Salta and Iguazu Falls

After being back from my big trip for a couple of months, I think I am finally ready to finish off the final few blog posts. I was on such a roll while I was away, but for a while there was something about being back in Perth and at work that made it difficult to return to writing about being away in so much detail. But that seems to have passed now so I will pick up where I left off – crossing the border from Bolivia to my last major destination, Argentina.  As much as I enjoyed our crazy week in Bolivia, I have to admit I was pretty happy to about the prospect of crossing the border into Argentina. Bolivia was full of stunning, unique landscapes but the high altitude was really taking its toll on my body – between the cold and the frequent breathlessness, I was pretty ready to be descending back down to sea level. First we were heading to Salta, which is the home of empandas, before flying over to the northwest of Argentina to check out Iguazu Falls before heading down to the big smoke, Buenos Aires.  Continue reading

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Lake Titicaca, La Paz and Salar de Uyuni

With the excitement and exhaustion of the Inca Trail behind me I was off towards Lake Titicaca, which straddles the border of Peru and Bolivia, for what was planned to be a relaxing few days lakeside before hitting the hustle and bustle of La Paz and paying a visit to the worlds highest salt flats, the Salar de Uyuni. Bolivia was the part of this trip that I was most unsure about – from stories of sketchy characters and neighbourhoods in La Paz to the extremely cold and dry environment of the salt flats, I was excited but also a touch nervous about what the next week was going to bring.  Continue reading

Cusco and the Inca Trail

Well, after about four weeks of travelling through South America I was in Cusco, getting ready to go on the adventure that was the genesis of this entire trip.  I had secured one of the very limited and highly sought after Inca Trail permits in December last year, and I was set to hike 46km over 3 days and one very early morning, past ancient Incan sites, up and over Dead Woman’s Pass at 4150 metres, through the cloud forest and past the sun gate to one of the 7 wonders of the world, Machu Picchu. I was excited and nervous all at the same time – it was going to be a major physical challenge (particularly as I had spent the last 4 weeks drinking a lot of beer  and eating everything in sight) but I hoped one that I would conquer and be proud of for a very long time.  Continue reading

Arequipa 

I arrived in Arequipa at 5am, tired and bleary eyed after a long and cold bus journey from the sunny sand dunes of Huacachina. As with many overnight journeys that I’ve had on the trip, I wanted nothing more than a hot shower and a bed on arrival, but once again it wasn’t to be. Instead I asked for a blanket and resigned myself to snuggling up on the couch at my B & B until the sun rose and I could find somewhere that would serve me coffee and eggs.  Continue reading

Paracas and Huacachina, Peru

Before I knew it, my two days in cold and grey Lima were over and I was on my way down the coast in search of bluer skies. I had booked a bus ticket with a company called Peru Hop which would take me all the way through to Arequipa, with various stops and optional tours along the way. The first stop was Paracas, a small seaside town that was a short boat ride away from the Ballestas Islands, dubbed the poor mans Galapagos, which is home to sea lions, Humboldt penguins and a rather awkwardly named bird, the Peruvian booby. After that was Huacachina, a small backpackers haven nestled in the middle of the sand dunes just outside of the town of Ica.  Continue reading

Havana, Cuba 

Flying over the Gulf of Mexico towards Cuba, I couldn’t help but marvel at how blue the water was. When there weren’t islands intermittently dotting the water it was difficult to tell just where on the horizon the earth ended and the sky began. I was excited to get out of the sky and down onto this tropical island I had been waiting so long to visit! My sister and I had booked an 8 day small group tour with a company called Cuban adventures which specialises in Cuban tours, and only uses local guides and casa particulares (home stays) on their tours. We were set to visit the capital Havana; the home of cigar production, Vinales; and the beachside town of Trinidad.  Continue reading

 Mexico City 

When I started planning a trip to South America last year, I knew I had to include Cuba in the journey somewhere.  When I realised that it was easiest to fly through Mexico City to get there, the choice to stop a while to try some food was easy. What was not so easy was the decision about which foods to try in the short time we would have there. Honestly, it’s a blessing I don’t have to make real decisions in my life because the one between a street food tour and a taco tour caused me a truly unnecessary amount of angst! Continue reading