Llamas! (Unless they're alpacas)

Llamas! (Unless they’re alpacas)

My impression is that many people, or at least many Americans, know little about Peru, except that it is roughly in South America and that it has Machu Picchu, flute music, and llamas. Having been in Peru for just about a month, I can officially confirm that there are indeed llamas here. This post will not tell you anything scientific or factual about them, but it does have pictures of llamas.


My first llama (maybe)

The first thing you should know about llamas is that they are not alpacas. This is the part where I should tell you, in detail, the difference between llamas and alpacas. Unfortunately, I don’t really know, so I’ve just been referring to every llama-esque creature as a llama. After being corrected dozens of times, my only consistent observation is that alpacas are fluffier than llamas. That also might not be true though.


Llamas on the Cusco trek
Photo by Filemon

I wrote another post joking about how Google auto-fills “llamas” with “llamas with hats.” I didn’t actually look into why this was at the time, but recently heard that: 1) It is an internet trope; 2) It has an actual historical significance.


The smelliest gas for your stove

According to a Peace Corps Volunteer here, while Peru was fighting Chile, the Peruvians would make camp within sight, but not too close, to the Chilean fighters, put hats on llamas, and mix them in with the troops to make it look like they had more fighters. Next time I meet a Chilean, it’s going to be hard not to say something along the lines of, “You thought llamas were people. HA!” Chile, by the way, lost that war.

Since this is a travel website, I figure I should also recommend something that connects llamas and travel. I visited a town in the Colca Valley in southern Peru called Sibayo that offers an eight day llama trek from Sibayo to Cusco. Check it out here.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, this post was really just about me posting pictures of llamas. Also, this video:

Jack Meets his First Llamas (that may also be alpacas):