History of Andean Trails – 1998 to today

by on 31st July, 2012

A brief history of Andean Trails

I spent much of the 90s working as a trek leader and writing guidebooks on South America and as a result of all that exploring and leading groups, in 1998 I decided this was something I would like to carry on doing, so the idea for Andean Trails hatched.

The details were scribbled down on the back of an envelope in a small bar in Cusco in the heart of highland Peru, where you can find some of the best trekking ranges in the continent.  We (my then business partner and myself) decided to offer alternative trekking routes that other companies weren’t doing. There seemed to be a lot of stunning treks which were off the beaten track, that we had trekked ourselves and felt would be of interest to other keen walkers and explorers. Having researched and written for guidebooks we had walked the routes and been fortunate to find some excellent local staff we were keen to work with.

Andean Trails was initially run from a room of my parents’ house before moving into our own premises two years later. Our first computer cost over a thousand pounds, and became obsolete rapidly. I remember going to a business start up meeting when the Internet was discussed, what an amazing, bizarre concept it seemed at the time. In those days we still used faxes to communicate with South America.


lares-local man-peru

Lares local man, Peru.


How things have changed. Today it is hard to escape from modern technology and it’s quite a relief to get somewhere so remote that mobiles don’t work and there’s no internet. We’ve recently opened our Facebook account and also joined Twitter… fourteen years ago who’d have thought such instant far reaching means of communication would exist?

Today we still very much follow the same ethos as when we started, working with local people to promote off the beaten track routes as well as the better known sites, and exploring mountain valleys and peaks whenever we can. We still aim to be as eco-friendly and sustainable as possible in all our activities.

We started off running a lot of group trekking tours with set departures, but the trend amongst our customers has been to move away from the group and into being more independent which has led us to offer a broader range of experiences that can be put together into more personalised private or tailor-made holidays. We still have a range of group trips to suit most tastes.

I am still involved in writing for guide books and taking photographs.

Time doesn’t allow me to get to the Andes nearly as much as I would like but with a team of four (Tom, Kat, Alan and myself) now in Andean Trails, there is almost always one or other of us in South America while the the rest of us sit behind computers in our UK or Spain office, planning new adventures and putting together itineraries for our customers.

Contact us for more.


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