3mo LOA


3mo LOA

Embarking on an amazing journey: Three months in South America!

And what better way to end a fabulous trip than in beautiful Costa Rica?! We took a trip to the Volcano Arenal and the Baldi hot springs, then headed for the beach! We surfed, kayaked, swam, did a canopy tour, drank mango margaritas, played frisbee on the beach, bought red snapper right off the boat and cooked it up, rode bikes to the next white sand-clear water beach. We saw howler monkeys, frogs, iguanas, crabs, fish, and the tropical version of the squirrel. So fantastic. So relaxing! And for our last day here, John treated me to a super nice villa on the beach, complete with pool, meals, and activities. We had so much fun! Well, thus concludes the travel adventure. Hard to believe, but the 3 months has come to an end. A fantastic experience! ... read more
Volcano again, from the Natl Park
Eyelash pit viper
The lava flow of 1992

South America » Peru » Cusco » Machu Picchu April 29th 2011

Well, time for a little Machu Picchu! But first, lets not forget....the city of Cusco (Machu Picchu´s jumping off point) has lots to see as well. Actually, the whole "sacred valley" is LOADED with ruins. So cool to see and think of the people who lived there and built it all. And even cooler to go and sit in those same spots and touch those old, magnificent walls. Again: Wow! Cusco itself is SUPER touristy. One of the bars on the main plaza actually sells a Tshirt that simply says "No Gracias", which is hilarious because vendors literally decend on you from all sides. You wind up saying ´No Gracias´ about a million times on your way to that bar. Near the city we visited some ruins, headed up to Aguas Calientes (or Machu Picchu city) ... read more
Puca Pucara
Baby donkey

South America » Peru » Puno » Lake Titicaca April 25th 2011

And.....another border crossing and a several hours later, we were in Peru! (How strange, this country hopping. Crazy what you can accomplish in a day!) And really, we´re here for a tour at the lake. Chose a company with good reviews (All Ways) and had a great time, albeit a little commercialized and touristy. We visited the floating islands...this is amazing. The reed roots growing underwater create a floating peat-like substance that floats to the surface in huge chunks and: Viola! Instant floating island that supports 8-10 families and their homes. It´s like nothing else. Next, we headed to Amantani island where we stayed with a native Quechua-speaking family. Did the usual dress-up and local party that has become part of such tours, and it was totally fun. Mom, dad, daughter and granddaughter were all super ... read more
Our bus, crossing The Lake
The Lake

South America » Bolivia April 23rd 2011

Salt flats, amazing culture and the most affordable place we´ve been! What´s not to love? We crossed the border: La Quiaca, Villazon, Tupiza. There we found an amazing hotel/tour deal at Hotel Mitru. Lodging was super cheap (maybe $10 per night?) for a decent room with bathroom, delicious breakfast and a pool! Wow. Not only that, but the weather was beautiful. Gorgeous sunny days,...but chilly at night, due to the altitude. It was hard to leave the cute little city of Tupiza, but after only a night´s stay we were off on a 4 day tour towards the salt flats. We piled in a land rover with three other tourists (Hi Adrian, Kaitlyn and Paco!) And let me say, it was amazing!!! We saw mountains, lakes, steaming volcanoes, flamingoes, geisers, lava formations, and the water covered ... read more
That little road?

South America » Argentina » Salta April 20th 2011

Helloooo All! A computer meltdown has caused additional blogging delays, but all is well! Let´s get caught up! A flight back to BA followed by a 20 hour bus ride, and we were in Salta. THIS bus ride was complete with a multiple course meal and even a big glass of whiskey!! South Am sure shows North Am who´s boss when it comes to busing. Greyhound, eat your heart out! We did some sightseeing in the city and then headed down the beautiful canyon to Cafayate. Wine-ing is hard work, as you all know, but we did it.....visiting 5 wineries in one afternoon! The grapes are delish, the tours are up close and the bottles are still pretty cheap. How great, eh?! There were some beautiful hikes and lots to see in the canyon near by. ... read more
We´re finally here!!....Dislandia
Everyone loves a cup of Shimy
Awesome rock formations in the Canyon

