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Climbing Bolivia’s Mountains with Mountaineer Simon Yates

A new action-packed expedition in Bolivia’s mountains – the perfect mix of challenge and exploration

Long-standing World Expeditions trip leader Simon Yates will return to South America in 2020, on a new thrilling expedition that will aim to conquer five peaks in the breath-taking High Andes of Bolivia, amongst which are three above 6,000m. 

The new itinerary in Bolivia provides the perfect mix of challenge and exploration with five great climbing objectives – including the highest volcano in the country, the perennially snow-covered peak of Sajama (6542m), which is situated in the northern Cordillera Occidental. Following a sound acclimatisation schedule and two full days of alpine skills instruction, the group will commence climbing.
 

Summit five peaks in the breath-taking High Andes on this Bolivia expedition

Enjoying an al fresco lunch with the scenic Condoriri Valley as a backdrop |  <i>Anthony Bohm</i>
 
Despite being technically graded as ‘Intermediate Mountaineering Expedition’, the trip can also be joined by beginners with an excellent level of fitness and experience trekking at altitude (as a minimum).

Simon Yates first visited the country in 2012, when he led the inaugural departure of the Summits of Bolivia trip and has been keen to go back ever since.

About his upcoming Bolivia expedition, he said: 

I found Bolivia very special on my previous trip and I am really looking forward to the ascent of Sajama, which as well as being Bolivia's highest volcano, is also its highest peak.

In addition to the Cordillera Real, Bolivia has many high volcanoes, which is what makes this itinerary a trip like no other. In just three weeks you get the chance to climb three 6,000m volcanoes. This truly is an action-packed expedition!

Best known for his harrowing expedition in the Andes as documented in the award-winning ‘Touching the Void’ book, Simon Yates is one of the most accomplished mountaineers of his time. He has been at the forefront of exploratory mountaineering for over three decades and has successfully guided groups to the summits of peaks across the world, from Nepal (Ama Dablam, 6,856m) and Kyrgyzstan (Peak Lenin, 7,134m) to Alaska (Denali, 6,145m) and Argentina (Aconcagua, 6,960m).
 

Triple Peaks of Bolivia with Simon Yates 

Exclusive with World Expeditions. 20 days. 14 June – 3 July 2020. The trip includes accommodation, most meals, internal transfers, safety and climbing equipment and permits. Trip joins and concludes in La Paz.
                              
In addition to the new itinerary with Simon Yates, choose from more than 30 mountaineering expeditions, from Mont Blanc in the Alps to Aoraki/Mount Cook in New Zealand.
 
Limited tickets available > Book yours today
Transcaucasian Trail: the next BIG thing in trekking

If a trek in Georgia or Armenia isn't currently on your radar, then get ready to update it because the Transcaucasian Trail is about to become trekking's next big thing.

On the borderlands between Europe and Asia, the new Transcaucasian Trail will extend more than 3000km. It will connect more than 20 national parks, endless UNESCO listed sites and protected areas in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia, collectively known as the Southern Caucasus.

TIME Magazine listed the trail through the Caucasus Mountains as one of the world's 100 greatest places in 2019, with Forbes placing the Armenian hike in the limelight as a must-do experience.

While the full route is still being developed, you can now trek sections of this biodiversity hotspot with World Expeditions in both Armenia and Georgia – the only two countries adequately mapped so far.

You can combine both hikes, completing the Armenia segment first and then continuing the trail in Georgia, as an 18-day adventure full of history, incredible scenery and with few trekkers in sight.

Georgian Transcaucasian Trail

Views of Upper Svaneti region in Ushguli, Georgia Caucasus Mountains Walking into Georgia's dramatic Caucasus Mountains Hiking to Ushguli in the Svaneti Valley |  <i>Julie Haber</i>

Hike along varied and fascinating landscapes – from floral meadows and mountainous backdrops, to cascading waterfalls and glacial scenery.

The highlights:

  Visit the charming city of Tbilisi – a beautiful blend of nature and crumbling art nouveau architecture.
  Take in enthralling views from Svaneti, which is nestled on the southern slopes of the central Caucasus Mountains and surrounded by 3000 to 5000-metre snow-capped peaks. Four of the 10 highest mountains of the Caucasus are in the region.
  Explore 3000-year-old Mtskheta – the ancient capital and religious centre of Georgia, as well as the historic cave town of Uplistsikhe.
  Walk to the foot of Mount Ushba's system of stunning waterfalls and to its breathtaking glacier before enjoying a scenic picnic.
  Marvel at the huge collection of permanent glaciers at Mount Tetnuli and ascend Chkhutnieri Pass (2730m) for spectacular views of Tetnuli (4800m).
  Visit the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Jvari church (6th century) and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (11th century).

Armenian Transcaucasian Trail

9th century Apostolic Tatev monastery stands on the edge of a deep gorge of the Vorotan River. Wilderness hiking along paths less trodden, Transcaucasian Trail, Armenia |  <i>Breanna Wilson</i> A local lady makes lavash, a flatbread eaten throughout the South Caucasus |  <i>Breanna Wilson</i>

Home to ancient churches and monasteries, beautiful lakes and countless UNESCO World Heritage sites, trace parts of the Caucasian Silk route in Armenia that's overflowing with history and scenic brilliance.

The highlights:

  Hike to the picturesque 1st century A.D. Garni Temple which overlooks a deep canyon before heading to the Garni gorge to admire volcanic basalt formations called “the symphony of stones”.
  Stand in awe of Lake Sevan, one of the largest high-altitude lakes in the world located at 1900m, surrounded by snow-covered mountains. Known as the “blue eye of Armenia” or the “Pearl of Armenia”, the freshwater lake of volcanic origin changes colour several times during the day – turquoise in direct sunlight, then turns a greenish shade, and grey by the evening.
  Soak up with medieval Armenian architecture of the Geghard Cave Monastery. The cave enclosures of this cultural and architectural wonder are notable for amazing acoustics where some of its chambers, carved from solid rock, possess exceptional acoustics.
  Experience scenic Dilijan “Little Switzerland”.
  Pass through Armenian colourful villages, enjoying the peace and magnificent scenes of a remote mountainous villages such as Hahgpat and Akner.

The Transcaucasian Trail have the hardiest trekkers in our team brimming with excitement. Why not be one of the first to experience it?

Cocktails at 10am in the High Andes

When I first embarked on this journey, never did I think I would be sitting in a bar at 10 o’clock in the morning with a cocktail in hand and nothing to do but watch the world go by.

The last 20 days have been go, go, go, taking in and exploring all that Peru has to offer, all the must do experiences that many have on their adventure lists. The iconic sights of the Peruvian tick list as many would see it, squeezed into less than three weeks.

Sitting here with a Chilcano in hand, is like taking a huge sigh of relief. Originally not on my Peruvian tick list, but added on recommendation, here I am now reflecting on the journey so far and enjoying a fabulous cocktail to boot.

A stop at La Raya 4335 metres, the highest point on the Cusco to Puno Train |  <i>Natalie Tambolash</i>

This particular day started when we were transferred to Wanchaq Station in Cusco and boarded the Titicaca train bound for Puno at 6.40am. When I first learnt of this train journey, all I knew was that it travelled through the High Andes. It was an alternative to travelling on the local bus and was deemed “fabulous” and “a highlight” by those that had gone before me. It lived to these expectations and so much more.

As I sit here, I feel like I am in a Michelin star restaurant on wheels with ever changing spectacular scenery going past the window. The service is impeccable from the moment we first arrive at the station in Cusco to the time we depart the train at the other end in Puno some 10 hours later.

Main meal is served. Fresh, local Peruvian cuisine |  <i>Natalie Tambolash</i>

Everyone on-board provides you with the most attentive service from remembering your food allergies, to what coffee you like, to taking orders for several tables at a time without writing anything down. Just like a fine-dining restaurant.

The bar car at the back of the train |  <i>Natalie Tambolash</i>

On-board, the carriages are bright, spacious and plush, exuding that little bit of romantic luxury and transporting you to another era. What I would imagine of the Andean Explorer.

There is a bar carriage where drinks and snacks are served (the best banana chips and crisp corn kernels you will possibly taste) and where at 10am and again in the afternoon, there is dancing, singing and fabulous entertainment by local dancers and a great local Peruvian fusion band (think Peruvian flute music combined with classic rock).

Morning entertainment on the train |  <i>Natalie Tambolash</i> Orient Express Andean Explorer train travels from Cusco to Puno |  <i>Tambo Treks</i> The bar car at the back of the train |  <i>Natalie Tambolash</i>
 

There is also a viewing carriage at the back of the train where you can park up as you please to take in the spectacular scenery of the High Andes.

The journey also comes with a complete meal service which yes, will rival most top restaurants of the world, serving up a delicious entrée, main and dessert. Even the fussiest eaters of our group were well impressed.

All this was topped off with an afternoon tea service complete with petit fours and delicious tea.

Along the way the scenery out the window was nothing short of spectacular. Up here in the High Andes, the mountains are so close, you feel you can reach out and touch them.

