Hey guys! I’m well aware this is my first post in over a month. And that I’m 21 days in late in writing my monthly summary.
The reason for that is complicated. I love blogging but I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t write when I felt unmotivated to, and that I wouldn’t let writing and posting impact my travels. The truth is I’m not a full time blogger- this website isn’t my job- at least for now. So I don’t want to miss any opportunity because I’m stuck in the hostel all day writing.
South America has been more full on than any of my European travels and I find myself with less and less downtime to squeeze in a blog writing. I’m hoping that I can still continue to post when I get further south and things might get a little less crazy. Regardless, I’m going to be home in less than 40 days which will give me plenty of opportunity to catch up on the huge backlog of posts.
So here is everything I got up to in December!
1-3 December- Santa Marta and Tayrona National Park, Colombia
3-4 December- Bogota, Colombia
4-17 December- Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
18-20 December- Banos, Ecuador
20-26 December- Mancora, Peru
26-28 December- Lima, Peru
28-31 December- Tambopata Research Centre, Peruvian Amazon
Some Interesting Statistics
Countries Visited- 3 (Colombia, Ecuador and Peru)
Flights- 4 (Santa Marta-Bogota, Bogota-Quito, Quito-Galapagos, Galapagos-Quito)
Tours/Organised Activities- 4
Things lost- 2 (both of my towels!)
The Galapagos Islands- these Ecuadorian islands have been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. Whilst many backpackers skip the islands for budget reasons, I made sure that I had set aside money just to be able to properly explore the islands. I managed to grab an awesome deal on a last minute cruise and headed off on a boat for 8 days visiting more than seven of the islands. The Galapagos is a very special place and there is definitely nothing like it anywhere else in the world. All of the wildlife is so accessible- there wasn’t any animal I wanted to see that I wasn’t able to. I swam with sea turtles, white tipped reef sharks and sea lions, and spotted 150 year old giant tortoises, iguanas endemic to specific islands and of course the famous blue footed boobies. It’s definitely going to be one of the highlights of my 15 months away!
Spending Christmas with my Loki Hostel Family in Mancora-In need of some sun and beach, I decided to head to Mancora for Christmas, a beach town in the North of Peru. I made friends before I even arrived, having met an Irish girl at the bus station in Guayaquil en route there. We are still travelling together one month later! Apart from Sarah, I met such awesome people in Mancora and by the time Christmas rolled around we had a great little family. For me at least, Christmases abroad and away from your family are hard, but having such a great group of people around me definitely helped. Especially when we went on a six day bender of day and night drinking. Loki Mancora is definitely not for the faint hearted!
The Amazon Jungle- December was a big month for bucket list items. I managed to tick off not just the Galapagos islands but also the Amazon Jungle. Being able to see the Amazon Jungle was a major reason or me deciding to come to South America in the first place. So I was beyond excited to head out on a little boat down the Tambopata River to Tambopata Research Centre. There are definitely cheaper ways to experience the Amazon than what I did- I forked out a ridiculous amount of money on my lodge. But the Amazon Jungle is a once in a lifetime experience and Tambopata Reaearch Centre is a very special place. It’s the only lodge in the official national park and it takes 7 hours of driving down the river to reach it. Given how far away it is from any other form of human interference, the wildlife is in abundance. Most particularly, there are hundreds of macaws in the area- one of the animals that I wanted to see the most during my trip in the Amazon.
Favourite Food Moments
The Tuna Steak at Loki Hostel Mancora- you wouldn’t think that a favourite food moment would be a meal that I ordered at a hostel restaurant. But the tuna steak that I got at Loki Mancora was probably the best I’ve ever had. You know you are going to get a good tuna steak when they actually ask how you want it cooked. Of course I ordered mine rare because eating tuna steak any other way is sacrilegious. It was so delicious!
Ceviche in Lima- I am absolutely obsessed with seafood and I fell in love with ceviche in Mexico. But Peruvian ceviche has to be the best ceviche. Lima is known for good food. But with only one night in the city to experience the food scene I quickly headed out to get ceviche. The fish was fresh, the ceviche was an amazing mix of lime, lemon and chilli and it basically melted in your mouth. It had me wishing for more days in Lima so I could keep returning to eat it.
Christmas away from family- Despite having a great group of people to spend Christmas with, and having a Christmas dinner with over a hundred people, Christmas without family is always hard. I don’t get home sick often at all but Christmas is definitely one day that I’m thinking of home.
Money Spent- $5954
South America is cheap- my day to day expenses in Colombia and Peru in particularly were well under $50 a day including lots of alcohol. But when you do two of South America’s most expensive activities in the same month; the Amazon Jungle and the Galapagos than its going to add up. In hindsight I could have paid for a cheaper lodge and saved myself a lot of money, or spent less days in the Galapagos. But I wouldn’t exchange the experiences I had for the world.
As always you can see every expense in my spreadsheet.
Instagram Top Five
Finally back on dry land after 8 days of sailing around the Galápagos Island on a catamaran! Sailing these islands is a bit like being on safari- except you don’t have to wait around to see animals. Everything is so accessible! I’ve swam with white tip reef sharks, played in the water with sea lions, spotted blue footed bobbies, iguanas and 120 year old giant tortoises. Word of warning- my instagram is about to become #animalgram for the next week at least!
Tayrona Natural Park near Santa Marta was on my bucket list for Colombia. I love how wild and inaccessible this park is. It took us two hours of hiking before we ourselves at the main beach! But I can’t complain about the hiking when these were the views we saw along the way.
A photo posted by Britt Jeffs (@adventureliesinfront) on
Most of January is going to be spent in Peru before I head to Bolivia to check out La Paz and the Salt Flats. I’m hoping by the end of the month I’ll have hit a big milestone and crossed over the border to Chile which is going to be my 50th country!