultures leading up to the Incas. It makes sense that the road linking these two ancient centers would be an equal in its planning and grandeur. It’s an example, as impressive as any other large scale public work of the empire.

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. Regardless, 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 ironic 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 hemos 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

Qhapaq Ñan – Day 2. Third Expedition.

We’ve arrived to Rio Cochas after a 20-mile day, stretching a western path over two passes and high Andean plateau.  Valentin performed an offering to the earth asking for safe passage at the first mountain pass that we reached mid-morning. The offering consists of wrapping alpaca fat into coca leaves, with flowers and various plants, placing them into a paper and putting it into the ground.

Ever since I began walking the Andes with Valentine a decade ago in Choquechaca outside the Sacred Valley where we met, he has always been consistent with his ceremony. Valentine is like the wise uncle of the group, and in fact, Flavio and Nicolas call him tío, meaning uncle in Spanish. Walking hundreds of miles in the remote Andes, you always having to rely on your team and animals to stay safe and warm; which makes you quickly appreciate Valentine’s presence.

He is as strong as an ox and has been at the front with me on this route, setting the pace and sniffing out the road. Hiking the Qhapaq Ñan can often be about picking up small signals every 10 to 50 feet; a line of rocks here, an impression in the ground there. You also eventually get into the minds of the Inca engineers that built it, understanding their preferences of building the road efficiently with the landscape. Valentine has a sixth sense in this regard, and I try all the while to keep up and learn the flow of the road alongside him.  Really, the whole team is getting into the Qhapaq Nan groove, more every day that we progress along its path.

Nick Stanziano
Chief Explorer
SA Expeditions

Qhapaq Ñan – Día 2

Luego de 32 kilómetros de caminata marcando el paso por el occidente entre dos montañas en las alturas de la puna llegamos a Rio Cochas. Valentín hizo una ofrenda a la tierra para poder atravesar el primer tramo de manera segura, al mismo que llegamos a media mañana. La ceremonia consiste en envolver la grasa de alpaca en hojas de coca con flores y varias plantas, colocándolas en un papel y poniéndolas en el suelo.

Luego de conocer a Valentín hace diez años en la comunidad de Choquechaca en el Valle Sagrado y de recorrer los Andes con él puedo afirmar que nunca ha dejado de realizar la ceremonia en cada salida realizada. Valentín es como el tío sabio del grupo y de hecho, Flavio y Nicolás lo llaman así. Caminar cientos de kilómetros en los remotos Andes teniendo que apoyarnos entre nosotros y los animales y mantenernos a salvo, nos hace apreciar la presencia y tradición de Valentín.

Él es fuerte como un buey y ha estado siempre por delante del equipo conmigo en estas rutas, marcando el paso y rastreando el camino. Caminar el Qhapaq Ñan a menudo puede definirse en tomar pequeñas señales cada tres a quince metros; una línea de rocas aquí, una impresión en el suelo allí.
Eventualmente, logras ponerte en el lugar de las mentes de los ingenieros inca que construyeron este gran camino, entendiendo sus preferencias y motivos de construir la carretera de manera eficiente y en tono con el paisaje. Valentín tiene un sexto sentido e intentó todo el tiempo seguir y aprender el flujo a lo largo de la carretera. Realmente todo el equipo está entendiendo mejor el surco de Qhapaq Ñan al pasar todos los días a lo largo de sus tramos.

Nick Stanziano
Jefe Explorador
SA Expeditions

Qhapaq Ñan – Day 3. Third Expedition.

We arrived to Ninabamba after a big day, hiking along the Cocha River. Tonight’s 15,000-foot camp has a heavy dusting of snow, but it hasn’t dimmed our excitement of reaching the great Inca steps at Pariacaca tomorrow. This iconic section of the Qhapaq Ñan world is something I’ve seen in pictures for years and I can’t help reflecting on what got me here.

My youth was filled with adventure alongside my father who was part explorer, hobo and philosopher, all in one. We would spend weeks camping in the Sierra Nevada’s in California, learning the ways of the mountains and connecting with the world, different from my reality in public school learning to be a part of society. Thirteen years ago, at 23 years old, when I decided I was moving to the Andes, from a comfortable Southern California beach town, it was the images of the Andes and Inca Road that filled my mind.

Today, at 36 years old, those childhood dreams that began alongside my dad have come full bloom. The Sierra Nevada’s, my education, my company, my family, my spirit, my dad, my love affair with Peru… my drive to hike 2,000 miles on the Qhapaq Ñan is an intersection of them all.

What started as a personal journey, has now become a collaboration of many people around the world – a few walking, many who are not – who think the task at hand goes far beyond one person. We share this great ancient road as a team, believing it’s an activity that can bring forth positive action towards its conservation and the populations along its route.

Nick Stanziano
Chief Explorer
SA Expeditions

Qhapaq Ñan – Día 3

Después de un gran día caminando por el río Cocha llegamos a Ninabamba. Nuestro campamento a 4 600 m.s.n.m tiene rastros de nieve, sin embargo, esto no ha disminuido la emoción que tenemos al pensar en que llegaremos mañana a los grandes escalones Incas en Pariacaca (https://www.saexpeditions.com/blog/pariacaca-in-literature-of-gods-engineers-and-doctors/). Esta sección icono en el Qhapaq Ñan es algo que he visto en fotos o imágenes durante años y no puedo dejar de pensar en cómo he llegado aquí.

Mi adolescencia estuvo llena de aventuras junto a mi padre quien fue parte explorador, vagabundo y filósofo, todo en uno. Pasamos semanas acampando en Sierra Nevada en California, aprendiendo los caminos de las montañas y conectándonos con la naturaleza, algo que era muy diferente si lo comparo con la realidad que vivía en la escuela pública mientras aprendía a ser parte de la sociedad.

Trece años atrás, cuando decidí mudarme de una cómoda ciudad costera del sur de California a los 23 años, las imágenes de los Andes y el Camino Inca me llenaron la cabeza de grandes ideas.

Hoy a los 36 años de edad, los sueños de mi infancia que comenzaron al compartir tiempo junto a mi papá han llegado a florecer. Sierra Nevada, mi educación, mi empresa, mi familia, mi espíritu, mi papá y mi romance con Perú… mi deseo a caminar 3 200 kilómetros por el Qhapaq Ñan es un intercesión de todo.

A pesar de que este proyecto comenzó como un viaje personal, ahora se ha convertido en una colaboración de muchas personas en todo el mundo – pocos caminando y muchos que no – que piensan que la tarea en cuestión va mucho más allá de una sola persona. Compartimos este gran antiguo sistema de carreteras como un equipo, creyendo que es una actividad que la que se pueden generar beneficios hacia la conservación y mejoras en las poblaciones a lo largo de la ruta.

Nick Stanziano
Chief Explorer
SA Expeditions

Qhapaq Ñan – Day 4. Third Expedition.

Today we passed one of the most beautiful and impressive stretches thus far on the Qhapaq

Ñan. Departing Ninabamba, we arrived to the great Inca staircase in the shadows of Apu Pariacaca, which serves as an entry way (or exit depending upon direction) of 7 miles of Qhapaq Ñan that felt more like a temple than a road.

At the base of the staircase is a glacial valley with a lake and the nearby caves of llamamachay (previously known as Cuchimachay) with drawings of llamas from the earliest of humans in the region. The road then descends on a stone path built within the grooves of the smooth glacier rock. You become surrounded by waterfalls of all sizes and then road and stream seem to be one with the tops of the paved rock just above the water line. Then right when you think the scene can’t get any more heavenly, Lake Mullucocha reveals itself with a massive waterfall coming off the glacial rock into its waters, with the Qhapaq Ñan above.

There was an aspect of pilgrimage that many transversal Qhapaq Ñans served. It was the vein where coastal and Andean societies exchanged with one another and which tribute, cleansing and ceremonies were key components of the journey. European religions demonstrated influence through conquering nature and building massive churches. Whereas the Incas – and Andean societies before them – built temples that leveraged nature to demonstrate their power.

After four days of pilgrimage to get here, the Inca’s great collaboration with nature that we witnessed today has move my soul and I have become a believer!

Nick Stanziano
Chief Explorer
SA Expeditions

Qhapaq Ñan – Día 4

Hoy hemos recorrido uno de los tramos más bellos e impresionantes del Qhapaq Ñan. Partiendo desde Ninabamba llegamos a la gran escalera Inca en las sombras de Apu Pariacaca, con lo que se marcó el inicio de los próximos 11 kilómetros de tramo del Qhapaq Ñan que se asemejaba más a un templo que a un camino.

En la base de los escalones se encuentra un valle glacial con un lago y las cuevas de Llamamachay (anteriormente conocido como Cuchimachay) las cuales tienen dibujos de llamas hechos por las primeras personas en la región. El camino desciende luego sobre un sendero de piedra construido dentro de los surcos de la roca glaciar lisa. En un punto te encuentras rodeado por las cascadas de diferentes tamaños y es ahí donde el camino y la corriente de agua con rocas por encima de esta parecen ser uno solo. Cuando se piensa que el paisaje no podría sorprendernos aún más, el Lago Mullucocha revela una imponente cascada que sale de la roca glacial hacia la laguna con el Qhapaq Ñan por encima.

Existian diversos motivos  de peregrinación y fueron las transversales del Qhapaq Ñan con las que se logró esto. Estas transversales fueron la vena de donde las sociedades costeras y andinas pudieron intercambiar productos entre sí y en donde el tributo, limpieza ritual y ceremonias fueron componentes clave para la realización de cada viaje. Las religiones europeas demostraron su influencia a través de la conquista de las tierras y la construcción de iglesias masivas, cuando en cambio las sociedades Inca y andina construían antes de este importante acontecimiento templos que empoderaban la naturaleza para demostrar su grandeza.

Después de cuatro días de caminata para llegar a este lugar y poder observar el trabajo del Inca con la naturaleza tengo el alma conmovida y me he convertido en un creyente!

Nick Stanziano
Jefe Explorador
SA Expeditions

Qhapaq Ñan – Day 5. Third Expedition.

We descended from last night’s camp at Tambo Real in the department of Junín and arrived on a well-defined Qhapaq Ñan to the department of Lima at the provincial capital of Huarochirí. Peru is broken up into departments, provinces and eventually districts and the national identity card of every Peruvian explicitly notes these three levels of association. I’m classified for example as (I became a nationalized citizen in 2012) – Department Lima, Province Lima, District Miraflores, whereas Flavio, Nicolas and Valentines are – Department Cusco, Province Urubamba, District Ollantaytambo. When passing through many so many departments and provinces, you begin to see how these regional and local associations make a difference.

For example, our local llameros Tito and Antonia who are classified as – Department Lima, Province Huarochirí, District Tanta – did not have any personal connections with the communities in the department of Junín, but once we passed over to the department of Lima and especially as we got closer to their district of Tanta, they seemed to know everybody along the route.

The district of Tanta is famous for maintaining the practice of using llamas for cargo. On our five month, 2,000 mile north to south journey next year, from Cuenca, Ecuador to Cusco, Peru, we will need to refresh our animals at least every month and Tanta’s strategic location in the southern half of our long journey is ideal to source llamas from. We plan to use llamas from Tanta for an approximately 400 mile stretch north and south of Jauja.

Due to the decline in the practice of using llamas for cargo in the Andes, our working relationships with two llama communities, Tanta in the south and Olleros in the north (see our expedition from August on this blog) to source llamas is critical. We also have a flock of llamas in the Sacred Valley (see our expedition in October on this blog) that will carry our gear the beginning and the last month of the route.

We hope the injection of capital to llama communities and the revival of using llamas for long distance expeditions in the Andes, will bolster this dying practice, going back thousands of years.

Nick Stanziano
Chief Explorer
SA Expeditions

Qhapaq Ñan – Día 5

Terminamos la caminata descendiendo desde el campamento donde pasamos la noche en Tambo Real en el departamento de Junín. Llegamos a una parte bien definida del Qhapaq Ñan localizada en la provincia y capital de Huarochirí en Lima. Perú se divide en departamentos, provincias y eventualmente distritos. Cada documento de identidad de los peruanos describe de manera clara estos niveles. En mi caso – yo me convertí en ciudadano con residencia peruana en el 2012 – mi documento de identidad indica el departamento Lima, provincial Lima y distrito de Miraflores. Flavio, Nicolas y Valentin tienen indicado en sus documentos el departamento de Cusco, provincial Urubamba y distrito de Ollantaytambo. Al atravesar gran cantidad de departamentos y provincias uno comienza a notar la importancia de estos detalles claves.

