We’ve just arrived in Quito, Ecuador and in two days we are heading to the Amazon!!! The last week or so we’ve been hanging out in Cali, Colombia as our plan to travel by bus to Popayan, Ipiales, and on to Ecuador was cancelled due to the protests and road closures. We spent the week enjoying the warm weather, eating gourmet ice cream, improving our dance skills with salsa lessons and taking another week of Spanish classes. It was bittersweet to leave a country we loved as much as Colombia. While we’re looking forward to our time in Ecuador the people of Colombia will always hold a special place in our hears. Colombians have been consistently kind and wonderful, not to mention the amazing places we’ve seen and things we were able to experience in their country. We spent twice as much time in Colombia as we had anticipated. The problem is, we’re in a bit of an awkward place between planning and being spontaneous. We love being able to move from town to town, following a trail of suggestions and discovering amazing things along the way. However, we have some plans that are already arranged, such as the Inca trail and Easter Island, which provide strict deadlines to be places.
We have three short weeks In Ecuador before we head to Cusco, Peru to hike the Inca Trail! First thing on the list in Ecuador is mountain biking down a volcano and into the town of Mindo. On the 17th we head into the Amazon for five days of fishing for piranhas, spotting anacondas and pink dolphins and avoiding tarantulas. While we’re here we plan to check out the Otovalo Market north of Quito and Banos. We’re hoping to get lucky and find a good deal on a trip to the Galapagos Islands. With our budget currently shot to hell, however, it would need to be a pretty good deal.
After heading out for the Inca Trail we’re spending the rest of July will be spent soaking up as much Peruvian culture as we can. We got very lucky and found an awesome deal on tickets to Easter Island, Chile the first week of August so we land back in Santiago around the 7th. Plans are vague for the rest of August and September but I’m sure the time will quickly fill itself! We reach another deadline on September 25th, this time in Buenos Aires for our flight to Turkey.
In many ways it’s great to have these deadlines, they provide structure for the trip so we don’t inadvertently spend the entire 18 months exploring South America. While I don’t think we would regret a second of that, it’s a big world and the time we’ve bought is not unlimited. The downside is that spending a few extra nights in a location makes a huge difference. There are always more things to do and see and experience than you can plan for before you arrive, an extra two days in a location allows you find some activities that are less common. Also it feels good to familiarize yourself with a location, you don’t need to master ordering café every single day or locate a new ATM. You figure it out once and then you’re good for a few days.
As it stands now, our plans for much of Africa are set but we’ve left ourselves just about two months to explore South Africa, Mozambique and maybe Madagascar a little on our own. We have flights from Nepal to New Zealand and a camper van waiting for us in March. From April on though we are completely free and I’m excited to see how our time in South East Asia plays out!0