Often hiking is about getting higher, faster and further. It is completely different with an alpaca hike, because we humans can learn a lot from these relaxed animals. The calm nature of the alpacas also has an effect on its companion. Apart from that, it is just fun to watch these fluffy animals walk.
Alpacas have become “trend animals” in recent years for good reason. With their round googly eyes, soft fur and slightly curved mouth which always looks like it’s smiling, they are simply an embodiment of cuteness. You can find them on postcards, bags, clothes, mugs … just about everywhere. Social media is also exploding with alpaca photos and videos.
For this reason, hikes with these small camels are especially popular. There are some very important rules when hiking with alpacas. Alpacas are flight animals, so you should always be gentle with them. Jerking the leash or making loud and shrill noises will unsettle them.
However, once you have gained their trust, they are wonderful companions.
They can even be petted. But be careful – not every alpaca likes body contact. Even if it is tempting, you should not pet alpacas on the head. The legs should also be avoided, as it can be perceived as a fighting posture by the animals. The neck, on the other hand, is a good place for petting.
Alpacas, unlike llamas, do not spit at you. They do this only among themselves when they determine a hierarchy. As long as you are not perceived as a conspecific, there should be no problems. Llamas are often used as pack animals and are therefore eager to run. Alpacas, on the other hand, tend to be a bit slow. For this reason, alpaca walks are suitable for all ages. They can be a pleasant alternative to a normal hike and are very popular with the young and old.
Another reason for their popularity is the calming effect they have on humans. A hike of several hours with the Andean animals through nature can seem like a short vacation. Alpacas therefore score points not only with their soft wool, but also with their chilled-out character. This relaxed attitude is also the reason why alpacas are increasingly used as therapy animals.
Especially people suffering from dementia as well as mentally or physically impaired people react extremely positively to alpacas. Recently there has been a trend to combine yoga and alpacas. In addition, alpacas are sometimes booked as an original photo accessory at weddings.
Now you may wonder if it is also possible to ride on alpacas. But you should definitely not do that. The back of the animals is anatomically not suitable to be loaded from above (for example by a rider). In the Andes you can see children riding on the back of alpacas, but you should not do that.
Although alpacas are very relaxed and peaceful, they tend to show you when they are unpleasant with the situation. They will simply stop or lie down. Alpacas know their own limits and know how to communicate them through their body language.
The price for an alpaca walk varies depending on location and duration. Prices start at 25 € per hour. Often there are also group prices, as it is a good idea to do the hike as a group.
Anyone who has done an alpaca hike can confirm that the saying “don’t look an alpaca in the eye for too long – you might fall in love” is true.