Around The World ·
117 Days ·
94 Moments ·
3 June 2019
San Blas Sunburn
Sunburnt and decidedly hungover from the day before it was a late start getting up out of the hammocks. After a refreshing dip, and watching dolphins playing during our breakfast, the mood definitely picked up.
The rest of our time on the island was spent swimming and snorkelling and I even spotted the local shark, a 2m nurse shark, coming to check me out.
Bags packed, we jumped on the boat for a 1 1/2 hr ride back to Carti on the mainland. There we are picked up by Jeep’s for the last 3hr drive to Panama City.
After a shower at the hostel our San Blas Crew headed out for dinner and beers, a great end to an awesome adventure.
2 June 2019
San Blas Sunshine
We woke up after our first official night in the hammocks (which were surprisingly comfy!), had another awesome breakky cooked by the guides and headed off to our Day 3 island - Isla Pelicano I.
This was by far the most beautiful island of the trip and better yet, we had it all to ourselves! 🏝 Due to the rain the day before, we all had a much greater appreciation for the absolute stunning day ☀️
We took lots of photos, went snorkeling, drank beers, sunbathed, and had another yummy lunch (as you may be able to tell, the food on this tour was very impressive!)
We then headed to the last island of the trip where we would be sleeping in hammocks again - Coco Bandera. We celebrated our final night with games, a beautiful sunset, yummy dinner, and drinks around the bonfire 🔥
1 June 2019
San Blas Storms
Day 2 and we woke up bright and early to more beautiful weather, had breakfast and jumped on the boat for a 2hr ride to our next day island. Unfortunately a storm rolled in half way so we ended up spending an hour getting very wet and cold.
Due to the weather we ended up going straight to the night time island (Tupile) to wait out the rain and have lunch. Full bellies, few cups of tea and rounds of cards and everybody was smiling again. Finally the sun came out and we headed to our day island (Isla Pelicano II) for the afternoon for more swimming, snorkelling, volleyball and beers.
The night island produced an amazing sunset (maybe the best of the trip) and our guides cooked us an epic dinner. A few more beers were drunk, cards were played and stories were swapped before heading to our hammocks for a nap. Day two was a cracker.
31 May 2019
San Blas Send Off
Day 1 of our San Blas Adventures trip was finally here and it was time to head to our first Island! However, before that we needed to head to the military border of Panama first which we got told sometimes took up to 6 hours to get through 😱
Luckily it only took us a couple before we were at island #1 called Atitub and were greeted with yummy coconut drinks. We spent all day snorkeling, playing volleyball and soaking up the sun before heading to our “night” island where we would sleep called Caledonia which was the capital island.
There we got sea view rooms that looked out to the ocean and even a toilet with a not bad view down either (see pic) 🙈 we went out to the local restaurant for a yummy dinner then back to the hostel for some drinks & games and the first of many breathtaking sunsets 🌅 amazing day to kick off the trip!
Once again we were up early to meet some of our San Blas crew and head to the bus station. Our last bus for South America, thank god, got us to Necocli 3 hrs late because the road was so bumpy. Lucky the giant pizza and beers made up for it when we got there.
Next day was another early start to catch the ferry’s through to Sapzurro, a tiny little town right on the boarder with Panama, the start point for our San Blas adventure.
After a briefing, and spending some time waterproofing our bags, we headed out with the crew for swim in the crystal clear waters. If this was anything to go by the trip is only going to get better.
28 May 2019
Forts and Food pictures cont.
Forts and Food
With an early start the following morning, it meant we only had one full day to make the most of the beautiful city of Cartagena.
We booked in for another walking food tour for the afternoon and set off in the morning to do some exploring of Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas - South America’s largest Spanish fort.
We then sought out some açaí bowls for lunch and headed to the old town to meet our food tour group where we had make-your-own Colombian ceviche, fresh juice with local fruits, delicious fried street food (arepas & papas with cheese 🥔), finishing off with some plantain chips and sour cream. This group was a lot bigger than the last food tour group so moved at a much slower pace but was still a fun afternoon!
We then headed back to our hostel to pack our bags and get an early night as we had to be up at 6am the following morning to head off the 2-day journey to get to the port for our San Blas tour! ⛵️ (pictures cont. in next post)
27 May 2019
Our last day in Buritaca included a sleep in, breakfast, more free mangos, swims in the sea then we were picked up by our shuttle bound for Cartagena. 7 hrs later we were driving down the cobbled streets past the awesome old walls of the original old town.
After 4 months we finally treated ourselves to a ‘Selina hostel’, the premier top end hostel, for a bit of luxury before our San Blas adventure. The night was topped off by an amazing ranchera pizza which even had crushed Doritos as a topping.
26 May 2019
After realizing we had to leave for our San Blas Island tour 2 days earlier than expected, it meant we needed to speed things up to get to Cartagena so decided to do just a day trip to Palomino and do a ‘float’ down the river.
We both jumped on the back on a local’s motorbike each and headed down towards the river where we hiked another 30mins with tubes, beers & a wet bag in tow.
Unfortunately the weather was not as nice as we had hoped and we spent almost the whole float in the rain with the occasional thunderstorm. Lucky for us it was still pretty humid and wasn’t too cold, plus the beers and our UE Boom speaker playing Six60 definitely kept up the mood.
Afterwards we had a quick bite to eat, walked back into town & jumped on a local bus to get back to Buritaca where we had to stand the whole way because our jandals had flicked so much mud up the back of our legs & they didn’t want us getting the seats dirty 🙈
25 May 2019
Back to the Beach
Using a dodgy van, packed with other stinky backpackers, we left Minca behind us and headed towards Buritaca, a tiny town on Colombia’s north coast.
Somehow we managed to get 80% off at a beach resort (due to it being low season) - the only problem was the 2km walk down a dirt road to find the place. It was definitely worth the sweaty walk, sitting right on the beach and we even got freshly made mango juice on entry.
24 May 2019
Waterfalls and Wilderness
After a very hot night sleeping in our hut we weighed up our plans for the day and decided to head off on foot to Pozo Azul - some natural pools and waterfalls in the forest.
After a quick dip in the freezing water and some exploring, we decided to head off on the long walk back to town. Unfortunately it started to rain pretty heavy but we were very lucky to have two fellow travelers pull up in their hire car and give us a ride back into town.
Being pretty cold & hungry by this time, we decided to give the ‘Lazy Cat’ a go as we heard they had really yum burgers - and they did not disappoint! 🍔
We then headed back to our hostel - Casa Loma for dinner and finished the night off with some drinks & another lovely South American sunset 🌅
23 May 2019
Moist in Minca
I left Darelle in bed and went for a morning run up Monserrate. This is a church/lookout high on a hill with some amazing views of the city. Fortunately I managed to get a few snaps and make it back before it pissed down. The rest of the day was spent grabbing lunch and staying dry until our flight to Santa Marta at 5pm.
We made it to our flight with no issues even having time to relax in the full length loungers at the gate. Once we made it to Santa Marta we grabbed a taxi to our hostel in Minca, a beautiful little town set in the hills with stunning views. Our taxi ride was cut a little short as the last 500m was an uphill hike in the dark combine this with the 30°C heat and 90% humidity, we were pouring sweat at the top. Definitely time for a beer.
22 May 2019
For our last full day in Bogotá we decided to do another free walking tour, but this time - a food tour!
