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ECUADOR

 

One of the smallest Latin countries, Ecuador is a home to a unique and diversed landscapes that goes from the Amazon rain forests, Andean highlands, volcanoes, colonial cities  to beautiful beaches on the pacific and wild life on the Galapagos Islands 

Coming from Colombia I had the chance to start exploring the country from Otavalo where I met traditional dressed indigenous, went to the market at the Ponchos Plaza, there I bought many handcrafted souvenirs, bought a lovely hammock and some other gifts for my family. 

The city is small but beautifully surrounded by the andeans  and volcanoe! One of the morning I stood up early and went to the Sacred tree which gives an amazing view on San Pablo Lake under the sunrise; later on I hiked down to the lake and continued to the waterfall Peguche. 

 

After three lively days in Otavalo, I took the bus to the well presevred colonial and Capital city! 

Quito has much to offer of Cathedrals, museums, galleries and historical squares, while in Quito I took the chance to visit the Middle of the world city and went to Intiñan museum where the real Equator line passes and I must say that it was fun to put my feet on both hemispheres at the same time and also experience few activities where the results changed while on the Equator line! 

I was also happy to visit and climb the tour of Basilica Del Voto which is the biggest Neo Gothic Cathedral in the Americas, the  other days I visited the rest of the city attractions and also took a trip to Cotopaxi volcano where I hiked all the way up to 5100m height "My record so far and a good exercise as I am planing to hike similar height in Peru " 

A hood week passed in Quito and so I went further to the 3 km wide Quilotoa crater lake, the bus ride was lovely, passed an credible landscape on a sunny day! When I arrived to the village, I met a Quechuan family offering an overnight stay with meals included so I decided to stay in their home instead of a Hostel, I just put my bag in the room  and went out for a walk until the sunset! It was cold but so lovely seeing those pink purple colors on Ecuador most western volcano! The day after I woke up early,  went for a morning hike to the lake to see the sunrise then took breakfast, and left for the adveturious Baños De Agua Santa where I had a lot fun rafting in the  Pastaza River, bungee jumping, swinging at 2800m height at the Casa Del Arbol and hiking through waterfalls trail! 

 

Finally in the old colonial city of Cuenca and here I had to make a choice of either going strait to Peru or further to Guayaquil and fly to the Galapagos! After a couple of days thinking I decided to go further to Peru so I can reach the dry Season and keep the Galapagos for another time ! 

 

Otavalo 

 

 

 

 

Quito 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cotopaxi Hike 

 

 

Quilotoa lake 

 

 

 

 

Baños De Agua Santa 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cuenca and Kinti Wasi Village 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And so on my way to Peru 🇵🇪 

 

COLOMBIA

 

Entered the country with a big emotion the San Blas Islands left in my mind but also came with a lot of excitement as Colombia promised a unique nature, lively atmosphere and loads to experience from Caribbean to pacific coast, through cloud forests, desert, mountains, valleys and colonial cities!

 


 

The warm welcome of the Colombians made me feel home from day one; the colorful Cartagena De Indias as my first stop gave me tones of energy to wonder it streets, it historical old town, get mixed with locals and taste several tropical fruits  never seen or heard about before!

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

My time in Colombia passed as a rocket! Spent few days in Cartagena then went to Santa Marta to visit Tayrona national Park witch was a fabulous hike through the forest that ended at a beautiful rocky beaches!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further I traveled to Riohacha, destination as north as I could be in the south America where the desert meet the Caribbean sea!
This might be one of the highlights of my so far eight months of travel! Meeting indigenous in their home of la Guajira desert was a lifetime experience and as soon as I arrived to Cabo de Vella I understood how tough is their life, how much they fight to conserve their culture through! They were so poor to a point  that when you give something to their kids the whole family comes! Their life is definitely different and basic, they live with just few hours of electricity a day,  sweet water comes once a week, they eat fish and the only income they get is from sewing their  signature Guajira bags and bracelets!

