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IGUAZU FALLS

 

The magic Iguazu falls forming the world's largest waterfalls counting on both sides were the first stop while reaching Brazil;  My first taught was to visit the Brazilian side  and then visit the Argentinean on my way south again but as it became a natural thing to change plans, it happened one more time and probably not the last! In the end I decided to only visit the falls in Argentina and later on go south choosing a different route!

 


In that early morning, I took the local bus the border town, then a shared taxi to the national park of Iguazu, the park was lovely and well maintained, there were three marked trails to reach the falls, Superior, low, and another one that you could chose to either take the train to or walk the way!

 


When I first arrived on the higher side of the falls, it felt magic, it was looking like a painting, like a fairytale.... ! I have never seen such a waterfall in that green split  decor.... and the more I walked the more I enjoyed the hike, there were many sorts of plants, there were monkeys, coatis, birds and butterflies that made the walk even more exciting!
For the last trail I walked to the Garganta Del Diablo, when I arrived there I could feel the power of the waterfall, it was impressive and beautiful! It reminded of Dettifoss in Iceland!

 


Those falls really marked my mind and really came to complete the highlights of my world tour!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NORTHWEST ARGENTINA

 

By the time I got to Bolivia, the weather started to be very cold and I knew if I keep going South  the weather will be even worst! So when I got in the north of Chile I decided to change my route which mean Brazil will be where I will spend August/ September before I start going south again! But Until then and I on my way to Iguazu falls I visitedThe desert of Atacama in Chile as it was very close to Uyuni, then cross to the north west of Argentina where I visited the region Jujuy,  the region of Salta and Cordobß

Honestly Salta province was unique, especially Cafayete! those scenic routes, those wine valleys, these waterfalls! Everything was just magic! While in Cafayete I took the chance to explore the Quebrada De Las Conchas which is a 47km  scenic road with loads of view points! I also took the opportunity to visit some Vineyards and wineries, as well as I had some delicious grilled Alpaca !

Later I decided to hitchhike to Catamarca but As I found a ride all the way  to Cordobß I went straight to visit my old travel mate Augosto! We travelled parts of Mexico together and we even celebrated new year's eve together! I was super happy to see him and spend sometime again to catch up on what life has became since!

Now on my way to Brazil still but the next stop will be In Asunci˛n Paraguay and later toward Iguazu falls! Curious and look forward to it as usual!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uruguay

 

A shy country comparing to many other South American countries but one of the most welcoming, kind and fun people I've met! Didn't take more then 20min walk before I got a high five and more then one were happy and proud to share with me their culture!

 

I basically came to Uruguay for their meet culture because it is more then a serious business and trust me they know exactly how to treat it! With the right mix of flame, it's grilled next to a wood fire, the meat get an amazing flavor from the type of Madera used and more importantly is using a natural product and that meat does not come across any chemical "charcoal"! I have asked  a man if it always had to grilling had to be always on wood fire? Ge said to me it is preferable but the most important is that the family get gathered around  an Asado as often as possible! 

It was also  interesting to taste Uruguayan wines and of course  the Mate! This last one is more of an addiction to Uruguayans, here you see nealy everyone going with a thermos under their  arms and a leather covered cup in their hands, they drink mate anywhere and at anytime and if you get a sip offered, don't say no, drink and pass it when you are done! 

As I planed to travel to Argentina by boat, I had a chance to visit the colorful colonial town of Colonia Del Sacramento, there was a small Plaza, next to it ruins, few museums and nice cafÚs and restaurants around, I really enjoyed a good lunch and the whole afternoon in Colonia before I got set for another adventure in Argentina! 

Here are some shots of my trip in Uruguay!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BRAZIL

 

Anytime I taught about going to South America, Brazil was definitely on the top three countries that I wanted to visit so on this world tour I didn't miss the chance!
Brazil was supposed to be the last country that I would visit but in Bolivia my mind started changing as I was ahead of the season and if I kept going south, it would have been very cold and I don't think I could have enjoyed the nature as much as if I waited! So from the time I crossed the borders to Chile I kept going east to reach Brazil, while visiting The Atacama desert, the north west of Argentina and Paraguay.

