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Pampa Galeras

See vicuña in the wild


The giant Pampa Galeras national reserve which houses some of the largest herds of vicuña in Peru and in the world. Of the South American camelids, two have been domesticated: the llama and the alpaca. Two are wild: the vicuña and the guanaco. Centuries of attempts to domesticate them haven’t worked.

Vicuña are prized for their extraordinarily soft fur. The traditional chaccu is a ritual gathering of wild vicuña to shear their wool. The chaccu has been practiced for hundreds of years though the modern version has notable differences like veterinarians who check the animals’ health. It is now regulated by the government because the vicuña is a protected animal, unfortunately endangered by poaching. Hunting vicuña at any time of year is illegal. Read my article about chaccu here.

Vicuña at lake


Pampa Galeras is part of the province of Ayacucho, but closer to Nazca than to the city of Ayacucho. It’s a 7 hour drive south of Ayacucho and only 2 hours easy of Nazca.

Ayacucho & Andahuaylas

Llamas, Alpacas & Vicuñas

Wildlife & Birding

Text © Heather Jasper

Images by Heather Jasper