Myths, Facts, and Tips for Backpacking Central and South America

Now that we have completed our 7 month trip from Argentina to Guatemala, I can speak with some authority on how to best prepare for a trip like this. There’s things we wish we knew beforehand and things that shocked us as well as trucks we learned along the way that I believe would be…

Lago Atitlan has Something for Everyone

Lake Atitlan is the biggest lake in Guatemala at 50.2 sq mi. The lake was formed 84,000 years ago by a volcanic eruption that filled in with rain water. Atitlan means “at the water” in Nahuatl language. Three volcanoes now stand at its south end and are all active, named Atitlan, San Pedro, and Toliman….

Don’t Skip Honduras

Throughout our travels in Central America, we have met a lot of backpackers who told us that they skipped Honduras or only visited the Bay Islands. As we headed north towards Honduras, we wondered why everyone was skipping around such a diverse country. Sometimes they even chose visiting El Salvador over Honduras. Having now visited…

Visit Roatan! Don’t just Cruise in, Stay Over!

Roatan Island, off of Honduras, has long been a cruise ship destination. As we pulled in on the local ferry from La Ceiba, Honduras the boat dwarfed in comparison to the Holland-America and Carnival Freedom Cruise ships in port. Tourists disembark from their floating hotels to enjoy less than 12 hours on the island. They…

Nicaragua: The Land of Volcanoes, Lakes, and Beaches Oh My!

There’s something really special about Nicaragua. I had no idea that this country was already on so many people’s radars. You barely hear about it, but it truly is a gem. It has some of the best surfing beaches in the world in warm pacific oceans, steep lively volcanoes to climb or sneak up on…

Responsible Tourism

When you travel are you aware of the impact you are having on the local communities? Do you visit towns known for their parties? There’s a lot of ugly tourism in this world and people ignorant to its impacts on the local cultures. Entire towns, islands, and even regions have developed reputations for party tourism…

Pura Vida and American Prices in Costa Rica

“Pura vida,” the older couple shouts over their shoulder at us as they walk away. We are starting to catch on that this comment is the popular tag line of Costa Rica and the white tourists are eating it up. Everyone ends and starts their conversations here by cheerfully spouting off the words like a…

True Paradise on the San Blas Islands

Ready to unplug, kick off your shoes, and take a dip in some of the clearest, most refreshing blue waters? Welcome to the San Blas Islands off the north east coast of Panama! Here you will discover a true Paradise. There are 365 islands and cays in the archipelago in total, but only 49 of…

A Quick Visit to Colombia’s Caribbean Coast

We unfortunately have run short on time in our visit to Colombia, so we were only able to preview the Caribbean coast line. We flew from Medellin to Santa Marta and spent a week exploring the coast. Santa Marta This beach town is more of a gateway for tourists to other destinations like Tayrona National…

Things to Do in Medellin, Colombia

We were very pleasantly surprised by Medellin. Despite its dark history with Pablo Escobar, the city and its people have prospered greatly in the past 15 years. They’d also like to move on from the past and not have people reminding them of the scar Pablo left on the city. So moving on from that,…

Crossing Borders in South America

Crossing borders is never fun, but some countries have easier routes than others. Now that we are experts at this process, I can provide some advice on how it all works. Of all 11 border crossings we have made in South America, the Ecuador-Colombia border was by far the worst. Even though we read a…

The Black Sheep Inn: Gateway to Quilotoa Lake

(This is not a sponsored post). If you are interested in seeing Quilotoa Lake in Ecuador either via the Quilotoa Loop or just on a day trek, you would be remiss if you didn’t stay a night at the Black Sheep Inn. This lovely, family-run hotel sits at 10,400 feet above sea level, in the…

How to Avoid Burning Out While Traveling!

My husband and I are at the halfway point of our trip and we are finally taking a much needed break. We are lucky enough to have seven months to travel, but even that doesn’t feel like enough time for everything we want to see in do. We’ve managed to crunch in a lot into…

Peru Hop: aka The Gringo Express

In 2013, two Irish guys named Will and Conor had the idea to create a hop on hop off bus service for backpackers in Peru. This way backpackers had a safe, convenient and affordable way to visit spots in Peru that previously were missed on the backpacker circuit, but were worth visiting. Now they have…

Tips and Facts to Prepare for the Machu Picchu Inca Trek!

My husband and I just completed the Machu Picchu Inca trek this week. For months leading up to it, I was feeling anxious and scared that it would be too hard. A lot of people who have completed the trek tell you it’s doable, but difficult. Most people warn about the altitude and the infamous…

Salar de Uyuni: Well Worth the Height

If you have the money and the time on your South America tour, don’t miss Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia. You can take the tour directly from Uyuni, Bolivia or enter from San Pedro de Atacama. For Americans you must pay for a visa to enter Bolivia for $160 US, but I promise you it…

San Pedro de Atacama: Desert Tourism

San Pedro de Atacama sits at about 6,000 feet above sea level and is home to the driest desert in the world. There are so many beautiful landscapes in this area that San Pedro has become a hotbed for desert tourism. It attracts Chileans and foreigners to its small outpost in the desert, an hour…

Mendoza is More than Just Malbec!

