Detour's Travel Blog

When you don't want where you travel to be just like home. Travel tips, information, and trip reports on sustainable travel.

  • For the Aggressive Latin American Dog, Speak Loudly and Carry a Big Rock


    Peruvian-dog-biteWhile I love riding my bicycle in foreign lands for the freedom to soak in the countryside and get to know the locals, somewhere between Cusco and La Paz I changed from free spirit to warrior. Had to. A dog bit my leg. The worst part, I could see it was coming. After months of outracing untold numbers of dogs from Quito to here, the odds were against me. I was going to lose this race, eventually. And here I had. Continue reading

  • Piranhas for Breakfast in the Bolivian Amazon?


    As I watched the little girl swimming the black water, a man fishing from the dock spoke to her in soft tones. His line went tight, and with one pull of his hand a fluttering fish hit the dock. Whack! The man’s bucket was filling fast, each fish put still by a club to the head. I walked over to look at the catch. What the … ! Piranhas, all piranhas!

    I looked from the bucket to the girl treading water, who was smiling at me as though I was the first of my kind she’d ever seen. Maybe I was. I looked back into the bucket. The piranha at the top of the heap bent skyward its head and tail. A gash of its teeth, a gasp … the death knell. This deep in the Bolivian jungle, do I point out the obvious danger to the girl?

    Whack! What do I know? Continue reading

  • Detour's New Truck Is a Bike

    Yuba Mundo Bike Detour's new work truck, a Yuba Mundo cargo bike, parked outside our office on Main Street in Bozeman, MT.

    Here at Detour we are always looking for ways to get outside, get some exercise, and cut our carbon footprint, so you can only imagine how stoked we were to discover Yuba Bikes line of cargo bikes. Yuba bikes are fantastic people and stuff movers, and easily take the place of a car or small truck for running errands around town.

    We immediately grabbed a Mundo to be our office truck, for hauling recycling or picking up supplies; we also have it set up to haul kids to school (with monkey bars that allow kids to sit safely on the back with no chance of falling off) so I can ride two kids to school on my way to work. The Mundo is the coolest bike ever - it rides great but also can haul up to 440 pounds on the back, which is more than we ever need to carry for the office. Not shown in the photo above are the massive Yuba GoGetter Bags that attach easily on the sides of the bike and can haul up to 5 bags of groceries each. Continue reading

  • Review of the Galapagos Islands Multisport Adventure: Family with 3 Teens

    Snorkeling in the Galapagos Snorkeling in the Galapagos

    Wondering if the Galapagos Islands Multisport Adventure trip is right for your family?  Our most recent review of the trip is a great description of the experience and evaluation of the tour.  This family of five traveled with their three teenage kids (ages 12, 14, and 16) in April 2014.  They booked a privately guided tour so they could have as much flexibility with the itinerary as possible and added on the optional Los Tunneles tour while on Isabela.  You can read their review below and learn more about the Galapagos Island Multisport Adventure tour they did by clicking here.
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  • Wow! Wow! Wow! Detour Does It Again!

    (We just received the nicest email from a happy client - Stephanie Mayer who traveled with  her son Cooper in Costa Rica. Stephanie previously traveled with her other son in Peru. We love hearing about your great travel experiences - that is why we do this!)

    Wow! Wow! Wow!

    Once again there really are no words to adequately express my appreciation for ALL your efforts in putting together the most perfect Costa Rican adventure.

    It was a true HOME RUN, like Peru!!  A perfect trio of experiences blended into one trip;  Cooper and I felt like we had three mini vacations and one big adventure - all equally great, all incredibly different and all representative of the diversity and splendor of Costa Rica.

