Travelling South America By Bus


Apart from one flight from Manaus to Sao Paulo where we didn’t have a choice but to fly due to lack of road, we travelled around Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia solely by buses. We seemed to be the only people we spoke to that weren’t flying at all and people found it strange that we weren’t. We did so for three reasons – 1. It was so much cheaper than flying or getting the train. 2. Most of the time it saved on overnight accommodation  3. You actually get to see some of the country rather than flying through clouds. Seems pretty logical right?!

After taking 38 buses and a total of 372 hours on the road (a whole 15 days!) here is a guide to travelling in South America by bus. Duration and costs are estimates based on what we noted down at the time! Prices and currency conversions correct at time of writing. Prices shown in local currencies, US dollars and British Sterling.


Sao Paulo to Belo Horizonte – 8 hours – 109 Brazilian Real/$34/£22

Belo Horizonte to Rio De Janeiro – 8 hours – 120 Brazilian Real/$36/£24

Rio De Janeiro to Paraty – 4/5 hours – 65 Brazilian Real/$20/£13

Paraty to São Paulo – 6 hours – 57 Brazilian Real/$17/£11

São Paulo to Foz Do Iguazu – 18 hours – 150 Brazilian Real/$47/£30

Tips on travelling by bus in Brazil:

– Most reputable bus companies are Itapemirim, Reunidas Paulista, Cometa, Expresso Brasileiro, Pluma

– Use for bus times, schedules and prices

– Always bring a jumper/blanket no matter how cold it is outside the air conditioning is always on and it can get very cold on overnight journeys (that’s the same for all countries)

– Bring a pen as you have to fill out your ticket with your details – Passport number, address etc

– Arrive early or book in advance as some journeys can get filled up pretty quickly


Puerto Iguazu to Buenos Aires – 22 hours – 1000 Argentine Peso/$108USD/£70

Buenos Aires to Rio Gallagos – 40 hours – 2000 Argentine Peso/$217USD/£140 (at the time this was much cheaper than flying, but this varies a lot. We should have split this journey up, but wasn’t as bad as it sounds!)

Rio Gallagos to El Calafate – 4 hours – 300 Argentine Peso/$32USD/£21 (Only 2 buses a day 9am and 1pm)

El Calafate to San Carlos De Bariloche – 24 hours – 1500 Argentine Peso/$163USD/£105

Tips on travelling by bus in Argentina:

– Some of better bus companies to use are Via Bariloche, Expresso Singer, . has all bus times and prices for routes across Argentina. also

– For long journeys go with a ‘cama’ or ‘semi-cama’ bus (bed/semi bed). We only went on semi cama and it was great. You usually get a full meal or two plus drinks

– Always bring plenty of food and drink with you. You never know when they will stop (if at all)


Bariloche to Puerto Montt – 6 hours – 500 Argentine Peso/$500USD/£35

Puerto Montt to Puerto Varas – Less than an hour on a local bus from bus station and costs about $1.50/£1

Puerto Varas to Pucon – 6 hours – 9,300 Chilean Peso/$14USD/£9

Pucon to Santiago – 10 hours – 13,000 Chilean Peso/$19USD/£12

Santiago to Arica – 27 hours  – 33,000 Chilean Peso/$50USD/£32

Tips on travelling by bus in Chile:

– JAC, Turbus and Pullman buses are good reputable companies to use

– For bus schedules across Chile use or


Arica to La Paz – 8 hours – 8,000 Chilean Pesos/$12/£7 (one of most scenic journeys – altitude sickness can set in though)

La Paz to Sucre – 13 hours – 100 Boliviano/$14/£9

Sucre to Potosi – 3 hours – 40 Boliviano/$6/£4 (sit on right of bus – great views)

Potosi to Uyuni – 4 hours – 20 Boliviano/$3/£2

Uyuni to La Paz – 12 hours – 120 Boliviano/$17/£11 (horrible bumpy road – not great for overnight travel!)

La Paz to Copacabana – 4 hours – 30 Boliviano/$4/£2 plus 2 bob for boat to cross

Copacabana to Puno – 4 hours – 60 Boliviano/$8/£4 (don’t need to change bus at border. Check when buying tickets as a lot of companies do)

Tips on travelling by bus in Bolivia:

– Be flexible! Everything in Bolivia is unpredictable so the bus schedules are no different. The Bolivians love to block the roads with protests and parades. We arrived to la Paz and got dropped off miles away from the bus station because of a parade so had to walk. All part of Bolivia’s charm, so just be prepared for change!

