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Juan and His 1000 Alpacas

Imagine taking a 10 hour flight, 3 hour drive, 1 hour train ride , 30 minute public bus, and a a 15 minute hike, you will find yourself at a place voted to be one of the New 7 Wonders of the World--Machu Picchu.

While many people visit Machu Picchu, which don't get me wrong - is a spectacular site- they often miss exploring the beauty of the valleys & villages that surround it.  Like visiting Juan, his family, and their 1000 alpacas.

Juan lives in a hut in a small village in the Latis Valley, in the Andean mountains of Peru. The only things that can survive the high altitude of these this high in the  the high altitude of these mountains are potatoes, corn, and well - Alpacas - so that is what Juan and his family depend on to survive.

They live in a small hut, with just a handful of cozy bedrooms, an outdoor bathroom, and a fire pit that they use to prepare Pacha Manta (a delicious feast of vegetables and meats cooked in the ground).

Peru has over 1000 species of potatoes, 1000 species of corn, and LOTS of Alpacas.  Juan just happens to own hundreds, if not thousands of these alpacas.

Many of us have the luxury of just walking down the street, stopping in a local store, and buying the things that we need for the day to eat, wear, and use.  If you are even luckier you might live next door to a Walmart… which means you have literally everything at your fingertips.

So, why does Juan and his family own so many Alpacas?  Because in a remote place where very few things can grow and survive (and there are no stores around), having a lot of alpacas means that your family is healthy, wealthy, and prepared to face the harsh climate.  

Alpacas are used for clothing, food, fuel, transportation, heating the home, and much much more.... According to Juan, owning an Alpaca is better than living next door to Walmart.

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