Por ejemplo, los encargados de cuidar nuestras llamas, Antonia y Tito que tienen la siguiente información en sus documentos de identidad: departamento Lima, provincia Huarochirí, distrito Tanta, no tienen ninguna conexión cercana con las comunidades en el departamento de Junín. Sin embargo una vez que pasamos por el departamento de Lima, y especialmente a medida que nos acercamos a Tanta, parece que nuestros llameros conocieran a todos los que se cruzan en la ruta.

El distrito de Tanta es famoso por mantener la costumbre de usar llamas como animales de carga. En el viaje de cinco meses el año que viene, por 3,200 kilómetros del norte a sur desde la ciudad de Cuenca, Ecuador, a Cusco, Perú, tendremos que cambiar a nuestros animales por lo menos una vez al mes y el distrito de Tanta está situado en una ubicación ideal para realizar estos cambios. Planeamos usar las llamas de Tanta por 640 kilómetros desde norte a sur en Jauja.

Debido a la disminución en la práctica del uso de llamas como animales de carga en los Andes, nues-tras relaciones de trabajo con dos comunidades que usa estas lamas, Tanta en el sur y Olleros en el norte (ver nuestra expedición de agosto en este blog) es crítica. También tenemos un rebaño de llamas en el Valle Sagrado (ver nuestra expedición en octubre en este blog) que usará nuestro equipo el principio y el último mes de la ruta.

Esperamos que la inyección de capital a las comunidades que cuentan con estas llamas y el resurgimiento del uso de llamas para expediciones de larga distancia en los Andes refuercen esta práctica expirante, retrocediendo miles de años.

Nick Stanziano
Jefe Explorador
SA Expeditions

Qhapaq Ñan – Day 6. Third Expedition.
Today was a long day, nearly 11 hours of walking and we finally arrived to Lahuaytambo, a quaint town perched on a mountaintop, surrounded by andenes (terraced hillsides) and laden with canals. If Machu Picchu would have remained continually inhabited since the Inca times, passing through colonialism, the 20th century, and eventually cable television and cell phone towers…I imagine it would look like Lahuaytambo.

It’s unbelievable to think were only four hours by car from the capital city of Lima with 10 million inhabitants and yet, there is almost no income from tourism here. For most Limeños (locals of the city Lima) with disposable income, travel to Disney world or visiting the shopping mall in Miami was a signal of status and a modern lifestyle. Traveling to the poorer countryside whether it was to see grandma or for leisure travel was not considered. Although Peru’s rapid development of the past two decades, which has brought increased education and awareness of their own country has opened a significant market for airlines and tourism companies serving Peruvians. An extended weekend to Cusco is now a staple of the middle-class lifestyle along with an SUV and apartment. The largest Peruvian hotel chain Casa Andina with 27 hotels in country used to primarily serve foreign leisure travelers only a decade ago. Today, the domestic market both in leisure and business have become a significant, if not majority, part of their business.

It’s this trend that I see as promising for development in places like Lahuaytambo, only an afternoon drive away from the city. It’s also a trend that is a counterweight against the centralism of Lima culture where one third of the country’s population lives. Ever since the conquest of white Europeans who established their capital in Lima, Peru has always been challenged in establishing a single national identity that encompasses the millions of campesinos in the countryside, along with white European descended Limeños. The Qhapaq Ñan – a vein that connected cultures of all types for hundreds of years from the Incas to colonial era – can serve as a native example of successful integration. An integration that harnessed the productive capacity of an entire country that builds a society of equality and understanding of people with different culture and lifestyles. When this day comes, Peru will share its place alongside the great nations of the world.

And maybe one day, Limeños might even consider it “cool” to boast on social media about hiking the Qhapaq Ñan to Lahuaytambo.

Nick Stanziano
Chief Explorer
SA Expeditions

Qhapaq Ñan – Día 6
Hoy tuvimos un largo día, caminamos casi once horas hasta que finalmente llegamos a Lahuaytambo, un pintoresco pueblo ubicado en la cima de una montaña, rodeado de andenes y cargado de canales de agua. Si la ciudadela de Machu Picchu hubiera permanecido inhabitada desde tiempos incaicos, para luego pasar por el colonialismo en el siglo XX y, finalmente, a la televisión por cable y las torres de telefonía celular … Me imagino que sería como Lahuaytambo.

Es increíble pensar que estamos a sólo cuatro horas en auto de la capital de Perú, Lima, con 10 millones de habitantes y que no se observe a casi ninguna persona viniendo a hacer turismo a este lugar y por ende no se generen ingresos por esta fuente. Para la mayoría de los limeños que cuentan con un sueldo mensual sobre el promedio, viajar al extranjero y visitar “Disney World” o algún centro comercial en Miami es una señal de estatus y un estilo de vida moderno. Por el contrario, viajar a la campiña más pobre, sea con el motivo de visitar a algún familiar o simplemente salir de viaje no se considera como primera opción.

Estas dos últimas décadas el Perú ha presentado un rápido desarrollo lo que ha traído una mejora en educación y conciencia del propio país, y con esto se ha abierto un mercado significativo para las aerolíneas y empresas de turismo que sirven a los peruanos. Un fin de semana sumado con uno o dos días más de viaje a Cusco es ahora una opción en la mayoría de las familias de clase media, las mismas que cuentan con modernos autos y departamentos o casas.
La mayor cadena hotelera peruana, Casa Andina, con veintisiete hoteles en el país, solía servir principalmente a los viajeros extranjeros que viajaban por turismo hasta hace sólo una década. Hoy en día, el mercado doméstico tiene gran acogida y no solo se ha convertido en una parte importante, sino una gran parte del negocio.

