A Travellerspoint blog

Our big trip....the analysis

Show us your stats

overcast 21 °C

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the final chapter of this tour. After this analysis you wont hear from me again. So here it is our massive adventure crunched into numbers....enjoy

17 Countries

Mexico (19 nights)
Cuba (12)
Belize (3)
Guatemala (7)
El Salvador (1)
Nicaragua (2)
Costa Rica (12)
Panama (1)
Colombia (16)
Ecuador (16)
Peru (18)
Bolivia (18)
Chile (3)
Uruguay (1)
Argentina (19)

57 Places visited (nights)

Mexico
Mexico City (2), Oaxaca (3), San Cristobal (2), Palenque (2), Campeche (1), Merida (1), Chichen Itza (1), Cancun (1), Playa del Carmen (1), Tulum (3)

Cuba
Havana (6), Trinidad (3), Vinales (3)

Belize
Caye Caulker (3)

Guatemala
Flores (2), Lanquin (3), Antigua (2)

El Salvador
San Salvador (1)

Nicaragua
Granada (2)

Costa Rica
Playa Tamarindo (2), Monteverde (2), Santa Theresa (3), Montezuma (1), Playa Hermosa (3),

Panama
Panama City (1)

Colombia
Cartagena (5), Taganga (1), Tayrona National Park (1), Medellin (4), Salento (3), Popayan (1)lcan

Ecuador
Tulcan (1), Quito (4), Galapagos Islands (5), Cotopaxi (1), Baños (3), Cuenca (2)

Peru
Mancora (4), Lima (3), Rio Bajo (2), Cusco (3), Inca Trail (4), Puno (1), Isla Amantani (1)

Bolivia
La Paz (6), Cochabamba (2), Sucre (4), Potosi (2), Yuyuni (1), Salar de Yuyuni (2)

Chile
San Pedro de Atacama (2), Santiago (1)

Uruguay
Colonia del Sacramento (1)

Argentina
Salta (5), Iguazu Falls (3), Buenos Aires (4), Mendoza (4)

More stats

69 Different beds
150 Nights
8 Nights spent on a bus

Transport

47,112km Distance travelled (according to our maps on the blog)
1.2 If circling the Earth we would have done 1.2 laps

11 Planes
45.75 hrs Time spent on planes

57 Buses
285.5 hrs Time spent on buses

23 Minivans
66 hrs Time spent on minivans

6 Bikes
16 hrs Time spent on bikes

11 Boats
16.5 hrs Time spent on boats

2 Jeeps
25 hrs Time spent in jeeps

2 Trains
4 hrs Time spent on trains

1 Hire Car
9 hrs Time spent in hire car

1 Cattle Truck
3 hrs Time spent in cattle truck

1:11 min My fastest time on 3 card draw Solitaire
1:13 min Fi's fastest time
44 My world ranking for iPhone Solitaire....that's actually world record.

Stuff we´ve broken

8 Sunglasses (Chris x 5, Fi x 3)
1 Nikon Camera UV Lens
1 Acer Laptop
1 Snowgum jacket
1 Remington Beard trimmer
1 iPod headphones
1 iPod screen
3 Socks
1 T-Shirt

Opinion Pieces

Now to my opinion pieces. The question you always get asked when you travel...where was your favourite place? i plan to be prepared for this question, but how do you compare a city to a natural wonder? you just cant....so here are my rankings in categories!

Cities
1. Buenos Aires - Argentina
2. Cartagena - Colombia
3. Havana - Cuba
4. Medellin - Colombia
5. Quito - Ecuador
6. La Paz - Bolivia
7. Salta - Argentina
8. Santiago - Chile
9. Panama City - Panama
10. Lima - Peru
11. Mexico City - Mexico
12. San Salvador - El Salvador

For those interested Fi´s rankings were 1. Havana 2. Cartagena 3. Buenos Aires

Colonial Towns/Smaller Cities
1. Cusco - Peru
2. Oaxaca - Mexico
3. Antigua - Guatemala
4. Baños - Ecuador
5. Flores - Guatemala
6. Sucre - Bolivia
7. San Christobal - Mexico
8. Colonia del Sacramento - Uruguay
9. Potosi - Bolivia
10. Campeche - Mexico
11. Granada - Nicaragua
12. Cuenca - Ecuador
13. Cochabamba - Bolivia
14. Merida - Mexico
15. Popayan - Colombia
16. Puno - Peru
17. Yuyuni - Bolivia
18. Tulcan - Ecuador

Nature based venues
1. Inca Trail - Peru
2. Galapagos Islands - Ecuador
3. Salar de Yuyuni - Bolivia
4. Iguazu Falls - Argentina
5. Volcan Cotopaxi - Ecuador
6. Salento - Colombia
7. Mendoza - Argentina
8. Lanquin - Guatemala
9. Vinales - Cuba
10. Monteverde - Costa Rica
11. San Pedro de Atacama - Chile
12. Palenque - Mexico
13. Isla Amantani - Peru
14. Rio Bajo - Peru
15. Chichen Itza - Mexico

Beaches
1. Gardner Bay - Galapagos Islands Ecuador
2. Post Office Bay - Galapagos Islands Ecuador
3. Cayo Jutias - Cuba
4. Mancora - Peru
5. Playa Hermosa - Costa Rica
6. Caye Caulker - Belize
7. Tulum - Mexico
8. Santa Theresa - Costa Rica
9. Tayrona - Colombia
10. Taganga - Colombia
11. Playa Tamarindo - Costa Rica
12. Montezuma - Costa Rica
13. Playa del Carmen - Mexico
14. Cancun - Mexico
15. Trinidad - Cuba

Countries
These rankings were extremely tough, but after much deliberation here it is. Note - The bottom destinations are probably a bit stiff due to us spending less time there than others.
1. Colombia
2. Ecuador
3. Costa Rica
4. Mexico
5. Argentina
6. Peru
7. Bolivia
8. Cuba
9. Guatemala
10. Belize
11. Chile
12. Uruguay
13. Nicaragua
14. Panama
15. El Salvador

Accommodation

If you are ever heading to any of these parts of the world make sure you get in contact with us as we have more extensive information, particularly regarding accomodations. Fi has kept a very informative spreadsheet that we can flick to anyone.

