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Classic destinations, pioneering travel and the art of being popular.

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classics-and-pioneers Peru

Classic destinations

You’ve got to be known to win a popularity contest, or so it seems in travel.

 

The Top 10 dream trips, as voted by Trip Advisor users this week, include three of South America’s most iconic destinations:

 

Trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (no. 4);

The Galapagos (no. 5);

Antarctica (no. 9)

 

Here at Andean Trails, we offer these fantastic holidays, and yet we are constantly looking for new and different ways to visit these timeless classics.

 

Why do the classic destinations endure?

The three trips above are very familiar, fabled thanks to their dramatic discovery, tales of derring-do and exploration. They still capture my mind, as a traveller.

Yet I don’t really want to chop my way through Peru’s humid tropics to find Hiram Bingham’s lost city.

I don’t want to hoist tortoises aboard my Galapagos cruise ship like a modern day takeaway meal, nor dehydrate on the barren islands as whalers and pirates did – although I could probably do with a Darwinian moment or two.

And the thought of being tossed about the Drake passage like James Cook, or being trapped in the ice like Shackleton fair gives me the sea legs.

Perhaps this explains the Trip Advisor Top 10’s endurance, and why Kuelap remains spectacularly unknown.

 

Can building them up lead to disappointment?

Personally, I’ve never pioneered a route.

I have gone ‘off-road’ on mountains and bike rides, only to then be pleased to ‘find the path’ once more (which I’d kept my eye on all the time).

Having already trekked the Inca Trail many years before today’s permit situation, I couldn’t feel like I was missing anything when I visited again by train and then via the Salkantay trek.

And I loved both the alternatives. But Salkantay trekkers will never see Winay Wayna or see the sunrise from the Sun Gate.

I’ve been in Galapagos twice, staying in hotels. Yet I’m returning to sail The Beagle in January because the ‘classic’ cruise holds a mystique to me. Boats do get you to parts the hotels cannot reach.

That fear of missing out, of not being able to drop into conversation that we’ve trodden the famous path.

Does it matter? On some level it clearly does.

 

Beagle wet landing Galapagos

Beagle, wet landing, Galapagos

 

Classic route and the pioneer

I love new routes, the new ways to see places. I really want to try our Moon Temple trek for example.

But the original, incredible pioneers still lend these now accessible destinations a sparkle within their longevity, that somehow we are touched by the pioneer’s spirit by following their footsteps.

People have reference points for great moments in their lives: babies, marriage, discovering a composer’s music. All very individual experiences, all done countless times before.

That’s not to say that they are not individually incredible, no matter who has gone before.

And so it must be similar with travel. Someone’s almost always been there before.

 

moon-temple-trek views peru

Moon Temple trek views

Go ahead. Discover the new, but enjoy the classics.

Contact us for more.

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