2018 Inca Trail permits available Oct 1, 2017

… for the first time the Ministry of Culture is releasing all permits for 2018 on 1 October 2017.

With only 500 permits available per day, tour operators are urging travellers to book the trek, which ends at the 550-year old Incan citadel of Machu Picchu, as soon as they can. “Tickets usually sell out almost immediately for the peak trekking months of April, May and August,” …

Travellers who miss out on Inca Trail permits can still trek to Machu Picchu on an alternative route – the Salkantay trek for which no permit is needed. “On the Salkantay trek, you pass through small communities and farmsteads, and approach Machu Picchu from the other side. …

Inca Trail permits to be released four months early

No panic. We like the Salkantay (Salcantay) better in any case. And you can do the Salkantay independently if you prefer. The over-popular Inca Trek must be guided.

new hike in Cuba – Ruta de la Revolución

  • 6 to 8 days
  • 150 kilometers
  • must trek with a guide
  • historical and cultural highlights

Hike la Ruta de la Revolución trek which follows the historic route of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara that started the Cuban Revolution—from landing in Cuba in a foundering boat to their famous hideout deep in the Sierra Maestra Mountains.

Walk for days on wooded trails and mountain roads—see no cars, only the occasional mule cart. Eat dinner by oil lamp with campesino families in remote rural villages. And finally, be one of the very first to do the La Ruta de la Revolución while it’s “undiscovered” and unspoiled. We didn’t see a non-Cuban until we reached Fidel Castro’s Comandancia de La Plata hideout deep in the Sierra Maestra Mountains. …

World’s Newest Long Trail: Cuba’s Ruta de la Revolución

hiking to Petra, Jordan

We’ve added the long Jordan Trail to our list of best hikes in Africa and the Middle East.

The best section of the Jordan Trail is between Petra and Wadi Rum.

Seeing the ancient city of Petra in the daytime is one thing, but to also experience it at night is just out of this world. …

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

In 1994 I hiked to Petra. A broke Aussie backpacker and myself managed to follow sheep trails into the the valley and make our way to the ancient city on our own. We weren’t caught until the very end. 🙂

Shackleton’s route, South Georgia

Kraig Becker:

Twelve hundred miles off the southernmost tip of South America, there is a legendary place among travelers and historians. They speak of South Georgia Island in hushed, almost reverent terms.

This small and mountainous island, with peaks above 9,000 feet, is located hundreds of miles from the closest beaten path. But the rugged and remote wilderness is famous for another reason. South Georgia Island served as the final stage in one of the greatest survival stories of all time: Ernest Shackleton’s voyage to the southern seas aboard the Endurance. …

I hiked part of the very route that Shackleton, Crean, and Worsley trekked when they crossed the island a century ago. Hiking through the overgrown mountain trails and snowy paths, I finally arrived at the remains of the Stromness whaling station where the 19th century explorers’ desperate march came to an end. …

The interior of South Georgia is rugged and demanding to say the least, with towering peaks, steep valleys, and crystal-blue alpine lakes frequently presenting impassable barriers.

High winds, rain, and snow, coupled with rough terrain, made my walk a challenging one, even equipped with modern hiking gear and a clear path to follow. The men from the Endurance did it in clothing that was practically threadbare, wearing boots with screws tapped into the sole to provide extra traction. …

While wandering in silence through that wild landscape, I could almost feel the ghost of Shackleton trudging along beside me …

Popular Mechanics – Chasing Ernest: A Journey to South Georgia to Find the Ghost of Shackleton

(via Adventure Blog)

best hike – Goreme, Cappadocia, Turkey

trip report by besthike editor Rick McCharles

Panoramic viewpoint > Rose Valley > Çavuşin > Love Valley > Uchisar Castle > Pigeon Valley > Göreme

For hikers Göreme is probably the best base for Cappadocia. You can literally go off hiking in any direction.  It’s got a good variety of restaurants and accommodation too.

On arrival in Göreme someone will hand you a FREE hiking map.

Most wander around with this thingfrequently getting lost. We could find no decent map nor guidebook in 2017.

For 6 days I hiked and cycled many of these trails, often lost, before finally deciding on what I felt was the best hike.

Ask the people at your accommodation in Göreme how to get to the Rose Valley Panoramic viewpoint. They’ll likely recommend a taxi and tell you the price. It’s about a 15 minute drive uphill from town.

There is a small entry fee for Panoramic viewpoint. The taxi may drop you outside the gates.

Here begins the Rose Valley trail. 5km to Caveusin. Most feel Rose is the best hike of all. And I’d agree.

Note that most of the trail signage is in Turkish.

There are many twisting and turning trail options. All are good but the very bottom of the valley might be muddy.

Rose is popular with cyclists, too.

Gorgeous, surreal scenery.

End of the trail is the village of Çavuşin.

If you haven’t yet seen enough Church caves — you might want to visit the World Heritage site Caveusin Kilisesi.

From Çavuşin you need to get to the Love Valley trailhead. Ask in town. It’s about 1km up the highway towards Goreme. (There are shortcuts.)

If walking the highway here’s the turn-off. These pink signs are the best of the admittedly poor and confusing trail signage in the area.

From there you can’t miss it.

Love Valley is the second best trail in my opinion.

Why they call it Love Valley I can’t imagine. 🙂

You can see here how those columns erode away from the valley wall.

It’s about 4km uphill to the end of the Love trail. If not lost you’ll finish at this tourist trap.

Bus tours stop and parade their unwilling passengers through the souvenirs.

Cross the highway and make your way up to the top of impressive Uchisar Castle. There’s a small entry fee.

Exiting on your way down ask for the Pigeon Valley trailhead. Look for these pigeons. It’s not difficult to find.

Some have reported seeing no pigeons in Pigeon Valley. We saw plenty.

Historically farmers built roosts for pigeons in the valley wall in order to later collect their guano.

It’s downhill to Göreme. A nice but often crowded walk.

Looking back to the Castle.

You might spend 4-6 hours including stops on this best hike.

Panoramic viewpoint > Rose Valley > Çavuşin > Love Valley > Uchisar Castle > Pigeon Valley > Göreme

click for larger version

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A shorter alternative would be to loop Pigeon to Love Valley. It’s a 2km walk up the highway back to Göreme, however.

We really need someone to put together a decent map of trails out of Goreme. Hundreds of thousands visit every year and almost all do some hiking.

related – Hike Bike Travel – 21 Photos That Will Make You Want To Hike In Turkey’s Rose Valley