Anyway as i love ranking everthing here are the top 10 places we stayed out of the 68 different hostels/bnbs/hotels etc. For the sake of this exercise i have left out the Sheraton Hotel from Iguazu as it had a slight advantage over the others.
1. Loki Hostel - Mancora Peru
2. Black Sheep Hostel - Medellin Colombia
3. Mundo Joven - Cancun Mexico
4. La Serrana - Salento Colombia
5. The Secret Garden - Cotopaxi Ecuador
6. Molles del Portezulo - Salta Argentina
7. Yolanda Hotel - Cartagena Argentina
8. Casa Verde - Sucre Bolivia
9. Hostel Chapula - Tulum Mexico
10. Abracadabra - Santiago Chile

And finally...People i would like to thank

Carlos, Illiana & Michele our amazing hosts in Havana;
Myles (UK/Havana) for hooking us up with Carlos and helping us find our feet in Cuba.
Sas, Caity & Charlotte (AUS) our Tulum buddies;
Team Saffers - Glenn, Jess, Steph, Camilla, Pete & Laura for all the fun in the sun on Caye Caulker, Flores, Lanquin & Antigua;
Our number 1 roommate - Jess (AUS) our Caye Caulker & Flores companion, as well as our roomate in Lanquin & Antigua;
The darkest white man on Earth - AJ (AUS) for our fun on Caye Caulker & Flores
Fiona & Amy (UK) the young guns from Flores, Lanquin & Antigua;
Phil & Kirst (UK) - the newlyweds who climbed up extinct volcanoes with us in Antigua & Lanquin;
Chris & Helen (UK) - our bike riding & surfing mates from the mountains of Monteverde to the beaches of Santa Theresa, Montezuma & Jaco;
Amy (Can) - our Colombian fun in Medellin & Salento;
Olly & Leah (UK/Bondi) - for the best few weeks ever in Ecuador. Galapagos, Quito, climbing Cotopaxi and Baños wouldn´t have been the same without you!
Richard & Susan (UK) - the birdlovers who made Galapagos a ball with their great jokes (Richard) & wonderful company (Susan);
Terry & Bec (UK) - good times and rum parties in Baños, and La Paz;
Hoops, Mick, Belinda & Nicole (Gippsland) - for making the Inca Trail a blast, and the afterparty even bigger in Cusco;
James & Andrea (Aus) - our tour buddies throughout different parts of Peru and Bolivia;
Mackenzie and her mum Nikki (NZ/Syd) - Also our tour buddies.

Thanks to you all. Each of you helped make our trip truly memorable. But the majority of you probably also are to blame for making a bus trip the next day that little bit more painful after

Righto....that´s all folks! Hope you have enjoyed the blog, most importantly at least now i will remember the stuff we have done.
Good on you Fi, you were a good companion...where are we going next?

Chudd out

Posted by chuddfi 22:54 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

Santiago

The final pitstop on this journey

overcast 22 °C

The final bus trip of our journey to date was possibly the best. A magical trip across the Andes from Mendoza in Argentina through to Santiago in Chile was truly spectacular. Didnt feel like a bus ride at all. This has got to be the world´s best border crossing?

IMG_2221.jpg
IMG_2220.jpg
IMG_9566.jpg

So our stay in Santiago was short. Just the one night. Everyone we had met and spoken to hadnt exactly been of the highest praise for the place. We must have been there on a good day. The sun actually shone through (something i think doesnt happen to often here), the people were extremely friendly and helpful, and the place has plenty to see. So here it is..our last day of action.

IMG_9610.jpg
IMG_9607.jpg
IMG_9599.jpg
IMG_9575.jpg
IMG_9576.jpg
2DSC_0580.jpg
DSC_0610.jpg
IMG_9570.jpg
DSC_0578.jpg
DSC_0603.jpg
DSC_0617.jpg
1DSC_0575.jpg
IMG_2285.jpg
IMG_2268.jpg
DSC_0579.jpg
IMG_2266.jpg
IMG_2257.jpg
IMG_2240.jpg

Fi and her latest photo shoot

IMG_9602.jpg

After five months of travelling, its safe to say that Fi has accumulated her fair share of crap. Some of which are some of your presents people. Anyway was funny watching her trying to close her bag for the final time this morning.

IMG_9568.jpg

So thats all folks. The next blog will be the highly anticipated statistical analysis.

Posted by chuddfi 22:51 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

Mendoza

Wine, meat and a sweet backdrop of The Andes

sunny 14 °C

Mendoza is the heart of the mighty Argentinian wine industry. Hundreds of wineries are all set in the desert conditions of Mendoza with the most spectacular backdrop from the nearby snow-capped Andes range.

Basically we have drunk a heap of wine...some of the best you will ever taste. We were staying with a French couple who run a winery out in the valley of Mendoza. Stefan took us out on a winery tour of some of the best in the region. I started swirling my glass like a pro, and pretending i could smell stuff in each wine.

IMG_2029.jpg
IMG_9382.jpg
DSC_0305.jpg
DSC_0343.jpg
3DSC_0331.jpg
IMG_9385.jpg
IMG_9433.jpg
IMG_9455.jpg
IMG_2032.jpg
IMG_9421.jpg
IMG_2031.jpg
IMG_9424.jpg
IMG_9436.jpg
IMG_9443.jpg
IMG_9453.jpg
IMG_9451.jpg
3DSC_0286.jpg
IMG_9417.jpg
IMG_2056.jpg
1DSC_0291.jpg
IMG_2179.jpg
IMG_9429.jpg
IMG_9387.jpg
3photo__2_.jpg
IMG_2174.jpg
1DSC_0319.jpg
IMG_9374.jpg

One place even tapped straight into the barrel for us....fresh

IMG_9560.jpg
IMG_9562.jpg

The next day we hired a car and headed up into the Andes. One of the most spectacular drives you could ever do. I spent the whole time shitting myself avoiding trucks and dickhead Argentinian drivers, but once we got there it was worth it. Dont even think the pictures can do the scene justice.

