Thursday, 13 October 2011 12:26

Pepsico group climb Carrauntoohill

On Friday 23rd September, a group of colleagues/friends from Pepsico Carrigaline / Little island arrived down to Kate kearneys to Climb Carrauntoohil. Conditions were fair with some cloud about as we headed to Lisleibane, our start for the day. After a short briefing our pace was set by John heading us into the Hags Glen. Our group were mostly in I.T. dept. at Pepsico and were all well up for the climb.

The Route to the Summit of Carrauntoohil: We climbed up through one of the most beautiful routes on the mountain as we made our way through Coomcallee (The Hags Glen) before going off track passing Lough Gouragh (The Lake of the Goat) Breaking through the cliff barrier over the Step of the Goat, where we learned some scrambling techniques to gain the upper reaches of the mountain as we climbed through the three tiers of Coimin Iochtarach, Lair and Uachtarach (The lower, middle and upper valleys) to Ireland’s highest lake (The Eagles Nest).

We breaked for some lunch in very quiet and peaceful surroundings having some banter awaiting our next stage Brother O Shea’s Gully, a good pull up it is but only 30 mins or so did the trick. We ascended to the summit from the Beenkeragh ridge in breezy misty conditions. On top there was only about 6-8 others besides us and we all gathered elated for our summit photo.

On our decent the clouds lifted as we approached the Devils Ladder. It was still fairly breezy at this stage, we headed down into the shelter of the ladder slowly making our way left, right and mostly left again amongst the large boulders and loose scree which feels like moist gravel. The group were in flying form at this stage seeing the completion of their challenge only an hour or so down the valley realising they were nearly done!!

The track out the glen was still breezy with gusts nearly toppling us on the open ground as we viewed the route we took earlier described by John. Once back at the car, a decision was made to head for Kates, where we finished our day over a coffee/pint.

"Thanks soooo much for last Friday - we had a really great time - and everyone is still raving about it, was such a great experience" Rosie Coffey

Well done to all everyone on the day and especially Rosie for organising, hope to see ye again in the future, all the best!!

Guides: Niall Foley & John Healy

Report by Niall Foley

Thursday, 21 July 2011 19:12

Upper Mustang Trail

 

Trip:
Upper Mustang Trail
Altitude:
3840m/12598ft
Route:
Jomson - Lo Manthang
Date:
Group Oct 05th 2012 (Land Only also available)
Duration:
21 Days total - 20 Days Trekking
Grade:
Trekking – Moderate
Price:
From €2900
Our trip will take us on an adventure of a life time to trek on the Mustang Trail.

Overview

Mustang is the name of a district in the far north west of Nepal.. One of the most remote areas, it is a geographic extension of the Tibetan plateau, a windswept land of mountains preserving the last authentic remains of Tibetan culture. This area was completely isolated from the rest of the world, and only opened to trekking groups in 1991. The barley, potatoes and buckwheat grown here are the staple diet around the major villages of Ghame & Tsarang. We continue till we come to the ancient walled fortress city of Lo Manthang. From here the border of Tibet is just a stone's throw. after this we back from same trail or possible to we head back towards Jomsom via sacred pilgrimage site of Muktinath.

History

"Mustang is one of the few places in the Himalayan region that has been able to retain its traditional Tibetan culture unmolested… authentic Tibetan culture now survives only in exile and a few places like Mustang, which have had long historical and cultural ties with Tibet." -The Dalai Lama

Closed to foreigners until 1992, the ‘Forbidden’ Kingdom of Mustang is where today collides with medieval Asia; where a vibrant culture, dating back over a thousand years is coming to terms with a twenty-first century road. Fortunately, the communities and their traditions are resilient, as are their mud-walled towns and monasteries covered in original frescos, for now.  A recently built road from Tibet runs through the heart of Mustang to Jomsom and on to Pokhara; it offers unprecedented change to this unique and ageless place. Jeeps and motorcycles have replaced decorated horses, and art experts are assessing the potential dangers of traffic vibrations to fragile artworks. Mustang may not last forever, see it while you can.

Lying to the northwest of the Annapurnas and extending onto the Tibetan Plateau, Upper Mustang is a large mountain-fringed basin home to the headwaters of the Kali Gandaki. The main trail runs north-south from Lo Monthang to Jomsom with some side trips en route, but none that conveniently connect to other trekking routes. So, until some serious trail work is completed there isn’t a reliable route option through Upper Mustang for the GHT. Trails from Naar and Phu to Upper Mustang have sporadic water sources, are rugged and some require technical alpine skills. However, there is a good trail from Ghemi to Chharka Bhot in Upper Dolpo, but it can only be used only in October or November. The locals in Ghemi restrict access to this route, as they believe that the mountain spirits will be offended and prevent rain from falling on their fields if anyone disturbs the pass from December to September. They have been known to violently defend this belief.

Mustang is part of the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), which is the largest protected biodiversity area in Nepal.  Referred to as a Trans-Himalayan Ecosystem (the lower, lush valleys of the mid-hills are linked with the arid Tibetan plateau), this is a culturally and environmentally sensitive and fragile region, which demands the utmost respect and care. Please take all precautions to tread softly and follow the Great Himalaya Trail Code.

In October 2008, King Jigme Palbar Bista’s (b. 1930) reign over Mustang ended by Nepali Government order, which effectively terminated the monarchic tradition established in AD1350.

Grade

Grade & Acclimatisation

Grade: Trekking - Moderate

This trek is suitable to all and can be achieved by a beginner with training. A good level of fitness and some experience on a mountain is recommended prior to departure. You will enjoy your trip a lot more if prepared well. We recommend that you attend our free meet day to join your group and our experienced guide to go for a preparatory hill-walk. This provides a good opportunity to get any questions answered or concerns that you may have dealt with in relation to the trip. Tips on gear, altitude and conditions will be also covered. We also run Fitness assessment and Hill-walking weekends that are ideally suited for those who need a little more preparation. We recommend these options to ensure a good level of understanding of the requirements for the upcoming trek.

Acclimatisation

The major problems occur when climbing Kilimanjaro, where due to the costs being based on the number of days you are on the mountain, many organised groups ascend far faster than the recommended 300m per day. Although the climb is possible in 5 or 6 days, at Irish & Worldwide Adventures we have agreed a 7 day climb allowing 1 extra day for acclimatisation or rest purposes. It is worth spending a bit extra to stay safe and achieve your goals. It is possible to spend time on some of the adjacent mountains to help acclimatise before tackling the main summit. In the past we climbed Mt. Meru prior to the main climb but in recent years we have found that the extra duration and cost asscociated were making it less attractive to our clients. Please enquire about Mt. Meru if you would like to include it on your Itinerary. More detailed information on Acclimatisation, Health Guidelines and Personal Safety Guidelines will be available on signup.

Prices

All-In Group €3700 inc of International Flights on Land Only Itinerary set out below ** Please allow additional flight days to be added

Land Only €2790

Cost Includes:

1.       Airport Transfers

2.       Hotel accommodation on B/B Basis. 4 night in Kathmandu and 2 nights in Pokhara

3.       Domestic flight ticke. Jomsom/Pokhara/Jomsom/Kathmandu

4.       National Park Fee

5.       TIMS permit

6.       All necessary permits

7.       All camping and meals during the trek

8.       Transportation of food from Beni to Jomsom

9.       Transportation from Kathmandu to Pokhara by bus

Cost Excludes:

1.       Meals in Kathmandu

2.       Members insurance and emergency rescue

3.       Drink and beverages including mineral waters

4.       Any extra night hotels other than 4 nights in Kathmandu and 2 nights in Pokhara

5.       Sightseeing in Kathmandu and Pokhara

    Guides

    Tony Nation, Trekking Guide & Trainer

    Tony's love for adventure has taken him to many regions of our planet,  he enjoys leading groups in Africa, Russia, Nepal and South America.

    Like many of our adventure guides and trainers his passion is that of communication and instilling the culture of the places we visit to those that join in our our adventures and courses.

    He is also one of our leading Irish guides with special knowledge in the Cork and Kerry hills and mountains.

    He is a father of  four Sean, Damien, Sara and Timothy and from a very early age to instill adventure to his children became involved with his wife Mary as a leading light in Scouting Ireland, giving of his time voluntary for over 20 years to promote the adventurous spirit in children.

    He is a County Commissioner for Cork South and heavily involved in training new Leaders and delivering Mountain Skills training to all Leaders and Scouters.

    Tony is a good story teller, has a passion for the outdoors, enjoys good food and after a hard day on the hills a few pints in good atmosphere.

    Tony is also a manager/trainer in our Health, Safety and team-building Corporate division

    Info on Sherpa's

    We at Irish and Worldwide Adventures ensure that all our agents in every destination value and treat their employees with respect and ensure their working rates and conditions are adhering to the local employment and Health & Safety guidelines. We have built up a good relationship’s with all of our operators to ensure the welfare of their team is priority. For more guidelines and information on Sherpa's please contact us.

    Itinerary

    Here is a sample daily Itinerary, on booking you will be issued a more detailed version.