    You delivered high adventure, great guides, wonderful hotels, great food, spectacular beauty and a taste of the culture and people of Costa Rica.
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  • How to Book Flights for a Galapagos Trip

    Blue-Footed Boobie spotted on an Odyssey Galapagos Cruise Blue-Footed Boobie spotted on an Odyssey Galapagos Cruise

    Planning your international and domestic flights for a Galapagos trip can seem complicated initially, but they're actually quite simple to arrange.  Detour's tips and suggestions below will help you plan exactly the flights you need without the headache.
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  • New Years in Argentina

    Buenos Aires musician Buenos Aires musician in San Telmo

    Argentina loves a good party and it seems this is never more true than on New Years Eve.  My own experience celebrating New Years in Argentina will remain one of my most memorable ever, but I wanted to know how typical Argentinians celebrate as well.  The experts over at Wanderlust Expediciones let me know that my night of revelry so many years ago is pretty typical of the jubilant celebrations had all over the country.
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  • Celebrating New Year's in Ecuador

    Kids celebrating in Ecuador Kids celebrating in Ecuador

    Ecuadorians really know how to party, and New Year's Eve is no exception.  If you're in Ecuador for this super fun holiday, you're going to experience many of the same traditions (like kissing at midnight), and a lot of very traditions you've probably never seen before.  We're here to fill you in on everything you need to know so you can get in on the fun if you're lucky enough to to ring in the New Year's in Ecuador.

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  • Christmas in Cusco and Machu Picchu

    Cusco, Peru

    Christmas celebrations everywhere have at least one common thread: a time for family and friends to gather together.   But, the traditions we each have for celebrating can vary greatly (even from town to town).   While shops in our cozy town of Bozeman are closing early, our friends down in Cusco are taking to the Plaza de Armas (the main square) to visit the Santuarnicuy "saints for sale" market.   Hundreds of artisans and rural villagers flock to downtown Cusco to sell their handmade goods.
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  • What to do in Ecuador on Christmas

    Otovalo Woman in Traditional Dress Otovalo Woman in Traditional Dress

    Traveling during the holidays is an amazing way to learn about the culture and traditions of a country, and maybe pick up a few new traditions of your own.  It also means that you have to arrange your trip a bit differently to accommodate the holiday schedule in that country or make special plans to observe local traditions.  Our Ecuador Holiday Travel Guide will let you know what to look forward to and how to plan your vacation over Christmas.

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  • How to Pay Argentina's Reciprocity Fee

    Argentinean cowboy style Argentinean cowboy style

    You're all set to fly to Argentina where you'll trek Fitzroy, sip wine, and learn to tango . . . but what is up with that reciprocity fee? This very confusing fee is a somewhat new requirement for US, Canadian, and Australian citizen to enter the country. But no worries, we've got you covered with our quick guide to Argentina's reciprocity fee and how to to pay it.

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  • How Your Vacation Can Help Preserve the Ecuadorian Amazon

    DSC01310_2As a destination, Ecuador's rainforest is nowhere near as popular as the Galapagos.  That famous archipelago shines brightly on every Westerners bucket list, leaving Ecuador's many other wonders into the background as an afterthought.  But in terms of wildlife diversity and unique plantlife, the Ecuadorian rainforest definitely rivals the Galapagos as a must-see destination.  Plus every visitor to the rainforest actually helps preserve this culturally and environmentally important region.

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  • 6 Insider Tips on Visiting Machu Picchu

    Machu Picchu in the morning before the crowds arrive Machu Picchu in the morning before the crowds arrive

    Anyone can plan a trip to Machu Picchu, but it takes a real travel ninja to see the site in the wee hours of dawn, avoid the crowds, and hike to the top of Huayna Picchu.  Commit these 6 insider tips to memory and you'll get the Machu Picchu experience you've been dreaming of.

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  • 3 Ways to See Tons of Wildlife on a Rainforest Trip

    Golden-Mantled Tamarin spotted at the Napo Wildlife Center in Ecuador Golden-Mantled Tamarin spotted at the Napo Wildlife Center in Ecuador's Yasuní National Park.

