Tour agencies scrutinised: what is promised to tourists when agencies are contacted?

I n Huaraz, the message for tourists shopping around for tour agencies for hikes, climbs and other activities is buyers beware. In the past, there have been some relaxed if not downright fraudulent practices.

The outdoor activities in this extraordinarily beautiful area are world-renowned. Deciding what you want to do, and comparing the offers of tour agencies, can be tough, especially as prices can vary markedly (see Table 4). Agencies do not necessarily offer the same things, even on the same tour. There are dozens of touts and keen salespeople, almost as many as there are agencies, plenty of advice in tour guides in print and online, and the information on the agencies’ own websites. To increase your chances of getting a quality tour and of getting what you pay for, it is important to research and evaluate agencies thoroughly.

By doing this and choosing a responsible, professional agency, you will also help to improve a largely unregulated industry. Only some of the Huaraz tour agencies are formally registered tour operators, and if you do not take care, you may not get what you think you are buying—and you’ll have no comeback if things go wrong. Don’t expect that the tourist information office, i-Perú, will help, as its focus is on things to do around town and not outdoor activities.

Nothing beats doing thorough research, and asking the right questions. The editor of The Huaraz Telegraph (THT) believes that many agencies operating in Huaraz are not officially registered, and are operating illegally. If they are not registered with the Peruvian taxation department, they may not be paying taxes, which put legitimate businesses at a disadvantage. In our research we have not perceived indications that this was the case with the agencies contacted.

Alex Egerton, the author of the Huaraz section in the 2016 edition of Lonely Planet’s Peru guide, was in the region last year, doing research for the guidebook. In an interview in the August 2015 print edition of the THT, he said that there was ‘still quite a lot of chaos involved in getting accurate information on mountain activities and buying a tour. There are agencies on every corner but very little regulation of the industry. For example, many trekkers complain that pack animals are treated very poorly while others complain that they were given misleading information before setting out on their trek.’

In April and May of this year, The Huaraz Telegraph surveyed a sample of 16 agencies to compare prices of some activities, the quality and quantity of information offered, and responsiveness and attitude of agency staff to email questionnaires. The newspaper conducts an annual survey of a selection of tour agencies, hoping that it will lead to agencies improving the quality of the services they offer.

The findings of this year’s survey are discussed and the process described below. In the survey, The Huaraz Telegraph seeks to learn how forthcoming and open agencies are. What information do they give on their website and in response to questions? Are they honest about the skills and level of fitness you need, and about the likely weather and physical conditions? You can find the results of 2013 survey online by clicking here.

You have a role to play

Tourists have a direct role to play in helping improve the service and activities that tour agencies provide by buying ethically, and by giving feedback both to the agency and in public reviews, not just of bad performance but also when agencies do a good job. The Dean of Graduates in Tourism in Huaraz, Antonio Palacios Bertolot, agrees. ‘When good services are not demanded by foreign visitors, we will never improve them,’ he said in an interview in The Huaraz Telegraph. Editor Rex Broekman is concerned that there is no standard for tour agencies operating in Peru. Associations of agencies exist largely to promote their members, not to set and maintain standards.

Some things to look out for

While all of us want to get activities as cheaply as possible, you need to be clear whether you are prepared to support poor practices.

Ask the right questions

Ask plenty of questions, and the right questions. As I discovered for myself. Late one afternoon I bought a one-day tour to Laguna 69 for the next day. I asked the woman in the agency how many people had booked on the tour. ‘Five others,’ she said.
It turned out I was one of 28 people on the tour, accompanied by one guide. The agency salesperson probably wasn’t lying; however, she did mislead me by not telling me that several agencies combine their groups to share the cost of the bus, its driver and one guide. (Perhaps this is a rookie mistake on my part; I generally don’t buy tours, preferring to make my own way.) In this instance, it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the hike, but if I’d thought I was buying solitude in the mountains on a multi-day trek, I would have felt cheated.

