Whilst we’ve been travelling round the world on a budget that’s tighter than we’d like, we’ve become pretty creative at saving cash.  Add that to a diet of alcohol and bagfuls of carbs at every meal, and we appreciate any ways we can burn a few calories without doing anything too energetic.

The result? Several discoveries of awesome hikes that help you to get to pretty cool destinations without paying the usual price for transport!

Christ the Redeemer – Brazil

There’s a few ways of getting to the summit of the famous Christ the Redeemer statue – the most popular being to take the train at a cost of 46 real / about £11 for the return trip. However, if you’re keen to save, you can also hike to the top. It’s a pretty tough hike – expect to do plenty of scrambling across rocks and up very steep slopes, but your reward will be beautiful scenery along the way and even the chance to see families of little capuchin monkeys. It took us around 1.5 hours from bottom to top, and we were foolish enough to do it in the midday sun which I wouldn’t necessarily recommend.

Savings: £
Hike Difficulty: 4/5
Hike Enjoyability: 4/5


Machu Picchu – Peru

We didn’t actually take the hiking option for this one, but several in our trekking group chose to save the hefty $24 / £19 return fee for the bus that takes you from Aquas Calientes up to the ancient city complex.  This is because the hike is so difficult and the early morning get up so early that we just didn’t feel it was worth it – we also wanted to be fresh for our trip to Machu Picchu so we could fit in as much exploring as possible. The guys in our group who did it looked pretty dead by the time we met them at the top, but many of them insisted the hike was worth it to save the cash so it’s on our list! The climb takes around 1.5 to 2 hours and is made up of over 2000 stone cut steps.

Savings: £££
Hike Difficulty: 4/5
Hike Enjoyability: 3/5


Bob’s Peak Queenstown – New Zealand

Our most recent discovery, we’d intended to treat ourselves and take the gondola up to Bob’s Peak for a drink at the skyline centre, some entertainment watching the luging and bungee swinging taking place, and unrivalled views of Queenstown. However, when it came to it we couldn’t bring ourselves to spend 33NZD / £18.50 each for the return trip on the gondola. It’s also impossible to save any money getting the gondola up and hiking back down, although you can save a mighty $12 if you do it the other way round and travel down on the gondola after your hike to the top. For us, this one is a no brainer – the walk up the Tiki Trail is pretty steep but it passes through some gorgeous woodland with plenty of great views as you ascend.

Savings: £££
Hike Difficulty: 3/5
Hike Enjoyability: 5/5


Snowdon – UK

A little closer to home, we’ve been lucky enough to enjoy several weekends with friends hiking Snowdon, and have never been tempted to take the train to the top, at a cost of £29 return. At 3560ft it’s the highest mountain in Wales, and not necessarily a pleasant hike if you happen to encounter bad weather.  The hike isn’t too tricky though and is popular with all ages as there are many different trails available with varying levels of difficulty. We enjoy the Pyg and Miner’s tracks which take 5-6 hours at a moderate pace and offer beautiful views along the way.

Savings ££££
Hike Difficulty: 4/5
Hike Enjoyability: 5/5


Cerro San Bernardo Salta – Argentina

This one’s a bit more obscure, but on the list because we were rewarded at the summit with one of the most incredible sunsets we’ve ever seen, as well as great views of the city of Salta. It’s only 110ARG or £5.50 for the return cable car, but the walk is a good one – just following a winding flight of steps up the hill to the top. It takes around an hour, and you’ll probably have to stop and catch your breath a few times, but we managed it easily after a day of horse riding and drinking vats of red wine at a ranch outside the city so most people should be fine with the walk! Try to time your visit for sunset, as even though you’ll be descending in the dark, it’s well worth it for those views.

Savings: £
Hike Difficulty: 2/5
Hike Enjoyability: 4/5


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