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Hiking in Developing Nations

Backpacking is probably the best way to really experience a place of interest. You interact directly with the local people, take part in a cultural celebration, visit interesting religious sites and become a part of the community.

The experience will be very much different from domestic hiking trips.

Guided Hiking Tour

A guided hiking tour can range from a simple trip to a huge expedition. Some will provide porters that show the way and carry your camping gear.

The number of porters is depends on availability and the size of the group.

These organized treks can be arranged when you're at home or when you arrive.

Deciding to use the porters may cost a little bit extra but it will help a lot in supporting the local economy and encourage locals to preserve the surrounding natural beauty.

Unguided Hiking

The best thing about the guided tour is that if you have a porter you have to carry your own backpack. The most you'll carry will probably be no more than what your fanny pack can hold.

Still a lot of hikers prefer to hike independently in developing countries. You have to carry your own pack but the experience is so much better at least for most people, me included.

Many guidebooks are available for who prefer the unguided trek. It will include details on backpacking hostels, landmarks, places to visit, lodges, shops for camping supplies and some will include a little bit of history.

Hiking with Pack Animals

Donkeys, mules, horses, goats and dogs can be used to carry supplies. Hiking with pack animals require more planning and scheduling than normal group hiking but you can carry more camping equipment and food.

You might also want to hire a guide and animal handlers just to be safe.

Safety and Security

Camping gear is expensive. In some countries the cost of your hiking gear alone can feed a family for a year.

This huge difference in wealth makes hikers targets for thieves. Be safe and never show any expensive electronic equipment or large sums of cash.

You can take further precautions with hiking accessories such as cable-reinforced money belts, padlocks, secret compartments and steel nets to encase your backpack.

Remember that these are just secondary precautions, when it comes to keeping yourself safe it involves a little bit of common sense.

Take special care when traveling in a politically unstable area. A guide is a must if you want to avoid trouble spots.

Local Customs

An uniformed visitor may frequently give offense for not respecting the array of cultural and religious taboos.

Many of these customs may be difficult to understand. That's why investing in a good guidebook can make for a pleasant stay.


When hiking in a developing country, you get the chance to try authentic local food much better than restaurants for tourists.

One should be careful than one man's food may also be another's poison. People with food allergies or restricted diets may find that their choices are limited.

It's always a good idea to pack along your camping food.


Poor standards of sanitation doesn't stop hikers from staying in lodgings rather than hotels.

However, there are many places where the water supply is not clean and the food not safe to eat.

If you are concerned about hygiene and sanitation, travel with a tour company that will help you find the best available local amenities.


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