I started my journey to Brazil with a bus trip from Asunciˇn to Foz Do Iguašu town with the purpose of visiting the Iguazu Falls; when I arrived to this small town, most people I met advised me to visit the  falls on the Argentinian side and I am glad I listened to them because it was impressive and there were many trails to easily found myself spending the whole day visiting the park! While the Brazilian side they say it is just a view point! 

After few days I took the night bus to Sao Paulo where one of the Brazilian friends I made while travelling was waiting for me there so we could travel for 2 weeks together! I stayed at his family place 3 nights and so the trip started in Santos, there we visited the coffee museum, PelÚ meseum and also took a little tour around the city and it busy Port! Then we headed to Ilha Bella! This was a lovely medium size Island, with everything you need available on shops on super market! After checking in in our lovely hostel, we very quickly made friends and decided to go hiking the dau after to Praia Bonete, the hike took 8h in total, so we  started at 7am and got at the beach around 11am , we had our packed lunch, relaxed and after few hours we hiked back and by the end we reached a beautiful sunset!

Later in the week we went to Picinguaba for the weekend, this was a charming fisherman's tiny village from where we could reach other small islands! We checked in a very nice guesthouse, the house was amazing, the view was stunning and the lady that owned the place was really kind, all the food was vegan and everything from breakfast to dinner was homemade and tasting super super delicious and I must say that it might have been the best breakfast I ever had!

Here again, we made friends and went to Ilha Das Couves for a short walk and enjoy the beach the whole day!


Few days later we went to Itatiaia National Park for two days,  the first days we enjoyed the lower part, there were many trails to waterfals, lagoons and was also a museum to know better the park and it wildlife! The day after we visted the upper part which was completely different, the trails were longer, it was rocky but still easy to manage!

From Itatiaia we drove to the big city I loved most under this world tour! That is Rio De Janeiro! This city just has it all. Rio is certainly a big city but in fact very charming, I just loved the diverse landscapes I faced every time I was on a different corner of the city, the contrasts of forest hills, peaks, giant stones, beaches that strached on each bay, Favelas to bring even more warmth and colors to the hills and all these over watched by the Christ the Redeemer witch I really enjoyed visiting one of the mornings.

And while talking about stones and beaches, I must say that I have been so lucky with the weather to witness amazing sunsets and sunrises both from PŃo De Ašucar and on Copacabana, I also had a chance to have another great breakfast at Da Casa Da Tata, this place was so cozy, felt like everything was made with love, bread was crispy, the bolos were just made and warm and so was the coffee, it aroma you could smell it from a mile away  from the house!
Few days in Rio and so we started going south again, on the way we stopped in the historical Paraty city for lunch and then further to Sao Paulo! For the last few days before taking the bus to Uruguay!
All in all I have loved Brazil but I hope to go back another time and for longer time to allow more adventures visiting the Amazon, the center and the north East of the country! 

 

Sao Paolo 

 

 

Ilhabella : Praia Bonete 

 

 

Sunset in Ilhabella 

 

 

Pecinguaba 

 

 

Ilha Das Couves 

 

 

Itatiaia 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paraty 

 

 

 

Rio De Janeiro 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Casa Da Tata for an amazing breakfast 

 

 

Can't wait to complete this blog on my next Brazilian adventure! 

 

 

PARAGUAY

 

As being landlocked and in the heart of the south part of South America, Paraguay was not on my planed route at the start! But as I got a job in Mendoza from October and it would have been very cold if I kept going south, I decided to change my route to travel Brazil first, to enjoy the warm weather then go South!
So while in Cordobß "Argentina" I saw a bus with Paraguayan flag on it! At that moment, I asked my self? What do I know about Paraguay? Nothing or actually one thing: I knew their old international goal keeper in football, that was it! So, I saw the possibility to reach Brazil through Paraguay, so I bought a bus ticket to the capital Asunciˇn and three days later I went and I am so glad I did!

Through my stay in Paraguay, I discovered a beautiful country that is home to a unique nature, a home to the kindest, friendliest and the most helpful Latinos I met so far, I found Paraguayan humble and very proud to share of their Guarani culture and teach words in Guarani as it also their official language along with Spanish!