Es esta tendencia que veo como prometedora para el desarrollo en lugares como Lahuaytambo que como ya mencioné, se encuentra a solo una tarde en coche desde la ciudad. Es también una tendencia que genera un tipo de equilibrio contra el centralismo de la cultura de Lima donde vive un tercio de la población del país. Desde la conquista de los europeos quienes establecieron su capital en Lima, el Perú siempre ha sido retado a establecer una identidad nacional única que incluya a los miles de campesinos que viven en el campo junto con los descendientes europeos limeños.

El Qhapaq Ñan – una vena que conectó culturas de todo tipo durante cientos de años, desde los Incas hasta la época colonial – puede servir como un gran ejemplo oriundo de esta exitosa integración. Una integración que aprovechó la capacidad productiva de todo un país, en donde se construye una sociedad de igualdad y comprensión de las personas con diferentes culturas y estilos de vida. Cuando llegue este día, el Perú compartirá su lugar junto a las grandes naciones del mundo.

Tal vez un día, los limeños podrían considerar interesante presumir en las redes sociales sobre el camino Inca, Qhapaq Ñan en Lahuaytambo.

Nick Stanziano
Jefe Explorador
SA Expeditions

Qhapaq Ñan – Day 7. Third Expedition. 
We arrived with llamas after seven days walking from the Andean highlands at Jauja to Antioquia within 50 miles of the Pacific Coast…Our finish point for now on the Qhapaq Ñan. We had a host of town officials and locals greeting us in the town park with amazement to see the first llama train to arrive to town in more than 50 years. The traditional practice of exchanging goods from the Andes to the Coast, locally known as trueque, was prominent for millennia. Although we are not carrying llama jerky or textiles from the highlands in exchange for sweet potato and yucca from the coastal range… we are exchanging people and ideas…tourism.

Today tourism is a vehicle in which those in Antoquia have been able to connect to their past. The town’s people marvel at the animals alongside modern tents and equipment, the cargo that arrived over the mountains, making for an incredible site. It’s only those over 60 years old in Antioquia that remember the last time the llamas arrived.

And Antonia and Tito, our llameros from the highlands at Tanta, we say goodbye to for now. Their sense of accomplishment – never having been this close to the coast before – preserving a practice of their ancestors who traversed this route – is palpable. It was their grandparent’s generation that last came this far west with their llamas.

Antoquia will be our last lesson on the road for now. We will be sitting out the rainy season and preparing for next April 2017 when we depart on our 2,000-mile journey on the Qhapaq Ñan from Cuenca, Ecuador to Cusco, Peru. We will be joined by many friends you’ve met so far, and will be sure to meet many new ones too.

Nick Stanziano
Chief Explorer
SA Expeditions

Qhapaq Ñan – Día 7
Luego de siete días caminando desde las altas tierras de Jauja hemos llegado a Antioquia, ubicado a 80 kilómetros de la costa del Océano Pacifico, que es el punto final de esta tercera expedición por el Qhapaq Ñan. Nos recibió un grupo de funcionarios de la ciudad quienes fueron nuestros anfitriones y nos dieron la bienvenida mientras los locales nos saludaban en el parque de la ciudad con asombro por ver la llegada de nuestras llamas por primera vez luego de cincuenta años. La práctica tradicional del intercambio de mercancías desde los Andes hacia la costa y viceversa, conocida como trueque, fue realizada a gran escala durante milenios. Sin embargo, no estamos llevando cecina de llama o textiles a cambio de tubérculos como papas y yucas de la costa… en esta oportunidad estamos intercambiando ideas y turismo.

Hoy en día el turismo es un vehículo en el que los pobladores de Antioquia han podido conectarse con su pasado. La gente del pueblo se maravilla al ver a los animales junto a todo el equipo que usamos en nuestros campamentos, las carpas modernas y la tecnología, todo esto cruzó los andes, creando una linda escena. Sólo los mayores de 60 años en Antioquia recuerdan la última vez que llegaron llamas a su pueblo.

Antonia y Tito, los responsables de cuidar las llamas quienes se unieron a nuestra expedición desde el altiplano de Tanta, se despidieron -solo por ahora- del resto del equipo. La sensación de realización, estando tan cerca de la costa como nunca antes y de preservar una práctica de sus ancestros que atravesaron esta ruta es palpable. Fue la generación de sus abuelos quienes fueron los últimos en llegar a este lugar desde el extremo oeste con sus llamas.

Antioquia será nuestra última expedición que nos sirve de enseñanza en estos caminos. La temporada de lluvia empieza ahora y nosotros nos prepararemos para nuestra gran expedición, un viaje de 3,200 kilómetros en Abril 2017 por el Qhapaq Ñan desde Cuenca, Ecuador hasta Cusco. Nos reuniremos con los amigos que hemos conocido hasta ahora, y seguro que conoceremos muchos más.

Nick Stanziano
Jefe Explorador
SA Expeditions

Qhapaq Ñan – Day 8. Third Expedition.

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 the llama on this trek meant that we could dedicate an extra few hours a day walking as opposed to rearranging cargo and other delays of the llama that occur with a less trained team. We averaged about 25 miles per day, equivalent to hiking the traditional four day Inca trail from the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu every day, for seven days straight. That’s about the same distance per day hiked by those trekking the entire 2600-mile Pacific Crest Trail, along the crest of the Sierra Nevada’s and Cascade ranges in the United States, in a 4-month season. It is something of this magnitude, which we will do on the Qhapaq Ñan, starting in April 2017.

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


About the Author

Nicholas Stanziano

Co-founder and Chief Explorer at SA Expeditions. A San Francisco, California registered tour operator that specializes in cultural and nature based private expeditions to South America’s most renowned destinations.



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    2 days ago

    A Warming Planet Jolts the Iconic Creatures of the Galápagos

    Don’t hold off on planning your trip to the Galapagos! Global warming could be changing what you see in the near future. #Galapagos #Ecuador #climatechange #globalwarming

    Species that inspired Darwin’s theory of natural selection are facing new challenges to adapt.