1DSC_0453.jpg
1DSC_0473.jpg
1DSC_0420.jpg
DSC_0493.jpg
IMG_2124.jpg
IMG_2127.jpg
IMG_2131.jpg
IMG_2132.jpg
IMG_9489.jpg
IMG_9490.jpg

Saw the naturally formed Inca Bridge

IMG_9479.jpg
IMG_9474.jpg

and got right up and close to some 6000m+ mountains

IMG_9493.jpg
IMG_9521.jpg
IMG_9500.jpg
IMG_9503.jpg
IMG_9504.jpg
IMG_9529.jpg
IMG_9514.jpg
IMG_9519.jpg
IMG_9516.jpg
IMG_9509.jpg

Our hosts cooked us up a traditional Argentinian Asado....(BBQ meat). Didnt realise that they cater 1kg of meat per person. Seeing Fi wasnt on the meat that night, that left Rog and i with a fair bit of work to do...Probably shouldnt have had a steak sanga for lunch.

2photo.jpg
IMG_9392.jpg
IMG_1998.jpg

Didnt want to waste too much stomach room with salad.

IMG_2002.jpg

Rog washed it all down with a traditional tea...Matte.

IMG_1976.jpg

Anyway after eating pretty much a quarter of a cow i woke up the next day somewhat dehydrated and bloated...pretty sure these symptoms are natural. But we had some more sights to see in and around town.

IMG_9546.jpg
DSC_0507.jpg
DSC_0503.jpg
IMG_9414.jpg
DSC_0501.jpg
IMG_9395.jpg
IMG_9397.jpg
IMG_9367.jpg
IMG_9403.jpg
IMG_9532.jpg
IMG_9540.jpg
IMG_9460.jpg
IMG_9391.jpg
IMG_9380.jpg
IMG_9390.jpg
IMG_9383.jpg
IMG_9373.jpg
IMG_9381.jpg

Rog getting down and dirty all for the art of photography

IMG_9454.jpg

He was later spotted in this Crimestoppers ad.

IMG_9456.jpg

And those 4 great days in Mendoza bring us to the end of our Argentinian adventure. A 6 hour bus ride through the Andes would see us wind up in Santiago Chile...the dreaded last stop on this amazing adventure.

Next blog.....the highly anticipated stats sheet...yes you guessed it, as if i could go away on a trip without a detailed statistical analysis. All will be revealed in the final blog, as well as my equally interesting opinion pieces which will reveal my rankings of every place we have visited! get excited!!

Posted by chuddfi 21:06 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Colonia del Sacramento

sunny 24 °C

You would have heard of Uruguay...that country we knocked out of qualifying for the World Cup. Remember Aloisi?

Anyway i couldnt leave South America without donning my Socceroos top and seeing if the people of Uruguay had long memories or not.

So we caught the ferry across from BA to Colonia del Sacramento, a beautiful small seaside colonial town an hour across the river. This place has got to be one of the world´s most picturesque places...a photographer would love this joint.

IMG_9322.jpg
IMG_1855.jpg
IMG_9341.jpg
IMG_9294.jpg
IMG_9291.jpg
IMG_9275.jpg
IMG_9263.jpg
DSC_0228.jpg
IMG_9307.jpg
DSC_0201.jpg
DSC_0140.jpg
IMG_9252.jpg
IMG_9258.jpg
IMG_1881.jpg
IMG_9273.jpg
1DSC_0219.jpg
IMG_1955.jpg
IMG_9265.jpg
IMG_9248.jpg
IMG_9303.jpg
IMG_9309.jpg
IMG_9241.jpg
IMG_9320.jpg
DSC_0182.jpg
1DSC_0170.jpg
IMG_1942.jpg
IMG_9268.jpg
IMG_9259.jpg
IMG_9319.jpg
IMG_9345.jpg
IMG_9281.jpg
IMG_1896.jpg

Rog caught a good shot of Fiona's Spring 12 fashion shoot

IMG_1925.jpg

How freakishly long do Fi´s fingers look as she just fingers the fruit out of my sangria?

IMG_9314.jpg

Found an old extinct bullring

IMG_9329.jpg
IMG_9336.jpg

And Rog found home in an underground wine cellar.

IMG_9350.jpg

Anyway that was all for our Uruguayan adventure...the next day we were back on the boat to BA, before jumping straight on the bus for Mendoza.

Posted by chuddfi 20:51 Archived in Uruguay Comments (0)

Buenos Aires

overcast 14 °C

London, New York, Paris....sometimes a city blows your head off with just how much amazing stuff is around. Buenos Aires was one of those places. What a city. The oldest and grandest of buildings, parks galore, a statue on every corner, markets, music and about 1000 of the finest meat restaurants you could ever choose from.

IMG_1618.jpg
IMG_1771.jpg

IMG_1817.jpg
IMG_8918.jpg
IMG_8952.jpg
IMG_9201.jpg
IMG_9235.jpg
IMG_9220.jpg
IMG_9185.jpg
IMG_1811.jpg
IMG_8933.jpg
IMG_9187.jpg
IMG_9231.jpg
IMG_9211.jpg
IMG_1819.jpg
IMG_9180.jpg
IMG_8928.jpg
IMG_8922.jpg
IMG_9226.jpg

There are heaps of dogs roaming around, and consequently heaps of dog shit...this one got the better of me.

IMG_9149.jpg

ok...to my loyal readers i may have created a song and dance about Salta being the last market i would have to visit on this trip now that Roger was with us. I was wrong. Turns out BA has a Sunday market that cant be missed. I swallowed my pride and followed the keen Fiona and the not-as-keen Roger to San Telmo for the Sunday markets. As it turns out my final market was by far the best. About 2km worth of stalls on a cobble stone street in the heart of BA's city with actually very good stuff, not just your usual crap hand-woven bracelets being sold by hippies.
Bit of art, bit of music...all in all a good day out.

IMG_8967.jpg
IMG_8953.jpg
IMG_8969.jpg
IMG_8964.jpg
IMG_8972.jpg
IMG_8980.jpg
IMG_8985.jpg

The next night, was nearly our last....and im not shitting you. Enter...the Argentinian Football Experience, or lack of football experience.

Riverplate v Tigre FC

For pretty much the entire trip the only thing i wanted to do was go to a football match in Argentina, and finally the day had come. The ways you go to the football in Argentina are you either
a) pay a bloke $100US for a ticket he is scalping outside the ground,
b)pay a tour company $1150US to take you to the game and i think for the extra $50 you get a hotdog, or
c) catch the rattler to the game, walk in the dark to the stadium, and then roll in.

We went with option C.

We didnt see any football.

We nearly died.