– The buses are swarmed by local sellers (of literally anything) who get on and off in the middle of the road. Bring change if you want to buy anything

– Have your camera handy. The views in Bolivia were incredible


Puno to Arequipa – 6 hours – 60 soles/$19/£12

Arequipa to Cusco – 12 hours – 70 soles/$21/£14

Cusco to Lima – 18 hours – 80 soles/$25/£16

Lima to Ica – 4/5 hours – 76 soles/$24/£15 (Cruz Del Sur includes snack & sandwich)

Ica to Lima – 4 hours – 58 soles/$18/£11 (Cruz Del Sur includes snack & sandwich)

Lima to Chiclayo – 14 hours – 90 soles/$28/£18 (overnight dinner and breakfast – Cruz Del sur)

Chiclayo to Mancora – 5 hours – 70 soles/$22/£14

Tips on travelling by bus in Peru:

– Cruz Del Sur is a travellers favourite bus company – it is more expensive but usually worth paying when you look at some of the other buses!

– Keep your valuables on you. Buses are generally safe but always worth keeping a small bag with your valuables on you


Mancora to Cuenca – 5/6 hours – 120 pesos/$37/£24 (was told it was direct, ended up on 3 separate buses and took much longer than expected so be careful which company on the main street to go with)

Cuenca to Ambato – 4 hours – $8/£5 (Sit on left, better views for most of way)

Ambato to Banos – 1 hour – $1.50/£1

Banos to Latacunga – 2 hours – $4/£2.50 (doesn’t drop at terminal)

Latacunga to Zumbahua – 1.5 hours – 3 $3/£2

Latacunga to Quito – 2 hours – $1.50/£1

Quito to Tulcan – 5 hours – $5/£3

Tips on travelling by bus in Ecuador:

– Buses in Ecuador generally cost $1 per hour of travel

– Long distance buses in Ecuador are the preferred buses for travellers, standard/local buses tend to stop anywhere where someone wants to be picked up and don’t have aircon, toilets etc

– Though we didn’t have any trouble or see any incidents, there is still a lot of crime in certain parts in Ecuador so be on your guard. Keep valuables with you throughout your journey


Ipiales to Bogota – 25 hours – 97,000 pesos/$34/£22 (included a proper food stop. Meal was 14,000 pesos)

Bogota to Medellin – 11 hours – 110,000 pesos/$38/£25 (we ended up paying over the odds for the bus at the station to get there when we needed to)

Medellin to Santa Marta – 15/20 hours – 200,000 pesos/$70/£45

Santa Marta to Cartagena – 4 hours – 84,000/$29/£19 (Mar Sol mini bus direct from Rodedaro)

Tips on travelling by bus in Colombia:

– Bus travel in Colombia isn’t that cheap, it can sometimes be cheaper to fly so check flight prices too.

– It’s generally worth paying a little more to use one of the bigger, more reputable bus companies such as Bolivariano or Expreso Brasilia.

We didn’t have a bad run and definitely learnt about travelling by bus on the way. Got any of your own tips to share? Post a comment below!

Guide to Doing A Ski Season at Whistler Blackcomb

Whistler Inukshuk, Roundhouse Lodge

Doing a ski season at Whistler Blackcomb is without a doubt the best decision we’ve ever made. But it did take a bit of planning to get there and was a little frustrating at times. So here is a little guide to doing a ski season in Whistler.


First things first, before even thinking about booking flights, you’ll need to get a Canadian work visa. Different countries have different requirements so check for all the info you need. If you’re from the UK, like me, you’ll get a one-year working holiday visa but spaces are limited and demand is high so you need to be quick to get your place.

Decide to go independently or use a jobs support program

When it comes to the logistics of finding work, accommodation etc. You’ve got two options:

  1. Go independently – Arrange your own job, find your own accommodation
  2. Use a supported program – They’ll help you get a job & accommodation

If you go independently you’ll generally need to arrive in Whistler earlier (September / early October) to hit the job fairs before the jobs are taken. A supported program – such as The Working Holiday who we used, get you an interview in your home country before you leave then if you’re accepted set you up with staff accommodations but there is a cost of doing this

The pros and cons of each are listed here


Whistler isn’t like the rest of Europe where the only type of job available is chalet hosts, ski instructors. There are more types of jobs available but the demand is high. The two main options are to either work for ‘the mountain’ or find work in the non-mountain owned hotels, shops, restaurants or bars.

Jobs working for Whistler Blackcomb mean you get a lift pass, the choice of living in staff housing (if you work full time) and staff perks. But working independently means you usually have to fork out on your own lift pass and housing.

Whistler Blackcomb has a range of jobs available – customer services, lifties, restaurant/bar work, sales, marketing, ski/snowboard instructing. Visit the official site for more info – But I wouldn’t get your hopes up too much on a certain job, as most people don’t get their first choice.

