There's something so special about llamas and alpacas that makes us easily fall in love with them. Some of us adore them so much we would even travel far and wide just to meet and hang out with them. If you're also a fan of these super cute animals, read on and discover where you can find them!
Most of them live in South America
First of all, alpacas and llamas are actually different types of animals, even though most of us can't really tell the difference at first. Llamas are in fact about twice the size of Alpacas, heavier, taller and have longer faces and ears. Alpacas, on the other hand, have finer hair, which makes their faces so fuzzy and cute! 80% of the Alpaca population today lives in Peru, a world famous destination for many travellers. Even though Alpacas are native to Peru, they can be found all over South America, in places like Chile and Ecuador. Both have very charming personalities, which is what makes them even more attractive to humans. They are mostly used today for their wool, considered as one of the world's fines and luxurious materials.
The majority of llamas live in the highlands of Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and, of course, Peru. Llamas are currently the only living inhabitants of the legendary ruins of Machu Picchu, an ancient Incan city. Besides South America, you actually don't have to travel that far to meet llamas and alpacas in person. Some of them can be found in Europe as well, but mostly on farms and not in their natural habitat.
1. Cusco Region, Peru
Since alpacas and llamas live at altitudes from 3500 to almost 5000 meters, it's logical that they're mostly found in mountainous areas. The Peruvian Andes is one place where you can find them almost on every step of your hike, another reason to go trekking in Peru. The Cusco (or Cuzco) department of Peru is not only famous for being the home of the Inca civilization, but it is also known for its stunning landscapes and alpacas and llamas that live there. Since Cusco is around 3.500 meters above sea level, it's the ideal environment for these animals which are a common sight around the area.
2. Colca Canyon, Peru
Another hotspot for llama and alpaca viewing is in Peru's Arequipa region. The Colca Canyon is one of the deepest canyons in the world and one of Peru's many natural wonders. You might be surprised that it's actually twice the depth of the famous Grand Canyon, at nearly 11,000 feet of depth. Llamas and alpacas are mainly found in the upper area of the Canyon and in the past, they were crucial for the villagers living here, as they carried products for the market to trade between each area.
3. Tyrol, Italy
Since these animals are from South America, one may not expect to find them in Italy. But over the years, South Tyrol has become the country's hotspot for llama trekking. There are many farms all around the area, making a living from breeding llamas in the scenic setting of the majestic mountains. These friendly animals will gladly accompany you along your hike through the stunning Dolomites. Even though it may sound funny to you at first, llamas are great companions for hiking as they will cheer you up and give you the energy to keep going!
4. Awana Kancha Center, Peru
Awan Kancha is one of the most famous camelid farms in Peru, breeding and taking care of llamas and alpacas for almost 20 years. Here, your experience with these animals is extra special. Visitors can meet and feed them, and spend the whole afternoon with them. At the farm, you can also learn more about the traditional weaving process and how their wool is used to make clothes and other items. It's a popular stop for guided tours going from Cusco to the Sacred Valley. This is the best way to see the area as it's always useful to have a guide by your side to learn even more about Peru's native residents.