    Day 01 : Meeting upon arrival at Kathmandu International airport (1350n) Bus to Pokhara (920m) Overnight in Hotel

    Day 02: Fly to Jomsom (2710m) and trek to Kagbeni (2800m) Overnight at Camp

    Day 03 : Trek to Chussang (2920m) Overnight at Camp

    Day 04 : Trek to Syangboche (38000m) Overnight at Camp

    Day 05 : Trek to Charang (3510m) Overnight at Camp

    Day 06 : Trek to Lo Mangthang (3770m) Overnight at Camp

    Day 07 : Rest Day

    Day 08: Trek to Ghiling (3500m)) Overnight at Camp

    Day 09: Trek to Samar (3660m) Overnight at Camp

    Day 10 : Trek to Yekle Bhatti (4100m) Overnight at Camp

    Day 11 : Trek to Muktinath Overnight at Camp

    Day 12 : Trek to Thorang La Overnight at Camp

    Day 13 : Climbing 6000m peak in Thorong La & Back to Muktinath Overnight at Camp

    Day 14 : Trek to Jomsom (2710m) Overnight at Hotel

    Day 15 : Fly to Pokhara (920m) Overnight at Hotel

    Day 16: Free Day in Pokhara (920m) Overnight at Hotel

    Day 17: Fly to Kathmandu

     

    ** If you want to climb Dhampus Peak, then you will have to pay for Peak Permit Fee and also the porter fee is high. But, if you Climb Throng peak, you don’t need to pay for Peak Permit and the porter as available at normal rate. The elevation of Dhampus Peak and Thorong peak is almost same.

      Preparation

      Preparation, Passports / Visa's

      Preparation - We have selected a walking weekend to help you adjust to the goal of the trek. The weekend has two walks with advice and techniques for clothing and gear given also. On the Saturday we will climb one of Irelands highest peaks during a day hike and on Sunday morning early we will go on a night hike simulating the requirements on the summit day of a trek which takes you out of your comfort zone prior to the real thing. This method allows your body and mind to adjust to the challenge ahead. For more info on this We also run Fitness assessment and Hill-walking weekends, go to our Irish training section.

      We suggest a training program of at least 6 months intensive to comfortably trek this trail

      Months 1-2 This should include weekly/fortnightly hillwalking for 3hrs+ with a small/medium pack of weight of 5-10kg approx

      Months 3-4 This should be increased to include longer days (6hrs+) and pack weight of 10kg approx. Attend our Free meet day!

      Month 5 Two days walking back to back twice giving 4 days total. Example: Saturday 7hr & Sunday 6hr = 13hrs walking. Avoid injuries at all costs!!

      Month 6 Continue with some walking but reduce to lower peaks and durations of 4hrs, avoid injuries at all costs!!

      Passport / Visas
      You will need a valid full passport, please ensure it at least have six months before expiring before we leave. Before applying for Visa please check dates on passport. Please bring 4-passport photos for visas. 

      We will need to get visa and this can be got on entry.

      Gear

      For general wear on trek: cotton pants, t-shirts and if you have light thermals these will be ideal.

      • *One pair of trekking boots for trek. These boots can be used for good wear. If you have a hillwalking pair of boots you can also bring them.  If you like comfort we recommend boots with extra insulation in sole around 150euro with vibram or similar sole.
      • *Four pair of warm trekking stockings. (Thorlo or similar)
      • *Adjustable ski poles: these take a lot of pressure off the body and makes walking less tiring. Some use two spring loaded ones as it takes 36 ton of pressure off you knees per day as well as allowing you to have a crutch to lean on when you are tired.
      • *Thermal under-wear heavy gauge: 2 Tops and 2 bottoms. Dryflo etc.
      • *1 fleece or pile jacket. Windproof is good.
      • *Wind and water proofs (Gortex or similar): Top jacket and bottoms.
      • *Sleeping bag range to - 15/20 degrees make sure it packs small.
      • Also for sleeping it is important to bring an insulating sleeping mat. I usually bring a Thermarest full-length non-slip. There is insulating mattresses provide on trek but for extra comfort bring a Thermarest.
      • *1 Water bottles with wide neck and one with narrow neck (Nalgene or similar) or one Platypus container, the platypus is ideal for trekking as you can stay hydrated by drinking from a tube as you walk.
      • *Gloves: 1pair of thermal and 1 pair over gloves or mitts, no harm in bringing spare sets.
      • *Headtorch, Petzl with spare batteries and bulbs. I cannot stress the importance of this to have in good working order. (New LED versions are also lighter and smaller)
      • *Peak hat for the lower regions to protect your head from the sun. (bandana or neck gaiter also)
      • *Ruck sack 30 liters daypack for mountain to carry your camera food and day gear.
      • *For traveling, 70-100 liters rucksack or strong gear bag- this will also do to give to porters on trek to carry your general gear.
      • *Optional for night up high for cold, a light down top or extra fleece.
      • *Personal first aid and medicine kit. (All our guides will have these for emergencies only)
      • *UV sunglasses – Cat. 3 or Cat. 4 recommeded if there is a lot of time in or near snow.
      • *2 x Earplugs pairs – If you have an inside pocket in sleeping bag, leave one there fulltime.


      Miscellaneous items:
      Sun-block (very important and use it!!)
      Backpacking towel and general toiletries.
      Insect repellent
      Extra Clothes for travelling and/or socialising.

      Tips on Gear

      Make sure your boots are well broken in. For the mountain, a layering system works best to allow you to cool down or warm up with ease - Tshirt or thermals, shirt or warm top, a good fleece and good heavy-duty waterproofs if you intend doing more treks in future. Gloves and hats are vital. Bring waterproof gear that is made of breathable material. You can use a normal 3 season sleeping bag. If you tend to get cold very easily, you can add in a sleeping bag liner. Remember that sleeping bags work on trapping layers of air so wearing clothes in your bag doesn't help. If you wear contact lenses take plenty of saline and comfort drops as the paths are dusty. Also glasses are essential for summit night as temperature and altitude may effect eyes if contacts worn. Common first aid complaints are headaches, dehydration, stomach bugs, diarrhoea, sunburn and occasional mouth ulcers. Looking after yourself with plenty of fluids, rest and enjoying the gentle ascending pace will assist in avoiding these. Your personal first aid kit should contain treatments for these minor aliments. Please get advice from your GP before departure. Money can be left in the Hotel safe. All currency can be easily changed to local currency in the cities you will be staying in. The only money you will need to carry for your treks will be to cover porter and guide tips and bottled water if you choose to purchase. (Hotels offer Launderette facilities if you wish to wash clothes following trek otherwise there is no opportunity to wash clothing. Digital cameras will cope fine with the conditions if you keep them warm close to your body where possible especially on summit morning or when reaching you highest day, otherwise batteries can run down. Spare batteries are a must.

      Published in Asia
      Friday, 01 July 2011 00:43

      Carrauntoohill Climb June 25th

      Goat on the edge - CarrauntoohilHi Lorraine,
      Just wanted to say a big Thank You for arranging our Carrauntoohil Climb last Saturday.

      It was a brilliant experience and we really enjoyed it despite the weather! (It just means we may come back again to see the scenery!!) Heavy Rainfall on Carrauntoohil

      Ian and Tony were great and kept us going along the way and I was thrilled to get the chance to meet Pat.
      Thanks again!
      Mag
      Thursday, 10 March 2011 08:41

      Spain - Camino de Santiago

      Trip:          Camino de Santiago
      Route:       Sarria to Santiago or Portomarin to Santiago
      Date:         May - June - September
      Duration:  8 Day/ 7 Nights Land Only
      Grade:       Walk - Moderate  
      Price:        From €565 pp Land Only

      Walk the final stages of the Camino from Sarria or Portomarin. An 8 day trip with a choice of 111kms or 89kms walks over 5 days

      The Camino Santiago, or way of St James is one of the most famous pilgrimage walks in the world. Its history is steeped in a tradition of over a 1000 years when pilgrims came to visit the final resting place of the Apostle who, legend has it, was buried initially in the year 44AD after his martyrdom by Herod, and whose final resting place was rediscovered early in the 9th century.

      To complete the whole journey from beginning to end could see us cover a distance of up to 800km and more, depending on from where you start. However, our challenge will be much more modest as we begin our 5 day walk from either the town of Sarria or Portomarin

      Highlights

      • Stay in rural towns and villages, some dating back to the 9th century with remain of Romanesque churches, bridges and early pilgrim hostels
      • Walk on well maintained tracks and paths through meadowlands and forests of poplars and eucalyptus
      • Enter the World Heritage City of Santiago and visiting they many historic buildings including the imposing Cathedral which evolved into the magnificent structure. It is today over 100's of years
      • Enjoy the company of fellow walkers from far and near along the way, or as we relax after each walk