Non Whistler Blackcomb jobs can be a bit harder to find so it’s generally a case of dropping your CV around the hotels, shops, bars and restaurants and again turn up early if you haven’t secured anything before leaving for Canada. Experience varies for these jobs. In general if you’re looking at bar/restaurant work you’ll need at least a years experience behind you and a serving it right certificate.

Peak to Peak Gondola, Whistler Blackcomb

Your mode of transport to work…

Whistler Inukshuk, Roundhouse Lodge

This could be your new view from the ‘office’



Top 10 Travel Moments

We’ve now been home for a month and are already back into our normal routines so needed to write this post before I forget all about our incredible trip. We did so many things that I could never have dreamt of but here is our top 10 travel moments (not in any particular order as it’s too difficult!):

Fresh Tracks on a Powder Day in Whistler
Picture this – it’s 5.30am, you’ve just woken up & checked the snow report and you see 50 whole cm has fallen overnight. You’ll soon be in the queue to be one of the first people up the mountain for the day to enjoy a big buffet breakfast. You’re full from bacon, sausages, hash browns etc (and have filled the tupperware you brought) then at 8 a bell rings, you and your friends rush out to be literally the first to experience fresh runs in 50cm of powder! And if you know the mountain you can keep getting fresh tracks all day long!

Seeing the Glaciers Melt in Patagonia
This was never something we planned but was absolutely incredible. From buenos aires down to El Calafate, Patagonia was a 48 hour bus ride but believe me it was worth every minute. The views of the glacier were stunning but the sounds were just as impressive. We were on a boat ride for literally 5 minutes before we witnessed a huge piece of ice fall off and explode into the water.

Visiting the Amazon Rainforest
Thanks to England getting drawn in Manaus for their World Cup group, we were in the perfect place for a trip into the amazon. We did a three day tour of the jungle which included – alligator spotting, trekking through the jungle, canoeing down the river, piranha fishing and watching an amazing sunrise. Something we will never forget!

Seeing Machu Picchu
Who doesn’t want to visit one of the greatest wonders of the world?! We opted to do a 4 day/3 night jungle tour as our way to get to Machu Picchu – highly recommended. Despite not being able to walk on the day we got there, it didn’t put us off and the views from the top were like nothing else.

Salt Flats Tour
For miles and miles all you can see is well, salt. I’ll admit it doesn’t sound the best but it was one of the best 3 days we had in South America. We drove around the desert stopping at incredible places and eating surprisingly good food that our driver made on the road. We even got a stint at driving the jeep through the desert!


A Flying Visit to Ecuador & Colombia

Our last two stops in our South America travels was Ecuador & Colombia. They both needed to be quick visits due to time, but we definitely made the most of it!

Our journey (bus ride of course) to Ecuador from Mancora, Peru was one of the most frustrating journeys we’d had. First off the bus was late and the guys at the agency were pretty sketchy, so we were sat at the side of the road thinking we’d been conned. Finally a mini bus turned up (not the semi cama/bed coach we paid for) and we didn’t really know what was going on. We eventually found out that the mini bus was taking us to a town just before the border and from there we would catch another bus and then another once we got to Ecuador. Not quite the direct bus as we were told! Getting through immigration took an hour and half which was so much longer than in any other country. Anyway, we got our stamps and finally got to our destination, Cuenca just 10 hours after setting off (we thought it would only take 4!).

Cuenca was a bit of a disappointment after reading lots of people rave about it. The town was okay but nothing special. I’m not sure if after all the places we’ve seen we are getting harder to please or if it genuinely wasn’t all that great.

After Cuenca it was onto Banos, a town famous for its hotsprings and outdoor activities (kayaking, canyoning etc). Banos was really similar to Pucon in Chile, though Kyle described it as a poor mans version as the town itself wasn’t quite as nice. One of the top rated things to do in Banos is rent bikes and cycle along the ‘Ruta Del Escades’ / route of the waterfalls. So that’s what we did, the bikes cost $5 for the day. The cycle was a little scary as it was on main roads most of the way and we were passed by lots of crazy truck drivers. It wasn’t quite as downhill as it was sold to us but we had a fun day. The waterfalls themselves weren’t amazing, but after seeing Iguazu Falls we are not as easily pleased! The final one we saw was quite impressive and you can walk right next to it. After visiting this one we had lunch in the town and called it a day with the cycling. There was a man in a van waiting to take people back so we paid him and got in the back with two other English guys (one from Halifax – small world!) and went to town to take the bikes back.

We had a few hours the next day before getting our next bus, so we thought we’d go to the hotsprings. It was Saturday morning but thought as it was early it wouldn’t be too busy yet…. We were wrong! We made the mistake of paying to go in before seeing how busy it was and all three pools were rammed. There wasn’t a single other gringo there so we decided not to bother getting in. A shame but we didn’t really feel like we were missing out.

