Vineyards in Mendoza!

Our first day in Mendoza we spent biking around the vineyards and what a beautiful day we had!

Instead of going with a tour we decided to do it on our own (we defiantly recommend this!). We caught a local bus from the city centre and after about an hour we got of in Maipu. The bus drops you right outside a bike rental place where you (surprise surprise) rent your bikes for the day. You also get a map with prices and recommendations.

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We started with the 3 vineyards furthest away, Tempus Alba being the first one. Here we had a beautiful lunch, the steak is a must and we had our first tasting. We then moved on to the smaller vineyard of the 3 (I can’t remember the name) and had..you guessed it, wine! We then had a snack break at Mevi vineyard with cheese & salami platters. The tasters at the vineyards are more like wine glasses. So after 3 of them we were all pretty light headed, which made biking a bit more difficult.

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Tempus Alba

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We biked towards our last stop, Domiciano vineyard. This is the more expensive one but its totally worth it. The wine here is amazing. The Malbec & Cabernet Sauvignon is a must try.

You will need about 4-5 hours if you want to fit in a lunch and about 4 vineyards. The more time you have the better. The vineyards close at 5 pm and between 5-6 the bike rental place has happy hour. They serve free wine thats pretty terrible but hey, its free!

We shared a bottle of wine on the bus on the way home (and missed our stop) which helped us keep going until about 1 am.

We had such a good day!!

 

Valparaiso

Just a few hours from Santiago, Valparaiso offers another taste of great Chilean coastline and a chance to walk through colourful streets littered with cafes and restaurants. We heard that in summer some places in Santiago shut down as everyone relocates to the coast line which is pumping all the way through summer.

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Viña Del Mar is the place to go for a good beach, just a short bus ride from Valpo’s main centre, make sure you do it on a sunny day or you might find yourself alone on a clouded beach looking pretty ridiculous. Other than the beach we would recommend sticking to Valpo. 

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Valparaiso doesn’t have a proper beach itself but just walking around the city will take up lots of your time. I would say 1 or maybe 2 days are enough here depending on what you would like to do.

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The best place to stay is conception & make sure you put some money away and treat yourself for a delicious dinner or lunch here!

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Here is Teddy with a cat!

 

La Serena, Chile

With blanket white mist and clouds sitting just atop well kept European styled buildings and streets La Serena is a great city to arrive in early morning.

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The first empty street we’ve seen since arriving in Chile

Try not to do it on a Sunday like we did but if you enjoy the peace that comes with walking through empty, safe and pretty streets then you’ll like La Serena. Don’t worry the clouds don’t stick around all day.

From about 10 am onwards you can take your jumpers off and soak in what feels like spring sunshine. If you get a good day with minimal wind go spend a day by the ocean. Having not been near a coast since Cartagena in Colombia breathing in ocean winds and drinking sangria was all we wanted to spend our day doing.

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Find a hostel with a rooftop if you feel like taking it easy for an afternoon with cheese, biscuits and wine. We stayed at Cosmo Hostel Elqui which seemed like it was a bit of a party hostel other than us pretty much being the only guests (it Is winter after all) which didn’t stop the party vibe. A bunch of cool staff work here and keep the fun going. Aji Verde Hostel also has a rooftop and cool interior design.

You can do tours to the Elqui valley and have a bunch of fun on a pisco tour or skygaze in the desert. If you have time we recommend a stop in La Serena just to enjoy a day or night hanging out.

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Isla Del Sol, Bolivia

Sun and an island in the midst of the worlds highest traversable lake (What does that even mean)? The lakes high and you can traverse it, ok. It’s also humungous and about 53 shades of blue. It’s beautiful and full of little treasures. One of those being Isla Del Sol, the island of sun. 

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Isla Da Luna in the distance

An easy to organise 2 hour boat from Copacabana that leaves at 8:30 Am or 1:30 Pm for 25 Boliviano’s per person will land you on the shores of the sun Island. If you enjoy walking up hills at high altitude then get ready for the time of your life. The main village sits a hundred or so metres up from the docking point on the islands south side.

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The north side was previously closed off for tourists. Lots of different speculations exist about why, the most reasonable of which being that north siders are trying to block plans to develop fancy hotels across the island. Our hostel Hostel Joshua does organise boats and accomodation to this side of the island, so it is opening up a bit. 

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Say wassup
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There are donkeys everywhere too

 

We recommend an overnight stay so that you can manage to catch the sunset at any of the islands restaurants, most of which have balconies facing the sunset. We went to Pachamama’s restaurant as the menu had the most options. Do not miss the chance to try the lakes trout, the pizza was also gigantic. Another option is to try Las Velas the candle light restaurant. Or just pick any other place that suits you, it’s your holiday. 

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Other than sightseeing, a little bit of walking and eating the island doesn’t offer much more than an opportunity to sit back, stare at the stars and think about all the things that come into your mind when you remember just how infinite the universe is. 

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Costs:-

Accomodation: 100 Boliviano’s per person

Dinner: 129 Boliviano’s for a grande pizza, milanese trout, papas fritas, glass of wine and cola.

Boat: 25 per way

Island entry tax: 10 Boliviano’s per person.

 

 

Peru to Bolivia

We left Huacachina on an Econociva bus that we paid 80 soles for.

Preparing for the worst, as we know how bad they can be, they still managed to surprise us by being 2 hours late. This would be ok if we didn’t spend an afternoon on a Pisco tour which only added to our confusion at the bus station.

The ride itself was 13.5 hours of pure joy (not really), we slept and binged watched Netflix. Finally in Arequipa (again) we bought our ticket to Puno and had 2 hours to kill so we went for açai bowls in the city centre.

We got our ticket for 15 soles at the station. Online & in tourist shops they sell them for 120 soles, talk about a bargain.

Bus number 2, a day time bus of 6 hours, piece of cake we thought. Not so much. Being awake is so much worse and the amount of times you need to visit the half dingy toilet is gross. But yet again we made it. We stayed the night in Puno but decided to skip any tours as we will be doing them on the Bolivian side. We managed to get another 15 soles bus ticket over the border to Bolivia (purchased at the station). The border was quick and easy. Thanks to our Swedish and Australian passports we didn’t needed to pay a thing and we also didn’t need a visa. A small tip is to bring a copy of your passport.

This now means we have left Peru and arrived in Bolivia!

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We are also back on high altitude. You would think we would be used to it by now. Let’s just say that we are not.

 

Arequipa, Peru

I know, I know, it’s been a while. Sometimes that happens when you spend the majority of your time on busses.

So what’s been happening (Other than the copies amounts of music and Netflix we have gone through on our bus trips)?

We left Puerto Maldonado for Arequipa on the 7th of August, thinking we had an 8 hour bus ahead. It wasn’t, the bus was 15.5 hours long and very uncomfortable. But we made it, as always. We got off the bus to sunshine and 25 degrees, do I need to tell you this made us very happy. No, no we Don’t. Naturally this required a rooftop hostel, we chose World Backpackers.

Arequipa is the Medellin Peru, except the snow stays on mountain tops here, not little bags. What we mean is that it is the city of eternal spring in Peru. Weather is amazing for 11 months of the year. The Spanish influence on the architecture is also the strongest in Peru. We recommend staying here for at least 2 nights.

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View from the hostel roof

We celebrated my birthday (9th-11th) in a Airbnb that Teddy had organised. A beautiful apartment overlooking the city. We ate, drank, danced, played cards and ended our Friday in one of the many nightclubs around Plaza del Armas. Although I have never felt so out of place before, blond hair get’s you more attention in Peruvian clubs than we expected. So much so that we ended up in the VIP section within our first 10 minutes.

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We left Arequipa relaxed and ready for new adventures (yet another 13 hour bus, however we paid the extra and went with Cruz Del Sur, and what a difference) in Huacachina.

World Backpackers Hostel: $28 Soles each. A very nice place!

Bus Prices:- 

Puerto Maldonado to Arequipa = 70 Soles (Book your ticket at the station, much better value)

Arequipa to Ica = 120 Soles with Cruz Del Sur (You can find cheaper but for this bus trip we thought it was worth it).

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Machu Picchu, the video

We promised you a poorly edited video of our trek to Machu Picchu and we love to deliver on our promises. So here it is.

Music by ‘PhuturePrimitive – Boundless’

Editing and filing by Teddy. Like a toddlers awful macaroni artwork, only nice comments allowed.

“Oh, well isn’t that a lovely…one”