South America

This blog is a quick guide to Paracas located on the coast of Peru. Paracas is commonly visited by those planning to tour the Ballestas Islands. If you are planning to head to the Galapagos Islands I would skip this altogether as the Galapagos has much more to offer. I will cover things to do in Paracas, places to stay and other travel tips.   Things to do in Paracas Ballestas Islands: If you are in Paracas, chances are your there to tour the Ballestas Islands. Don’t book a tour, instead head directly to the port and pay 10 soles plus 2 soles in taxes. Many tourists arrange a tour and are charged up to 30 soles just to be shown where the port is, and where to pay the taxes. It is a very small town, finding the port is simple and there will be a guide on each boat providing information. There is no need to take a tour. Markets:  If you have all day, check out the markets along the waterfront. You will find many colorful alpaca accessories, arts and craft.  Paracas National Reserve: Why not tour Paracas National reserve during your stay in Paracas. Unfortunately I […]

Backpacker Guide to Paracas – Peru

Tips for Backpacking South America
I spent three amazing months backpacking around South America. I spend my first month hiking around Peru, Machu Picchu and camping in the Amazon. I then flew to Columbia where I camped on the beach in hammocks and explored the beautiful walled city of Cartagena before sailing north to Panama. Reflecting back on my trip, I have put together 12 tips for anyone heading to South America. Learn basic Spanish before you arrive At a minimum learn to say: hi, thank you, sorry, numbers and do you speak English. Locals love it when you try to speak their language, often they speak basic English but will appreciate your effort. Having a basic understanding of the language will make it easier for you to get around.   Pack light You will be moving around a lot and will have to carry you bag with you, so make sure you pack light. Whatever you have packed – halve it, seriously.   Take a backpack, not a suitcase. Getting around South America can be a challenge. Get ready for LONG bus rides and long walks from the bus /to your hotel with your luggage. The streets of South America are far from even […]

12 Tips for Backpacking South America

Tips for Backpacking South America
Knowing what you need and what you don’t need can make a huge difference when packing for South America. As you will be moving around and lugging your bags with you, it is important to pack light, which is much easier said then done, but the advantages are beyond belief. After my experience of backpacking South and Central America for three months I have put together a guide on what to pack for South America. Firstly, what size backpack will you need when packing for South America? 50 Litres plus a small daypack (15-20L) will be plenty of room. Search for backpacks by clicking the photo below. What to pack for South America Clothes 5 Pairs of legging/spandex, Short and long 8 shirts/singlet’s 3 shorts/shirts 3 Summer dresses 1 big jacket 1 jumper 1 pair of jeans 10 pairs of underpants and 10 pairs of socks 2 bras Shoes Good Hiking Shoes Comfortable walking shoes – these are the ones I travel with  Thongs/Flip flops Toiletry items A bar of soap Small size shampoo and conditioner Moisturizer (instead of carrying face and body lotion get one that you can use for both) FACE WIPES (Shower in a bag) Hand sanitizer Deodorant […]

Packing for South America

Tips for Backpacking South America
Cartagena is a city on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. At its core is the walled city, with 16th-century plazas, cobblestone streets and colourful colonial buildings. I absolutely adored Cartagena and spent my days walking around the streets admiring and photographing the colourful buildings. This blog is a quick guide to Cartagena – Colombia. Things to do in Cartagena Explore the Walled City: You could spend a full day or even two walking around the Walled Cuty and still have something new and amazing to look at. The Walled City is the most beautiful part of Cartagena. I highly recommend staying in or near to the Walled City so you can easily explore it during the day and night. Take a Horse and Carriage ride through the Walled City: We paid 20.000 ($10) for 3 people, for that price why not enjoy a horse and carriage ride. They will try and charge you more, just keep negotiating and you will get the price down. Playa Blanca Beach: Paradise await you at Playa Blanca Beach, an hour from Cartagena. Your hostel can arrange return transport for 60.000 ($30) or you can take a public bus for 1.700 ($0.85) then catch a taxi […]