    You want to visit the rainforest to see monkeys, caimans, toucans, sloths, and capybaras up close, not just sit in a tree and itch mosquito bites.  So how do you maximize your chances of seeing pink river dolphins splashing in the river and macaws swooping in by the hundreds?  It's actually not too hard as long as you keep a few guidelines in mind before booking your trip. Continue reading

  • Last-Minute Galapagos Deals over Christmas and New Years

    The end of December and beginning of January are the absolute busiest times in the Galapagos Islands (aka, the Christmas and New Year's High Season).  It's pretty tricky to find an available trip over these dates, but right now, there are actually some discounted options available for those who move fast.

    Dates: Dec. 30, 2013 - Jan. 6, 2014
    Rate per Person: $3374*

    Archipell Galapagos Catamaran Archipell Galapagos Catamaran

    The Archipell is a highly recommended 1st-class catamaran which is usually never available over the holidays.  However, a last-minute cancellation has left some spaces available on this 8-day cruise that visits San Cristobal, Floreana, Plazas, Fernandina, and the western side of Isabela -- all great spots for wildlife in January.  * This rate saves you $768 per person

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  • Awesome Adventure Trips Without Camping

    Love the adrenaline of whitewater rafting, high-altitude trekking, and singletrack mountain biking -- but don't enjoy camping?  These exciting tours all over Latin America bring on the adventure without skimping on creature comforts when it's time to hit the hay.


    EcoDome Suite Dome Interior EcoDome Suite Dome at Torres del Paine

    By day, you'll hike the famous "W" trek to see stark granite towers, massive glaciers, charming guanacos, and the expansive Patagonian grasslands stretching into the distance.  At night, you'll sleep in rustic mountain refugios and the cozy ecocamp domes far away from any tourist crowds.

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  • Costa Rica's Riches Are The Stuff Of Dreams

    Costa Rica may be a tiny country but it’s one of the most bio-diverse regions in the world, home to about 10,000 species of plants and trees. It should top the destination list of every eco-savvy traveler thanks to its mesmerizing rain and cloud forests and volcanoes. It also boasts some of the most magnificent beaches in South America and it is a mecca for water sports and outdoor activities.

    Spitting fury

    Stuck in Customs / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

    Costa Rica has five active volcanoes and another dozen that could ignite at any time. In most cases you can climb or drive to their summits. One of the most popular, and one of the largest, (rising up to almost 9000 feet) is Poas, in the Poas Volcano National Park, where you can peer over the edge into massive craters.

    If you want to experience some excitement, you should travel to the tiny village of La Fortuna and get a glimpse of Arenal, the country’s most "irascible" volcano. On a clear day you should be able to see a trickle of lava sliding down from the peak. Or you could visit the Rincón de La Vieja, a cinder cone volcano that is part of nine contiguous craters that dot the Rincón de La Vieja National Park. This collection of volcanic peaks is most active in the Guanacaste Mountains where major volcanic activity occurred during the latter half of the 1960s. The Von Seebach crater is another active volcano, constantly spitting lava and smoke.

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  • RAFT PERU: Rio Tambopata (Sept 20 - 30, 2013)


    Wildlife viewing on the Tambopata River.

    Trip Name: Wilderness, Wildlife and Whitewater on the Rio Tambopata
    Dates: Sept 20 - 30, 2013
    Rate: $2,804.00 per person

    View additional trip details here -

    The Tambopata River snakes through the Tambopata-Candamo National Park in southeastern Peru, originating high in the Andes and ending in confluence with the Madre de Dios at Puerto Maldonado. For many travelers the Tambopata provides an avenue into Amazonia carting goods and people from Puerto Maldonado upriver into small jungle lodges nestled within walking distance of the river’s shore.  For the more adventuresome, the Tambopata River offers an unforgettable journey from the cold and windswept altiplano into the heat of South American rainforest.

    My mom and I joined last year's group departure.   I joined because I love rivers. I love the peacefulness and pace, the excitement of whitewater, and openness that comes from days without outside distractions.  No email, no phones, no mirrors or makeup – just you, your companions and the steady hum of river moving by . . . Total immersion in your environment.