    5 days ago

    The Great Inca Trail

    The journey continues! Day 63 – Value Creation Along Long-Distance Hiking Trails

    Day 63 – Value Creation Along Long-Distance Hiking Trails

    *Versión en español abajo*

    When I first envisioned trekking 2,000 miles in the Andes along #TheGreatIncaTrail, I had just walked a

    Sierra City is a small town of a few hundred people that was once dependent on mining during the California gold rush, although now relies on an economy of tourism, a big part of which is the hundreds of trekkers passing through on the Pacific Crest Trail. If this little town could extract value from such a trail, surely the monumental size and history of the Great Inca Trail could do the same for the towns of the Andes in Peru…It was a simple idea two years ago that began this journey.

    All the while the municipality of Huamachuco (where mining also plays a big role), that beholds one of the most impressive sections of the Great Inca trail known as “Escalerillas” understood this potential. They were just waiting for those intrepid explorers to arrive, give them a warm welcome and create value for their community through tourism. They succeeded in this goal and we are extremely grateful and blessed to collaborate with them on a vision of what The Great Inca Trail can become throughout the #Andes.

    On a day when the humans and llamas of our expedition team are resting, we leave you with an unforgettable day last week, made possible by the Inca’s 600 years ago and the municipality of Huamachuco in 2017.

    Nick Stanziano
    Chief Explorer
    SA Expeditions

    ___________________

    Dia 63 – Creación de valor a lo largo de importantes caminos para trekking

    La primera vez que vino a mi mente la idea de caminar 3,200 kilómetros por el #ElGranCaminoInca fue cuando terminé un tercer día de trayecto por el #SenderodelMacizodelPacífico – camino que se extiende por 4,300 kilómetros desde México hasta Canadá- llegando finalmente, en ese momento, a un pequeño pueblo llamado Sierra City en Sierra Nevada, en las montañas altas de California.

    Sierra City es una pequeña ciudad de pocos cientos de habitantes quienes dependieron únicamente de la minería, sobretodo en la época de la fiebredeloro en California. Sin embargo, en la actualidad el crecimiento económico se desarrolla gracias al turismo, en donde una gran parte de turistas atraviesan y siguen el rastro del Sendero del Macizo del Pacífico. Si esta pequeña ciudad pudo extraer gran valor de este sendero, seguramente y gracias al monumental tamaño e historia del Gran Camino Inca se podrían desarrollar los mismos beneficios en los pueblos de los Andes en Perú … Hace dos años esta fue la idea que inicio el proceso para esta gran expedición.

    Mientras tanto, la municipalidad de Huamachuco (en donde la minería también juega un papel importante) entiende el potencial que posee al contar con una de las secciones más impresionantes de El Gran Camino Inca, conocido como “Escalerillas”. El pueblo y las autoridades estaban esperando a aquellos intrépidos exploradores para darles una cordial bienvenida y poder generar valor en la comunidad a través del turismo. Ellos han tenido éxito en esta labor y nos encontramos extremadamente agradecidos y bendecidos de poder colaborar con ellos en la visión de lo que se puede conseguir en este gran camino ubicado a lo largo de los Andes.

    En un día en que nosotros junto a los animales de nuestro equipo de expedición nos encontramos descansando, les queremos dejar con lo que fue día inolvidable durante la semana pasada gracias al trabajo de los Incas -hace 600 años- y a la Municipalidad De Huamachuco -en la actualidad-.

    Nick Stanziano
    Jefe Explorador
    SA Expeditions See more

    1 week ago

    The Best Caipirinha Recipe Ever

    No trip to Brazil is complete without trying a Caipirinha, the national cocktail.
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    How to Make Peruvian Tea

    While staying at the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel there are many short excursions included in your stay. One of the excursions you can chose to participate in is learning how Inkaterra makes See more

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    1 week ago

    6 Tips for Better Wildlife Encounters

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    3 weeks ago

    The Great Inca Trail

    Day 45 of the Great Inca Trail trek and going strong! See a collection of the best Qhapaq Ñan road pics we’ve gathered so far.

    Day 45 – Unbelievable snapshots of The Great Inca Trail

    *Versión en español abajo*

    #TheGreatIncaTrail connects the two capitals of the #Inca empire over 2,000 miles between #Tomebamba (near

    In 2017, forty-five days since beginning our long march from #Cuenca to #Cusco, we find ourselves in the town of #Huambos resupplying and reflecting on our adventure so far. In this spirit, we leave you with snapshots of this great road along our journey so far. Stay tuned to “The Great Inca Trail” on Facebook and Instagram as we explore one of mankind’s great public works for another hundred days in route to Cusco.

    Nick Stanziano
    Chief Explorer
    SA Expeditions

    ________________

    Día 45 – Grandiosas imágenes del Gran Camino Inca

    #ElGranCaminoInca conecta las dos capitales del imperio #Inca sobre 3,200 kilómetros entre #Tomebamba (actualmente Cuenca, #Ecuador) y Cusco, #Perú. El #QhapaqÑan, es la columna vertebral de una red de carreteras #andinas que se extienden por más de 40,200 kilómetros en seis países, conectando un #imperio, el más avanzado y poderoso, antes de la llegada de los españoles a América.

    Este 2017, cuarenta y cinco días desde el inicio de esta larga expedición, partiendo de #Cuenca en dirección a #Cusco, nos encontramos en la ciudad de #Huambos reponiendo suministros y reflexionando sobre nuestra aventura.
    Con este espíritu, les dejamos imágenes de este gran camino por donde hemos avanzando hasta el momento.
    Manténganse atentos las redes sociales, Facebook e Instagram en “El Gran Camino Inca” mientras exploramos por otros cien días más una de las más grandes obras públicas de la humanidad.

    Nick Stanziano
    Jefe Explorador
    SA Expeditions See more

    3 weeks ago

    Timeline Photos

    La Boca is a neighborhood in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires. It retains a strong European flavor, with many of its early settlers being from the Italian city of Genoa.
    Photo Credit: Staci See more

    3 weeks ago

    Timeline Photos

    La Boca is a neighborhood in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires. It retains a strong European flavor, with many of its early settlers being from the Italian city of Genoa.
    Photo Credit: Staci See more

    4 weeks ago

    Top 5 Places to Visit in Peru

    Peru is more than just Machu Picchu. There are a multitude of other interesting sites to see! Check out National Geographics ‘Top 5 Places to Visit in Peru’!
    #amazon #sacredvalley See more

    Let’s get to it: Peru is the place to be.

