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Kirsten Gardner

Kirsten Gardner


Kirsten inherited her sense of wanderlust from her parents; her mother was in President Kennedy’s first class of Peace Corps volunteers (stationed in Lesotho) and then traveled throughout the African continent as a single woman. Having traveled to over thirty countries in less than three decades, Kirsten is particularly passionate about Southeast Asia and South America, areas that share the appeal of vibrant cultures and history, genuine hospitality, savory cuisine and boundless opportunities for active adventures off the beaten path. A former program director at Wildland Adventures, Kirsten is now a professional guide.

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How to Tip on the Inca Trail Trek Head porters, chefs, toilet porters and guides - oh my! The Inca Trail trek, like any supported backcountry trip, has a large cast of characters who ensure that you as a trekker are encouraged, enriched, well-fed and safe throughout your journey. These individuals work very hard, literally engaging in 'back breaking' labor for a seemingly puny salary by our standards, and they rely on tips from trekkers as a portion of their compensation. The polite thing to say is that 'gratuities are at your discretion,' but in reality if you are trekking the Inca Trail in Peru, you should budget porter, guide and support staff tips into the overall cost of your trip. Here are my recommendations for 'how-much' and 'how-to' when it comes to divvying up tips on the Inca Trail.  How Much: This varies greatly based on the number of people in your trekking group, but at a...

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Rare Photos of Baby Harpy Eagle Harpy Eagles are one of the most powerful birds of prey in the world. Their talons are the size of Grizzly Bear claws and their gigantic beaks make quick work of the monkeys and sloths they hunt for food.  These massive birds of prey have a wingspan of six to seven feet and, when sitting, have the height of a five-year-old child. They are also one of the least observed raptor species in the world. Combined with diminished number due to habitant loss and human trophy hunters, Harpy Eagles don't soar to hunt, but lurk in the trees like a gigantic winged monstrosity, waiting to ambush prey in surprise. (It goes without saying that monkey and sloth nightmares are dominated by Harpy Eagles.) They also require a huge territory for hunting, with a single pair occupying between 3,000 and 7,000 hectares of forest. So for birders and wildlife enthusiasts alike, a...

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Make it YOUR Wildland Adventure! Wildland Adventures offers many small group departures, but did you know that nearly all of our trips are flexible and can be customized for just you, your spouse, your family or a private group of friends?  After all, this is YOUR adventure; we use our expertise to provide options and make recommendations that may enhance an already great trip and make it a more perfect experience for you! One of our most popular trips through Patagonia, the Best of Patagonia, is a perfect example of this with flexible options already built in to the itinerary. All travelers are given the choice to stay at the Patagonia Camp in Torres del Paine or upgrade to Explora Patagonia, located within the National Park.  The two lodges are both exceptional in their own way but we leave it up to you to decide which price point and experience is the best fit for...

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A Father-Daughter Trip to Peru Molly Greathouse and her father John traveled with Wildland Adventures to Peru over spring break on our Best of Peru itinerary. Both Molly and John are journalists and Molly was nice enough to share her stories from the trip, which she published on her personal blog.  To follow their journey and view Peru (and family travel) through the eyes of a college student, click on the links below. A great resource for parents who may be considering a similar trip with a college-aged child! Blog 1: Getting Ready for Peru Blog 2: Arrival to the Urubamba Valley  Blog 3: Pre-Incan Structures, a Shaman & Chicha Blog 4: The Trek to Machu Picchu, or, How I Lost the Use of My Legs  Blog 5: Machu Picchu & Wayna Picchu  Blog 6: Cusco Churches, Tourism Police & Food Blog 7: The Amazon: No Internet and a Whole Lot of Bugs    Thanks for sharing...

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Savings in South America Blossoming cherry trees, tulips and daffodils up north mean that the leaves of the beech trees in Torres del Paine and Los Glacieres National Park have all turned red and gold, sure signs that winter in the Southern hemisphere is not far off. But it isn’t too early to start planning your trip for next season to... For the first time in years, the cost of travel to Patagonia has decreased! Chile has eliminated the $160 Reciprocity Fee US citizens were formerly charged upon arrival into Santiago, a considerable savings for families. If you have some flexibility with your dates and aren’t set on traveling over the peak months of December, January and February, you can stretch your travel dollars further by booking one of the discounted shoulder season departures with savings of up to $1000 per person. (See below for a complete listing of discounted departure dates.) I had...
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