After our failed hot springs attempt it was onto to our next stop, Latacunga. Latacunga is a small ish city which is in a good location for going to the Cotopaxi volcano and the Quilotoa Crater lake. Cotopaxi is for hard core / expert hikers to climb so we didn’t go there but instead took a day trip to Quilotoa.

The crater lake of the Quilotoa volcano was a great experience. The views were stunning (see below). You can walk right down to the bottom of the crater and even kayak on it. We didn’t rent a kayak as it was ridiculously windy. We (I) had enough trouble not letting the wind blow me off the edge, let alone trying to stop it controlling the kayak!

Next stop was Quito, the capital of Ecuador. We didn’t have much time in Quito due to getting in late and just staying two nights. The main thing we wanted to do was visit the equator line, not something we’d be likely to be near again!

The Mitad Del Mundo / Middle of the Earth is an hour or so outside of Quito. There is a big monument in a park, but they measured the equator wrong all those years ago so the real equator line is 200 metres away within a little museum. The museum was pretty cool, you get a free tour as part of the entrance fee. They give you a history into Ecuadorian tribes then do some demonstrations on the equator line. We were shown how water flows through a plug hole on each side (clockwise on the North hemisphere and anti clockwise on the southern) and tried to balance an egg on a nail (didn’t succeed). It was a strange experience and didn’t think we’d be able to say we stood on both hemispheres at the same time!

Going to the Equator took longer than we thought due to going to the second museum so we didn’t have enough time in the day to do more sightseeing around Quito before heading to the Ecuador/Colombian border.

We had planned to get a bus from Quito to Tulcan (the town nearest the border) then pop over the border in one day, but the bus took longer due to picking up every man and his dog and letting anyone selling something on to pitch to us! At one point there were 8 sellers on the bus at one time and three of them were selling the same bags of oranges! So, it was night by the time we reached Tulcan and didn’t fancy crossing the border at night (it can be pretty dodgy). We found a cheap hotel opposite the bus station then did the border hop to Colombia first thing in the morning.

The border crossing was our quickest yet, not a single question asked or bags checked. We took a taxi to the bus station in Ipiales and got a bus to Bogota. We were already missing the cheap prices in Ecuador after having to pay a lot of money for the bus. Not quite the $1 an hour prices that Ecuador had.

Bogota properly wasn’t worth the overnight bus or the money paid as we were pretty underwhelmed with Bogota. Maybe we’ve just seen too many of the same big South American cities now but we just didn’t get a buzz about the place, like other people do. It didn’t help that the hostel we booked to stay in palmed us off to their other location, it wasn’t far away but the street felt much dodgier and I didn’t feel very safe there. It’s probably the only time I haven’t felt safe in the whole of South America. It didn’t help a creepy guy trying to get us to buy coke and following us for longer than I was comfortable with. So we didn’t make the most of what is meant to be a great party scene in Bogota.

Next stop was Medellin which was much better. We didn’t spend enough time there to fully appreciate and explore it but we had a good couple of days. We went to the botanic gardens, the famous Botero sculpture park, took a cable car to get a good view of the city and we timed our stay perfectly to see a football game. It was a local derby of the two Medellin teams. The rivalry is so intense that the away team weren’t allowed in the ground so it was only one set of fans there. We were told that it would still be pretty dangerous and I was even told to change my top as I was wearing the opposition colours! The game had a brilliant atmosphere (even with just one set of fans) and there was no trouble just lots of crazy fans literally standing/hanging on the edge of the upper tier!

Our time in Ecuador and Colombia was rushed a little so that we could quickly get to the coast to enjoy the Caribbean Sea for our last week of travelling (boo!). In fact we endured 3 overnight buses in 6 days so we could give ourselves enough time to relax on the coast and it was definitely worth it!

Stepping off the bus on our first stop on the coast Santa Marta, we were hit by the heat (probably because the aircon on the bus was ridiculously high) so knew we were in the right place.

Tayrona National Park

As soon as we read about Tayrona national park we were excited about it and thought it would be a great place to spend a bit of time before leaving. We weren’t disappointed! Cars can only get to a certain point in the park so we had to walk for an hour and half in 30 degree heat. Literally never been so hot! We walked up and down through the jungle and came out to some great views of the beaches.

We found the campsite 15 minutes away from the beach within the jungle that we were recommended and hired a tent for the night. We were going to get hammocks but they didn’t have mosquito nets as it’s apparently not necessary so instead opted for a tent. We dumped our bags and strolled along the beach. By this point, the sun had gone in and the clouds were brewing a thunderstorm. It held out for just long enough for us to have a wander to a couple of the beaches which were amazing. But we’d spend more time on them the next day.