    1 month ago

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    1 month ago

    Timeline Photos

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    1 month ago

    Is Rio de Janeiro Safe?

    #brazil #riodejaniero #copacabana #ipanema #ChristtheRedeemer
    #Sugarloaf #travelsafe #southamericatravel

    Rio de Janeiro is the world’s most alluring hot mess. It’s everything you expect it to be: edgy, stratified, stiflingly humid, crowded, exhilarating. But it’s also everything you don’t expect it to See more

    1 month ago

    Timeline Photos

    CLIENT REVIEW:
    Dear Kim, We returned home early this morning from an absolutely fabulous trip to Lima, Cusco, and Machu Picchu that you prepared for my wife and me and our grandson Liam. From the

    Every hotel that you selected for us in Lima, Cusco, and Aguas Calientes was superb. Every tour that you arranged for us in each of those areas was interesting to Liam, as well as Grandma and Popa. You made certain that interspersed with Inka history there were adequate activities that you knew would fascinate a 13-year old boy. A really big hit was the chocolate tour were we learned about the process of making chocolate, from the harvesting of the cocoa bean to making our own chocolate candy, which we were able to bring home with us.

    Percy, our tour guide in Lima, was quite knowledgeable, and gave us a very good overview of the history of Lima in the short time we were there. The tour of the Museo Larco, where Percy was able to distill the 45,000 Inka artifacts into a visit that all 3 of us enjoyed, was the highlight of our Lima visit. Lima is definitely a city we wished we would have had more time to explore further.

    Of course, the highlight of our trip was the visit to Cusco and Machu Picchu, and we could not have asked for a better guide than Johan Sueros and our very skillful driver, Abel. Shortly prior to leaving on our journey when you sent us our final itinerary, you told me that we were going to have the absolute best guide, Johan. You could not have been more accurate. He is bright, articulate, totally fluent in English, kind and just an altogether sweet person. On the drive from Cusco to Aguas Calientes we stopped by a small town, Maras, where we visited an acquaintance of Johan’s, a 92-year old man who has been hand-making hats for more than 40 years. What an absolutely delightful man and very fun visit, where we tried on some of the typical hats of Maras.

    Johan is passionate about his Incan heritage, and he brought Machu Picchu and the Incan culture alive for us. He was totally flexible, and gave us options when he realized that perhaps the long climb up the nearly 1000 steps of the very steep mountain for the best view of Machu Picchu might be difficult for us. He wanted us to be happy and to enjoy our visit. I realize that he has been doing this for a number of years, but Johan has an uncanny ability to time things so perfectly, that there is very little down time, where you are waiting for a bus or a train. When he says you’ll be at a restaurant at a specific time or back in Cusco at a specific time, you can count on it. He tried and succeeded in satisfying all of our needs.

    As you know, on our last day in Cusco, Liam was ill, and we needed to cancel horseback riding that we had scheduled for that morning. Even though we had already said our good-byes to Johan the night before, I contacted him around 8:30AM to cancel the tour. He immediately got in touch with you, at 5:45AM PST. Within in minutes you had everything under control, inquiring if we needed a physician to see Liam. Fortunately, I think he was just exhausted, and by the afternoon he was back to himself. However, mid-morning I received a phone call from your local representative in Peru inquiring about Liam’s health, again offering a physician if needed, and offering to contact the hotel in Cusco to extend our check-out time.

    Kim, as you remember, we had some very specific issues that you had to address before we even left for our trip. You had to be certain that any provided meal, be it box lunch (which was excellent), or lunch on the road, or dinner in Aguas Calientes, had to be vegetarian. You had to make certain that we returned from zip lining by a specific time on Friday afternoon. Several days before we were scheduled to arrive, I changed our itinerary to add an additional day in Lima. You handled each and every request expertly.

    I found SA Expeditions in July, 2016, just by searching the internet for companies that provided tours in Peru. I read the reviews on the company, and was impressed, but also a bit skeptical. After all, I was trusting a company in California that I didn’t personally know to plan and execute a trip to Peru that wasn’t going to take place until February, 2017. Well, now I am a believer! You, SA Expeditions, the guides, the drivers, the hotels, the tours, etc. have all exceeded our expectations. Thank you!

    With sincere appreciation,

    – Eddie & Shelley S (Connecticut)
    Photographed at Machu Picchu See more

    1 month ago

    Is Rio de Janeiro Safe?

    #brazil #riodejaniero #copacabana #ipanema #ChristtheRedeemer
    #Sugarloaf

    Rio de Janeiro is the world’s most alluring hot mess. It’s everything you expect it to be: edgy, stratified, stiflingly humid, crowded, exhilarating. But it’s also everything you don’t expect it to See more

    1 month ago

    Go To South America Just To Eat At These 6 Restaurants

    Check out one of these top rated restaurants during your trip to experience South American gastronomy at its finest!
    #argentaina #Tunuyán #SieteFuegos #colombia #bogota #CasaSantaClara #brazil See more

    Try a more traditional feast or an innovative culinary hot spot that takes classic South American flavors and ingredients to new heights.

    1 month ago

    Bolivian cholita climbers conquer highest peaks near La Paz – in pictures

    #bolivia #southamericatravel #mountanclimbing #porters #aymara #women #mountaneering

    Eleven Aymara indigenous women have scaled five peaks in the Cordillera Real range all higher than 19,500ft (6,000 meters) above sea level

    1 month ago

    The Great Inca Trail

    The Journey Continues! Follow the adventure day-by-day on the treks facebook page, ‘The Great Inca Trail.’

    *Versión en español abajo*

    April 30 – Day 19

    Our local guide, Shanta, also happens to have one of the best restaurants in Vilcabamba, named after him. It was a natural place to go and meet one

    They also have a mountain of information, at their home in Vilcabamba, which they graciously invited us over to review. Eventually, sending us on our way, with the most detailed maps I’ve ever seen of Peru. The ESCALE maps, published by Peru’s Ministry of Education, will be of great help and supplement the maps that Ricardo Espinosa published in “La Gran Ruta Inca”, a bible of sorts, for our expedition. Espinosa’s maps focus on the location and remanence of the The Great Inca Trail from Quito, Ecuador to La Paz, Bolivia, which he walked for 7 months in the early 2000’s.