Supporting the local economy

The price you pay for an activity may have a direct impact on the lives of locals. Are locals among the owners and managers of the agency you choose? Do profits stay in the local economy or sent overseas? Are foreigners involved in local companies helping to build skills and incomes among locals? Some agencies list the owners and other staff on their website.

Some agencies that provide cheaper tours are cutting their expenses. Cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean cost-cutting, but the onus is on the buyer to check these things.

Does the agency pay at least average wages to guides, arrieros (animal drivers), porters and cooks? Are the animals used to haul your gear and communal equipment overloaded, used while injured, used without sufficient breaks or not kept in good health?

Don’t be misled by prices for human and animal services you find on some websites. Typical prices are trekking guide, S/ 134 (US$40); mountain guide, S/ 400 (US$120); cook S/ 100 (US$30); donkey driver, S/ 45 (US$13.50); donkey, S/ 25 (US$7.50). This is what the agency charges you, not what these people are paid. To be sure, the agency has overheads to meet, and the prices may be legitimate, but be sure you know what you are buying. (For comparison, in the Cusco region, when you hire an independent trekking guide, for example through the South American Explorers, www.saexplorers.org, the going rate is S/ 35 – S/ 40 a day, perhaps S/ 45 for someone very experienced. Whether those guides are certified professionals is another question.)

Other Huaraz tour agency cost-cutting measures may have a direct impact on you. Ask about the quality of food, which may be poorer on cheaper treks, and the quality of camping, trekking and climbing gear.

Read the agency’s policies and certificates of registration

If you want to promote professionalism in the industry, ask to see the agency’s certificate of registration as a tour operator, and its tax registration with SUNAT (the tax office).

Ask to see agencies’ policies on staff and contractor respect and training, on safety and evacuation procedures, on animal management and on environmental care and protection. Check that the guide who will lead your activity has appropriate and up-to-date qualifications. Some of the better agencies post their policies, or summaries of them, on their website.

Trekking guides and mountaineering guides should be members of an internationally registered professional association or regional association such as AGOEMA (Asociacon de Guias Oficiales Especializados en Montaña – Huaraz Ancash), AGOMP (Asociación de Guías Oficiales de Montaña del Perú) or ARGOT (Asociación Regional de Guías Oficiales de Turismo de Ancash). Ask for proof that your guide is accredited, and their skills up to date. For trekking, the guide should be a member of the associations mentioned above, or be a graduate of the career tourism at for example the Instituto Tecnológico Público Eleazar Guzman Barrón, or be a member of  the national guides’ association, Asociación de Guías Oficiales de Caminata del Perú (AGOCP), www.perutrekkingguide.com (in Spanish only). The association began in October 2008, and two months later was registered with the national government registration office, SUNARP (Superintendencia Nacional de los Registros Públicos). AGOCP is a member of the Union of International Mountain Leader Associations (UIMLA).

Mountain guides should be members of the Asociación de Guías de Montaña del Peru (AGMP), www.agmp.pe or the previously mentioned regional associations AGOEMA, AGOMP or ARGOT. The AGMP began in Huaraz in 1980. It runs technical courses to do with safe mountaineering, including rescue and it lists individuals who are members. The AGMP is a member of the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA; or IVBV in German, and UIAGM in French). One of its aims is to regulate the profession and keep standards high. Associations have to reach a certain standard to be accepted as members, a process that can take 5 to 10 years. UIMLA claims on its website that that UIMLA and IFMGA are ‘the only internationally recognised qualifications in the mountains world-wide’. In our printed June edition of The Huaraz Telegraph we wrote that guides are ought to be a member of the AGMP which is incorrect, agencies using AGOEMA, AGOMP or ARGOT members are operating correctly.

Spanish only?

If your Spanish isn’t up to it, you might want to ask for a guide who speaks a language you know. Just because you speak to the salesperson in the agency in English or French or Hebrew doesn’t mean you will get a guide who speaks that language, as I discovered on a day trip to see the Chavín ruins. (Happily for me, my Spanish was good enough to understand the guide, who was very knowledgeable and passionate.)

