There are two kinds of alpaca: the suri, which mainly
serves for industrial manufacturing and the huacaya, which is well
adapted to hand made production. It is quite difficult to spin alpaca
wool with a machine. All products sold at the Alpaqa boutique are
made with huacaya.
The wild ancester of the alpaca is called a vicuña.
Its hair is even finer and softer than the alpaca's and very expensive.
It is only recently that the vicuña can be kept in captivity.
Alpaca may be spelt two different ways; the most
commonly used, "alpaca", is the same for Anglophones
and Peruvians who speak Spanish, Quechua or Aymara.
In modern French, we use "alpaga". The Alpaqa
boutique is written with a Q to indicate its location in Quebec.
As mentioned previously, it is a species of camel
living in the Peruvian Andes. Although it resembles a lama, it isn't
one. Since Lamas have much rougher hair. Lamas are used for transporting
alpaca wool to the markets. Alpaca farms on the Altiplano, are located
at 3,800 meters altitude or more. The high altitude cold air is
beneficial to alpacas and is responsible for a thick and high
quality coat. From a scientific point of view, the alpaca's
coat is made of hair, which, like human hairs, are long empty tubes,
contributing to unequalled thermal and insulating properties. As
a matter of fact, this fibre was used by NASA at the beginning of
space exploration. When it comes to natural fibres, alpaca is
Besides all this, there are an impressive range of
colors; thus no dye is used, which adds to the natural charm of
this fibre. Alpacas are often beige, white, brown or black. Other
more rare tints are obtained by coupling different animals, but
the results are unpredictable. Grey, for instance is quite difficult
to obtain, but extremely prized when it is pure. An undeniable advantage
to alpaca is the fact that this wool is neither allergenic nor
itchy. It can be worn even by people with sensitive skin.
The alpacas are free animals and their raising
is ecological. The animals are raised in their natural habitat where
they calmly eat plants they cut with their teeth without uprooting
them. This allows this high altitude region to continue providing
the food they need, since the vegetation is quite scarce in the
tundra. Alpacas have big camel's hooves which don't sink into the
turf. Just like these animals which do not disturb nature, the raising
and commerce of the alpaca and its derived products should remain
ecological and equitable. This is well understood by the
Dent family, their associates and friends:
they respect it and encourage it. Behind each product of the Alpaqa
boutique are smiles and handshakes and beasts running in the cool
The young alpacas are so cute!
The most common colors are beige,
white, brown and black.
The alpacas hair has unequalled thermal
and insulating properties!
The alpaca cuts plants with its teeth instead of uprooting them.
This allows a renewal of the vegetation in the tundra.
Alpacas farming on the Altiplano
at 4,700 meters altitude.