We met up with our guide and headed off with hungry bellies to our first stop for nothing other than empanadas of course 🥟
We then followed that with a delicious soup and then off to a Colombian BBQ where Evan got to try some Capybara (see photo of our guide holding a stuffed one) and I opted for a sweet version of an arepa. This definitely wasn’t the strangest thing on the menu though, we discovered that when Colombians have hot chocolate it is custom to put chunks of cheese in it to melt... yep you heard correct! I wasn’t a huge fan of the cheese but Ev loved it 🧀
We then continued with tasty wafers, hot buns & oat milk that tasted like rice pudding without the rice. Of course we finished the day with a shot of Aguardiente (a spirit known as Colombian fire water) & then some coffee ☕️
We tried some things we usually wouldn’t have & it was a really awesome day
21 May 2019
If you ever travel South America by bus it’s always a gamble what your going to get. On this overnight bus, to Bogotá, we had a crazy driver, a leaking roof, aircon set at -50°c and broken seats. But we made it on time and in one piece so overall not too bad.
After a quick nap at the hostel we headed out to the gold museum and with over 55,000 bits of gold there was plenty of bling to look at.
Having seen enough gold we jumped on a graffiti tour and were blown away by the amazing street art scene that Bogotá has to offer. In some of the worst areas, where previously you would only go to get robbed, the government pays for the art to go up to give locals something to be proud of. Although there’s a long way to go to fix the problems, the fact that hundreds of tourists go on these tours everyday is a testament to Colombia’s massive turnaround in recent years.
20 May 2019
For our last day in Medellín we headed to check out the Botanic Gardens. It was a beautiful spot with many animals and plants to see. Unfortunately some areas were closed for upgrades but still fun none the less.
Afterwards we went out for lunch to Betty’s Bowls and it did not disappoint with some awesome açai for bargain prices. We then headed to the only supermarket in our area that seemed to sell 2-minute noodles (which was unsurprisingly across the road from another kiwi hostel) for a cheap & quick filling dinner as the rest of the afternoon/evening was spent waiting for our overnight bus to Bogotá - but at least we had free wifi to kill the time.
19 May 2019
Being the 19th of May in Colombia meant that it was the 20th of May back home being the anniversary of when Evan and I first started dating... 11 years ago!! So what better way to celebrate then getting a couple of travel tattoos 🌸🥟
We headed to a lovely apartment in Medellin where I got a tattoo of the National flowers of my favourite South American countries by a lovely tattooist named Guadalupe and Evan got a tattoo at the same time from her hubby! He also got his favourite... food that is 😂 the empanada 🙌🏼 which was also fitting as his fav empanadas are the ones from Argentina - which is where Guadalupe & her hubby are originally from.
After all talking about empanadas made us extremely hungry, we then continued our celebration with some yummy wings and a beer then followed by a trip to Crepes & Waffles to get some delicious dessert waffles 🍨 definitely an anniversary we’ll never forget! 💗
18 May 2019
Tucanes Test Match
Too many beers last night meant a sleep in was on the cards and, when we eventually got up, the fried breaky definitely helped. We luckily spied a poster yesterday for a Colombia vs Paraguay rugby test match and I wasn’t going to miss it. Darelle however was not convinced due to the thunderstorm and the persistent hangover.
So I headed out with my All Blacks jersey and an umbrella, managed to pick up a ticket for $1.50 (cheapest test match in history) and had a great time watching the Colombian Tucanes smash Paraguay 43-13. Even though rugby is barely followed in Colombia the 1000 or so people who turned up for the game really got into it, cheering for their team and even heckling the ref when he made a shit call (which was quite often). Great way to spend an afternoon.
17 May 2019
Once again we caught up with the gang, jumped on the metro, and headed to a walking tour of Comuna 13. This neighbourhood was once one of the most dangerous in Medellin, with daily murders and constant violence. But over the last the last 10 years the area has undergone a massive transformation and, although you still wouldn’t walk round at night, it’s now a vibrant area full of street art visited by many tourists.
After the tour from a local guide, including free empanadas, we headed to the near by gondola to get a better view of the city. Like La Paz, in Bolivia, Medellin has gondolas as part of its public transport system and it offers an affordable way to see the city, tickets are only $1 Aussie to travel anywhere on the system.
Our day was topped off by heading out for dinner and drinks. This quickly escalated to a proper night out, not making it home until the wee hours of the morning.
16 May 2019
This morning we attempted to check out one of Pablo Escobar’s old properties, however, it had only recently been taken over by the government so unfortunately we got stopped at the gate.
We then continued on to the base of ‘La Piedra Del Peñol’ which is a massive granitic rock over 2000m above sea level! After 700+ steps were climbed, the view definitely did not disappoint!
After a quick and cheap ‘menu del dia’ feed, we jumped back on a bus and headed back to Medellín to have some down time before we headed to the football match that night ⚽️
Although it’s not Evan or I’s favourite sport, the atmosphere was unbeatable with a band playing and the crowd singing non-stop for the full 2 hours of the match. We did miss having our usual beer but could see why the matches are dry games as the fans get extremely passionate. Unfortunately the home team lost so we decided it was best not to go out for a drink after & headed home to bed after a huge day 😴
14 May 2019
Good old Guatape
A bit of a down day doing washing and catching up on game of thrones, however dinner was a blast. We headed out to Mercado del Rio, a massive food market set up in an old warehouse downtown. The place was amazing and it was a great time eating and sinking a few beers.
The next morning we caught up with the gang to head to Guatape, a small lake town near Medellin, for an overnight trip. A train, a bus and a Toyota landcruiser taxi and we still had a 2km hike to our hostel (due to road works) but the marshmallows roasting round the fire, later that night, made up for it. We also got a sneak peak of Pablo Escobar’s Guatape holiday compound on the walk in.
13 May 2019
After being double booked the first night, we decided to choose a new hostel to stay at for the rest of our time and ended up at The Black Sheep - which was funnily enough, a hostel owned by a fellow Kiwi!
After getting settled in we jumped on the metro and headed into town for our walking tour. Greeted by Camilo or ‘Milo’ as he is known, we walked around downtown getting a very in-depth look into Medellin’s darker past and involvement with ‘the famous criminal’ AKA Pablo Escobar and the affects he had on the city and it’s people.
On the walking tour Evan also found his new love for ‘Buñuelos’ - a Colombian deep fried ball which is kind of in between a donut and a cheese puff. Although our group got a lot of stares being a big group of foreigners (that never would have set foot in some of the areas a few years ago), the Medellin locals were extremely friendly and welcoming & it was cool to hear about how the city has come such a long way in a very short space of time.
12 May 2019
Booking Balls Up
We were so impressed by ‘Brunch’ that we had to go back for round two. So before our bus we ducked in for breakfast and were, once again, stoked with the food (I even grabbed a peanut butter brownie shake to go).
The bus to Medellín was another long and slow journey but the amazing scenery and headrest TVs, more than made up for it.
Unfortunately when we finally arrived at our hostel, we were told that they had over booked and we had to go down the road to another hostel. Luckily the owner of the original hostel gave us a free BBQ dinner and beers to smooth it all over.
11 May 2019
Today we headed to the Cocora Valley - home of the tallest palm trees in the world 🌴 They were so tall it was hard to get a photo of them and fit them all in!
We were blessed with lovely weather in the morning and enjoyed walking over the farmland before having to head back to town promptly so the boys could catch the rugby game that was happening at 11am.
After me and the girls had our own morning tea while the boys drank beer and watched the game, we all headed to a place called ‘Brunch’ where Evan and I couldn’t even finish a HALF portion of nachos that we shared 😱 so after that (and a delicious peanut butter brownie shake) we spent the rest of the afternoon and then night in a food coma and didn’t leave our bed again - not even for dinner because we were still so full 🙈
10 May 2019
Better Than Barefoot Bowls
Another day of exploring followed by buses and we found ourselves in Salento, a tiny little tourist town nestled up in the Colombian mountains. Although it was only 200km away, it took all day to get there as it seems the whole of Colombia is winding mountain roads.
