Page 2 of Purple Haze Travel Blog Posts

From Cuba we flew into Panama City late on a Sunday afternoon, and a good part of the day was spent in long queues. After getting grilled by an immigration official on our arrival in Havana, we ensured that we got to the airport the specified 3 hours prior to the flight out of there, in case we had a repeat episode. We were greeted with the most disorganised check in process I have experienced. The airline told us that we needed to be there 3 h. ours early, yet they did not have anyone manning the desks for the first hour. By the time that they started checking people in, the queue was over a hundred metres and nearly out the door. We had about 50 people in front us, which took 40 minutes to ... read more
Boat ride out to Starfish Beach
Starfish beach
Snorkelling in Coral Cay

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » Viñales September 6th 2013

With only 10 days in Cuba, we could only choose one other place to visit outside of Havana. A mate from back home mentioned Vinales, and it was a good recommendation. It is a small sleepy little town in the Pinar del Rio province, about 3 hours west of Havana, and its rich red soil makes it the perfect place to grow tobacco in the shade of the karstic Cordillera de Guaniguanic range. Adriana had arranged accommodation for us in a Casa Particular there, and boy were we glad that she did. As the bus pulled into town, 10's of frantic women surrounded the bus shouting and furiously waving flyers for their Casa's in our faces. At the back of the crowd was a tiny women with a cheeky grin with my name written on it. ... read more
View over Vinales farming area
Celestino, Mojo and Estrella
View over Vinales farming area

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » La Habana September 2nd 2013

Walking around the streets of Old Havana, it feels like the city has not changed in a long time. The majority of the wonderfully architectured buildings have not seen a coat of paint, let alone any maintenance in decades, whilst the potholed streets have piles of rubble and debris that has fallen from above, and the sound of salsa bands and old men playing domino's echoes from within the hollow buildings. If the street is large enough, then an American Yank Tank from the 50's will roar past full of big Cuban men with their arms firmly planted on the open windows, trying to let in any cool air from the oppressive heat. If it is a small street then expect to see a motorbike with sidecar splutter past, or a bicycle tuk tuk painted in ... read more
Street Art - Havana Centro
Lane way in Old Havana
View over Havana

South America » Colombia » Risaralda » Pereira August 27th 2013

For our last week in Colombia, we were staying with Alex and Claudia, friends from back home who had kindly offered to have us stay with them at their house in Pereira. We took a bus from Medellin, that traversed over steep mountain ranges with magnificent views over the valleys beneath. In places there was only the road, a few houses, and then sheer drops of many hundreds of metres on either side. We had opted for the front two seats, which made for some interesting viewing, not only of the vistas, but also of the overtaking manoeuvres employed by our driver. As the majority of the road was single lane, the bus driver had to overtake numerous slow trucks, many times on blind corners as there was not a straight stretch of road for more ... read more
Nights out in Pereira
Watching football in Salento
Cocora Valley

South America » Colombia » Medellin » Guatape August 20th 2013

Today is a bit of a sad day, not only is it our last day in Medellin, a city that we have grown a great affection for, but it is also our last day of travelling with our big Swiss mate, Luca... After five weeks, including plotting how to get out of Iquitos, sweating buckets on the Caribbean coast, and enjoying the lifestyle in the hills of Colombia, we are saying goodbye. We have travelled with a number of great people on our trip so far, but none for such a period of time and ease. The three of us met at a time in our travels when we were burnt out by months on the road, and tired of being gringo's and the associated baggage that comes with it. Along Mojo's and my travels, we ... read more
Luca, Mojo and I
Peñón de Guatapé

South America » Colombia » Medellin August 19th 2013

For the same price, we could have spent 16 hours on a bus, or a one hour flight from Cartagena to Medellin, naturally we opted for the flight. What we didn't factor in was the cost of a taxi from the airport, $35! Popping out of the cloud cover as we descended into Medellin, we were greeted with a beautiful view of the mountains and valleys that surround the area, with clouds forming and disappearing constantly and every now and then revealing the jagged peaks of the high mountains. The landscape is not rolling hills, but like scrumpled up newspaper covered in trees and grass. There was no flat area anywhere, and we soon understood why there airport was so far out of the city. The taxi ride took us through some of this beautiful scenery, ... read more
Cable Car up to Santa  Domingo
View over Santa Domingo
Medellin Botanical Gardens

South America » Colombia » Cartagena August 12th 2013

In the last blog i mentioned that we were heading out to Palomino, a place that we had heard so many good things about from locals and gringos alike, however, we were a bit disappointed. The collectivo trip out there took us through some beautiful scenery, winding up and down rolling lush jungle mountains, and then skirting alongside Caribbean beaches for a little over 2 hours in a cramped and hot little van. At times buying strange fruits like mamon, something like a grape crossed with a lychee, from vendors on the side of road, and surprisingly not getting stopped by the numerous police checks that dotted the road east to Palomino. Dropped off at the main town, more so a collection of corner stores and houses for the local fisherman, it was either a 20 ... read more
Afternoons at Taganga Beach
Despite all of the sun, still pasty white
Mojo and Luca hanging out on the wall

Flying out of Leticia in the early afternoon, the cold front that had been present for a few days dissipated, and the hot, humid weather returned while we waited at the airport. Even though there is only a couple of flights a day out of Leticia, we still had to be there 2 hours prior, dripping away in the terminal. But this was nothing compared to what greeted us when we landed in Santa Marta at 9pm that night. It was still 30 degrees, with high humidity, and instantly every pore started leaking. Checking into the hostel, we were grateful to find that our room had a brand new air conditioner that chilled both the room, and us quickly. Nevertheless, once back outside again we started sweating buckets. The Santa Marta festival had been on all ... read more
El Cabo, Parque Tayrona
Coastline at Parque Tayrona
Mojo soaking up the Caribbean sun

South America » Colombia July 26th 2013

At one of the stops on our boat ride from Iquitos I met Max and Sophie at a coconut vendor. A nice couple from France and Belgium, respectively. Arriving in Leticia, the four of us sweated our way around town trying to locate the hostel that Mojo and I had booked into, eventually tracking it down with the help of some friendly locals. Max and Sophie were flying out of Leticia in 4 days, so were keen to do a jungle tour straight away, starting the next morning. Our mate Luca, who we met in Iquitos was taking the slow boat to Leticia and not arriving for 3 days, so we decided to join Max and Sophie on the tour, getting a discount in the process as we had a group. Despite Max and I staying ... read more
Crossing the Amazon during a downpour
Taking a short cut through a tributary
On of the houses at the homsetay

South America » Peru » Loreto » Iquitos July 21st 2013

Longing for some warm beach weather and a change of scenery we have changed our original route and made a sizeable detour into the Amazon in Leticia, Colombia; on the tri border with Brazil and Peru. From here we will head to the Caribbean coast and finally warm up. Leaving Paracas, the sky was still greyed out with the humid misty fog that had been with us since getting down to Sea Level. It was a 4 hour bus ride to Lima, the shortest bus trip in recent memory, and it wasn't long until we hit the outskirts of Peru's sprawling capital. We stayed in the suburb of Miaflores, Lima's most affluent area near the beach. Apart from housing Peru's elite, it is also gringo central with expensive hostels and restaurants aplenty. Despite being a bit ... read more
House in Iquitos
Kids playing football in Iquitos
Our transport across the river

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