Slow down and enjoy the differences…. you’ll be back with the familiar soon enough.
Enjoy being away
Here’s our advice on how to get the most out of your trip to South America.
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.
Witches market, La Paz
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.
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We chose Andean trails after finding you online. As soon as we got talking about our options, it was clear you guys were hugely knowledgeable and could help us plan the perfect trip. We had an incredible time!
Overall Organisation: excellent, couldn’t have been better!
Highlight: It’s hard to pick just one, but exploring the suspension bridges above Grey glacier was amazing, exploring the French Valley, and watching a huge chunk of glacier carve away were some of our favourites.
Low point: I’m not sure we really had a low point, it was all amazing.
Accommodation: hotel in Puerto Natales was great, really quirky, good service. As expected the refugios on the trek were pretty basic but perfectly ok, the cabin at Cuernos though was brilliant!
Food: Again, as expected the food in the refugios was very basic, but edible. Our food in Cuernos refugio was actually very good, a nice treat in the middle of our trek! In the hotel, our breakfast was very good.
Guides: We didn’t really have any, but the lady that met us at the bus station and took us to our hotel was very friendly and helpful.
We enjoyed spending a short period of time in Puerto Natales, spending money in the local shops and restaurants. All the locals were super friendly. Hopefully we contributed to the tourist economy. We were very aware of our impact on the natural environment in the park, and the clear impact humans are having with erosion of paths etc. We were as careful as we could be to make sure we had as little environmental impact as possible.
What would we do differently? Not much really. Other than do some training for the hike, 32km on the first day was hard going!!
We love hiking and spending time in the outdoors. We had a couple of friends that had done the W trek and their experience sounded amazing. We weren’t disappointed!
Thanks for all your help and advice in making our trip an experience we will remember forever!
Anna Redman, UK, 2019
» Patagonia Self-guided Trekking Tour
Andean Trails helped us organise a memorable family trip through Peru and Bolivia.
We loved exploring the diversity these countries have to offer - coast, desert, mountains, salt flats and rain forests – with a balance of culture, activity and a little bit of R&R!
I generally like to do the research for trips myself but after the initial research phase, it was great to have Tom as an expert partner, focused on delivering what we wanted to get out of the trip, whilst adding value by suggesting things that would enhance our experience.
He provided an invaluable sense check on what was possible, adding support and expertise to make our ambitious plan a reality - e.g, organising private transfers to get us to where we needed to be before the border closed etc. and providing the reassurance of a ‘go to’ person on the ground for help when needed. He was fabulous to work with and it felt like planning the trip with a friend.
Tom really knows the people and places in all the locations and his suggestions for activities to keep everyone in the family interested and entertained were spot on, meaning we had lots of cool things to do with wonderfully knowledgeable guides, including special times on Lake Titicaca with a home stay on Amantanti.
Thanks for helping us create the most memorable family trip.
Lynn Oliver, UK, 2017
» Colca Canyon Condors Tour
Kat was lucky enough to spot a Jaguar in Guyana - have you seen one on your travels?
#jaguar #guyana #wildlife www.facebook.com/Andeantrails.…
About 6 hours ago
Larry and Gillian are coming to the end of their month of travelling with Andean Trails in Patagonia. We put together a tour designed to take them off-the-beaten-track – read the first instalment in their blog – covering Santiago and Aysen and remote border crossings. Once in Argentina, Gillian and Larry trekked to the base of Fitzroy and Cerro Torre, and took a day tour to Perito Moreno. They then set off for Torres del Paine on a self-guided trek. Their tour has ended with a few days in Ushuaia and a flight out from Buenos Aires. Check their progress below …
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