After checking in to the hostel we caught up with our friends for beers and a game of Tejo. Tejo is a game where you throw metal lumps at a target ring set in clay - the fun part is that it has gunpowder setup on the ring and explodes (for extra points) when you hit it. Best drinking sport ever.
9 May 2019
We’re Coming Colombia!
After 24 hours of travel with our new friends the kiwi couple & their new friends a lovely Irish couple from Dublin, we finally made it to Colombia!
This border crossing wasn’t as straight forward as the rest as hardly any buses go straight through so we caught a bus from Ecuador at 11.30pm at night to a town near the border. We arrived early morning (to avoid crowds) then jumped in a taxi to the border, crossed the border by foot, caught another taxi, then another bus to get to Cali. The border was slightly confronting seeing more than 100 Venezuelans sleeping on the concrete outside waiting for their visas.
We checked into our hostel at night, had a well deserved beer and then headed to bed. The next day the other 4 headed off to Salento but we spent an extra day exploring Cali, however, after we visited the cat park it started raining & wouldn’t stop! So another early night for us before yet another bus ride the next day 🚌
7 May 2019
For our last day in Quito we headed down to old town and met up with some fellow kiwis to check out the Basilica del Voto Nacional. At 115m high the church is the biggest in South America and, for a small fee (nothing is free with the church), you can even climb to the top and take in some of the spectacular views.
The rest of the afternoon was spent killing time before our late night bus trip to the Colombian boarder. The boarder between Colombia and Ecuador is not the easiest to cross by land and requires a combo of 2 busses, 2 taxis and some walking to negotiate. Fingers crossed it all goes well
6 May 2019
Visiting (more) Volcanos
Sitting right up the front on the second level of our double deka bus, we headed off on another day tour from Quito with our first stop being Volcan Pululahua - one of only two volcanos in the world that has people living in the crater (yes you heard me correctly! 😳) The word Pululahua means ‘liquid cloud’ in native Kitchwa language as by midday everyday the crater is full with cloud ☁️ the volcano is also considered ‘active’ which we learnt wasn’t very hard as it only had to erupt in the last 10,000 years to claim that title (it’s last eruption was 2,500 years ago).
We then continued on to Mitad Del Mundo AKA latitude 0•0’0’’ which was pretty cool to explore & we later found out that the line was drawn before the days of GPS and was only 180m off the actual equator line which was not a bad effort!
We then enjoyed a yummy traditional lunch followed by some craft beer at the tourism centre then headed home for a much needed early night!
5 May 2019
After a well deserved sleep in we caught up with some mates from earlier in our travels (Mancora Peru) for a coffee. Wanting to see the sights of Quito, we all made our way to Quito’s teleferico (gondola). The teleferico heads up to 4000m above sea level, on one of the volcanos to the west of Quito, and provides some spectacular views of the city. Unfortunately being so high above the city the photos just don’t do it justice.
Afterwards we all headed back to Plaza Foch, Quito’s bar and food area, for late lunch and 2 for 1 cocktails. Way too much food and several cocktails later, we headed back to our respective hostels to deal with our food babies.
4 May 2019
After relaxing on beaches for the last couple weeks, it was about time we did something adventurous again and went on a day trip tour to hike the still active Cotopaxi Volcano 🌋
An early-ish wake up and quick stop along the way for a yummy breakky and some puppy & alpaca pats, we headed to the base of Cotopaxi which last erupted in August 2015.
It was blowing a gail/cloudy most the day and not the easiest of climbs up the slippery volcanic rock but we eventually made it to the base camp & enjoyed our Snickers bar and wrote in the visitors book.
Unfortunately due to global warming there is no glacier at the top anymore & due to weather conditions you can only hike up to the snow line (still reaching 5,200m!) so I opted out for the snow line trek & waited for Ev at base camp (4,800m)
After that we biked down to the very bottom on some dodgy mountain bikes to enjoy the lake view, headed back for some lunch & then home for well deserved beers the size of our head!
3 May 2019
Cold in Quito
Another night bus down and we find ourselves in the Ecuadorian capital of Quito. Once again we are back into high altitudes (2800m) and the colder weather. Quito is set in a large valley surrounded by several volcanos and farming areas, which makes for some awesome scenery very similar to back home in NZ.
All checked in to our hostel (but still quite tired) a nap was on the cards, before venturing to the cinema for an afternoon screening of the new Marvel ‘Avengers: End Game’ movie (in English as well!) All in all another great day.
29 April 2019
Busses, Boarders, Beaches and Beers
Crossing the boarder into Ecuador seemed to run smoothly however, after driving 30 mins into Ecuador, our bus was stopped at 2am by the military. After a bit of yelling in espanol we worked out we had to jump off the bus with our stuff to be searched. Weirdly since I was the only white male on the bus, I was the only person to get patted down and searched, but on the bright side we were all back on the bus in 5 mins and promptly back to sleep.
Finally at our hostel in Montañita (Ecuador’s touristy beach town) we met the resident donkeys and napped at the bar until our room was ready. With an amazing location right on the beach, beautiful sunsets and a cheap happy hour it’s no wonder our 2 night stay turned into 4. Like all good things, it had to end, as once again we need to get a move on else we’ll never make it home.
26 April 2019
Another two more nights of madness at Loki hostel, filled in with beach swims, ceviche, meeting more new friends, a couple of hangovers and a lot of recovery time spent in the hammocks by the pool.
We were even offered jobs to work as volunteers at the hostel but thought better of it as we were unsure our livers would handle the abuse. By the time we got our bus out there we were definitely ready to move on, still a hell of a fun place tho.
23 April 2019
Loki Loki Loki Oi Oi Oi
After a yummy breakfast & lovely late checkout of 12pm, we jumped in a tuk tuk with our luggage and headed down the road to our next destination in Mancora - Loki Hostel, which we had booked for Evan’s birthday.
It definitely did not disappoint, meeting a kiwi guy straight away who was actually the bar manager which then turned into beer pong. Later on in the night during happy hour Evan (saving some money of course) bought a bunch of drinks not realizing I would be on the phone talking to Connah for so long that he’d end up drinking them all himself. Needless to say when midnight rolled around he brought in his 29th bday in style 😂
Pretty dusty the next day, even after the bar owner gave him an “ambulance” shot (tequila, jäger, then vodka dropped into energy drink) we decided to take it easy and head to the beach for some lunch followed a few swims and an early night. Turns out the older you get the worse the hangovers get too! 🤕😂
21 April 2019
Our last morning in Lima was spent packing and heading to the bus station pumped for yet another 21 hr overnight bus to Mancora.
As we pulled in to Mancora on Easter Sunday, we could tell the town was packed with holiday goers for the long weekend, however, after checking in to our beachfront accom, the hustle and bustle was forgotten and a relaxing afternoon was had with a yummy lunch, beers on the beach, checking out the town (including coming across a group of massive Iguanas), watching a beautiful sunset, and finishing the night off early with a movie in bed.
19 April 2019
Reunited again we decided to head into the city to visit the San Francisco Church in Lima with the famous catacombs underneath it.
What we didn’t anticipate was that it was Good Friday and there were people and police absolutely everywhere! Roads closed off as well meaning we had to jump out of our Uber early and find our own way walking to the cathedral.
Pleasantly surprised that the English tour was only 15 soles each (approx $6 AUD) we set off on an hour tour of the cathedral and catacombs beneath which held a total of 30,000 bodies at one point! Until they realized that people started to become extremely sick with disease in the 1800’s and decided to close them off. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take any photos so have found some on the internet to show you what we saw! 🦴💀
We then headed back to the burger bar for our burger + beer deal then back to the hostel for a drink where we watched an Easter parade directly outside the window!
