Use these Activity Level Ratings as a general guide to help determine which of our adventures is best for you. Your perception of level of difficulty may vary from ours according to your own level of fitness and travel experience. Whether or not you stay in your comfort zone on the trip you select may also be influenced by the pacing we build into the itinerary, and your own preparation for the trip. While relatively high elevations are unavoidable when you're traveling in the Andes Mountains, we may judge a trip as "moderate" so long as passengers have sufficient time for acclimation. Our detailed trip itineraries give much more information about what you can expect. If you are unsure which trip is best for you, please call us. We'll help guide you toward the right fit.
These adventures involve fairly easy travel. There is no camping: you sleep in hotels and country inns each evening. Trips may include short hikes and/or walks of two to three hours. Our itineraries include excursions in passenger mini-vans, over roads with many curves and potholes. Elevations rarely exceed 12,600'. At Machu Picchu and other Inca sites, we climb and descend relatively steep stone staircases. Trips to Amazon lodges involve travel by boat and canoe, plus hikes on forest trails at a moderate pace. In the rainforest, you may encounter rain, mud, and pooled water. Trips to the Galapagos include optional hikes on sometimes uneven rocky and/or slippery terrain. Passengers must get into and out of dinghies on beaches and at docks.
These adventures include more hiking than in our moderate trips. You negotiate a variety of terrain, at elevations no more than 15,000'. Some trips include long days of overland travel. You sleep comfortably in hotels each evening.
While we rate all of our treks as strenuous, there is a substantial range of challenge between the easiest and the most demanding of our treks. Expect to hike 6-8 hours each day over steep and rugged terrain. You may hike to elevations of 17,000', with options to hike higher from several camps. Many include camping multiple nights at relatively high elevations. On most treks in the Andes, night-time temperatures can drop below freezing on one or more nights. On our Inn to Inn based treks, you'll spend each evening in a comfortable mountain lodge.
Our toughest treks are suitable for those that enjoy a good physical challenge. You trek (and in some cases climb) over steep, rugged terrain at high elevations with substantial altitude gains. Some glacier travel requires knowledge of basic climbing techniques including use of crampons, ice axe, and ropes. These trips are in remote wilderness areas and include camping as high at 17,700'. Successful summit bids top out at 18,871' (Nevado Pisco), 19,347' (Volcan Cotopaxi) and 20,945' (Nevado Ausangate).
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