Bolivia part. 1

Copacabana | La Paz |

Moving on to Bolivia was an obligation. Not that we didn’t want to go but after two months in Peru it felt like leaving home. The lake Titicaca welcomed us in copacabana with one of the most spectacular sunsets (after a day of rain in Puno).

We got a beer from a bar and chat a bit with Laura and Gabriel, and Argentinian couple from Buenos Aires that we met again and again during our trip. After the beer we got to take some pictures with small alpacas and made the woman owning the alpacas pissed with us because we had no money left in our pockets!

It was pretty difficult then to find a proper cheap hostel as we ended up in a place with terrible WiFi and no gas for cooking (pretty much a nightmare).

The day after we were ready to get off there and move to La Paz. Where we spent almost a week (we really didn’t want to leave and still want to go back!). We spent in total 3 days on the hills of the Moon valley in the beautiful Colibrì camping and and 4 days in the city walking up and down hill.

La Paz is a city full of great people, vibes and cafes If you get lost in the street market you’re not going to get home without some empanadas, alpaca’s yarn and natural remedies!

We spent so much time at the witches market that we became friends with some of the women sitting there!

Very interesting is also the museum of the history of the Coca. The museum is very small but the written guide brings you through all the stages to understand the uses and abuses of coca leaves and plant. The Inca were using the coca leaves in rituals, as natural remedies and to calm hunger and fatigue. The coca leaves became a currency in the period of mining and then a illegal trading part in the cocaine industry.

La Paz gave us a great welcome in Bolivia and we are very glad we spent some time there.

Peru part 4.

Cusco | Machu Picchu | Sacred Valley

After Huacachina was time to meet Amber and Torben in Cusco. We took a night bus that arrived after 17 hours at the Terminal of the Inca Imperial Capital of Peru. The wind was cold and after days in the desert was a pleasure to be there!

Cusco is a very beautiful Inca-colonial style built city. You can see that the basement of all the buildings in the center is Inca and the rest it’s built with the typical Spanish-colonial way.

Thanks to Torben and Amber we stayed at an amazing hotel, Yabar Hotel, on the main square of Cusco. Just few blocks from the central market and in a area full of cafes and restaurants.

The day after our alarm woke us up pretty early and a taxi drove us through the sacred valley to visit the Amaru community where groups of women from the Andes are weaving alpaca-llama yarn products. We went to the group called Intiwasi. Their main language is Quechua but they did a presentation of how they naturally dye the yarn and how they weave and knit in Spanish.

After this visit of the artisans we went to Ollantaytambo to catch the train to Machu Picchu (the village) and spend the rainy night there eating pizza and watching funny Peruvian tv shows.

On Friday morning we were ready to go to the ruins of Machu Picchu. For your information Machu Picchu is not the name of the ruins, the archeologists don’t know yet the real name of the village that was there and for which scope it was used. Machu Picchu is the name of the mountain that “protects” the village. And it means “the old mountain”. In front of the ruins there is also “the happy mountain” and this makes everything better!

Machu Picchu was re-discovered by Hiram Bingham and brought to world wide knowledge in 1911. The ruins were actually discovered by 3 Peruvians way before but Bingham made it internationally recognized.

Studies have been discovered that Machu Picchu was mostly inhabited by young people, probably students. It was probably divided in a male area and female area. And it had different kind of temples: one for sacrifice (mostly of llamas but also humans) and other for praying the good spirits of the mountains, the Apus, and the Pachamama, Mother Earth.

In general Machu Picchu is one of the most magical places we have visited. Even with the crazy crowd of tourists that everyday walks up and down the ruins it is still one of the most amazing place in Peru.

The landscape is breathtaking and the guide we had, that you are obliged to get in order to enter in the site, was very well prepared and very knowledgeable.

After spending the day in Machu Picchu we went back to Ollantaytambo for the night were a big carnival party with beautiful people dancing in the main square kept us busy. Carnival is one of the best moments to visit all South America. It is a great way to learn about culture and costumes of the places you are visiting and listen to great folkloric music.