      Portomarin


      An 8 day trip with 89km walk over 5 days. Our walk from Portomarin is similar to that beginning in Sarria, but without "that long day in the middle" and offers a more leisurely journey into Santiago.
      Itinerary:
      Day 1: Arrive to Santiago airport for the afternoon. On arrival, we will travel by private bus to the town of Melide (approx 1hr drive) where we will spend our first night before continuing to Portomarin the following morning to begin our walk. We will have plenty of time to relax in our hotel before meeting up again over dinner and getting to know each other *Direct flights to Santiago do not commence until May. Earlier trips will arrive at La Coruna, north of Santiago, via Heathrow
      Day 2: Walk Portomarin to Palas de Rei 22.4km Ascent: 340m The centre piece of Portomarin is the church of San Nicolas which stands in the town square. It was dismantled in the 1950s and reconstructed on higher ground when the original town was flooded to make way for a hydroelectric scheme. We will begin our walk from the church square, and crossing the river over a narrow footbridge will make our way through forest paths and farmland to arrive at our first coffee break (6km) A further 9km will see us stop after a leisurely walk for a bite of lunch before the final 7km stretch to Palas de Rei, our destination for the night
      Day 3: Walk Palas de Rei to Melide 14km Total Decent: 230m Though Palas de Rei is said to be on the site of the original Roman road between Lugo and Astorga, there are no major remains within its limits. Todays walk is short as we journey the l4km through oak and pine forests along stretches of restored Roman road as we cross from the province of Lugo to La Coruna and on to Melide where we spent our first night on arriving to Spain. And yes, there is a coffee break (after the first 6km) Time to visit the agricultural museum, church and courtyard, and civic offices
      Day 4: Walk Melide to Arzua 14km Decent: 40m Another short days walk takes us through much the same type of countryside and terrain, although the latter part of our journey sees us walking along quite country roads as we make our way to Arzua In medieval times, we would have collected a few stones from the quarries in Triacastela on our way to Sarria from the East and brought them to the furnaces at Castaneda, a few miles beyond Melide, where lime was produced for use in the construction of the Cathedral in Santiago. We pass the beautifully restored 15th century hostel at Ribadiso before entering Arzua a couple of miles further on, with its very pleasing town square where, if the weather permits, we can sit with a drink and watch fellow Pilgrims pass by as the locals go about their business
      Day 5: Walk to Rua 18km Decent: 80m Our second last days walk sees us stroll through mixed countryside of pine and eucalyptus forest paths, wide open spaces and country roads. Watching the markers along the way, we can count down the distance yet to travel to Santiago, and very shortly we will be on the right side of 20kms. We will stop for a late lunch at a busy roadside café, and from there, its only a 40 minute walk or so to our hotel, our final resting place before entering Santiago the following day
      Day 6: Walk Rua to Santiago 19km Ascent: 100m Whether you started from Portomarin, from Sarria or from further East, this is a significant day on your journey along the pilgrims route to Santiago. The city is large, and this is reflected in the change of terrain as we approach the suburbs of our final destination. We pass through Labacolla where tradition has it that pilgrims washed themselves before entering the city. We come to Monte de Gozo, or Mound of Joy and then begin our final 5km walk into the city finally arriving at Praza do Obradoiro on which stands the Cathedral. This evening is free time to explore the city and its hospitality at leisure.
      Day 7: Santiago Free day to explore the city The luxury this morning is that we don't have to pack our bag and have them ready for collection! One of the highlights will be to go, along with pilgrims, walkers and visitors alike to the Cathedral for the mid-day Mass, after which, hopefully, will culminate in the swinging of the giant Botafumeiro. There is an endless list of historical buildings and sights to see, and parks to visit for a quiet moment for yourself after the journey. We will have one final meal together before heading for the airport (Flights arrive afternoon on Day 8)

      Sometimes it is necessary to alter the location of the overnight stay There will be notes on the history and traditions of places of interest along the way

      Sarria


      An 8 day trip with 111km walk over 5 days
      Itinerary:
      Day 1: Arrive Santiago airport for the afternoon. We travel by private bus to the town of Sarria (approx 2hr) where we spend our first night before beginning the walk next day. We will have plenty of time to relax in our hotel before meeting up for dinner at a riverside cafe 5 minutes walk from the hotel. Here you will receive your Pilgrims Passport which you will get stamped along the Camino and present at the Cathedral office at the end of your journey to receive your Compostla, or Certificate. *Direct flights to Santiago do not commence until May. Earlier trips will arrive at La Coruna, north of Santiago, via Heathrow
      Day 2: Walk Sarria to Portomarin 23kms Ascent: 220m We begin our walk at 08:30 from Sarria ''of deep routed historical and Jacobean tradition'' through the narrow streets which lead to the outskirts and over the remains of an original Roman bridge before passing under a massive newly constructed highway. This is a lovely days walk through wide open spaces, quite country roads and forests alike, punctuated after 6kms by our first coffee stop of the day. Another 7kms brings us to Ferreiros, a little hamlet of just a few buildings and where we have a lunch break before the last stretch into Portomarin (a further 9kms)
      Day 3: Walk Portomarin to Palas de Rei 22kms Total Ascent: 340m The centre piece of Portomarin is the church of San Nicolas which stands in the town square. It was dismantled in the 1950s and reconstructed on higher ground when the original town was flooded to make way for a hydroelectric scheme. We will begin our walk from the church square, and crossing the river over a narrow footbridge will make our way through forest paths and farmland to arrive at our first coffee break (6km) A further 9km will see us stop after a leisurely walk for a bite of lunch before the final 7km stretch to Palas de Rei, our destination for the night
      Day 4: Walk Palas de Rei to Arzua 27kms This is a long walk, esp after the previous 2 days of over 20kms each (It is now you will be glad you got in some long distance walks at home over the last couple of months) Through Palas de Rei is said to be on the site of the original Roman road between Lugo and Astorga, there are no major remains within its limits. Today sees us walk through oak and pine forests as we cross from the province of Lugo to La Coruna. A coffee break after the usual 6kms or so, and then a lunch stop at Melide before heading on for Arzua, just under 14kms along the Camino. In medival times, we would of collected a few stones from the quarries in Triacastela on our way to Sarria from the east and brought them to the furnaces at Castaneda a few miles beyond Melide where lime was produced for use in the construction of the Cathedral in Santiago. We will walk into Arzua and stop for a well earned drink in the town square waiting for our bus to bring us back to Melide where we will stay the night
      Day 5: Walk Arzua to Rua 18kms Decent: 40m Our bus will collect us in the morning and drop us off again in Arzua, where our second last days walk sees us stroll through mixed countryside of pine and eucalyptus forest paths, wide open spaces and quiet country roads. Watching the markers along the way, we can count down the distance yet to travel to Santiago, and very shortly we will be on the right side of 20kms. We will stop for a late lunch at a busy roadside cafe and from there, it is only a 40 minute walk to our hotel- our final resting place before entering Santiago the following day
      Day 6: Walk Rua to Santiago 19km Ascent: 100m Whether you started from Portomarin, from Sarria or from further East, this is a significant day on your journey along the pilgrims route to Santiago. The city is large, and this is reflected in the change of terrain as we approach the suburbs of our final destination. We pass through Labacolla where tradition has it that pilgrims washed themselves before entering the city. We come to Monte de Gozo, or Mound of Joy and then begin our final 5km walk into the city finally arriving at Praza do Obradoiro on which stands the Cathedral. This evening is free time to explore the city and its hospitality at leisure
      Day 7: Santiago Free day to explore the city The luxury this morning is that we don't have to pack our bag and have them ready for collection! One of the highlights will be to go, along with pilgrims, walkers and visitors alike to the Cathedral for the mid-day Mass, after which, hopefully, will culminate in the swinging of the giant Botafumeiro.  If you listen carefully before the actual mass begins, you will hear 'Grupo Irlada' being called out from the alter as each group of walkers who completed the minimum distance from Sarria is acknowledged. You will have presented yourselves along with completed cards at the nearby Pilgrims office the evening before and collected your certificate. There is an endless list of historical buildings and sights to see, and parks to visit for a quiet moment for yourself after the journey. We will have one final meal together before heading for the airport (Flights arrive afternoon on Day 8)

      Sometimes it is necessary to alter the location of the overnight stay. There will be notes on the history and traditions of places of interest along the way

      Grade

      Walk: Moderate These are primarily walking holidays and require a reasonable level of fitness in order to get the most enjoyment from your week on the Camino. There is expert advice on hand to talk to you about the best footwear, clothing, etc for your walk

      Tips&Gear

      • Choose your walking shoes or light boots carefully. They should be designed for support, comfort and grip. Most blisters are as a result of poorly fitting socks of dubious quality
      • Set out a training programme for yourself. Get used to walking continuously for four hours or so once a week. Speed or distance isn't important at the beginning, just keep moving at a steady pace and build up to longer walks over varying terrain
      • Use a walking pole if you feel it gives you support over rough ground. Choose one which folds easily and fits into your luggage case when travelling
      • Spend -time choosing your rucksack, and beware of features that you don't need. A 45ltr capacity is ideal for a couple of week's walking carrying your own gear. A rain cover is essential, although an internal waterproof bag is more effective
      • Food and drink: Generally speaking eat what ever you like best, just eat plenty of it. And remember that you're eating today for tomorrow, so a substantial meal late at night is often a good thing for an early start and a long distance. Have a few bars or biscuits for a snack. Keep hydrated, a little and often, and water is best
      • Plan tomorrow's walk: Check the map or the route, know the distance, tick off the coffee stops or rest breaks, be aware of steep climbs coming up. Be aware of any history or culture associated with the route and look around you to take in the sights
      • Carry a basic first aid kit. Bandage for sprains, wipes and a selection of plasters for cuts or grazes, blister pads for the feet. If you are taking medication with you make sure that you have enough for the entire stay - and an extra supply in case of delays or emergencies

      Dates&Prices


      Prices are per person sharing Land Only. Flights can be arranged for your trip

      Sarria: May 4th - May 11st 2013 €615pp

      Sarria: Jun 15th - Jun 22th 2013 €615pp

      Sarria: Juln29th - July 6th 2013 €615pp

      Sarria: Aug 31th - Sept 7th 2013 €615pp
      Sarria: Sept 07th - Sept 14th 2013 €615pp

      Portomarin: May 11th - May 18th  2013 €565pp
      Portomarin: July 20th - July 27th  2013 €565pp
      Portomarin: Sept 14th - Sept 21th  2013 €565pp

      Price includes:

      • B&B in Hotels along the way (Twin Sharing)
      • Private transfer to/ from Airports
      • Luggage transfers to the next Hotel along route
      • Walk Leader
      Price excludes:
      • Personal items
      • International flights to/from Spain
      • Single Supplements apply



      Published in Europe
      Monday, 28 February 2011 21:24

      Camping Weekends

      Trip:         Camping Weekend
      Altitude:    2000 to 2500 ft (Various to location)
      Route:      Kerry Mountains - Cork Mountains - Clare Mountains - Wicklow Mountains - Connemara
      Date:        Summer & Autumn
      Duration:  Various to Course
      Grade:      Moderate  
      Price:       Various to Course

      Camping Weekends & Survival Courses Suitable for all - young, old, male, female, experienced or total novice to the outdoors. Individuals & Private Groups welcome.

