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 …
The idea of racing to get a camping spot in a hammock or inside a hardly-washed tent to spend an evening in Tayrona National Park was never particularly appealing to me. Although witnessing a sunrise and/or sunset on its magnificent beaches would be amazing, I decided that the conditions under which you spend the night were not appealing to me. So, along with a new friend, I daytripped to Tayrona National Park all in one day, and though it was a busy day, it can be done!
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.
Travel has been an important part of my lifestyle for the past five years, a hobby I live and breathe in any way I can. I subscribe to travel blogs and magazines, follow travel Instagram accounts, troll through Flickr for inspiring travel photography, anything to maintain the fuel in my wanderlust engine. I have made it a priority in my life to go somewhere new every year, and this year, I’m taking a big step by going on a five month solo adventure through South America.
The Colca Canyon is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the United States, and a must-see for any visitor to Southern Peru. There isn’t a ton of detailed information in the guidebooks about how to get to the Colca Canyon or actually do the hike. Tours can be booked in Arequipa, which is 160 km southeast of the canyon, but if you’re a) On a budget, b) Don’t want to spend your whole tour waking up super early for a bus, or c) Want to do the hike without a guide, I have some tips for you!
Nestled in southern Peru amongst canyons and volcanoes, Arequipa is Peru’s second largest city and a must-see destination if you’re visiting Peru. It’s best to dedicate one to two days to this often-called “White City” before you embark deeper into canyon country, such as a trek into the Colca Canyon (many of these treks can be booked directly from Arequipa as well). Here are some of the places that make for great exploring in Arequipa.
Calpe is a small town on the Mediterranean coast of Spain, in the Alicante province near Valencia. It’s most remembered for the Penyal d’Ifach, the northern counterpart to the south’s rock of Gibraltar. This photo was taken as I ascended the Penyal d’Ifach, looking down at the resort and ocean below. The rock is also a protected bird sanctuary, and so the prevalence of birds in nesting season made it impossible to get a picture without a bird in the shot (or, alternatively, dive-bombing me and my tripod). Of course, I was too much of a scaredy-cat to ascend the entire rock, but I was quite content with this view of clear blue skies and even bluer waters.
On our brewery-inspired Denver adventure, we took a day trip to Boulder, Colorado to get a taste of the Rocky Mountains in the American mid-west (and a taste of more beer too, of course). The Flatirons are a symbol of Boulder and a staple in Chautauqua Park. Chautauqua was an adult education movement that began in New York, highly popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Chautauqua, according to Theodore Roosevelt, was the “most American thing in America.” While the Flatiron mountains are not as high or grand as the mountains I’m used to in the Albertan rockies, they have a unique shape and character. Whereas the trees at home were bare, these mountains were embraced by autumn leaves at even October’s end. We hiked around for a bit, enjoying the warmth before we decided that beer was calling.
The streetcars and hills of Libson are filled with great character, and the old castles and monasteries make for great sights, but if you go nowhere else in Lisbon – you will not regret a trip to my favourite bookstore.