18 April 2019
A slight miscommunication with the bus drop off points from the airport but finally we are back together again. After packing and checking out of my current hostel, we jumped in an Uber and headed to neighbouring area barranco so I could show Darelle some of the cool spots I’d found while she was away.
Beach walks, good coffee, way too much food and a craft beer it was a fun afternoon however with Darelle just getting off a red eye flight from LA it was time to check in to our new hostel and have a bit of a siesta.
Quick nap down and with happy hour starting we grabbed a cheap beer and played a few games of crash bandicoot racing to top of the day
17 April 2019
Darelle’s Detour 🎡
After two months of literally being in each other’s back pockets, Evan and I would part ways for a week as I headed off on an adventure to the music festival Coachella in California (tickets I had purchased a year an advance and had no idea where I’d be in April 2019!)
Luckily enough to find a flight straight from Lima to LAX, I met up with my bestie from Aus & her two friends & we headed to the hire car place where we picked up our brand new Beemer which I was the only dedicated driver (look out USA!)
We drove to Palm Desert where we’d spend the next few days mainly attending the 3 Day Festival. Lots of drinks, glitter, new friends, lost voices & coughing from all the desert dust later I’m so happy I could make the festival as we all had an unforgettable time!
2 days in LA to relax before flying back to Lima were spent catching up on sleep, eating lots of food & even heading to the cinemas to catch a movie.
Now back to Evan in Lima to continue our adventure✈
16 April 2019
With Darelle away at Coachella my week was spent checking out the city and learning to surf.
Lima’s surf beaches are great with big long waves rolling in any time of the day but I normally got down there early before the crowds of other tourists (sometimes hundreds) filled up the waves. Definitely starting to enjoy the beach life.
The rest of the time was used at checking out Lima, finding cheap lunch specials, reading books in the parks but always making sure I was back at the hostel for happy hour with the 2 for 1 beers.
11 April 2019
Lucky in Lima!!!!
No, with Daz away, I didn’t head to the casino and put it all on black, however I did manage to score a free “secret food tour” of Lima from a company just starting out and needing testers.
With many thoughts of it being ‘to good to be true’, I sat with a couple of other people 10 mins after the correct meeting time but I should not have worried as, like everything in South America, our guide was just late.
The afternoon was then filled with classic Peruvian dishes, craft beer tasting and topped off with ice cream. $100 usd value all for the price of a trip advisor review yes. Luckily the tour was in a nearby suburb and the 50 min walk, back to the hostel, helped get rid of the food baby I had acquired.
10 April 2019
After Making the most of the free breaky at the hostel, once again, Darelle packed up her bags and jumped on a bus to Lima airport. From there she’s heading to the states to go to coachella (a big music festival) and leaving me to hang out in Lima for a week, for better or worse haha.
Another big walking mission around the local area took me to a few cool spots. A few markets with some great food, ceviche for days, and an awesome park with 200 resident stray cats that are now protected and cared for by the city.
9 April 2019
A late arrival into Lima the night before meant a sleep in was in order. Darelle catching up on some work also meant we spent the rest of our morning hanging around the hostel.
The afternoon saw us wandering round Miraflores (the neighbourhood we are staying) and checking out some local parks and the beach. Lima surprised us both by being a really cool upmarket city.
8 April 2019
We headed out to our jet boat ride to see the “poor mans Galapagos” and definitely should’ve listened to the advice of having a raincoat as we got absolutely saturated.
We saw some sea lions which was pretty cool and headed back to shore to dry out.
After heading to a recommended restaurant for dinner and being told they only accepted cash, Evan was extremely upset when the one ATM decided to eat his card.
The next day we made our way to Lima stopping off at a few places in the national park where we got caught in a few sandstorms and I almost lost my dress!
All in all, we can’t say Paracas was one of our favourite places to visit.
6 April 2019
Holy Hot Huacachina
All day bus bus to Huacachina done with a quick stop of to view the Nazca lines. A set of 300 + drawings in the desert the nobody can explain, only a few can be seen from the side of the road platform but worth a look.
Brief nap in Huacachina (we stayed at a party hostel), followed by hanging at the pool in 35°c heat with slushy drinks, a stark contrast to snow at rainbow mt only a couple days ago.
Our afternoon was filled with a crazy dune buggy ride and sand boarding in this amazing desert oasis.
5 April 2019
Chomping on Chocolate
After a fairly big night with our new friends, we had a nice sleep in, soaked up some sun, had a yummy breakfast, and then headed out to a chocolate making class.
Pretty stoked to find the four of us where the only ones who booked the afternoon tour, we learnt all about the cacau beans & how to roast them ourselves, right through to making our own chocolate!
A delicious and tasty experience, we headed back to our hostel to pack and get ready for another early morning bus ride to the next Peruvian destination.
4 April 2019
36 hours, No Showers
Overnight bus to Arequipa done and dusted, we arrive at our hostel 6am (still marinating in the same clothes we hiked rainbow mountain in) to find our hostel (and most of the city) has no water. Undeterred yet slightly stinky, we head to a cafe for breaky with a couple of other aussies from our peruhop bus.
New friends in tow, we continued to the walking tour in Arequipa, the highlight being the llama and alpaca museum where we learnt all about these cool animals.
Back to our hostel for a few too many beers (and a cold shower once the water finally come back on), the outcome being a bit of a headache and a place to stay in Sydney when we need it!!
3 April 2019
Racing up to Rainbow Mountain
After completing Machu Picchu the day before and not thinking I had anymore to give - we woke up at 2am ready to be piled into a van to head to Rainbow Mountain.
After one and a half hours in the van and a quick breakfast, we continued for another hour and made our way to the base.
Luckily Evan and I had been at altitude for a week or so as this would be our highest climb yet at 5,100m - all of the guides equipped with extra oxygen if need be.
Slowly but surely I’m proud to say we made it to the top safely and Evan even completely it in boardies and finishing a beer at the top.
As we descended and passed multiple tourists on the way down, we were pretty happy that we had chosen to brave the 2am wake up and get up there first. Definitely an experience well never forget 🏔
2 April 2019
Montaña Machu Picchu
4.30am, waking up rain on the roof “bugger”, realising we had left our headlamps in Cusco “double bugger”, the gods of Machu Picchu we’re not going to make this easy for us.
A quick 1hr 15 min hike later saw us wet and cold waiting at the main entry gate for our 7am entry slot. It’s around this point that I mention to Darelle that I had also booked the hike for Machu Picchu mountain (another 1 1/2hrs of hiking steep steps), the look on her face, priceless!!!
1/2 way up Montaña Machu Picchu the gods finally relent, the rain stops, the clouds part and sensational views begin.
By the time we reach the top our phones are already full of photos and the memory of the mornings wet and woe-full trek are forgotten. Super proud of Daz sticking to it and making it all the way up.
On our decent we passed many other visitors, dry and clean, having clearly gotten the bus up, and both of us appreciated the journey even more for having earned it.
1 April 2019
After our fair share of bus rides, it was a lovely change of scenery to be taking a train to Aguas Calientes - the town at the base of Machu Picchu.
Stepping off the train and happy to see someone standing there with our name on a clipboard, the scenery was absolutely beautiful.
We checked into our hotel and then spent the rest of our afternoon exploring the small town. We eventually found ourselves at a place called Mapacho, a restaurant and craft brewery overlooking the river with good food and even better beer.
One of my favourite things about Peruvian cuisine is that they usually serve rice AND fries (double carbs - winning), which was definitely needed for our big hike we were about to embark on the next morning!
31 March 2019
Heavy in History
After doing a bit of shopping round for our Machu Picchu tour for the following days, we jumped on a walking tour of Cusco.
