ISLAND LIFE: Es Currals Alpaca Farm – Magical Peruvian poo and sustainability
The tale of the first ever alpaca farm in Ibiza and the wish fulfilling couple who dreamed it into reality.
I feel deliriously giddy, my cheeks are blushed as if I’ve been slurping warm rose from a smudgy wine glass way past last orders in the sun. I’m not drunk but definitely on a high after my zoom call with San and Bart, founders of Es Currals Ibiza, the magical farm land that is home to a band of five mischievous, alpacas; Marron, Dusty, Barbarella, Lewis and Mojo.
Through stolen glance, the kind that two lovers who have known each other’s souls for previous lifetimes, I learn about their story. It is one of synchronicities, where the stars connect centuries old traditions, ultimately returning us to a more kinder and sustainable way of living and being. Their brilliant commitment to create a business that nourishes and adds value to the local community makes your very being expand and you find yourself renewing your lockdown vow to live and do better.
San who had been a practicing nurse in the Psychiatric ER Ward; long before the profession was assigned its rightful hero status; out of the blue decided to take up spinning wool and bought a small table sized weaving loom. Aspiring for expansion, San met with a sprightly 92-year-old expert weaver who sold San her room sized loom and offered her a heart felt and generous one weeks tuition in a craft that would otherwise have remained forgotten.
After exploring different wools, San, whose passion for weaving along with husband Barts’ investigative research led them directly onto the alpaca trail. Alpaca wool is finer than silk, rarer than cashmere and softer than sheeps’ wool as well as being water and fire resistant. Expensive to obtain, they decided they would set up their own farm and weaving studio. A first time trip to Ibiza sprinkled the location sparkle they didn’t even know they needed. In love with the Island, 2019 saw them finally making the move, which continued to be mystical in many ways. Es Currals is the Ibicenco name for the stonewalled enclosure local farmers would keep their livestock in. Coincidentally, “Corrals” is the enclosure that the Incas also kept their flocks safe in and away from the elements.
And so it was that the name was given, paying homage to both the Peruvian and Ibizan ancestory.
The stolen history of the Incas and alpacas
One of the many joyful things I love about San and Bart is their trailblazing recognition of the history of the alpacas and the tragedy that occurred to the Inca civilization. By reviving the craft of weaving and the care of the animals accordingly they respectfully resurrected the memory of the Incas without appropriating an incredibly sophisticated culture. Inca society was literally woven together in alpaca and llama fibre from bridges to roofs, and of course clothing with the precious dung providing fuel. The fibre was deemed more valuable than gold even.
Archeological evidence suggests that the alpacas were worshiped and seen as a gift from Pachmana, mother Earth. In the 1500s the Spanish Conquistadores landed in Peru and sought to subjugate the Incas by starving them of their most essential resources; the alpacas and llamas. They slaughtered 60 million, with only a few escaping extinction with their owners to high altitude land called altiplano. It wasn’t until the 1800s that European traders rediscovered the beauty and resilience of alpaca fibre and began a system of breeding and exporting the fibres, much to the exploitation of the local population. Over the centuries, alpaca fibre become highly desired, with the first reported import of alpacas to Australia in 1853. Sadly none of the descendants are alive today. In 1983, under strict care and guidelines the first alpacas were exported legally to the United States. Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Britain and the rest of Europe followed suit. Crossing paths with the most incredible people at each twist and turn of their journey, San and Bart ‘happened’ to meet a top alpaca vet in their native Belgium under whose guidance their love project become more and more a reality. Joined by their beloved fabulous five alpacas was their wish fulfilling dream returning full circle.
Shearing, orgling and the circle of life
Fiercely protective of their loveable tribe of alpacas, one thing Es Currals is not, is as San puts it “…a circus.” “They are our babies” The welfare of the alpacas is at the forefront of everything and San and Bart glow with pride and love when they share the characteristics of their alpacas who are certainly stars of the show. Incredibly intelligent animals, the genetics and history of them has shaped their characteristics and they each have their own spunky personalities. Who else would make an orgling sound to remind Lewis, the stud of the group, it was time to get his freak on with the ladies. Sexy time is essential if these gorgeous animas are to make Island babies and while orgling (a mating sound) is pretty harsh on human ears the alpaca’s females love it. In fact Marron (known as the Diva for displaying Naomi Cambellesque qualities and her long legs) is 8 months pregnant. Seems like Lewis didn’t just stop there, Dusty may also be pregnant which is a gift to us all and for the future of the Ibiza alpaca. They also graze in such a gentle way as to cause no disturbance to the soil. Their toilet habits are better than some humans as they prefer to go in one designated place. Helpful in the collection of pooh as it is a super charged fertilizer.
Whilst in lockdown the couple took extra special measures in the long process of shearing, making sure at every moment their “babies’ were comfortable. Once the wool is collected, it is sorted so San can then start to weave.
Sustainable pieces that recognise the past
Sans’ weaving is hypnotic to watch; she creates one off forever pieces that will last many lifetimes and are sustainable, using only naturally created dyes. What is truly touching is that the pieces redefine luxury. True sustainability is not simply about paying more for an “ethical” piece but rather the values placed throughout the production chain for the dignity of all life. From honouring the memory of the Incas to nurturing their beautiful alpacas and then the almost spiritual act of weaving in which according to San, “…each piece has a part of my soul. You have to trust the piece” Transparency, love and respect remain central.
Perhaps if the Incas were watching now, they would smile and marvel upon Es Currals, with peace once again in their hearts and love that their ancient system from thousands of years ago is bringing harmony to a little Island in the Mediterranean Sea.
“…all the luck is with us. ”Bart tells me but I somehow feel it is more about the luck they have created and continue to spin on the Island.
To book an intimate family vist to Es Currals please contact
For exquisite hand-woven designs or to have a piece commissioned please contact :