The day after we went on a tour of the Sacred Valley and we visited the ruins of Moray, the Salt Mine of Maras and eat gilled cuy on the way to the market of Pisac. One of the biggest market of Peru. Unfortunately we didn’t have much time to explore it and a rain shower was coming to welcome us on our way back to Cusco!

Before getting to Cusco we managed to visit an animals-shelter where they rescue domestic and wild life in danger. You can see there many alpacas, llamas, vicuñas, condors, Peruvian dogs and felines from the rainforest.

When back in Cusco we relaxed a bit on the Airbnb found by Amber and got a pizza at the La Pizza Carlo, the pizza was very good but the lady at the cashier decided it was time to get very good tips from us even though we didn’t agree with that or with her service!

On Tuesday was the last day of Amber and Torben in the Peruvian city and we went around searching for souvenirs, beer-milkshakes and yarn (for Gaia!)

The market in Cusco is something pretty amazing and beautiful to explore for many hours! An infinite amount of bags, sweaters, hammocks, gadgets, chocolate, salt and ponchos is waiting for you inside of the indoor market. Stop by the little mamas selling natural products: they have amazing shampoos, creams and oils to buy! When you feel tired just head on the juice shops side and get a full dose of vitamins!

After the market we went ceviche eating at Ceviche Seafood Kitchen. Sit in front of the window upstairs to enjoy the view of Plaza de Armas and the beautiful Catedral Del Cuzco!

Other suggestion for foodies going to Cusco is Incanto, the best Italian restaurant me and Lasse have been in all South America (they have ravioli, polenta with 4 cheese, lasagne and much more!).

Peru part 3.


After spending some time in Huaraz it was time to head south. We were going to meet Torben and Amber the 15th February in Cusco! 

So we decided to go to Huacachina, this Mars-looking place where a small touristy oasis makes a perfect place to chill in the middle of the desert. 

First we took a 8 hours night bus from Huaraz, then a 5 hours to Ica then a 30 minutes taxi/mototaxi to Huacachina. 

If you get to Ica and you think “let’s take a day here” don’t stay there. Crowded and filled with hot roads and people, menu for tourists with 50 soles (badly made) ceviche – ok they scammed us for that! So…just go to Huacachina directly and enjoy life! 

If you have to spend time in Ica waiting for your bus then go to Lora Cafe, best coffee ever and great cakes! 

Best activities (if you are not a tour-type) Looking at the sunset from the dunes, run down the dunes and enjoy the quiet of the oasis during the day drinking lemonade from one of the bars-restaurants around there.
We stayed at the Desert Nights hostel, pretty relaxed atmosphere and a great terrace and kitchen where to cook and avoid the hottest hours of the day (11-15). Really recommended, they have also sandboarding-sandskiing equipment and they can organize a tour for you in 3-2-1. 

We tried the sand boarding/ sand buggy tour of 2.5 hours and we had loads of fun with the people on the tour with us. Ok…needs to be said it’s a pretty cheesy activity (watch the dunes, watch the sunset, go down on the sand board, the drivers are crazy…) but we really enjoyed our afternoon! 

Big plus for Huacachina the pizza of the Wild Olive trattoria! 

Ps. There is no filter/photoshop/modification in any picture…all the colors are the real colors also the very pink ones! 

Perù part 2.

Lima | Huaraz | Laguna 69 | 

After more than two months traveling by bus and boats it was time to get a flight. The road between Pucallpa and Huánuco was blocked by a sliding mountain and we couldn’t wait more.

Lima appeared as a giant monster after seen nature and small villages around us for a while. We resisted only one night and we stayed in the most residential area: Miraflores. Full of nice cafes and old people walking around.

The morning after we decided to catch a bus to Huaraz, 8 hours of drive from sea level up to 3300 mt and the cordilleras. The drive goes through impressive changing landscapes and it stops for lunch in a friendly place in the middle of nowhere.

