South America · 96 Days · 21 Moments · February 2017

SOUTH AMERICA


19 May 2017

CARTAGENA It is hot!! A heat I haven't felt since Rio. But the old part of the city is absolutely beautiful with old Spanish and colonial styles with balconies and flowers running up the side. On our first day we wondered around the city looking at all the beautiful streets. On the second day we did a tour to a 'volcano', which was really just a large mud mound. Inside this volcano is a bath on mud. Before we got in it chucked it down with rain. So we descended down and instantly get grabbed by a man trying to give you a massage if you don't get one you get thrown to the other side of this small pit with no control of your own. Afterwards you walk down to a lake and wash off the mud. There are ladies there who offer to wash you but apparently they think it is compulsory. I got groped multiple times. We left feeling very violated. Day two was a nightmare so I'll just describe day 3. Took a bus to playa Blanca and went snorkelling!! The beach was beautiful, a bit too commercial though.

14 May 2017

MEDELLIN I loved Medellin!! The city is so interesting and has so much history surrounding Escobar and the political history that got entangled in the drug history. On our first night we went to Parque de Luces (park of the lights) which used to be a criminal market but has now been transformed in to an open space for everyone to enjoy. The first full day we went on the Free Walking Tour, which was great. We then took the escalator all the way to the top of a barrio (the Colombian version of a favela) which used to be really dangerous but since the pacification of the barrios tourists are now safe to visit and see the beautiful graffiti and the colourful houses. On our second full day we took a Pablo Escobar tour which took us around the city to where he lived, where he is buried and where he died. It was an interesting tour but not worth the money we paid for it. That evening we went with a group of people from our hostel and the walking tour to a football match! The atmosphere was ?

10 May 2017

CALI There wasn't much for us to do in Cali, but we did go on an incredible food tour. Colombia has the largest diversity of fruits in the world 🌎. So here are a few pictures I took on the Cali food tour and the Cali free walking tour, which wasn't actually free.

6 May 2017

BOGOTA Finally arrived in Colombia after an annoyance with the flights!! Did a free walking tour around the city, saw the gold museum, important political and historical sites and learnt about the country's and city's history. The Candelaria district is beautiful with lots of coloured houses with wooden balconies. The second day we went on a trip to the site of El Dorado, a Lagoon where Muisca tribe used to throw gold and emeralds and other precious stones in to for Mother Earth. We then went to Catedral del Sal (Salt Cathedral) the worlds biggest salt mine. Throughout the mine there were the stations of the cross all carved from the salt walls. Finally your arrive at a massive room with a cross at the end, this is the Catedral. The miners built it because religion was so important to them and they spent so long down the mine. It was built in 1994. The best thing to do in Bogota by far.
BOGOTA Finally arrived in Colombia after an annoyance with the flights!! Did a free walking tour around the city, saw the gold museum, important political and historical sites and learnt about the country's and city's history. The Candelaria district is beautiful with lots of coloured houses with wooden balconies. The second day we went on a trip to the site of El Dorado, a Lagoon where Muisca tribe used to throw gold and emeralds and other precious stones in to for Mother Earth. We then went to Catedral del Sal (Salt Cathedral) the worlds biggest salt mine. Throughout the mine there were the stations of the cross all carved from the salt walls. Finally your arrive at a massive room with a cross at the end, this is the Catedral. The miners built it because religion was so important to them and they spent so long down the mine. It was built in 1994. The best thing to do in Bogota by far.

28 April 2017

COCHABAMBA AND TORO TORO NATIONAL PARK Arrived in Cochabamba very early morning so went straight to bed. We wanted to explore the Convent and the Cathedral however, unfortunately both were closed either for renovation or because it was a Tuesday. So we spent the day wondering around Cochabamba and planned the next couple of days. We decided to go the national park which was a 4 hour mini van ride away. We turned up at the bus stop at 8:30 am and the buses only leave when they are full, we were the first ones there and we didn't leave until 11:00. Up early the next morning to get to the guide office. We booked on to a waterfall hike which took us to see some preserved dinosaur footprints. They were made in alluvial soil and the sediment from rock higher up had preserved them under layers and layers of rock. Bones and fossils had been found near by too. We walked for another 2.4 km downhill to a canyon look out which was incredible and then down in to the canyon to a beautiful waterfall

22 April 2017

COROICO Got the bus back from Copacabana to La Paz, we then had to hot foot it across the city, with a taxi driver who I am pretty sure was partially sited, to another bus terminal filled with mini vans. Got one of these three hours to Coroico, a town in the Yungas region of Bolivia. Spent the first day catching up on sleep and wondering around the very small town. Our hostel is very very basic and the owners are so rude!! But for the second day we booked a tour to an Afrobolivian community. Black people have only recently been given citizen rights in Bolivia!!! We trekked through the jungle and saw some beautiful butterflies as well as coca leaves, cocoa and coffee all of which are grown by the local communities! Day 3 was market day where we stocked up on food for the bus journey on Monday to Cochabamba, but first we have to go back to La Paz!!