    After all the analysis and conversation at Shanta and the Kunstaetter’s home, we found ourselves reconnecting with The Great Inca Trail today after 15 miles and over 6,000 feet of ascent, over two mountains. It was a tough, steep day, with our new local guide, Tuco, who has a ranch, at the only suitable camp within the entire day’s walk. Tomorrow, we continue on The Great Inca Trail through a non-native, out of control pine forest, hopefully making it through, to the road towards Amaluza.

    Nick Stanziano
    Chief Supervisor
    SA Expeditions

    __________________

    30 de Abril – Día 19

    Shanta, el guía de la localidad, no sólo conoce muy bien esta parte del territorio sino que también tiene uno de los mejores restaurantes en Vilcabamba bajo su nombre. Este lugar fue ideal para conocer a una pareja experta en expediciones conformada por Robert y Daisy Kunstaetter quienes juntos, han caminado miles de kilómetros en Ecuador, Perú y Bolivia, y desarrollaron una de las guías más completas que convirtieron luego en un libro llamado “Trekking in Ecuador”. En Junio de este año un segundo libro llamado “Trekking in Peru” saldrá a la venta y considero tendrá el mismo impacto que la primera mencionada.

    Esta pareja de esposos cuenta con una cantidad enorme de información. Ellos nos invitaron a su casa en Vilcabamba para poder conversar y observar lo que tienen. Luego de una productiva reunión retomamos nuestra caminata llevando a la mano los mapas más detallados que he visto del Perú. Los mapas ESCALE, publicados por el Ministerio de Educación del Perú, serán de gran ayuda y complementarán los mapas que Ricardo Espinosa publicó en “La Gran Ruta Inca” – una especie de Biblia en nuestra expedición -. Los mapas de Espinosa se centran en la localización y remanencia del Gran Camino Inca desde Quito, Ecuador a La Paz, Bolivia, por donde él caminó durante siete meses a principios del año 2000.

    Después de la reunión y todo el análisis en Shanta y en la casa de los Kunstaetter, volvimos a encontrar la ruta del Gran Camino Inca después de 24 kilómetros y ascender 1,800 metros cruzando dos montañas. Fue un día muy difícil con muchas zonas empinadas.
    Esta vez nos acompaña un nuevo guía de la localidad, Tuco, quien es propietario de una finca. Este fue el único lugar adecuado que encontramos para acampar en todo el trayecto de la caminata de hoy. Mañana continuaremos por el Gran Camino Inca a través de un bosque con gran presencia de pinos que esperamos poder atravesar y continuar la marcha en dirección a Amaluza.

    Nick Stanziano
    Jefe Explorador
    SA Expeditions. See more

    2 months ago

    Introducing Mendoza, Argentina’s wine capital

    #mendoza #wine #malbec #argentina #chardonnay #winevacation

    The Malbecs are mouth-watering, the wineries cutting edge and the Andes resplendent. Every way you look at it, Mendoza is a delight

    2 months ago

    The Great Inca Trail

    The journey has begun!

    The expedition is about to begin!

    2 months ago

    Palacio Nazarenas is top of world’s top 10 best-rated luxury hotels

    For a worthwhile splurge during your trip to Peru, consider the top rated luxury 5-star Belmond Palacio Nazarenas hotel.
    #luxurytravel #palacionazarenas #cusco #peru #machupicchu

    The five-star Palacio Nazarenas, set in a tranquil plaza behind Cusco’s main square in Peru, came out on top of nearly 900,000 online hotel reviews.

    2 months ago

    2 months ago

    Timeline Photos

    When you’re in Rio de Janiero a stop by the classic eatery Confeitaria Colombo is in order. At the turn of the 20th century, the building that houses Colombo Confectionery was Rio’s preeminent

    #riodejaneiro #confeitariacolombo #colomboconfectionary #brazilianfood #braziltravel #brazil # #southamericatrip See more

    2 months ago

    Timeline Photos

    Nick Dall is next in our #sauniverse series that introduces all the people around the world that allow us to build life changing experiences.

    Nick is a man of letters and words, someone who

    As editor of the SA Expeditions travel blog, he has curated hundreds of pieces that give insight into the culture and history of South America. And he’s no armchair blog manager either: he will be joining us on our great Qhapaq Ñan expedition in 2017 to paint a vivid textual picture of the trek for your eyes only. Nick’s work as a journalist has seen him fishing for trout in Patagonia, attending baroque recitals in Chiquitania and interviewing the pioneer of eco-tourism in Peru.

    SA Expeditions has a voice…It’s the voice of our clients talking about their experiences, it’s the voice of its explorers on the Qhapaq Ñan, it’s the voice of Nick presenting the wonders of South America in words and pictures. Come and be inspired by our blog, curated and cared for by Nick. We promise it’ll make you want to pack your bags!

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

    2 months ago

    Easter Island: Separating Fact From Fiction

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    Easter Island, Rapa Nui, Isla de Pascua…Whatever name you give this island thousands of miles from anything and littered with almost 900 moai, it is without d

    2 months ago

    3 months ago

    Explore The Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica, Peru

    Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica is one of our favorite luxury lodges in the Peruvian Amazon. See what the business magazine Forbes has to say about the unique once in a lifetime experience.
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    TAMBOPATA NATIONAL RESERVE, Peru – A trip into the part of the Amazon that’s known as the Bioviersity Capital of Peru is about as magical as you would imagine it to be.

    3 months ago

    Timeline Photos

    Since pre-Inca times, salt has been obtained in Maras, Peru by evaporating salty water from a local subterranean stream. The highly salty water emerges at a spring, a natural outlet of the See more

    3 months ago

    World’s first fluorescent frog discovered in South America

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    In normal light the polka-dot tree frog has a dull complexion – but under UV light it glows bright green

    3 months ago

    Experiencing Antarctica is easier than you think

    Visiting Antarctica has never been easier than it is now…
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    3 months ago

    Guinea pigs: A popular Peruvian delicacy – BBC News

    Did/Will you try guinea pig during your visit to Peru?
    #peru #guineapig #peruvianfood #yumm

    Guinea pigs may be seen as pets in the UK, but in Peru they are an increasingly popular delicacy.