Does the promise match the service?

Some agencies promise the world on a silver platter in email or when talking you into buying their service over a competitor’s, but then serve up something in a plastic takeaway container. Get what they offer in writing, or write it down yourself. Give them constructive feedback if they don’t deliver. (And if they do!) The Huaraz Telegraph was also interested to know which agencies meet their promises and which don’t.

Are you covered?

The agency’s insurance may not cover you during an activity. Find out the limits of what it does cover. Responsible agencies advise on their website what activities you might need your own insurance for, but it’s worth double-checking all the same.

Evacuation

Make sure you know where you stand with insurance before you go. It is worth finding out the agency’s procedure for emergency evacuation in the event of altitude sickness, other illness, or injury.

For example, one agency (Andean Summit) said in an emailed response to a question that it carries medicines to relieve altitude sickness and in an emergency they take you down under the care of a porter. However, ‘If someone in the group (e.g. sprains an ankle, breaks a leg, arm or wrist) this kind of accidents we don’t cover, [sic] because all the travellers have their own insurance.’ I was given this information only because I asked specifically: it was not on the website, and they did not say anything about insurance in their initial email. There is no helicopter evacuation in the region, you are taken out on foot if possible, or on a donkey or horse. Only one agency, Peruvian Andes Adventures, mentioned the lack of helicopter.

Refunds and extra costs

Before you buy, clarify what refunds are available and in what circumstances if something goes wrong before or during your trip. Don’t assume that emergency transport back to Huaraz is covered in the cost of your tour. Ask each agency.
Acclimatisation and fitness

Some agencies are relaxed, if not downright lax, about the advice they give on acclimatisation. A couple of agencies point out that a hike that is easy at near sea level is much more difficult at altitude. Most agencies recommend acclimatising for between one and three nights. Many people require more time than this.

However, information is often inconsistently presented; for example, one company (Galaxia Expeditions) says on the page about climbing Tocllaraju (6,032 metres) that you should climb a 5,000 m peak first. However, it doesn’t mention this on the page describing the climb to the higher peak of Chopicalqui (6,354 metres). Galaxia is far from the only company to be so inconsistent. It’s in your own interests to read many different pages from each company, to gain all the information you need.

Responsible agencies will recommend that you take time to acclimatise, and won’t take you on mountain summits until you have. They advise on their websites that you go on a day hike before tackling multi-day treks or mountain ascents (and some won’t take you on a summit expedition if they haven’t been able to assess your acclimatisation, fitness and strength on a multi-day trek). Some also advise a day’s rest between a multi-day hike and a summit climb.

However, sometimes it is difficult to find this information. It might be included in the details on one multi-day trek or mountain summit, but not in another. On their website or in email responses to questions, most agencies say that their guides carry medicines to alleviate the minor effects of altitude, and will use a porter to take someone to a lower altitude if they have altitude sickness. It’s worth double checking all these points with the agency you are considering hiring.

One agency (Andean Summit) did not have this information on its website, but wrote in an email: ‘If you have time, you can do a couple of hikes before to come to Peru; in case you can’t do it, don’t worries [sic], that’s why you will start step by step.’ Is this enough for a day hike? What about for a multi-day trek? Sure, it’s your responsibility anywhere in the world to be fit enough to undertake a hike at altitude, but if you haven’t done it before, how do you know what that is?

Activity grading

There seems to be no standard applied in Huaraz for how hikes, multi-day treks and mountain climbs are graded for difficulty.

Treks are generally graded using a loose rating of easy, moderate or difficult, but these terms are not defined. The same walk is often graded differently by different agencies. (Their ratings are compared in Table 1.)