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

Three days in the desert! What a contrast of Landscape when I faced the dunes of la Guajira and the Caribbean, when I stood at the norden most point of the south America Punta Gallina... when I set in front of these breathtaking sunset!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Colombian adventures continued, passing by Bucaramanga I discovered Medellin and it Comuna 13 with it tumultuous past and bright Future! Once one of the most dangerous neighbourhood in the world, now became a must visit place in the Latin America, not because it is colorful, but an inspiration to those who get a chance to meet  locals to share their history, their early pain but most their perseverance that changed the whole spirit of the neighbourhood! Through Art, colors, projects and hopes they are fighting to develop a great future for all generations and be an example to many other countries

Coming back to Medellin, I found the city pretty much European influenced with a lovely atmosphere, plenty of good restaurants and while there I didn't miss the chance to attend the football Classico between Medellin National and Deportivo Independente De Medellin, imagine the feeling of a full stadium with 42000 football passionates all singing and cheering their teams! Amazing to be a part of it! 

 




Few days in Medellin then went to Guatapé to climb the 659 step of El Peñol rock which offers a beautiful view on the Handmade Guatapé lake, afterwords I visited it colorful downtown witch might have one of the most colorful streets in the world!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My next stop took me to Salento, to visit the coffee plantations and learn about the process of the Colombian coffee roasting,  hiked the Cocora valley and visited  cloudforest and reserve la Guadua! Salento been wonderful place to relax but rained everyday,  so after 4 days in there I decided to go to Cali where I really enjoyed the salsa classes, the hikes around the city and swinging by the markets for more tropical  fruits discoveries.

Salento 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Cali 

 

 

 

 

While in Cali I was only planing to travel South but at some point I got really tempted to visit the Tatacoa desert even if it was not on my route! I am so glad I did because the place was magical, I hiked both the grey and the red desert, such a wonder! I couldn't get enough exploring even if It was sooo hot and got lost and confused many times! So worth it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three days in  the desert passed quickly and I started already seeing the  end of my time in Colombia as my only two stops left was The white colonial city of Popayàn and Ipiales to visit the magical church Las Lajas!

 

Popayán 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ipiales Las Lajas

 

 

So has been my Colombian adventure, feeling happy and lucky that I had the chance to explore such a country and I can only say Colombia delivers in all perspectives! 

 

 

Finally made way to Ecuador and as usual more adventures are yet to come!

 

 

 

Panama

 

Panama was definitely a country that I didn't plan much for under this world tour but definitely the best plan of not having one! 

It was matter of just crossing  the country toward Colombia but I suddenly  found my self venturing from North to South, East to west and I'm Sooo glad I did! I discovered a country rich of nature, of  Beautiful reserves and beach on both Caribbean and pacific side!
Just crossed the border I headed to  Bocas Del Torro where I really enjoyed to explore it neighbour Islands " Bastimento, Starfish Island and Zapatilla.
Bocas was not only a beautiful place to stay but also a place I met my lovely Tabea and  made new golden hearted friends which I shared the whole Panama backpacking period with!
Marta and Kai, been definitely one of the best travellers I met under this world tour, we were just on same page and we all loved adventures , that had out journey fun and lively made !
We enjoyed exploring in Boquete' s valleys and hiking to the lost waterfalls trails, we loved the roards but also loved  surfing in Venao beach!
Our adventure also took us to Punta Chame where we had a chance to meet  Martha's friend Weronica and also enjoyed a walk around the beach and had a lovely food at a local fisherman's house!
Then decided to head to Panama city, there we enjoyed visiting  Casco Viejo and we took a day where we just enjoyed a road trip to the San Blas Hills
My last day in Panama was not expected as while visiting the Panama canal I got an email from the company I requested to sail  contacted and asked me if I wanted to sail on that day or wait 5 days! So I just said yes and rushed to get all the necessary ready! I asked the company to pick me up at the closest  shopping mall where my friends drove me as we had already checked out from the Hotel early in the morning! It was a funny moment, I found my self changing at the parking lot and my dear Marta and Kai helped me pack my bag and said: Run to Paradise! It turnes out to be the best decision ever!