It was a beautiful day to walk round this amazing place, rich in history thanks to being one of the main cities in the Incan empire. Sadly after the arrival of the Spanish a lot of the original city was destroyed or replaced with churches, yet many of the original walls remain and you can still view the puma shape (representing power) of the Incan city’s outlay.
Capping off the walking tour with a pisco sour cocktail lesson, overlooking all of Cusco, great day for sure.
30 March 2019
Once again we were up early as it was time to start our Bolivia/Peru Hop bus tour! We jumped on our bus and made our way to Copacabana, Bolivia where we spent a few hours having lunch, making some new friends, & spending some time in the sun at a rooftop bar overlooking the water and having some drinks waiting for the next bus to arrive.
Our next stop was Puno, Peru which meant we had another border crossing & made it into country #6! 🇵🇪
We checked into our hostel & still full from lunch, we got an early night ready to be picked up early the next morning to head to the floating islands on Lake Titicaca.
Unfortunately the weather was freezing the next morning & was raining for the tour but it was still very interesting to see (& also enter) the floating islands made completely out of reeds. After this we jumped back on our Hop bus and made our way to our Cusco, where we checked into our hostel for the next 4 nights ☺️
28 March 2019
A few too many celebratory drinks, after completing “death road”, we woke up late to a stunning La Paz day and decided to go sight seeing on the gondola system. Due to its steep terrain La Paz uses gondolas as public transport, which doubles as an amazing view point for tourists.
After going round a few gondola lines we made it to El Alto (literally ‘the tall’ in Spanish) the highest part of La Paz, sitting at 4150m above sea level. Here, every Friday, is the largest markets in South America stretching as far as the eye can see, where you can find anything from car parts to veggies and everything in between. Great last day in la Paz.
27 March 2019
Defying Death Road
So when Evan said ‘cycling tour’ in the last post he actually meant we were going to cycle the world’s most deadliest road - known as Death Road.
A quick Google search will tell you that in 2006, with drops as high as 100-900m, it was averaged that the death toll was around 200-300 people per year! 😱 But thankfully due to some upgrades and an alternative route being installed in 2009, the statistics are now much lower.
Unfortunately we didn’t get blessed with great weather and at the starting point of our ride (4,670m above sea level) it was snowing and mighty cold 🥶 As we descended down the 64km road the weather thankfully got warmer.
After Evan managed to break multiple bikes (giving the guides a run for their money) I managed to attempt to get a bug out of my helmet with only one hand, get my front tyre stuck, which sent me shooting over the handle bars (not by any cliffs thank god!).
All in all was still an amazing day & an experience we’ll never forget!
26 March 2019
We arrived early in La Paz (the highest capital city in the world) and made it to our hostel by 6am, luckily for us our room was good to go, so we crashed out for a quick nap.
Sleep done and cycle tour booked for the next day, we headed out for a city walking tour. It rained most of the tour (and we forgot our coats) but it was really interesting, we even learned about the practice of human sacrifice that is still done to this day.
Back to the hostel we had a few beers with new friends from the tour, and an early night for cycling in the morning.
25 March 2019
Finding Free WiFi
Due to our bus not being until 8.30pm that night, we had a whole day to kill in Uyuni, which turns out if you’re not doing a salt flats tour - there’s not much else to do there!
Checking out of our hotel, we left our suitcases there and set off to find me a half decent coffee ☕️. We then spent the rest of the day checking out local shops, markets, patting chubby street pups, and ended up spending most of our time in restaurants that had cold beer and free WiFi!
Evan rocking his new favourite llama jumper and brushing his teeth on the street with two new friends (see pic 🐶), we then headed to the bus terminal (which turns out is not really a terminal and just a street where the buses park) ready to set off on another overnight bus to our next Bolivian destination. La Paz here we come!
24 March 2019
Fortunately the Bolivian tour guides like a late start (10.30am yay), unfortunately it was some Bolivian holiday which required pre-dawn fireworks and a sunrise brass band.... goodbye sleep in.
Setting off in a 4x4, with a couple of good sort British tourist, we headed to the train graveyard. Cool spot for photos and to see some old steam trains.
Stop 2 was a local village that used to mine and produce salt, but now sells llama jumpers and cactus beer to tourists. Needless to say we got 2 of both.
Next we finally headed into the salt flats for lunch at a hotel made of salt bricks. Afterwards we headed deeper into the salt flats for photos and the most amazing sunset. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves!!!!
23 March 2019
We left the Atacama Desert and set off on yet another 12 hour bus ride to make our way up into country #5 - Bolivia 🇧🇴
We made it through the border crossing smooth sailing, however, I unfortunately can’t say the same about the rest of the bus trip through some extremely bumpy Bolivian dirt roads.
Fortunately our bus driver wasn’t wasting any time and got us to Uyuni quicker than originally thought (although by this stage our brains had still been rattled around in our heads for hours) 🤕
We checked into our hotel then went for a walk through town to book a salt flat tour and have some dinner (yay vegetables!). We’re also pretty stoked that Bolivia is A LOT cheaper than Chile!
22 March 2019
“Beep beep beep beep” shortly followed by “f@&$ off”, this was the sound from our room at 3.45am this morning. Luckily our trip out to the Tatio Geyser took 2hrs so we could sneak a few extra zzz’s.
Following a sub zero (-10°c) outdoor breakfast, we went and checked out the geysers, making the most of the steam clouds as we both were underdressed. Obviously the -10 conditions were perfect to jump in and have a swim, although Darelle did not agree.
The rest of the tour was spent driving and spotting wildlife and stopping at a local village for some delicious llama bbq. FYI possibly the best meat I’ve had on this trip.
21 March 2019
After another short sleep we awoke to our 6am alarm to get ready for a full day of touring around San Pedro de Atacama.
The photos of today don’t do this beautiful landscape justice! We visited the salt flats, an old church, a small town, and various lakes/lagoons where the stunning Andes Mountains were always peaking through in the background 🏔
We also got to see some wildlife which was really cool including flamingos, herds of Vicuña (a wild native llama that only lives at high altitude), and a little chinchilla/bunny called the Viscacha.
Most of the sites we visited were at very high altitude - the highest being around 4,200m above sea level - so I got hit with a bit of altitude sickness but managed to keep it at bay with plenty of snacks, water, & sneaky naps on the tour bus.
Having a much earlier night than last night to not only catch up on some sleep but also in preparation for our tour & final day in San Pedro tomorrow incl. our 4am wake up 😳🙈
20 March 2019
Sandy San Pedro
Best way to start a 22hr bus trip?
With a wine headache and 5hrs sleep haha.
The only good part of a 22hr bus trip?
Catching some pretty sick views, sunset, and sunrise.
Making it to San Pedro de Atacama, after 23hrs on a bus (yes it was an hr late), we decided to lock in a few tours for the afternoon. Everything booked (and with a few hrs to kill) we headed out to check out the town.
1.30pm pick up saw us on our way to Termas de Puritama, the natural thermal springs. A 40 min drive and a 1000m gain in altitude (topping out at 3600m) got us to the pools and the next 3hrs were spent relaxing.
9pm and we were being jammed into a vans with 50 other keen tourists to go full moon sand boarding, with a strict policy to bring beers from lead guide “Nacho”, I knew this was my happy place. Using old snowboards we hiked up, and rode down, the dunes well into the night with a local DJ pumping his tunes.
2am (cold, drunk and sandy) finally bed time.
18 March 2019
After a 12 hour long bus ride and a successful border crossing, we made it to our fourth country on this trip!
The first night in Santiago was pretty uneventful & we just went out for a yummy (but noticeably a lot pricier than Argentina) dinner & then home to bed.