21 April 2017

COPACABANA Took a bus from La Paz to Copacabana. We had to cross some sort of straits but the organisation was the worst! The buses and cars were put on massive pontoon type boats and pushed across that way and the passengers had to get on smaller boats. On the other side all of the pontoon owners were waiting to load up which meant that there was nowhere for our bus to disembark!! Finally arrive in Copacabana on Lake Titicaca and check in to our hotel. The next day we just stroll around the town, looking at the stalls and booking a tour to the islands. Day 2- go to Isla del Sol and we were meant to go to Isla del Luna but we got confused. But these islands are thought to be the birthplace of the Incan civilisation. Walked to the top of the island at about 4300 feet so got very very out of breath. Day 3- Very lazy morning but in the afternoon we walked to Copacabana's "Calvary", a large hill with the stations of the cross going up and we watched sunset from the top!!

13 April 2017

BOLIVIAN RAINFOREST Start the day off building our raft, which was six rubber rings and a frame made of trees!!!! Set off down the river which was going pretty fast following a morning and night of rain. Make camp at a raise on the bank. Small trek to a waterfall which proved to Anna, Molly and I that we are massive wimps, the rocks were slippy and the ground painful. Woke up to the most beautiful morning and day travelling down the river. Stopped off at a beach for the night. 4 am VAMOS VAMOS AGUA AGUA!! The river was quickly moving in towards our tents. We had 10 minutes maximum to pack all our stuff away and get back on to the raft. Sadly that day was spent cold and damp and not in the best moods. Stayed the night squatting in an indigenous persons wooden structure and got bitten alive!! Rainforest walk in the morning and day beautiful butterflies 🦋!!

6 April 2017

UYUNI Day 3- again an early start beginning with the Dali desert which is a group of rocks that Salvador Dali did a painting of despite never having been to South America. We drove through condor pass to reach our final destination of the Green Lagoon which was not that green unfortunately as it is the wind and sediment which gives it its colour. It is predominantly made up of arsenic and so does not have any life living in it. From here we could see volcanoes which were in Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. This was the most incredible tour I had done on this trip!!

4 April 2017

UYUNI Day 2- early start and drove through the desert in search for flamingoes but unfortunately didn't see any for a while but eventually we found some. We went up to 5400m in the desert where it is the highest driest place in the Atacama desert. We stopped off at a rock formation which was below the sea millions of years ago. We drove through a canyon which had the greenest grass in and was home to many llamas. We drove over to the Red Lagoon in the national park which is red due to the microorganisms in the water which also give flamingoes their pink colour. Our final stop was at the geysers. It was too cold for me to take photos here!! After this we drove to our very very basic hostel which only had three hours of electricity and no running water. They did however have a thermal pool which provided an incredible view of the night sky. I've never seen a moon so bright.

3 April 2017

UYUNI Day 1- set off from Uyuni and went to a train graveyard essentially. Old trains which were no longer in use had been dumped in the desert and had now become a tourist attraction where you can climb on them and get amazing views of the surroundings. We then drove on to the salt flat which is 12000 square km and was once the base of an inland sea. We drove further on to the salt flats and took our perspective photos which is actually surprisingly difficult. We then went to an island on the flats which was home to thousands of cacti and gave us a panoramic view of the salt flats. The sunset was amazing and you couldn't tell the difference between land and sky at some points.

24 March 2017

SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA DAY 3 Up early to go and watch the Geysers de Tatio. They are formed by an underground river being warmed by the magma and when it reaches boiling point it needs to find somewhere to escape to the surface. Stargazing in the evening, pictures to hopefully follow.

23 March 2017

SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA Day 1 Valle de Luna, the mountain range and salt flat after the Andes as you look towards to Pacific Ocean. Created because the Nazca plate and the South American plate collided forcing the land to collapse and push upwards creating the range. Stayed until sunset and watched the desert change colour. Day 2 Rainbow Valley. The third mountain range as you look towards the Pacific Ocean, created from two plates moving away from each other and magma being forced to the surface and cooling. The different colours are different minerals from varying time periods.

