The border crossing to Chile had us worried beforehand because of strict import rules regarding food and animals. We spent a full day preparing paperwork for Mitzi and cleaning the car. We made sure to eat all our produce and other restricted items like honey. The border was super busy with holiday traffic and the agents seemed exhausted, so in the end we only got a cursory look over and we were sent on our way!
And so we began our long drive south. The first couple days were long and boring. There is a lot of sand, some petroglyphs and a few ghost towns out there, remnants of the Nitrate mining era. Finally after a few drive days we saw a giant hand extending out of the desert. We had finally lost our minds! Wait, no, it’s a statue – Mano del desierto!
The big highlight up north was visiting the ESO observatory named “Very Large Telescope.” These astronomer guys are clearly super creative. This area of Chile is a stargazers dream, with little light pollution, clear skies and higher elevation. The night before the tour we marvelled at the night sky. Sadly no photos because we were a bit under the weather. The tour the following day was a nerdy delight.
A couple more days of driving and a couple nice beach camps later we arrived in Santiago. The Landy got to visit a good mechanic and we got to meet members of the Land Rover Club of Chile! They are a super nice group and the Landy is now proudly sporting their sticker. Thank you Land Rover Club of Chile for the warm welcome!
Just south of Santiago we finally got to our first hike in Chile at Reserva Nacional Altos de Lircay. Beautiful views and two tarantula sightings on trail.
While most people think of white sand beaches as their dream vacation getaway, we tend to see white mountain peaks as ours. It’s no surprise then that the Cordillera Blanca was front and center on our must see list in Peru. We arrived smack in the middle the rainy season, which lasts generally January through March. Generally mornings are dry, but evenings are rainy and the clouds are thick most of the day. In spite of the bad timing, we enjoyed this region and got to do some great hiking too!
Continue reading “Peru 2 – Cordillera Blanca and a Change of Plans”
Yumbilla and Gocta Waterfalls
The border crossing to Peru was simple and fast, and the road to our first destination pretty calm and eventless. The towns we drove through were drab compared to what we’re used to so far on this trip. But the landscape was pretty spectacular, as were our first two major stops!
Continue reading “Peru North”
We ended the last blog at 5100m below the highest volcano in Ecuador. So of course, next stop was to be the ocean! We haven’t been to the beach in a while, and spent a week with other travel friends in the tiny town of Ayampe. We didn’t do much beyond reading, playing in the water and watching the sunset.
Continue reading “The coast, Cuenca and final days before Peru”
In a valley below an active volcano is the resort town of Baños. It is a town well past its prime, with a number of abandoned buildings interspersed between the hotels and souvenir shops.
Continue reading “Ecuador 3 – More Mountains and More Hiking!”
We had booked ourselves an AirBnB in Quito over the holidays and had a few days left to kill before heading into the city. We decided to visit Mindo and ran into our overland friends Megan & Tyler (and Marley).
Continue reading “Ecuador 2 – Mountains and Hiking”
We spent almost 2 hours waiting for an exit stamp out of Colombia, where it is complete understaffed chaos processing the Venezuelan refugees. There is one single person staffed to handle the hundreds (or thousands?) of people waiting to leave Colombia and head south.
Continue reading “Ecuador – Mitad del Mundo”
Our last few weeks in Colombia were spent exploring a few final spots in the south. We had already passed the 3 month mark in Colombia and were eyeing Ecuador, so the only way to go was south!
Continue reading “Southern Colombia”
From the Zona Cafetera, we had a couple of days to drive to Bogotá in order to meet incoming guests! Yolanda, who has been out to meet us in Belize and Honduras, and Hung, Rachel’s friend from college, flew in over Thanksgiving week to check out a bit of Colombia with us!
Continue reading “Bogotá”
The next stretch of road is one we’d been really looking forward to: Zona Cafetera. As an avid coffee lover (meaning a person you shouldn’t talk to before their morning coffee) the fields of coffee are a special kind of beauty to Rachel.
Continue reading “Eje Cafetero”