The train rolled through local farms and villages where everyday life was on display, and made a stop at the highest point on our journey at 4335 metres at La Raya where everyone took the opportunity to stretch their legs, take in the crisp clean air and see what was on display at the local market.

The colours of the landscape changed at every bend, from fresh greens in the valley, to white peaks of the Andes ranges, to pink and yellow hues of the Peruvian farms.

What I didn’t expect to see on this journey of luxury and relaxation was chaos. But rolling into the city of Juliaca provided just that - along with a multitude of laughs and photo opportunities.

Andean boy and his little friend in La Raya |  <i>Natalie Tambolash</i>

It seems that the train line rolls right through the busy Juliaca market and right through the middle of stalls that sell everything you could possibly think of - from books, to car parts, to buckets and everything in between.

Then you head through the busy main streets and over what probably is the Juliaca bakery, with its fresh bread in baskets lying on the train tracks as our train hurtles across the top of it. It is the thing of TV documentaries, yet here we are having a laugh in the midst of it, not quite believing our eyes but also thinking, only in Peru.

Sunrise on Lake Titicaca |  <i>Nigel Leadbitter</i>

As dusk settles in, we round the banks of the famous Lake Titicaca, seeing outlines of boats permanently moored with the low waters of the lake, and the setting sun casting shadows across the reed islands.

With our journey drawing to a close in Puno, on the edge of Lake Titicaca, you realise that what started off as a long ten-hour day, has ended in the best way: living in the moment high up in the Andes.

Words by Natalie Tambolash who travelled from west to east across Peru. You can add this train journey to your Peru itinerary or opt for a train upgrade from Cusco to Puno.

Morocco to France: On the couch with Mary Moody, gardening guru and author

Author, gardener, botanist, grandmother, journalist, speaker, traveller and tour guide. From her line-up of titles, you can guess that Mary Moody loves to keep herself busy. And despite having her life turned upside with the loss of her beloved husband and half-sister, she’s managed to break new ground pursuing a life of adventure.

We chat with the Mary on her love of travel and the best ways to experience Morocco and France. Mary has exciting tours lined up for 2020, including an impressive Ladakh trek, a botanical journey through Central Mongolia, an introduction to Morocco's culture and Atlas mountain scenery, and a culinary and walking Camino experience in France.

You have a natural passion and affinity with the locals wherever you travel. What is your secret to getting to know the locals?

I find connecting with children opens the way to establishing an affinity. I always carry picture books with photographs of Australian animals and stop whenever I see groups of children - sit down in the dirt and share with them. The wonder in their eyes – their joyful response – is magic. Their parents are always just as fascinated.

Often leading trips with a botanical perspective, what has been your most unusual botanical discovery?

In Yunnan, in southwest China, we were hunting for the famed but rather shy blue poppy (Meconopsis sp.). We heard that a documentary film crew from the UK were also looking for it and this intensified our efforts. I am thrilled to say we spotted it first!

What's a tip travellers can do to make the most of their trip?

I tell my group to relax and go with the flow and let go of 'pampered' expectations. It's healthy for us to occasionally step a little outside our comfort zone and to challenge ourselves. I believe trekking not just physical – our mental strength is what will get us into the camp site every afternoon. I also tell them to stop and look around as often as possible – it's not a race and if you try and be the first to arrive in camp you probably have seen very little along the way.

You’ve travelled and led intergenerational trips – bringing your grandson on a Nepal trek. What's different about this style of travel?

Often children in the first world countries have sedentary and over-protected lives. Taking them into another culture, walking with them in the mountains and seeing their horizons open, is just amazing. It's a life-changing experience and it also helps grandparents and their grandchildren to forge a special bond that would be difficult to achieve in any other setting.

You’ve lived in France for extended periods of time doing some writing – when did you first discover your passion for travel and experiencing other cultures?

My love of adventure travel was actually inspired by World Expeditions who invited me to escort botanical treks in the Himalayas during the period when I was a presenter on Gardening Australia. I was so drawn to the spectacular beauty and the alpine flora of these mountains that I have returned dozens of times, and never tire of sharing this joy with others.

What do you love most about showing people around the southern corner of France?

Rural France is glorious, and the region where I take my tour is like stepping back in time – with medieval villages and historic chateaux. This region of France is largely unspoiled because it has never been overdeveloped. So, you get a real sense of history and the continuity of people’s lives.

I like to explore history and culture with some gentle walks between villages and some outstanding private gardens. It goes without saying that the food and wine are superb, and [on my tour] we sample the very best of regional cuisine.

What historic site is a must-visit in France?

The pilgrimage township, Rocamadour. Wandering through this small yet beautiful cliff top village is amazing – carved into a rock face above the river Lot. Eleanor of Aquitaine made pilgrimages there in the 11th century and it’s considered to be one of France’s top sites to visit. It’s an unforgettable experience.

Have you always loved walking? What are your top tips for getting the most out of walking trips?

Good shoes are always important; and I tell people to just take their time walking and soak up all the sights and sounds around them.

On my Morocco trip, I believe we will see much more of the country on foot than in a vehicle. The day walks are not difficult (like a trek can sometimes be). We will stay in villages and walk through glorious countryside, seeing how the locals live.

What is it about Morocco that excites you the most?

Everything excites me about Morocco, which is so close to France where I spend quite a bit of my time. When I took a trip there, I was blown away by the history, architecture, gardens and mountains.

The trip I designed with World Expeditions is based on my favourite destinations from that visit, and I know others will love it as much as I did.

The markets are endlessly fascinating; a labyrinth of stalls with everything from ceramics and brassware to rugs, fabrics and clothing. The food, of course, is absolutely delicious and I even discovered some local wines (from Meknes) that were outstanding. A feast for the senses.

Morocco is home to some incredibly beautiful and elaborate Islamic gardens, some of which you will be visiting on your trip. What is so special about these gardens and what kind of plants will you be looking out for?

Interestingly enough, Islamic gardens are as much about their design as about the plants. Often based around a courtyard with a central fountain, the gardens have fantastic mosaics and plants that can withstand the hot, dry climate. I particularly love the Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech which was inspiration of Yves Saint Laurent. It’s extraordinary!

You’ve led trips to Nepal, Morocco, China, Mongolia, India and France – do you have a favourite destination?

Like so many people, I fell in love with Himalayas at first sight. That was in northern India trekking in the Harki Dun Valley which is superb. To me, all the countries that run along these ranges are incredible (I haven't been to Tibet or Pakistan but would love to).

Your latest book, The Accidental Tour Guide, is part memoir/part travel adventure on love, loss and discovery. Why do you think it is important for people to write their personal or family memoir?

So many people have led fascinating lives and have a great story to tell. I really enjoy giving them the skills and the confidence to get their own story or their family memoir onto the page because it’s such a satisfying process. And people just love reading other people’s life stories, so I can also help them find a way to get their stories out into the world.

But writing can be daunting when there is so much to deal with – should I tell the whole truth? What will other people think? Are there legal implications?

It took me five years to gather the courage to write The Accidental Tour Guide.

Working through all these issues and developing positive strategies to keep the momentum going is important, and I teach such techniques at my writing workshops.

Meet Mary in Sydney or Melbourne: Special one night only events

Join us for a special talk with Mary Moody for an evening of fun, stories and travel inspiration. Click your city below to register your place and hear about her recent trip to Mongolia and Morocco, as well as the exciting 2020 tours she will be escorting.

Sydney
When? Wednesday, 16 October 2019, 6pm
Where? World Expeditions Sydney Office: Level 5, 71 York Street, Sydney

Melbourne
When? Monday, 11 November 2019, 6pm
Where? World Expeditions Melbourne Office: Level 1, 393 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

Traveller stories: the world's southernmost hike

The trail was rough, yet pristine. It was rigorous, yet rewarding and I was able to connect with nature in an entirely new way.

The Dientes Circuit on Navarino Island or Dientes de Navarino was a hike that was on the top of my must-do adventures, a route that leads travelers to some of the most remote and magical spots of Chilean Patagonia.

I was staying in the town of Puerto Williams (the southernmost town on earth), which is not far from Dientes de Navarino. The town offered many adventure activities, such as kayaking, biking, horseback riding and, of course, trekking.

The Dientes de Navarino circuit was four days long and is recommended for hikers who are physically fit and mentally strong. Fair warning: it's possible to experience vertigo on this hike and therefore it’s important that trekkers come fully prepared and up for a challenge.

Beautiful lake views on the Dientes Circuit on Navarino Island |  <i>EcoCamp Patagonia</i>

But it was such a wonderful and fulfulling challenge for me. The adventure began in a forest full of Nothofagus, native trees of the region. They stood tall and proud around me as I marvelled at their beauty.

We walked through the forest at a brisk pace, travelling uphill towards Cerro La Bandera. At the top, we were welcomed by a jaw-dropping panoramic view of the Beagle Channel, Puerto Williams and Argentina's Ushuaia.

We spent some time taking in this fabulous scenery before pushing on to Laguna el Salto, where we made camp next to a beautiful waterfall.