18 March 2017

MENDOZA DAY 1 We got a minibus out of the town and in to the desert where we were dropped off at a ranch for a sunset horse ride. My horse was called Paquierro and was a stubborn git who did not want to be told what to do. We were out horse riding for about an hour and half. Back at the ranch we saw two horses being made to mate (traumatic for all involved except the stallion). There were also three adorable puppies!! The family who run the horse riding prepared a BBQ for us with the most amazing salad, potato wedges and onions and of course some wine. The family sat down to eat with us and the whole day was just a wonderful experience. DAY 2 Got a minibus to some thermal baths which were naturally sourced and set in to the side of the Andes. There were different temperature pools with the most incredibly Scenery. A day of true relaxation. DAY 3 We took the train out to Huipu where all the wineries in Mendoza are. We went to two and tasted 6 wines in all. Got a night bus to Salta

14 March 2017

BUENOS AIRES Got the bus to Boca which is a neighbourhood where all of the houses and buildings have been painted in bright colours. It was amazing, so beautiful. So we strolled around Boca and had some lunch with a glass of delicious Argentinian wine for £3!! At the restaurant there were tango dancers too which was great! We then scooted across the city to Racleta where we went to the weirdest but most amazing cemetery. It is full of tombs and buildings for the dead. They were massive. I got shouted and sworn at by a crazy old Argentinian man because he was saying something about Eva Peron so I went up and asked him if she was buried in the cemetery and at this point he asks for money so I said no thanks and start to walk away he starts shouting at me and does a gesticulation which I assume is a swear word of some sort. After that we went to see a giant metal flower which starts to close its petals at sunset. It was amazing!

3 March 2017

PARATY After Rio we needed a little bit of a relax so took a 4 hour bus ride along the coast to Paraty. A small and beautiful town with white washed houses and colourful windowsills surrounded by the sea and jungle. We spent the first two days on the beach reading our books which was amazing and so relaxing. We have a boat tour booked where we can jump off rocks in to the sea, snorkelling and small treks to waterfalls.

27 February 2017

RIO CARNAVAL This is the craziest thing I've ever been to. There are so many people everywhere all the time. We went to the parade on Sunday which was amazing! There was so much colour and music it was incredible!! On the last day of carnival that we were in rio for we decided to get the cable car up sugar loaf mountain, it was sheer luck and lateness on our part that we were up there for sunset but the view was incredible.

25 February 2017

RIO DE JANEIRO Day 1 Arrived finally in Rio after 30 hours on a bus!!! 🚌 Day2 Got the tram up to Christ the Redeemer and got an incredible view of Rio. We could see Copacabana, Ipanema, the Lagoon and Sugar Loaf. Visited the Metropolitan Cathedral which is so ugly from the outside but inside it's beautiful! Took a short walk to Santa Theresa and visited Escaderia Selaron or the famous tiled steps. Day 3 After a massive faff of not being able to find the right bus we finally got to the start of the Two Brothers hike which starts with a journey through a pacified favela on the back of a motorbike. Possibly the single most fun and scariest thing I've done yet. The hike took about an hour and it was 33 degrees but the view was well worth it. Went to our first bloco of carnival 2017 in Lapa!! So much fun, but crazy.
FOZ DO IGUAÇU Day 1 Arrived in Iguaçu after a 17 hour bus journey. Went to see the falls on the Brazilian side. They were amazing, we walked on a boardwalk in to the spray of the waterfalls and got soaked!! It was incredible. Day 2 Lazy morning trying to catch up from our busy day previously. Went kayaking in the Parana river, no actual Piranhas thank goodness. A small trek to a waterfall where we swam in the pools. Day 3 Went to the bird park near the National Park of Iguaçu. It was a good time filler but not something I would recommend to people.

13 February 2017

São Paulo Day 1 Conquered the metro!! Free walking tour around Villa Madalena and saw some amazing graffiti down Batman Alley Day 2 Booked our tickets to Foz do Iguaçu Sé Cathedral Edificio Italia for a nighttime view of the city Day 3 Chill day in the hostel reading and listening to music in the sun. Went to a park in Villa Madalena to watch the sunset and then to a bar in Villa Madalena where people were properly dancing together. Amazing.