Paraguay is by far the least visited Latin country and that in a way felt good because I got to experience the country as it is on their everyday life and as most paths I crossed seemed to be untrodden it gave me the real sense of adventure!

Here I share some of my experiences and some hidden palaces in Paraguay! 

 

Asunci˛n

 

 

In the capital there were not much of a must see but as a first stop in Paraguay, I found it relaxing and  just loved wondering it streets,  went to the indigenous and dictatory museums, visited the Government house  and also took the opportunity to do some shopping and taste Paraguay's traditional drink "Terere"  which is an iced herbal infusion held in a pitcher " covered in leader "that nearly every Paraguayan carry with them all day long" it is  served in the guampa " Horn cup" with Bambilla "the straw with filter" ! 

 

 

Cerro K§i & Aregua

 


While in Asunciˇn i took a day to visit Aregua castle and also wanted to visit the natural monument of Cerro K§i. It was a lovely walk, the park was small but it has many view points and of course I crossed many of this mysterious rocks formations. 


Tobatý 

 

 

A little village at 65 km away from Asunciˇn! Short distance but it took me five hours to get there by chicken bus due to a lot of roadworks on the way and also due to way to many stops " nearly every 5min, it stopped"

 



So when I finally arrived to Tobatý, my first mission was to find a hotel, that was easy because it was only one! Then I went out to figure out how to get to either Cerro Yvytu Silla or Cerro Arco! I walked and walked, people were looking at me as I was a curiosity to them, but when my eyes crossed theirs they always smiled! Found my self walking on dirt road at some point and kept asking about how to get to the mountains , everyone said go ahead, I walked 12 km until I got to the bottom of the Cerro Arco but unfortunately i didn't go up as  it started to get dark and really taught I should get out of the forest before I can't see anything! I was so tired so I decided to hitchhike, so three km later, I saw a motorbike so I asked the gentleman if he could drop me on the main road, he said of course and was too kind as he drove all the way to the village ! The day after I got up early, had breakfast then went to  hike both mountains! The weather was fantastic and the surrounding was so beautiful!

 

Cerro Yvytu Silla 

 

 

 

Cerro Arco 

 

 

Nature around the two mountains

 

 

 

Atyrß 

 


Just 14km away from Tobatý, Atyra is a lovely village, it was so green, streets were clean, and the only thing you could see on the ground was oranges that fell from the trees planted  a long way!

I basically went their to visit Marianela Cathedral, the way to get their was amazing, after I got of the bus I walked thought raws of high trees, aside of me were endless green field until I got to this amazing cathedral which is a symbol of diversity and possibilities! 
Every window, door, arc in the cathedral is of different size and shape even if to us it look perfectly symmetric! Then went back to Asuncion later! 

 

 

Along the way to the church 

 

 

 

Asuncion for last 2 days, feeling I happy that I had the opportunity to include and  visit this lovely country and really hope to come back to visit more of and the list these places are on the wait! 

San Cosmey Damian 
Chaco province
Rio Paraguay
Paraguari
Encarnacion

So Paraguay see you again!

 

 

SALAR DE UYUNI BOLIVIA

 

Beyond all the amazing places Bolivia got, the Uyuni Salt Flats might be the most visited place in the country both in dry and wet season! The place used to be a huge salted lake that evaporated  and left a salt desert which stretches to the horizon in all directions!


The journey started  few kilometres outside the city of Uyuni, at the train cemetery! There where still lay abandoned trains since the 17th century, those used to transport minerals as silver from Bolivia to Chile!

Further we had lunch in the desert and spend the whole afternoon on the salt flats

Later we went to a our salt hotel where we spend the night! I must say this was a unique/fum experience!

On the next two days and on the way to chile we visited many places, seen flamingos and tons of other birds, set by pink and greens lakes, had good food and another moments to remember! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE DEATH ROAD

 

Used to be the only road connecting the La Paz and Coroico! In 1995 The road has been named the most dangerous road in the world due to the amount of death in there per year! Recently  the road has been closed for normal traffic "Only locals use the road" but open for some activities such mountain biking!
Me adventure lover could not be in La Paz and not pump my adrenalin Downhill on the Yungas Road, so I went to test my fears!

On a sunny day  the first 22 kilometres was on asfal,  at an elevation over 4000m, chilly weather, the curves were pretty deep but I wasn't  going too so I could enjoy the breathtaking scenery!