The next morning, we began our climb to the top of another hill and a viewpoint of the Cape Horn archipelago. We passed by Paso Australia and Paso Los Dientes, finally arriving at Laguna Escondida where we camped for our second night. This overnight stay was a beautiful back to nature experience, surrounded by ñire trees and a stunning view of Cerro Gabriel.

Vibrant colours trekking Los Dientes de Navarino circuit in Patagonia |  <i>EcoCamp Patagonia</i>

The following two days were the most challenging, but also the most rewarding. We travelled to Paso Ventarron, a spot with strong winds and navy blue lagoons. We also hiked to the front of the Lindenmayer Mounts, ending at Lake Martillo where we camped for the last night for a well-deserved rest.

On our final day, we reached a steep slope which we descended from with the help of our guides. To my relief, I managed to get down without any problems.

After a long and challenging journey, we finally made it back to our driver, who greeted us with enthusiasm and a refreshing beer.

This adventure was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and something I will never forget. I was surrounded by all types of special creatures and plant life, such as condors, magellanic woodpeckers, beavers, lichens, miniature forests of mosses and liverworts.

Trekking the pristine Los Dientes de Navarino circuit in Patagonia |  <i>EcoCamp Patagonia</i>

It’s crazy how small you feel when surrounded by such an enormous piece of paradise. I highly recommend this trek for any fellow nature lovers and trekkers out there, it was a fantastic and refreshing experience, both physically and mentally!

From its jagged summits to its mysterious lagoons and mossy pathways, Dientes de Navarino is one trek that just can’t be missed.

Words by Keila who travelled on the Dientes Circuit on Navarino Island.

There's something about Mary...

The best-selling author, expert botanist and inveterate traveller has been an inspiration to thousands of women.

Mary Moody spent several years as a reporter and feature writer on various Sydney publications, including Australian Women's Weekly. She later moved to the Blue Mountains with her young family and became a passionate organic gardener, using her journalistic skills to write and edit more than 50 gardening books and magazines.

Of the many books written, her recent release is The Accidental Tour Guide: Adventures in Life and Death, a powerful memoir of love, loss and discovery. She's also made a film on a local rural French restaurant, Lunch with Madame Murat, for the SBS Network. For Aussies based in New South Wales, you’ll probably recognise her from ABC's top rating show Gardening Australia.

On top of her many skills, her love for the outdoors has seen her designing and leading small groups to fascinating places for 26 years.

“Travelling opens my eyes and my heart to other cultures. It gives me an opportunity to connect with the natural world at a deeper level, and there is nothing like walking from town to town or village to village to really gain an insight into how other people live and work.”

Mary believes exploring a destination on foot is the best way to truly experience a place and gain local insights through personal interactions with local communities. It's what travellers can anticipate on her exciting suite of tours to Morocco, India, Mongolia and France with World Expeditions in 2020.

A big part of her learning experiences from her travels was her decision to take a 6-month sabbatical in a medieval town in southwest France, purchasing a nearby village house which she still visits every year. As an Australian woman living part time in France, she wrote four memoirs, a cookbook and several new gardening books.

“Some of my trips have a botanical focus and some are themed around the food and wine of the regions where we travel,” she says.

“All the trips include some walking as I believe this is the best way to truly experience a place and engage with the people.”

When Mary lost her husband in 2014, part of her journey of recovery was to reignite her passion for living – that is, to boldly go where she has never been before and experience the joys of new adventures – in her travels and in her everyday life.

In 2020, she will be heading to four countries leading an impressive Ladakh trek, a botanical journey through Central Mongolia, introducing inquisitive travellers to Morocco's culture and Atlas mountain scenery, and taking food lovers on a culinary and walking Camino experience in the beautiful southern corner of France.

“My aim is always to create a sense of ‘shared adventure’ and to enrich each tour with as many personal interactions with the local communities as possible.”

Her journey forward saw her selling the farm where she had lived for 15 years and moving back to the mountains where she is developing a large garden in an extended family home with her son Ethan, his partner Lynne and their three children.

Blessed with eleven grandchildren, her passion for her family, food, gardening and travel are what continue to brim her with life and love.

Meet Mary in Sydney or Melbourne: Special one night only events

Join us for a special talk with Mary Moody for an evening of fun, stories and travel inspiration. Click your city below to register your place and hear about her recent trip to Mongolia and Morocco, as well as the exciting 2020 tours she will be escorting.

Sydney
When? Wednesday, 16 October 2019, 6pm
Where? World Expeditions Sydney Office: Level 5, 71 York Street, Sydney

Melbourne
When? Monday, 11 November 2019, 6pm
Where? World Expeditions Melbourne Office: Level 1, 393 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

What to look for in a quality Nepal trek

There's more to choosing your Nepal trek than just the destination and date and navigating all the options can be daunting. To make sure your trip best lives up to your expectations, here are eight things to consider when trekking in Nepal so your adventure holiday is a seamless one.

Minimal impact accommodation

Eco-friendly? Tick. Comfort? Tick. Privacy? Tick. Warmth? Tick. Superb views? Tick! Eco camping offers this and much more.

Campsite setup at Landruk |  <i>Joe Kennedy</i> Sunshine over campsite setup at Landruk |  <i>Joe Kennedy</i> Stay at our exclusive private eco campsite at Landruk in the Annapurna region |  <i>Mark Tipple</i> Stay at our comfortable semi-permanent campsites in Nepal's Everest region |  <i>Mark Tipple</i> Client rearranging his bedding to catch the sunshine |  <i>Heike Krumm</i> Yaks grazing at Dole private eco campsite |  <i>Ayla Rowe</i> Relaxing in the mess tent while on a remote trek in Nepal |  <i>Lachlan Gardiner</i>

There's nothing like unwinding in the comfort of one of our scenically located eco campsites in the Everest and Annapurna regions, and I'm sure after a good day’s trek all you want to do is sit back, relax and put your feet up.

Opting for an eco camping experience minimises your environmental footprint with campsites using yak or cow dung to fuel heaters, kerosene is used to cook meals and boil water, as well as utilizing rainwater tanks, composting and septic toilets and incinerators to burn paper and non-toxic plastic waste.

World Expeditions trekkers enjoy exclusive use of private eco campsites located in secluded plots that offer a tranquil camping experience with exceptional views of the Himalaya. It wins out on sustainability for a back to nature experience that doesn't spare on your comfort and supports local people and its Nepali mountain communities.

With standing height tents, off-the-ground beds, clean mattresses and pillows, heated dining areas for meals and 'down time', and western-style toilets, there's plenty to love about choosing an eco camp experience over a tea house trek.

 

Porter Protection

Mountain porters are an integral part of each trekking or mountaineering adventure in Nepal, so choosing a reputable company that takes care of their staff is a must. On a trek or climb, the entire group – travellers, guides and porters alike – are a team who share the same needs for safety in the unpredictable mountain environment.

We couldn’t get off the beaten path without them, and the self-sufficiency of camping is a style of trekking that is enabled by mountain porters. World Expeditions take porter protection seriously, implementing a Porter Welfare Code of Conduct to ensure safe working conditions for the Nepal porters employed.

 

Our porters are provided with a good working wage (regulated by the Trekking Agents Association of Nepal and the Labor Union of Nepal), life insurance, income protection insurance, trekking gear and accessories, three meals a day, accommodation, access to the same first aid care that our travellers receive – including emergency helicopter evacuation if required, and have a 30kg weight restriction when carrying goods.

Safety at altitude

Trekkers' safety and well-being should be top priority, which is why World Expeditions follow stringent safety procedures and standards. A comprehensive medical kit travels with every group and on all trips, should the need arise. Naturally, our guides have received first aid training.

We carry a comprehensive medical kit on all treks |  <i>Lachlan Gardiner</i>

On all trips that take you to 4000 metres and above, World Expeditions carry a Portable Altitude Chamber (PAC). This assures you that when needed, we can quickly treat you for high altitude illness. The PAC is an Australian product and is a lightweight hyperbaric chamber that can be easily carried by our porters.

All high altitude treks carry a Portable Altitude Chamber |  <i>Lachlan Gardiner</i>

Trained guides

The leaders in the field are the key to a successful expedition and being led by highly trained local guides means you will be well looked after. At the same time, travellers can hugely benefit from the authentic experience they deliver.

A defining attribute to World Expeditions’ success in pioneering Nepal treks since 1975 is the team in Nepal. Our Nepalese guides are real experts with plenty of years experience and who aim to enhance your experience with their enthusiasm and local knowledge.

By training and empowering our guides, we are able to create positive employment opportunities and secure income for them.

Our experienced leaders will provide regular briefings to keep you informed about your itinerary |  <i>Lachlan Gardiner</i>

From Tim Macartney-Snape, who with Greg Mortimer completed the first Australian summit of Mount Everest, to Bir Singh, one of Nepal's most experienced local guides, our leaders are the key to our success as they strive to make your experience exceptional. We’re very proud of our staff and guides and, judging by all the positive feedback we receive on Nepal, so are our past travellers.

Avoid the single supplement cost

Planning to travel alone by choice and want to enjoy the adventure ahead without being through a curveball of extra charges for wanting to go solo? Joining a small group of like-minded travellers is a great way to waive the single supplement costs.

If you join a World Expeditions adventure as a solo traveller, you'll be matched you with someone of the same gender and won’t pay more. If you, however, want a guaranteed single occupancy, we can also arrange that for a small additional charge.

Thoughtful Travel Practices

When choosing an adventure company to trek with, seeing how their values align with yours is important, such as its responsible tourism practice and their commitment to supporting local communities at every level of the operation. Ask questions like: In what ways do they protect the destination's natural environments and wildlife? How do they minimise the impact of their presence? Are their itineraries sustainable?

Since World Expeditions' inception in 1975, offering BIG adventures with a small environmental footprint is at the heart of every program. Often these sustainable itineraries translate to real costs, but by integrating these practices into in-country operations we are adopting a style of travel that makes the world a better place.

A particular project we run is the 10 Pieces litter collection initiative, which aims to keep the trails in Nepal litter-free. On our treks in Nepal, we ask you to sign up to collect 10 pieces (or more!) of paper or plastic that you find on the trail each day.

Help us keep the places that inspire us clean by taking part in our 10 Pieces litter initiative |  <i>Lachlan Gardiner</i>

Your crew will collect the litter at the end of the day and dispose of it responsibly. Leading by example, your actions educate mountain communities that litter is not aesthetically desirable and is also detrimental to health of wildlife and humans alike. Learn more about our responsible travel initiatives.

Healthy and hearty meals

Unlike most companies, having a full meal service as part of the trip prices has its benefits. There are important reasons for this as it lowers the risk of you getting sick on trek with an assigned cook, ensuring that food is prepared to strict hygiene standards so you stay healthy and eat well.

 

The price of meals in tea houses or lodges across the Himalaya invariably costs around US$45 per day, often with limited choices and a lot of fried foods – and the higher you go, the pricier it will get. Those meals are often cooked on wood stoves, which contribute to the depletion of forests that are under threat.

On all World Expeditions treks in Nepal, a cook and kitchen crew accompany the group so you can sit back, relax and enjoy a freshly cooked meal. Health, value for money, convenience and positively contributing to Nepali mountain communities, are just some of the reasons why you'll want to enjoy three wholesome and freshly prepared meals a day – with clean drinking water supplied – when on trek with us.

Enjoy three fresh meals a day, prepared by our cooks, when on trek |  <i>Lachlan Gardiner</i> We include freshly prepared, nutritious meals three times a day while on trek in Nepal. |  <i>Lachlan Gardiner</i> Breakfast at altitude in Nepal |  <i>Lachlan Gardiner</i> Our cooks will prepare fresh meals for you while on trek |  <i>Lachlan Gardiner</i> Enjoy freshly prepared meals, three times a day, when on trek in Nepal |  <i>Lachlan Gardiner</i> We include freshly prepared, nutritious meals three times a day while on trek in Nepal. |  <i>Lachlan Gardiner</i> Our highly trained team will add another level of comfort to your adventure in Nepal |  <i>Lachlan Gardiner</i> Our team will keep you well hydrated on the trail |  <i>Lachlan Gardiner</i> Enjoying tea and tang in Gokyo Valley |  <i>Angela Parajo</i>

Quality equipment

We all want excellent value for our money and when it comes to trekking in remote and high altitude regions, so it pays to have virtually everything included in your adventure.

For World Expeditions, with exceptional camping service comes quality equipment. You’ll be issued with a trek pack which is free for use during the duration of your Nepal trip. Meaning, you don’t have to carry these items from home and that you don’t have to make the investment yourself.

A typical trek pack includes a:
 •  Duffle kit bag: your personal belongings carried by our porters during the trek
 •  Down or fibre-fill jacket: repels the cool Himalayan evenings and mornings
 •  Sleeping bag: warm sleeping bag to keep you cosy at night
 •  Sleeping liner or insulated mat: enjoy the added insulation for a more restful night.

Receive a souvenir World Expeditions kit bag on all Nepal trek |  <i>Lachlan Gardiner</i>


Know that your BIG adventure is leaving a positive impact to conserve local environments and support local communities at every level of the operation, including the porters. Start browsing our Nepal trekking adventures and see why we've been the leaders in Himalayan trekking for over four decades >

#SaveTheAmazon: Amazon Forest Appeal

We all need the Amazon. Now it needs you. Donate to this appeal to protect the forest, its wildlife and local communities affected.

Fires are raging through the Amazon rainforest, primarily in the Brazilian Amazon, gripped by its most vigorous fire season since 2010. The media images we are seeing are devastating, showing the extent of the fires and the subsequent smoke which is impacting Brazil and its neighbours.

NASA reports that, “while drought has played a large role in exacerbating fires in the past, the timing and location of fire detections early in the 2019 dry season are more consistent with land clearing than with regional drought.” Studies show that the rainforest is at tipping point, with large fragmented sections at risk of transforming into a drier ecosystem which could result in the severe loss of species, the acceleration of climate change and spell disaster for the indigenous populations who call the forest home.

Home to a million people and three times as many wildlife, the Amazon is also the largest piece of rainforest in the world.

Often referred to as ‘the lungs of the earth’, scientists warn that the extent of this year’s Amazon forest fires will make the Paris climate target more difficult to achieve as tree cover loss from forests is estimated to account for nearly 10% of global carbon emissions, while trees are also said to provide more than 20% of climate solutions. Trees not only absorb carbon dioxide, they also then lock carbon away.

How you can help

Want to support those working to arrest the damage? Donate to the World Expeditions Foundation’s Amazon Forest Appeal and 100% of your donation will be directed to Earth Alliance to be distributed to local partners and indigenous communities working to protect the forest and its wildlife and to mitigate fire and its effects on local communities.

Earth Alliance is an environmental foundation created by climate change crusader Leonardo DiCaprio and his philanthropic friends.

Travel advisory information

The scale of the region is so large that the areas where we operate our jungle trips are not affected by the fires and there is no risk to our travellers or our traveller’s experience on any of our trips in Peru or Ecuador. We will continue to monitor the situation and contingency plans will be enacted if required.

As always, the safety of our travellers is our foremost priority and one we will not compromise on. We will continue to support the preservation of this vital wilderness and those who live and work in it.

Published 30 August 2019.

Why you should go to Uganda now

Uganda is home to the largest population of mountain gorillas in the world and the only way to see them is to trek through their natural habitat of densely packed, mystical cloud forests.

More and more international travellers and wildlife aficionados are shifting their focus to Uganda, where the more affordable permits reportedly can sell out often months in advance. But if you plan to track gorillas and chimpanzees in the wild, you'll want to book sooner rather than later with permit prices set to increase up to US$150 in 2020.

In addition, a series of new developments are set to put the ‘Pearl of Africa’ on the tourist map, so you'll want to visit Uganda before the crowds arrive.

Permit price increases: what you need to know

Gorilla and Chimp permit fees in Uganda will increase from July 1, 2020, so if you plan your gorilla and chimpanzee jungle trek before this date you will save US$150. The Uganda Wildlife Authority recently released cost changes to Gorilla permits from US$600 to US$700 per person, in both Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga National Park, and Chimpanzee permits to be increased from US$150 to US$200 in Kibale National Park.

However, Gorilla and Chimp permits often sell out four to six months in advance, so the earlier you book the greater chance you will be able to travel on your chosen day.

Why Uganda? What about Rwanda?

With the gorilla permits in Rwanda now costing US$1,500 per person, Uganda remains competitively priced with permits more than 50% cheaper than its neighbour. So, it's no surprise that travellers are heading to Uganda, blessed with volcanic mountains, lush valleys, vast lakes and a wealth of flora and fauna – including half of the world's mountain gorilla population.

Kitendara Lake Uganda

Beat the crowds

Best known for its gorilla tracking safaris, Uganda is a well-established wildlife haven and a series of new developments is set to put the ‘Pearl of Africa’ on the tourist map. Plans were unveiled for a new war museum that will explore its long history of conflicts and Uganda Airlines, the former national carrier, is set to commence operations at the end of August 2019.

While construction of a brand new international airport in the western region is currently underway, a new highway opened in June 2018 linking Entebbe airport with Lake Victoria; all of which should further add to its credentials as a tourist-friendly destination.

Before the crowds start building up in Uganda, here are some of the best ways to experience this landlocked country.

Top Uganda experiences

The whirlwind experience

If you're stretched for time, a short fly-in safari is a memorable way to access the elusive Mountain Gorillas in their natural environment via return scenic flights over western Uganda.

Regulations allow only one hour with mountain gorillas and a close encounter with these shy primates is one of life’s bucket list experiences!

A family of gorilla's in Bwindi National Park |  <i>Ian Williams</i>

After the scenic flight, you'll trek through the wilds of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest but be prepared for rain, mud and giant stinging nettles. Long trousers, gloves and a waterproof jacket are a must. View trip >

For animal lovers

In addition to heading to the forest to track mountain gorillas and chimpanzees in their natural habitat, Uganda's diverse ecosystem offers plenty of options when it comes to encountering wildlife.

