Australia and Oceania, South America, North America ·
25 Days ·
54 Moments ·
3 June 2017
Where we've been 💙💙💙
Final message to finish this incredible trip whilst sitting in LA airport waiting for our flight home ,passing time...Thought I'd give you some stats for our trip....from Christchurch back to Christchurch in a circle we have travelled 5 different airlines ,had 10 flights ,covered 46 hours of flying time ,visited 5 countries( Panama granted was a 3 hour transit, and LA ,USA a 10 hour transit,still walks on their territory), stayed in 10 hotels,accomodation places, travelled by Aircraft,Bus,Coach, Mini van,Taxi,Train,Boat,Bike,and foot. Best beds were in Mexico,worst beds were in Peru. Most accepting and friendliest were both Peru 🇵🇪 and Mexico 🇲🇽, Argentina 🇦🇷 was bit tough on us tourists . Well we shall sign off now and begin our journey home. Thanks for following. Adios amigos,😘
Passing time in LAX
2 June 2017
Party zone Cancun. Arrived around 2.30 and dropped the bags to our hotel then hopped on one of the hotel zone busses. They run constant from central Cancun to the beach strip and party zone. It is a young persons paradise, fantastic beaches, all the "in" clubs and bars and even party clubs on the beach to the water front. The hotels stretch along the front for over 10ks and they are all huge. We spent about an hour wandering and enjoying the buzz of the place then headed back to our hotel. The hotel is just on the outskirts of the beach zone but it's position to the bus route makes it a perfect cheaper option to head in and out. And our hotel is packed with great amenities. Tomorrow we leave Mexico and our fantastic adventure and begin our journey home. Mexico has enchanted us . We will definitely be back. ❤👍
1 June 2017
Last full day in Tulum. We booked a visit to another lagoon biosphere. This one is on the outskirts of Tulum called Muyil. It is a huge national park and the lagoon consists of lots of mango swamps filled with different species of animals and birds. The Mayan have cut canals centuries ago joining the various lagoons and one of these canals is where we were allowed into the water and then floated along between the mango swamps for nearly an hour. The canal water was so fresh and clear and warm. When we finished our guide took us around another Mayan ruin site which borders the lagoon. This was actually better than the Tulum fortress ruins and it had an older history as a fortress and major Mayan trading post. Our final meal in Tulum was at another local traditional eatery. This was the cheapest feed we have had in Mexico and it was delicious and so much to eat. Total cost for 2 was 10.50 nzd and that included a couple of sodas. I see why it's a favourite with the locals now. Bye Tulum❤
31 May 2017
Grabbed the bikes and headed to Tulum ruins early this morning hoping to beat the crowds . Evidently the tour groups from Cancun and Playa del Carmen had the same idea. The place was like walking into a big Rugby game. Tour groups and their guides everywhere. Funniest thing was they were all going crazy taking pics of a lizard and saying what is it" obviously these tourists are staying In the Concrete jungle haha. In all honesty Tulum is the least spectacular of all the Mayan sites we have seen. After the ruins we hit the beach for a swim then cycled to the Grand Cenote . It's not as deep in the ground as the central cenotes but it is very beautiful and filled with turtles.lots of fish and bats flying overhead once you swim through the tunnels that adjoin the various areas of the Cenote. We even got a fantastic display from the resident Peacock as we left. Had a great meal tonight at la Coqueta. Very tasty filling and cheap.
30 May 2017
Woke up this morning and we both are suffering from sunburn. After looking at different options we decided to take a local bus to the archeological site of Coba and climb the regions 2nd highest Pyramid. The bus takes an hour so we arrived around 11 am. Coba is still at the stage of new archeological digs as it has lots of uncovered and unexplored areas. The jungle has overgrown everywhere and tracks have been made for the tourists. From the entrance and the first temple it is nearly 3k to the Great Pyramid so everyone either hires cycles @50 pesos for the day or hires a 3 Wheeler cycle taxi for 200 pesos. We got the cycles. The Great Pyramid looked huge and very steep with its broken uneven steps. The view from the top was spectacular and we got a panoramic view of jungle stretching forever. In the far distance the Pyramids of EK Balam could be made out. Have to say the other Mayan sites were better but the Great Pyramid and cycling through the jungle made it worthwhile visiting.