Turns out Riverplate and Tigre are on the same train line, kinda like Richmond v Hawthorn back in the day im guessing, so the train was our first mistake. Singing, bashing, a little scuffle, and a few warm-up broken bottles were smashed on our carriage as we arrived at the station.

Next move was a 10 minute walk in the dark, following the crowd and the stadium floodlights...so far so good.

The final turn into the street the stadium was on and all of a sudden we were in a war zone. The biggest collection of broken glass ive ever seen in my life, gangs of people everywhere and riot police everywhere. On horses, shooting shotguns everywhere. There were empty shotgun canisters everywhere...god knows where the bullets went. Next thing a hoard of police were running at us pointing in the opposite direction and without thinking about it we were off.

The scene was so crazy i didnt even stop to get a photo for you my loyal readers. However the newspapers the following day covered it for us. Turns out that 30 police were wounded including the police chief...good on him for being in the front line.

article-13..476__2_.jpg
IMG_9003.jpg
IMG_9004.jpg
IMG_9005.jpg
IMG_9006.jpg

The only action shot i have of Fi and Rog. Sorry its hard to see but basically in Spanglish Fi is asking how the hell we could get out of there.

IMG_9001.jpg

Anyway the next day we were still alive and that was very good. The sun came out, and we checked out some more of BA´s finest sights.

IMG_9000.jpg
IMG_8998.jpg
IMG_8992.jpg
IMG_8997.jpg
IMG_8988.jpg
IMG_8968.jpg
IMG_8996.jpg
IMG_9025.jpg
IMG_8993.jpg
IMG_9019.jpg
IMG_8995.jpg

After all the push ups and tipping cars over in the football riots, Fi is really starting to see some results. You go girl.

IMG_9046.jpg

Caught the bus out to a most interesting part of BA...La Boca. Famous for its brilliant football club (Maradona & that prick Tevez being among their legends) and the amazing stadium "The Bombonero" housed in the heart of the working class Barrio that is La Boca.
The place is interesting, colourful, run-down and scary at the same time. A bizarre part of town.

IMG_9050.jpg
IMG_9100.jpg
IMG_9109.jpg
IMG_9097.jpg
IMG_9056.jpg
IMG_9060.jpg
IMG_9067.jpg
IMG_9073.jpg
IMG_9069.jpg
IMG_9091.jpg
IMG_9092.jpg
IMG_9093.jpg
IMG_9118.jpg
IMG_9140.jpg
IMG_9123.jpg
IMG_9132.jpg
IMG_9124.jpg
IMG_9127.jpg
IMG_9130.jpg

Next stop we decided to jump across the border by boat to Uruguay and check out Colonia del Sacramento.

Posted by chuddfi 20:25 Archived in Argentina Comments (1)

Iguazu Falls

when 2 became 3...we welcome the silver fox Roger to the team!

sunny 22 °C

It was with great excitement that Fi and i caught the old shuttle bus out to the airport at Iguazu, but not to catch a flight. We were greeting Fi´s dad Roger who was to be joining us for the last couple of weeks of the trip. Fi must be totally sick to death of me after 5 months because she was pretty excited about seeing Rog.

IMG_1607.jpg

So Iggy Falls...a natural wonder of the world, and for a good reason. If i dont see another waterfall in my life then i wont be fussed. The biggest. tallest, widest and most powerful waterfalls you will ever see. For those of you wondering how it works, its basically a shit load of water coming in from all angles and dropping 100 metres to the river below, an awesome sight.

IMG_8869.jpg

After 5 months of backpacking and slumming it up we hit a bit of luxury in Iguazu. Thanks to some very generous family members we spent a couple of nights in the Sheraton Hotel with a room overlooking the falls. It was truly amazing, watching the falls from our balcony, listening to the falls roaring all night, but most importantly running around the National Park each morning before the hoards of knobs (tour groups) arrived.

IMG_1568.jpg
IMG_8675.jpg
IMG_8742.jpg
IMG_8750.jpg

We started off by checking the view out from above.

DSC_0022.jpg
DSC_0027.jpg
3DSC_0059.jpg
IMG_8734.jpg
IMG_8874.jpg
IMG_8882.jpg
IMG_8728.jpg
IMG_8736.jpg
IMG_8721.jpg
1DSC_0058.jpg

The next couple of days were spent walking around the park, checking out every possible angle of the mighty falls.

2DSC_0097.jpg
IMG_8832.jpg
IMG_8778.jpg
IMG_8787.jpg
IMG_8846.jpg
IMG_8834.jpg
IMG_8815.jpg
IMG_1560.jpg
IMG_8859.jpg
IMG_8788.jpg
IMG_8789.jpg
IMG_8790.jpg
DSC_0032.jpg
DSC_0034.jpg

Reasonably pointless sign i would have thought?

IMG_8691.jpg

Roger´s new "go to" pose?

IMG_8777.jpg

We did a boat trip that basically took us right in and under the falls. We got absolutely soaked, and its safe to say that our pissy little $1 ponchos from Peru were friggin useless. (Note - for the record i am quite aware of the little tuft of hair over my forehead that makes me look like Kenickie off Grease)

IMG_8797.jpg
IMG_8791.jpg
IMG_8807.jpg
IMG_8801.jpg
IMG_8809.jpg
IMG_8811.jpg
IMG_1590.jpg

On our final day we walked out to Tres Frontiers, which basically is a point in the river system where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay all meet. So the significance of this photo is basically over my left shoulder is Brazil, and over my right is Paraguay..neither of which we visited.

IMG_8897.jpg

Next we were off on an overnight bus to Buenos Aires. I like to get comfy on these buses...but new boy Roger didnt let me get away with this pose.

IMG_1616.jpg

Posted by chuddfi 19:12 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Salta

sunny 25 °C

After a few months booting around Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia it is with great relief that we have landed in Argentina, and with it we feel back in civilization. The ripping city of Salta was our first stop in Argentina, and if this is anything to go by then Argentina is going to be a sweet way to finish the trip.

IMG_8667.jpg
IMG_8669.jpg
IMG_8646.jpg
IMG_8641.jpg
IMG_8637.jpg
IMG_8670.jpg
IMG_8635.jpg
IMG_8664.jpg
1DSC_1006.jpg
IMG_8663.jpg
1IMG_8607.jpg
IMG_8647.jpg
IMG_8636.jpg
IMG_8672.jpg
IMG_8671.jpg
IMG_8662.jpg
IMG_8648.jpg

Ran up 1000 steps to check out the town views

IMG_8659.jpg
IMG_8654.jpg
IMG_8652.jpg

Visited the local shopping centre and found this great food court where you can drink beers and wine, as well as a joint selling 12 different kinds of steak dishes....in a shopping centre!