Search for the famous tree-climbing lions in the scenic savannah plains of Queen Elizabeth National Park, the country’s most visited national park. Why not cruise along the tropical Kazinga Channel teeming with one of the world’s largest concentration of hippos, or enjoy some of the best bird watching in Africa with over 1,000 different species? View safari >


For adventurers

The Rwenzori Mountains, or the ‘Mountains of the Moon’, are located on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Isolated, rarely visited, often enveloped in clouds and permanently snow-capped, they are in an extremely humid area that contains no less than five different vegetation zones.

From tropical rainforest through alpine valleys to glaciers, reaching Margherita Peak (5,109m) is known for its demanding ascent and a very early start – but you will be rewarded as you watch the sun peeping over the horizon from Africa’s third highest mountain!  View trek >

If you're up for a triple summit challenge, join renowned mountaineer Tim Macartney-Snape on a exploratory trek in the Rwenzori Mountains through giant lobelia forests along the remote Kilembe Trail, before roping up and using crampons on glacial landscapes. Post-trip, you can also include an optional Gorilla wildlife safari extension. View expedition >

Giant Groundsels and Lobelia Giants in Uganda's Rwenzori Mountains |  <i>Juniors Bildarchiv GmbH</i> High in the Afro alpine zone of the Rwenzori National Park |  <i>Morgan Trimble</i> Rwenzori peaks Uganda
 

Experience all the highlights

After a tour that has it all? Our Best of Uganda adventure encompasses some of the country's most memorable wildlife encounters. From a jungle trek to see mountain gorillas and chimpanzees in the evergreen Kibale National Park to cruising along the Nile, it's easy to agree with Winston Churchill's description of Uganda as the "Pearl of Africa". The journey to the foot of the Murchison Falls will be a story to tell as Africa’s longest river squeezes through a seven-metre gap at the top with enormous Nile Crocodiles basking at the bottom!

A pair of hippopotamus enjoy the afternoon sun on the banks of the Kazinga Channel in Uganda. Photo: Udo Orgas

For those with a bit more time to explore, go on our adventure that encompasses the highlights of east Africa. From Tanzania’s world famous Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park to the renowned Masai Mara National Reserve and Amboseli National Park in Kenya, you'll witness an endless series of spectacular wild animal sightings. View all Uganda adventures >

What other African destinations are on your travel radar?

Information last updated 28 August 2019.

What we're doing about the plastic problem

Have you heard the great news? Nepal has stepped up in banning single-use plastics in the Everest region, which will take effect in January 2020 in the Khumbu Pasang Lhamu province. All plastic drinking bottles and plastics of less than 30 microns in width will be banned in the area. 

With plastic packaging accounting for about half of the plastic waste in the world, here's how we are leading the way in eliminating its use on our treks.

Fast facts: How big is our plastic problem?

  Humans buy around 1 million plastic bottles per minute.
  Half a million straws are used in the world every day.
  It is estimated that almost 10 million plastic bags are consumed worldwide per minute.
  79% of all the plastics ever produced have now been discarded. Only 21% of plastics are still in active use.
  Each year, about 13 million tonnes of plastic leak into the ocean, with reports warning that there will be more plastic than marine life in the oceans by 2050.
  By 2050, an estimated 99% of seabirds will have ingested plastic.
  Because plastic is long lasting and durable, most do not biodegrade; only certain types of plastic waste can be recycled. Plastic waste is therefore either destroyed, converted to fuel or energy via incineration or pyrolysis, disposed of in waste management systems or discarded where it ends up in the natural environment.
  Single-use-plastics frequently do not make it to a landfill.

Worst plastic offenders

1. Plastic bags

2. Coffee cups and lids

3. Straws

4. Single-use bottles

Other offenders: balloons and their sticks and ribbons, chip and snack packets, food containers, plastic cutlery and sanitary products.

What can we do about it?

Making the switch from plastic to sustainable alternatives, as well as making responsible travel choices – such as bringing along a refillable water bottle, can make a positive investment in the future of our environment. Read these eight ways to avoid plastic when you travel.

Travel sustainably: how World Expeditions is eliminating plastic

Leading the way in responsible travel, our latest green initiatives in Nepal allow travellers to avoid the use of disposable and single-use plastic throughout their Nepal trip. The Kathmandu hotel we use has a water dispenser with potable water available to World Expeditions travellers to refill their reusable bottles, so that travellers aren't contributing to the plastic problem in the poor, landlocked country.

“While water on the treks has been boiled and provided to trekkers for many years, we are delighted to totally eliminate the need for plastic bottles from the moment the client arrives at the hotel.”

“Providing our clients with access to potable water throughout their Nepal experience is the final step in giving our clients the confidence to know that they are travelling green in Nepal,” says World Expeditions Responsible Travel Manager, Donna Lawrence.

In addition to phasing out single-use plastic bottles, our Nepali kitchen crew are trained to minimise plastic waste in trek kitchens, which is especially important in remote regions, when responsible disposal becomes more difficult.  We minimize the use of plastic by buying fresh produce from local farmers whenever possible, which has the dual benefit of creating income for subsistence communities and reducing the need of packaging and excess plastic.

Our credentials in eco tourism in Nepal are unrivalled:  We're proud to follow the seven principles of  Leave No Trace on all our treks and we're the founding partner of the 10 Pieces environmental initiative, which encourages trekkers to pick up 10 pieces of plastic or paper (or more!) to help reduce the litter problem through their collective effort.

Looking for more inspiration?

Download our free Thoughtful Traveller ebook and learn how you can be a responsible traveller.  Read our latest initiatives in Nepal where we've gone plastic-free!

Do you choose a travel company based on their sustainable practices? Let us know in the comments below.


Sources: Cleaseas.org, Earthday.org, Report from Science Advances, 2018 Outlook report from UN Environment.

Walking the Inca Trail FAQs

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu has been coined in many guidebooks as the ‘best short trek in the world’ and with a bit of training, almost anyone can walk the Inca Trail, but only with a permit.

Specialising in high quality treks along the Inca Trail and to Machu Picchu for over three decades, here’s everything you need to know about hiking the Inca Trail, with bonus tips from our adventure experts.

Jump to a section:
How difficult is it to walk the Inca Trail? What is the terrain like?
How can I prepare for the trek?
How many hours a day do you walk?
How can I avoid altitude sickness?
Can I walk the Inca Trail myself? How can I get a permit?
Why do I need a permit?
What if I can't get a permit?
Can I visit the Sun Gate without having to hike the Inca Trail?
How can I avoid the crowds?
I want to visit Machu Picchu but want to try a different trek to the classic Inca Trail. What are some alternatives?
When is the best time to walk the Inca Trail?
What climates can I expect?
What gear should I bring with me?
How much time can I spend at the Machu Picchu sanctuary?
What can I do at the Machu Picchu sanctuary?
What can’t be brought into the Machu Picchu sanctuary?
What will I eat along the trail?
What is the accommodation like?
How does World Expeditions do the Inca Trail differently?
Which trail should I choose?

How difficult is it to walk the Inca Trail? What is the terrain like?

It’s not our most challenging trek, but you will be walking over hilly and rugged terrain with lots of stairs. Expect some long, steep ascents too. Most of the walking is on fairly well-defined tracks, including some remarkable sections of ancient Inca stone "highways". There are some river crossings but no sections where scrambling is involved. It is recommended that you stay on the stone path at all times and keep well away from the edge.

With the help of porters carrying your personal gear, you’ll only need to worry about carrying a day pack of around 5-8kg including your water, camera and clothing layers.

How can I prepare for the Inca Trail trek?

The more training you do beforehand, the more you will enjoy your trek. We recommend 30 minutes of cardio activities 3-4 times a week in the 2-3 months leading up to your departure. Take every opportunity to walk up and down stairs or hills for leg strengthening and aerobic fitness.

Inca Trail Peru Sharing the view with a new friend. Image: Bette Andrews

How many hours a day do you walk on the Inca Trail?

The trekking day very much depends on the condition of the trails, the weather and the fitness of the group but expect to walk for 6-7 hours a day.

The morning's walk usually lasts from about 8 am to 12.30 pm and allows for numerous rest and photo stops. After a post lunch siesta, we set off for the afternoon's hike – usually 2-3 hours to the camp.

How can I avoid altitude sickness on the Inca Trail?

Altitude is also an important factor to consider, with the highest point of the trail at 4200 metres. The effects of altitude sickness can vary for different individuals, but some key things to keep in mind is to take it easy and ascend slowly.

Staff tip: Have plenty of fluids – hydration is so important when acclimatising.

Our itinerary is very well paced to ensure you acclimatise safely – so ideal for first timers, where you’ll walk through impressive Inca sites of the Sacred Valley before undertaking the Inca Trail trek.

Can I walk the Inca Trail myself? How can I get a permit?

No, you need a permit to walk the Inca Trail. Only approved tour operators, like World Expeditions, can obtain a permit.

Joining a small group to travel with a licensed operator means you can experience the comfort, seamless organisation and security of an active holiday. World Expeditions have all necessities taken care of, including hearty meals prepared by trained cooks, quality two-person tents erected in scenic wilderness, a lighter pack thanks to our team of porters, as well as use of a sleeping bag, thermarest and fibre-filled jacket.