A big word to get in touch with while sailing to Colombia through the San Blas Islands! The wilderness of the Guna Yala Iife style and it paradise Islands left each of us speechless... Simply a dream that no one wanted to wake up from and what a group I've been a part of, seemed like we knew each other for years,  had the best time and took care of each other!

The funniest was even after spending 6 days together we still all met in Cartagena in the where  our Captain also join for a drink and a lovely evening! Great feeling!

A lifetime trip to buckle up the Chapter Scandinavia, North and Central America!
Thanks to all the great friends I made here in Panama, to the amazing group I shared this memorable trip with and especially to the Captain and owner Gőran From Sweden,  with his 30 years on seas gave us the best experience ever, took us to even more secret  places then journey was supposed to,  treated us with the best products the islands could offer and chef Carolina from Colombia made the best meals we've had in years 😘
Thank you so much for taking care of us!
Panama from North to South, you made the unexpected magic 🇵🇦❤

Few moments of the Panama  journey

Hikes in Boquete

 

 

Surfing in Playa  Venao 

 

 

Panama city with my favorites 

 

 

San Blas Journey 

 

 

 

Kunas De San Blas 

 

 

Reunion with the sailing friends 

 

 

Thank you Panama ❤

COSTA RICA

 

"PURRA VIDA" says the Tico to describe a pure life! As deep as it sounds, I lived my Costarican everyday while backpacking in this amazing country! Walked miles on beautiful beaches, faced amazing sunsets, slept in treehouses, got exited about the wildlife in each park, met amazing people that I shared trips with and discovered the passion for surfing on the pacific waves! Something I didn't expect to learn but from the first tryout the love for this sport grew in my heart! I really must thank Tabea my lovely German travel mate, she really been an amazing coach ❤️ 

Costa Rica has so much to offer but as a backpacker travelling by bus in a country that is mainly National parks , volcanos and reserves made the roads quiet an adventure! The bus systems out here is pretty layed back and I couldn't afford a 50$ shuttle each time I moved from place to other knowing that everything else is as expensive in Costa Rica.

But that  again never stopped me to get where I wanted!  I used local busses, sometimes I took five of them just to get to a place that is just  70km away and when the bus didn't show up! Hitchhiking on the pacific side was a good option and made me learn a lot about the country! 

Rich Coast! Costa Rica means! Exactly what I met out here, not only for it parks, wildlife  and beaches on both sides! But for it amazingly relaxed people, that taught me a lot about the costarican nature and trees " Pochoté, noni, Indio desnudo, teek tree and madera negro treee take a huge place in the country's characteristics and even economy" I also learned through an American man I hitchhiked with that Costa is a native to Vanilla beans and one of the most precious coffee bean in the world "Terrazu coffee" He also told me about the cacao crises Costa Rica went through 25 years ago when a fungus hit the cacao lands and destroyed a big part of the plantation! Costa Rica suffered a lot of it and their production dropped heavily but now the soil regained it richness again and they are extremely proud to deliver as good quality! 

Adventures after another here I share Some of the places that highlighted my journey here! 