Backpackers Guide to Cartagena – Colombia

Huacachina guide
Huacachina is a village in the Ica Region, in southwestern Peru. Huacachina is built around a small natural lake or oasis and is a popular destination for sand boarding and dune buggy tours. From Huacachina you can also take tours to the Ballestas Islands (poor mans Galapagos). This blog covers things to do in Huacachina, places to stay and other travel tips. Things to do in Huacachina Take a sand buggy/sand boarding tours: This is the main attraction in Huacachina and is one not to be missed. I recommend taking the 4pm tour, as you will get to enjoy the sunset over the magical sand dunes. I love adventure packed activities, sand buggying definitely gave me a satisfying adrenaline fix. You can book these tours through your hostel. They cost between 30 and 50 soles. All tours are relatively the same so go for the cheapest option. You will most likely get it cheaper through a tour company. Remember, it is always negotiable.  Hire a sand board: For around 3 soles an hour,you can hire a sand board and hike the dunes and board down. Hiking the dunes is exhausting so you will probably only spend 2 hours doing this. Hike […]

Backpackers Guide to Huacachina – Peru

Getting around Peru
Cusco was the first city I visited in South America, and what a delight it was. Cusco, often spelt Cuzco is a city in southeastern Peru and is the historic capital of the Inca Empire. It is located nearby to Machu Picchu, the Urubamba Valley and the Andes Mountain ranges, offering any tour or activity than an adrenaline seeker could ask for, not to mention, AMAZING scenery, some of the best I have ever seen. I could be biased considering my love for mountainous regions. This blog covers things to do in Cusco and other travel tips. Things to do in Cusco Machu Picchu: I am certain that anyone travelling to Cusco already has Machu Picchu on their itinerary. If you don’t, put it on there now. Machu Picchu is a world-renowned Inca site built in the 15th century. It is the most familiar icon of Inca civilisation and is extremely impressive. Take a tour to better understand the history of Machu Picchu.   Hike the Inca Trail: If you love hiking, take the 4-day hike along the Inca Trail. Unfortunately I booked too late and missed out but I hear from my friends that it was incredible. Sacred Valley Tour: I […]

Backpackers Guide to Cusco – Peru

Cartagena Architecture
This blog highlights the best of Colombia through photos of my trip. Cartagena  The streets of Cartagena are full of vibrant colours and energy, just like the people who reside there. I spent my days in Cartagena walking around the walled city, admiring and photographing the building, shopping in the unique stores and markets and my nights spent partying. I would love to return to Colombia, exploring more of the countryside this time.I shall add it back onto the never ending bucket list… If you are heading to Cartagena, check out my Backpackers Guide.  See my Cartagena Destination Guide here… Playa Blanca Beach Cartagena  Playa Blanca is a pristine beach location about an hour out of Cartagena. Tourists go to Playa Blanca to sleep in hammocks on the beach, eat fresh fish and chill out. I spent my days laying on the beach, swimming, snorkelling and riding jet skis.. so much fun. The best thing about Playa Blanca is that you don’t have to move for anything. Ladies walk up and down the beach selling fresh fruit, drinks, hats, sunglasses etc and even massages. I believe these ladies have super sonic hearing because if you mention something, even if no […]

The Best of Colombia – South America

Peru things to do in peru
Nasca or Nazca is a city on the Southern Coast of Peru. Tourists visit Nasca to fly over the famous Nasca Lines, world heritage listed by UNESCO in 1994. I was personally disappointed by my trip to Nasca and the Nasca lines. Things to do in Nasca Other than the Nasca lines, there isn’t much to do in Nasca. Fly over the Nasca lines: The main attraction in Nasca. My friend did this and really enjoyed it. She said the flight was bumpy and quick but she felt safe the whole time and got to see all the famous lines. Her recommendation is ensuring you book through a reputable company. Check out reviews on trip advisor. See the Nasca lines from the observation tower: This only costs 2 soles instead of $100US, but I wouldn’t recommend going to Nasca just to see the lines from the observation tower. Local Markets: Nascas local markets don’t have a great range of souvenirs and gifts, but they have a fantastic and extremely cheap range of fresh produce. We stocked up on fruit, veggies and bread rolls for 6 soles (about $2.50 US). Visit Chauchilla: Check out some mummies. This cemetery holds the remains […]

Backpackers Guide to Nasca – Peru