I’m going to South America! I found a pretty cheap flight from Amsterdam and I’m leaving in about three weeks. Now I’m collecting travel gear, reading Spanish phrasebooks and drinking canelazo (brandy with brown sugar, water and cinnamon sticks).
What are my plans for South America?
Most importantly, I’m going to do a lot of hiking. After beautiful treks in Nepal and New Zealand my love for mountains grew stronger. I’m also going to do some volunteering work, teach English and work in a hostel.
A month in each country
I’ve said it before – I need to slow down. I used to go from one country to another every two weeks but I got tired of it. I think a month is enough to get to know the place, feel the atmosphere, meet the locals and see the things not covered in guidebooks.
I’m going to Quito, Ecuador on the 15th of February. Why Ecuador? Because it’s a small, not well-known country squeezed between two big players – Columbia and Peru. At least it’s not as popular as its neighbours. I’m sure you’ve heard of the Galapagos Islands, but what about the Cayambe volcano with the highest point in the world crossed by the Equator? Sounds pretty cool, huh? I’m going to join a Spanish course on a day of my arrival and study Spanish 4 to 6 hours a day. I decided to stay with a local family which I hope is going to be a unique experience. A room and two meals a day cost 17 USD. Hopefully I’ll meet nice people :). I’m slowly applying for volunteering work on (expensive) Galapagos Islands.
After four weeks I’ll travel through land to Peru. I’m also going to stay there for a month. At the end of my stay in this country I’m going to make one of my biggest dreams come true. I’m going to climb Machu Picchu! I’ll have to walk and camp for 4 days to get there, but that’s ok. I’m so excited! Then I’m going to go south, to Bolivia, and see the lagunas, flamingos and the largest salt flat in the world. Mexico is still in my mind, and hopefully I’ll be able to go there as well.
How am I going to travel?
Slowly and off the beaten path. Yep, I know I just mentioned seeing the biggest attraction in Peru, but I really want to stay off the tourist routes as much as possible. My best experiences are always in tiny cities and small villages, where there is not a lot of tourism.
I’m going to organise travel meet-ups when I get back home. I plan on visiting Warsaw, Wroclaw, Gdansk, Poznan and Oslo – just because I miss it.
Can you recommend any books about Ecuador, Peru or Bolivia? Do you have any tips for people traveling to South America for the first time? Share them in the comments. I’d love to hear what you have to say!
I HAVE to tell you one more thing: as you probably know 50% of my plans never follow through. I’m a very spontaneous person and I love leaving on unplanned trips. Don’t be surprised if I end up in Mexico, USA or Australia… I always follow my heart and listen to my intuition. Let’s see where the road takes me…