In Huaraz we spent the first night in the busy and noisy Campo Base Hostal. Great if you plan on partying and getting to know people but not so great since Lasse was feeling sick and the altitude sickness was kicking in. 

The day after we decided to move to La Cabaña, great guesthouse lead by the amazing signora Flor. This energetic woman helped us a lot with: finding a hospital, getting better and have somebody nice to talk with around. Her guesthouse is a place where time goes fast and you would like to spend one more day! 

During our altitude sick-time (both of us felt it) the town of Huaraz was having a blast with the carnival. Parades of dancing women with traditional dresses and local bands playing were filling up the streets of the small city center. People was having fun and partying a lot. 

After recovering we decided to take a little tour of a nice brewery based in Huaraz: Sierra Andina. Where Mario explained us everything about their beers made at 3500 mt in the mountains! Mario is the master brewer, from Chile but with a German education about beers. These incredible beers are made with very high quality ingredients collected both locally and internationally to Huaraz. We tried all of them during our stay in Huaraz, mostly found at the Cafè Andino

The Cafè Andino has also a great tea that can help with altitude sickness: Shaka Shaka. A mix of mate de coca, camomille and mountain herbs.

During our stay we also met Line, a friend from Copenhagen living now in Huaraz. We spent a great time with her hiking up to the amazing Laguna 69 at 4600 mt.

 Most important we talked a lot about the dangerous lagoon near Huaraz and how a local man made a law suit against a German mining company working in Huaraz. This company is accused to have caused substantial damage to the environment and accelerating the process of climate changing in the lagoon. This lagoon can cause a dangerous flooding in the city and destruction of most of the houses. If you want to look further into it here is the link

Amazon Basin

Iquitos | Pucallpa | Santa Clara

After Coca we didn’t know what we were going to experience. Our trip in the Amazon from the Ecuadorean city of Coca to Iquitos and then from Iquitos to Pucallpa (and Santa Clara) has been full of great surprises. 

Being in the Amazonas is almost the best way to step outside of your comfort zone and confront yourself with your limits and fears. If you are scared of insects there will be tons of them around. If you get concerned when you don’t have a bathroom then there will be almost no bathrooms for hours or days or a week. If you are paranoid about something you will need to accept that and get over it. This is the first rule of the Amazon. 

That’s what the rainforest is meant to teach you: get over your limits, let it go and you will have fun! 

Let’s start from the beginning: Coca is a petrol-centered not-so-pretty city at the edge of the jungle in Ecuador. Just 10 hours bus from the hills of the capital, Quito. We spent 3 night there: finally on a Thursday morning at 6.30 we found a boat that would drive (for 15 hours) us (+kids/mamas and few other tourists) to Nuevo Rocafuerte. 

Nuevo Rocafuerte is the frontiera of Ecuador, where you get an exit stamp and, if you are lucky, you’ll find a gentle señor Gugliermo waiting for giving you a boat-passage to the first little village of Peru, Pantoja. 

Pantoja is by itself a very small village with kind people and loads of grasshoppers. We had to stay there only for the night because the day after a boat for Iquitos was ready to leave. Buena onda was on our side and we didn’t need to wait for a boat to come another day (or week).

Since the boat that leave from Pantoja is a lancha that goes pretty fast and leaves at 5 am. It takes two almost-full days to get to Iquitos but it stops for the night. Therefore we paid with the ticket one night-stay in Santa Clotilde. A very small village, where, searching for a beer, we met a 9 years old kid pretty good at English and we spent the rainy afternoon talking with him. We had dinner in a little kiosk in the middle of the street and we slept some hours before leaving at 4 with the boat. 

Iquitos was a shock. When you get there the first thing you feel is all the overwhelming amount of mud, river-smell and food. A huge city that is possible to reach only by airplane or boat and has basically no cars only moto-taxis. A crazy amount of tourists and tours and people trying to sell you tours at every corner of the street. Iquitos is well known to be the best place to do a rainforest-tour of 2 or more days. But we didn’t do it. Our feeling was that everybody was trying to make a business out of it and nobody was really concerned about the “real” life in the rainforest or about offering a “sustainable” tour.

