You’ve heard the stories, read the memoirs, and seen the movies. They make it look and sound easy to “transcend”. To become enlightened by travel. Let’s be honest, you will still be you upon your return home. With that said, travel can be a transformative experience. But it comes in subtle and unexpected ways. If you are traveling on a journey of personal growth, there are some basic principles you can keep in mind to help gain the meaningful experiences you seek.
Pronounced Med-ay-een, Medellín is (in my humble opinion), today’s greatest Latin American city.
When I talk about how much I enjoyed Medellín, I often get surprised reactions. “Isn’t it very unsafe?” People still associate this vibrant city with its dark drug trafficking days under the rule of Pablo Escobar. Until recently, this city was considered a dangerous place. But big changes are happening in Medellín! For several years now, the city has a thriving flow of tourists. Sadly, parts of the city are still living in extreme poverty, and the effects of the past are still quite visible. But the energy and revitalization are hard to deny. I highly recommend a visit. Be part of what helps turn around the no-longer-relevant reputation, and help Medellin spark it’s economy with your visit. I promise, you will have a blast! Continue reading “Medellín ~ 6 Ways To Have A Blast In Today’s Greatest Latin American City”
Mocoa is a day-hiker’s dream. This lush landscape is streaming with trails waiting to be explored in the mountainous jungle terrain of Colombia’s Amazon. I’ve given Mocoa a little nickname, “jungle-lite”. I gave it the name because I think this is the perfect place for someone to visit who might be a little nervous about diving deep into the wild, but has the curiosity to sense the jungle. The day hikes around Mocoa are a great way to dip your toes into The Amazon and get a feel for it without going “full on Tarzan”. You will surely see colorful butterflies, interesting plant-life, and stunning waterfalls. But beware, It is highly likely you will leave ready for more jungle. Continue reading “Mocoa, Colombia ~ Jungle-lite”
So you are in Ecuador and want to see the Amazon? A number of companies offer immersive jungle excursions in Cuyabeno Reserve, and I recommend the experience. However, the planning part of this can be a bit confusing. So this post is about what you can expect from your Cuyabeno jungle adventure and how to plan it out in the least confusing and exhausting way possible! Continue reading “Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve ~ Visiting the Jungle of Ecuador”
“This little clam here knows how to jam here, under the sea”
– Sebastion in The Little Mermaid
Anyone who visits the jungle in Rurrenabaque, Bolivia has the chance to participate in a native ritual ceremony. The indigenous Tacana traditionally practice these ceremonies twice a week, on Tuesday’s and Fridays, and additionally for special occasions and events. Many jungle adventure tours will be sure to include the ceremony in your experience even if your tour does not fall on those days.
These ceremonies are about giving back to Pacha Mama (Mother Earth) for the abundance of resources and life she provides. They are also an opportunity for the native people to ask for her protection from dangers, providence of food, and general well-being. Continue reading “Ceremonies Of The Amazon”
You may know by know that I am quite enamored with the rainforest. Iquitos, Peru is another launching point to the Amazon. The main reason to visit Iquitos is preparation before a jungle excursion and rest afterwards. Iquitos boasts that it is the world’s largest city inaccessible by car. Continue reading “Amazon Junlge – Iquitos, Peru”
I don’t think I saw this region properly. I don’t often say that. But considering that the Inca Ruins were among the places that I was most excited to explore in South America, I have to be honest and say that if I ever do it a second time in life, I will do it differently. Don’t get me wrong, I had a wonderful time and am thrilled that I finally made it here. But those of you planning your Cusco trips, please learn from my mistakes! Continue reading “The Ruins of Cusco & The Sacred Valley – Learn From My Mistakes.”
Having spent a full month just in Cusco, 1 blog post doesn’t seem like fair attention to this fascinating place. So I am going to break this up into 3 posts. This post is dedicated to the City of Cusco, as well as the Inti Raymi festival that I was lucky to be able to celebrate there.
When I first set my sights on South America, Machu Picchu felt like the pinnacle that had to be reached. My initial plan was to start in the South of Patagonia, and finish 4 months later in Cusco, the launching point for visitors from around the globe visiting the wondrous Inca ruins. That is not what happened. After 4 months, I hadn’t even reached Peru. So I returned to South America a second time, this time with 6 months to spare. The second time around, I still had my heart set on visiting Machu Picchu, but I no longer envisioned it as the climax of my journey. After being awestruck by so many unexpected things along my way, Machu Picchu became another exciting stop along a journey that would continue well beyond.
Continue reading “Cusco, City and Celebration”
Arequipa was my “Welcome to Peru” city. I had heard from repeated backpackers that the city center was really lovely, and that the nearby Colca Canyon was something that shouldn’t be missed on a good tour of Peru. So of course, I headed straight there. Continue reading “Arequipa & Colca Canyon, Peru”