    Surprisingly, out of our diverse group of 8 (we had folks from the US, Switzerland, Peru and the UK), only 3 people had ever rafted before.  Word of mouth, persistent daughters and even a whim decision from a UK radio advertisement brought us together.  Each of us drawn by the idea of getting out of our comfort zones and fully experiencing this magical place.

    Our group celebrating our fantastic journey and welcome back into "civilization"
    Our group celebrating our fantastic journey and welcome back into "civilization"

    Our group convened in Juliaca.  My mom and I arrived a day early and used this as an opportunity to check out the floating reed islands of Lake Titicaca, which are worth a visit.  You're right there!   From Juliaca we spent a solid day driving. The well-kept roads of the tawny high plains gave way to rugged and steep mountain switchbacks eventually dropping us down to the tiny town of Sandia.   Judging by the local's long stares we were off Peru's gringo trail.   Another half day of driving and, finally, the river!

    Local kids playing near our put in.
    Local kids playing near our put in.

    We spent 8 days total on the river, easing from the outskirts of civilization into complete wilderness.  The river is a great place to spot some of the jungle's larger animals. We saw tons of tapirs, capybara, wild pigs, and the lucky few even spotted a jaguar!  We played in long stretches of warm, calm waters, had some exciting Class III & IV rapids and even ventured into the jungle hiking up small tributaries.

    Hike to waterfall.
    Hike to waterfall.

    The trip ends with a stay at the Tambopata Research Center, a simple but beautiful lodge located next to one of the largest macaw clay licks in the world.  An overnight here is a perfect end to the trip and feels like luxury after nights of camping.  They have cold beer!   Along with a bed and a shower.

    We went on a nature hike through the forest.  I will always remember this walk.  Fifty or so monkeys sung overhead, raining leaves down onto us.  At the same time, we were warned to be attentive and still as a herd of wild pigs grunted past our feet.  And, with the help of our guide, we caught glimpses into all the life moving around us. . .   A tarantula under a leaf, birds hidden in the branches above and fascinating, intricate flora.

    A motorized canoe ride down river to Puerto Maldonado eased us back into civilization and onwards to our separate lives.  The Tambopata has stayed with me in a way that no other trip has. This was an expedition that brought together great people and took us deep into wild, beautiful country.  An adventure of a lifetime!

  • Atacama you down: Chile treks this autumn

    The leaves are turning orange in the northern hemisphere so it's with a heartfelt sigh that you start rummaging through those sweaters at the back of your closet. But in South America, especially Chile, it's all so different. There it's soon to be the dawn of spring, making it the ideal time to don your hiking gear and head south, for a veritable change of detour, as the days get brighter and longer. You will be transported to a miracle world of wondrous sunsets, mystical mountains and fjords, and idyllic lakeside retreats, as well as parched desert.

    TheFutureIsUnwritten / Foter / CC BY-ND

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  • The un-Belize-able beauty of this Caribbean paradise

    This sparsely populated nation in central America – 334,000 people in a country of just under 23,000 square kilometers – is an alluring wonderland for those busy, hard-pressed city dwellers looking to escape autumn in the northern hemisphere.

    With its myriad terrestrial and marine species, and the diversity of its eco systems, Belize is a magnet for tourists wanting to connect to nature. The top attraction is undoubtedly the Belize barrier reef, described by Charles Darwin in 1842 as “the most remarkable reef in the West Indies”. Home to one of the most diverse eco-systems in the world, the reef – the second largest barrier reef in the world – has 500 species of fish and 70 hard coral species, although it’s estimated that only 10 per cent of existing species have actually been discovered.

    The wonderful climate, the reef and its 450 offshore cayes (islands), abundant fishing opportunities, jungle and wildlife reserves, and opportunities for scuba diving, snorkeling, rafting, kayaking as well as hiking, bird watching, and exploration of Mayan ruins make this an unbeatable attraction.

    Here are 5 destinations ideal for dive and adventure exploration.

    Tambako the Jaguar / Foter / CC BY-ND

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