29 May 2017
Hit the road early today for Tulum. Tulum town lies about 2k from the beaches and beach resorts, and about 3k from the coastal ruins of Tulum fortress. We got our beautiful boutique hotel just before midday,grabbed a couple of free bikes the hotel supply and headed towards the beach to explore. The cycle to the beach and along the front is a great cycle track. Lots of tourists and locals using the track. We found the access to the public beach along the track to the ruins, locked the bikes up with all the other bikes and went for our first dip.in the clear blue waters of the Caribbean. Water was so clear and warm. Temp sitting around low 30 near the beach and not muggy. Tulum town which is inland and in the jungle is slightly warmer and muggy. Had some street food tonight, very cheap and tasty. Tulum is full of American tourists scattered with the odd Europeans and even a few Aussies. Lots more to explore yet. Oh and we had a foot spa tonight with Garrard Rufa fish🐠
28 May 2017
It was a 50/50 decision but last minute we decide to visit Chichen Itza. We took a Collectivo which is a very cheap mini bus ride. 40 peso to get there in 40 mins. Around 3 nzd. Have to say Chichen Itza blew us away. All the stories we've heard about over crowding and other sites are better were so untrue. Chichen Itza is by far worthy of its standing as a new World Wonder. It is huge ,full of splendour, magical, and explodes your imagination of another glorious time. If I could compare it to anything I would have to say the Rome or Athens of the Americas. You can only experience its magnificence by visiting and seeing for yourself. Three hours plus later we visited another cenote for a cooling dip. Il Kil is the famous cenote but both Ali and I still think cenote Oxman was better. Il Kill is huge though but very commercialised. Our return trip to Valladolid was on a local bus . 30 peso . Last night in Valladolid so time for some last photos and then a good cheap meal. Tulum tomorrow.
27 May 2017
Valladolid has started to grow on us. It's a small town between Merida and Tulum and more a local tourist hub. Not much English is spoken around the cafes ,shops and tourist areas here so it's been fun learning how to best communicate. So far it's working. We hired bikes today ,cycled most of the old streets and then headed 5k out of town to visit a cenote. Cenote Oxman pronounced oshman was beautiful. It's in the jungle and follows an unsealed track for 2k. We started thinking we were lost at one point. Bit scared but we got there. The cenote looks different from the top , not as appealing to jump into ,but once you walk down to the base through the tunnels it becomes a different world and quite stunning. The water in the cenote is refreshing and sits around 20 to 23 degrees. Ali got a flat on the home journey so once back in Valladolid and super hot and sweaty we visited the towns hidden gem of a cenote, cenote zaki. Another beautiful cenote with 3 small waterfalls pouring into it.
Two Cenotes today Cenote Oxman and Cenote Zaci (the second one is the one with people in )
26 May 2017
Early start this morn. Picked up at 7am and headed to Ria Lagatos a biosphere full of mango swamps on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico. Ali was in full form with the camera. Pink Flamingoes everywhere plus Pelicans huge Herons ,Ospreys, Crocs,and digging into the waters we found Horseshoe crabs,one of the oldest creatures on the planet and their blood is very rare and used in medicinal drugs. They have blue blood. At the biosphere we got a natural spa treatment of getting covered in clay,then a boat trip to the waters of the Gulf of Mexico to wash the clay away. From here we drove inland and visited Ek Balan, another Mayan historical site. This is relatively new and lots still being discovered by the archeologists. We had the privilege of a guided tour with one of the archeologists that was involved in the discovery of Ek Balkans tomb ,mummy , stone carvings and pieces of ancient hieroglyphics. All in all an event filled informative day.
25 May 2017
Beautiful Casa Marlene Boutique hotel. The man was delivering yummy bread to the tour guide lady who we were booking a trip with so we scored som beautiful fresh bread 💙
Well today we set off from Merida to Valladolid on a lovely big coach .