The next morning the sun was out so we wanted to make the most of it & headed out straight after breakfast. Unfortunately it clouded over pretty quickly but was still really hot and the sea was the perfect temperature for swimming. We swam in the first beach we got to where swimming was allowed. The waves are huge in Tayrona so it’s pretty dangerous to swim in a lot of places. We walked to a couple more beaches and set up camp for the rest of the day on a quieter beach.

After 2 nights camping in the jungle we headed out of the national park. Had to make the dreaded walk back in the scorching sun (it decided to make an appearance for this). We were very glad to get to the end and onto an air conditioned bus back to Santa Marta. We had wanted to have a chilled afternoon by the pool at the hostel but who’d have guessed as soon as we got back it started to rain! Santa Marta hadn’t had rain for a year previously and had severe drought warnings issued as rain wasn’t forecast until 2015… We saw heavy rain twice! If any countries are in drought they should just have me and Kyle sent over!

We did get a really nice sunny day the next day (and obviously we complained it was too hot) before heading to our final stop in Colombia and South America – Cartagena.

As soon as we arrived in Cartagena I instantly knew I was going to like it. I haven’t had that instant ‘love at first site’ too many times travelling but this was definitely one of them… Even though it was dark when we arrived. As it was Friday night the streets were packed and there was a real buzz about the place.

Seeing the place in daylight the next morning didn’t disappoint. The city is filled with history and has a walled city around the old town from when they tried to protect themselves from the invasion from Spain. Inside the walls the streets are stunning. Aside from the harassment of sellers the place was perfect.

It’s a shame we didn’t have more time to spend in Cartagena (and all of Colombia) but it was a great end to our South America travels.

A 4 Day Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu

The time had finally arrived for us to visit Machu Picchu – the main reason we decided to travel around South America. We decided to do a four day trek of the jungle as our way to enter Machu Picchu, as the cost of this was pretty much the same as just getting the train/bus there for the day. The Jungle Trek involved downhill mountain biking, rafting, hot springs, ziplining and not too much walking (despite the name), so this was a great option for us.

We booked our tour whilst in Cusco. There are an overwhelming number of agencies in Cusco all offering the exact same itinerary for the 4 day Jungle Trek. We knew there were a few really reputable agencies but couldn’t afford their prices so we looked around in search of a slightly cheaper tour operator but hopefully just as reputable. After visiting a few we didn’t get a good vibe, particularly with the hard salesman type people who asked us how much we were willing to pay. Finally we found an agency that we got a good feeling about and was cheaper, but not too cheap like some of the others. We were swayed by them showing us a video and the guy in before us actually booking the tour.

Day 1
We were told to wait at a plaza at 8.20 and someone would pick us up, we were a bit skeptical about this as most agencies would pick you up from your hostel. 8.20 came and a guy did turn up, not in a mini bus as we were told, but we got a lift from his friend to take us to the agency. Got there and again no mini buses but were told to get in another car and they would take us to the starting point of the biking. We were feeling very skeptical about the whole thing until a guide who spoke English got in the car and said the mini bus was full and that’s why we had to get a lift in car. We drew a sigh of relief and relaxed until an hour into the drive we started to go up a mountain on some very steep, tight roads and the car didn’t sound like it would make it (pretty sure it was older than me). A couple of hours later we arrived at the starting point of the downhill mountain biking. There were loads of other big groups there about to start too and we thought we might meet our group up there but were told we’d cycle alone with our guide and would meet our group later. A little bit of a shame as it’s always nice to do things in a group on tours like this.

I was pretty nervous about the cycling as we were very high up a mountain with some very steep drops. I took it very steady around the corners whilst Kyle and our guide flew down the hill. I started to get more confident and tried to keep up. We cycled 50km and both loved it. The views were incredible when we actually could look! A great start to the four days.

We then drove a little further to the next town, Santa Maria and finally met the group for lunch. We would stay here for the night. The hostel was actually okay (we were told to expect very basic accommodation on the first two nights). It just lacked hot water. We were told we would be picked up in 10 minutes to go river rafting, but literally a minute later the guy was here to take us. Getting used to getting rushed for things! The rafting was great, we wasn’t expecting too much after doing the Hydrospeed in Chile but the river flowed pretty fast and we hit some big rapids. Kyle and the other guy at the front took the brunt of them but we still felt them in the back. The tour guides were great splashing each raft and making us spin around. No photos, but should have a decent Go Pro video when I can upload them finally.

We got a pretty good meal and a good nights sleep before an early start for lots of walking the next day.

Day 2
The alarm went off at 6 for breakfast at 6.30. We were treated to pancakes and fruit for breakfast which made a nice change from stale bread at hostels. We needed a good breakfast with 8 hours walking ahead of us. I’m not a hiker by any means (it was pretty obvious when everyone else had proper hiking boots and I had my converse on) but as we liked the sound of the tour I manned up.