 

Tamarindo Sunsets

 

 

 

Samara & Playa Carrillo 

 

 

Montezuma 

 

 

Monteverde cloudforest 

 

 

Cerro Pelado in Cañas 

 

 

Rio Celeste 

 

 

 

Quepos sunsets

 

 

Manuel Antonio Park 

 

 

 

Uvita 

 

 

 

Living in a treehouse 

 

 

Irazù Volcano 

 

 

San José 

 

 

Ending up in a farm as the bus broke😝

 

 

 

Cahuita national Park 

 

 

Puerto Viejo 

 

 

The globetrotter life 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you Costa Rica for making my journey so fantastic

 

 

Nicaragua "Ometépé - San Juan Del Sur"

 

My adventures in Nicaragua continued with my new made travel mates, Daisy from Germany and Noémie from Switzerland, we met each other in Léon and after few converstations we got along very well and decided to travel the rest of Nicaragua together! I felt we were an amazing Trio, we completed each other pretty well and made of our backpacking period through Nicaragua a lovely experience which took us all the way to Ometépé Island which is  laying in the middle the 2nd biggest lake in the central America named Lago Cocibolca!
We spend a great days, we rented a scooter to explore the Island, we had a chance to visit Santa Cruz beach, El Ojo swiming pools, the butterfly reserve and had amazing sunsets in Punta Jesus María.

 


 

 

 

 

 

Then we decided to travel further toward Costa Rica and used San Juan Del Sur as a last stop, the beach in a shape of a bay was just amazing and perfect to relax before a new adventure in a new country starts! This time with Only Noémie as  Daisy had to move on much faster since she was running out of time for her travel back to Ramberg in Germany!

It Was hard to split but I am sure we will keep contact with each other and even visit each other in our countries once back! 

 

 

 

 

 

Nicaragua " León - Granada"

 

All along my way from Mexico to Guatemala, nearly every traveller I met said to me you should not miss a stop in Nicaragua, so even if this country wasn't on my plan it ended up in it somehow! 

Arrived to León after a long trip from El Salvador and after we kicked the start the day after with a hike and volcano boarding  at Cerro Negro, it was a real fun experience and a very different activity! The group I hiked with was great and kept up an amazing atmosphere throughout the whole trip, afterwords we came back to the hostel, had a drink and got transfered to the sister hotel at the beach in León!

Some pictures of a day in Cerro Negro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the beach it was more a party Hostel, not totally what I like but I enjoyed having a quiet a time on my own at the beach for couple of hours  then joined friends later for a dinner and went to bed. 

On my fourth day in León, I went on a city tour just so I can get in touch with the country's history then in the afternoon I visited different cathedrals and churches. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Through the volcano Tour I met my two of my favorites backpackers Daisy from Germany and Noémie from Switzerland, we really got along  very well and even decided to carry on the journey together, and here we are in Granada as our 2nd stop here in Nicaragua  

 

 

 

Massaya Volcano 

 

Laguna Apoyo 

 

 

...

 

El Salvador & Honduras

 

While still in Guatemala I was wondering if I should take a straight buss to Nicaragua or make a stop in between since the trip would have lasted for 18 hours!

 

 

El Salvador and Honduras having the reputation of being extremely dangerous at the moment didn't stop me from visiting the country! So I decided to go to El Salvador anyway and see how I feel about being there! I arrived to El Tunco in the Pacific side of the country in the early afternoon, met up with some friends then headed for a walk in the village, then to the beach where I stayed the whole afternoon until the sunset! The beach was a paradise for surfurs, I really enjoyed chilling there, it gave me the time to think about my next destinations and also to reflect on my self as I was still feeling down! It can not always be as wonderful as it might seems! Some days are like that! 

 

 

El Salvador was a nice stop to relax, the sunsets at El Tunco were amazing and while overwatching one of them I met a lovely lady in the age of 67, Hortensia was also backpacker, she has been out traveling for four months and still going for another two, she is really inspiring, I really admired her strength and passion for travelling!

 

 

Two days went but still nothing more then the beach to exited me or gave me the will to stay longer there, especially after I have visited so many Volcanoes in Guatemala and ruins in Mexico

I must say I didn't feel unsafe in El Salvador, I guess it is a matter of luck and common sense! Anywhere we go nowadays we should be aware of anything can happen anytime and that doesn't only count for central America!

 

 

In the end  I decided to leave El Salvador straight to Nicaragua by crossing Honduras.

