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Caye Caulker travel guide

Caye Caulker travel guide

For years, Caye Caulker has been popular with backpackers looking for the laid back atmosphere of Belize. No one is in a rush and travelers end up extending their trips. Diving and snorkeling in the nearby Barrier Reef are popular here and a visit to the Blue Hole is a must. However, most people come here just to relax and enjoy the rhythem of reggae music. Follow my Caye Caulker travel guide to learn more about this beautiful island close to the mainland of Belize. But do not come here if you are in a rush!

Go slow
Go slow

Mangrove Forest Reserve

This reserve has mostly red, black, and white mangrove. Kayaks are welcomed here, there is a small river going trough the mangrove forest.

The Split

Hurrican Hattie ripped through the island in the 1960’s and formed ”the split” which divides the island. On one side of the split are the mangroves and on the other side you will find all hotels/hostels, restaurants and bars. Directly by the split you will find the restaurant Lazy Lizard which is a nice place to chill.

Snorkeling with sharks

Companys are offering a lot of different snorkling adventures to swim with sharks. One of them in the Shark Ray Alley. A ton of tours will take you.

Sharks
Sharks
Crystal clear water
Crystal clear water

Snorkeling

The Belize Barrier Reef is just a few minutes from the town of Caye Caulker and offers a ideal underwater world for snorklers to explore.

Go diving

Caye Caulker and its surrounding areas are a diver’s paradise. There is the barrier reef, as well as Blue Hole. The Blue Hole is a cave and is one of the most popular dive sites in the world. We dived in the Barrier Reef and it is just a breathtaking adventure.

Go kayaking

Kayaks are available to rent, and you can head to the northern island, past the Split to explore the mangroves. Kayak rentals are about 20 BZD / 10 USD per hour.

Enjoy the beautiful sunrise and sunset

Early in the morning, at 5:30 am you can enjoy a beautiful sunrise. In the evening go to the split to see a breathtaking sunset.

Sunrise
Sunrise
Sunset
Sunset

Accommodation

We stayed in Sophie’s Guest House and we loved our stay there. It is right next to the split and within a few steps out of the room, you will swim in the most beautiful swimming area of the whole island.

Beautiful view
Beautiful view

Transportation

Several times a day the ADO bus runs from Playa del Carmen or other bigger citys to Chetumal, right at the border to Belize. The bus takes about 4.5 hours and from the bus station to the watertaxi station you can take a taxi for 30 pesos. You can book your water taxi in advance on following pages: Belize water taxi or San Pedro water taxi.

Do not be in a rush and just go slow on Caye Caulker. You will love your relaxing stay here.

Beach volleyball
Beach volleyball
Hammock
Hammock
Tasty protein chocolate pancakes

Tasty protein chocolate pancakes

This is one of the best pancakes. I love chocolate and to eat it in a healthy way it is so refreshing for me. The tasty protein chocolate pancake are not just healthy they are also extremly delicious and really easy to make. If you do not like to stay a long time in a kitchen, that is the perfect recipe for you. It takes only about 15 minutes. I am sure, you gonna like this pancakes :)!

By the way, everybody who tasted my tasty protein chocolate pancakes loved them. They could not get enough of them. So if you are planning to have a brunch with friends or your family, the tasty protein chocolate pancakes are a good option to serve your guests.

Recipe for 4-6 pancakes:

Ingredients

1 banana

one handful of oat flakes

2 eggs

1 teaspoon of chia seeds

1 coup of chocolate protein powder (recommended to use the whey protein)

Preparation

Slice the banana and put them in a bowl.
Add the two eggs and the handful of oat flakes.
Add the cup of chocolate protein powder and one teaspoon of chia seeds.
Take the blender and mix until all ingredients are smooth.
Take a pan, add some rape oil and put two or three spoons of the mixed ingredients in it. Turn them after 1 minute.
Now try the tasty protein chocolate pancakes!

Chocolate protein pancakes
Tasty protein chocolate pancakes
Chocolate protein pancakes
Tasty protein chocolate pancakes

I love to eat the tasty protein chocolate pancakes with a fruit. On the picture you see Guayaba, a healthy fruit with lot more of vitamin C than a orange. Furthermore you can add some berries, I prefer strawberries. The tasty protein chocolate pancakes are also recommended to eat with honey or cinnamon.
Enjoy the delicious and helathy way to get the taste of chocolate 😀!

Fluffy apple chocolate protein pancakes with strawberries

Fluffy apple chocolate protein pancakes with strawberries

I felt in love with my new recipe the fluffy apple chocolate protein pancakes with strawberries. How easy they are to make and so delicious. All what you need is just 3 ingredients! The perfect choice to have a healthy start in the day! You can also prepare them in the evening and putting them in the fridge. The fluffy apple chocolate protein pancakes with strawberries are a good option when you prefer apple insteed of bananas. Because most of the pancakes contain bananas and I like bananas but I can not eat them every day. The apple gives a new flavour to the delicious pancakes.

