Tips on choosing your South American trek

With summer here, you’re probably breaking in your new hiking boots and dreaming about where to take your next adventure. Of course, planning any international trekking adventure takes a bit of perseverance but it shouldn’t be harder than the hike itself. Make it a bit easier for yourself by following these tips from Detour:

1. Make sure you have a local guide. Naturally, a trained local guide is usually your best bet for any international trek; after all, who better to explain the intricacies of Peruvian culture, history, geography, and politics. Also, if you’re paying a local, it means that the revenue generated from your trek stays in the community you’re visiting. Many international outfitters use guides from the US or the EU, so be sure to ask about this one.

2. Figure out what you want. This tip may seem obvious, but a lot of people sign up the most famous trek in the area without considering if it truly suits them. The first step for planning a trek is honestly assessing what you really need, be it uncrowded trails or support horses in case the kids poop out. After you suss out these details, it’s much easier to sift through your trek options.

3. Find out what treks the local guides or operators prefer. Guides generally enjoy treks for the same reason travelers do: beautiful scenery, good itinerary, and trails free of human waste. While this may mean you’re going off the beaten path, keep in mind that most famous sites (Machu Picchu or Torres del Paine peaks) can be visited with a quick day-trip afterwards. The easiest way to find these recommendations is by contacting a Detour specialist who can give you insights into what the local guides prefer.

4. Want a budget trip? To get a good rate on a trek, try thinking outside the box. Think about traveling during the shoulder season, which is the time between the busy and the off-season. Consider a shorter version of your ideal trek. Importantly, be flexible about your travel dates. If you want to join a group departure (one of the best ways to save money), you may have to reorganize your dates to join-up with a group.

5. . . . But don’t go for a price that seems too good to be true. Once you get a sense for the price range of a specific trek, don’t try to drive the price down further or purchase a trip that’s half the price of the others. Treks cost money to operate well so a super-cheap operation will be cutting corners they probably shouldn’t. Before booking that $100 Ausangate trek, consider how you’d feel if there wasn’t enough food one day or if your porter were working for slave wages.

More tips coming soon, so keep checking back while you plan your trek.