Not to mention, having an expert bilingual guide adds to the experience as they share the history about the Incan empire and sites you visit, with their own tales of fascinating cultural and travel experiences.

Why do I need an Inca Trail permit?

Machu Picchu stands much the same as it did hundreds of years ago due to its superior architecture and carefully managed conservation programs. To protect Machu Picchu from the impact of its popularity, Peruvian authorities have implemented entry restrictions where only 500 permits are issued each day to walk the Inca Trail into Machu Picchu.

By the time permits are issued to porters, guides and other support staff, this leaves a limited amount of permits available for trekkers. Permits always sell out in high season, so it is highly recommended to book months in advance to secure a permit.

What if I can't get an Inca Trail permit?

If you miss out on a permit, World Expeditions has developed several brilliant Inca Trail alternatives to ensure you can experience the magic of trekking through the Andes and the Sacred Valley of the Incas to behold the wondrous Machu Picchu as the finale.

Travellers can still book on our Inca Trail itineraries but if Inca Permits are sold out already, we offer the Salcantay trek instead at no additional cost on many of our Inca Trail trips.


 

Can I visit the Sun Gate without having to hike the Inca Trail?

Yes, everyone who has an entrance ticket for Machu Picchu can walk up to the Inti Punku 'Sun Gate', which is approximately a 45-minute walk.

Staff tip: It’s important to note that to make it to the Sun Gate for the sunrise you must first have to catch a bus, queue to get into Machu Picchu and then walk about 45 minutes.

How can I avoid the crowds on the Inca Trail?

The increasing popularity of the Inca Trail does mean it is frequently visited by trekkers but on our Inca Trail Explorer trek, you stay at quieter and scenic wilderness grounds. So, you can relax and enjoy fully supported camping away from the Inca crowds.

I want to visit Machu Picchu but want to try a different trek to the classic Inca Trail. What are some alternatives?

The classic Inca Trail is a quintessential Peruvian trek, however, hiking this iconic route is not the only way to get to Machu Picchu.

There are other treks you can hike that are no less spectacular, including the alternate Salcantay trek, with a scenic train journey to Machu Picchu town after the trek; or choose the Salcantay Base Camp trek which joins the classic Inca Trail on the final day.

A particular staff favourite is the Inca Rivers Trek from Choquequirao to Machu Picchu that take you to rare and incredible views of Machu Picchu. This is a more remote trek, which is moderate to challenging, but offers a more varied trail away from the crowds to other spectacular Inca Ruin sites, such as Choquequirao, through the sublime Vilcabamba mountain range and between two sacred Inca Rivers.

Panoramic view of the 'lost' Inca ruins of Choquequirao |  <i>Yuri Zvezdny</i>

When is the best time to walk the Inca Trail?

The main trekking season in Peru lasts from late April to mid-October. This is the dry but 'cold' period, with the best mountain views and all passes open.

What climates can I expect on the Inca Trail?

Variance in latitude, elevation and local winds all factor into the wide range of climates experienced in the central Sierra/Andean mountain region. Average temperatures in the Sierra vary little between seasons, but there is dramatic daily variance. While the average daily temperature may only vary a few degrees Celsius between January and July, the diurnal (daily) temperature range is often huge. You can expect daytime temperatures in the highlands to be in the range of 10-25°C (50-77 °F), falling as low as -10 °C (14°F) at night.

What gear should I bring with me on the Inca Trail?

Essential trekking gear include merino socks (add in some extras), an anti-blister kit, warm clothes, waterproofs, worn-in boots, sunglasses, sunscreen, camera and trekking poles.

We provide a comprehensive gear list as part our traveller’s pre-departure kit and gear such as sleeping mats, sleeping bags and a fibre-filled jacket are available for use for trekkers.

How much time can I spend at the Machu Picchu sanctuary?

There are three time slots in which patrons can enter Machu Picchu for a maximum of four hours and must follow one of three predetermined routes. Admission is not allowed after 4pm. Additionally, all visitors must always be accompanied by a guide.

To ensure you get the most of your Machu Picchu experience regardless of these restrictions, most of our Inca Trail trips include an extra visit to Machu Picchu, with an overnight stay in Aguas Calientes, to fully appreciate this new world wonder.

Staff tip: The early morning is one of the best times to savour the views and atmosphere of Machu Picchu. The mystical morning light over the enigmatic sites are spectacular. Try and catch the sunrise at the sanctuary, you won’t regret the early wakeup call!

What can I do at the Machu Picchu sanctuary?

On many of our Inca Trail trips, travellers are treated to a unique second visit to Machu Picchu, which includes a tour by a local guide in this colossal sanctuary. Your guide will take you through the different sectors, bringing alive the history and stories of these ancient and iconic ruins. You’ll feel like you’re taking a step back in time as you soak up the astonishing views, expert knowledge, and impressive ruins.

For the more adventurous, you can climb one of the two mountains in the Machu Picchu sanctuary by purchasing a Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain permit and forego the guided tour of Machu Picchu. Both climbs are a minimum of three hours return and are very steep, with many small and narrow steps, and can be slippery and are very exposed with vertiginous drops.

What can’t be brought into the Machu Picchu sanctuary?

The following items are prohibited in Machu Picchu: drones, selfie sticks, tripod for cameras, walking stick without rubber tip, backpacks that exceeds 40cm x 35cm x 20cm, aerosol spray, sharp objects, banners or posters.

As of December 2018, single-use plastic bottles and any other single-use plastics (bags, cups, straws, etc) are prohibited in the sanctuary, on the Inca Trail and all other protected natural areas in Peru. This regulation was established by the Ministry of Environment, following the Sustainable Tourism Regulation which aims to conserve these protected natural areas. Please ensure to bring your reusable water bottle on all our Peru trips.

Water refill stations have been installed in areas near Machu Picchu and other national parks. Your guide will brief you where you can refill your water bottles with drinking water.

What will I eat along the Inca Trail?

We provide a full service while on trek, including three hearty meals a day. Typically, you can expect breakfast to consist of muesli or cereal, eggs, local breads and pancakes and hot drinks.

Chef in Lima

Lunch will generally be vegetables, salads, bread, cheese pasta style dishes, tinned fish and meats and are normally eaten picnic style. Dinner is always three courses and includes soup, seasonal vegetables, meat, rice or pasta and bread with some local specialities also in the mix. All evening meals are followed by desserts and hot beverages, of course!

Our cooks are trained to provide excellent food for vegetarians and anyone who has a limited diet including those who are lactose or gluten intolerant.

What is the accommodation like on the Inca Trail trek?

In cities or large towns, you will be accommodated in three to four-star properties that are centrally located, atmospheric and commodious. In smaller towns and villages hotel options are often limited with more basic accommodation used, however you can be assured of clean, comfortable and well-located lodgings.

Blue skies over camp along the Inca Trail in Peru

During the trekking section, enjoy our fully supported camping experience in quality two person tents with plenty of personal space and storage for your luggage. Our team are on hand to ensure your comfort and safety with a dining tent, separate cooking tent and where appropriate, toilet tent erected.

How does World Expeditions do the Inca Trail differently?

 • The Classic Inca Trail trek ensures you are well acclimatised to the altitude with day walks through impressive Inca sites of the Sacred Valley before the Inca Trail trek. With at least 2 or more days of acclimatisation built into all our itineraries before the start of the Inca Trail, the high passes and altitude experience on the trek will be easier to conquer.

 • Enjoy fully supported camping with gear included! Each trekker is equipped with a kit bag which include a sleeping bag, inflatable sleeping mat and fibre filled jacket.

 • To appreciate the majestic ruins of Machu Picchu, an extra visit to the famous sanctuary is also included.

 
 • We tread lightly and thoughfully in the places we visit for minimal environmental impact. We have a zero-litter policy, utilise eco toilet system at our campsites, and have innovative schemes to reduce waste on trek, including our 10 Pieces waste collection program.

 • You can travel to less frequented campsites on our Inca Trail Explorer trek.

Which Inca Trail trip should I choose?

Jungle trails, cloud forests and panoramic views of Andean peaks will inspire you as you follow in the footsteps of the Incas on your way to Machu Picchu. The only question now is, which trip should you take? View our complete list of Inca Trail and Machu Picchu adventures >

Information last updated on 21 August 2019.

K2 trek in photos: Baltoro Glacier, Concordia & Gondogoro La

Home to the highest concentration of 8000-metre peaks on the planet, the Karakoram ranges have captured the imagination of trekkers and mountaineers for decades.

Having recently completed our K2 exploratory trek, mountaineering guide Soren Kruse Ledet shared spectacular shots from his expedition in Pakistan.

Baltoro glacier |  <i>Soren Kruse Ledet</i>

His group traversed the Baltoro glacier, crossed the famed Gondogoro La (5585m), admired an amphitheatre of 8000 and 7000-metre peaks, and trekked to the base of the world's second highest mountain, K2, which stands at an impressive 8611 metres.

Campsite in the Karakoram mountain ranges |  <i>Soren Kruse Ledet</i>

Soren was the best leader you could ever expect to have. Simply outstanding," said fellow trekker Pat from Australia. "Staff and porters did an amazing job and couldn't have been more helpful. Organisation was first class.