Recipe for 4-6 pancakes:

Ingredients

1/2 apple

2 eggs

1 coup of chocolate protein powder (recommended to use the whey protein)

optional: one handful of oat flakes

optional: 1 teaspoon of chia seeds

Preparation

Cut the apple and put them in a bowl.
Add the two eggs and the handful of oat flakes if you like to have some carbs in your pancakes.
Add the cup of chocolate protein powder and one teaspoon of chia seeds (optional).
Take the blender and mix until all ingredients are smooth.
Take a pan, add some rape oil and put two or three spoons of the mixed ingredients in it. Turn them after 1 minute.
Now try the fluffy apple chocolate protein pancakes with strawberries!

Look how fluffy they are, I really love them and currently I eat them every single day. With some fresh fruits it gives me the perfect start in every new day. You can eat the pancakes with fruits, honey or cinnamon.

Fluffy apple chocolate protein pancakes with strawberries
Fluffy apple chocolate protein pancakes with strawberries

Enjoy the delicious fluffy apple chocolate protein pancakes with strawberries :)!

Fluffy apple chocolate protein pancakes with strawberries
Fluffy apple chocolate protein pancakes with strawberries

Hoping to read some reviews.

Powerfully your Julia

Orange summer smoothie

Orange summer smoothie

This is one of the best summer drinks, it’s so cooling and refreshing, and so delicious – the orange summer smoothie has been my saviour over the last few days as it’s been so hot in Mexico! The fruits adding to you water to create an incredible mix of flavours, which I think you’ll love! I love making a big jug of this and keeping it in the fridge.

Recipe:

– handful of pineapple peaces

– handful of mango peaces

– handful of strawberries

– 3 dl of cold water

Blend it until it is smooth. If you like you can add some ice cubes to make it even more refreshing.

So easy to make and so delicious!

Orange smoothie
Orange summer smoothie
Orange smoothie
Orange summer smoothie

Enjoy the orange summer smoothie :)!

What to explore in Cuba and learn more about the Cuban culture

What to explore in Cuba and learn more about the Cuban culture

Cuba is a country, with many cultural, historic and landscape highlights but also known for its safety and the lovely people. The country is marked by the historic influence, for example the old and nice cars which came to Cuba in the late 60tes beginning of 70tes.

Old car
Old car
Old cars
Old cars

The time, when the relation to the United States (US) broke. Last year the border between the US and Cuba opened again, a historic moment in the history of the country. Since that time, Cuba is changing.

Cuba is changing

I am travelling for the scound time in Cuba, I really love this country. The first time I was in Cuba was in 2012 and since that time, a lot was and is still changing. In 2012 nowhere you could find wifi spots, even in the hotels was not any wifi available. The only thing you could use was a computer with internet, where you had to pay a lot for using them. Nowadays you will find some wifi spots in the bigger citys in Cuba, where you have to buy a card from the company ETECSA (Empresa Telecomunications Cuba S.A.) which costs 1.5 CUC/USD per hour. Compared to their salery they earn in one month, the price for the card is in my opinion way to expensive. A normal worker earns between 20 and 40 USD per month. The food and transportation are so expensive, that the Cubans can not afford to life on their own. That is why, a lot of locals offer a casa particulares (a room in their house for tourists). The government offer each month a range of nutrition to all Cubans. For example 5 eggs per person per month. But you must know, that they do not pay rents for their houses, the education and as well the medicin (hospital/consultations) are for free.

If you have a company you have to give 70 % of your profit to the government. That is how they finance all the costs which for the Cubans are for free.

I had also the impression to see less old and beautiful cars. Much more people are having a mobile and the phone booths were used less than in 2012.

Phone booth
Phone booth

Since the border to the US is open, a lot of tourists from the US are travelling to Cuba. Also two times a week a cruise ferry makes a stop in Havana.

Havana

We recommend to explore the following places in Havana :

Malecon is the promenade along the sea. Malecon takes about 8 km and you can go for a walk and enjoy the smell of the sea.

Malecon
Malecon

Exactly at 9 PM every day, you will hear a bang. The time when the wall around of the city of Havana is closing. The Cubans built a wall to protect them from the Spanish people.

The old part of Havana (ciudad vieja) is a must see. You will find colorful buildings, many souvenir stores, restaurants and bars to enjoy the day.