After a short break, the challenging part of 34km started,  the more we went down the hotter it got as we went through the tropics, the road was full of stones and got more more dusty and every time we met a bus coming up it  mentally challenging as the rule was to keep left which mean when I looked left was huge deep  empty whole but haha that was part the experience! We had many breaks to enjoy the scenery, we passed many water falls by bike and got refreshed  and at the end I must say it was fun and felt was tired but very proud to complete the 56km on the Yungas Road! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HUAYNA POTOS╠

 

The highest, the most challenging physically and mentally and even the hardest I ever done!

I must say I never hiked a mountain with the fear of not managing to make it to the peak! This time in Bolivia, on my way to The 6088m high Huayna Potosý, my confidence was low because I knew this is going to be hard not knowing how my body would react to altitude at that level!
The first day, we had a short hike to the glacier to ice climb and also to test our equipments then we went back to our base camp at 4600msnm to acclimate until the day after at 12.00! Tried my best to rest, eat well and drink a lot of water!
Second day we started the hike to the 5200msnm heigh base camp and was also a test to see how our bodies are reacting to the altitude!

This day was important to keep calm, eat and sleep well! Easy to say but as we had wake up at 00.30! No one could sleep at 18.00!
All though I went to bed a little nervous, hoping to make it to the top but also i said to my self, I will not fight altitude so if I don't make it I would have had 3 amazing days in the nature anyway!

00.30 came very fast, we stood up to a coca tea and got ready to start the hike at 1.30 am!
1 guide for two persons tightened with a security cord! My Guide was Super Mario! 67 years old, he was really kind, and I was really feeling confident with him as we had already spend 3 days together at the base camps!

Super Mario told us right when we started climbing! We are going slow because we "we are going to the peak" we followed his advises,  and let him guide us through the altitude! Even if at 5700msnm I felt tired and the altitude was heavy on my lungs and head! Super Mario encouraged me ! He told me switch to be number 2 on the cord so if needed I drag you! I think it meant as much for him as to us to make us reach the top! And every time we saw some going down it felt like at anytime  it could be one of us! So we gave it all on the 2 hours hike and slowly we started reaching the top even if every now and then it was thrilling as it was a huge chunk of emptiness every time it was only space for half foot!
Five and half hours since the hike started and just before the sunrise, we reached the summit!  I can not describe the feeling of standing at the peak of Huayna Potosý! My tears simply started falling down! Another moment for a life!

I must thank Super Mario our guide for being the best guide ever and my trip mates for a great atmosphere under this trip!
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LA PAZ BOLIVIA

 

La Paz is a city that kind of grew into my heart by the time I spent there! On a late afternoon arriving by bus on the high adges of the city at an elevation 4100 msnm, I looked down I saw a hectic city in form of crater, looking pretty ugly and not inviting, all I wanted was to get off the bus and walk to the hostel!
The day after I got up, and started exploring the city, short of breath but quickly found the charm of the city, I enjoyed walking up and downhill of this world highest capital, I loved the Bolivian authenticity, the colors, the clothing of the Cholitas; seeing them wrestling was a fun , the food has been great noting that there are many vegan and gourmet style restaurants, I also loved cruising around markets in the Alto as well as the Witches market where you can find remedies to all pains!!!!! But what impressed me most about La Paz was the amount of outdoor activities you can do just an hour away from the downtown!

I easily found my self spending 10 days in La Paz and I am so glad for that because my impression had completely changed, made some great friends and had some memorable experiences in the region!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COPACABANA

 

Shoring lake Titicaca on the Bolivian side, Copacabana is a wonderful little town you meet right when you cross the border coming from Peru! It is also a base for those who would like to visit Isla Del Sol and other floating islands! In my case as I had already visited the lake on the Peruvian side I only spent a day in Copacabana while waiting for the bus to La Paz! During that time I took the opportunity to walk around it downtown and had a fresh trout for lunch at harbour!
Later took the bus and I can also say what a ride and what a scenery, I couldn't sit still, anywhere i looked it was exiting! 

 

Copacabana from above

 

 

In the bus on the way to La Paz 

 

 

Crossing the lake