Iquitos became then a city to leave and we decided to embark in this 6 days adventure to get to Pucallpa. On a busy and hot day we got our ticket for Henry, a cargo-boat with other 250 people and at least 400 chickens and 100 mototaxi (plus one cat and one monkey). 

We were not feeling very well at that time but we decided to get on board anyway at around 4 pm since the boat had to leave at around 6 pm. We thought it would be fine to sail on the river. But then, after setting up our hammocks and making a pile with our backpacks, the boat was stuck and didn’t leave the harbor until the day after at 9 pm! 

How was the boat when we finally left Iquitos? A good mix of kids running around, very curious locals that were asking the most funny questions to both me and Lasse and an Italian couple, now living in Brazil, that was our main company in the middle of hammocks, people and luggages.

After 6 days at the edge of every hygienic condition we left our lovely cargo-boat Henry and we got to Pucallpa, where we took some days just to relax and have WiFi. 

We got in contact through some friends with a family from the Shipibo community of Santa Clara and we decided to stay with them for a week. The Shipibo tribe is well known for being a matriarchal based community where women are making beautiful embroideries and hand crafting. They use natural medicines, as ayahuasca and many more, and their diet is mostly based on rice, fish, chicken and platano. As most of the communities in Peru they have a very strong connection with Pachamama and its natural cycles.

Life near the jungle is where you really have time to work on yourself because every other need is satisfied with simple things. You have a roof over your head, cook on a fire, shower with three buckets of water every other day and use a very simple toilet as bathroom. 
We spent a lot of time walking around small villages and talking with some people there, meditating, talking about fears and limits and looking at how simple life can be without the stress of our “westernalized” society. 

The only bad note of living in the village was the amount of mosquitoes that every night tried to get me. After the first day I had 167 itchy bumps only on my left leg! And I spent most of my sunsets and nights inside of the mosquito-net that we have brought with us. 

Leaving Santa Clara for Pucallpa felt like the good thing to do after 7 days of full immersion on ourselves and on the culture of the shipibo community. But when planning to get to Lima we found out that the street have been closed for at least some weeks and it was not meant to open in the near future. The only option was to fly (unfortunately). 

After a month where our only transportation was a moto-taxi or a boat the idea of taking an airplane sounded weird. Coming back to all the comforts it was great but it gave us many things to think about.


Otavalo | Quito | Latacunga | Quilotoa Loop | Coca | Nuevo Rocafuerte 

From the border of Tulcan (3 hours at the Colombian immigration + 1 in Ecuador) everything seemed going as it was meant not to go. It was really difficult to find a taxi at the border, there was a fight between big mamas and bus drivers at the ticket-desk at the terminal and, last but not least, we were 5 hours late and 3 hours far from our Airbnb check-in in Otavalo. 

The starting point was not one of the best but from the day after Ecuador was perfect. We spent Christmas time chilling in this small town. Otavalo is known to be the biggest textile, animal and food market of Ecuador. Next to the town, in the region of Imbabura, there were an infinite amount of hiking spots, waterfalls, vulcanos and lakes to discover. 

Right after Christmas it was time to move and we decided to spend a very rainy day and night in Quito. The capital is big, with crowded busses and not worthy a visit it’s just a useful place to catch the next bus to jump in a new adventure! 

What’s next then? A bus for Latacunga, where we left some not useful stuff for hiking at the Hostal Tiana (ps. The staff there is really nice we don’t agree with the reviews online!). And finally a bus for Segchos where our Quilotoa Loop adventure was ready to start. 

The Quilotoa Loop, 50 Km trails and 1000 mt to reach the top, has been one of the best experiences we have done in many years. Hiking 4 days keeps you strong and gives you limits and at the end you can only be proud of yourself. 