We in Havana
We in Havana

If you like to buy an ice cream Heladeria Coppelia is the right place in Havana. The ice creams are very famous and it is always a crowded place. Next to you will find a wifi spot, but you will use a card to get connected. One place where to buy this card in Havana is, Calle 17 between B and C and costs for 1 hour 1.5 USD.

Usually at the main streets in Havana, you will see a lot of old cars but with a closed roof. This are the taxi compartidos (shared taxis). They are much cheaper than a regular taxi, so try it out.

If you like to go out in the evening for dancing or enjoying a concert, Tropicana or Fabrica del Arte is a good choice. An other option is to book a dance class, here are two contacts:

Salsa school
Salsa school
Salsa school
Salsa school

Havana del Este

Beautiful beaches with crystal clear water next to Havana, this is Havana del Este. The best beach is in Santa Maria, where you will find many hotels to stay.

Beach Santa Maria
Beach Santa Maria

If you like to spend your time in a casa particulares, we recommend the village Guanaba, which is next to Santa Maria. From there you can take the local bus which costs 1 Peso Cubano for two persons (24 pesos cubanos are 1 CUC or 1 USD). We stayed in Guanaba with a family and we liked this place.

Viñales

The drive from Havana to Viñales takes about 2-2.5 hours in a shared taxi and costs 20 CUC per person. This part of Cuba is famous for their cultivation of tobocco. We made a half day tour with horses to visit the plants of tobocco and to enjoy the beautiful nature. Furthermore you can visit Playa Maria La Gorda, Cayo Levisa and Cayo Jutias for swimming, snorkling or hanging on the beach. You can also rent bicycles to explore the Mural de la Prehistoria, Valle de Viñales, Canopy or the Hotel los Jazmines to have a beautiful view.

In the center of Viñales is a place with wifi and music all day long. The people are dancing salsa or enjoying the sound of the music and we felt good vibes. One of the most funniest moments was, when we crossed a friend from Switzerland with not knowing that he is at the same time in Cuba. We passed a lovely evening all together and had much fun.

Trinidad

The drive from Viñales to Trinidad takes about 6 hours and costs 40 CUC per person in a shared taxi. Trinidad is a beautiful colonial city with lots of old and colorful buildings.

Cuba
Cuba

The main area is around the Plaza Mayor.

Plaza Mayor
Plaza Mayor

At night there are always concerts and worth to have a look.

Cuban musicians
Cuban musicians

If you like to dance salsa, we recommend the Fogon, which is next to the Plaza Mayor. 15 km from the town of Trinidad is playa Ancon, a beautiful beach to hang around or to enjoy a drink in the restaurant next to.

Trinidad is more expensive than other parts of Cuba, because each day the amount of tourists is growing. If you look for a good and cheap place to eat, we can recommend the restaurant Conde Becker, next to the Plaza Mayor.

Cayo Santa Maria

The drive from Trinidad to Cayo Santa Maria takes about 3.5 hours in a shared taxi and costs 25 CUC per person. In Cayo Santa Maria are just a few hotels. We have stayed in the hotel Memories, where we had a wonderful stay. The water is extremly clear and it feels like a swimming pool.

Cayo Santa Maria
Cayo Santa Maria

After three months of travelling it was refreshing to stay in a hotel and not to worry about anything. Because travelling means as well looking were is a supermarket to buy food, at every new place looking for the best cooking pans and hoping that the food is cooking well in it, having a more or less comfortable beds or looking for a place where you can wash your clothes. We love travelling but it happens that we miss our comfortable bed at home. Our stay in Memories was fantastic and we enjoyed to play tennis, beachvolleyball, swimming in the beautfiul water or just enjoy a hugh buffet with various food.

During our stay we have meet a wonderful and lovely cuple from Argentina. We had a good and funny time together 😊.

Good times
Good times

Varadero

Varadero is splited between a part with lots of hostels and a village with casa particulares. The drive from Cayo Santa Maria takes about 4 hours and costs with the bus 40 CUC per person and with a shared taxi 90 CUC.

Varadero has a wonderful beach with crystal clear water. It is situated 2 hours from Havana and is splited in a part with hotels and a little town. Here you have the choice, if you like to stay in a all inclusive hotel or in a casa particulares with a family.

We recommend to visit as well Santiago de Cuba. We have not been there, because it is at the other end of the island and this means a 12 hours drive from Havana. But if you are travelling for three weeks in Cuba, you will have time to visit Santiago de Cuba.

How to organise your trip in Kuba?

