Page 4 of Tutkimusmatkailijat Travel Blog Posts

South America » Colombia » Cartagena December 3rd 2013

This far we had to come to find real heat, sun and beach life in South America, but here we are, in Cartagena, on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. It’s the rainy season still, but you really couldn’t tell, as the sky has been mostly bright blue with beaming sun, and day temperatures in the 30s and night temperatures in the high 20s. We’re just back from a day trip to the beach on Isla de Encanta, where we spent several hours laying on beach chairs, occasionally swimming, and ordering overpriced mojitos (the price of which we didn’t bother to check beforehand). Isla de Encanta is part of the Islas de Rosario island group, which probably doesn’t have the finest beaches on the continent or even in the country, but it made a nice day trip ... read more
drinking coconut milk straight from the nut
one of the many squares
lonely wanderer in the streets of old town

South America » Colombia » Medellin November 26th 2013

After another bumpy ride through the mountains we arrived to Medellin, the capital of the Antioquia departemento. Nowadays Medellin is peaceful, but it used to be the most dangerous city in the world 20 years ago, when the gangster king Pablo Escobar terrorized it. Today most of Pablo Escobars heritage has been wiped out; instead the presence of the other famous son of Medellin, Fernando Botero, is much more visible with statues in several places around the city. We had our hostel within walking distance from the city center, so our first morning we decided to stroll there. Our initial positive impression changed once we got to the smelly river separating our peaceful neighborhood from the city center, after that we entered a shady looking part of the city that apparently acts as an open door ... read more
Medellin - Botero among flowers
Medellin - the govermental square
Medellin - pillars of light

South America » Colombia » Quindío » Salento November 22nd 2013

During the trip so far, we have spent 342,97 euros on coffee, and the figure is rapidly going up. So, it suited us well to visit the source of significant share of the world’s coffee: Zona Cafetera in Colombia. To reach the region, we gave up our principle for Colombia to avoid night buses due to their assumed dangers. Dangerous or not, at least in this case everything felt secure, and at dawn the bus had reached the gorgeous lush green mountain scenery of Zona Cafetera. Our final destination was probably the cutest little town of the trip so far, Salento. At least one of us didn’t get much sleep on the night bus, but it was nevertheless impossible to feel lame for long after seeing the sweet colorful houses lining the streets of Salento, and ... read more
walking to the coffee farm

South America » Colombia » San Agustin November 20th 2013

Our first real destination in Colombia was the cute city of Popayan. It is called the "white city" because of its 2 stories high white painted buildings and supposed to be really pretty, so we went there even though we didn't really have anything special we wanted to see there except the city itself. Arriving at the bus station the city didn't look that special, but it changed once we got to the old town. Every house was painted white, all signs were small and discreet, and the city got especially pretty once it got dark and lights illuminating the buildings were turned on. As mentioned we didn't really have any plans for Popayan, so we spent one day walking around the city, enjoying the beautiful buildings and relaxing. We also looked through our plans for ... read more
Popayan - grand plaza
Popayan - city view
Popayan - street view

South America » Ecuador » North » Otavalo November 17th 2013

Our last stop in Ecuador was Otavalo, a market town few hours away from the Colombian border. It's mostly famous for the huge artisan market attracting busloads of tourists from Quito and elsewhere every Saturday to buy indigenous themed handicrafts, art etc. Being a fan of that stuff myself, I definitely wanted to see the city. At the end, the market wasn't very exciting, but the city itself was surrounded by gorgeous mountains, and only for that reason well worth the visit.After spending a night in Otavalo, it was time to move on towards Colombia. Our route plan for South America has changed to almost unidentifiable compared to the original one we had on mind before coming here; Ecuador wasn't on the plans, and Colombia certainly wasn't. Now, we have spent 5-6 weeks in Ecuador, and ... read more
more of the same square
enjoying fresh pineapple..still at the main square
a random church in Otavalo..

