We used 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking for our 11 day trek to ABC (Annapurna Base Camp) in October/November 2012. I chose 3 Sisters because I liked the idea of company that is owned and operated by women, and further, actively promotes the training and hiring of women guides. Despite the lack of recommendations found on the internet the company turned out to be very reliable and the staff pleasant. I would definitely use them for future treks in the Himalayas.
In April I began corresponding with Nicky at 3 Sisters concerning our proposed trip. She was extremely responsive and helpful and within a short time we had our itinerary scheduled and the 20% deposit paid by credit card. The balance was paid in cash on arrival in Pokhara. She booked our bus ticket from Kathmandu to Pokhara, our accommodations in Pokhara, guides and porters for an 11 day trek, transportation to and from the trailhead, and the flight back to Kathmandu. Once on the trail, we paid for food and accommodations as we went, with our guide Laxmi telling us the total owed each morning. We had no difficulties with any of the arrangements. My only negative comment is that we rented sleeping bags from 3 Sisters, supposedly down, which turned out to be cheap polyfill and inadequate at higher elevations. This resulted in a very cold night at ABC.
I highly recommend using female guides. The female touch on a trek such as this is a great asset. Our guide, Laxmi, was charming and knowledgeable, taking great care of us but also bending to our wishes. When all the groups rushed out of ABC after sunrise, we stayed behind an hour or two to wait for the sun to fully light the peaks affording much better views and photos of the cirque.
The use of female porters or assistant guides (guides in training) is more expensive as the company limits their load to 12 kilos each including a small bag of their personal belongings that they place inside of your backpack. While we ended up carry heavier day packs than we would have using male porters, I highly support the practice of limiting the load that porters carry. As a general practice porters carry far too much (multiple packs per porter) up steep trails that must deteriorate their bodies at an early age. At only $15 per porter per day it is worth the money to add a little humanity to their lives.
Guide per day $25
Assistant Guides (porters) per porter, per day $15
Total transportation cost to and from the trailhead $75
Deluxe bus from Katmandu to Pokhara, per person $20
Flight from Pokhara to Kathmandu, per person $100
Room with bathroom in Pokhara, per night $30
Accommodations and food on the trail, varies but we averaged about $25-30 per person, per day including beer for Don.
For links to all the posts related to the trek see the Annapurna Base Camp page.
For links to all the posts in this series see the Nepal page.