During our one year in South America I wrote a blog entry about each country we visited. I wrote about places worth to visit, where we bought our food, where we slept, how we travelled from place to place, costs, safety, when it is best to visit, visa, and other interesting facts. This here is a short overview. If you want to read more about a country just click on the country.
Colombia is a country with a brutal and bloody past. Exploitation of indigenous people, Cartagena as Spanish America’s biggest slave port, a civil war, and Pablo Escobar. One of the most powerful and brutal drug dealers in the world. In 1993 he was murdered. Unfortunately, the Farc keep the cocaine business alive. Recently, in June 2016, they signed a peace contract. I hope this will stop the war. Tourists are visiting Colombia since a few years. Many even stay there. Fall in love. I can definitely understand why. Colombians are very helpful, warmhearted, generous, and happy people. Proud to show off what was hidden for so long. During my 7 weeks in Colombia I had only one bad experience (more about it later). I was struggling for a while if I actually wanted to write about it since I do not want to scare people away from Colombia. It was simply bad luck and from a statistical point of view, very rare. This experience in turn made me realise how healing the nature and friends can be. The places I volunteered (guadua house construction) and visited have given me inspiration and courage that it is possible to live in harmony with nature. I also learnt that many Colombians reuse plastic to build houses. Better than to burn it. Best of course would be to not even buy plastic.
Ecuador is divided into four different regions: The Amazon (el oriente), the Andes mountains (la sierra), the Pacific coast, and the Galapagos Islands. Two out of our three months in Ecuador we spent volunteering in three different places. I loved my time in Ecuador. The stunning mountains, the people I met, the things I learnt while volunteering, the fertile soil, and the possibility to buy peanut butter in many little local stores.
In our two months in Peru we volunteered in a Hare Krishna temple, hiked to a beautiful glacial lake, sandboarded in Huacachina, ate at delicious vegan restaurants, joined a multi-day tour in the Amazon rainforest, met wonderful people, and visited Machu Picchu.
I thought two weeks would be enough for Bolivia — I was wrong! I stayed there almost a month and could have stayed much longer. The warm-hearted people I met, the beautiful parks that whispered to lay down, the historical architecture, and the incredible beauty of the lagoons close to Uyuni made it difficult to leave. So four months later I went back to Bolivia for a month. This time together with my boyfriend
A country with a noticeable Italian influence, the tradition of sharing a mate, tango, and good wine.
During our month together in Chile we visited a Japanese-inspired hot spring in the middle of a forest, the beautiful Nationalpark Conguillío, checked out the street art in the hills of Valparaíso, and explored the unique Valle de la Luna by bicycle. My boyfriend spent one month in the north of Chile (desert) before we met again in San Pedro de Atacama. The part about Iquique is written by him.