Table 1. How agencies grade selected beginner activities

Table 1. How agencies grade selected beginner activities

How agencies grade selected beginner activities

A few agencies grade mountain summit expeditions using the internationally recognised French alpine system (IFAS), and may add a plus or minus symbol after the ranking to indicate whether it is at the upper or lower end of the range for that rank. To check what the grading means, and to compare them with other international scales, see the lists under the heading ‘Alpine system’ on the Alpinist’s website.

However, most companies use only a loose rating of easy, moderate or difficult, and don’t explain what these means. This makes it difficult to judge what level of skill, fitness and experience you need. (What information they give is compared in Table 2 at the bottom of this page.) In our survey, only one company, Peruvian Andes Adventures, gave information on its website that defined the codes in the grading system it uses. (Not all agencies in the survey offer mountaineering.) Peruvian Andes Adventures uses the French alpine system, and defines the grades this way:
• PD, moderate – moderate snow climbs, a rope is necessary
• AD, reasonably hard – routes with a fair amount of difficult climbing, snow and ice experience required
• D, hard – a reasonable amount of serious climbs of snow and ice with pitches up to severe standards
• TD, very hard – very difficult, long serious climbs.

It was also unequivocal about the need to take mountain summiting expeditions seriously. It says (on the page, ‘Peru climbing expeditions & courses’):
‘The grading of the climbs is an indication only of the level of difficulty. Even climbs suitable for beginner climbers are graded medium to hard to reflect that the altitude makes climbing on any peak physically demanding. Although many guidebooks describe some peaks as being “trekkers peaks” the approaches to all the mountains involve a sometimes steep & challenging hike. We do NOT consider that any climb in the Cordillera Blanca can be classified as a ´trekking peak´. A climb should only be considered if you are well acclimatised and generally already in good physical condition.’[sic]

How agencies surveyed rate climbs

Please have a look at table 2 below.

Table 2 shows a comparison of the difficulty rating for climbing peaks by the agencies that were subject to our investigation. Interestingly: same climb, different qualifications

Table 2 shows a comparison of the difficulty rating for climbing peaks by the agencies that were subject to our investigation. Interestingly: same climb, different qualifications

Climate change

Only a few agencies have been upfront on their websites about the effects of global warming on conditions in the mountains. In the past, the dry season was reliably dry, but these days, as weather systems change because of global warming, dry weather can no longer be guaranteed in the Cordillera Blanca or the Cordillera Huayhuash.

The process we used for the 2016 survey posed as one half of a middle-aged couple on a trip through South America (which is true), looking for accurate information about typical activities to be enjoyed around Huaraz for a two-week visit during the tourist season. We are fit and strong, and experienced touring cyclist and hikers. (Our age, travelling and fitness is true, and I intend to use the information from the research for this article to buy a long trek with one of the responsible agencies.)

Agencies chosen

I began with a selection of 16 agencies, most of which have been surveyed in a previous THT survey. I also included two agencies from which I have bought day trips. This allows some gauge of whether the professionalism of the agencies might be improving.

Website research

It was important that companies have a website as many people research activities before they arrive in a place. Having a social media presence in lieu of a website is not good enough, as not everyone uses social media, and the purpose of social media is different to a website.

One company, Edwards Adventures, which has been included in previous surveys, has no web presence and I could find no email contact. It does have a street address in Huaraz, but that’s only useful if you’re already in town. Another, Pacha Andean Walkers, has only a Facebook or Google+ page; they both have a link to a website, but it the site no longer exists. The information on both social media sites was far too scant and poor to use for research.

The websites varied in quality enormously, from detailed and well organised and in at least two languages, to detailed and disorganised (and difficult to find information on), to downright scant. I considered how detailed and thorough the information on each website was. As well as looking for information on most of each agency’s activities, I also looked for information about acclimatisation and fitness, activity grading for difficulty, evidence of formal registration as a tour operator, company policies on staff, training, animal management, and environmental care. I didn’t specifically look for information on projects to help disadvantaged locals, but noted these when I saw them. I also considered how detailed and thorough the information on the website was. For a quick comparison, see Table 3; the information following the table gives more detail about each agency. I took into account that Peru is Spanish speaking and didn’t discount sites that were only in Spanish.