The trip was long and  it was extremely hot but I still enjoyed the adventure of crossing many borders of the central America by land. 

 

 

 

Guatemala " San Pedro" Lake Atitlan

 

Hippie or not  San Pedro in Atitlan lake  is a must visit village, people here are really friendly and warm hearted! The atmosphere is amazing and the village got a great combination between the necessary modern and the traditional!

I spent my first days with friends just relaxing and wondering around the village as it has much to offer but the purpose of my visit  was more of discovering the Guatemalan culture and also to go to school so I can develop my Spanish level. I could not wish for more as while wondering around the village I saw a cultural centre, I went inside and asked about what they offer as courses and so I ended up choosing a home stay at a local family and going to Spanish Classes 4 hours a day for couple of weeks.

At school we learned about the Guatemalan traditions, we did many activities as cooking classes, getting introduced to the Guatemalan textile culture and we also learned about chocolate and coffee culture.

 


Living in Guatemalan atmosphere was exactly what I was looking for to enrich my world tour and I feel so happy to live my dreams fully as I lived Guatemalan everyday full of memorable experience! Here I lived with a local family which I got to know through the cultural centre, The family has 14 kids, 11 live home and I was the 12th,  I had the best time ever with this family, they included me in everything even on learning the Mayan language, they took me to their plantations, taught me their culture, I cooked with our mother, had so much fun, felt loved, felt happy and looked forward to come home everyday, the family didn't have much but the most important, Love and cares for everyone.

 


Also! It happened something that touched my heart and can not think of it without a tear drops down! While here in San Pedro I had a serious poisoning at a Café near by, I reacted to it in the seconds that followed, lost the complete vision and the sense of my mussels very quickly my heart pulse went up to 170 and I was transfered to the closest clinic as soon as possible to empty my stomach and give me the necessary treatments!

I was unlucky, as a mouse been by the cake I had but lucky I didn't fight it out and let the café call for help because if I didn't, life would have been short as the doctor said! I felt really sad  and scared afterwords but when I got back to my Guatemalan family, they took care of me, the mother set on a chair all the night to help me if needed,  every time I opened my eyes during the night she was watching me, I was so touched and can not stop crying when I think about it!

They gave me the best experience of my life and took a real care of me, I will never forget my Guatemalan family.

Few days later I started to feel better continued school, tried to just forget, be strong and slowly  regained confidence and finally decided to continue my journey around the world. 

Guatemala has touched my heart and marked my mind with beautiful memories and I won't mind the incident I will go back one day, hopefully with my own little family.

Here is some pictures at my family in San Pedro and at school

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guatemala " lake Atitlan "

 

While backpacking in Norway, I was camping few days in Olden and one of the morning I went for breakfast in Stryn, there I met Rebeca and Stig, they were extremely friendly and very fast sympathised with me and so we spoke about my world tour and my visit to Guatemala! Rebeca as a Mexican and knowing the central America very well she advised me to stop at Atitlan lake which is located at the west side of Antigua and beautifully shaped by 3 Volcanoes and highlands,  the lake is at  ca 1500 m above the sea level and surrounded by many small villages which at the edge of some parts you there are many bar, restaurants, houses and hotels which was build earlier but now drawn under the lake as the water level got much higher these past 40 years

While here I had the chance to visit many villages around the lake as San Pedro where i lived and studied, Went also to San Juan which is known for it naturally dyed textile and coffee plantations, from there you can also reach the Indian nose trail which gives an amazing sunrise view on the lake, also visited Santa Cruz village, there I stayed in amazing Ecohostel called Free Cerveza, I chose this place  for two nights in a tent and to relax.

I went also to San Marcos village to experience it spiritual vibes,  known also as a place to rest, to do yoga ! 

To finish my Guatemalan experience I went to  visit Santiago and then Panajachel village. 

