Read below to discover our top trekking destinations for December, January and February. We’ve picked some of our favorite options in Vietnam, Tanzania, Argentina, Chile, Thailand, and Rwanda!
This post is the fourth and final installment of the Adventures Within Reach “Trek a Month” overview highlighting our favorite treks each month to help you pick a great adventure for your travel dates.
- >> Read about top treks for March, April and May >>
- >> Read about top treks for June, July and August >>
- >> Read about top treks for September, October and November >>
- Our Top Trek Recommendation: Vietnam Trekking
- Runner Up: Mount Meru, Tanzania
Vietnam Trekking: The best time for hiking in northern Vietnam is during their dry season, October through April, when skies are clear and the temperatures mild. One of the simple joys of trekking in Vietnam is overnighting in homestays. Homestays are true eco-tourism in action: the locals benefit from the extra income while travelers benefit with profound insight into the daily lives of the region’s proud ethnic people scratching out a living in this beautiful mountain jungle environment. Travelers should be in reasonably good shape and have an adventurous attitude, however there is no high altitude involved with trekking here. Most tribespeople live in fertile valleys where they tend crops and live in a largely subsistence manner. We’ll hike along their ancient trails where commerce, social life, and travel intersect in the contemporary now.
Mount Meru: Mount Meru is a towering volcano located in north-eastern Tanzania, 80 km south of the border with Kenya and close to Arusha. Mt. Meru has a geologically-rich history, having erupted four times, with the most recent eruption being in 1910. Mt. Meru is surprisingly overlooked by many since it is “only” Africa’s 5th highest mountain, but those who hike up both Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Meru generally enjoy the Mt. Meru climb more! Highly scenic hiking through lush forests, plus a dramatic and thrilling section along the knife-edge crater rim, make climbing Mt. Meru a spectacular trek and an ideal acclimatization effort for Mt. Kilimanjaro.
- Our Top Trek Recommendation: Aconcagua, Argentina
- Runner Up: Hill Tribes, Thailand
Aconcagua: While you can climb Aconcagua from December through February, January is an ideal time to try for the summit. One of the hardest hikes in the world, this long steady trek culminates at the summit of Western hemisphere’s tallest mountain. While we can organize private climbs, most of our clients prefer to join one of the group trips. Given the extremely demanding nature of this hike, it’s important to self-assess your own physical condition and mountain abilities – you will want to be in absolutely tip-top form to even attempt this hike.
Southeast Asia Hill Tribes: If you are looking for something easier than Aconcagua, and much warmer, our Thailand Hill Tribes trek is far less challenging, yet scenic and definitely more exotic from a cultural perspective. On a 3-day trek – which is easy to combine with other destinations like Phuket, Bangkok, Angkor Wat, and Myanmar – we may hike around 6 hours a day while overnighting at enchanting home stays in traditional villages.
- Our Top Trek Recommendation: Torres del Paine, Patagonia, Chile
- Runner Up: Gorilla Trekking, Rwanda
Torres del Paine, Patagonia: One of the most famous hikes in the world, the 7-day Torres del Paine W-Trek offers some of the world’s most superlative scenery and is a must for intrepid outdoor lovers. Since this is a supported hike, without too much altitude (you never go higher than 4,000 feet), the difficulty level is relatively moderate. The highlight is reaching the base of famous Torres del Paine (2,900 m / 9,400 ft) , which consist of three massive granite monoliths, the remains of a great cirque sheared away by the forces of glacial ice.
Gorilla Trekking: On the other side of Earth, Rwanda shares a border with Tanzania, making Rwanda an ideal extension for Mt. Meru and Mt. Kilimanjaro trips for diehard animal lovers and wildlife photographers. For in Rwanda, we find the singular and incredibly rare mountain gorilla. Treks to visit the alluring gorillas can vary greatly in length and time, however, many trekkers encounter their designated family within 2-4 hours of walking through pristine rainforest on the flanks of remnant volcanoes. Most of our Rwanda gorilla extensions range from 3-5 days total, making it an unforgettable quick trip from Tanzania.