Activities chosen

After looking at what each agency had to offer online, I sent an email to each company for which there was an email address or web form for contact. I wrote only in English.

I asked for information on:
• a day hike to Laguna 69, or something similar the company might suggest
• the Santa Cruz trek, or another, similar hike they might suggest
• summiting a mountain that is not too technical
• perhaps canyoning (or something similar).

These were chosen because these are typical trips for visitors to buy. Several companies took the initiative to suggest alternatives for me to consider, for example Laguna Churup or Laguna Wilcacocha as alternatives to Laguna 69, Vallunaraju or Urus instead of Pisco, or flying fox (zip line) instead of canyoning. Peruvian Andes Adventures was the only company that advised against doing both Laguna 69 and the Santa Cruz trek. They said in an email, ‘The view from Portachuelo Pass [on the Santa Cruz trek] is almost the same as the view you get walking to Laguna 69, except you cannot see the lake. If you do the Laguna 69 day hike, you have the 2.5-hour drive from Huaraz to Cebollapampa … and … back to Huaraz. You may prefer to do a day hike closer to Huaraz and in a different area if you are doing the Santa Cruz trek.’

Email questions and answers

I asked about costs, difficulty, skills and fitness needed for each, and whether guides would speak English. I also considered how responsive they were to emailed questions, and how detailed their email answers were. In the first email, I asked about recommended trips, costs, difficulty, skills and fitness needed, acclimatisation, and whether guides would speak English. I emailed 15 agencies; the sixteenth, Edwards Adventures, provided no means of contact online. Eight agencies responded: Andean Summit, Andean Sky Expeditions, Andino Trek, Galaxia Expeditions, Huascarán Travel, Monttrek, Peru Expeditions, and Peruvian Andes Adventures. They all answered in English, even when it was difficult for them to do so.

The eight companies that did not were Atusparia Tours, Edwards Adventures, Enrique Expeditions, JM Expeditions, Pablo Tours, Pacha Andean Walkers, Turismo Caminos, and Viajes Quechua. I sent a second email to the eight agencies that replied to the first. In it I asked about guides’ qualification, first-aid, altitude sickness, emergency procedures, and treatment of staff, animals and the environment. Of these, Galaxia Expeditions was the only agency that did not reply.

Who is this man called Theo?

A disturbing thing occurred in the second round of emails. I received an email from two of the companies, Peru Expeditions and Peruvian Andes Adventures, asking if someone called Theo Goodman was my husband. I’ve never heard of anyone by this name, let alone know him. Why might they ask such a strange question? Because someone using this name had written to them, posing the same questions, word for word, I had asked agencies in my second email. My email hadn’t been hacked, so how did this situation come about? Did one of the other agencies set up an email account, and use my questions to fish for information from their rivals? If so, very unscrupulous! Some of the companies responded in detail and answered questions carefully; others were not so attentive, and a couple didn’t answer my questions.

How agencies performed

The information given in email responses was as variable as the detail on the websites. The most professional agencies gave detailed information on their websites and in emails and included important information on acclimatisation, fitness and their company policies. Several responsible agencies recommended a day hike and canyoning or other one-day activity for acclimatisation before taking on a multi-day trek, followed by a day off, then a mountain summit. Some recommended tackling a 5,000-metre peak before doing a 6,000-metre one.

Table 3 summarises how the agencies performed in the main areas of investigation.

It is worrying that very few tour agencies in Huaraz have their policies online

It is worrying that very few tour agencies in Huaraz have their policies online

Comparison of information on websites

Have a look at table 3 for the comparison of information found on the websites.
Andean Summit gives costs of activities only by email. It wrote that the Laguna 69 hike is ‘not hard’. However, although it is not technically challenging at all, my experience was that it is not easy if you have not acclimatised to the altitude. The agency gave sound advice about pacing yourself if doing multiple activities in the region. It said in an email, ‘I’ll recommend after the two treks to take a day off [before a mountain climb]. For those mountains [Pisco, Vallunaraju] you don’t need to have any experience at all.’