We recommend to book your first days in advance. It is more comfortable to arrive and to know, where to stay. If you decide to stay your first nights in Havana, you can book your stay with AirBnB. We stayed with a nice family in a old building in Vedado, Havana. We loved our stay with this family and we do recommend to stay there: look for Casa Pedro and Tele, Calle 21 y 4 give a call +53 7832 8547. To organise more of your trip, you need the help of locals. They have their network in the whole country of Cuba. For example we stayed in the house of Pedro and Tele in Havana, they organised our trip to Viñales and to Trinidad. They know people with casa particulares in this two citys. So just ask locals, they do have a really good network.

Do not forget, the most Cubanos do not use the internet for renting their apartments. Every casa particulares has their connections and for sure you will use them for travelling around Cuba. Per night in a casa particulares you pay between 25-30 CUC. The following sign means, that this house rents a room. So if you are looking for a bed to sleep, ask in the houses with this sign.

Rooms for rent
Rooms for rent

An other possibility is to book some nights in Havana and then heading on to a beautiful beach in Cuba. We recommend the following ones:

Cayo Largo (you need to book a flight)

Cayo Santa Maria

Cayo Guillermo

Cayo Coco

Varadero

On all Cayos you can just stay in all inclusive hotels. In Varadero you can choose between a all inclusive hotel and a casa particulares. You can book a hotel on booking or a travel agency. Please be aware, that the prices in Cuba are exploding since Fidel Castro died in December 2016. So if you book an all inclusive hotel for much money, do not be disappointed about the standard of the hotel. The prices are getting higher and higher but the hotels are not offer more to their guests. There is a inbalance between the price and the standard of the hotels. Please note that at the moment many tourists are travelling to Cuba, everything is booked out a long time in advance.

Transportation

There are several options to move in Cuba. The most expensive option is to rent a car. Furthermore you can rent a taxi driver for your own or there are shared taxis, they are much cheaper than normal taxis. They are collecting other people. Last option is to travel by bus with Viazul or Gaviota. It does not matter which option you choose, you need to book your tickets for your trip some days in advance, because a lot of tourists are currently travelling trough Cuba.

Currency

Cuba has two currencies CUC and Pesos Cubanos. You can everywhere pay with CUC but if you like to buy fruits on the market or to use the local bus, it is better to have some Pesos Cubanos. One CUC is similar as one USD. And 24 Pesos Cubanos are one CUC.

Che Guevara

Do you know Che Guevara or did you already heard about him? In our opinion the most famous man in Cubas history. As this person is than important for Cuba, for sure he is part of the blog post. A major figure of the Cuban Revolution, his stylized visage has become a ubiquitous countercultural symbol of rebellion. He was doctor and author.

As we visited the cigar factory in Viñales, they told us that Che Guevara loved to smoke the cigar with honey, we tried it out and it was delicious.

If you like to visit his monument, Santa Clara is a must do for you.

Last but not least… 😊

Be patient in Cuba, honestly it is the country of the longest queue we have ever been. For example you have to wait outside before going into a supermarket and when you like to pay your things, you have to hold the line again. Please be aware, that when you see something in the supermarket you like, buy it and buy enough of it. When you return the next day, probably there is no more of it and you do not know, when the supermarket will have this product again. Same for buying water, buy enough when you find some in a supermarket. In supermarkets you will not find vegetables and fruits, you have to buy them on special markets. Just ask the locals on the street, they will help you to find a place. We recommend that you try the Guayaba fruit, a tipical fruit from Cuba which is also used to make a special kind of rum.

It is helpful if you speak spanish, because a lot of the Cubans do not speak English or another language.

We recommend to visit Cuba as soon as possible to life and feel the old spirit of the county, because Cuba is changing fast.

We loved our stay in Cuba and recommend this country to everybody. For sure you will enjoy it.

We in Cayo Santa Maria
We in Cayo Santa Maria
Hop over in Quito

Hop over in Quito

Quito is the capital of Ecuador with around 2,2 million habitants. It is located in the middle of hils with an altitude of 2850 meters above sea level. For us, the perfect stop over after the Galapagos islands and before our flight to Havana.

We arrived after a short flight from the Galapagos islands to the hilly and comparing to the Galapagos freezing Quito. It was raining and so we decided to take a taxi (25 USD) from the airport to the center, were we had our hostel. You have also the possibility to grab different buses from the airport to the center, which takes you more than one hour.

What do we recommend to do in Quito?

  • Midad del Mundo: the middle of the world. Quito is situated next to the equator and Midad del Mundo is fun to visit when you are in Quito. It is about 22 km far from the city center and you can reach the Midad del Mundo easily by bus. You can stand on the line of the equator and belive me, you won’t feel a difderence on one or on the other side 😉.
Midad del Mundo
Midad del Mundo
  • Centro Historico, the old part of Quito where you will find lots of museums, cultural buildings and restaurants. Worth to explore.
  • Buy fruits, we ate one of best pineapple ever!

