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 3.

Huacachina 

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

Ecuador

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!