Andean Sky Expeditions suggested a day tour to Pastoruri (driving tour) to help acclimatise. I appreciated them, and other agencies, that took the initiative to offer something I hadn’t thought of. The information emailed was screen shots from the website, with prices added in.

Andino Trek, as well as grading climbs, gives additional information that they are physically demanding. It also says on the website that you have to carry all your own gear up to the moraine camp on Vallunaraju, and therefore need to be fit and strong. No other agency mentioned this on the web or email. It mentions that canyoning is good for acclimatisation; the activity is not graded. It also took the initiative to offer some other acclimatisation ideas, for example flying fox (zip line), or hikes to Laguna Wilcacocha or Laguna Churup.

Atusparia Tours didn’t reply to any emails. The company has a smaller website than many of the others. It also offers a smaller range of tours, and focuses more on driving tours than hiking, although it does offer a couple of the most popular hikes.

Edwards Adventures has no website, and no email address listed online, so I couldn’t find out anything about it.

Enrique Expeditions did not reply to the first email, so the only information available is from its website. The website has a reasonable amount of information, but is disorganised; for example, there is no home button, so you have to change the address in the URL bar, or hit the back arrow, to get back to base. The company’s grading system is all over the place, with Laguna 69 rated using the alpine system, and some peaks graded using the alpine system and others easy, medium or difficult.

Galaxia Expeditions has quite good information on its website, although it does not mention acclimatisation or fitness. Some of the information is out of date; for example, 2012 prices are given for national park fees. Is other information out of date too? In an email the company did take the initiative to suggest other options, e.g. climbing Mateo instead of one of the other introductory ascents. However, the information given in the email was pretty scant. The company didn’t answer the second email.

Huascarán Travel, in response to my first email, provided three options for a multi-day trek, at different prices, but didn’t answer my questions or give me prices for other activities. It posts the prices it charges you for renting equipment, and for support crew and animals: trekking guide $50, climbing guide $110 up to 5,000 m, $210 for 6,000 m peaks; porters $45 for 5,000 m peaks; $60 for 6,000 m peaks; guard $25; cook $35; muleteer $10; mule $5; and emergency horse $10.

JM Expeditions did not answer any emails. Its website is uninformative and not user friendly. The site does give dates of group treks for the season but these don’t seem to be accurate. It is not clear from the website whether you are meant to provide your own gear (e.g. sleeping mats, stove and fuel), or the company provides it. The agency advertises that it also sells bus, train and plane tickets, and that it makes hotel reservations, although this page is blank.

Monttrek’s website is basic and uninformative. It claims to specialise in ‘personal mountaineering expeditions’. While it gives international ratings for rapids in the rafting options, it doesn’t mention anything for mountain climbs other than a vague and undefined ‘moderate’. The links to individual activities have been removed. To my questions about the qualifications of guides, Monttrek responded that there are professional associations for guides in Huaraz and that guides get training and annual refresher courses but they never said whether the guides they use do. However, this may have been because they were answering in an intermediate level of English.

Pablo Tours seems to focus more on driving tours (e.g. Chavín, Laguna de Llanguanuco), judging by its website. The website has buttons for English and Italian languages, but these do not work. The company did not answer my emails. Interestingly, one of the email addresses on the contact page has the same domain name, terra.com.pe, as the email address of the Monttrek person who replied to me. Are they the one company with two shop fronts?

Pacha Andean Walkers did not answer any emails. The company has a presence on Facebook and Google+, but neither yielded enough information to base a decision on. The pages give a website address but it no longer exists.