IMG_8630.jpg
IMG_8628.jpg

Bottle shops where you can sit in and drink a bit of your bottle, then take the rest away. All great Argentinian wines, and all under $20.

IMG_8623.jpg
IMG_8626.jpg
IMG_8627.jpg

The best impulse buys section of a supermarket ever...beers!

1IMG_8610.jpg

Some sweet street art around

1IMG_8617.jpg
1IMG_8618.jpg
IMG_8666.jpg
1IMG_8619.jpg

Seeing that Fi's dad Roger is meeting us on Wednesday this should signal the end of me having to go to markets. Yee ha

IMG_8668.jpg

After an overnight bus we will be across the other side of the country at Puerto Iguazu gearing up to see the Iguazu Falls and the silver fox Roger.

Posted by chuddfi 12:18 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

San Pedro de Atacama

The wild, wild west

sunny 26 °C

After our wonderful few days travelling 4x4 through the Salar de Yuyuni we crossed the border and landed in the desert town of San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. The little dirt roads were aligned with mud-brick shops, bars and restaurants which had not taken away from the cool, desert vibe of this little place. We spent a couple of days riding around, climbing up dirt mounds and checking the place out. And down at 2500m it was a welcome relief from the altitude of the past couple of months.

IMG_8606.jpg
IMG_8596.jpg
IMG_8572.jpg
IMG_8575.jpg
IMG_8580.jpg
IMG_8581.jpg
IMG_8585.jpg
IMG_8593.jpg
IMG_8570.jpg
IMG_8566.jpg
IMG_8561.jpg
IMG_8560.jpg
IMG_8559.jpg
DSC_0971.jpg
IMG_8556.jpg
IMG_8549.jpg
IMG_8545.jpg
IMG_8542.jpg
DSC_0979.jpg
1DSC_0987.jpg

Next we were off to Argentina and the North western gem that is Salta.

Posted by chuddfi 11:36 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

Salar de Yuyuni

Our 3 day tour of the Bolivian salt plains

all seasons in one day 16 °C

Our last few days in Bolivia were spent on the famous 3 day tour of the mighty Salar de Yuyuni. The tour saw us head from the south of Bolivia through 11,000 sq km of salt flats and desert and into Chile. No need to crack to many funny jokes here as this was one of the highlights of the trip so far.

Day 1 saw us head through the magical salt plains. Thirty odd 4x4 vehicles flying across miles of white flat salt plains. No roads, just choose your own path. Made for some pretty cool photos...

DSC_0324.jpg

The first stop on the trip was the train cemetary. The old train line has been down for a while, but the train carcases let us crawl all over them and make for some fun photos.

1DSC_0270.jpg
1DSC_0272.jpg
1DSC_0283.jpg
DSC_0296.jpg
DSC_0302.jpg
IMG_8119.jpg
IMG_8121.jpg
IMG_8128.jpg

Stopped off at a small village and copped a local football match. You will never hear me complain about the standard of the top oval at McKinnon SC again.

IMG_8130.jpg

Back in the old Landcruiser and onto the mighty salt flats for some creative pics.

IMG_8237.jpg
aa_pringlesfi.jpg
aa_dinosaur2.jpg
aa_pringles.jpg
aa_dinosaur.jpg
retouched.jpg
IMG_8220.jpg
IMG_8192.jpg
IMG_8211.jpg
IMG_8215.jpg
IMG_8209.jpg
DSC_0335.jpg
IMG_8134.jpg
IMG_8194.jpg
IMG_8191.jpg
DSC_0384.jpg
DSC_0380.jpg
IMG_8213.jpg
DSC_0408.jpg
DSC_0351.jpg
DSC_0369.jpg
DSC_0474.jpg
IMG_8142.jpg

Next stop was a random island in the middle of nowhere that had heaps of my favourite plants on it...cactus. Cost us bloody $4 to get on the island, but it was worth it as i was a little average feeling and used the toilet 3 times.

IMG_8203.jpg
IMG_8197.jpg
DSC_0416.jpg
DSC_0420.jpg
DSC_0424.jpg
2DSC_0457.jpg
DSC_0438.jpg
DSC_0463.jpg

The first night we slept in a hotel completely made from salt.

DSC_0520.jpg

Day 2 and we were back on the lack of road again and travelled through some amazing spots...really felt like we were in the middle of nowhere

DSC_0544.jpg
2DSC_0558.jpg
DSC_0588.jpg
DSC_0595.jpg
IMG_8259.jpg

The landscape changed from salt plains to desert...all the while surrounded by white capped mountains and volcanoes. A geography teachers wet dream.

IMG_8295.jpg
IMG_8305.jpg
IMG_8311.jpg
IMG_8450.jpg
IMG_8445.jpg
IMG_8474.jpg
DSC_0783.jpg
IMG_8478.jpg
IMG_8437.jpg
IMG_8449.jpg
1DSC_0792.jpg
1DSC_0812.jpg
IMG_8468.jpg
DSC_0817.jpg
1DSC_0825.jpg
1DSC_0834.jpg

Eventually we came across some lagoons full of the mighty flamingos. Very impressive sight indeed.

2DSC_0764.jpg
1DSC_0739.jpg
DSC_0728.jpg
1DSC_0609.jpg
DSC_0626.jpg
DSC_0636.jpg
DSC_0647.jpg
IMG_8352.jpg
IMG_8358.jpg
IMG_8359.jpg
IMG_8366.jpg
IMG_8385.jpg
IMG_8388.jpg
IMG_8401.jpg
IMG_8432.jpg
IMG_8422.jpg
IMG_8414.jpg

Fi found the world´s biggest broccoli.

IMG_8310.jpg

Now i will be honest with you, i dont know much, but i presume a little bit about how females piss, but this sign turned everything i know on its head. Is this possible? Is that what happens?

IMG_8370.jpg

Our last night was spent in the coldest place ive ever been to in my life...Laguna Colorado, and its -12 degree heat. (Apparently it was -25 the other day). Freezing cold, but a beautiful place known for its bright red lake.