The next day we did a little bit of our own exploring followed by another free walking tour taking us around the more historical part of the city.
I think our favourite part of the tour was the end where the guide recommended us to this delicious craft brewery & told us we had to try their Patatas Churos (a plate of potato chorizo & pulled beef deliciousness) and national drink called a pisco sour.
We wandered home full as anything & ended up having an impromptu wine (or a couple of bottles) with a 55 year old English couple staying at our hostel who were really lovely & such a laugh! Off to bed a little later than initially planned in preparation for our 22 hour bus trip the following day 🙈
16 March 2019
Simple yet Stunning
Up early for our trip out to valley de uco (a 1 1/2 hr drive), the hostel was looking a bit rough (bodies passed out on the floor and couches) after the fiesta the night before.
Valle de Uco is know for the best bodegas, grapes and views in the area, unfortunately today it was raining and the views of the Andes were non existent.
The first (and only place worth remembering) was Bodega Loreano Gomez. A tiny, family run place (looked like some dudes garage) with outstanding wine. A tour and tasting was followed by a 4 course, wine matched, lunch which included the best/biggest steak I have ever had, all cooked next to us in an outdoor wood fired oven.
We moved on to two other (much larger and fancier) bodegas but we should have just gone home as nothing could match Loreano Gomez.
15 March 2019
After our wonderful host at the hostel helped us organize our wine tours in Uco Valley for the following day, we set out to find some brunch and ended up trying mate (pronounced ma-tay) for the first time since getting here - a very popular drink in Argentina (& Uruguay) similar to a loose green leaf tea.
We met up with our afternoon walking tour & even though this tour was a bit more talking then walking - our guide knew a lot about the history of the city which proved pretty interesting!
We headed home to find the owner of the hostel had organized a party which included some very interesting theatre performances (all in Español of course), cheap home-brewed beer & some delicious parilla rolls to top of the night which was early for us in preparation for our big day at the winery the next day!
14 March 2019
A bit of a late start saw us taking a short 45 min bus to the Luján area in Mendoza where we picked up our bikes for the day. After a quick run down from the bike company we were set to go on our winery excursion.
Bodega Canepa Martin:
A small family owned winery, great wine and a cool tour with a relaxed safety policy (we got to climb up the tanks and everything).
A bigger winery with stunning views of the Andes, I can hardly remember the wine because the view was so amazing.
Restaurant for lunch:
Because of our late start we skipped this stop, as we were running out of time, and powered on to the next bodega.
Another large winery, great views, interesting tour and really good wine (well worth skipping lunch and the 2km of gravel road to get there).
By the time we got there the kitchen had closed. Oh well better have a pint....
A 15 minute slightly intoxicated ride and we were back on our bus home. Great day
13 March 2019
The sun was shining with no clouds to be seen as we set off on our morning walking tour around the city of Córdoba.
As always we learnt lots of interesting facts about the city’s history and visited some beautiful landmarks. I think my highlight was the cute street dog that accompanied us on our whole tour 🐶 (street dogs are well looked after and well fed here!)
We then finished the day off by visiting a couple of the local bars for some cervesas and food before returning home in preparation for our early wake up for our bus trip to Mendoza the next day!
Up at 4.45am, we got ready & headed to the bus station before the sun came up & got ourselves comfortable on the bus that would be our home for the next 12 hours before we got to Mendoza (AKA wine country 🍷) - needless to say I had been very much looking forward to this part of the trip!
10 March 2019
My morning run was a busy one, with most of the Main Street closed to traffic, I was joined by hundreds of locals going about their Sunday morning exercise regime. Everything from roller-skates to something resembling samba aerobics. The rest of the morning saw us hanging at the hostel (Darelle getting some work done).
We ventured out in the afternoon for a bite to eat, proceeded to eat way too much, so decided to walk around some of the cool parks and gardens Rosario has to offer, in hopes it would help digest our food babies.
Returning to the hostel, unsuccessful in our attempt to get rid of the food babies, we had an early night/food coma.
11am the next day saw us on yet another long bus ride (7hrs) to Córdoba, Argentina’s 2nd largest city. A bit of a nothing day but looking forward to seeing what Córdoba has to offer tomorrow.
9 March 2019
Rosario Run Around
After deciding to fly from Iguazu to Rosario as the flights were the same price (& a lot quicker) than a bus - we quickly realized why when we went to check in and got stung with a luggage fee (that apparently wasn’t included in the original booking) that was almost the same price as the flights themselves 🤣 (ouch)
Flying into Rosario resembled NZ a little with lots of green farm land minus all the hills. We checked into our room at our hostel that had the skinniest staircase possible and set off to find some lunch. Quickly remembering why we love Argentina so much, we managed to get a lunch deal that included a meal, wine & dessert for $10AUD each (win!)
We then enjoyed another free walking tour around the beautiful city at 6pm then came home to cook some dinner and head out for a beer & a cocktail before finishing the night with some famous Rosario Gelado (ice cream) that did not disappoint!🍦
8 March 2019
Bye Bye Brazil
Last day in Brazil so it was only right to have açai bowls for brekky. Charged up on super fruit we jumped in our tour van to take us to the Argentinian side of the Iguazu Cataratas (waterfalls).
Another smooth boarder crossing (boarders here seem pretty loose) and we were back in Argentina (back to speaking Spanish again thank god), and a short 20km drive we were back at the falls. The Argentinian side did not disappoint with better view points and walkways right up to the edge of the falls.
After being dropped to our new hostel, we headed out to grab a feed, and were once again greeted with top notch cheap wine and steak. Can we stay here forever?
7 March 2019
Into Iguaçu Photos Part 2
Waking up at 4am, we packed our bags and headed to the airport for our 2 x flights that would eventually get us to Foz do Iguaçu (Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls).
Both feeling quite under the weather, we got to our hostel and slept most of the day except for a couple short walks for food (of course) & Ev had a quick swim in our hostel pool.
The following day it was time to head off on our day to trip to the Iguaçu Falls (one of the new 7 natural wonders of the world) and it did not disappoint! The Falls were spectacular and our Kathmandu rain jackets definitely earnt their spot as best purchase for this trip.
After another yummy açaí bowl, we headed across the road to Parque Das Aves where we saw some amazing bird life, tortoises, flora, and butterflies.
Out to dinner to Falls Food Park where it had multiple vendors with Ev getting Mexican, myself Chinese & 2 x standard Heinekens for exactly $20 Aus was a bargain. Home & inside just in time for the storms again ⛈
5 March 2019
Wake late, enjoy a morning swim, get the rest of the crew up, go find them some caffeine. Sweet we are now ready to finally head up to the Christ the Redeemer statue.
We turn up fashionably late but still manage to catch our tram (with only seconds to spare). The tram ride was very hot, very steep, very cramped, very uncomfortable... basically just lots of very.
After the tram we hike up a few extra stairs to the top and were rewarded with some absolutely breath taking views of Rio and (of course) the statue. Unfortunately being the first sunny clear day all week, about a million other people had the same idea, but all in all hard to complain.
With the heat beating down we head back to town for some açai bowls and say farewell to Chani and Matt (our Carnaval partners in crime).
4 March 2019
Strolling to the Sugarloaf
After feeling a little average from our big night at Carnaval, we ate some leftover pizza that I had ordered from Uber Eats and made a plan to go walk off some of the hangover and cheese! 🍕
We made our way to the Sugarloaf Mountain where we jumped in a cable car and made our way up to the first peak. After realizing we were all dying for food and that the first cafe had stopped selling food at 5pm (it was now 5.15pm) we jumped on the next cable cart & took in the beautiful view on top of the Sugarloaf! (I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves) ⛰
After seeing some cute monkeys and having a well needed beer and burger at a bar with the coolest view we’d ever seen, the time had flown by & it was already time to lap up an amazing sunset & look down at the city lights before heading back down and home to bed 🛌
3 March 2019
After a late (possibly hungover) start, a trip to Ipanema beach was a good option for breakfast and to regroup. Most of the afternoon was spent hanging at the beach and drinking a couple of caipirinhas (Brazil’s national cocktail) in the sun.