The mornings walking was fine and we had a few stops. The first was a ‘monkey house’. The monkey was tied up which wasn’t very nice to see, unsurprisingly the monkey went after anyone close enough and would take anything it could. After a quick sit down we carried on until we reached the second monkey house, which was lacking a monkey! It did however have hammocks, which was a nice treat after 4 hours walking. Lunch couldn’t come quick enough after eating so early. From 11 onwards all the walking seemed to be uphill and after we reached the highest point we had another hour before heading to the village for lunch.

Lunch was good food again, soup as always followed by Spaghetti Bolognese – a nice change! After I had a little siesta in a hammock, so really didn’t want to set off again! The afternoon was a big of a struggle (just for me) but 3 more hours later we got to our next destination – the hot springs! They were so relaxing and in such a nice setting within the mountains. Shame it was filled by some many other tourists doing the same tour. It was time to get out when there were Mosquitos everywhere.


Forgot to take a photo myself so this is courtesy of Google

Forgot to take a photo myself so this is courtesy of Google

It was onto our next hostel in Santa Teresa, which again was pretty nice. We got another double room this time with an en suite. The tour worked out well for us as we have just been getting the cheapest dorm rooms we can. After dinner (more soup and rice/meat) we had a few drinks and headed to a club. Everyone in our group had got drunk very quickly on what seemed to be very little alcohol, so me and Kyle were far too sober in the club but did enjoy watching the group and our guide hit on every girl! Definitely getting old now!

Day 3

We were enjoying our breakfast of chocolate pancakes then our very rough guide told us the women outside was waiting for us to take us ziplining and we had to leave now. Didn’t even have time to drink my tea (I drink tea now Mum!). All very rushed and split up from the group again. The ziplining was good, though not as good/fast as the one I’d done in Whistler. Kyle managed to get told off for going too fast and not breaking enough causing him to almost knock over the guide at the other side and do a backflip. I almost did the same when one of the jokey guides didn’t tell me to slow down until the last minute so I came in really fast and flipped up much to his amusement! We did 5 zip lines then walked along a suspension bridge which I did not enjoy. Even though you’re attached to the bridge it didn’t feel very safe. Thanks for shaking it Kyle! As per, GoPro videos to come!

We then had a 3 hour drive to get to Hydro Electric and an hour wait there. We had to wait until the rest of our group arrived until we could eat lunch so we had to watch all the order groups enjoy theirs!

After lunch it was a 3 hour walk along train track to get to Aguas Calientes where we spent the night. The walk was pretty long for me as due to all the mosquito bites I’d gotten in the last few days my ankles on both feet had swollen up and made it pretty painful to walk (they were to get much worse and still not gone down 3 days later). We made it and got to our hostel, the nicest one yet with hot water and wifi! Though, the water decided not to be hot when I had mine but everyone else told me how nice it was! Dinner time came around and this time we got a menu to choose what we wanted…what a treat – not meant to sound sarcastic, it really was!

After dinner we had an early night for our 4am start! By this point I was really struggling to walk and decided that I’d have to get the bus up to Machu Picchu.

Day 4
When the alarm went off at 4am I was feeling determined and even though I could still barely walk I knew I’d be disappointed with myself for getting the bus. I’d said to myself even if It took me 3 hours to walk up and I missed the guided tour at 6.30am, it would be better than arriving by bus. It was the best and worst thing I could have done but I definitely made the right choice.

We set off a bit earlier than the rest of the group and when they all passed us they couldn’t believe I was walking ‘oh my god Laura you’re walking’ – yes, I’m a hero! We actually made good time and we got to the top in just under an hour, just as the main gates were opening. There was a huge queue at that point from the walkers and people who’d got the bus.

About 10 minutes later we were entering and to be honest didn’t feel particularly wow’d (that would come about an hour later). Our tour guide waited for us at the top and started the tour just in time for the sun rising over Machu Picchu.


The tour was interesting but we were very impatient to go explore ourselves. As we had decided to get the bus back instead of the train (it saved quite a lot of money) we only had a few hours in Machu Picchu and a 3 hour walk to get the bus but with hobbling we needed to give ourselves more time. A big shame as we felt a little rushed. We really wanted to walk up the the Sun Gate to get views from high up. After walking quite high up the views were incredible and we felt we didn’t need to go any higher. We sat looking down on Machu Picchu and had a snack (we are rebels as you’re not meant to eat in MP). That moment made it all worthwhile.

We had paid to climb the Machu Picchu mountain but our tour operator forgot to order the tickets and they sold out! It actually worked out well as I couldn’t have walked any further and we were rushed for time but they did give us our money back.