Accommodation

We stayed in the hostel Travellers Inn, which is perfectly located near a big shopping mall, supermarkets, restaurants, bars and the bus station. It was a nice, small hostel with private athmosphere and a delicious breakfast was included. First time we had eggs for breakfast 😊!

After short three but rainy days we are already leaving Quito and heading on to Havana, Cuba. Byebye South America, hello caribbean life.

Galapagos islands are the paradise on earth

Galapagos islands are the paradise on earth

Honestly, everybody should visit the Galapagos islands ones in a lifetime. The group of islands is situated in the pacific ocean next to the coast of Ecuador mainland. The islands are part of Ecuador and you have to take a flight from Quito or Guayaquil to visit the paradise on earth, the Galapagos islands. The wildlife is spectacular and the water is crystal clear. There is nothing more you could wish for.

Turtle
Turtle

We took a flight from Cusco to Guayaquil, where we stayed overnight in the hostel Casa Romero (perfect choice!). For the taxi from the airport of Guayaquil to the hostel we payed 5 USD (USD is the currency of Ecuador). The next day we took the flight to Baltra, the main airport of the Galapagos islands. At the airport in Guayaquil we had a baggage control (compulsory), there you have to pay 20 USD per person and when you arrive in Baltra you have to pay 100 USD per person for the park entrance fee of the Galagagos Islands. It is every cent worth it and one plus is that you receive a beautiful stamp in your passport. And at this moment the adventure in the paradise began. We booked the first night on the main island Santa Cruz in Puerto Ayora. To go there, you can take a free bus from the airport to the port which is a 10 minute bus ride. Then you have to take a watertaxi for 1 USD per person and after is a bus waiting (costs as well 1 USD per person). The whole distance takes about 1.5 hour.

Ones we arrived in Puerto Ayora we decided to visit the famous and beautiful Playa Tortuga Bay (for free). You reach this beach only by walking, which takes about 1 hour oneway. The beach you will cross before, you will see many iguanas hanging on the beach and surfers are trying to catch the waves. A bit further you will arrive to the beach Tortuga Bay, where you can swim with baby sharks. Honestly, first we were afraid but they do not attack you at all.

Iguanas
Iguanas

You should visit the port of Puerto Ayora, there you can observe sea lions and pelicans and if you are lucky you can see little sharks and mantas swimming in the sea.

Sea lion
Sea lion
Pelican
Pelican

You can visit the famous Charles Darwin research station in Puerto Ayora (for free).

Take a taxi to visit the hugh turtles on Santa Cruz (30 USD per person). You can observe as many hugh turtles in the nature as you like. They are cute and unique on Galapagos islands. To watch the turtles you have to pay 3 USD more per person.

Me with hugh Galapagos turtle
Me with hugh Galapagos turtle

MUST DO: Day trip to Pinzon to snorkel with turtles, sharks, sea lions and a lot of different kinds of fishes. This was an amazing and breathtaking snorkling trip ! You will be so close to the wild animals. This trip cots 130 USD and includes snacks and the lunch.

Sea lion
Sea lion
Hammerhead shark
Hammerhead shark
White tip shark
White tip shark
White tip shark
White tip shark
Turtle
Turtle

If you like to eat a little bit cheaper for lunch (normally USD 5 for a soup and main course), you can eat at the places named “kiosks” or ask in the restaurant what is the lunch menu of the day.

We decided to visit another island named Isabela. In every tour agency you can book a ferry to go to Isabela, which costs you 30 USD per person and takes about two hours. When you are at the port, first you have to take a watertaxi which takes you to the main boat (50 cents per person). Same when you arrive in Isabela, there is a watertaxi waiting (costs 1 USD per person). Ones you arrive in Isabela you have to pay a port rate of 10 USD per person. Just be aware, that you have enough money by cash with you, on Isabela you want find a ATM or a restaurant where yo can pay by card.

One day we rented a bicycle and to explore a small part of the island. There are so many spots which you can visit for free. Ask them at the bicycle rental station, they will show you the way. For 3 hours and two bikes we payed 15 USD.

The next day we visited los tuneles (120 USD per person with lunch and snacks included). A awesome tour where you can snorkle with hugh sea turtles, sharks, sea horse and mantas. We saw also 7 meters mantas. It was so special to see sharks swimming so close to us.

Shark
Shark
Sea horse
Sea horse

You will also make a short walk to see the blue footed booby bird. As the name of the bird, the blue footed booby has blue feets.

Supermarkets are expensive, even more on Isabela. It is better to buy some food as rice, noodles and cooking oil on the mainland of Ecuador and take it with you to the Galagagos islands. And if you decide going for example to Isabela, take some eggs and yoghurt with you. You wont find them on the island or if yes, it is extremly expensive. Furthermore there are just ATM’s on Santa Cruz. If you like to change the island, be sure that you have enough money with you.