We started from Segchos a small town where we don’t suggest to stay but only to arrive and start the hike. We have been sleeping the night before the hike in Segchos but we couldn’t find food after 8.30 and we ended up eating a toast that a angry woman didn’t want to prepare for us (watching telenovela).

1st day hike: Segchos – Isinlivi

The hike was hard, we were seriously questioning ourselves how it’s possible for the locals to run down the trails so fast! But we got to Isinlivi pretty early under an amazing heavy rain! We stayed at the LluluLlama one of the best hostel I have seen in my entire life! Great atmosphere, good food, a steam bath and a lama in the garden! 

2nd day hike: Insilivi – Chugchilan 

It was time to take it slow and we did. It was the most chilled day of hike, when we got to Chugchilan we decided to find a spot where to camp. The fog was rolling down the mountains and it was really surreal around there. The owner of the local Cloud Forest Hostel gave us a place in her field and we had an amazing time under the rain (again). 

3rd day hike: Chugchilan – Guayama San Pedro 

This was the worst. Really bad trekking paths and a altitude to reach of more than 700 mt. But we made it! And we slept in the most cozy place: Hostal Rosita. A family owned big house in the valley where the food it’s great, the showers are cold but the company of Dory and Ester is a blast! We found ourselves roasting peanuts on the fire in the “cabana” outside and discussing about the traditions of that area for New Year’s Eve. 

In Ecuador they traditionally celebrate the “Año Viejo” that is the old year to kick out with bonfires, music, chicha and dancing. In small communities there is a big group of people playing music moving from house to house to wake up the people at around 7 am. Then the day before they have been preparing a goat to cook and the day goes for the preparation of the party. While the day after, the 1st of January is the “Año Nuevo” that kicks in and it’s a great party at midnight! 

4th day hike: Quilotoa Lagoon and back to Latacunga

And then this was WOOOOW! We got there early in the morning and it was just a surprise! Hopefully it’s possible to understand from the pictures! 

Back to Latacunga we were both really happy and proud of what we have accomplished during the 4 days-hike. And ready to kick the 2017 out! 

After Latacunga we decided to dramatically change the landscape outside of our windows and got on a long day-night bus for Coca, the extreme border with the rain forest and the Rio Napo, one of the affluent of the Amazonas. 

Coca it’s a terrible city but if you want to navigate to Perù it’s the only way you have to get to Nuevo Rocafuerte where you get to the immigration and get your paperwork done! From Coca to NR we took a great 15 hours speed boat with kids, mamas, guys programming Arduino and so on. It was a pretty funny experience overall! 

But for our adventure on the Amazon Basin you should wait until next post!

Colombia part 3. 

Medellin | Manizales

Third and last post about Colombia. The last part of our trip in Colombia has been more relaxed and we had indeed a more safe feeling about Medellin and Manizales. 

Even though Medellin is a huge city where many neighborhoods are still “dangerous” we went walking around a lot and we hadn’t occurred in any trouble. 

We stayed in the Laureles barrio, booked a very cool room in Airbnb from Hugo. The place was really chilled and near restaurants, bar and supermarket. 

One place it is absolutely standing out from the crowd is Café Cliche where they also have some very good artisanal beers from South America. We tried one from Argentina, blonde but 7.5% of flavor and taste.  

During our stay in Medellin we decided to take a free tour of Comuna 13, once the most dangerous place in Medellin now the safest neighborhood of Colombia (the least number of murders and crimes in Colombia in 2016). All the pictures of murales are street art from this neighborhood and they are a representation of the history of this place, the fight against the drugs lords, the violence and the illegal business. 

After Medellin, we decided to try the famous thermales of Manizales. A smaller city in the mountains with a great cable car system and some great thermal pools. We needed some rest and to chill before crossing the border and going to Ecuador.

Our Colombian adventure ends now. Soon there will be a most about Ecuador and the crazy trekking of Quilotoa Loop that we have just finished.