      We meet at one of our various locations throughout Ireland. After introductions, briefing (and maybe a light lunch!) your (survival) training begins.

      While all courses at the Pat Falvey School of Mountaineering have a course outline, skills are taught with 'hands on' approach in an informal, fun environment by our fully trained and highly experienced trainers.

      Available throughout Ireland

      Camping


      A weekend of light weight camping & tuition in the uplands of Ireland. A wonderful experience to share with family, friends, work mates - All groups catered for. Skills Gained include introduction into the outdoors, backwoods cooking, Introduction to Navigation Skills & Irelands upland flora & fauna

      3 Day Course


      Learn to keep your head in difficult situations! Gain skills by putting them into practice. Course involve sleeping in the great outdoors (in self built shelters), Navigation Skills (Map work and Nature), Camp Craft and:

      * Planning and Preparation for your time on the hills
      * Fire Lighting & Water Sourcing
      * Safety Measures & Essentail items to carry
      * Backwoods Cooking (NO ANIMALS HARMED DURING COURSE)
      * Emergency procedures & Survival Equipment
      * S.O.S Signals
      * Looking after yourself - Health & Hygiene
      * And lots more...

      Stag /Hen/ Occassion


      Looking for something different - Look no further! Learn how to make your own shelters, how to trap and prepare as well as cooking your own food. An experience you will never forget. We can tailor your course to include special activities plus content as outlined in 3 Day Survival Course (surprise element!) Fun adventure weekend packed with activity

      Family/ Group Adventure


      Great experience to encourage bonding within families (without realising) or 'united' team approach within groups. Learn how to deal with situations as they arise! Children and adults cope differently, as in their way of learning. A young child may not take in everything that they are taught but participation leads to learning. Skills learnt encourage young and old to 'have a sense about them' We all do things at times without being prepared fully either mentally or physically. To take the time to learn some of the essential survival skills, it might one day prove to be invaluable and save your life or someone elses. Skills learned outlined in 3 Day Survival Course

      Team Building


      Just what your team needs to think as one! Combination of Survival Skills over 1, 2 or 3 Days to be tailored to suit your Company's needs

      Itinerary


      Friday evening - Sunday lunch time (or week day equilivent)

      Contact us to discuss date availability

      Weekends can be aided or unaided

      Grade


      Trek: Moderate Suitable to all and can be achieved by a beginner with training being provided as you go. A good level of fitness is desirable to allow you to enjoy your weekend

      Date



      Summer & Autumn - Contact us to check availability. Set Dates Coming Soon

      Prices


      Camping: €150pp Min No. 8 Max No. 14

      Survival Skills: €200pp Min 4 Max 10

      Teambuilding Course: Contact us to discuss details of your Event

      Group Bookings & Discounts Available

      Price includes:
      Tentage & Cooking Equipment
      Return transport to Start Point
      Price excludes:
      Personal items (See recommended Gear List)

      Gear


      Tentage and Cooking Gear Supplied. Personal Gear participants own

      Equipment
      3 to 4 season sleeping bag
      Walking stick
      Day sack/backpack
      Headtorch / headlamp
      Basic First Aid Kit
      Water bottle
      Penknife (useful)
      Clothing
      Good walking boots and socks
      Comfortable shoes/slippers for camp/guesthouse
      Trekking pants
      Lightweight waterproof over-trousers / rain-pants
      Underwear inc Long johns
      T-shirts
      Fleece jacket or warm jumper
      Lightweight windproof/waterproof jacket
      Hat
      Sunglasses (summer) Goggles (Winter)
      Lightweight thermal or fleece gloves
      Other
      Personal items (e.g. towel, sunscreen, wipes, toilet tissues, antibacterial handwash)
      Small First Aid Kit including insect repellent, plasters, meds & Repair Kit (i.e needle, thread, duct tape)
      Small rubbish bag to carry out what you carry in
      Matches e.g. burn toilet paper
      Trail snacks
      Zip-Up bags for camera

      Extras


      We offer Free Pick Up & Drop off service within 15 mile radius of start/ end point. Accommodation can be arranged for nights pre&post course. Contact us for details

      All course participants receive a Completion Certificate at the end of the course

      Food: During the course, nature will provide your meals (with meat/ poultry being supplied) Vegetarians, Vegans or special dietary requirements can be catered for.



      Published in Skills Training
      Friday, 03 December 2010 15:47

      Patagonia Big Circuit Torres del Paine

      Trip:                 Big Circuit in Torres del Paine National Park
      Altitude:           2850m / 9350ft
      Route:             Punta Arenas - Puerto Natales - Torres del Paine National Park
      Date:               Sept 2011 - April 2012
      Duration:          11 Days - 10 Nights
      Grade:             Moderate
      Price:               From €1850pps


      Trekking is an excellent way to discover the natural beauties of Patagonia from up close. Explore breathtaking mountains, turquoise-colored lakes and thousand year old glaciers that descend from the Patagonian ice fields into evergreen temperate rainforests; smell the scent of wild flowers, hear the thunder of a distant avalanche and feel the howling Patagonian wind. Guaranteed Departures - Don't jeopardize you holidays! Sign up now!


      Overview


      Trek the full Torres del Paine Circuit! The Circuit includes the 'W' the trail along the southern slopes of the Paine Massif, and adds the more remote northern part of Torres del Paine. Join us on this self-sustained trekking and camping tour -true trekker style- to explore the most spectacular landscapes of Torres del Paine National Park: windswept pampas, breathtaking mountains, beautiful lakes and massive glaciers that descend into evergreen temperate rainforests.

      Without doubt, this trekking tour offers you the best you can get in your adventure to Patagonia! On this trekking tour, our small groups are limited to 8 trekking members maximum, making for a personalized experience so  join us for an unforgettable adventure at the End of the World!

      Dates


      Weekly Departure Dates in March and April 2011

      Weekly Departure Dates Sept 2011 thru to April 2012

      Itinerary


      Day 1: Punta Arenas - Penguin Colony - Puerto Natales
      Arrive in Punta Arenas and meet your local guide. Later, visit the penguin colony at Seno Otway, where during the Patagonian summer months thousands of Magellanic penguins hatch and bring up their offspring. In the afternoon, transfer by public bus to the picturesque town of Puerto Natales. This evening, we meet for a final gear check and last preparations for Torres del Paine. The travel time including the penguin colony is about 6 hours. Note All participants must arrive in Punta Arenas before noon
      Day 2: Puerto Natales - Torres del Paine National Park
      After a good breakfast, we transfer to Torres del Paine National Park. We begin our adventure at the southern end of the Park, near the park ranger's administration center. Hiking in from the administration center and adding this first leg to the Circuit actually makes for a "Q" rather then an "O". This part of the trek is as impressive as it can possibly get, in terms of an "introduction" to the Park: the whole Paine massif stretches in front of you like a dream as you are trekking towards it. The first night, we camp at a place known to the locals as Las Carretas. It's only two hours down the trail from the administration center, but makes for a great first camp - away from the crowds, getting some quiet and peace. Welcome to Torres del Paine! [B, L, D]
      Day 3: Las Carretas - Italiano Camp
      Today, we push on another five hours to Campamento Italiano. Italiano is a magnificent camp area and sits at the mouth of the spectacular Valle Francés, the French Valley. We camp next to a beautiful river, protected nicely by a forest of old Lenga trees. We have some free time on this day, so weather permitting, we head up into the valley for a sneak-peek [B, L, D]
      Day 4: Italiano Camp - French Valley and Glacier - Los Cuernos
      This morning, we leave everything behind and we only pack up our backpacks with some food, rain gear, camera, and just a few basics, and head up into Valle Francés light. It’s a steep hike, so going light is nice. The valley offers natural lookouts; ice falls, avalanches, amazing mountain formations... impressive! A true highlight of Torres del Paine National Park. And after a day exploring Valle Francés, we head down again and pack up our camp and progress another two hours to Los Cuernos Camp. A great camp site, located directly under the Cuernos and a stones throw from the beach. We retire to our tents that night for a well deserved night's sleep [B, L, D]
      Day 5: Los Cuernos - Las Torres Base Camp
      Today, after a big breakfast we take on our longest day yet. Our trek takes us around the base of Mount Almirante Nieto (8,753ft/ 2,668m), up into Asencio Valley, to our camp at Campamento Las Torres. This is a long day and we take many breaks for view points and photo stops. Here again, we make camp in a thick Lenga forest which protects us from the harsh Patagonian winds [B, L, D]
      Day 6: Las Torres Base Camp - Torres del Paine lookout - Las Torres Campground
      On this morning, we get up and ready before dawn. This is our big chance to see the three famous Paine Towers (9,350ft/ 2,850m) get hit by the first morning rays of sun, which can turn the towers bright red. We again leave our camp behind and only bring our packs loaded with our warm layers. We head up the steep trail for 1 hour to the Torres del Paine lookout "Base Las Torres", and some of the most amazing photos ever. We get warm, have some hot drinks at the base of the Towers and do this morning right! We pack up and head downhill to our next campsite next to Refugio Las Torres. It's been a long day. By now, you have already trekked The "W". We close the book on the first half of our trek, and take a long afternoon to repack, reassess and we call it a day [B, L, D]
      Day 7: Las Torres campground - Dickson
      Today, we start the back side of The Circuit, early and refreshed. And it’s a good thing, because we have an 8-10 hour trek to Dickson Camp before us. It seems like a real distance, but the terrain is milder then The "W" and you cover a lot of ground fast. This is a much different experience than The "W". We camp at Camping Dickson, at a beautiful spot right next to Lake Dickson [B, L, D]
      Day 8: Dickson - Los Perros Camp
      We progress easily to Los Perros Camp, in only about 4 hours. We are not in a hurry today, so we can enjoy a late sleep or an early morning hike. But our next camp, Los Perros, is a remote campsite, and although it seems like a short day, we only have enough time to make it to this next camp today. At Perros we call it camp for the day [B, L, D]
      Day 9: Los Perros Camp - John Gardner Pass - Los Guardas Camp
      This is the day of the famous John Gardner Pass. The biggest challenge about the Paso John Gardner is the wind. The terrain is manageable, and the view from the top of the pass is breathtaking. The view below of Grey Glacier (and the Patagonian Ice Field on a clear day) is one of the most amazing moments you’ll experience in Patagonia, hands down. We push on and make camp at Los Guardas Camp [B, L, D]
      Day 10: Los Guardas Camp - Pehoé Lake - Puerto Natales
      After a good breakfast we trek five hours to Paine Grande Lodge, right on the edge of the turquoise-colored Lago Pehoé. We cross Lago Pehoé by catamaran and head back to Puerto Natales. Congratulations, you did the Torres del Paine Circuit - and better yet: The "Q" [B, L]
      Day 11: Puerto Natales - Punta Arenas - Farewell Patagonia
      Take the public bus from Puerto Natales to Punta Arenas (about 3h). You can also be dropped off directly at the airport according to your flight schedule to fly to Santiago de Chile and connect with your homeward-bound flight. Otherwise, simply enjoy this day in Patagonia at your leisure. [B]
      Note If you want to fly out this same day, your flight must leave after 11:00 a.m.
      Included Meals B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner

      Prices


      1 to 4 trip members: €2050 per person
      5 to 8 trip members: €1850 per person

      Prices are based on Double Occupancy in Puerto Natales and in Torres del Paine.

      Single occupancy is available for €120 per person. In case you book single accommodation. Please keep in mind that this also means that you will carry a complete tent rather then "half", sharing the other half with one of your trekking companions

      Trip members Minimum 1, maximum 8 persons

      Tour Includes
      * Transportation and Excursions according to the program*
      * 2 Night in guest house in Puerto Natales (single and double rooms, private bathrooms)
      * 8 nights camping in Torres del Paine (some without facilities)
      * Meals specified in the program - Not included: additional alcoholic and/ or non-alcoholic beverages, which you can buy at some of the campgrounds
      * We provide all necessary cooking and camping gear (except sleeping bags)
      * Entrance fees to Torres del Paine National Park and the penguin colony
      * Local, bilingual trekking guide (Spanish and English speaking)
      * The penguin colony at Seno Otway is open from October 15, 2010 through March 31, 2011. Outside these dates, unfortunately, we can't visit the penguins
      Excludes:
      * Travel arrangements/ airfare to/ from Punta Arenas, Patagonia, Chile
      * Sleeping bag (You must have a sleeping bag for the nights in Torres del Paine. If you prefer not to bring your own, you may rent one at a reasonable price.  Please let us know in advance to arrange this for you.)
      * Additional Beverages, which you can buy at some of the campgrounds
      * Optional tips to your trekking guide and/ or other people working for you

      Grade


      You will be active for between six to eight hours per day. You will cover steeper and more rugged terrain carrying your big backpack, including tent, sleeping bag, stove, cooking utensils and food. You need to be in excellent health and excellent physical condition to enjoy this trip. Camping is the preferred option on these trekking tours. The trails are well established and campgrounds may offer extra services, such as a little shop and/ or hot showers.

      Gear



      General wear on Trek: Cotton pants, T-shirts & Light Thermals

      One pair of trekking boots for trek
      Four pair of warm trekking stockings (Thorlo or similar)
      Adjustable ski poles: these take a lot of pressure off the body and makes walking less tiring. Some use two spring loaded ones as it takes 36 ton of pressure off you knees per day as well as allowing you to have a crutch to lean on when you are tired.
      Thermal under-wear heavy gauge: 2 Tops and 2 bottoms (Dryflo etc)
      Fleece or Pile Jacket. Windproof is good
      Wind and Waterproofs (Gortex or similar): Top jacket and bottoms
      Sleeping bag range to - 15/20 degrees make sure it packs small
      Thermarest (Can be supplied locally)
      1 Water bottles with wide neck and one with narrow neck (Nalgene or similar) or one Platypus container, the platypus is ideal for trekking as you can stay hydrated by drinking from a tube as you walk
      Gloves: 1pair of thermal and 1 pair over gloves or mitts, no harm in bringing spare sets
      Headtorch, Petzl with spare batteries and bulbs. I cannot stress the importance of this to have in good working order (New LED versions are also lighter and smaller)
      Peak hat for the lower regions to protect your head from the sun (Bandana or Neck Gaiter also)
      70-100 liters rucksack or strong gear bag to carry your Gear
      Optional for night up high for cold, a light down top or extra fleece
      Personal first aid and medicine kit (All our guides will have these for emergencies only)
      UV sunglasses – Cat. 3 or Cat. 4 recommeded if there is a lot of time in or near snow
      2 x Earplugs pairs – If you have an inside pocket in sleeping bag, leave one there fulltime

      Miscellaneous items:
      Sun-block (very important and use it!!)
      Backpacking towel and general toiletries
      Insect repellent
      Extra Clothes for travelling and/or socialising



      Published in South America
      Thursday, 09 September 2010 15:12

      Tomies, Purple & Shehy

      Trip:                            Tomies, Purple and Shehy
      Altitude/Distance:     800m / 11.5km
      Route:                        Tomies Wood- Gortadirra(479m)
      Date:                          Guides available all year round
      Duration:                    4- 6 hours
      Grade:                       Trek - Easy /Moderate
      Price:                         €75pp

      Overlooking Lough Leane to the North East, these 3 peaks are separated from the Macgillycuddys Reeks by the Gap of Dunloe. Purple Mountain derives its name from the colour of the sandstone rock, which emits a purple hue under favourable light conditions. This is a moderate circular walk taking in Tomies, Purple and Shehy that offers wonderous views of the Gap and the Reeks as well as those of Lough Leane and Killarney.

      Route


      A straightforward enjoyable walk in towards Tomies Wood but vering for the hills to summit your first peak of the day- Gortadirr(479m). From here, we make a push up to Tomies where the slopes become steeper. From the cairn at Tomies summit(735m) you get your first dramatic view of Purple Mountain and the Gap of Dunloe beneath. Breathless scenery as we make the nice easy grade ridge walk passing minor summit points at 695m and 757m before the summit of Purple. Descending, the col or valley of Coomclochan below,the views are dramatic out over lough Leane and Killarney beyond. Contouring down off Shehy, we return to the forestry and the welcome track of Tomies Wood. This last section is a gentle walk through beautiful forestry with deer glimpsed through the trees and a lovely waterfall at O'Sullivans Cascade. This gentle walk leads you back to the gate where you started.

      Grade


      Trek: Easy/ Moderate
      Suitable for beginner. Enjoyable day that allows a great introduction to hillwalking

      Gear


      Below is a recommended basic hillwalking gear list. If you can have some or most of the items great. If you cannot please contact us and there is no problems arranging some options from the guide on the day. You will find the more you do hillwalking, the more you will like to spend on gear, there are very good reasons why people purchase expensive gear and that is to keep them dry, warm and comforatble even in the most extreme conditions. This is very important during colder conditions. You do not have to buy all of the below unless you are going to do more in near future, but if possible try to borrow some of it and we can give you some advice on the day before you buy your own. Also most Ski-wear is suitable, although the heavier items, more so in winter

      • Good walking/mountaineering boots. Waterproof for wet and/or cold
      • Socks (Thorlo, Thermolite or similar)
      • Thermal top base (dryflo, capilene or sports top) and mid layers (In winter several layers may be needed)
      • Good fleece or softshell
      • Trekking pants in summer, Thermal fleece pants in winter (Softshell pants are quite common also)
      • Wind and water proofs (Gore-Tex or similar): Jacket and Trousers
      • Head gear: thermal hat and/or sunhat. (Buff, neck gaiter, optional) or balaclava in winter
      • Adjustable ski poles, Leki or similar: these take a lot of pressure off the body and makes walking less tiring. I usually use two Leki spring loaded as it takes 36 ton of pressure off you knees per day as well as allowing you to have a crutch to lean on when your tired *Optional
      • Gloves: 1pair of thermal and 1 pair over gloves or mitts(optional), no harm in brining spare sets. I always bring a pair of fleece and buffalo mitts for high on the mountain as it can get very cold and by having your fingers together it keeps them warm
      • 1/ 2 Lt Water bottle or platypus in its own plastic bag
      • Lunch consisting of sandwich/snack and sweets, seeds, oatbars or fruit (keep in plastic bag)
      • Small Rucksack big enough to carry your spares and Lunch. (Line this with strong black bag)
      • Spare Top mid layer, socks and gloves
      • Camera with good battery and memory capacity
      • 1 x Flask with hot drink *Optional
      • Map OSI 78 and Compass (silva type 4) *Optional

      Private Groups

      The most popular option for many of our clients.

      We reguraly organise day long excursions,weekend & mid-week breaks and outings for individuals, coporate groups, sports teams, families and friends. The benefits are endless and we can organise all the logistics for you, from transport to accommodation, team building, military bootcamps, walking, trekking, abseiling....the activities are endless. We are your one stop adventure company who pride ourselves on providing the best of adventures in some of the most beautiful locations in the world.