Then it turned bad 😳 we arrived at hotel and told oh can you wait a few mins which then eventuated to nearly 2hrs while we dripped in sweat 😥. Hotel supervisor then proceeded to tell us that they had no room that night. But had booked us in another hotel .... it gets worse 🙁 they stick us in a taxi send us on our way. Taxi drive tried talking to us in Spanish. Starts getting a bit annoyed gets google translate out Hotel ? Well we didn't know !!!' Goes back to original hotel. I'm getting really mad by now☹️ then taken to new hotel. It smells as damp as hell , no wifi etc and ages away from square. We decided to cut our losses and go online to booking.com and found this real cute beauty of a boutique hotel 💙💙💙💙💙hope our day is better tmrw. Off to see flamingos and maybe some 🐊
24 May 2017
Uxmal...WOW..this place is incredible. We took a tour which gave us transport from our Hotel to Uxmal and Kabah then onto a restaurant near the archeological sites to eat a type of Hangi.plus our own personal tour guide through and around the ruins. Uxmal pronounced Ushmal was mind blowing. On entering the area the first thing you are greeted with is the massive Magicians Pyramid. Best thing is hardly any crowds around all the historical sites .Everyone heads to Chechen Itza. Uxmal has an old history, the area was settled over 1000 BC and the big buildings started being erected around 300 AD. The place became a ghost city around 900 AD due to drought . Hence it is in pretty good shape only erosion damaged etc. kabah is a hidden gem. Not many know about it but it has all the splendour of an ancient Mayan city. We both loved kabah and its history. It was know as a special place for the rain Gods. Again this city became uninhabited due to drought. Freaky thing :it poured down as we left.
23 May 2017
First good sleep in this morn . Woke at 8.30am. Temp was around 34degrees and rising so we opted for a morning walk around the Central square to sightsee followed at 1pm by a 2 hour city tour on a cool sightseeing bus. Merida is a city full of beautiful colonial buildings and a mix of old narrow Central streets bustling with cafes ,and Mexican goods to huge colonial buildings in the surrounding city blocks . It's a happy vibrant city that seems to go from busy to busier as the day draws on. The 2 evenings we have been here for have been exciting and quite spectacular. Lots of dancing and music happening around the central squares and lots of families out enjoying the entertainment and local foods. Merida is a foodies heaven, tonight we ate at a place called La Chaya Maya. It's local Mayan food and it was mouth watering. . Uxmal tomorrow.
22 May 2017
Arrived at Merida after an epic energy sapping trip from Cusco.we have been on the go for 38 hours. Flight from Lima to Panama left Monday 2.30am. Sat in Lima airport from midday Sun 21st. A 2 hour transit in Panama followed by a 2.5 hour flight to Cancun then a short bus ride into Cancun to grab the Platinum coach to Merida. Luxury seats on the bus but a very long trip of 4 hours on a very straight flat motorway through the Yucatan jungle. No view except for tree after tree. Got into Merida at 6.30 and stepping off an air con coach into 36 degrees was a shock. After being up since early morn nearly 2 days ago to leave Cusco and Peru it's amazing how your mind craves a bed to stretch out and fall asleep on. Tonight is gonna be a good night .zzzzzzzzz
21 May 2017
We are back to sea level today and wow I'm feeling like I've been reborn. Murphys law ...Ali never got any effects , yet I pre loaded on cocoa tea, lollies with cocoa and even altitude tablets and it hit me hard. We are passing the hours waiting for our flight on Copa airlines ,Lima to Cancun via Panama. So that's all for today unless I write about the airport at Lima and its facilities,yeah ..nah. Mexico tomorrow. Pic is our taxi driver from Cusco.. his name is Harri Poter of all things. Name spelt correctly.
20 May 2017
Me again (Ali) Dave still wth altitude sickness 🤒
We spent the morning been driven around 4 archeological sights by Harri. The first one being The first InkaCity called Sacsayhuaman (3520 metres over 12000ft ) above sea level. It took 20000 men in its time of construction and about 50 years to build.. The biggest stone measures 8.5 metres high and weighs 361 ton😲. Being one of the most extraordinary megalithic structures in the new world.