IMG_8493.jpg
IMG_8498.jpg
IMG_8501.jpg
IMG_8504.jpg
DSC_0868.jpg
DSC_0869.jpg

After waking up and thawing out we were off for the final leg of the trip, the geysers. At 5000m it is officially the highest point of our trip and also our lives. These geysers are massive gas explosions resulting from the volcanic action going on under the surface. We are saying that 3 months after the disappointing volcanoes in Guatemala we are finally seeing some action.

2DSC_0900.jpg
DSC_0901.jpg
1DSC_0906.jpg
DSC_0907.jpg
IMG_8512.jpg

The last part of our trip was a relaxing soke in a thermal pool at 4900m. The volcanic action below heats the water to a lovely 30 odd degrees whilst everything outside is freezing. Was lovely whilst we were in it, but nearly lost a ball when out of it.

IMG_8517.jpg

And that was the end of our amazing few days...next stop Chile, and its famous desert oasis - San Pedro de Atacama.

IMG_8532.jpg

Posted by chuddfi 19:28 Archived in Bolivia Comments (0)

Potosi

the world´s highest city (4090m)

sunny 19 °C

After a couple of months at altitude you would think that heading to Potosi would give us no concern at all. That is actually the case except between the hours of 3-5am every night in bed when my body decides i cant breathe. Anyway im yet to die from it.

Potosi is famous for its working silver mine. A tourist attraction sees you head deep down into the mine whilst the poor miners are working down there. A couple of factors lead to us not heading down there.

1. I dont want to see a mine
2. I like oxygen
3. I dont like asbestos
4. Beaconsfield mining disaster
5. Chilean mining disaster

Anyway the town itself is definitely nice enough in its own right to earn a visit even if you dont go crawling 100m underground.

IMG_8094.jpg
IMG_8095.jpg
IMG_8097.jpg

Climbed a church tower

IMG_8071.jpg
IMG_8073.jpg
IMG_8078.jpg
IMG_8084.jpg
IMG_8091.jpg

IMG_8102.jpg
IMG_8103.jpg
IMG_8112.jpg
IMG_8115.jpg

Fi on her way to fulltime veggo

IMG_8113.jpg

and it wouldnt be a blog without some more doggie loving...

IMG_8116.jpg

next stop Yuyuni and the famous Bolivian salt flats tour.

Posted by chuddfi 19:03 Archived in Bolivia Comments (0)

Sucre

sunny 25 °C

After that horrid overnight bus trip we made it to sunny Sucre. This place is a little gem on the Bolivian map and we spent a good week here enjoying the sun, and avoiding the altitude that we had copped for the past month and a bit.

2DSC_0096.jpg
1DSC_0098.jpg

Fi with an equally impressive lion mane?

IMG_8054.jpg

And me and my sweet new Bolivian stylish do...she had a picture of Christiano Ronaldo...it was never going to end well...lucky it cost $3

IMG_8056.jpg
IMG_8059.jpg
IMG_8064.jpg

The latest craze in Sucre for when you cant choose between pizza and lasagne...Pizzaña

IMG_8065.jpg

(got to use that ñ key again then...so exciting)

On the Sunday we were horribly lucky enough to head off for an hours drive through the country side to Tarabuco and see its wonderful sunday market. If i was to compare this market to the 1000 other markets we have been to, i would rank it as somewhat in the middle. However it was good to see a very rural and indigenous community in the Bolivian highlands.

1DSC_0101.jpg
1DSC_0105.jpg
3DSC_0114.jpg
2DSC_0117.jpg

Who is actually in the market for one of these bad boys?

1DSC_0119.jpg

2DSC_0121.jpg

Had these two little tackers wrapped around my finger...didnt trust their jelly though so no sale...sorry

1DSC_0124.jpg

DSC_0126.jpg
1DSC_0129.jpg
DSC_0134.jpg
1DSC_0149.jpg
IMG_7942.jpg
IMG_7938.jpg
IMG_7937.jpg
IMG_7934.jpg
IMG_7933.jpg
IMG_7931.jpg
IMG_7929.jpg
IMG_7926.jpg
2DSC_0179.jpg

But without a shadow of a doubt, the highlight of the day came courtesy of some good old fashioned animal cruelty. From a distance it appeared these dogs were having some kind of weird kinky animal loving. However upon closer inspection they were actually attached. Yes these fully grown dogs were somehow siamese twins (despite being different breeds maybe) that were attached laterally at the hip. Was disturbing to watch as one dog wanted to walk one way, and the other was dragged along. The most messed up thing we have seen on this trip.

IMG_7947.jpg

The following day we were off on another inca trail, this one not as famous as the big horse trip in Peru. Just a little day hike through the rainbow coloured mountains out of Sucre. At the end of the hike we were to see some dinosaur footprints, something we hadnt done before recently.

IMG_7958.jpg
IMG_7961.jpg
IMG_7967.jpg
IMG_7972.jpg
1DSC_0167.jpg
1DSC_0172.jpg
1DSC_0169.jpg
IMG_7975.jpg
IMG_7978.jpg
IMG_7979.jpg
IMG_7980.jpg
IMG_7981.jpg
IMG_7982.jpg
IMG_8023.jpg
IMG_8030.jpg
IMG_8034.jpg
IMG_8035.jpg
IMG_8037.jpg
IMG_8046.jpg
IMG_8052.jpg
IMG_8042.jpg

As mentioned previously the end of our trek saw us stumble into something we have never seen before...dinosaur footprints. Apparently they have been here for a while but that didnt stop us getting all around them.

IMG_8022.jpg
IMG_8018.jpg
IMG_8017.jpg
IMG_8015.jpg
IMG_8011.jpg
IMG_8004.jpg
IMG_7986.jpg

That brought an end to our great week in Sucre, next we were off to the highest city in the world...at 4090m i was probably in for some more shit sleeps.

Posted by chuddfi 18:30 Archived in Bolivia Comments (0)

Cochabamba

fi...why did we come here again? and can you stop being sick? im bored shitless

sunny 23 °C

So this was one of those places where i looked in the lonely planet and it seemed ok, but then it didnt say in the book that it was friggin miles out of the way, the roads were rooted, the bus trip was shocking, and lets be honest there wasnt really much to see at all.
Having said all that the city of Cochabamba was quite a nice little town to walk around (for an hour or so).

