June 15th- Almost home

We arrive in Paris at around 2 o clock in the afternoon. This is some time in the morning back in Peru. We are an hour late but we glide through immigration without any problems and even have about an hour to look around the duty free before boarding again. There are lots of nice expensive shops in the duty free here in Charles de Gaulle. We board at 4pm local time.

Arrival is scheduled for 4.20pm local time London Heathrow. We arrive around that time we dont get off the plane for at least fifteen minutes. I was stressing so much as we have to collect our bags, go through arrivals and find the National Express bus for half five. Eventually we can get off the plane- there was some issue with connecting the plane to the terminal or something. We rush to get our bag, which come within ten minutes and run out to arrivals. We find the bus stop and have thirty minutes to spare! So so lucky! We grab some meal deals in the shop and eat before heading out to wait for the bus.

The bus is fifteen minutes late.. eating into our limited time in Gatwick to check in the big blue bag. We arrive at the south terminal at 19.15. The gate closes at 19.40 so we literally leg it to check in the bag, then onto security. Me and Paul get split up here and i continue though the duty free running like some crazy person and eventually get to gate 13. No paul. I ring him and he is only coming through duty free now as his bag got checked in security. We both queue up and breath a sigh of relief that everything has worked out. All the connections and flights have gone okay and we are so lucky. My five decades of the rosary must have helped! 

We dont get to sit together on the Ryanair flight but we should be landing in Shannon in less than thirty minutes. Mum is picking us up there so luckily we dont need to get another bus again. 

-Tips for traveling in Latin America 

Bring your student card if you have one.

If getting a night bus make surf its full cam – ie 180 degrees. You can sleep much better on them. 

Try to learn some Spanish before you go.

Bring a sleeping bag. 

Always carry valuables on the buses and dont leave them under the bus with your backpacks.

You dont need to book flights ages before had as the prices dont really go up that much. Book about a week beforehand. 

Most airlines include a bag in there price. Not viva Colombia or lattam 

Bring walking boots and a rain jacket. 

Bring a down jacket if you have one. In Bolivia and cusco it get really cold.

Always agree how mcuh for a taxi before you get it. 

Apps:

Maps.me – download the maps before you go. 

Converter+

Hostel world 

Translate google – download English to Spanish and then it works offline

TripAdvisor 

Rome 2 rio – shows up the most buses but doesn’t have all of them 

Uber – the big cities have it 

14th June – The start of the journey home :( 

I am awake before the alarm and paul is fast asleep. We shower and paul remembers he saw a sign that you can pay in dollars. I have 25$ and he has some dollar coinc so we have 30$ total to pay for the night! The shower is electric and warm. We pack and head for breakfast at 7.15am. A simple bread and coffee breakfast gets us started then we go to reception to pay. They don’t accept the dollar coins here. We are five dollars short and have less time to get to the nearest atm which is 1.5km away. I have some Sols and the owner kindly takes our 25$ and then 10Sol on top of that. We have just enough money for a taxi to the airport. So lucky.

We arrive to the airport and check in the bags. We chat to some English people who are working with a volunteer agency helping the people affected by the floods back in March here. 90 died, over 700,000 had to be relocated and more than 1 billion worth of damage was cause to buildings roads and infrastructure. We noticed this on the bus into. Piura as the main roads were like dirt tracks. We board the flight and head for Lima.

13th June – Surf and kitesurfing 

Got up at 6 and went for a quick surf then headed back to the hotel and had breakfast it was so nice- pancake fruit and bread.

We gathered our things and packed our bags to be ready to leave later. We left the bags behind the counter. We headed to the beach and Paul went for a surf. I relaxed on the beach for a while and then went for a run. We both wore t-shirts for the whole day because of the sunburn from the day before. Paul had some lunch and i had a really nice smoothie, then he decided to try out kite surfing. 300Sol for lesson and practice. I went and checked out the buses for this evening while he did this.

Paul: the kite surfing was epic. Its hard at the start tho you dodo need a lesion for about 3 hours before you can get in the water. You need to learn the safety stuff. There is a lot of messing around with gear but ones should get going it is supper fun and i would recommend it.