      Please contact our office to further discuss the benefits of a private course or guided walk/expedition you would like to challenge your team, group, family or friends with!

      Published in Hillwalking
      Thursday, 24 June 2010 11:24

      Patagonia 7 Day Torres del Paine

      Trip:                 Torres del Paine National Park Patagonia
      Max Altitude:    Paine Grande Mount, (3050 meters height)
      Route:              Big Circuit
      Date:                October to April
      Duration:          15 Days- 7 Days Trekking
      Per Day Trek:    6 hours average
      Grade:              Moderate
      Price:               Contact us for details

      The name Patagonia brings to our minds remoteness, adventure, mystery and somehow magic.

      It is the land where just a couple of centuries ago pirates and corsairs coexisted with the aboriginal people. The place where hundreds of adventurous expeditionaries went looking for new domains. The place that thousands of immigrants from all over Europe chose as a land of promises to start all over again.

      The history in Patagonia is one that could have been taken from a novel more than from reality but this mythical land also concerns nature. Its stunning landscape contrasting mountains carved by receding ice, endless flat pampas and the deep blue of hundreds of glaciers.

      Our trip to Patagonia will take you through a diversity of experiences. You will be challenged at several levels: physically, emotionally and mentally. Powerful hikes and stunning views where wildlife plays an important role and the impressive geology of the Massif of Paine will make you wonder and reflect.

      Route


      Our trip will take us to the heart of Chilean Patagonia, to the National Park Torres del Paine, located in the southern most region of this narrow and long country: Chile.

      After a 6 hours driving with some photo stops we will arrive to our Camp to start the adventure in this area of the world called after the Patagon, Spanish word for Big Foot, the aboriginal people that inhabited the region for 12.000 years.

      We are going to circumnavigate the Massif of Paine hiking for 7 days doing what is called the ‘Big Circuit’. The Massif of Paine is an impressive range of mountains that form a loop and that has its charm in the shape of its peaks more than in the altitude of them. The National Park is 242.240 hectares (about 600.000 acres) and contains a variety of wildlife, flora, cascades, forests, lakes, glaciers and the Massif itself.

      During these 7 days we are going to be hiking an average of 6 hours a day with the chance of overlooking magnificent backgrounds while trekking. Once the Big Circuit is complete we are going to exchange the yet comfortable last campsite for a 4 star hotel: Hotel Rio Serrano still within the area of the National Park Torres de Paine.

      This is a fascinating hike that captures all your senses. The weather is definitely an issue and part of the adventure. We just ask you not to count on it to enjoy Patagonia. Its unpredictability is an important ingredient in this remote area and although strong winds blow very often and the rain may come at any moment, the sun can shine all day and it can be warm, just don’t count on it- In a land of explorers become an explorer yourself.

      Grade


      Trek: Moderate - A reasonable amount of fitness is required. We recommend: 2 hours of hill walking in the Irish hills a day.The hike around the circuit is of low to medium difficulty with moraines and steep sections. You are going to be walking an average of 6 hours a day being 10 hours the longest.There will be no technical hiking or climbing.

      Prices


      Included:
      Flights to and from Santiago de Chile as well as to and from Punta Arenas
      All land transportation in Chile
      Excursions according to programme
      Entrance fee to the National Park.
      7 nights camping in dome tents (North Face Mountain 25- 1 person and VE 25 -2 persons)
      Therm-a-Rest ProLite 4TM sleeping matresses
      All meals specified in the programme during the 10 days in the National Park
      1 night in a 4 star hotel in the National Park
      1 night in a 4 star hotel in Punta Arenas
      Entrance fee to the Milodon Cave
      Local English speaking trekking guide
      Excluded:
      Drinks
      Sleeping bag
      Optional personal porter for personal gear
      Optional Ice Hiking Tour
      Optional tips to your guide
      Insurance Liabilities
      Eventual medical or rescues expenses
      Travel insurance

      Accommodation Details

      EcoCamp Located in the heart of Torres del Paine, the EcoCamp consists of tented igloo-type domes built to minimize the environmental impact while providing a comfortable setting and maximum exposure to nature. There is electricity available for charging just camera batteries (voltage: 220 Volts at 50 Hertz, two round pins plug). Food at the EcoCamp has the same quality as the one you will have on a family dinner at your home, this means it is plenty and delicious!

      Standard Domes at EcoCamp For our trekking programs the accommodations at the standard domes are in a sharing basis only. There is not single accommodation availability unless a "forced" single accommodation is needed due to different gender single travelers not willing to share. Bathrooms are located in a single facility divided by gender and are shared by all the guests; they have showers with hot water.

      Refugios These are typical mountain huts, open to the public that visits Torres del Paine. It has rooms for 4-6 people. The beds are single, bunk type and we will provide you with a sleeping bag and a polar fleece liner (you don't need to bring a sleeping bag!). The bathrooms are also shared and they have hot water. The refugios are heated and have a very comfortable dining area. Food at the refugios could sometimes don’t match your expectative, it is simple food prepared for mountain people with low emphasis in flavor and presentation.

      Transport In Torres del Paine and throughout Patagonia transport is in minivans that normally seat from 8 to 14 persons. When we have only 2 to 4 persons we use smaller vehicles, usually 4x4, driven by the tour guide. On the regular departure trips you will share the vehicle with other EcoCamp guests joining other tours. On the private departure, the vehicle will be of your use exclusively although limited to the given itinerary and time schedules; additionally arrival and departure transfers for private groups might be shared with other passengers following our environmental policy which impel our operations to keep the ecological impact as low as possible and thus avoiding to drive the same way at the same time with two half-empty vehicles.

      Itinerary


      Day 1: Leave Ireland
      Day 2: Arrival in Santiago. Overnight
      Day 3: Flight to Punta Arenas After a 4 hour flight, you will meet your trekking guide at the airport. Then a private van is going to take you straight to Torres del Paine National Park. The drive takes about 6 hours. During the trip already some wildlife will be seen: rheas, guanacos, flamingos, foxes and wide variety of birds, including probably the majestic Andean condor. Also along the road is not rare to see a typical gaucho, a very traditional character of the Pampas, herding thousands of sheep. That evening we will stay at our Eco camp and enjoy a nice welcome dinner in the dinning tent prepared by our chef Luis. Hot showers are available at this camp site. (S, D)
      Day 4: The Base of Las Torres After a good breakfast, we start the trek to the base of the Torres: 3 granite spires after which the park has been named. It is a 4 hour hike before you reach the viewpoint at 720 meters above sea level (2,400 feet). You will experience different kind of terrain. There is some steepness at the beginning and then it becomes a medium difficulty hike through beech tree forests ending with 45 minutes on a steep moraine. The reward is to stand right in front of these impressive towers that go 2,000 meters (6,700 feet) above a glacial lake. Then we have to go same way back to our camp site at the foot of the Massif, where again a delicious hot meal will be waiting (B, L, D)
      Day 5: Las Torres Camp to Camp Seron The next step of the Paine circuit is probably the easiest one of the trip, lasting just 4 hours. It takes you through mature forests and open grass land sprinkled with wild flowers. You will observe a wide diversity of birds. Tonight we are going to camp at Seron campsite (B, L, D)
      Day 6: Camp Seron – Lake Dickson During this walk we cross a low but steep path and then continue east beside the river to Lake Paine walking along the northern slopes of the Massif. In the evening we can spend some leisure time at the shore of the lake from where it is possible to see Dickson Glacier in the distance. Total walking time will be 6 hours. We will overnight at Dickson camping site. (B, L, D)
      Day 7: Lake Dickson – Los Perros Campsite Today we will walk along Los Perros River through a thick southern beech forest, to reach the campsite of the same name after 5 hours trekking. Once in the campsite you may choose to rest in preparation for the next day or join us in an optional hike to Punta Puma Glacier (total of 2 hours). The campsite is in the middle of an old growth forest. (B, L, D)
      Day 8: Los Perros Campsite – Lake Grey This is likely to be the most demanding trekking day of the whole circuit, but certainly the reward make up for the effort. We climb 716 meters (2,350 feet) in altitude to reach the John Garner Path after a 3 hour hike. Then you have in front of you one of the most spectacular vistas in the Park: a big part of the southern Patagonian Ice Cap, the third largest water reserve in the world after Antarctica and Greenland. Weather permitting many unclimbed peaks will be seen in the distance. Then we start descending towards Grey Glacier and continue in rolling terrain to Grey campsite. Total walking time: 10 hours approximately. Hot showers are available. (B, L, D)
      Day 9: Lake Grey - Lake Pehoe You can take an optional hike to explore Grey Glacier from up close and try Ice Trekking yourself. This 3 to 4 hour trek makes for one of the most fantastic adventures within the park. In the afternoon we continue doing the last part of the Big Circuit overlooking a panorama of Grey Lake and the floating icebergs on it. The chances of seeing the Patagonian mountain lion, the puma, are higher in this part of the circuit, so keep your eyes open not to miss the chance of taking a photo as they are quite shy and would run away very quick. After about 4 hours, we reach Pehoe campsite on the shore of the aquamarine coloured Lake Pehoe. Here we will spend the night in our own comfortable Camp, where our chef is going to treat us with one of his splendid specialities for dinner. Hot showers are available. (B, L, D)
      Day 10: French Valley and French Glacier We take off for another superb experience and hike into the French Valley. This is a low difficulty 3 hour walk with again a fantastic view. Today we are going to be looking at Paine Grande Mountain which holds the highest peak in the Massif (3,050 meters or 10,004 feet) and the Cuernos of Paine (The Horns) the other group of 3 peaks that standout in every photo bearing the name Patagonia, unique because of their dark top of sedimentary rock. Meadow larks, terns, sierra finches, cinnamon harriers and a large variety of species can be observed along the hike. Avalanches on Paine Grande are quite common to hear and see at a safe distance. We then arrive at what is called the Italian Camp from where you can see the French Glacier, a reconstituted glacier formed from the debris of hanging glaciers, coming down almost to meet the French river.  Now we will give you 2 options: we can either hike back to our base camp at Lake Pehoe ( 5 to 6 hours round trip ) or keep going further up the valley for about one more hour to get more incredible vistas of the surrounding mountains. Weather permitting this extension offers one of the most spectacular sceneries in the National Park. We overnight at our campsite by Lake Pehoe. (B, L, D)
      Day 11: Crossing of Lake Pehoe – Rio Serrano Hotel Today we cross the lake on a Catamaran. A private van is going to be waiting on the other side and after a very short drive of approximately 10 minutes we are going to visit Salto Grande a waterfall that is a highlight in the Park. Next we drive to Rio Serrano Hotel, a 4 star hotel that is right outside the limits of the Park and has a privileged vista of the complete Paine Massif. This drive will take one hour approximately (B, L, D)
      Day 12: National Park Torres del Paine – Punta Arenas We go out from the Park through a different route from the one we came, now on the west side.  The first stop after one hour drive will be The Milodon Cave, an archaeological site where bones and pieces of skin of an ancient sloth were found at the end of the 19th Century. After this visit we head to Puerto Natales. This small picturesque town situated by the Last Hope Sound will be our stop for lunch. Here we can choose among a variety of restaurants from trendy, cosy, hip to a typical Patagonian “Parrillada”  ( barbecue) starring the famous Magellan lamb. The vistas of the Patagonian Andes are spectacular and certainly this little town has a privileged location by the fjord that is home to hundreds of black neck swans and king cormorants. After lunch we drive to Punta Arenas, the capital of the region, 250 kilometres south. This will take about 2.5 hours. The southern most city in the American continent, Punta Arenas is located by the Straits of Magellan and its population is 120.000 inhabitants that are a mixture of cultures due to the immigrants that establish here by the end of the 19th century. This fusion of backgrounds can be appreciated in the architecture and style of the city.Here you are staying in a nice four stars hotel and again you can chose among a wide variety of good restaurants. All of them will include Magellan King Crab and fresh Patagonian lamb in their menus.
      Day 13: Flight Punta Arenas – Santiago - Ireland

