Get Your Guide On
"Find a good, personable, honest guide and pay him well so that you are that person's personal money machine and so that he does not want to see you taken advantage ofbecause, by golly, that's money he could have in his pocket. He'll want to be sure that your stuff isn't stolen and that your trip isn't cut short for any controllable reason: sickness, hooliganism, or any kind of foul play."
THE DEAL: Competition for climbing business is fierce around Huaraz, in western Peru, keeping prices low but quality high. This 22-day outing will have you climbing four snowcapped summits, including 22,205-foot Huascarn, the country's highest. Warm up on 18,148-foot Ishinca Peak. Once you've acclimatized, you can gradually work your way up other mountains, like 19,790-foot Tocllaraju. Price above includes sample round-trip airfare from Atlanta to Lima ($630) and a climbing package that includes transfers, hotels, camping equipment, most meals, guide, park fees, cooks, porters, donkeys, and muleteer. Similar trips from U.S. outfitters cost as much as $3,500, sans airfare.
THE FINE PRINT: You need a minimum of four travelers; if you're only two, the outfitter can pair you up with others.
CONTACT: Sol Andino, 011-51-43-72-22-05, www.solandino.com PRICE: $2,037
13. Raft the Karnali River,
THE DEAL: The Karnali River, the longest waterway in Nepal, runs from Tibet through the Himalayas before flowing into the Ganges on its way to the Bay of Bengal. Spend ten days rafting 112 miles of pristine wilderness from Sauli to Chisopani, threading deep canyons and bouncing over teeth-clattering Class IV rapids. Better pack a camera; the area is home to tigers, langur monkeys, and leopards. Price above includes sample airfare from Los Angeles to Kathmandu ($1,537) and an adventure package that includes a guided raft trip, food, and transportation to and from the river. Still seem like a lot? Grand Canyon trips cost about the same, plus airfare, but you typically need to book more than a year in advance.
THE FINE PRINT: Dates are fixed: April 20-30, 2004. You'll have to arrange your own accommodations before and after the rafting.
CONTACT: Ultimate Descents, 011-64-3-543-2301, www.ultimatedescents.com