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Costa Rica

Out of all the places I visited in Costa Rica, Tortuguero was by far my favourite. Don’t get me wrong. I loved relaxing on a beach, and I also enjoyed hiking through the cloud forest of Monteverde, but none of those places had the same charm as Tortuguero. This small town, which you can only reach by boat or by plane, was by far the most relaxed place we visited. Also, we saw lots of animals here, which made our stay even more fun.

I think you can easily spend two or three days here, looking for turtles and chasing butterflies. No matter how much time you have, here are the best things to do in Tortuguero.…

Ecuador

From white beaches to smoking volcanoes, jungle and giant turtles, Ecuador has it all. Despite its small size (it is only about half as large as Spain and smaller than the US-state Nevada), it has a lot to offer. This country full of contrasts can keep visitors busy for weeks.

Personally, I spent a bit more than three weeks here but I didn’t get to see nearly as much as I would have liked. As I said, Ecuador has it all. And to help you choose which activities to do and which places to visit, so you can easily put together a trip around the country, here are my personal highlights that I recommend to you and that you should not miss:…

Ecuador

The Galapagos Islands are known for being one of the most expensive destinations in the world.

If you google them, you will find beautiful cruise ships that take you around the archipelago for thousands and thousands of dollars. You will see luxury resorts and tours promising you the best experience – if only you pay enough. The islands have the reputation of being expensive, and it is possible to spend a small fortune coming here.

Yet, it is also possible to experience the beautiful nature and wildlife without blowing your budget. While the Galapagos Islands will never be the cheapest destination in the world, I have travelled here for less than 60$ a day. This budget included a double room with a private bathroom, two excursions and lots of awesome wildlife encounters that I wouldn’t want to miss.…

Ecuador

Most travellers who visit Galapagos end up on Santa Cruz sooner or later, and I was no exception. I came here twice – once voluntarily and once involuntarily.

My first involuntary stay, unavoidable due to all boat connections from San Cristobal to Isabela going via Santa Cruz, lasted only a couple of hours. I used that time to eat a giant cup of ice cream – a decision which I regretted later that afternoon when I took a boat to Isabela and desperately tried not to empty my stomach into the sea.

My second encounter with Santa Cruz Island was more fortunate. I stayed for three days, so I had a chance to properly get to know the island beyond the ice cream parlour.…

Ecuador

If you asked me to choose a favourite island on Galapagos, I would have a hard time. I went to three of them, San Cristobal, Santa Cruz and Isabela, and loved all of them. Each was special in its own way. But if I absolutely had to decide, I think I would go for Isabela because it was just a bit more special than the others.

Isabela is the island of marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies and pink flamingos. Here, you can find endless white beaches and a small town consisting of dirt roads. Sea lions resting in between the mangroves greeted us when we arrived.

Isabela is just perfect. And so you know how to spend your time here and make sure you don’t miss any of the highlights, here is what we recommend doing:…

Ecuador

San Cristobal island is a paradise. White beaches, warm weather and thousands of exotic animals. This island was our first stop in Galapagos, and it didn’t disappoint. Within two hours of arriving, I had seen more sea lions than I had expected to see during my whole stay in the archipelago.

In total, we had two and a half days on San Cristobal, and we would see many more sea lions during that time. Big ones, small ones, tiny babies drinking from their mothers, young ones frolicking in the water.

But San Cristobal is not just about sea lions. There is a lot more to discover. Keep reading to find out what to see and do on this island:…

Peru

If you want to go to the Amazon in Peru (and you totally should), chances are high that you’ll pass through Iquitos. Iquitos is the biggest city in the world that cannot be reached by car. You can go by boat down the Amazon, but most travellers arrive here by plane.

While many jungle lodges can arrange to pick you up at the airport, you might find yourself spending a day or two in Iquitos. Either because your flight arrives too late or leaves too early or because you still need to arrange a jungle tour (which most hostels can help you with). Whatever the reason that leaves you staying in Iquitos itself, there are a couple of things to do here.…

Peru

“There!” I pointed towards the place where the fin had just disappeared. “Did you see it? Was that one of the pink dolphins?”

I can’t remember the first time I had heard of those creatures. Probably when I was researching my trip to South America. Or when I was in Peru almost two years before, searching for monkeys in Puerto Maldonado. Whenever it was, the moment I learned of the pink dolphin, I knew that I wanted to see one. Dolphins were amazing creatures and what could be better than a freshwater one that was tinged pink?

While these creatures may have played a huge role in my decision to visit the Amazon region in Peru and stay at a lodge a couple of hours away from Iquitos, there are many more reasons to plan a jungle trip in this country.…

Meet the locals

Last week, I got the chance to visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. While the weather was rainy and cloudy (I guess that’s why it’s called a cloud forest) and we did not get to see many animals, we walked through a beautiful forest. And I had the opportunity of meeting Ricardo. He was our jungle guide, someone whose family had been around at the founding time of Monteverde, and he was nice enough to agree to do an interview with me.…

Peru

“I was born and raised in Iquitos,” Osmar told us. “People from the communities often say that city people can’t be good jungle guides, but that is not true.”

We were sitting in a tiny restaurant in Iquitos, in Northeastern Peru, sipping tree tomato smoothies. The orange drink tasted fruity and slightly acid at the same time, a mixture as exotic as the city. Having arrived from Patagonia the night before, everything seemed new and exciting. The small, colourful houses, the mud roads, the motortaxis honking in the street, the seemingly endless line in front of the ATM we had used earlier.…

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