Archive for the year 2014

Florianopolis, Brazil (Day 321)

MWell its been a few weeks since my last post and they have been very enjoyable weeks indeed. After Santiago I took a bus to Buenos Aires in Argentina where I CouchSurfered with a cool father & son host. The father had a busy week but I got to do lots of fun things with his son Federico, including wall climbing at Technopolis and seeing the final match of the World Cup between Argentina and Germany downtown. It ended in a bit of rioting sadly when Argentina lost and I left a little early. I also hung out with other CS’ers a few times and their friends which was a lot of fun, including playing some CoD and going to a club at 4 AM.

FNow when I started writing this post I was on my 2nd day in Montevideo, but my host at the time pointed out to me that international buses to Brazil left only on a few days a week and so I decided that day to pack up and keep moving toward Brazil. I didn’t get a lot of time in Uruguay but my day in Montevideo was active and I got to see quite a bit of it. Now I am writing this post on a bus with WiFi which I think is the first time I’ve done a travel post while on a bus. While in Buenos Aires I got my Brazil visa which was actually quite easy to get, it cost me around $115 CAD and took only 1 day for the consulate to process. I had followed a few blog posts online and prepared many documents but all they really wanted was my bank statement and an address in Argentina which I made up.

MI will be in Brazil for 3 weeks before flying to Havana, Cuba on August 14th. I already bought the tickets a few days ago, including the ticket out of Havana 8 days later for Montreal. That’s right, I’m coming back home! I should be back in September at some point. I’m going to spend some time in Montreal and Ottawa and may even stop in Winnipeg if time works out. I will have been gone over 365 days by the time I get back which will mean another 1 year of travel milestone which is always fun to get to. I booked a hostel here in Florianopolis for 2 days before I will bus to Rio where I may CouchSurf for a week or hostel or a mix, not sure yet. I plan to see Christ the Redeemer within the first few days of arriving. Then I will bus to Sao Paulo for 2 weeks where I will be spending a week with a lovely girl I met in Santiago who actually decided to fly to Brazil and get a hotel to spend more time with me, which is very flattering and we will have a great week. Thanks for reading, more posts to come.

Santiago, Chile (Day 307)

MWell it’s been a couple weeks so it’s time for another post. Since leaving the very loud Loki hostel I moved on to La Paz, Bolivia and a not quite as loud hostel called Wild Rover. I did the walking tour and checked out the Witches’ Market between World Cup games which have been a staple of focus for many locals in the cities I have been in recently. Right now I am cheering for Argentina because I will be in there capitol of Buenos Aires this Friday I hope, they could make it to the finals I think. Right now I am relaxing after a afternoon of walking around Santiago, Chile. The day before I was enjoying a July 4th party in Vaparaiso, Chile which is a very cool city where I met some awesome people and had a fun/late evening there. I sent a couch surfing request here for Santiago and found a host but due to some schedule issues I ended up staying in on of the hostels he owns for free, which is a pretty awesome alternative. He will be gone now till Wednesday which is also the weekly CS party that he runs so we will hang out more then before I take the bus East to Argentina.

CI also went to Salar de Uyuni while I was in Bolivia, after La Paz. I did the 3 day tour because it had everything organized for me for a cheap enough price and ended in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile which is where I wanted to go anyway to do the star gazing tour which I enjoyed quite a bit. I got to see Saturn through the telescope and I saw it’s rings which I have never actually seen before. Also had a good glow of the Milky Way but not quite as colorful as I was hoping it would be, I will have to keep searching for that perfect Milky Way place/night. Things here in Chile are much more expensive then my previous South American countries but it’s a very beautiful city and I won’t be here too long so it’s fine. I will likely do the free wine night at my hostel tonight and then a walking tour tomorrow followed by a night out perhaps. Will keep everyone posted on my travels on here and FB/Flickr as always.

Cusco, Peru

AI’m currently in a hostel here in Cusco called Loki which is renowned party hostel that has been living up to it’s name. I took a bus 23 hour on the 18th here from Lima and although it was shorter then the 2 previous bus trips I found it the least comfortable as my seat was not well built. I am staying here in Cusco until the 25th and then going to La Paz, Bolivia by 15 hour (hopefully) bus. I managed to see Machu Picchu on my 2nd day here after organizing it all myself and doing lots of reading so that I was sure how it works. This has been the most expensive attraction I have visited so far, mostly because of a 90 minute train ride from Ollantaytambo to Aguascalientes which costs $55+ one-way. After that I took a 60 minute walk up many stairs to finally arrive at the ruins. I am still very sore from this hike and will likely just rest today before doing the free hostel walking tour tomorrow. They have a tattoo artist doing tattoo’s at the hostel tonight and I am kind of considering getting one but not sure yet, will see.