The return cab ride, to our Airbnb, took us directly into the local bloco (Carnaval street party) which provided us with no end of entertainment. Picture 100,000 drunks dressed like fairies dancing through the streets.
Quick costume change (including glitter) and we headed into the sambadrome, where the real Carnaval parade is held. With 90,000 people cheering and dancing in the stands, the atmosphere was amazing. Every night 7 Samba schools preform, with each school entering around 6000 people and preforming for over an hour. The last school didn’t finish until 6am. Such a crazy experience.
2 March 2019
Rolling into Rio
After arriving safely at our Air BnB where our friends from Aus, Chani & Matt, were waiting for us we quickly poured a couple of glasses of grey goose to celebrate Matt’s birthday! We then went out for a yummy dinner & called it an early night as everyone was pretty tired from traveling that day.
The next morning we headed to a beautiful old mansion that had been turned into a cafe for a yummy breakky and then headed to Copacabana to pick up our tickets for Carnaval and more importantly our outfits! 💃🏼
Out for beers and pizza for tea in Lapa and did some spectacular people watching of the aftermath of a nearby “blocos” party (we were surprised to see most people dressed like it was Mardi Gras instead and lots of shirtless men in tutus and glitter everywhere!)
Sorry for the lack of photos - we were having too much fun soaking up the Rio spirit and spending time with friends! 💗
P.S see if you can spot the famous Christ of Redeemer up on the hill
28 February 2019
Torrential Tour p1
0700 - wake up
0705 - realise it’s pissing down
0706 - sleep
0900 - wake up (still raining)
0930 - ponder wether it’s worth doing a free walking tour in the rain (still in bed)
1000 - find motivation and promise Darelle a coffee on the walk there.
1030 - didn’t listen to Darelle’s directions
1035 - realise darelle was right (darelle now angry from lack of coffee)
1100 - Vila Madalena graffiti tour commences
1130 - watch another tour member struggle to take selfie and hold umbrella (she cannot seem to figure out why the umbrella over her shoulder gets in all the photos)
1135 - still quietly laughing at umbrella selfie girl
1200 - look at great graffiti (still raining)
1230 - pleasantly surprised Kathmandu jackets are still water tight.
1300 - coffee break (darelle finally gets caffeine, anger seems lessened)
1330 - more cool graffiti (rain is finally easing)
1338 - rain gets worse
1400 - tour ends, we head to get food, dinner from last night is a faint memory.
Torrential Tour p2
1415 - eat meal at Mexican buffet.
1445 - (stomach pain) regret eating so much.
1600 - Arrive at hostel (rain finally gone)
1700- put tomato sauce in Darelle’s hair (neutralises green from pool)
1720- laugh at t sauce monster
1900 - retire to bed for Netflix
2130 - listen to rain
2200 - sleep
27 February 2019
Wonderful Walking Tours
After arriving at our hostel at a bright and early 8am to find they had no power (& we couldn’t check in until 2pm anyway) we headed out to find me a much needed coffee after our overnight bus ride.
After drinking my bowl of coffee and having a look around at some local graffiti, we then jumped on the extremely clean and well run metro (very impressed) and headed into old downtown where we would be doing our walking tour for the day. (Side note - São Paulo is the most populated city in SA with its metro area containing 21 million people!)
After a very lengthy 3.5 hours of walking & learning about the town’s history we headed home to check into our hostel & have a much needed nap. We then went out for dinner & checked out some of the local brew houses that the tour guides had recommended then home again for a nice big sleep 😴
26 February 2019
Wearing out our Welcome.
With the weather forecast predicting storms, waking up to another sunny day in paradise was a pleasant surprise. The last day of the epic free breakky and we made the most of it.
The rest of the morning was spent kayaking around the bay, before checking out at 11. With nowhere to be until 7pm we made good use of the hotel facilities (pool, wifi, towels ect) until we had thoroughly outstayed our welcome.
A quick Uber + bus combo got us back to Florianópolis city proper, where we had a 3 hour wait for our 11hr overnight bus to São Paulo. Unfortunately the bus terminal was overrun by mozzies and (once they got a taste for kiwi) they left us a few bites. Mozzie bites were quickly forgotten when we boarded our bus and got in to our full lay flat seats for the night (pure luxury), catch you tomorrow São Paulo.
25 February 2019
Wet n’ (not so) Wild
With the weather forecast for the next 2 days being constant storms, we woke up early to go for a quick walk/run down the beach before the rain & get a photo at the “I ❤️ Canasvieiras” sign.
Making it to breakky just in time for it to start raining we enjoyed lots of yummy fruit then put on our matching Kathmandu rain jackets and decided to make the most of the wet weather by taking a look around the shops and picking up a couple of knick knacks.
We were pleasantly surprised to arrive home (thinking we were spending the rest of the arvo indoors) to the clouds clearing! So we went exploring down the beach & came back to enjoy some last minute sunshine by the pool (see squinty selfie) for the rest of the afternoon. We then went out for a yummy steak dinner & had another early night to top it all off! Pretty awesome last full day in the beautiful paradise of Florianopolis ☀️
24 February 2019
A morning run on the sand and an ocean swim to cool off, great way to start the morning. Just to top it off our free breakfast turned out to be one of the best meals in South America (hard to beat the fresh mangos).
Most of the day was spent lazing in the sun with intermittent swims to cool off. A relaxed sunblock regime left us both a bit red by the end of the day.
As afternoon rolled round so did the storms, which gave off a spectacular lightening show (and left a few on the beach wet with inside-out umbrellas).
Pizza and wine for dinner, another day done.
22 February 2019
Adios Amigos (and Óla Brasil!)
As we said goodbye to our new friends in Uruguay, we made our way to the bus station for our longest bus trip yet.
4 x different buses (including a slight fail of a bus trip we didn’t actually need to make that added on an extra 4 hours) and almost 27 hours later we finally made it to Florianopolis, Brazil! - I do have to admit though, that the buses so far have been huge and way comfier than an airplane so it’s not actually too hard to get a half decent sleep.
Couldn’t have asked for a more perfect spot to stay right on the beach & even though we didn’t pay for a sea view room, still managed to get a balcony with a pretty nice view of the beach!
After a dip in both the ocean & pool, and another beautiful sunset, we headed out to a sushi buffet at 9.30pm where I ended up eating zero sushi as it was all fish (whoops no western sushi here lol) and back to our room for an early night.Super excited to be spending the next 3 nights in this beautiful place!
21 February 2019
Cruise Ship Chaos
After a hot and mosquito filled sleep, we set off from the hostel with a plan of seeing the sights of Punta del Este. After walking (for what seemed like hours) in the hot sun and having to contend with the crowds of cruise ship passengers (all of whom seem to struggle to move at any speed above a crawl) we ended up back at the hostel fully deserving our beer and swim.
Making friends with another Kiwi and Aussie the rest of the day/night disappeared into a haze of beer, Aguardiente (Colombian “fire water”) and great stories.
All and all a great day.
20 February 2019
We said goodbye to our hostel in Montevideo and headed back to the bus depot to jump on a bus to Punta del Este, a beautiful little coastal town 2 hours east.
Another comfy bus ride with air conditioning and WiFi and we made it in no time. Looking at our map and deciding to save some pesos and walk the 17mins to our hostel we were off. However, in 30+ degree heat & 80% humidity we arrived at our hostel as sweaty messes.
