A Travellerspoint blog

Las Islas Galápagos

sunny 27 °C

These magical islands, once Charles Darwin's playground, are very much worth a visit. Many tropical animals can be seen from very close-by on land and in the sea.

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I had expected the Galápagos much rougher, windy, maybe cold, a lot of rocks and cliffs but actually they are tropical islands with very beautiful white beaches, colourful landscapes and very clear waters. Snorkeling in the Galápagos was definetely one of the highlights. The amount of sea lions, sting rays, sharks and giant sea turtles is just stunning.

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Cruises are very expensive on the Galápagos so we had to look out for a last-minute (not very luxury) boat which we found, the Sulidae, a 110-year-old Danish wooden boat with more character than all the other cruiseships together. Although the Sulidae did not allow us to sleep a lot (our cabin was just on top of the motor and the generator), we liked the boat very much.
So it was quite a shock to hear that the Sulidae had sunk on 22 April, just over a month after we had left Galápagos! Fortunately no one was hurt, there were no tourist on board when the boat sank between San Cristóbal and Santa Fé island.

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Thanks again everybody, for reading my blog and for leaving comments, very nice! I am back at work since six weeks already, it's amazing how quickly you re-adapt to the 'real world'. Another six-month-trip won't take place very soon but who knows, maybe in a few years?
Hasta luego!

Posted by Gitan Jean 11.05.2012 09:24 Archived in Ecuador Comments (3)

Quito

overcast 18 °C

Quito, Ecuador's capital and second biggest city has some nice sights like the colonial center and la Mariscal, where all tourists are based. Like all big cities in Ecuador, it is a bit dangerous, though, so you never really feel at ease. We heard a lot of stories of people being robbed.

About one hour north of Quito, you can visit Mitad del Mundo, a village with a monument on the equator where you can put one foot in the southern hemisphere and one in the northern.

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A nice museum to visit in Quito is the museo de Guyasamín, a famous Ecuatorian painter. You can also visit his house (where his ashes are buried) with a nice view on Quito.

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Two hours from Quito is Ecuador's most famous volcano: Cotopaxi. Unfortunately, we did not have enough time to climb to the peak, so we just did a day of downhill mountainbiking.

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Posted by Gitan Jean 24.03.2012 13:44 Archived in Ecuador Comments (2)

Cartagena

sunny 30 °C

Cartagena is the pearl of Colombia's Caribbean coast. The old colonial walled city has some really beautiful, colourful and well-conserved houses and buildings.
We were lucky enough to be there when the Festival Internacionál de Cine de Cartagena was on so we watched about four films for free. Pescador, an Ecuadorian film, was the one I liked the most. We saw it in world première in the presence of director Sebastián Cordero!

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Cartagena has a modern, less interesting part as well. Beaches are better there, though.

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With pain in our hearts, we had to leave Colombia, leaving so many things unexplored but with a reason to come back to this beautiful country some day.
I still cannot believe how friendly and well behaved Colombians are.
Hasta luego, Colómbia!

Posted by Gitan Jean 24.03.2012 09:57 Archived in Colombia Comments (1)

Parque Nacionál Tayrona

sunny 30 °C

Dear friends

I know it has been a really really long time, sorry for that...
So, a month ago, we visited Tayrona national park, close to Santa Marta. The park is very scenic but there is a lot of tourists. The entrance fee is hefty and accommodation is very expensive if you take into account how basic it is.

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Waves and current in Tayrona are very strong so swimming is not to be recommended on most beaches, there is a handful that is safe for swimming though. Signs will warn you.

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Arecifes and more still Cabo san Juan de viajero are packed beaches. Walking a couple of hours more to reach Playa Blanca is really worth it. There is only few people there but accommodation is really basic, only hammocks available!

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Posted by Gitan Jean 22.03.2012 18:33 Archived in Colombia Comments (2)

Santa Marta and Ciudad Perdida

sunny 27 °C

Santa Marta does not have any major tourist attractions, except for the cathedral and the museo del oro maybe. Nevertheless we liked the city for its purity. There's many beautiful houses but most of them need a renovation, that is maybe what makes the city feel purer than for example the colonial area of Cartagena. According to travel guides, Santa Marta was quite dangerous a few years ago but it has become safer so the city now counts numerous hostels and restaurants. The best hostal in town: Hostal de Jackie.
Here's some impressions of Santa Marta:

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Santa Marta is a good basis for people who want to visit Ciudad Perdida, Parque Nacional de Tayrona and Guajira.
Ciudad Perdida can only be reached on foot, 25 kms through the jungle and then 25 kms back... Luckily, there's many bathing possibilities to cool down a bit.

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We slept in hammocks two nights (I would not recommend) and in beds two nights (but then we had the rats to keep us awake, luckily, there was mosquito nets).

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After three days of walking through the marvelous jungle we finally reached the entrance to Ciudad Perdida where 1260 steps and a lot of mozzies were awaiting us.

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Though smaller than Machu Picchu, it is a magical site, too, and there is so little people.

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Posted by Gitan Jean 03.03.2012 18:53 Archived in Colombia Comments (5)

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