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Paul & Luiza´s World Tour

Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Amazon River 2009

BOLIVIA | Saturday, 18 April 2009 | Views [75]

Puno floating village

Puno floating village

Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and an incredible Amazon River boat trip, ending with a bit of R & R on the stunning beaches of the Brazilian Northeast - An unforgettable adventure in 2009, sorry, but no photographs to show

Well, I've tried to write about this trip for a long time but I'm always afraid my memories are going to betray me. We were living in Brazil and running our restaurant Masala, in Trancoso, Bahia. Low season arrived and we decided to give paid leave to our guys and go and explore a bit more of South America and finally see the magnificent Amazon rainforest. It was an incredible adventure but when we came back from our long trip, our external hard drive had "died" and we lost all the photographs from this trip. We tried absolutely everything but were unable to recover the images. Sometimes I think, in a way, we are supposed to go back and take the photos again, but for now, I will just try to remember and record this trip the best way I can.

We begin by taking a bus to Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais, Brazil and then another one, cruising through the amazing Pantanal, the unique Brazilian Wetlands. From Corumbá, on the border of Bolivia, where we catch the "Train da Morte", the infamous Death Train to Santa Cruz de La Sierra, Bolivia. The 15-hour cross country route from the Brazilian frontier to Santa Cruz offers a rare chance to take in the pure wilderness of the Amazon lowlands, which helps you forget the noise, smells and discomfort the journey entails. After Santa Cruz, we catch another train to La Paz, where we immediately feel the debilitating effects of altitude sickness, 4,061m, we can barely eat and can only walk very slowly. We go to a Chinese restaurant and order one soup for two, probably the smallest bill they've ever seen. We then go to a chemist and start taking a herbal medication called Soroche and also chew some coca leaves and drinking coca leaf tea which really helps so we eventually recover a bit of our dignity.
After La Paz, we take a bus to the border and cross the magical Titicaca Lake, to Puno in Peru. During the trip we visit a few of the famous floating islands and get to see their traditional tribal way of life, highly recommended.

After Puno which is a very cool laid-back place we take the "bus turistico" to Cusco, what an amazing ride, beautiful landscape, stopping at all the right places, along a fabulous river with white water rafting and great waterfalls. We decide not to go to Machu Picchu this time as it was high season, so, years later, we go back to Peru, just to do Machu Picchu and complete our Seven Wonders of the World, and it's all you expect and even more, but that's another story. From Cusco a bus to Lima, then off to beautiful Guayaquil, in Ecuador. I recall having a fabulous time in Guayaquil, vibrant place, great food, cold beer all happening at a massive waterfront "Malecon". From Guayaquil on to Quito and then to the beach, yes, Ecuador has absolutely everything! The lovely surf town of Montanita has great surf as well as a lovely cafe and restaurant scene. Now to Otavalo, a beautiful indigenous town, surrounded by volcanoes, housing the largest open market in Latin America, not to be missed.

Colombia now, to the enchanting town of Cartagena, one of the best preserved colonial cities in the Americas. Then we make our way to Santa Marta, a beach town on the Colombian Caribbean, where the Andes mountains end straight into the sea, magnificent! Next is the amazing capital, Bogota, where after some incredible sightseeing including the Botero Museum, we make our way to the vibrant Zona Rosa, for more cafes and hip restaurants.
From Bogota we fly out to Manaus, in Brazil, and board this "Gaiola", traditional Amazon River boat for a 4 day trip to Belem. Both the Amazon River and the rainforest are as magnificent as we imagine and some more. We see pink "botos" (dolphins), indigenous and riverside communities and lifestyle as well as incredible and unique flora and fauna. It's a truly unforgettable experience. From Manaus, a flight to Fortaleza, then Maceio and Natal, for some R & R on the stunning beaches of the Brazilian Northeast. Now, time to go back home, in Trancoso, Bahia. I tried hard to remember most of this trip without any images to help and I hope you enjoy reading this one. Of course, there was a bit of food poisoning, bus and train trips from hell and all the other regular adventure staples but, as usual, we only remember the good bits. No tips for transport or accommodation as the information would be obsolete anyway, however the itinerary is highly recommended. Cheers and until the next trip!


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