Just a quiet night getting some work and more booking of accom + travel done and yep... still sweating 😅 turns out this is the coolest/nicest hostel we’ve stayed in so far, but the issue is our tiny room has no aircon! Should make for an interesting sleep tonight...
19 February 2019
After a late, and slightly hungover, start we made our way to one of Montevideo’s best coffee joints. Been doing it since 1877 and, Darelle can tell you, they know what they are doing.
Too hot for the bike ride we had planed, instead we opted for cold cervezas at the hostel. Great way to spend the afternoon, getting tips from other travellers that have already been around South America.
18 February 2019
Klocking up the Km’s
After arriving to our hostel in Montevideo and getting an early night, we were prepared for a big day of exploring.
We headed into the city center and checked out the markets and watched some street performers before stepping out of the sun for a bit to enjoy a nice cold cervesa.
We then headed off to meet up with our free walking tour beside one of the city’s biggest monuments (the huge statue of the guy riding the horse who we later learnt is the country’s hero Artigas) where we met our tour guide, Jeronimo, who we found out had actually lived in NZ for a year!
We learnt heaps about the history of Uruguay and the city of Montevideo and definitely clocked up lots of Km’s! So with some slightly sore feet, we decided to finish the day off with some beers and the best pizza we’ve had by far 🍕
Side note: turns out the “statues” in photo 6 of the tomb of Artigas aren’t actually statues and scared the shit out of me when Evan told me I ran away 🤣
17 February 2019
After a morning stroll through the street markets in Colonia, we were ready for the first (of many) long distance buses in South America. With very comfy seats, heaps of leg room and great aircon, we were pleasantly surprised.
A quick 2 1/2 hr bus trip, through farmlands similar to NZ, and we made it to Montevideo without any issues. A couple of beers sunk and new friends made, our new hostel proved to be a win.
16 February 2019
Sunsets in del Sacramento
Heading out of our Air BnB this morning, dragging our suitcases with backpacks in tow along the rickety streets and down into the subway of Buenos Aires - thank god the metro is much quieter in the weekends! (Think ‘sardines’ on Mon-Fri).
Unfortunately after catching the wrong bus after getting out of the subway, we set off on another walk to find the ferry terminal where we were boarding our boat to Uruguay. Straight through customs and a quick 1 hour boat ride and we were there!
Another walk from the terminal to our lovely hotel in Colonia Del Sacramento, we quickly noticed this place had a very different and more quiet homely feel to it. We spent the afternoon exploring the beautiful old city full with historic buildings and some original cobble stones streets still in tact, we finished the day off with a beautiful sunset and helados (ice cream) 🌅🍦
15 February 2019
Last Español lesson down, we are definitely not fluent, but have enough to get by and it’ll only get better.
Insta bf mode around a few of the sights in B.A (taking photos of Darelle sweating in the hot sun and pretending to enjoy it)
For our last night in B.A we decided to splurge and head to one of it’s fancy steakhouses. So glad we did, with massive steaks cooked to perfection and a bottle of red how could you go wrong? It may have been our most expensive meal in B.A however 3 courses and a bottle of wine for less then $100 is still a bargain in my books.
Onto the next country tomorrow 🛳
14 February 2019
Vinos and Valentines
Not too much to report today - completed our second to last Español lesson and grabbed a smorgasbord lunch to eat after class which seemed to be a mix of Argentinian and Asian infusion food (not too bad though!)
After getting our homework done and Evan going for a run around the park while I did some work, he popped out to the supermarket and surprised me with a super romantic Valentines dinner for our night in 😍 (see pic)
Getting an “early” night tonight with a bedtime of 1am so we are fresh and ready for our final class tomorrow and our last full day in Buenos Aires!
13 February 2019
After discovering our new Air BnB had a smart TV with Netflix & watching a little too much Sherlock Holmes the night before, we overslept our alarms (whoops!) and made a very rushed subway trip into town - we made it to Day 3 of our Español lesson just in time.
In the afternoon we did some more adventuring by foot (seriously clocking up the kms this week) and found ourselves at a huge parque (park) which included a beautiful rose garden, lake, Galleo Galili Planitario (planetarium) and fanciest race course I have ever seen!
Dinner at 9pm (early for locals) was a win with a traditional Peruvian restaurant only 2mins down the road. Delicious and cheap food & the 2 x glasses of red were so big I’m pretty sure it was the whole bottle!
We headed out at midnight (again, “early”) to a local tango club where we sat and watched some traditional milongas (dancing) which was really cool to see. Another successful day in the beautiful city of Buenos Aires
12 February 2019
This morning saw us packing up our stuff and heading to an Air BnB down the road (same price, better setup). Quick metro ride to our next Español lesson, 3 hours of struggle, followed by a late lunch recommended by our new favourite barista. The place was a absolute win, cheap and delicious empanadas - always best to follow local advice. Swinging by the supermercado, we picked up dinner (cup of noodles) and some drinks ($4 vino tinto and $3 giant cerveza). Now homework time - turns out it’s not as bad as an adult (the vino and cerveza probably had something to do with this). Topping the night off with some Netflix and Spanish subtitles.
11 February 2019
Waking up to rain was a welcome change from the sweaty sun of yesterday (we both agree getting wet from rain was the better option). Another hostel breaky and we headed off to the first of our Español lessons of the day. A broken lift provided us 11 flights of stairs for morning cardio. Two 2 hour lessons later and we seemed to have only just scratched the surface of what we need to learn, however, the teacher was happy with our progress. A massive arvo of walking and sightseeing, so here’s the list;
El Ateneo (giant bookstore, retrofitted from an awesome old theatre)
Plaza de Mayo and Casa Rosada (big pink building, office of the president)
Catedral Metropolitina de Buenos Aires (spectacular church in downtown, where the Pope used to hang out before he got the top job)
Obelisco (big pointy statue, loads of tourists taking selfies)
Finally a win with dinner, Mongolian bbq, cheap and tasty (and included veges)
10 February 2019
Roasting in Recoleta
With a bit of sleep under our belts and a dodgy free breaky in our bellys, we headed out to Recoleta where our first stop was the cemetery. An unbelievable sight full of very extravagant tombs, definitely worth braving the 38°c sun for. After sweating through my tee, aircon and cold cervezas were quickly found. Food nothing to write home about, but enjoyed being out of the sun none the less. After lunch sightseeing was broken up by strategic shade breaks. Markets and museums ticked off the list, we jumped on the subway back to the hostel for an arvo nap. Recharge complete, we headed for dinner 10pm. With most restaurants opening around 8 and empty until at least 9, we were right on time. Another miss with the food was made up for with atmosphere, plenty of cervezas and people watching made for a fun night.
9 February 2019
Bienvenido Buenos Aires
After successfully navigating the airport and taxis we made it safely to our hostel digs in Palermo, Buenos Aires. With a mix of charades and poorly spoken Español we managed to check in, and it only took 40mins and a quick run down the road to multiple atms (turns out they run out of cash frequently here). Shit, shower, shave and we headed out to explore the local area around Palermo. Picking up two beers, empanadas and pizza for only $9 aud was the highlight. Also a bottle of local cab sav for $4, on our way home, was a steal. Half a glass later and I crashed out (see photo) wasting the rest of our Saturday night.
8 February 2019
The day has finally come, we are kicking off our South American experience by getting on a plane bound for Buenos Aires. The last week has been crazy, after watching a terribly boring Super Bowl and putting all our belongings into storage, we each came over to NZ for a quick catch up. Mountains were hiked, beers were drunk and many laughs were had. After peeling our hungover arses out of bed today we are now on our way. Watch this space for more updates.