Peru Expeditions had the second-best website and email responses. The detailed website offers a lot of good information. It’s a pity they don’t grade the mountain climbs consistently using the French alpine system, or make it clear what the grades are for each peak in a multi-peak summiting tour package. It’s a pity that they don’t have on the website this explanation of grades they gave in email: ‘Easy = not very complicated. Moderate: for this tour and physical condition is needed and good acclimatisation. Difficult: the difficulty is very demanding and very technical and you have to be very experienced, be in a good physical condition.’ The company’s email responses were detailed and clear.

Peruvian Andes Adventures had the best website, had the most detailed and was thorough in its email responses. It also sent detailed trip notes on the options it recommended. These included an image of the company’s registration as a tourist agency and its taxation registration, sample menus, and a detailed list of what equipment the company provides and what you are expected to provide. Images of the company’s registration as a tour operator and tax are available on the website.

Turismo Caminos has a blog only, not a website. The blog does not offer much information, and appears to be out of date. The company did not answer any emails.

Viajes Quechua has only a blog, not a website. The blog does not seem to have been updated since the middle of 2006. The company did not answer any emails. This is agency number 16 in the tables (not mentioned at times because of no reply received during the investigation.)

Costs

For all agencies, the cost of tours excludes national park fees, which you must pay separately for many activities in the Cordillera Blanca. As of 2016, prices are S/ 10 for a single day, or S/ 65 for a three-week ticket (which allows you any number of entries in that time). You also have to provide some gear (e.g. waterproofs, cold-weather gear) for activities, so check this with the agency. Some agencies include accommodation in Lima and Huaraz and transport from Lima in the cost. Others give prices for just the activity, leaving from Huaraz. All the agencies were clear about this in their emails. All prices in Table 4 are for a larger group. Small groups and private groups are much more expensive. Mountain ascents are generally limited to two or three people per guide, but less difficult peaks may have more climbers per guide.

Prices of tours, per person, in US dollars

Table 4 shows significant differences in prices between the local companies

Table 4 shows significant differences in prices between the local companies

When looking at Table 4 on page 16, bear in mind that all tours are for a larger group, Peru Expeditions publishes its prices online, and Huascarán Travel some of its prices. All other prices were supplied by email. Andino Trek and Peru Expeditions gave some prices in soles. These have been converted to US dollars. Galaxia Expeditions and Monttrek gave summits as prices per person per day (US$120). These are converted to whole trip prices and prices that say ‘from’ an amount are for the largest group size. For example, a multi-day trek that costs US$500 each for a group of eight might cost US$750 each for a group of three.

Conclusion

The prices for an activity can vary as much as the activities themselves. And so can the quality. As you can see from the information we have compiled, there’s a trade-off between the two. The higher priced companies tend to be interested in building their reputations and the standard of tour operations in the region. But they are more expensive. Whatever the responsibilities of the tour operators, you, the buyer, have a responsibility too. We’d like to think that you’ll make a decision that will benefit not just you, but everyone, and that you’ll vote with your head and your feet when you choose an agency. When you will share your recommendations of companies to use and companies to avoid, consider sharing them with The Huaraz Telegraph, too. We’re keen to make sure we build world-class tourism services here.

Investigation and research executed by Clare ´Clarita´ Bligh, a retired Canadian journalist

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The Traditional System of Corongo’s Water Judges (Sistema de Jueces de Agua de Corongo) is inscribed on the Representative List […]

Human excrements, plastic bags and remains of food found on Huascarán

The team consisted of eight specialists from the National Research Institute of Glaciers and Mountain Ecosystems (INAIGEM) which between August […]

Researchers confirm Huascarán is actually 11 metres lower than previously assumed

Since 1873, nine measurements of the south and north peaks of Huascarán have been made estimating all different heights. The […]

A brief history of Mataraju; Peru´s tallest mountain

Mount Huascarán (in Ancash Quechua language: Mataraju, ‘Twin Nevados’), is a massif located in the Western Cordillera of the Andes, […]