Also visited Quenco which was a sanctuary, to the interior of its caves there are several stone altars for ceremonial use.
Pucapura that we visited was an Inca Military Construction with its conformed terraces stairways and enclosures.
Finally Tambomachay. Bathroom s of the Inka . Which has been deduced as a cult place to the water . A fountain that arises from the hill where the Inca built three falls of water driven by fine stone channels. Whilst we were there we were extremely lucky to see a beautiful hummingbird 💕
19 May 2017
Back to Ali doing the blog tonight. Dave severely hit badly with altitude sickness 😕
We got up reasonably early this morning to take the train back to Ollantaytambo. Once there the friendly taxi driver who had taken us from Cusco to Ollyantaytambo ,was waiting at our hotel to take us back 😜it's a 2hr drive away I might add.
The hotel is gorgeous where we are staying and only a few minutes walk to the Plaza De Armas.
This afternoon we just ventured out and about for a quick browse with Dave not feeling well.
We did take a private tour around the Cathedral of Cusco. The first Cathedral to be built in South America, it was stunning ! No photos allowed unfortunately .
We are heading out tomorrow to have a look around Cuscos Historic Sites with our friendly driver Harri .
Back to the usual blogger tomorrow hopefully. 🙂
18 May 2017
Sometimes you have that special day you wish would never end. Today ranks alongside some of those days. Machu Picchu and the surrounding countryside can't be described in words, it is one of those places you have to see for yourself to appreciate. Ali and I got to Machu Picchu @ 6.30am. A quick look at the beautiful ruins then we headed to do the Huyan Picchu hike. Only 2 sessions allowed a day. 200 people at a time. We took it slow but made the 8800 foot summit. Once down we climbed the smaller peak then signed out @11.30. From there we took a private tour guide for 2 hours around most of the major ruins then spent the remaining hours exploring areas we missed. Temp was over 24 most of the day. Headed back to Aguas Calliantes just before 5pm totally exhausted. Definitely a day we won't forget. Ali was in Heaven.
17 May 2017
Train trip to Aguas Calliantes first thing this morn. Took just under 2 hours through spectacular scenery. The train followed along a river all the way to our destination. We even had train crew in very smart uniforms ,serving drinks and snacks along the way. Aguas Calliantes is a small tourist town set up at the base of Machu Picchu. Totally different from Ollantaytambo,over 200 restaurants,plus many gift shops . Lots of European and American tourists around and the most English speaking people we have been around so far during this trip. Spent the arvo exploring the town then had another great meal at a restaurant called Mapacho. Ali had Alpacca with a cheesy quinoa risotto. Delicious meat. Tomorrow our day starts very early.4am brekky then bus up to Machu Picchu just after 5...very excited.
16 May 2017
Hola .last full day in Ollantaytambo. A slow hike up to the granaries buildings or Pinkuylluna. Steep start but levelled off near the ruins. Definitely felt heavy going as it's well over 9300 feet. We continued up the mountain further to the other ruins . Views were wow factor . Still can't figure out how the Inca people dragged these huge rocks around on steep sheer mountain tracks.This hike is free compared to the fortress site,65 dollars each. We got great pics of the fortress and town from our hike so can't complain. Had our last meal in a place called Blue Magic Cafe Bar Restaurant. Best meal we have eaten since our journeys start. Very authentic interior and staff amazing. Definitely worth a visit if you ever head to Ollantaytambo. Train to Aguas Calliantes and base of Machu Picchu in morn. 🚊
PHOTOs appear below under yesterday's blog for some unknown reason . First one shows the Restaurant .😊
15 May 2017
Back to the main blogger,Ali took over as I was sick...Got up a little later today,7.30am haha. After brekky we headed the long 2 min walk to explore around the beautiful old town of Ollantaytambo. The town has a main square surrounded by cafes and tourist shops. From the main square there are small cobbled lanes going everywhere. It's a bit like a maze but easy to get around as the lanes are all straight.lots of small holtels are scattered along the lanes so it was cool to explore and check some of them out. Today in Olly happened to be their Harvest festival or San Isidro. All the local farmers brought their oxen to be blessed then they paraded them around the town,followed by the carnival. Lots of music and dancing and a great variety of costumes. The farmers threw corn pieces on the road during the procession and everyone ,young and old were rushing to grab a piece. Seemingly it signifies good harvests and good luck to get the pieces of corn.
