Inca Trail treks to Machu Picchu - Machupicchu Tours in Peru Salkantay Trek Travel Perú

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The flames of Machu Picchu: engine and strength of the Inca empire

These silent and incredible creatures arrived in South America before man and made the Andean mountain regions their place in the world.

On a day like today, some 10,000 years ago, man, a brand new inhabitant of these steep and zigzagging lands, began to tame this docile and incredible animal that still continues to be a key part of the regional economy.

 Archaeological monuments found in Peruvian lands give credit to this process that has several edges.

Surely, the high concentration of hemoglobin in the blood of this noble mammal, which is why the low oxygen from the heights does not affect its productivity, is one of the great reasons. Perhaps its perennial magnitude and closeness to man have also been of great help. Scientific rigor indicates that its three stomachs and its flora maximize the use of fiber and protein, which is why the crudeness of the Andean terrain suits it well.

The truth is that not even those first settlers, much less the Incas, were going to miss out on the benefits of this pseudo-ruminant herbivore, almost 1.3 meters tall up to their shoulder blades and almost 140 kilograms in weight. That translates into a lot of strength, a lot of wool and, also, a lot of meat.

Today, llamas are generally used as beasts of burden, but in the past they were worshiped and even worshiped as a deity.

Only a few Inca sculptures in gold, silver and bronze escaped conquering greed and survive scattered in museums around the world.

However, this animal, which was so useful and admired by the Incas, continues today its existence throughout Peru, Chile, Bolivia, northern Argentina, Ecuador and Colombia.

Of course, unlike what happens in other regions of the continent, in Machu Picchu they do give themselves great life. There, the flames are a centerpiece of this setting charged with beauty and mystery.

The best time to observe, enjoy and even pet them is very early, when the place is less crowded with travelers. They can be seen grazing and chewing incessantly. At the end of the day it is the same magical setting that their ancestors saw born and perhaps even helped build.

Did you know…?


- The Laminis and Camelinis are their ancestors and lived in North America about 10 million years ago.

- There are two types of flame: the Chaku or woolly, and the Q’ara or peeled.

- The llama is one of the animals most studied for its adaptation to height, its diseases and its nutritional requirements.

- The colors of the flame fiber range from white to pure to black, going through a complete range of browns and grays.

- In short trips they carry up to 60 kg of weight and in long stretches not more than 20 kg.

- Its meat, wool, leather, fat and even its excrement are used as fuel.

- But there is more about the favors of your droppings. A recent study indicates that the Incas used it as a fertilizer for the cultivation of corn on land located at high altitudes, which contributed to the settlement and growth of the empire.