Trekking through the Karakoram mountain ranges |  <i>Soren Kruse Ledet</i>

Karakoram mountain ranges |  <i>Soren Kruse Ledet</i>

Travelling with an experienced mountaineer like Soren, and hearing the stories they have to tell, whilst in this environment adds additional richness to the experience," said Michael from Australia.

"Fantastic destination, itinerary and logistical support make this truly one of the great experiences of a lifetime. Speaking to other trekkers in the area it was obvious that World Expeditions is a great company to travel with if you want to achieve your goals in this region, avoid unwanted surprises and have unavoidable logistical challenges managed effectively with minimal disruption to the trip.

Wildlife in the Karakoram ranges |  <i>Soren Kruse Ledet</i>

From the "Throne Room of the Mountain Gods" to the Baltoro glacier, it's not hard to see why this is considered of the finest high altitude scenic treks on offer anywhere in the world. Trekking through this rugged and wild region of Pakistan, nestled between China and India, truly offers a challenging and rewarding experience like no other.

Trekkers dining with a mountainous backdrop |  <i>Soren Kruse Ledet</i>

Karakoram mountain ranges |  <i>Soren Kruse Ledet</i>

Photos by Soren Kruse Ledet.

Feeling inspired? View our K2 and Karakoram expeditions >

10 lesser-known hiking trails that avoid the crowds

Thanks to Google Earth, heading off the map is not as easy as it used to be. However that hasn't stopped us from seeking out exciting trekking trails in remote locations that will steer you well away from the crowds so that you can find your own pocket of solitude in nature.

If you're the type of traveller that prefers to explore the unexplored then here are 10 trails you’ve probably never heard of that should be on your adventure list. 

Damodar Saribung, Nepal

Trekkers on our Damodar Saribung Traverse trip |  <i>Dan Beacom</i>

What makes it special? Seldom visited by tourists, the Damodar Himal is one of the last frontiers close to the Tibetan border. From the upper Mustang region to the Annapurnas, you’ll leave behind “classic” Mustang and enter vast and wild valley, following a route used by pilgrims that afford spectacular views of Dhaulagiri.

From desert trails to glacial terrain, enjoy varied scenery as you cross numerous high passes and follow ridgelines for awe-inspiring vistas of the Tibetan Plateau.

Pass through villages written with Tibetan culture and reach the highest point of the trek, the physically demanding and snow-covered trail to Saribung Pass (6042m).

Ideal for: The seasoned trekker who is looking to experience a more challenging traverse through the rugged Himalayan. Also suitable for adventures wanting to step into the realm of mountaineering.

When to go: August to September, April to May.


Dientes Circuit, Chile

What makes it special? It’s the world’s most southernly hike, camping in true wilderness style and trekking over varied terrain. The 42-kilometre remote circuit, completed by a few trekkers, is found in Navarino Island on the far end of South America.

Blue skies overhead trekking Los Dientes de Navarino circuit |  <i>EcoCamp Patagonia</i>

Passing alpine lakes, glaciers and jagged rock pinnacles, each day will be demanding, but the scenically arresting landscapes you cross makes each step worth it.

Take in stunning views of jagged mountain peaks, the Beagle Channel, the town of Puerto Williams in Chile and Ushuaia in Argentina, Nassau Bay, the Wollaston archipelago and the mythical archipelago of Cape Horn.

Ideal for: Trekkers wanting to get off the beaten track in Patagonia. But come prepared with an open mind; it’s a challenging adventure where you’ll be required to carry a full pack of 15 kilograms. Expect rocky and steep trails with chances of scree, snow or ice cover, as well as exhilarating river crossings.

When to go: November to March

Charlevoix Traverse, Canada

What makes it special? It’s one of the best long-distance trails in the enchanting hinterlands of UNESCO-designated Charlevoix Biosphere Reserve in Quebec. How long exactly? 105 kilometres (60 miles) from start to finish over seven days. It’s rugged, verdant, it’s teeming with wildlife.

Keep an eye out for the rare caribou North American reindeer and beavers by the dam and follow side trails to awesome viewpoints.

Mont Du Four is accessible as a day hike from Squirrel Hut on the Charlevoix Traverse |  <i>Tourisme Charlevoix, BESIDE</i>

The trail will lead you to over-the-edge views of an impact crater created by a meteorite some 360 million years ago, and the lookouts you’ll hike to will offer the perfect photos that take in surrounding mountains and panoramic valleys.

Ideal for: Outdoor enthusiast who love travelling through forest scenery and vast lakes views. If you prefer hiking at their own pace, this self-guided trek means you can enjoy the flexibility and sense of accomplishment without compromising on the security and organisation of a guided tour.

When to go: June to October

Ak-Suu Turkestan, Kyrgyzstan

Trekker enjoying a rest in the upper reaches of the Ak-Mechet gorge

What makes it special? You’ll be among the first to trek on this newly opened mountain trail, which can be likened to an 'Asian Patagonia'.

Picture: deep canyons, stunning gorges, glacier fed streams and lakes, alpine meadows, grazing yaks, lush fir tree forests, sheer granite towers and rugged peaks crowned with snow.

The path takes you into the remote mountain ranges of Turkestan where nature thrives. The key word here is remote, with a true sense of wilderness, camping in our scenically located semi-permanent campsites. There’s even a tented sauna at one of our camps, perfect to relax in after a day’s walk!

Ideal for: Those who enjoyed Patagonia or love wilderness camping. It’s one of our toughest Central Asia treks, so you best be prepared for occasional rough terrain and several ascents and descents of 500 metres or more.

When to go: July to September

Parang La Traverse, India

What makes it special? Appreciate the scale and grandeur of the commanding Indus Valley, ancient monasteries, snow-capped peaks, beautiful azure lakes and the solitude this region has to offer.

Gain impressive views of the host of 6000 metres peaks from Parang La (5590m) while panoramic views extend to distant ridges that form the borderlands of Tibet.

It’s wild and off the beaten path trekking, which follows the traditional trade route between the people of Spiti, Changthang and Tibet through high arid plains and remote villages. You’ll also encounter local Champa nomads.

The view over the Indus River, at the start point of our Markha Valley Trek |  <i>Bruce Gray</i>

Ideal for: Trekkers wanting to explore a different side of the Himalayas – the lesser visited regions of India.

When to go: July to August

Moonlight Trail, New Zealand

What makes it special? You’ll want to pull out your camera for this hike with breathtaking views of the Southern Alps as you climb along a ridgeline which separates the Shotover River and Moonlight River valleys.

Views over Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables Mountain Range from Ben Lomond Station |  <i>Colin Monteath</i>

Tucked behind Queenstown, step into some of New Zealand’s best and least-known country scenery that ventures far from the crowds.

Deep into beech forests, traverse deep valleys, golden tussock slopes and explore mountain streams and waterfalls. Discover the remnants of the gold mining times whilst walking along the historical water races and Moonlight Creek where a cooling swim and scenic picnic is possible.

A highlight is the overnight stay in a beautifully appointed lodge in the Moonlight Valley, positioned to take in sweeping alp views.

Ideal for: Active people who love the back country and want to spend quality time in nature. 

When to go: November to March

Mountains of the Moon, Uganda

What makes it special? It’s Africa’s best kept trekking secret located on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Rwenzori Mountains or ‘Mountains of the Moon’ is isolated, rarely visited and showcases the country’s beautiful and diverse climactic zones – from remote alpine valleys, montane rainforests (lots of monkeys!), moorland with giant lobelias and even glacial landscapes. (You probably wouldn’t have guessed it, but this national park contains much of Africa’s permanent ice.)

Kitendara Lake Uganda

Up the Stanley range and going higher than any other guided group, challenge yourself on an exhilarating climb to Africa’s third highest peak, Margherita (5109m) for rewarding vistas of the huge Rwenzori mountainous expanse and across to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Ideal for: Trekkers looking for their next big adventure in a biodiversity hotspot. If you’ve climbed Kilimanjaro, this incredible trek should be on your list for impressive scenery at every turn.

When to go: August to September, December to February, June to July.

Transcaucasian Trail, Georgia

Trekkers enjoying the expansive mountain scenery in Georgia.


What makes it special?
Be among the first to walk this new trail that will connect more than 20 national parks and endless UNESCO listed sites. Delight in the scenic panoramas of mountains, alpine meadows, rivers and glaciers that await you in historic Georgia.

The Georgian Transcaucasian Trail could very well be the new Silk Road, travelling through some of the world’s oldest cities against a jaw-dropping mountainous backdrop. At times, it will feel like time has stood still.

While the full route is still being developed, you can now walk sections of the trail with us in Georgia through the stunningly rugged and remote Svaneti region.

Ideal for: Walkers who enjoy a charming blend of natural beauty, historical sites, thousand-year-old churches and countryside scenery.

When to go: May to September

Ha Giang Villager's Trail, Vietnam

What makes it special? Escape the Sapa and Mai Chau crowds and explore Vietnam’s “final frontier” in an untouched region in the far north bordering China. Between the Tay Con Linh and the Song Chay mountain ranges, hike through quiet farming villages and wild, rustic landscapes of granite mountains, pine forests, lush valleys and beautiful rice terraces.

