Peru: When Did you Sell Your Soul to Tourism?

Peru – a country famous for it’s awe-inspiring Inca ruins and world famous attractions, the most well known being Machu Picchu. And don’t get us wrong – Peru is full of breathtaking sites, ancient ruins, endless mountain ranges and a unique local culture. However, throughout our time in Puno and the Sacred Valley, we kept wishing we had been here five to 10 years ago. Continue reading

#SnailLife (Copacabana)

IMG_4899 (768x1024)After the polluted air of La Paz and busy city feel, we were ready to relax for a couple days. We found a hostel in Copacabana, a small town on Lake Titicaca, that offered entire suites with lake views – and each one was uniquely designed. We opted for ‘The Snail’. The Snail is a two and half story building with no straight walls, windows or floors. Everything is rounded, circular and flowing. The small windows in the upper levels spiral up getting smaller and smaller. From the windows you get a great view of the night sky and in our case, a phenomenal lighting show every night.

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Breathtaking Cities of Bolivia

Breathtaking. Not in the awe-inspiring or beautiful way though.

La Paz, a city perched high in the Andes in a preposterously steep valley at an average elevation of 3660m, houses clinging to its slopes, world class views of snow covered peaks – it sounds beautiful and majestic. In reality, you can barely breath in the filthy city due to a combination of the high altitude, constant fumes and the wretched smells of the streets. The pollution appears to be partially from the poor mechanical condition of the vehicles and partially from the fact that many of the vehicles can’t burn fuel properly at these high altitudes, causing a constant cloud of fumes on the streets. Mix that in with the already low oxygen content in the air (from the altitude) and the fact that in every direction you walk there are steep hills; just carrying groceries back from the supermarket feels like an intense workout. Continue reading

Our Salty, High-Altitude 4×4 Adventure (Salar de Uyuni)

One the better-known highlights in Bolivia is the Salar de Uyuni – the world’s largest salt flat at 10,582 square kilometers. The options for tours are either a one-day tour into the salt flats and back or a three-day/two-night tour through the slat flats into the Siloli Desert and around the altiplano lagunas. We of course opted for the longer tour to see more of the beautiful area. We used TripAdvisor to check which tour operators were recommended. After checking prices with three tour operators we settled on the cheapest of the three which was rated #2 of TripAdvisor. The tours start in Uyuni, a desolate and isolated town in Southwestern Bolivia (altitude: 3700m). The town seemingly has more Toyota Land Cruisers than locals and has become an even greater tourist attraction after the Dakar Rally has gone through the Salar de Uyuni the past two years. Continue reading

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It’s the Journey, not the Destination…Right? (Brazil to Bolivia)

Previously we had done lots of research on how to get from Brazil to Bolivia and came to the conclusion that other than flying – which was very expensive and involved long layover times – there was no easy way to get to our next destination. To bus the whole way would take days. We considered choosing some towns in between to stop at but nothing popped out at us. We checked for flights daily and one day caught a sale from Rio de Janeiro to Campo Grande which is just over half way to the Brazilian/Bolivian border (it seems like only domestic flights are cheap in South America). Continue reading

Rio Carnaval

Carnaval, celebrated for 5 days before the start of Lent, is one of the many things Rio de Janeiro is famous for. This spectacular event draws hundreds of thousands of people to Rio and millions flock the to the streets. The street parties, or “blocos” are held throughout the day and night with hundreds of different blocos held simultaneously around the city. Continue reading