Hiring a trekking guide for Everest Base Camp trek is safe, cost-efficient and flexible way of making the most of the trek. A good guide will help you understand the land and mountains better, get in the permits line for you, ensure safety and handle the emergency situations as well.
Trekking Guide Vs. Porter-Guide Vs. Porter
But Before we go about hiring a trekking guide, it is a good idea to understand the different job titles that will be thrown around.
A trekking guide is a certified professional who has acquired a good set of communication and guiding skills to lead treks in the mountains. They have good connections with ticketing agencies, hotels, porters, and can help you manage all of it. They will help you arrange permits, coordinate in the hotels on your behalf, and help you understand the culture, history, and insights of these mountain lands. A good guide will also help you assess your health and teach you ways of eliminating altitude sickness.
The cost of hiring a guide can vary immensely according to their experience, expertise and language skills. You can also choose guides who specialize in culture, climbing, wildlife, food, bird watching, etc. These guides can be expensive and hard to find.
Cost of hiring a guide: USD 22- USD 100 (Includes wages, food, lodging, and taxes)
Porter-Guide / Assistant Guide
A Porter-Guide is someone who will carry your load of up to 15 kgs and guide you along the trails as well. Porter Guides are mostly locals who will join you in the trailheads. Not all porter guides have certificates and training, but they have a lot of experience in the trekking trails. Although communication and first aid skills are limited, they have a decent guiding ability. Besides, they will also help you get in the line for permits.
However, in emergencies like injuries or arranging a rescue, they will be of minimal help.
Cost of hiring a Porter-Guide: USD 20 – USD 25 per day (Includes wages, food, lodging, and taxes)
Porters are a very integral part of the trekking industry responsible for carrying food and necessities in the trail. By hiring a porter, you will also be providing jobs and contributing to the local economy. A porter will carry up to 30 kilos and take it from one night-stop to another in the trails. A porter generally carries backpacks of two trekkers. They usually walk at their own pace, do not communicate with the trekkers, and live in porter shelters. Generally, a guide hires a porter and manages them.
While hiring a porter, you should be very clear regarding the contingencies as to who will be responsible if a porter negotiates for rates, leave for another client in the middle, or gets sick. We do not recommend you to hire porters on your own. If you want to hire a porter, hotels in Lukla can help you.
Cost of hiring a porter: USD 15- USD 20 per day (Includes wages, food and lodging)
How to Hire a Good Trekking Guide?
I’m sure nobody wants just any average guide to accompany them for over ten days during your Everest Base Camp Trek. So if you’re wondering how you separate the wheat from the chaff, here are a few qualities or information that you might want to know:
- Experience of the guide– the more years they have worked in the trails, the better. However, younger ones have the advantage of being better at communication and more up to date.
- Has the guide done the itinerary you’re planning to do?– If you want to combine Everest Base Camp trek with Gokyo, but the guide has only done EBC trek, he/she might not be of use to you. However, please note that if you ask the question directly, they might say yes just to get the business.
- Guide License/ Certification– Always helpful to check if the guide has a guide license or certification of the training that they have mentioned.
- First Aid / Safety Trainings: Checking if a guide has necessary safety trainings can make a big difference in emergencies.
- Check if the guide is insured– If you want a safe trek with a peace of mind, you might want to make sure that your guide has insurance.
- Check out the reviews from previous clients- Genuine reviews from clients is one of the most effective ways to know if your guide is good enough.
- Talk to the Guide: No matter the reviews, always talk to the guide before hiring them to clear any confusion that you have before trusting them with your money.
Tour operators/ Agencies- Agencies can help you book guides by getting some commission. However, they will be expensive.
How to make the payment: Travel agencies have their policies, they either ask you to make a partial deposit beforehand and pay the remaining once you arrive in Nepal, or make the full payment beforehand. Generally, they have strict cancellation policies.
Guide booking Online platforms: Companies like HoneyGuide, Sherpana, Sherpahire, etc. list trekking guides, and you can book them easily from their website. The problem with some sites is that they don’t provide the guides’ contact information openly until you request the guide.
How to make the payment: Generally, you make payment beforehand, which is hassle-free. Also, since the payment is done online, you have solid protection in case something goes wrong.
Recommendation from friends, forums, and blogs: While first-hand recommendations are the best way to find guides, websites like Tripadvisor, Nepal Dia, etc are other useful sites. No matter what, you have to do a careful screening before booking guides directly.
How to make the payment: Payments, in this case, are difficult to make as you cannot trust someone with all your money. It will be wise to send a partial amount as security or enough to cover the flight cost if your guide has reserved seats for you.
Can you Hire a Guide / Porter-Guide / Porter in Lukla?
Yes, you can hire guides, porters, and porter-guides directly in Lukla as well. Hiring a local guide makes a lot of sense financially as you don’t have to cover the guide’s flight and transportation cost worth USD 100-120.
Hotels in Lukla can help you arrange them, but the problem is that they will not take the responsibility if anything happens in the trails, and you don’t even know if they are insured.
So the best option would be to book a local guide who can join you directly in Lukla through a trusted company or online booking platform.
Tipping Trekking Guides and Porters in Everest
Although the trekking agencies may mention higher, there is no hard and fast rule as to how much one must tip. Looking at the ongoing tipping practises on tipping guides and porters, the generally accepted norm is 15% of the wages.
Here’s the maths:
Let us suppose you are going for a 13 days Everest Base Camp Trek and paying USD 30/day for your guide and USD 20/ days for a porter. The tipping will be as follows:
Daily wages of guide: USD 30 * 13 days = USD 390
Tipping amount: USD 390 * 15% = USD 58.5 ~ USD 60
Daily wages of a porter: USD 20*13= USD 260
Tipping amount: USD 260 * 15% – USD 39 ~ USD 40
- 15% is the minimum rate. You can pay any amount above the minimum as per your service and satisfaction level.
- The amount is not paid by the individual member but the trekking group.
For Female Trekkers and Finding Female Trekking Guides
Everest Base Camp Trek is pretty safe for female trekkers. But if you don’t want to take chances by hiring male guides, here are a few recommendations for female trekkers:
- Agencies- Three Sisters Adventure Trekking is a trusted company that specializes in organizing treks for females. All the staff, including guides and porters, are female.
- Female Guides- You can contact and book female trekking guides, as well as female guides based in Lukla from HoneyGuide’s website.