By the time we’d got back down to near the entrance it had got really busy with tourists to the point you had to wait to get a photo. No wonder people doing the Inca Trail get annoyed that everyone else beats them there after spending days walking!

After a long walk back to our bus in hydro electric we finally made it and got back to the hostel at 8pm.

The Jungle Trek was a great alternative to the Inca Trek or some of the others. An amazing experience that we won’t forget!

Peru Adventures – An Anniversary on a Floating Island, Police Escorts, a World Wonder, a Desert Oasis & Beach Time

Our first stop in Peru was Puno which is the town a few hours from Bolivia and Lake Titicaca. We had visited the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca with our visit to Isla Del Sol. Puno is the nearest town to the floating islands of Oros, which was the main reason of our visit and something we had been looking forward to since the start of planning our travels. Oros is home to 2,000 inhabitants with 500 families.

We booked a half day tour through our hostel but hadn’t realised the tour was leaving at 9 o’clock so had just 5 minutes from booking to leaving! We were taken to the port to board our boat. On arrival to the floating island – Oros we were greeted by some locals who were waiting for us. Our guide then gave us an insight into the history of the island and showed us how it was built and is maintained. The floor is made up of a metre of bamboo shoots. It felt very spongey but at the same time very secure. They have to keep topping it as it obviously wears away easily. We found it fascinating learning about how it started and were given a demonstration on how it was built. We were then shown around one of the houses. They were pretty cosy and had solar panel outside for light. Some of them even have electricity and tvs.

The only bit I didn’t like was been made to feel guilty not buying anything from them. The stuff they were selling was good but we literally didn’t have money on us and no room in our bags for anything anyway. But that’s how they now make their living so you can understand why they are pushy for tourists to buy things. We were then sung some songs from the local women in 4 different languages – Quechua, Spanish, English and the local language on the floating islands which I forgot what it was called! The English song was a version of ‘row row your boat’.

We did pay for a separate gondola ride which the money went directly to the families. The gondola or Mercedes Benz as the locals call them took us further down the island. It was a good experience sitting on top of the boat.

That day was mine and Kyles 9 years anniversary! Who’d have thought that long ago we’d be celebrating it on a floating island in Peru?!


Beautiful Bolivia

Everything about La Paz gave me a headache – the sound of cars beeping, the colourfulness of the markets, the crazy traffic, the protesting, the drums & bells from all of the parades and of course the altitude… But I loved it! La Paz is one of the most interesting cities we’ve visited yet. There is so much culture, history and a unpredictableness that makes it such a diverse city.

After the change of arrival destination from bus station to middle of a street that we had no idea where we were, we arrived at our hostel in La Paz much later than planned. We walked around for a while in search for a restaurant/cafe/fast food place with no luck. The only place with food was a lonely elderly women cooking something at the side of the street. We asked for two of whatever she was making, without really knowing what it was, sat on a bench with her and ate our food with our fingers. It was amazing – beef with potatoes and some hot sauce. A bargain for less than £1. Street-food was the way forward.

We took another free walking tour to see the city which was starting just down the road from out hostel. I was still suffering from the altitude so we opted for the afternoon tour so I could have a rare lie in. Turns out our hostel is on the same road as the San Pedro Prison which is self ran by the inmates and only has a few guards outside (who every time we’ve seen them they’ve been on their phones or reading a paper!). The book Marching Powder is based on the prison and up until recently you could do a tour around the prison. Now there is just a guy who walks around the prison trying to con tourists into paying for him to take him round – he will either just run and take you round the prison and leave you in there! He actually came up to us to ‘chat’ – a nice guy!

The walking tour gave us a good insight into the culture here particularly around the Chaulita women who work at the markets and the people who still believe in witch craft.

We spent a lot of time walking around the markets, which have pretty much everything you’d need to buy and at the food stalls. Food at restaurants is cheap (£4-6 a meal generally) but you can spend £1 on just as good quality food from a street seller. We’ve just had to guess a little with what we’ve ordered and hope for the best but it’s working out well!

No matter what time of day it is, there is always something going on in La Paz. When we arrived it was a university dance parade that blocked the roads then for the other days there were very colourful parades in preparation for Bolivian Independence Day. We were woken at 8am by the sound of a parade going right past our hostel.


Chilly in Chile

Our first stop in Chile was a quick pop over the border from Bariloche to Puerto Varas via Puerto Montt. We’ve now become accustomed to getting local buses (and not really knowing what’s going on) so we jumped on one of the local mini buses, handed over a few thousand Chilean pesos and headed to Puerto Varas. The buses were the most South American-like buses we’d been on and a sign of what’s to come in Bolivia and Peru. Every time they stopped a guy selling things would jump on and jump off again whilst it was moving in the middle if the street. Not something you’d see on the 640 in Bradford!