Another option is to book a Cruise (4 / 7 / 11 / 14 days). We recommend to book a flight to Baltra and to book a last minute tour on Santa Cruz. The cruises are much cheaper than booking them in advance. And it is always important to compare some tour operators and to ask them what kind of service is included in the price.

You will note, that everything is very expensive on the Galapagos islands. But this is a place where they protect the environment and the wildlife very well, so you have the chance to explore a beautiful landscape, nature and wildlife. There are living specious of animals you will nowhere else find in the world.

We stayed six nights and seven days on the Galagapos islands, but the next time we would stay longer. It is the paradise on earth, really. The wildlife, the beautiful beaches, the crystal clear water and the nice weather makes this destination a must do for everybody.

Sunset
Sunset

Bye bye Galapagos!

The magical place of Machu Picchu

The magical place of Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca citadel situated on a mountain near Cusco. The Incas built the estate around 1450 and looks like the classical Inca style, with polished dry-stone walls. In 2007, Machu Picchu was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Machu Picchu is a magical place, with so much energy and glory in middle of mountains and rainforest.

Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu

But first, we stayed 2 days in La Paz, Bolivia. A hugh city with more than 750’000 habitants and an altitude of 3600 until 4100 meters above sea level. You have several options to explore La Paz and the part outside of the city.

You can make a free walking tour, which starts at 10:30 AM. We could not start the free walking tour, because the coca farmers had a fight in the streets of La Paz and the police blocked the road in front of our hostel (Wild Rover, we would recommend this hostel). Later the situation was more quiet and we decided to visit the famous cable car, which takes you up to the place called «Alto» (4100 meters above sea level).

Alto La Paz
Alto La Paz
Alto La Paz
Alto La Paz

Furthermore you can make a day-trip to the death road where at least 200-300 people where killed yearly along the road. That is why the name is death road : it is the most dangerous road in the world.

Honestly, we did not really like this city. It is hugh and high up in the mountains. So we decided to go further on to Cusco. We took the bus company Salvador. The bus left at 4:30 PM and arrived after 13 hours early in the morning in Cusco.

How to get to the famous and magical place Machu Picchu

By the way: do you know what Machu Picchu means? Machu means old and Picchu means mountain, so Machu Picchu = old mountain.

First we stayed one night (in the hostel Cusco Packers) in Cusco, to organise our trip to Machu Picchu. There are several options to go to Machu Picchu:

  • 1st and most expensive option: there is a train leaving from Cusco to Machu Picchu town (Aguascalientes) with to different companys. First there is the most famous company Perurail and second the Incarail. One way takes about 3 hours by train and costs 130 USD (per way).
  • 2nd option for less budget and what we did: In Cusco you will find so many companys to book a tour with for going to Machu Picchu. We took a tour to travel by bus from Cusco to Hidroelectrica (7 hours on bad roads) then a 2.5-3 hours walking to Machu Picchu town (Aguascalientes). The trail is nice and passes by a big river and along of the train rails.
    Trail from Hidroelectrica to Aguascalientes
    Trail from Hidroelectrica to Aguascalientes
    Trail from Hidroelectrica to Aguascalientes
    Trail from Hidroelectrica to Aguascalientes

    Arrived in Aguascalientes you will spend the first night in a hostel. We decided to get up early in the morning (3:50 AM) to start our walk to Machu Picchu at 4:30 AM. The trail from the hostal to Machu Picchu is clearly marked and takes about 1.5 hour (30 minutes on a flat street and 1 hour up the mountains with more than 1000 stairs). So you get to Machu Picchu before sunrise. There is a guide waiting for you to make a guided tour from approximately 2 hours. It was very interessting to get some information about Machu Picchu and the Incas. After the guided tour you have free time, to visit Machu Picchu on your own. Later you can walk down and head back to Machu Picchu town (Aguascalientes) which takes another 1.5 hour. In Aguascalientes you will find some cheap restaurants for 15 sols you can eat a 3-course-meal. After the second night you have to go back to Hidroelectrica (another 2.5-3 hours walk) and take the bus back to Cusco (7 hours). In the price of 90 USD was included the transport, entrance to Machu Picchu, two nights in a hostel and as well the lunch and dinner of the first day and breakfast on the second day.

  • 3rd option the famous Inca Trail, which takes you about 4 days. It is very important to book the Inca Trail in advance, normally they are booked out at least one week in advance. The costs depend on the season.

You can climb up as well to Wayna and Macchu Picchu mountain. You need to book tickets in advance, because they are limited. You can book them in the internet or also in Cusco, in the official ticket sale office.

