Local People & Customs
Start enjoying your travels before you leave by tapping into as many sources of information as you can. Learn about and appreciate the cultures which you come across - it will enhance your experience.
Try to avoid behaviour that may be considered offensive. Think carefully about what's appropriate in terms of your clothes and the way you behave. You'll earn respect and be more readily welcomed by local people.
Don't treat people as part of the landscape, they may not want their picture taken. Put yourself in their shoes, ask first and respect their wishes. Do not expect any special privileges - remember that you are only one of many visitors.
Meeting and talking to local people will add to your enjoyment. Trying to learn a few words of Spanish will be appreciated.
Do not trespass. Wherever possible, ask for permission to enter someone's land.
Make no promises to local people that you can't keep - be realistic about what you will do when you return home.
Respect the laws of the country you are travelling in.
Try and put money into local people's hands; drink local beer or fruit juice rather than imported brands and buy and eat locally produced food.
Pay a fair price for the goods or services you buy - if you haggle for the lowest price your bargain may be at someone else's expense. Haggle with humour and not aggressively.
Don't encourage begging by offering money. There are charities that could use your money. Also remember that there are very few dentists in the Andean countries, so giving out sweets is not recommended.
Tipping is an accepted part of all of the Andean economies. Ensure you are aware of when this is relevant, as some people rely on tips.
Minimise your environmental impact - Help preserve local wildlife and habitats by respecting rules and regulations, such as sticking to footpaths and not buying products made from plants or animals.
Think about what happens to your rubbish - remove extra packaging from anything you are taking with you so as not to add to the rubbish disposal problems, take biodegradable products and a water filter bottle. Be sensitive to limited resources like water, fuel and electricity.
Do not pollute or bathe in rivers. Often those streams will be someone's drinking water source further down river.
Never leave rubbish. Take out what you bring in. Always try to leave a campsite in as good or better state than you found it.