We arrived at our hostel, Margyouru 2 (one of the nicest homely ones so far), checked in and took a little hike up one of the recommended hills. Not the best view we’d seen so far but a nice warm up for our hike up the volcano the next day. The Volcano Osorno was the reason of our visit to Puerto Varas.

The weather wasn’t looking great but with just one full day here, we didn’t want to extend our visit to wait for better weather. How bad could it be right?! We set off (on a bus we had no idea where it was going or where to get off) and the weather looked okay. Started the hike and it still was okay… About 10 minutes in it started to rain and it didn’t stop for a full day after! We persevered thinking it may stop and we could maybe still get a good view of the volcano if we hiked high enough… Wrong! 4 hours of walking and we couldn’t see a bloody thing. Meeting a volcano would have to wait until our next stop, Pucon.

We hadn’t even heard of Pucon until a guy in our hostel in Buenos Aires mentioned it. We liked the sound of it so included it in our plans. These recommendations are working out well for us! We had two options to go to Volcano Villarrica – hike it or ski/board down it – It was an easy choice…



Don’t Cry For Me Argentina

After our visit to Iguazu Falls, to both the Brazilian and Argentinian side. We popped over the border from where we were staying in Brazil to Paraguay, before later heading back across to Argentina that day to start our travels there.

Paraguay was a crazy experience. The city Ciduad del Este is the nearest one from the Brazilian border and is where Brazillians and probably Argentinians go to stock up on cheap goods.

We drew out half a million Paraguian currency which was about £10. We had a few things we wanted to try find and thought it would be quite fun trying to spend our little bit of currency in the markets…It wasn’t! As soon as we stepped off the bus we were harassed by about 10 guys shouting random places at us to buy a bus ticket to. Even when we went into the bus terminal to try get a cheaper bus ticket to Argentina the people behind the counters from each bus company were shouting to get us to buy from them – very uncomfortable! Safe to say we didn’t bother in the end and just stuck with our original plan of getting the bus straight from Brazil.

The harassment in the bus station was only the start and it got worse! Obviously I stand out as a foreigner anywhere in South America (Kyle just blends in anywhere!) so Paraguay was no different. They smelt money and every stall we walked past people would shout things at us (obviously we didn’t understand) and then they’d follow us down the street!

I made the mistake of taking interest in what a guy was selling and ended up buying a memory card for my GoPro thinking it was an absolute bargain… It was for a fake memory card! No wonder the guy and all his mates ran down the street trying to sell me all sorts of other stuff! Socks seemed to be the most popular thing people were selling. Never seen so many socks (apart from on the floor in Primark maybe)

We didn’t have any passport / police checks when we crossed the border, as they don’t want to turn people away who will be spending money. On the way back out, however, the police came onto the bus and checked how much people had bought. This guy got away though…


An interesting few hours that we will definitely remember! After that it was back to the calm in Brazil and then to Argentina to start our travels there.


A Month in Brazil

In the month we spent in Brazil, we stayed in the Amazon rainforest, visited 5 Brazilian cities, saw one of the 7 wonders of the world, arguably one of the ‘new’ natural wonders, watched all the Brazil games with the locals and yes (I’m not avoiding it) watched England get knocked out of the World Cup in the group stages… Our worst performance since the 1950s. Despite the disappointment, which had to be expected as an England fan, it didn’t put a downer on our trip, infact it allowed us to do some things we weren’t able to do had England progressed – silver lining there!


After our stay in the Amazon rainforest, the following day was game day. Thank god it was a 6pm kick-off as midday humid temperatures would have been hard to bear for 90 minutes. The square in Manaus was filled with England fans, it felt like a home game.

This game was my first England game in a competition, we couldn’t get tickets for England games in South Africa so was very excited. We all know how the game ended (2-1 loss to the Italians), but the performance was one of the best in a long time. Hope still remained for the Uruguay game…

São Paulo

We flew into São Paulo from Manaus (a luxury for us as we had no choice than to fly due to lack of roads). We stayed there for 6 nights, which in hindsight we probably didn’t need that much time there, but with 3-4 football games a day we had plenty to keep us occupied!

Game day arrived and there were a lot more nerves this time, as we knew we need to get at least a point out of the game or we’d be pretty much out of the tournament. I’ve never seen England dominate so much and actually have a go against a good team like Uruguay. Though we never looked like winning and who would have guessed it would be Suarez to score the winner for Uruguay… if only he’d taken to cannabilism a match before!

We met up with a Brazilian friend who lives in São Paulo that we met in Whistler, who showed us a different side of São Paulo. Thanks Leo!


1 2 3 5