14 May 2017
Today we had another early start ✈ heading back to Lima Airport to take a flight with Star Peru to the city of Cusco. Taking around an hour and 15 Mins.
On arrival passengers welcomed to Cusco with the gift of cocoa leaves which you chew for altitude sickness.
Walking out of the airport door surrounded by begging taxi drivers we finally succumbed to a driver named Harri who then drove us all the way to Olltatambo where we are now staying for 3 nights. Along the way the driver stopped to show us a local textiles weaving place where one of the ladies gave us an awesome rundown on how they dye all their Alpaca wools with plants and seeds etc.
Ollytaytambo is AMAZING .
Pictures below are of our travels here today. Photos of ollytaytambo to follow ( I'll add one sneaky pic to today's collection ) ☺
13 May 2017
Pics of today
Up early to see the sights of Lima. Took cab into Lima central, plaza de armas the old historical part of Lima. Highlight was the hour visit to the 16th Century monastery and its catacombs,and its famous Michael Angelo last supper painting.Monestary is called SanFrancisco. Also visited the Cathederal and the very old historic buildings. Lunch time we headed to an Inca temple in the Miraflores district. Roughly 1700 years old and only recently discovered,Huaca Pucllana ..then onto Barranco,a very trendy suburb close to the surf beaches. Gonna head back to Olla Mamas restaurant soon. Food was so good there last night..Big variation of temp today, city centre was 26 plus but heading back to Miraflores and Baranco temp dropped to 21 with cloud. Lots of sea mist rolling in...REMEMBER to scroll the pics as up to 10 added
We are finally in our boutique hotel in Peru. Got in room at 11pm. Went out for a light snack and found a very cool traditional eating place. Had fish soup and buttered fish. Delicious. Good finish today from an otherwise long long day. Turned up to Buenos Aires airport,3.30am. Due to a cancelled flight on our carrier they had to bring an extra aircraft to help . We finally left at 6.30pm. Now our reason for this trip begins, bring on Machu Picchu.
12 May 2017
11 May 2017
Up early and got on a 3 hour city tour.Recoletta,San Telmo, city centre area,Government buildings etc, Boca. Definitely worth doing with only a day to sightsee. Walked back to hotel from drop off,about 8 blocks. Then headed to Recoletta cemetery. Lots of walking but best way to explore all the lanes and hidden areas. Buenos Aires is said to be the Paris of the South,it reminded us of Athens with its Grand buildings, hidden streets and eateries. Hard to communicate but we got there. Will definitely be returning as so much to still see. We have added 10 pics so scroll through to view all
Photos of our one and only day in Buenos Aires 💜
Went out to dinner for a yummy steak meal at Parilla Pena. Old style lift used to bring food up to 2nd floor dining.
10 May 2017
Set off May 10th @8pm. 11 hour flight ,landed May 10th 4.30pm. Same day but an extra few hours. Time travelling. Flight was very easy and seemed quick. Got through customs in about 5 mins . Only carry on luggage,8k each so extremely quick to leave airport. Got our cab to Wilton hotel and just over an hour later we are in the room. Got to say the experience travelling to the hotel was crazy. Traffic mayhem and as we hit the city area it was chaos. I think it's a right of passage here to blow your horn and keep blowing it for no reason. And if you have ever been on the dodgem cars at a fairground then think of that except in big cars,trucks,busses and motorbikes. I swear we touched every car we passed. Our driver seemed oblivious to everything behind and to the side of us and no one was getting in front of him or pushing in. We were both to tired and enjoying the view of the streets,buildings and people to care if we crashed. So many people everywhere. Off to explore.
Well here goes our adventure. Day 1, sitting in the koru lounge ,AKL international airport waiting for our flight to Argentina,Buenos Aires. Let the fun begin.✈️