The famous rice field terraces of Northern Vietnam

The highlight? The local’s warm and embracing nature. You’ll experience rural hospitality at memorable homestays along the way – they’re simple, but provide an authentic cultural experience.

Ideal for: Those who want to get off the beaten track with barely any tourists in sight. Great for bushwalkers and day hikers looking to explore natural and social environments.

When to go: October to April

Jatbula Trail, Australia

What makes it special? It’s Australia’s Top End hidden gem with only a handful of other visitors in sight.

 

Bushwalk between pristine waterfalls and swimming holes along the edge of the Arnhem Land escarpment. You’ll also gain a deeper understanding of the local Indigenous culture with visits to ancient rock art sites.

When the sun sets, the evening sky will provide a remarkable display of speckled stars as you camp in true wilderness.

Ideal for: For walkers who love the tropics, outdoor picnics and an impromptu swim in waterholes – don’t worry, they’re croc-free!

When to go: June to August

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Wildlife photography tips from a pro | Alex Cearns

One of the best parts of travelling is re-living the experience through your photos when you get home. And though a photo of a sunset transports you to that sublime moment of the sun sinking into the horizon, or your pictures of the ancient ruins reminds you of the history and culture of a place, mastering photos of animals in their natural habitats is a whole different skill.

Internationally renowned animal photographer, Alex Cearns and Creative Director of Houndstooth Studio spills the beans on her top wildlife photography tips that will put you in the right frame of mind when capturing your next wildlife adventure on camera.

Do your homework

Before leaving home, think about the sorts of animals you may encounter, then try to learn as much as you can about their behaviours. Are they more active at certain times? Do they have a specific breeding season? Does their behavior follow certain patterns? Can they be dangerous? Do they live alone or in a pack? Would we be seen by them as prey? The information you find will make it quicker and easier to locate your subject and enable you to determine the safest way to photograph them when you do.

Be a storyteller

You’re more likely to capture the shots you need if you plan the story you want to tell or the message you want to convey. Think about what you want to shoot and why that angle or scene might be interesting. Will  a certain point of view help others to understand your vision in that moment?  When photographing wildlife, it’s our aim as the photographer to capture the poses we see as great images and through them, tell a story.

Compose your image

I love to zoom in close and crop my subject, showing little environment and filling the frame with them. Sometimes though, there’s a need to add some of the habitat and environment into images. There aren’t any hard and fast rules, so you are free to find your own flow with the type of images you like to take.

Focus on the eyes

They say the eyes are the windows to the soul and this is no different for animals. Animals express a lot of emotion and character through their eyes. Capture your subjects eyes in sharp focus if you are chasing eye contact in your resulting image.

Choose good light

Outdoor photography is a challenge as you cannot control the lighting conditions. Overcast days with a light sky are ideal outdoor photography conditions, but figuring out the times of day that provide the best light will help you perfect your exposures. Try to get up early with the sun and photograph in the lovely soft light of dawn, or at dusk, where you may score a stunning sunset as your backdrop.

Anticipation and timing

Capturing that split second moment you see as a perfect photo opportunity requires anticipation and timing. Once you see the image you want to capture, you may need to work as quickly as you can to get it, and the shot you miss could be the shot that never comes around again. The more you practice, and the more photos you take, the faster you will get at capturing that perfect moment . The beauty of digital cameras is that they enable us to take thousands of images in one sitting, so take full advantage of this to get the photos you are after.

Patience

Learning to be patient is a crucial factor when taking portraits of your wildlife. Sometimes the shots you want will come instantly, while others could take hours. Sometimes you'll have to choose which shots to sit tight for and when to move on. Being prepared to wait for an image to present itself pays off when you get that top shot.

 

BY FIONA OS
About Alex Cearns

Alex's images have won a multitude of awards and have been published widely across Australian, even in an Australia Post stamp collection. Inspired by the joy of working with animals, Alex’s philanthropy and passionate advocacy for animal rescue has earned her high regard among Australia’s animal lovers and a strong following on social media. She is a popular tour leader with World Expeditions and escorts global animal adventure tours to various regions of the world. Alex lives with two rescue dogs, Pip and Pixel, and one rescue cat, Macy, and claims that animals are her “favourite kind of people.”

Join Alex on her next wildlife photography adventure to Laos, supporting bears affected by illegal wildlife trade. Find out more >

UNESCO's newest World Heritage sites: how to see them differently

UNESCO has inscribed 29 new places on the World Heritage list for 2019, among these are Bagan’s monumental architecture and a beautiful Italian vineyard region.

The prestigious list has come a long way, with 1,121 cultural and natural sites now tagged as World Heritage-listed. In comparison, the very first World Heritage list in 1978 featured only 12.

We list five of the most exciting additions and ways to explore them differently.

Vatnajökull National Park | Iceland

It's a mega park that encompasses almost 14 per cent of Iceland. It's volcanic, ice cap scenery is spectacularly varied with sub-glacial lakes, jagged mountain ranges, and active volcanoes, that haven't erupted in many years.

UNESCO describes the landscape as an "interaction between volcanoes and the rifts that underlie the Vatnajökull ice cap takes many forms, the most spectacular of which is the jökulhlaup – a sudden flood caused by the breach of the margin of a glacier during an eruption.”

Go there on a Iceland Northern Lights experience. Explore an ice cave in the heart of Vatnajökull for a spectacular winter experience before retiring in a comfortable hotel literally in the middle of nowhere, to maximise your chance to view the extraordinary coloured lights streaming through the northern sky, the Aurora Borealis.

Aurora Borealis over Iceland |  <i>Tim Gallantree</i>

Jaipur City, Rajasthan | India

Known for its iconic architectural legacy and vibrant culture, India's Pink City of Jaipur recently made its entry into the UNESCO World Heritage list. The walled city's finest monuments include the City Palace, Amber Fort and the iconic Hawa Mahal.

“The city’s urban planning shows an exchange of ideas from ancient Hindu and modern Mughal as well as Western cultures," states UNESCO. "The grid plan is a model that prevails in the West, while the organization of the different districts refers to traditional Hindu concepts. Designed to be a commercial capital, the city has maintained its local commercial, artisanal and cooperative traditions.”

Go there on a Rajasthan Cycle adventure which departs weekly from October to March. At Jaipur, you'll visit the City Palace, bazaars of the Old City and the Palace of the Winds, originally built as part of the City Palace. You'll then cycle the outskirts of Jaipur to your next destination to savour a way of life that is still in harmony with the seasons.

The Palace of Winds in Jaipur is located in the city and is a stunning example of Rajput architecture and artistry with its pink delicately honeycombed 953 sandstone windows known as 'jharokhas' |  <i>Fiona Windon</i>

Bagan | Myanmar

No trip to Myanmar is complete without a visit to Bagan, a sacred landscape of Buddhist art and architecture, as well as archaeological greats. Find some Southeast Asia's finest collection of temples and stupas dating back to the 11th-13th centuries.

Mist rises over the enchanting Bagan, Myanmar

From monasteries and places of pilgrimage to frescoes and sculptures, UNESCO featured the city on its heritage list as it "bears spectacular testimony to the peak of Bagan civilization. This ensemble of monumental architecture reflects the strength of religious devotion of an early Buddhist empire.”

Go there on an all-encompassing Myanmar Adventure which departs on various dates year round. Explore the ancient Bagan temples by bike, before relaxing in the serene Minnanthu area for a scenic picnic lunch in this historical setting.

Le Colline del Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene | Italy

You can probably guess by the name of this Italian region is known for it's wine and beautiful vineyards.

As described by UNESCO, its landscape is "characterized by ‘hogback’ hills, ciglioni – small plots of vines on narrow grassy terraces – forests, small villages and farmland. For centuries, this rugged terrain has been shaped and adapted by man. Since the 17th century, the use of ciglioni has created a particular chequerboard landscape consisting of rows of vines parallel and vertical to the slopes.”

Vineyards of Prosecco

Go there on a Prosecco Wine Cycle trip which departs between April and October. Cycle in the heart of the Veneto and through the picturesque and romantic hills of Prosecco. The gorgeous views of the almost never-ending grapevines will certainly build a craving to sample the world famous sparkling wine from local vineyards.

Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte, Braga | Portugal

Reach this hilltop sanctuary via a 575-stepped staircase that leads you to an impressive a biblical landing of allegorical sculptures, picturesque gardens, ornate fountains and multiple chapels expressive of Via Crucis.

UNESCO says this pilgrimage site is a "sanctuary was developed over a period of more than 600 years and illustrates a European tradition of creating Sacri Monti (sacred mountains), promoted by the Catholic Church in reaction to the Protestant Reformation."

Go there on the Best of the Portuguese Way tour which depart in April, May, September and October. The visit to Braga will give you the chance to explore the historic town on special pilgrimage walk, the Portuguese Way. Second only to the Camino Francés in popularity with modern day walkers and pilgrims, it extends from the capital Lisbon across to Santiago.

Published on 18 July 2019.

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