Please note: if you have a student card, take the card with you! I have one and became a discount of 20 USD.

Machu Picchu is such a magial place, you really do feel so much energy and glory spreding out while visiting. It is a special moment and for sure worth to visit ones in a lifetime. We really loved this magical place Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu

As we came back to Cusco, we had one more night before taking a flight to Guayaquil, which is a big city in Ecuador.

Thank you for reading and hopefully you share and like my post.

Breathtaking landscape from Atachama to Uyuni

Breathtaking landscape from Atachama to Uyuni

We would like to tell you more about the breathtaking landscape from Atachama up to Uyuni. Everybody should do this way ones in a lifetime.

First day in Atachama we did the moon valley tour, which starts at 4 PM.

Moon valley
Moon valley
Me @ Moon valley
Me @ Moon valley

Later we were able to see a beautiful sunset.

Sunset Atachama
Sunset Atachama
Sunset Atachama
Sunset Atachama

During the day it was really hot, about 30 degrees and during the night it can be around 0-5 degrees. So after the sun goes down, take always a jacket with you.

Second day in Atachama: we decided to rent a bicycle for 6 hours (4’000 pesos chilenos per person). You can visit the Pukara de Quitor, Garganta del Diabolo and Katarpe on one ride (they are really close to each other). It takes you about 10km to go and return.

Other possibilities to visit by bicycle is the Valle De La Muerte (3km) where you can do sandboarding, Valle De La Luna (16km), Laguna Cejar (18km) and Aldea Tulor. Laguna Cejar is a salt sea, where you do not need to swim, because your body stays at the surface.

Third day from Atachama to Uyuni: we started our tour to Uyuni early in the morning. Atachama is about 2’500 meters above sea level. In one hour you go up to 4’200 meters above sea level. There is the migration to enter to Bolivia and you change the car to a 4WD Jeep with a maximum capacity of 6 people.

During the first day you will visit places like Laguna Verde and Laguna Blanca.

Laguna Blanca
Laguna Blanca

Continuing to Daly Desert, thermal water pools and Sol de Mañana geysers (4’900 meters above sea level). The journey ends up at Laguna Colorada, main nesting center for more than 30’000 flamingos of 3 different species.

Laguna Colorada
Laguna Colorada
Laguna Colorada
Laguna Colorada
Laguna Colorada
Laguna Colorada
Laguna Colorada
Laguna Colorada
Laguna Colorada
Laguna Colorada

The pink color appears from a special mineral, which is in the water.

We sleept in a room for 6 people on a altitude of 4’200 meters above sea level.

First night accommodation
First night accommodation

Please note, that during the night it can be really cold and we rented a sleeping bag for about 20 bolivianos (3 USD).

4rth day: first you will visit de Siloli Desert where there are a set of rocks formations as a result of wind erosion.

Siloli Desert
Siloli Desert

Later, we continiued to high plain lagoons also known as colored lagoons, Laguna Honda, Chiarcota and Cañapa.

Laguna Honda
Laguna Honda

After we continued to Chiguana salt flat and to San Juan town, where we spent the night in a salt hotel. We had a room with a double bed.

5th day: The normal departure time is about 8 o’clock. We decided to leave much earlier, to see the sunrise in the Salar de Uyuni. So we left the salt hotel at 5 o’clock. We saw a nice sunrise and we were really lucky to have water on the Salar the Uyuni (mirror/refelction):

Me @ Salar de Uyuni
Me @ Salar de Uyuni
Sunrise at Salar de Uyuni
Sunrise at Salar de Uyuni

After that we visited the Huasi Inca island, located in the middle of the salt flat.

Huasi Inca island

Later we had the possibility to make more pictures on the dry salt falt.

Salar de Uyuni
Salar de Uyuni
Salar de Uyuni
Salar de Uyuni
Salar de Uyuni
Salar de Uyuni

We continued towards salt flat eyes and bunches of salt, where we could see the beautiful reflection/mirror again.

Me @ Salar de Uyuni
Me @ Salar de Uyuni

After we made a quick stop in Colchani town before heading to Uyuni City about 2 PM.

Please note: this is an adventure trip. Lots of people had the altitude sickness. They were trowing up or had really bad headache. Just be sure, that you have some medicine with you or ask the driver for coca leaves. Luckily we did not feel the altitude that strong. I had a bit headache and less breath and energy.

