When planning my partner and I’s journey overland from Colombia to Ecuador, we had to find a place to stop along the way to break up the journey from Bogotá to the border. We could have stopped in the eclectic, salsa-loving city of Cali, but since we prefer smaller places, we decided to take a 12 hour overnight bus from Bogotá to the small city of Popayán. Popayán is known for its colonial architecture and as Colombia’s “White City” due to the historical centre which is filled with white buildings. It is surrounded by mountains, including the Purace Volcano. Once you’ve explored the colonial centre, it’s worth it to either attempt the Purace volcano climb (only allowed with a guide and trips aren’t made every day if you’re tight for time) or take a trip to the nearby indigenous village of Coconuco for some time in hot springs and an adrenaline-pumping bike ride. I booked the trip to Coconuco through my hostel, HostelTrail. It cost 55,000 Colombian Pesos, or about $25 Canadian. It included getting …
I originally read that Guatapé, a two hour trip outside of Medellin, was busy and crowded on weekends, and so, not being a fan of crowds, planned to visit on a Monday as a daytrip. But some things in our Medellin schedule had to get rearranged, and so we had to change our daytrip to fall on a Sunday. It turns out this was the best decision that could have happened – the vibe of Guatapé on a Sunday was one of my most fun days in Colombia.
For many travellers to Peru, Cusco is seen as the quasi-“basecamp” for adventures to Machu Picchu, whether by bus and train or on the famous Inca Trail. Cusco, at an elevation around 3400 m above sea level, is a place to acclimatize to the altitude, especially if hiking in the Andes is imminent. But this historic capital of the Inca empire should be seen as a destination in its own right, and there’s plenty of things to see, do, and learn within the city and in its immediate surrounding area – so much so, that even after spending 5 days there, I still hadn’t seen everything.
There’s a lot the guidebooks won’t tell you about a visit to Peru. Sure, Lonely Planet will make mention of top sites to see, best hostels for your money, over-touristy things to avoid, and best places to eat. They may advise about the weather and water conditions, and ideal sundries to pack.
Continuing from Part 1 of my recommended itinerary for London, here’s what you should plan on doing for the second half of your trip.
While London is a huge city whose sheer number of sites and activities require multiple visits, you can get a lot of the major sightseeing done in a short time if you plan accordingly. In 2012, my family and I took advantage of a cheap round trip flight deal to London Gatwick Airport, so we flew there for six full days before returning home to Canada on the seventh day. If you’re the type of person who wants to see as many things as you can in the shortest time possible, and don’t mind a “go go go!” schedule, then follow this itinerary that I created for my family’s trip.