Peter Frost is a writer, photographer and independent scholar who has explored the Andes and Amazon for over four decades and has lived in Peru since 1987. He has authored four books on Peru and Ecuador, including Exploring Cusco, the classic guide to the Cusco region, and the photo guide Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary. He has worked as a trekking guide and expedition leader for Wilderness Travel Inc. since the early 1980s. As he admits, the Vilcabamba expeditions have become something of an obsession for him. The way the Inca world vision has always intrigued him, and this trip is another attempt to fill in the gaps in our understanding of that vision. This will be the fifth expedition to the region for the “wily old lion,” as Kevin has dubbed him.
Expedition Responsibilities: Trip Leader, archeology, logistics
Kevin Floerke, referred to as the “wild rover” in retaliation by Peter, is the vagabond of the group. He somehow fit this expedition in between a month-long documentary expedition to Manu National Park, a trip to Cuba, and two guided tours of Choquequirao for the adventure travel company Wilderness Travel. His previous jobs have seen him guiding students around Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Cusco with National Geographic and Carpe Diem Education. Kevin, too, is fascinated with the Inca worldview and the ceremonies that went along with it. To him, the immediacy of nature and many important astronomical alignments in Vilcabamba make it the perfect place to study these ceremonies. This was his third time in Vilcabamba with Peter.
Expedition Responsibilities: Archeology, photography, aerial drone control
Chet Jarvis is a 10-year resident of Peru and the Sacred Valley. He owns and operates the Iskay Group, a travel agency in Ollantaytambo specializing in remote hikes and tours in the Peruvian backcountry, including Vilcabamba. It was while guiding here that Peter and Kevin first serendipitously met him during their 2012 expedition. While he loves guiding, it doesn’t give him as much time to explore the historical and cultural aspects of the places he visits. He volunteered his time to assist in the 2016 expedition and to round out his knowledge of the area.
Expedition Responsibilities: Logistics, cooking, first aid
Javier Fonseca was the local Cusqueño archeologist for the project. His previous accomplishments include a significant discovery in 2010 of a pre-Inca Wari culture occupation at Espiritu Pampa, the last Inca stronghold. His assistant on the expedition was another Cusqueño named Amerigo.
Expedition Responsibilties: Archeolgogy, post-expedition analysis
Tiburcio is a Vilcabamba local and veteran of many previous expeditions. As a long-time friend and expedition partner, Peter is quite unable to keep himself from calling him “Our Man in Yanama,” which is the village Tiburcio lives in and sounds awfully similar to “Havana.” Tiburcio has proved himself indispensable on previous expeditions by hacking through jungle, wrangling horses, and scaling treacherous mountain slopes in nothing but old sandals. He is accompanied everywhere by his tiny, fluffy dog Princesa.
Expedition Responsibilities: Horse handler, local fixer, machete operator
The team of course sends a huge “Thank You!” to their sponsors Jack Daulton and his partner Roz Ho, and Enrique Velasco of Coltur Peru. Their financial support made this expedition and its many expenses possible.