Transport

Our travel started in Valparaíso and ended in Uyuni. From Valparaíso you can take a bus to La Serena (7 hours) with the company Tour Bus. We stayed one night in La Serena and then the following day we took a night bus to San Pedro de Atachama as well with Tour Bus. This travel takes about 17 hours. We had to make one more stop, because one wheel of the bus broke down. From San Pedro de Atachama to Uyuni we booked a 3 days tour with Cordillera travellers. From Uyuni we took a night bus to La Paz, Bolivia. The bus ride takes about 10 hours with the company Todo Tourismo.

Accommodations 

La Serena: Cosmo Elqui Stage

Atachama: El Anexo

Tours

Atachama: We made a tour to the moon valley in Atachama. We made the tour with the company Latchir. It is a recommendable tour and the company is also good. The costs were 10’000 pesos chilenos (666 pesos is 1 USD) for the tour and you have to pay 3’000 pesos chilenos to enter the moon valley and 1’000 pesos chilenos more to go to the death valley.

Uyuni tour: We made the tour with Cordillera travellers, and we do really recomment this company. It is a bolivian company and that is very important for a tour to Uyuni. They do know the landscape very well and the organisation was just perfect. They were always on time and the food was delicious. The accommodation is basic but when you imagine, that you are in the middle of nowhere, it was luxury. We payed 185 USD for 3 days and 2 nights. Good food was included but it is recommended to buy some snacks and water for during the day. Additionally you have to pay about 40 USD more (275-300 bolivian), to enter the national parks and to go on the Huasi Inca island. You can change money easily from pesos chilenos or USD in bolivian in Atachama.

Wonderful trip, hope you enjoyed my blog post :)!

Valparaíso: Colorful life with happies & graffitis

Valparaíso: Colorful life with happies & graffitis

Valparaíso is such a lovely and colorful city in Chile and close to the famous city Viña del Mar. In this blog post, we give you enough reasons, why you should absolutely go to Valparaíso.

The first evening we arrived it was full moon and the moon was extrelmy big and beautiful.

Full moon
Full moon

We ate in a beautiful and delicious restaurant La Concepción. You will pay a lot comparing to other restaurants, but it was every cent worth it.

The following day we visited the port and the city center of Valparaíso. In this case, pictures can describe more than 1000 words:

Graffiti
Graffiti
Graffiti
Graffiti
We :)
We 🙂
German friends
German friends

On the last picture you can see a phrase on the wall “we are not hippies, we are happies”. And that is how they life in Valparaíso. You must be happy while visiting this city, because the colorful buildings, the graffitis and the open-minded locals are just lovely.

Third day: we went to Viña del Mar to visit the beach. You can catch all buses with the number 600 or there is also a Metro going to Viña del Mar (card needed). It takes you about 30 minutes and we swear, that they are driving like “there is nothing to lose”! So you can imagine that sometimes we were a bit afraid and we are thankful that nothing happened. The beach in Viña del Mar is beautiful but at weekends crowded.

We spent also time for cooking some delicious salmon with vegetables and rice:

Salmon with vegetables and rice
Salmon with vegetables and rice

4rth and last day: it was another sunny day and so we decided to go to La Salina, which is a bit further than Viña del Mar and takes you about 40 minutes to go there by bus. All buses which are going to Concón, are passing by La Salina. A village with a cute and small beach.

What else to do in Valparaíso:

  • There is a big Mercado in Valparaíso, where you can find fresh vegetables, meat, seafood and fruits.
  • The city Concón has beautiful beaches. It takes you about 50 minutes by bus from Valparaíso.
  • You can take some cooking classes, where a local cooks with you a tipical dish of Chile.
  • Two times a day it starts a free walking tour (10 AM and 3 PM).
  • In Valparaíso are some famous and old elevator. Go and use them. Most of them costs 100 pesos (660 pesos is 1 USD).
  • If you like to go to the Easter Island, then is Valparaíso a good starting point. Go and ask in the tourist office, if the boat of the army leaves to the Island and maybe you are so glad to have the chance to go with them. It is worth to check it out!
  • You can drink fresh and natural juices everywhere. They are delicious and healthy as well. We enjoyed a mango juice in a small bar.
Mango juice
Mango juice

Sport

Two times we’ve been to a very good gym close to the hostel (sportlife). And the best thing was, we could make our workout for free. The machines were really good and if you like to power you out, this gym has every machine you need. As well you can visit some group courses or just use a running machine.

Accomodation

We stayed four nights in the Hostel Casa Volante.It is a really nice hostel with breakfast included. They serve fresh fruits all day long and we meet very nice people. The only negative point was, during the night it was really noisy. There were some loud and night-active birds.

Hostel Casa Volante
Hostel Casa Volante

Now we are going further to San Pedro de Atachama. We make a quick stop for one night in La Serena, because the bus drive to San Pedro de Atachama is 24 hours (1 day!!) – that busride would be way too long.

Powerfully your Julia