This Llama hike and Pachamanca experience takes you away from the mostly visited parts of the Sacred Valley and high into an unthreaded side valley, where you’ll accompany a group of llamas all the way to an authentic herder’s hut next to a cascade. Here you’ll get to participate in an experience that you’ll remember for a long time: the preparation of a typical Pachamanca meal prepared amidst a spectacular mountain setting! Of course, you’ll get to eat the dish you just prepared afterwards, as you get some rest from the hike. What a privilege to have the local herder open her house and share her life with you for a day!
At around 7:30 am, we will pick you up in Urubamba and head to Chupani. In Chupani, aunt Juana (the caretaker of the llamas) will be waiting for us with her llamas. Together we’ll start hiking toward her home in the native community of Pacchac in the Pumahuanca Valley. You will also be accompanied by our guide Octavio (or other family member guide) speaking English, Spanish and Quechua.
The hike is about 2,5 to 3 hours uphill at a slow pace along the river. You’ll pass through a beautiful native forest of ‘Queuña’ and ‘Unka’ trees (Alder and ‘Chachacomo’ trees as well). On the way, you’ll also learn more about llamas and their importance to families in the Andes.
After 2 hours, you arrive at the archaeological remains of Inkarakai, where you’ll take a short break to enjoy the site. With different plants and flowers growing all over the walls, and the sun shining through the holes their holes, the ruins make up for a perfect photo spot. Then we’ll continue until you reach aunt Juana’s house near the waterfall of Pacchac.
Upon arrival, we’ll prepare a very typical lunch of the area based on native potatoes, a Pachamanca. You can help with lunch preparations, help with the harvest of more potatoes, or just enjoy the outdoors and nature. After lunch (around 2 pm), we will return to the starting point of our hike, where we will arrive around 4:30 pm. From there, we will take you back to Urubamba. The Llama hike and Pachamanca are a great combination.
In total, the hiking distance covered is about 9km. Even though this does not seem to be too much, the hike shouldn’t be underestimated. You will uphill for 2,5 – 3 hours and downhill for around 2. The maximum altitude you will reach is 3500m (11.500 feet).
If you prefer taking it easy, maybe because you’re traveling with your kids, you can have a look at our other Cusco Day Tours. We also offer Multi-Day Tours around Cusco, most of them leading to Machu Picchu.
Well, yes, a little bit. You will be hiking for around 5 hours and get up to an altitude of 3500 meters (11.500 feet). Of course, it will be easier for you if you have already spent some days in Cusco or another high-altitude destination before. If not, this trek is a good option to acclimatize before heading to places situated higher up.
This Llama hike and Pachamanca tour is definitely not just a leisurely stroll. But if you think that their kids can hike uphill for various hours (maybe you have been hiking with them in the mountains before), and you are well acclimatized (you should have spent at least two, preferable three days, above three thousand meters) then it shouldn’t be a problem for kids aged 8 and older.
The Sacred Valley has a typical Andean climate; when there’s sun it’s warm, when there’s no sun it’s cold. The rainy season is from December to April but occasional rains can occur anytime throughout the year.
Find more info about climates in Peru in our blog “Best Time to Travel to Peru“.
If you are in Cusco before this Llama hike and Pachamanca tour, you can book the transfer from Cusco to Urubamba and back for an additional fee. You can do so in the booking process. If you come from a city in the Sacred Valley (Pisac, Calca, Lamay, Ollantaytambo), please coordinate a taxi with your hotel.
Yes, both options are available!
Octavio’s family is originally from Pumahuanca, a small village high in the Andes mountains. Octavio loves the overwhelming nature and serenity of the Andes mountains; the snowcapped peaks, green valleys and crystal clear mountain lakes. For him, it is very important to bring across the importance of the local communities’ different customs, such as using llamas as beasts of burden.
From a very early age, he has worked with tourists. First, he was a porter and horseman on the Inca trail, and an assistant guide on the Lares Trek alongside his father and brothers. Then, in 2011, he graduated as a Tour Guide in Cusco, working in the field ever since. Octavio speaks Spanish, English, Dutch and Quechua, the latter enabling him to get in touch with the people living in the Andes.
In addition to his work as a guide, he makes innovative textiles and gives workshops on how to spin with a drop spindle, dye wool with cochineal lice and plants and weave on a back-strap loom. He has learned these techniques from his mother at an early age and likes to share this part of his culture with visitors.