South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Calafate April 17th 2011

So after much contemplation, we were off to the south. El Calafate and El Chalten are along the famous Route 40 which runs a huge length of Argentina, sometimes on dirt road in the middle of nowhere. (We had a taste of that on our 4 hour bus ride between the two cities!) The town of El Calafate would remind you of Estes Park. It's on the edge of Lago Argentina, the biggest fresh water lake in the country. It was chilly, but not as bitterly cold as expected. But extremely windy! Here we visited a massive glacier. It's truly amazing. Perito Moreno is 19 miles long, 3 miles wide and 240 feet high. Best thing is that it's accessible and you can walk really close to it. In addition, due to the fact that the ... read more
Check out the snow line!
First glance of the glacier

South America » Argentina » Buenos Aires » Buenos Aires April 10th 2011

A huge city with so much to see; plazas, museums, monuments, parks, restaurants, cemeteries of the rich and famous, historic subway cars, and (by coincidence) Noche de Vela: an entire night of city-sponsored culture starting in the evening and running until the morning. It was this night (of the day we had originally planned to leave) that we saw the Moscow Symphony Orchestra perform at the Obelisque in Republic Plaza BA. Pretty amazing. Stayed with a local who rents her home out to travelers, and it was a very peaceful spot. Had delicious pizza at a local landmark, El Cuartito (thanks for the 411, Erin!). Drank delicious table wine that only cost $2 USD per bottle. Explored each of BA’s neighborhoods by foot. Went to the Japanese Gardens, but it was packed with tourists and ... read more
BAs oldest church
Only a garden hose
Bridge of the Woman, near the water

We debated stopping at another lovely beach town (Florianopolis). It’s supposed to be amazing, however the forecast suggested that Brazil had only more rain in its near future and we decided to give it a fond farewell. Another short bus ride (6 hours) and we arrived in Sao Paolo. There we met up with family of one of John’s friends for a short visit, and headed to the airport for our next adventure. Fantastic! Montevideo was wonderful! The weather was finally perfect; sunny, sunny, sunny, but mild. And the town was so incredibly likeable, we’d liked to have never left! It felt a bit to me like Denver. They have nice walking malls, polite people, areas of very modern construction and some much older. It was great. Plus, our place, Posada al Sur, was terrific. We ... read more
Famous Pocitos Beach
Meat is murder!!!
The old and the new

South America » Brazil » Rio de Janeiro » Paraty April 4th 2011

A short bus ride west (4 hours) down the southern coast of Brazil and we were in Paraty, a town with old colonial construction and beautiful beaches. Indeed, the main square is a cobblestoned, pedestrian-only flashback in time. The beach at nearby Trindade (1 hour bus ride) was really gorgeous!!! The sun was finally out for a day and the water was cool and full of waves, but totally wadable. In addition, there were short hikes within the forest along the beach leading visitors to even more remote beaches. It was lovely. However, a few snafoos with the hotel (Paraty Hotel/Historic City Center/Ecotours group, though the staff was wonderful) and more unrelenting rain and clouds sent us quickly on our way. ... read more
A rock pool we hiked to
From the forest out towards the beach
Yep, a ginormous centipede

South America » Brazil » Rio de Janeiro » Rio de Janeiro » Ipanema March 29th 2011

Do. Do dooo, do doo, do do do: Tall and tan and young and lovely, The girl from Ipanema goes walking, And when she passes, each one she passes goes - ah, When she walks, she's like a samba That swings so cool and sways so gentle That when she passes, each one she passes goes - ooh -----The Girl form Ipanema, by Astrud Gilberto (check out this DATED vid!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJkxFhFRFDA) Well, the girl from Ipanema I am NOT! But, post carnaval, when we actually stayed within the city, we were lucky enough to stay in this super fancy area of the city. It's like the Cherry Creek of Rio! You could shop for days on end, the restaurants are endless, the beaches are always open. And lucky for us, a friend of Shelly's (John's Stepma) ... read more
Ipanema Beach
Bieber Fever!
A fancy shoe shop

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