1DSC_0038.jpg
DSC_0040.jpg
IMG_7895.jpg
IMG_7900.jpg
IMG_7919.jpg
IMG_7922.jpg

Anyway the big drawcard bringing tens of people to this town is a very impressive statue up on the hill overlooking the town. Its a big version of old JC. To make it more impressive, this statue is actually bigger than the one in Rio that is so so famous.

IMG_7904.jpg
IMG_7907.jpg
IMG_7908.jpg
IMG_7909.jpg

Well that was about it for Cochabamba. Next stop was a horrid overnight bus to Sucre, one we thought wouldnt take that long when looking at the map....until we felt the road underneath us....

Posted by chuddfi 18:01 Archived in Bolivia Comments (0)

La Paz

Breathless in La Paz

sunny 16 °C

La Paz is dizzying in every respect, not only for its well publicised altitude (3600m), but also for its quirky beauty.

Heard that before? Thats cause its straight out of the Lonely Planet, but a great opening line i wanted to use.
We have used our time in La Paz to recharge the batteries after a crazy few weeks in Peru. Even managed to catch a couple of movies whilst here with our buddies James and Andrea. The movies with subtitles of course. My question for you is though, if you go and see a movie that is half in English and half in Italian with Spanish subtitles then what the hell do you do when the Italian bits are on? Thankyou Woody Allen for this gem.

IMG_7694.jpg

But it hasnt all been putting the feet up...quite the opposite actually. Our highlight so far being the Gravity Assisted Mountain Bike tour down the world´s most dangerous road - ¨Death Road¨. A crazy 60km bike ride that takes you down from 4700m to 1100m in altitude at adrenalin pumping speeds...just dont look over the edge!

The adventure begins...

IMG_7709.jpg
IMG_7711.jpg

The last thing you want before Death Road is a shot of 90% alcohol to get the blood pumping, but tradition is tradition so we obliged.

P7210020.jpg
P7210021.jpg
IMG_7712.jpg
IMG_7713.jpg
IMG_7714.jpg
IMG_7728.jpg
P7210023.jpg
P7210028.jpg
P7210034.jpg
P7210053.jpg
P7210068.jpg

This monument was built to remember all the Paraguayan prisoners of war who died whilst building the road back in the day. They have had the last laugh as way more Bolivians have since died on the road they built.

P7210062.jpg

P7210063.jpg
P7210071.jpg
P7210074.jpg
P7210077.jpg
P7210079.jpg

An example of one of the many many crosses that litter the road. Sometimes you even see a group of 20 or so crosses from when a bus went over.

P7210087.jpg

IMG_7741.jpg
IMG_7742.jpg
IMG_7746.jpg
IMG_7749.jpg
IMG_7783.jpg
IMG_7772.jpg
IMG_7788.jpg
IMG_7792.jpg
IMG_7768.jpg
IMG_7754.jpg

And finally...we made it and had survived the world´s most dangerous road!

IMG_7755.jpg
IMG_7756.jpg

What they didnt tell us what that half the adventure was surviving the bus ride back up the road...hairy stuff indeed.

IMG_7763.jpg

The next few days were far more tame as we checked out everything La Paz has to offer.

Moon Valley was a strange place indeed. Just a bunch of rocks really, but quite an interesting place to visit anyway.

IMG_7800.jpg
IMG_7804.jpg
IMG_7807.jpg
IMG_7822.jpg
IMG_7814.jpg
IMG_7798.jpg

Went to the Cholitas wrestling on the Sunday night. Was pretty excited about the prospect of watching women´s wrestling, was slightly disappointed to see they werent the greatest athletes going around. Picture watching WWF which is lame enough in its own right (sorry Killer), then make it 1000 times lamer and you have what we witnessed. Some funny moments in there though.

IMG_7827.jpg
IMG_7837.jpg
IMG_7851.jpg
IMG_7876.jpg
IMG_7878.jpg
IMG_7879.jpg
IMG_7883.jpg

But the bus ride up and back was worth it just for the view overlooking La Paz.

IMG_7830.jpg

The next day we stumbled across the infamous San Pedro Prison. For those who havent read Marching Powder (what have you been doing), this jail is a corrupt haven where inmates create, sell and traffic the purest cocaine going around. They also run cafes and restaraunts in there making life in the slammer really tough indeed.
As with every person ive ever met who has been here, we had a crack at getting in. Loitering around watching the goings on at the front gate for ten minutes or so before the following exchange with a machine gun clad security guard.

Guard (in Spanish)- Is there something you are looking for?
Me - Yeah we were just wondering if we could come inside have a look around, maybe chat with some inmates and try a bit of your cocaine.

  • Note - my response was both performed in English, and inside of my head

We quickly sped off around the corner...but yes we tried to get in.

IMG_7697.jpg
IMG_7700.jpg
IMG_7698.jpg

Back to the real La Paz...

IMG_7678.jpg
DSC_0033.jpg
IMG_7677.jpg
IMG_7836.jpg
IMG_7704.jpg
IMG_7702.jpg

This Coke machine says ¨The machine of friendship¨cause you need a mate to boost you up to get a drink.

IMG_7691.jpg

Righto after a week of fun in La Paz we are heading off tomorrow to Cochabamba. Adios amigos

Posted by chuddfi 07:45 Archived in Bolivia Comments (0)

Lake Titicaca

(hehe)

sunny 15 °C

After leaving behind Cusco our bus took us to Lake Titicaca. The highest navigable lake in the world at 3800m, as well as the best named lake in the world!

The trip saw us first head out the floating islands. A bunch of man-made reed islands which was great to see, but one of the most tourist driven theatres you will ever see. Right down to ten ladies in traditional dresses waving our boat goodbye and at the same time chanting ¨Hasta la vista baby¨. But it was still worth seeing the islands and homes they had made and live in.

IMG_7540.jpg
IMG_7539.jpg
IMG_7543.jpg
IMG_7559.jpg
IMG_7558.jpg
IMG_7571.jpg
DSC_0900.jpg
1DSC_0873.jpg

This kid either had pants on that were too big, or he had a surprise coming for mummy.