For any wine lover, Mendoza, Argentina falls under destinations to visit for wine tasting. It is the capital of Malbec wine. They are the main grower and exporter of this delicious red wine. So, you would be remiss to not take a wine tour in Mendoza if you love Malbec. Once you finish wine tasting…

Valparaiso: Artist’s Paradise

We arrived in Valparaiso after a very uncomfortable and exhausting overnight bus trip from Pucon. Our weary eyes struggled to take in the sights out the taxi windows, but we already had a sense for how unique this city would be. When the taxi screeched to a stop at our hostel, the crooked smirk of…

Chile’s Lake Region

After finishing up our adventures in Bariloche and Bolsón, Argentina’s Río Negro lake region, we crossed the border back to Chile. The drive from Bariloche across the border provided spectacular views as we snaked through towering mountains of green and white.  We climbed in elevation, passing over the mountains. Trees wore white cone hats of…

Mountains floating in the Clouds

We continued our upward climb along the gravel road with what felt like no end in sight. Our destination: Piltriquitron, a mountain refugió seated atop the closest mountain to El Bolsón, Argentina. The name comes from Mapuche Indians who inhabited the area originally and it means the mountains that float in the clouds. The description…

Patagonia: “The Mountains are Calling and I Must Go!”

Patagonia has always called my name. I’m a mountain person. Don’t get me wrong, I love the beach, but I much prefer a good hike in the mountains. Just seeing mountains with their snow caps in the distance makes my heart warm. One of the main reasons I moved to Portland, Oregon was for that…

Buenos Aires: The Beginning

We arrived safely in Buenos Aires on Thursday. Since then, we have kept ourselves very busy exploring this massive city. We started off our stay with a $100 cab ride from the Airport, because we forgot to negotiate a price beforehand. Then we discovered our hotel reservation wasn’t valid anymore and they switched us to…

Travel isn’t All Umbrella Drinks and Selfies with Monkies!

I was inspired to write this after a friend posted a blogger’s post about how travel isn’t always fun and easy like people think and that we are made to feel bad about complaining when travel gets hard. I completely related to this post, because after years of traveling, I know it isn’t the vacation…

15 Tips for Preparing for Long Term Travel!

*Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post, I simply love these brands or websites and am providing the links but I get no kickback for providing them* Our big 9 month honeymoon is creeping closer and closer and being a veteran to long term travel, I have established a tried and true list for preparing…

Working in the Australian Outback: A Nightmare Abroad.

In 2012, my sister and I developed this elaborate plan to leave the country and travel for 6 months or more. At first we planned to teach English in Thailand and then travel around SE Asia for a few months, but that plan didn’t fit our timeline. Then I received an email advertisement from a…

How to Shop for a Wanderlust this Holiday!

Buying gifts for people around the holidays can be fun or very stressful. If you want to buy something that they will not return or regift, you need to understand what type of person they are and what stuff they will like. As a wanderlust, I could care less for fancy jewelry, but I love…

10 Reasons You Should Quit Your Job and Travel for a Year!

This coming July, my fiance and I plan to get married and quit our jobs to take a 6 to 9 month honeymoon. We are flying to Argentina and working our way up to Mexico. When we tell people our plan, most people react with confusion and surprise. It is not a common concept in…

5 Reasons You Should Travel with your Sibling!

If you have siblings you understand that there is a very special bond there that is different than any other. No matter how much you fought as kids, your relationship remained in tact (for most of us at least). You depend on each other through hard times and celebrate the good times together. You share…

Reverse Culture Shock

So many people talk about the culture shock you experience when you leave your country and visit a completely different culture, but what about the culture shock you experience when you return home from a long stint of traveling. This culture shock has always been a lot worse for me. I love entering new cultures…

15 Things Only Backpackers Understand

If you have backpacked through Europe, or Asia, or South/Central America there are certain truths you understand that those who don’t travel or just take vacations won’t. I’ve been backpacking since I was 19 and studying abroad in the Netherlands. I loved filling up my pack and taking off for five days each week to…

Women Can and Should Travel Alone

Women are not encouraged to do things alone. We are seen as fragile and at threat by the world and dangerous men. As a result, women are left to live in fear instead of feeling the strength to do things on their own. When a woman wants to travel alone, she is strongly discouraged from doing…

Take a Break! What it is like Living in a Workaholic Culture

While Europeans are off enjoying leisure time on the beaches of the French Riviera or islands off of Spain and Italy each summer, Americans are stuck inside working unless they are teachers. Most Americans average 2 weeks a year of vacation, but most people don’t even take advantage of their ability to take time off….

12 Signs You Have the Travel Bug

I have been afflicted with the same disease for 16 years. I can’t seem to shake it. Nothing seems to make it go away. I’m of course talking about the travel bug. The only cure for this disease is more travel. And even then, while I’m traveling, I’m dreaming of more travel. I fear I…

My Top Travel Experiences!

Whenever I tell people where I’ve traveled, I always get the same question: what was your favorite place? This is quite possibly the hardest question to answer. How can I select one place out of 25 countries, 100 cities, 1,000’s of experiences? It is impossible. For anyone who has traveled a bunch, you can probably relate…

10 Things I’ve Learned From Traveling

A lot has been said about the importance of travel. There is a reason for that. People who travel learn more about themselves and the world. It is hard to gain an understanding of the world if you never leave your hometown. Mark Twain said, “travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many…

How to Travel on a Budget

Do you want to travel, but you are worried you won’t have enough money? I’ve started to lose track of the amount of times people have told me they don’t travel, because they don’t have money. People always think I must be rich if I’ve traveled to so many places. This assumption is wrong. I’m…