TAn update to my future travel plans, I was looking at flights to get back to Canada yesterday from my last destination in South America which will be Brazil, and I found that I can fly from Sao Paulo to Havana, Cuba for cheaper then my original plan of flying to Panama. I will know for sure in August when I book the flights back but as of right now it’s what I want to do. I would stay in Cuba for roughly a week then fly to Montreal where I will also likely stay for a week as I have never visited French Canada and it would be a lot of fun. Then I will take a Greyhound bus back to Saskatoon which will take forever likely but shouldn’t cost more than $150, I hope. My next post I will hopefully of visited Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia and might even be in San Pedro de Atacama in Chile where I hope to get the most amazing view of the night sky I have ever had, which is actually something on my bucket list, to see the Milky Way in all its brilliance.

Also I got a tattoo the night I wrote this post as my hostel was having a tattoo night in which local artists setup a station and do somewhat cheap (100 Soles) tattoo’s. It’s a very just a simple arrow but I like it. Fits well with my other ones.

Lima, Peru (Day 286)

WMy travels in South America are going well, the bus trips have been long but I dont mind and my Couch Surfing hosts have been really cool. I stayed in Quito for 4 days before taking a 39 hour bus ride to Lima where I will be for 1 more day before taking a 20 hour night bus to Cusco which will have me going from 0 feet above sea level all the way to 11,500 feet above sea level. My host, his 2 American guests and myself went around the city yesterday and checked out a really cool water fountain / laser show. Today I checked out the posh area called Miraflores which is right by the South Pacific ocean and bought my bus ticket for Wednesday afternoon.

Things have been very cheap here in Peru, most meals have cost me 8 to 10 sole which is only $2.50 to $3.50 CAD. Ecuador was also very cheap and I only spent $3 to $5 for a meal. Local transport has been cheap in both cities, only costing $0.50 to go anywhere. Buses between cities has been the biggest expense at roughly $30 to $50 per trip but that is pretty good for 20 to 40 hour bus rides. Accomidations since leaving Medellin have been $0 because I have CouchSurfed and taken night buses only. I have sent some requests for Cusco and think I will hopefully have a host before arriving.

WI am looking forward to Cusco very much and have quite a few things planned while there. The day I arrive is Corpus Christi, the next day I plan to do the free city walking tour, the day after that Machu Piccu which is one of the top things on my to do list for South America, then a day of relaxing and checking things out in the city that I find on TripAdvisor, then San Juan which is an event before my final event Inti Raymi on the 24th of June. I hope to take a night bus on the 25th to La Paz, Bolivia and begin the Bolivia portion of my South America trip.

Back on the Road

QA lot has happened since my last post, I did indeed start my South America travels back up in June and am typing this message from my Couch Surfing hosts computer in Quito, Ecuador. I just spent the last 4 days here checking out the sites which included going to Mitad del Mundo which is a monument on the equatorial line. I also managed to fit in a walking tour and an interview about Couch Surfing with some friends of my current host who happens to be in the television business here in Ecuador. The bus to get here took nearly 30 hours which was a bit draining but I enjoyed it because the first 24 hours of the trip in Colombia the bus had WiFi and power which is very rare.

AMy next stop is Lima, Peru which I am leaving on a bus for today at 5 PM. That bus will take even longer as I have been told it should take 38 hours and I think that assumes no delays which is unlikely. I have sent some Couch Surfing requests for Lima but at the time of writing this have still not had any responses. But I still have almost 48 hours to find a host before I arrive so I am not worried and if I must I can find a reasonably priced hostel quite easily.

MThis post will be missing a few photos for a little bit because I can’t manage to connect my camera to my hosts Mac and my laptop sadly is still very much a brick. I have decided to just carry it along with me until I return to Canada at which point I will immediately send it in for warranty without having to pay the $75+ shipping fees. Another little issue I had recently is that I forgot my bank card in an ATM at the bus terminal in Medellin and it took my card, never to be seen again. But luckily I managed to get TD Canada to wave all cash advance fees and interest on my credit card until a new card arrives so that is a good temporary solution.

After staying in Lima for 3-5 days I plan to move on to Cusco to visit the most exciting attraction of my trip so far, Machu Picchu. Peru will be my 44th country visited and right after Cusco I will be making it to country 45 as I visit La Paz, Bolivia to see the worlds largest salt flats Salar de Uyuni. I also might go to Lake Titicaca depending on how easy and affordable it is.