      Preparation


      Passport:  You will need a valid full passport, please ensure it has at least six months before Expiry Date

      Visa (Tourist Visa) No visa is required for Irish Citizen to enter Chile

      Health Precautions Immunization: Contact your GP for up to date guidelines or visit www.travelhealth.ie First aid kit: Small personal first aid kit with some stomach tablets

      Baggage: Please make sure that your baggage is clearly marked with your name, inside as well as outside, in case the labels get detached.  Our weight limit on ticket is 25 kilos for flight, we usually have no problem leaving with more then this from Ireland but sometimes the Nepalese look for tips if over or a hefty fine on excess weight.
      Whilst on trek, I recommend you to pack your clothes in plastic bags to ensure they remain dry. Your entire trek luggage (including your sleeping bag) should, if at all possible, be packed into one kitbag or rucksack.  Extra baggage may be left in the hotel in Kathmandu while you are trekking.

      Pre Expedition Meet/ Training Our Pre-expedition meetings are designed as part of the preparation process. All team members are invited to partake; it is a good idea to have these meeting once you have made up your mind to take on an expedition. The meetings include a thorough briefing on all aspects of the trip and provide an ideal opportunity to clear up any final questions you may have. A Date will be confirmed for Meet with your Tour Leader. Additional Training Courses available- See out School of Mountaineering for details

      Some other important Tips: From Camp Torres (Day 5) to Camp Paine Grande (Day 9), you will carry your own personal belongings, including sleeping bag, clothing etc. Local porters assist us with group camping equipment. Porters do not carry personal gear, so we recommend you take only necessities. In case you want to hire your own personal porter for your personal gear this will have an extra cost of US$250approx and he will carry up to 15 kilos. For meals during camping we provide all kitchen gear and meals are going to be prepared by our own staff. Lunch during trekking days will be Pack Lunches.

      Weather The vast unbroken stretch of ocean to the west and south of the South American continent leaves the Patagonian Andes very exposed to the saturated winds that circle the Antarctic landmass. Also, both the strong marine and the South Patagonic Ice field influence make the weather hard to predict. In spring or early summer fine weather may deteriorate almost without warning, bringing rains and eventually snow. Even in summer (December to march) you should come prepared to find cold- strong winds (up to 130 km/hr) and rainfalls. The summer’s average temperature is 11ºC/52ºF (24ºCmax, 2ºC min).

      Gear


      General wear on Trek: Cotton pants, T-shirts and Light Thermals
      * One pair of trekking boots for trek. These boots can be used for good wear also (Recommended Ecco Trekker). If you have a hillwalking pair of boots you can also bring them. If you like comfort we recommend boots with extra insulation in sole around 150euro with vibram or similar sole
      * Four pair of warm trekking stockings (Thorlo or similar)
      * Adjustable ski poles: these take a lot of pressure off the body and makes walking less tiring. Some use two spring loaded ones as it takes 36 ton of pressure off you knees per day as well as allowing you to have a crutch to lean on when you are tired
      * Thermal under-wear heavy gauge: 2 Tops and 2 bottoms (Dryflo etc)
      * 1 fleece or pile jacket. Windproof is good
      * Wind and water proofs (Gortex or similar): Top jacket and bottoms
      * Sleeping bag range to - 15/20 degrees make sure it packs small
      * Also for sleeping it is important to bring an insulating sleeping mat. (Can be supplied locally)
      * 1 Water bottles with wide neck and one with narrow neck (Nalgene or similar) or one Platypus container, the platypus is ideal for trekking as you can stay hydrated by drinking from a tube as you walk
      * Gloves: 1pair of thermal and 1 pair over gloves or mitts, no harm in bringing spare sets
      * Headtorch, Petzl with spare batteries and bulbs. I cannot stress the importance of this to have in good working order (New LED versions are also lighter and smaller)
      * Peak hat for the lower regions to protect your head from the sun (bandana or neck gaiter also)
      * For traveling, 70-100 liters rucksack or strong gear bag- this will also do to carry your general gear
      * Optional for night up high for cold, a light down top or extra fleece
      * Personal first aid and medicine kit (All our guides will have these for emergencies only)
      * UV sunglasses – Cat. 3 or Cat. 4 recommeded if there is a lot of time in or near snow
      * 2 x Earplugs pairs – If you have an inside pocket in sleeping bag, leave one there fulltime

      Miscellaneous items:
      Sun-block (very important and use it!!)
      Backpacking towel and general toiletries
      Insect repellent
      Extra Clothes for travelling and/or socialising




      Published in South America
      Trip:
      Arctic Watch wilderness experience, Nunavut, Canadian High Arctic
      Altitude:
      Sea level with some small hilltops climbed max. 150m
      Route:
      Yellowknife - Somerset island - Arctic Watch Lodge
      Date:
      Early July to Mid August - Book for 2011 - Limited places
      Duration:
      7 Days from Yellowknife - 5.5 Days Activities
      Grade:
      Trekking & Tours – Easy to Moderate
      Price:
      From $7900 + GST 2.5% Land only from Yellowknife

      Arctic Watch wilderness lodge is a permanent facility, located 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle and 50 miles from the nearest town, that offers rustic hotel-like accommodations in a remote Arctic setting. Our guests experience the beauty and wonder of this fabulous place, whilst enjoying the comforts of home with fine cuisine. Somerset Island is of particular interest to naturalists and photographers because it is a world class beluga whale observation site. It is also home to many muskox and polar bears. The terrain offers easy passage to both hikers and sea kayakers. Please check further details in the overview.

      Overview

      Cunningham Inlet is one of the best spots in the world to observe beluga whales. Arctic Watch was initially built as a whale-watching lodge. Two thousand beluga whales congregate in Cunningham Inlet from approximately early July to August 10th. The majority of the whales group at the mouth of the Cunningham River to molt play and nurse their young. The premier whale watching locations are only a fifteen-minute walk from the lodge. Beluga whale watching can be done at any time.

      Hiking and Walking: With mountains to climb and numerous canyons to explore on Somerset Island, hiking and walking are one of the most popular activities. It is an excellent method to approach the local wildlife, view wild flowers and hunt for fossils. Historical Site Viewing: 
Dotted throughout Somerset Island and within the vicinity of Arctic Watch, numerous historical and archeological sites are easily accessible by foot, ATV or kayak. The majority of the sites, being Thule (AD 1000 – 1400) and paleo-eskimo, are well known for their simple stone construction.

      Fishing: Inuskshuk lake, located within a two hour ATV drive from Arctic Watch, is a well known place for Arctic Char. Char, “the best tasting fish”, is a member of the trout and salmon family. The fish at Inukshuk lake generally run from 3 to ten pounds. Several other locations are easily accessible from arctic watch where one can fish for char. Creswell Bay, located on the southern tip of Somerset Island, boasts world-class char fishing. On a four-hour time period, several hundred char have been cought and released-All ranging from 15 to 25 pounds.