IMG_7542.jpg

Tourists dollars go far on the islands, couldnt help but notice the irony here

IMG_7547.jpg

Fi went into the magic tent

IMG_7548.jpg

and out she came

IMG_7549.jpg
IMG_7552.jpg
IMG_7557.jpg

After the theatre show on the floating islands was over, we were off a few hours down the lake to our home for the night, Isla Amantani. This was way more traditional and authentic experience for us with the indigenous people.

IMG_7583.jpg
DSC_1040.jpg
IMG_7589.jpg
IMG_7648.jpg

Found a rare Andean 5 legged donkey. This ones name was Foonge.

IMG_7584.jpg

Climbed up the top of the hill on the island for a cracking sunset.

IMG_7594.jpg
IMG_7605.jpg
IMG_7606.jpg
1DSC_0986.jpg

This was our home sweet home

IMG_7643.jpg
IMG_7644.jpg
IMG_7646.jpg
IMG_7587.jpg
IMG_7621.jpg

That night we had to dress up in traditional clothes and head off to dance with our host families. Was easy for the blokes we just had to chuck on a poncho. Fi got the full treatment as a girl. The old lady we were with was ripped and was nearly tearing my arms off with her powerful moves.

IMG_7625.jpg
IMG_7626.jpg
IMG_7628.jpg

On the last day we travelled back to Puno via another small island community of Isla Taquile.

IMG_7654.jpg
IMG_7660.jpg
IMG_7666.jpg
IMG_7671.jpg
IMG_7661.jpg

And that was the end of our unbelievable Peruvian adventure. That afternoon we were off, it was earlier than planned, but it was to avoid the following days planned teachers road blockage of every highway in Peru. (Insert joke about teachers whingeing no matter where you are in the world).

Next stop Bolivia....Breathless in La Paz.

Posted by chuddfi 07:21 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

The Inca Trail

sunny 23 °C

Possibly the most anticipated part of our trip was upon us, our 4 day hike on the Inca Trail. Joining Fi and myself for the 4 days were 4 Gippslandians (dont hold that against them) in Mick, Hoops, Nic and Belinda; Team Belgium (family of 4); our guide Santiago; a cook and another 12 or so porters to carry my stuff.

Bright and early on day 1 we rose to a wonderful sunny day...excitement was building.

IMG_7176.jpg
IMG_7175.jpg

And we were off

IMG_7182.jpg
IMG_7183.jpg
IMG_7184.jpg

The first day was reasonably easy, but just so spectacular.

IMG_7220.jpg
1DSC_0189.jpg
DSC_0200.jpg
DSC_0211.jpg

Day two was always going to be our toughest. We were to climb to 4200m up massive steps. Basically we were chewing on anything with coca in it. Even chewing on the leaves straight until our mouths and throats went numb...weird feeling, but it helps open up the lungs.

DSC_0220.jpg
DSC_0233.jpg
1DSC_0276.jpg

Think this is my new mountain climbing ¨go to¨pose.

1DSC_0252.jpg

IMG_7231.jpg
IMG_7233.jpg
IMG_7234.jpg

Finally we made it to the top and it was worth it!

IMG_7243.jpg
IMG_7237.jpg
1DSC_0231.jpg
DSC_0243.jpg
DSC_0245.jpg

And down to our campsite...Our tents had exclusive views of the toilet block, but these other people hit a winner.

IMG_7289.jpg
IMG_7300.jpg
2DSC_0279.jpg

Day 3 was without a doubt the best day of the trek. Congratulations to Fiona for changing her clothes on day 3, i ran with the same getup. A couple of passes in the mountains, and just hurting your neck looking around at the views. I will let the pictures do the talking.

DSC_0291.jpg
1DSC_0300.jpg
DSC_0321.jpg
1DSC_0289.jpg
1DSC_0322.jpg
2DSC_0331.jpg
DSC_0328.jpg
DSC_0339.jpg
1DSC_0360.jpg
DSC_0362.jpg
1DSC_0371.jpg
2DSC_0370.jpg
2DSC_0415.jpg
DSC_0413.jpg
1DSC_0439.jpg
3DSC_0422.jpg
1DSC_0417.jpg

Im going to Inca hell for this photo

4DSC_0466.jpg

IMG_7280.jpg
IMG_7328.jpg
IMG_7368.jpg
IMG_7370.jpg
IMG_7371.jpg
IMG_7380.jpg
IMG_7445.jpg

Our last campsite was next to Little Machu Picchu...just a teaser for the following morning.

DSC_0486.jpg
IMG_7425.jpg
IMG_7432.jpg
IMG_7443.jpg

Then on day 4 we were woken at 3:50 and on the road in the pitch black. In a couple of hours we would be passing through the sun gate looking down on Machu Picchu.

IMG_7450.jpg

After overtaking every single person on the trail the team caught the first glimpse of Machu Picchu. Excuse the way we look, it was 6:30am

DSC_0500.jpg

We actually managed to capture the first sun rays hitting Machu Picchu in the morning.

DSC_0560.jpg
IMG_7469.jpg

The next few hours were spent exploring Machu Picchu, along with about 4000 other people. Just too many people, wrecked it a fair bit. My suggestion would be to reward the hikers with a few hours of peace in the morning before the day trippers are allowed in. Whilst walking around Machu Picchu i came up with this gem that i shared with the group.

If i dont know a person, then i automatically hate them¨.

That quote was followed up perfectly, and ironically moments later as this knob got his iPad out to take a photo of an ancient ruin.

IMG_7488.jpg

Deep i know. Anyway managed to get the following pics without too many knobs ruining them. Despite the people, it really is one of the best places ive ever visited in the world.

DSC_0633.jpg
3DSC_0651.jpg
DSC_0665.jpg
DSC_0691.jpg
1DSC_0750.jpg
IMG_7493.jpg

The Incas are famous for their smart engineering feats, however this creaking wooden bridge we found and walked out on over a cliff wasnt their best work. Found out later someone toppled off it weeks earlier.

2DSC_0791.jpg
DSC_0775.jpg
DSC_0804.jpg
1DSC_0797.jpg
DSC_0800.jpg
IMG_7466.jpg
DSC_0759.jpg
1DSC_0678.jpg

So there you have it. Some of the best 4 days of the trip so far. Spent with great people and plenty of laughs. Next we were back to Cusco for an after party, then off to Lake Titicaca (hehe).

Posted by chuddfi 06:39 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 15 of 57) Page [1] 2 3 4 »