Nepal and Peru lead Hiking evolution

Among the world’s great hiking destinations, Peru and Nepal are two of the most iconic, dominated by their respective drawcards Machu Picchu and Mt Everest.

Both are experiencing an evolution as visitors look for new and more diverse experiences, and setting out on foot provides a great way to get the best of out of each.

World Expeditions chief executive officer Sue Badyari said trekking was a fantastic means to experience a destination up close.

“It’s also cathartic and a great way to disconnect from our busy urban lives to immerse in nature and enjoy the social joys of walking with like-minded travellers.”

Recently the Peruvian Government introduced a trekking permit system to combat overcrowding along the historic Inca trail to Machu Picchu. Badyari says permits could sell out quickly once issued on the open market, thus alternative trails had become popular.

“Our Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu, for example, is a stunning alternative to the classic Inca trail with unrivalled views of the sacred peaks of Salkantay and Humantay,” she said.

Having declined after the deadly earthquake in Nepal in 2015, Badyari said trekking numbers were now close to or even ahead of pre-earthquake levels.

“For World Expeditions, the Great Himalaya Trails is an important strategy in bringing tourism to isolated and extremely poor corners of the country and to put valuable tourism dollars into these communities,” she said.

For the more adventurous trekker looking for a once-in-a-lifetime expedition, World Expeditions offers what must be one of the world’s longest treks — a 152-day, 1,700km trek across the Himalayas. Promising an enviable level of fitness for those who complete it, the trek is made up of seven different sections and allows trekkers to join any they choose.

While the Everest Base Camp trek continues to thrive, Badyari said lesser known areas of the country were re-emerging as highly attractive to seasoned trekkers and growing in popularity compared to the Everest district and the Annapurna region.