Feel lucky that I met Rebeca, and even more because Rebeca follows me through all my journey so far and became my number one fan as she says, that makes me extremely happy! Bless you my dear!
 

San Pedro village 

 

 

San Juan village 

 

 

Santa Cruz  village

 

 

Santiago village 

 

 

Panajachel Village 

 

 

 

 

 

Guatemala Antigua

 

A beautiful little Spanish colonial town in the south west of Guatemala, I felt happy as soon as I arrived

I spent my whole week wondering around the city, talking to locals, visiting markets, tasting fruits I never tasted or seen as Zapote and caimito, visited cathedrals and took different gastronomical tours.

While talking to locals I met a 12 year Manuel Franklin, a happy little boy that I will always remember, with his captivating smile dragged me to a conversation, he usually goes to school but  that day it was Saturday, he works to support the family by selling the hand bags his mom and grandma makes, he was fascinating telling me his story, I watched him selling the bags with his convincing eyes, I could only say I love you and I hoped you for him to sell all the bags he had and asked him to be good at school, because I know he is eager enough to achieve education and have a better future.

 

 

On my the 4th day in Antigua, I met up with my dear Karen and Charlie, two friends from the UK that I met while in Holbox "Mexico"  and with who I also spent Christmas.


The next day we took a bar tour, we visited some unique places as "No Se" Then we went To Antigua Brewerie, and finished at La Taverna, throughout all the tour we were well received and learned a lot about Guatemalan bees, rum and moon shines

On the 6th day we went on a volcano hike to Acatenango which gives a view on Volcano de Fuego, It was a two days trip highlighted by a tough hike but one of  the best experience to date.

 

 

We got picked up at 7.30 am, we drove for an hour and as soon as arrived to the starting point, was a group coming down, one of the members said to us "Good luck, I know you will need it" at that moment  we knew it is going to be challenging.
We started the hike and after only 40 min we already felt like dying, the volcanic ground  and heavy backpack made it  hard to move further up.


The weather was great at the start but quickly turned to cold and wet, but perfect for hiking up and it gave the landscape an amazing fairytale-istic feeling


After five hours hike we began to see the sky clearing up, we started hearing the volcano erupting and not longer after we arrived to the base camp at 3600 m hight around 3 p.m

 

 


We were so exited of the view we've got in front of us that non of us wanted to sleep so we just set in the sun and enjoyed the priviledge of being there, and realized how lucky we were to climb in a perfect conditions, arrive to a clear to a sunshine and clear sky that offered us an amazing view on the volcano and gave us the opportunity to experience the super moon for the first time in our lives 

 

 

 

After having dinner, we set by the fire, our guides offered us a hot chocolate cup, we grilled our marshmallow and so an amazing  day and evening took end, quickly we all found our tents and sleeping bags but unfortunately we couldn't sleep, it was very cold and the volcano sound increased by night.

 


The hardest was to get up at 4 am to continue the hike; barely awake and still tired from the day's before hike we started climbing, every step ahead felt like two steps back, the altitude of 3976m and a -3° didn't help it and many doubted making it up but we had a good spirit, we supported each other and we all arrived to the top and witnessed an amazing sunrise and more, just few minutes later the volcano became super active!  That emotion of being there brought me to tears, it was so beautiful, we all hugged each other and stayed quiet to enjoy the moment, My thoughts went to people that means a lot in my life and wished they could be there and couldn't wait to hike down and write my lovely Ingrid, Sigurd and my sister.
Later we hiked down and got transferred to our hostels, feeling tired and sort but full of energy  inside. When we arrived, we read on the news that it was the Volcano biggest eruption since 2012, we felt even luckier.

 


This experience was by far one of the two best experiences in my life after experiencing the Norden lights in Norway and Iceland.

 

 

I definitely  recommend this trail to everyone that has the chance to visit Antigua Guatemala.

The day after we collected our bags and got ready to explore more Guatemala destination Attitlan lake.