Check out the "recommendations" page for the latest reviews from real "Los Amigos" trekkers!
New in 2012-13!! The Valdez brothers recommended by French guidebook "Le Petit Futé"
'Los Amigos of Huayhuash' was created in 2006 by a group of adventure lovers who have trekked in the Cordillera Huayhuash with the Valdez family.
Abner, Alcides and Adolfo Valdez are Peruvian and have always lived in Chiquian, a small town in the Peruvian Andes which is the trekking trailhead for the stunning Cordillera Huayhuash. For many years they worked for agencies as guides, mule-drivers and cooks, expertly leading numerous groups around the various treks possible in Huayhuash.
Large, city-based agencies tend to charge tourists far too much, and far too little of that goes to the likes of the Valdez brothers, who do all the hard work for peanuts. The initial aim of this site was therefore to put potential trekkers directly in touch with Abner, Alcides and Adolfo rather than using an agency. The benefits are clear: as a trekker you can rest assured that you are in the extremely capable hands of real experts, and Abner, Alcides and Adolfo can earn the decent wage that they more than deserve.
Since the creation of "Los Amigos" in 2006, the Valdez family have developed their services, creating a small family-run business, and welcoming their sister Anamin into the business to deal with enquiries. Anamin is fluent in English and replies to email requests with ease and professionalism. Given these developments, as the creator of this website, I decided in 2012 to hand over the reins to the family themselves, who are fully operational and able to deal with the enquiries and logistics themselves, thanks to Anamin. The family are now officially registered as a business with the Peruvian authorities, which provides better security to themselves and their customers.
We strongly believe in the principal of Ecotourism as defined by the International Ecotourism Society:
Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.
The aim being to go beyond the principal of Fairtrade tourism by creating direct links between tourists and local people providing tourism services all over the world. This is by no means an easy project, as the profit-making tour operators and agencies dominate the market and have the power to crush those who wish to help local communities in developing countries simply because they care.
I am delighted that this electronic platform run by volunteers was able to help the Valdez family develop their business. Rest assured that, despite their registration with the Peruvian authorities, the family remain dedicated to their small, simple, personalised offer which has had so much success with trekkers over the years.
Steve and Katrijn, our "amigos" from Belgium, were particularly concerned to witness the environmental impact the increasing numbers of trekking parties are having on the pristine landscape around Huayhuash. Whilst on his trek, Steve explained the principles of "Leave No Trace" camping to Alcides, and encouraged him to dig deep catholes (pit toilets) at least 200 feet from water, camp, and trails, and to cover and disguise the catholes when finished.
The principles of "Leave No Trace" were developed in response to concerns that the increasing number of human visitors to previously uninhabited (or lightly inhabited) wilderness areas would destroy the very characteristics that make them attractive, and irreparably harm native species. While each individual visitor might have an insignificant impact, the cumulative effect of thousands and even millions of visitors to a site over the years would be profound.
Rather than removing humanity altogether from these environments, leave-no-trace camping seeks to minimize the changes we make just by visiting. It's also a courtesy to the people who'll be visiting the same place the next day or the next week, giving them a chance to experience it the same way you did. And pragmatically, the authorities who manage the place you want to visit may require that you follow leave-no-trace practices.
As Leave No Trace say,
Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints.