The Mendoza thermal baths are probably the best pools we have been to so far. While not as natural (They are pools not springs) they definitely have a charm and and sense of fun about them. The access point is a cute town reminisce of a smaller San Pedro De Atacama with plenty of restaurants, bars and tourists around. In the springs you have your choice of boiling hot or freezing cold. There is an unusually powerful water fountain down the bottom section of the pools which tends to get in the way of any complete relaxation, but it definitely forces you to find the perfect spot. Meanwhile, up top there are more than enough hassle free hot relaxation points.
From the town and from Mendoza you can organise extra curricular activities like water rafting and rapelling down the side of a bridge.
If you’re cute little town that force you to relax then we recommend staying the night. But last bus back to Mendoza is at 7 and since the pools close at 6 (locker rooms at 6:30) this gives you more than enough time to browse some shops and have an after bath cerveza.
Just about smack bang in the center of Chile you’ll find its capital Santiago. A popular starting point for a lot of travellers so expect positive atmospheres and a lot of drinking. Be warned that the center location leaves you with the difficult choice of heading South or North. Most people we have met can’t do both, but with one unnaturally long highway it is possible.
We stayed in Bellavista which is the cool street art covered bar and club district of Santiago. Prepare to eat, a lot. Chile is famous for its food and Santiago has the best of it all. Churrasco, completo, pino empanadas, the very weird but surprisngly nice dessert of ‘mote con huasilla’ and all the regular dishesabout everywhere. What makes Santiago great is the cleanliness, positive atmosphere, easily navigable subway and most importantly the Chileans who are probably the easiest and friendliest people to meet. Whether you’re a couple of guys in an electronic shop or a boss called Julio, Chileans got it all going on.
Keep in mind that Chile is very expensive. A hostel will set you back about $17 ( we stayed at La Chimba Hostel and it was great!) and a restaurant meal is the same price as Europe and Australia. The cheapest thing around is wine & beer which we still think is great.
I have managed to accidentally deleted all our photos from Santiago. But here is a few shitty ones that was saved.
Places you shouldn’t miss visiting is:
Cerro San Cristobal – A good place for a small hike and stunning views
Cerro Santa Lucia – A pretty place in the centre that is a nice walk with views of the city
Cajón Del Maipo – Beautiful place to go for a full day with amazing hiking, river rafting & hot springs.
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.
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.
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.
The best place to stay is conception & make sure you put some money away and treat yourself for a delicious dinner or lunch here!
So. Here’s the reasons we haven’t been very active on this fantastic blog.
We’ve spent the last 3 weeks in Sucre trying to perfect (at least improve) our Spanish. I can now proudly say that I can pronounce how old I am without saying that I have 28 anuses. Go us!
Staying in Sucre for 3 weeks doesn’t give you that to much to blog about.
Anyway, Sucre is this beautiful little city in the middle of Bolivia where the weather is warm and the Spanish schools are many. We chose to study with Fenix and we have no regrets. We did a 3 week “pair” package where we got accomodation included AND we also had included 3 cooking classes (cook the Bolivian food right and you’re in for a treat) and 3 sessions of Wally. Wally is the Bolivian version of volleyball and squash and it’s the most fun sport I’ve ever played. The only bad thing about it is that you can’t play it anywhere else in the world as you need the walls to be the actual court and sometimes people break a foot or 2… If you’re ever in Bolivia, make sure you play this wonderful game.
What else have happened…..we’ve wined, dined, partied (as much as you can in Sucre), we’ve cooked, shopped, been to the movies, relaxed, bing watched Netflix (it’s not everyday you have a room, bathroom and kitchen to yourself) and we’ve had a few tanning sessions.
Sucre is the city of festivals which means you will almost always hear a trumpet and symbol band somewhere in the distance. If people here aren’t parading with instruments and traditional dance on the street then you might get the chance to see a fashion parade instead.
We have now made it to Uyuni and it’s easy to say we were pretty happy to get moving again. Although we almost missed our bus. That’s what happens when you go out and come home at 5am and are meant to be picked up at 8 am. We woke up at 8.30 in panic and somehow made our bus even though we missed our ride.
In 90 minutes we are off on our 3 day adventure around the salt flats with the ending destination Chile. More about that then!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Accomodation: 100 Boliviano’s per person
Dinner: 129 Boliviano’s for a grande pizza, milanese trout, papas fritas, glass of wine and cola.
This post explains how NOT to spend your first day in Bolivia.
Well we made it to Copacabana & Lake Titicaca. Which of course called for a celebratory walk\climb (seriously, be prepared to use all your limbs to climb to the top) up a mountain to get the best views of the town. The views were a hit, all the rubbish not so much. The mountain ascent and descent then called for some victory drinks, which turned into 10 cocktails. Like 2 drunk tourist we then ran back to our hostel to escape the cold. Only to fall asleep for 3 hours which was just enough time to make sure every restaurant and shop in Copacabana was closed. Be smart, don’t do this.
We couldn’t sleep the entire night due to hunger and hangover. But here are some photos of the view from the mountain top and our hobbit house we’ve spent the last 2 nights in!
I also would like to shout out to hostel Joshua that we stayed in. A cosy place with AMAZING vegetarian & vegan food. Great service, clean and well priced ( $15 AUS pp, in a private room and with breakfast included!)
Potato hunting isn’t always the most fruitful activity that one can undertake in their lifetime. Perhaps thats what the local people of the Cusco region in 1911 thought in pity to themselves before directing Hiram Bingham to the mountain tops of the region to find Machu Picchu, now 1 of 7 of the new wonders of the world. Of course this makes the local and unnamed people of the region the real discovers of Machu Picchu. We could feel bad about this, but let a potato hunter have a little win every once in a while. Also Peru has 3000 of the worlds 5000 potato’s, which Bingham would know if he wasn’t so busy with ruins.
There are several ways to get there. You can be incredibly organised and book several months to a year, in advance to secure a spot on the original Inka trail. However, plenty of other options exist and can be booked at short notice. We chose the Inka jungle trail. Why? Because we got to ride bikes, water raft, go on 5 of the longest ziplines we have ever seen AND if we say it fast enough people will think we did the original Inka trail.
No matter what tour you take, you will probably end up in Aguas Calientes, Pueblo. A beautiful little base town full of hostels, restaurants, cafe’s, some bars and clubs as well as amazing local art. We didn’t know anything about it before we left so didn’t organise extra time there. So here we are letting you all know to book yourselves in for 2 nights in this town. We are still considering catching the train back just to spend more time there.
Machu Picchu itself is better than pictures and poorly edited videos (Coming soon) can make it look. Get there early enough and you can avoid 2500 other people that will arrive around 10 a.m. A guide is also a good idea, learning about who the Inka really were is a nice touch (Just a word for government or king). The name of the actual people was quechua who never really disappeared but just moved so the sneaky spaniards wouldn’t find Machu and destroy it.
We paid $140 US for 4 days & 3 nights. We slept in hostels all nights which was included, so was breakfast, lunch & dinner. Make sure you book this trek in Cusco as you get a better price and they leave pretty much every day!
Tomorrow at 3.30 am we are off to Rainbow mountain… More hiking yay!