Page 3 of crowman Travel Blog Posts

We heard about two islands to go to both with 1 place to stay on them. No stores. Definitely not my ideal combination. We heard that our other option had really increased prices since our guidebook was published. So, we decided to go with Boca Brava. It is one of those places that is a whole lot more affordable to get to if you have a larger group. The bus to get to the turnoff towards the island is all of $1.45. After that, the taxi to get to the dock is $15, and then the boat to get to the island is another $4. So, how much does it cost to get there? $1.45 + depends on how many people you split the cost with. Could be as low as $5.95. Justin and I couldn't ... read more
island trail
view towards the Pacific
the beach

No sooner had we stepped ashore on the Caribbean then we realized just how much money was in the country. There, waiting to take travelers to Panama City, were 4 Toyota SUV/ pickups that could not have been more than two years old. One had a snorkel on it. This helped explain why it cost $25 pp. Well, almost. It turned out that they were a place short, so Jorin was stuck riding in the back of a pickup (it did have a canopy). However, with the humidity and heat, Justin ended up switching with him half way through. We had great A/C in the cab. As we neared Panama City, it was very impressive. The skyline honestly looks like it belongs to Miami. Very similar feel. Especially when the weather report has a 'feels like' ... read more
Toyota 4wd with snorkel
Oil Tanker entering the locks
Plaza de la Independencia

Our hostel told us about a boat sailing to Panama a few days past when we had wanted to leave. But, they said it would be a bigger boat, more comfortable, so we thought we would take a look. It had an Austrian Captain. I was wondering what that would be like. I didn't have to wait long to find out. We were not on the dingy more than 30 seconds before his engine died, swiftly eliciting the F bomb. Once he restarted, we made it about 15 more seconds before hitting a mooring line, after which he went off and let us know what a fuckup the marina was. He was far more colourful than my writing portrays. So, I found out that Fritz was the quintessential sea captain. By the time we reached Panama, ... read more
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Fritz the Cat
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South America » Colombia » Santa Marta » Taganga June 20th 2009

After a few days in Cartagena, we were ready to go to a slower paced part of the country and take it easy for a while. The problem with Cartagena is that while it is on the coast, it's beaches are kind of nasty and that leaves one with just a lot of hot and humid town without the chance to really cool off. Enter Taganga, a beach village about 4 hours East along the coast. The first thing I noticed about Taganga was that it seemed to have more Israelis than Israel. Seriously, signs are in Hebrew. We went to several street carts that sold fantastic fruit smoothies for 2,000 pesos (about $1). They had menus in Hebrew. Not in Spanish, not in English, just Hebrew. As we found out, the reason for this is ... read more

South America » Colombia » Cartagena June 19th 2009

Stepping off the plane, I was reminded by my experience stepping off my flight in Hawaii a few years ago. With a twist though, I believe I thought, "was Hawaii this hot and humid?". For the first time this trip, we had AC in our hostel. It was a very nice thing to have. Sleeping would be difficult without it. When I checked the weather forecast, I was reading a 'feels like 103'. Prime walking around weather. But, walk around we did. Cartagena is a city that is mostly very normal and uninteresting, except for a truly fantastic old city that is surrounded by equally old city walls. Once inside, it is best to roam freely. We did just that. While roaming, we encountered a free modern art exhibit. It was very worthwhile, not because of ... read more
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South America » Colombia » Bogota June 15th 2009

Upon landing, we were greeted by classic Colombian weather, a thunderstorm with decent downpour of rain, lightning, nice and laud thunder. While at baggage claim, I was approached by Matthias, a German guy who had just finished his one year of social service (he had done it in Ecuador). He wanted to share the cost of a cab. Fine with me, always happy to cut costs. We were being met at the airport by the tourguide former co-worker of Justin's coworker's friend. I think I was looking at 5 degrees of separation, you know, almost family. Margarita the tourguide met us on her day off, paid for the taxi into town (Matthias got a better deal than he was counting on) and then spent the afternoon showing us around. Even though my opinion will of course ... read more
Pigeons on main square
Street that our hostel was on
Our tour guide

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito June 11th 2009

The 'I am Legend' of South America. This city is decently safe by day, but everyone swears by how dangerous it is at night. It was only fitting that when we arrived, the movie some fellow travelers were watching was 'I am Legend', a movie about zombies that come out at night, but a city that is perfectly safe during the day. Our guidebook mentioned how dangerous everything was, "take a taxi at night, even for trips as short as a few blocks", other travelers in Peru mentioned that it was best to only venture out during the day, and our taxi driver (from the bus terminal) commented that we were staying in "a very dangerous neighborhood". When we asked were he thought we could stay that was safer, he answered "nope, they are all pretty ... read more
Grand Plaza
A night out with the others from our hostel
Franciscan Monastery

South America » Ecuador » South » Cuenca June 6th 2009

So states the Lonely Planet guidebook. Cuenca is one of those places that does not seem to be overloaded with tourist sites (which is a generous way of saying it is kind of boring) but is a great place to stopover if you happen to be going north to Quito. It is quiet, safe, has it's fair share of expat hangouts and is not short of travelers, but does not feel that touristy. I came away with the impression that I was witnessing the locals going about their business and enjoying life along with Ecuadorians. We stayed at the Hostel Macondo, which was a little higher than I was aiming for ($11.50 a night pp) but was very nice, decent breakfast and right in the center without being on a main road. Cuenca is a city ... read more
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South America » Peru » Trujillo June 4th 2009

We decided to take the luxury bus option for getting to Trujillo from Lima, an 8 hour busride. I had my doubts as to how nice this bus was going to be, but it was a solid 8 hours, so I was game to give it a go. I t was the nicest bus ride of my life. Great recline on the seats, which were configured in a 2-1 configuration on the top deck (two level bus). Cruz Del Sur lived up to the reputation. They had a meal service, drink service, and had pillows and blankets. They showed western movies (Shooter, Pay it Forward). Funny thing for 'Pay it Forward' was, they showed it with the directors commentary on). Since the staff didn't speak English, they didn't know. It was still a nice way to ... read more
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Reed boats
The ruins at Chan Chan

South America » Peru » Lima » Lima » Miraflores June 3rd 2009

Compared to what we had heard about Lima, our experience was very nice. We didn't end up in the trunk of any cars or separated from our most valuable possessions either. This may have had a lot to do with our collective decision to take recommended taxis (taxi green is the best from the airport). This was made more affordable by the addition of a temporary 3rd traveling companion, Rea. She is from the Philippines, just 17 years old, and is traveling Latin America by herself after spending a year studying Spanish in Bolivia. We were on the same bus getting into Cusco, and then went on the same jungle trek together. We only took official taxis, and then stayed in the upscale neighborhood of Miraflores that is more expensive for both food and lodging. We ... read more
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