The Picos de Europa
At Mountain Freedom we’re regular visitors to Spain, and have been taking groups there for walking and climbing since 1999. Currently we focus on just one area that we believe has the most to offer of any of the Spanish regions.
The Picos are Spain’s best kept secret – a stunning mountain range where you’ll see few other visitors, enjoy a lovely climate, have alpine style days without the alpine hazards of thunderstorms and glaciers, and all within easy reach of airports at Bilbao and Santander. The valleys and gorges of the Picos are studded with charming traditional villages where agriculture is still mainly carried out by hand. The meadows are full of wild flowers. This all goes together to offer some incredibly beautiful scenery.
Accommodation in the Picos is of a good standard and varied – clean well appointed campsites, cosy rural apartments and top quality family hotels. The area is almost purpose built for scenic wandering as well as having plenty to offer the adventurous hill goer. We offer programs that cater for both types of activities. Our programs here run concurrently so it’s possible to combine scenic explorations in the valleys with strenuous expeditions in the higher regions.
You don’t have to spend every day on the big mountains, the scenery and terrain here is extremely varied, and a network of centuries-old paths links the rustic villages of this pastoral landscape. The area is known as España Verde (Green Spain) and is world famous for it’s meadows, biodiversity, traditional farming methods and way of life.
On the edges of the three massifs that make up the Picos are charming market towns where you can buy the famous blue cheeses of the area and other, less pungent, local crafts, or relax outside a cafe and watch the world go by.
The area is famous for it’s huge gorges such as the Garganta de Cares which cut deep into the mountains, and the Picos is one of Europe’s last strongholds of the bear and the wolf.
The Picos has been a favourite destination of ours for many years, during which time we have developed good relations with local providers of accommodation and transport. We’ll certainly be able to help you get the best out of the area.
From The Andes To The Amazon
Latin America is the ultimate adventure travel destination. It’s a vast continent and human activity seems only to have scratched the surface – even the precolumbian sites and colonial cities seem like they are frontier towns. The Andes are second only to the Himalaya in terms of the world’s great mountain ranges, and there is a greater biodiversity here than anywhere else on the planet. Whether you want to explore the lost cities of Peru or the Bolivian Altiplano and jewelled Lake Titicaca, travel along Ecuador’s Avenue of the Volcanoes, or delve into the forests of the Amazon Baisin, Latin America will not fail to inspire you.
Peruvian Cordilleras, Ecuador Volcanoes, Bolivian Altiplano
The Cordilleras Blanca and Huayhuash in central Peru are among the world’s most spectacular and rewarding regions for multi-day trekking. Logistics and transport into the mountain areas are relitavely straightforward and the climate is often reliable. It goes without saying that the scenery is magical, and treks of all difficulties can be attempted. You could choose anything from the relatively straightforward Llanganucu-Santa Cruz trek in the Cordillera Blanca to the circuit of the Cordillera Huayhuash, a 10 day demanding trek into a very remote area.
Ecuador is a fascinating country with an enormous diversity of scenery. The huge volcanoes that rise from the Central Paramo of Ecuador make challenging non-technical high altitude climbs which need nothing other than fitness and a spirit of adventure to attempt. These could be combined with a few days in Ecuador’s pristine rain forest, the most biologically diverse region on the whole planet.
Bolivia’s Altiplano has a remote and other-worldly feel. You could climb many peaks over 6000 metres, trek through the Cordilleras Real and Apolobamba, or arrange an unforgettable trip to the mines of the Cerro Rico in Potosi and on to the surreal landscape of the Salar de Uyuni.
Trekking, Private Guiding and Consultancy
Ian regularly leads walking holidays, treks and expeditions to various destinations in Latin America – details are here on the website. Contact us for more information. Ian is also available as an in country leader for organised groups who require the services of a bilingual local expert with 20+ years experience of working in Latin American adventurous travel.
If you are planning a trip and want some information, be it about outdoor adventures or general travel advice, just ask away, we’ll be happy to help.