    3 months ago

    Timeline Photos

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

    Nick began life in a small town, on a

    Nick sees himself as part of a wave of human endeavor that accelerated 600 years ago, in renaissance Europe, as artists, scientists and merchants began to utilize reason to understand the physical and psychological frontiers of humanity. By the 17th century, traveling purely for curiosity arose when Englishman Richard Lassel gave advice that all “young lords” take “the Grand Tour” to better understand their world and prepare for their role in it. It was later in the 21st century that one could not only travel for curiosity, but also build a business around it and name it SA Expeditions.

    Nick is a dreamer, a thinker, someone that will always wonder at what lies beyond. It’s why he conceptualizes his position as Chief Explorer, a role that feeds the soul of our organization with adventure and curiosity. His most recent and most ambitious exploration yet will bring the world on a 2,000 walk across the Andes along the great Inca Road, known as the Qhapaq Nan. He will be taking his grand tour of that faraway place, to better understand our world and how our clients can play a role in it.

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

    3 months ago

    6 women to thank every time you fly

    March 8th 2017 is International Women’s Day. Here are six women to thank every time you fly.
    #internationalwomensday #trendsetters #aviation #changemakers

    Thought aviation was a man’s world? Think again. These six women transformed the way you fly today

    3 months ago

    CLIENT REVIEW: Trip planned by destination expert Staci Steele.

    “My husband and I just returned from an absolutely spectacular trip to Chile and Argentina planned by SA Luxury Expeditions. Not only

    The thing that really blew me away, though, was the crescendo of the trip. While everything we did and everywhere we stayed was top-notch, each successive stop and activity just got a little more wonderful than the last. The result was a truly fantastic week and a half that we’ll always cherish. I highly recommend SA Luxury Expeditions to anyone looking to travel in South America, whether you’re looking for a low-key trip or an action-packed adventure. We got a wonderful mix of both and enjoyed every second of it!”
    #chile #argentina #patagonia See more

    3 months ago

    ‘We are rewriting the textbooks’: first dives to Amazon coral reef stun scientists

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/feb/17/we-are-rewriting-the-textbooks-first-dives-to-amazon-coral-reef-stun-scientists

    Scientists have discovered the river reef is far bigger, and more important, than first thought – a biodiversity hotspot on a par with the Great Barrier Reef. Now they face a race to protect it See more

    3 months ago

    Timeline Photos

    The Copacabana neighborhood is located in the South Zone of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and is known for its 2.5 miles Balneario Beach, one of the most famous in the world. During the 2016 Olympics in See more

    3 months ago

    Timeline Photos

    Ecuador, traditionally a prominant South American producer of cacao is stepping into a new light as its chocolateers are gaining noteriety on the world stage.
    #chocolate #ecuador #pacari See more

    3 months ago

    Friday February 24th marked the start of Carnival 2017 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The lively celebration which includes live music, street performances, dancing, floats and costumes, attracts

    The word Carnival originates from the Portuguese ‘Carne Vale’, interpreted as ‘Farewell to meat’. The phrase refers to the Carnival as being the ultimate celebration before a period of abstinence from alcohol, meat and pleasure during Lent. Brazil’s Carnival began in the 1830s as a continuation of the Portuguese tradition, though, Rio’s Carnival has a unique style, which is mainly attributed to the influence of African immigrant slaves, famous for their spectacular musical abilities which gave life to the first samba rhythms.

    #Rio #Carnival #Samba #Brazil See more

    4 months ago

    The science behind why you should spend money on family holidays instead of toys

    #familyvacation #happychild #giveexperiences

    Parents have been wasting hundreds of pounds on toys, according to one of Britain’s leading child psychologists and should be spending their money on holidays instead.

    4 months ago

    CLIENT REVIEW:
    One of our favorite travel testimonial comes from Danielle Vogel of Virginia. Her trip to Argentina and Chile was planned by our destination expert Staci Steele.

    “My husband and I

    The thing that really blew me away, though, was the crescendo of the trip. While everything we did and everywhere we stayed was top-notch, each successive stop and activity just got a little more wonderful than the last. The result was a truly fantastic week and a half that we’ll always cherish. I highly recommend SA Luxury Expeditions to anyone looking to travel in South America, whether you’re looking for a low-key trip or an action-packed adventure. We got a wonderful mix of both and enjoyed every second of it!”
    – Danielle V
    #chile #argentina See more

    4 months ago

    Jaguar vs. Giant Anteater

    ‘Insane’ camera-trap video captures rare battle in the Amazon.
    Jaguar vs. Giant Anteater. Anteater wins!
    #amazon #jaguar #anteater #moveoverhoneybadger

    4 months ago

    Chilean dreams of rescuing box camera photography

    No need to pack the selfie stick if you’re headed for Santiago, Chile
    #santiago #chile #boxcamera

    Luis Maldonado is the last remaining photographer in the main square of the Chilean capital still using a wooden box camera.

    4 months ago

    Timeline Photos

    CLIENT REVIEW:
    “Jeanie: Our trip was absolutely magical thanks to all the great organization, preparation, wonderful suggestions and impeccable professional services we received from SA…starting

    Our hotels were fantastic… the food was fantastic…. even though there were unforeseen circumstances such as a protest that shut down all tourist roads throughout the Sacred Valley, SA Expeditions reacted with quickly. I cannot say enough about the drivers (Louis especially) and all the guides who were with us. They were knowledgeable, gracious, always willing to go the extra distance and warm lovely friends. We loved them all. The horse back/hiking trip to Choquechaca was an experience we will never forget. It was Peter’s 65th birthday in Cusco and SA even arranged to have the meal paid for by our thoughtful children.

    In short, it was the best trip we have experienced and we look forward to many more!

    Thanks so much for creating a truly memorable experience…we only regret we did not get to meet you in Lima!

    Thanks again,
    Pam and Peter”

    #peru #peruvianfood #machupicchu #sacredvalley #choquechaca #cicciolina #birthdaytrip See more

    4 months ago

    Timeline Photos

    Laguna Colorada is a 15,000-acre shallow (less than 3 feet deep) salt lake located in southwest Bolivia. The lake is is tinted dark red due to a variety of algae which thrive in the salt water. The See more

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