      Birding: For the avid birder at Arctic Watch; special trips are made by foot, sea kayak and ATV. A summer home for many species of marine and land birds, Northern Somerset is home to nearly 50 different species:

      • Loons: Common, Arctic, Red-throated
      • Geese: Snow, Canadian, Brant
      • Ducks: Northern Pintail, Eider
      • Rough legged hawk
      • Peregrine Falcon
      • Plovers: Black-bellied, American Golden
      • Sand Pipers
      • Jaegers: Parasitic, Long-tailed, Pomarine
      • Gulls: Herring, Black-legged Kittiwake, Sabine’s, Ivory
      • Arctic Tern
      • Black Guillemot
      • Snow Owl
      • Snow Bunting

      Kayaking: A pleaseant and highly popular choice of excursion amongst guests at Arctic Watch, we offer two different kayak tours. Both are offered with the safest and most reliable equipement; Current Design fiberglass kayaks, Seavivor folding kayaks, paddles, life-jackets and dry suits.

      The first tour, starting on the banks of Cunningham Inlet, runs along the bay amongst the ice, seals and beluga whales. A guest can photograph belugas swimming underneath the boats, watch seals bob amongst the ice and view the various marine birds fly past.

      The second option, equally popular, is to paddle the lower section of the Cunningham River. The river, crystal clear, snakes through a large canyon. A pair of rough-legged hawks nest along the cliffs, enabling us to get a good view. The canyon, teaming with fossils, bends a magnificent 180 degrees and heads towards Arctic Watch. The river is deemed class 1 and 2, meaning swift water, with no rapids. The easy paddle takes roughly 3 hours.

      Rafting: Arctic Watch raft trips are run with two inflatable rafts. The first tour runs through the lower canyon of the Cunningham River. A remarkable canyon, carved through the hillside makes for stunning photos. Muskox are frequently seen grazing along the banks and cliff tops. Again, the tour runs along a swift flowing, safe and rapid free route. This voyage takes approximately three hours.

      All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs): At Arctic Watch, we are equipped with 9 ATVs, including several auto shifting vehicles. The Island is home to rolling terrain, and packed gravel-like surfaces. The condtions are ideal for traveling on ATVs. The vehicles are used to reach interesting places to hike, reach birding sites, visit archeological sites, find muskox and explore the vast island.

      Grade

      Grade is: Trekking – easy  to walk the Arctic plains.
      Easy trek at group pace, with many stops to observe arctic mammals and flora.  Day hiking only.

      Prices

      Land Only  $7900 + GST 2.5% Book Now for 2011 or 2012!!

      Please contact us to discuss flights, and additional accomadation required for getting to yellowknife. (Cork, Shannon or Dublin Departures)

      Inclusions

      • All transfers
      • Hotel accommodation in Calgary 1 night
      • Hotel accommodation in Yellowknife , 2 nights
      • Private charter from Yellowknife to Somerset Island, Nunavut
      • 7 days at Arctic Watch lodge
      • Chef, meals & all equipment  at Arctic Watch
      • Guides

      Exclusion:

      • Fully escorted from/to Ireland
      • Flights from/to Ireland
      • Meals en route
      • Bar Bills & laundry
      • Travel Insurance
      • Bar bills at Arctic Watch

        Optional Extra’s: 

Whale watching trip and hiking in Charlevoix, Quebec - 4 days - € PRICE - Please contact us.

        • - Return flight with a Transit to Quebec or Montreal airport
        • - Shuttle to Charlevoix
        • - Whale watching tour or sea kayaking guided tour with the St. Lawrence whales
        • - Guided trek to Les Hautes Gorges, park entrance fees included
        • - 3 nights Hotel Accommodation Full board

, we only use the best hotels with excellent rooms and food.

        Guides

        Richard Weber and Josée Auclair

        Richard and Josée started arctic tourism with the world’s first commercial North Pole trek in 1993, hiking and kayaking trips on Baffin Island. In 2000, they opened “Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge”, Canada’s most northerly lodge on Somerset Island in Nunavut. Arctic Watch Lodge is Nunavut’s largest and most unique tourism operation.

        Josée and Richard both started skiing at an early age. Richard was competing by age six and a member of Canada's National Cross Country Ski Team by age eighteen. He retired in 1985 with twenty national titles. Richard has a bachelor degree in mechanical engineer from the University of Vermont. Richard has co-authored two books about his adventures. Josée also spent some years competing for Canada on the National ski team. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Botany from the University of Vermont and a teaching certificate from the University of Quebec. Richard and Josée met while ski racing.


        Richard’s Expedition Highlights
:

        Richard made his first arctic expedition in 1985, his first North Pole journey in 1986. In 2007 he completed his sixth journey to the North Pole, starting from land. He has made more successful treks to the Pole than anyone in history.

        • •    First North Pole trek with no re-supplies; 1986 Steger International Polar expedition
        • •    First surface crossing of the Arctic Ocean from Russia to Canada; 
1988 Polar Bridge Expedition
        • •    First commercial North Pole Trek; 1993 North Pole Dash – last degree
        • •    First and only journey to the North Pole and back with no outside assistance; 
1995 Weber-Malakhov Expedition
        • •    First snowshoe trek to the North Pole; first guided unsupported North Pole trek; 
North Pole classic 2006
        • •    Richard has participated in more than 50 arctic and North Pole expeditions

        Josée’s Expedition Highlights

        Josée made her first arctic expedition in 1988, a first crossing of the Penny Ice Cap on Baffin Island. Her first North Pole experience was in 1999.

        • •    1999 – 2004 Annual treks covering the last degree to the North Pole
        • •    Woman Quest; an all woman trek to the North Pole in 2001
        • South Pole; 2007 an all woman trek covering the last degree to the South Pole

        Food & Water

        Nutritionally Balanced (Vegetarian Food Available)

        Water purified daily for trekkers

        Itinerary

        Here is a sample daily Itinerary, on booking you will be issued a more detailed version. We can also customise the itinerary to your needs if required.

        Day 1: Leave Ireland - Arrive in Calgary Airport in the afternoon- Hotel & rest

        Day 2: Flight to Yellowknife - Cultural tour, country specialty food - Hotel

        Day 3: Early morning private charter to Arctic Watch - 4 hours flight with a stop in Cambridge Bay Inuit airport for refueling, welcoming activities at the Arctic lodge, great meal, evening walk to the whales, and rest.

        Day 4 to Day 10: All different day trips depending of the weather conditions
        -    Sea kayaking with the belugas
        -    Hiking and bird watching in the canyons
        -    Scenic rafting in Cunnigham river and muskoxs observation
        -    ATV to Polar Bear point
        -    Fly fishing at Inukshuk lake
        -    Hiking the Cunningham Bay and

        Day 10: Half day activity of choice, and private charter back to Yellowknife.

        Day 11: Flight back to Ireland - option to transit by Montreal or Quebec for the whale watching option (4 additional days)

        Day 12: Arrive Ireland

        Preparation

        Preparation, Passports / Visa's

        Preparation - A person looking at this trip will already be able to walk/trek comfortably for at least 2 hours. The trip does not require previous experience for the activities involved and is quite relaxed. If you are a total beginner to walking then a 3-6 month training program is recommended and would require notifying us prior to booking this trip. Please discuss this progression with us if you are a total beginner prior to booking this trip. For more info on our Fitness Assessment and day walks, go to our Ireland section.

        Passport - You will need a valid full passport, please ensure it has at least have six months before expiring before we leave.

        Vaccinations and medical precautions: Please ask your doctor about travelling to Canada, they should be able to offer you the most sensible and up-to-date advice. A dental check-up before you go is also most important, as facilities on the trip are non-existent.

        Customs:
        Currency:
        Electricity:

        Gear

        • More details to follow....
        • A light down top or extra fleece.
        • Personal first aid and medicine kit. (All our guides will have these for emergencies only)
        • UV sunglasses – Cat. 2 or 3 recommended.
        • 2 x Earplugs pairs – If you have an inside pocket in sleeping bag, leave one there fulltime.


          Miscellaneous items:

          • Sun-block (very important and use it!!)
          • Backpacking towel and general toiletries.
          • Extra Clothes for traveling and/or socialising.
          • Camera with wide lense and telephoto of 200-600mm, extra memory and battery. Battery depletes faster in the cold.
          • Binoculars
          Published in Arctic
          Friday, 07 May 2010 15:07

          Peru - Inka Trail & MachuPicchu

          peru555with fade

          Check out our Inka Trail & Macchu Picchu Treks for 2012, 2012 in our travel section click here at PatFalvey.com

          Available All Year, or why not join our group in August.

          The Inka Trail is one of the shortest and most accessible treks you can take while in Cusco. It is a really exciting experience for getting to Machupicchu after a few days of hiking in the High Andean Mountains and the beginning of the Amazonian Jungle. You will be crossing ancient Inkan Towns and walk over the original cobbled path. This is also a great opportunity for appreciating the natural environment of the different ecological levels of the Inka Trail.

          Machupicchu is the highlight of any trip in South America. Located by the beginning of the Amazonian Jungle, it was one of the power nucleuses dependent from Cusco. That Inkan City was very effectively protected by its difficult topography and the elements built for that purpose. It was supposed to house the Inka King, his family and close friends. Its population was about 1000 people and 80% were women, so perhaps it had one of the most important houses for the Virgins of the Sun (something like a nunnery). It was rediscovered in 1911 by the American explorer Hiram Bingham who took all its artifacts to Yale University. Over here you will be able to admire many temples including that of the Sun, the Three Windows Temple, the Main Temple, the Temple of Condors, an imposing Intiwatana (sun fastener), etc. Staying overnight in any of the many hotels in Machupicchu is a great idea, that will give the opportunity to explore the environment and perhaps take walks to Wiñaywayna, the Draw Bridge or maybe climb to the very top of the Waynapicchu Mountain.

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