Image

Should I go to the Andes or the Himalayas?

I'm planning to take a cultural trekking trip for three weeks. I can't decide between Peru and Nepal. Any ideas?

Image

For exclusive access to all of our fitness, gear, adventure, and travel stories, plus discounts on trips, events, and gear, sign up for Outside+ today.

Is this a trick question? Because there's no wrong answer here. That said, I'd probably choose Nepal over Peru.

From my point of view, Nepal is a bit more exotic with the world's highest mountains, the eclectic catch-all city of Kathmandu, various religious expressions, and indigenous cultures that are far removed from our Western way of thinking.

Plus I think Nepal is a bit safer in remote areas. On the other hand, Peru has tremendous Mayan ruins, endless green terraced hills stretching as far as the eye can see, a diverse cultural history, and great wool sweaters.

Before you choose, I'd take a serious look at the cost discrepancy between the two countries. From the United States, it would probably be much less expensive to go to Peru, but from England, it's a toss-up.

I did a land-only price comparison with KE Adventure Travel, a company that offers trips to both Peru and Nepal. Surprisingly, at $3,295, their 21-day trip called “Peru's Remote Cordillera Vilcabamba” was more expensive than any of their 21-day Nepal trips, which ranged in price from $2,275 to $3,195.

Ironically, the picture they show of the trek in Peru looks as if it was shot in Nepal. If you'd like to use an outfitter for this trip, contact U.S.-based KE Adventure Travel at 303-292-0458, or e-mail them at ketravel@rof.net.

I'd also try to get a sense of the safety situation in each country. You may be a person who likes traveling among guerrillas, but if you don't want to hassle with political uprisings or a possible kidnapping, you should try to keep on top of the situation in Peru.

A good way to do this is to get in touch with the U.S. State Department. Though Peru is much safer than it was a few years ago, there are still isolated incidents that will make your blood curdle.

Last but not least, I'd spend a few hours in a book store browsing through the picture-book section trying to get a feel for what you'd actually see in each country. Then I'd take a deep breath and go with your gut.

promo logo
sms