South America » Ecuador » Centre » Cotopaxi November 14th 2013

Cotopaxi One of the highest (5897 meters) active volcano in the world, Cotopaxi, is also a picture perfect conical volcano. It is also the second highest volcano in Ecuador. As we wanted to see it more closely we booked a combined two day tour from Quito to Cotopaxi and Quilotoa, a crater lake nearby. We did our bookings from Cuenca where we traveled lightly, and as we only had our Kindles to explore our options with we went according to tripadvisors recommendations and booked the tour with a company named Gulliver travels. The tour started early morning with a rendezvous at a café in central Quito. There our bus driver picked us up, and drove to a hotel near Cotopaxi where we left our big backpacks, tried out our bikes and got a few more people ... read more
Cotopaxi - Ascending the volcano
Cotopaxi - The parking lot from above
Cotopaxi - a forbidding mountain

South America » Ecuador » South » Cuenca November 11th 2013

In Cuenca, you could easily think you are suddenly in Italy and that it's suddenly spring. Actually, it is said that in Quito, and probably same applies to Cuenca as well, an eternal spring prevails. And indeed, Cuenca felt very springly with its light green trees, blossoming flowers and fresh, not too cold, not too hot, air - perfect! Cuenca was one of the cities we really wanted to see in Ecuador, but according to our current travel plans, it wouldn't come our way. Luckily we found cheap air tickets, so we decided to take a little detour and fly there for a long weekend. We spent two full days just marvelling the beautiful architecture and relaxed atmosphere, doing nothing special but walking around and sometimes laying on the grass next to the small river reading. ... read more
cuenca skyline at dusk
if I saw a photo of this church, and didn't know better, I would certainly guess it's from Italy!
cuenca streets

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito November 8th 2013

After the jungle we were longing for civilization, and luckily for us our next stop was Quito, the capital of Ecuador. It was a 5 h bus ride from Tena to Quito, the funny part is that the bus ride cost us only half of what we paid for the taxis from Misahualli to Tena and from Quito bus station to our Airbnb apartment. Quito is on high altitude, almost 3000 meters, so it was considerably cooler than in the jungle, especially in the apartment as there is no heating and no sun shining in through the windows. In Quito we mainly spent out time in the old and the new town. The old town is one of the most beautiful colonial districts in all of Ecuador. It is quite touristic, with a lot of small ... read more
Quito - View
Quito - feasting on guinea pig
Quito - main square

South America » Ecuador » East » Misahualli November 1st 2013

We have just arrived back at our accomodation Banana Lodge in the small village of Misahualli in the Ecuador Oriente region, after spending three days in the jungle. We arrived in Misahualli from Baños five days ago, and spent the first two days mainly laying in hammocks enjoying the sun and the relaxing surroundings. Even though, we did not only lay in hammocks, but also spent quite a bit of time also observing the wild monkeys inhabiting the village central square: it was extremely entertaining to watch one of them steal the hat of an unfortunate French lady, then play with it, and then angrily attack a man who tried to take the trophy away from it. We were instructed to take care of our cameras, as apparently those sneaky things can snatch them too - ... read more
Local public transit system (ok, they do have buses too)
bananas growing at the Banana Lodge
monkey and hat

South America » Ecuador » Centre » Baños October 27th 2013

Our next destination, Baños, was supposed to be one of the most beautiful towns in Ecuador. It is also on the slope of Tungurahua, an active volcano, which currently is having small eruptions several times a day. As we had never visited a volcano we googled for hours on volcano safety, on how the current eruption cycle was progressing and generally on whether or not we would put ourselves in danger by going to Baños. Our hosts in Guayaquil thought we were overreacting, "The volcano has been erupting for 14 years and the town is still there", and as everything we found on the net told the same story we decided to take our chances with the wrath of Tungurahua. When we got to Baños it was like arriving to another country after our days in ... read more
Baños - town view
Baños - Puppies guarding
Baños - A more friendly guard

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