We watched an amazing sunset after having some dinner in the green eggs and ham place. The sky was so colourful! We headed back to the bungalows, grabbed our bags and hoped we could catch one of the two 7.30 buses i had found out about but not booked. Booked out. Next one is at ten pm. We are lucky we booked a hotel in Piura already. We buy tickets for 45Sol for the bus and go for dinner. Paul uses the wifi to email the hotel and tell them we will be late arriving. We try ceviche! Its very lemon/limey. There are so many bugs again and Paul is very tired after his kite surfing lesson. We have no money left so i change some dollars i have to Sols.

We go to the bus station and first realise the agency lady ripped us off by charging us 45Sol when the tickets were only 20Sol- how easy these things happen when were tired. We sit and wait for the bus and watch so many pass. Our bus finally arrive 45 minutes late and we hop on.

Three hours of broken sleep and we arrive to Piura. We get a taxi for 8Sol to the hotel- Fel Piura. Its closed. We ring the bell for about ten minutes and the owner finally opens. We are thrilled. He was definitely fast asleep. We thank him and go straight to out room. He tells us he doesnt take visa- great that means less sleep for us as we will have to find an atm in the morning. We get to bed at around three and set the alarms for 6.30am. We is very kind and says we can give us breakfast an hour early as we need to head to the airport. Lucky!

12th June – The beach Mancora

I got up around 6 and headed down to the beach. Its so nice to be back beside the sea. There was one guy in surfing it looks really clean but small i went back to the hostel and then we went for a really nice run. Loads of other people running on the beach. 

We went for breakfast afterwards in a place called green eggs and ham. It was lovely not not too expensive. We decided we would look at the Kimbas Bunglaows (original accommodation choice) afterwards as it was super close. It seems really nice and kind of has an Indonesian theme to it. Its 100Sol for the two of us for the night so we head back to the hostel grab our bags, get a tuc tuc there and check in. We headed to the beach then and sunbathed and surfed and paddled for the whole day. It was lovely and relaxing. We headed back to the bungalows and used the internet, showered and got ready for dinner.

We went outside and there are LITERALLY A MILLION of these rotten grasshopper type bugs. They are big and some fly and they swarm around light. They dont bite but then keep landed on us. We go to a maexican type place for dinner. I had a fab salad and paul had a burger with sweet potato fried. There are so many bugs at dinner too so we eat quick and head back to the bungalow. 

We go to bed early after killing all the bigs in our room first.

11th june- to Mancora

The hostel owner was agin lying on the couch watching tennis when we ask to fix up for the night. He suggests we get a direct bus to Mancora instead of going through Tumbes. We hop in a taxi (3$) to the terminal. We grab some breakfast there and then book onto a bus leaving at 10.20 for Tumbes. We missed the earlier direct buses to Mancora and the next is not until two so we decide to go back to the original plan and go through Tumbes. Tickets are 12.25$ and we board the bus pretty much straight away. The weather is cloudy and mild with the threat of rain- perfect for travelling on a bus.

Some guy just stood up on the bus an started singing. He has a little microphone that looks like a child’s toy. He’s rapping. Its very entertaining. 

The border cross is a lot more modern and official here compared to all the others. The bus has to drive over a hole in the path to have the bottom searched. We get through quickly as there are so few on the bus.

We arrive to Tubmes and there isnt really anything here. We try find the Main Street and square which is kind of non-existent and end up getting some fruit from a stall. Paul has a sandwich and ice cream too. We are lucky he had some Sols left over from before. We next ask some people how to get to Mancora. Some lady tells us 25Sols each and keeps laughing at us. We leave and find a guy for 10Sols each.

The journey takes about two hours and he picks up lots of people along the way. We get there and go to get some dinner first. We them get a tuc tuc to bring us to a hostel that he recommends. Its 60Sol for us both for the night. Its a private room with a pool but its pretty disgusting. I shouldn’t have let him bring us here and went directly to the one paul found.. hopefully we get some sleep anyway.

June 10th- Isla de Plata

We had a good sleep last night and woke up ready for the day ahead. Breakfast was the Option of an American style, Ecuadorean style or fruit and yoghurt breakfast. After we have eaten we pack our bags and leave them in the store downstairs as we haven’t decided if we will stay here again for the night. Our group arrives soon after half nine and we all walk to the pier together.

Our tour starts with a boat ride to Isla de Plata during which we watch out for whales. We see some! About five in total the guide thinks. They are not breaching but  we see their tails as they dive deep. They are really big. We continue on our 40km journey to the island. Just before we arrive the guide gives us some banana bread and a banana. We hop out of the boat and walk to the beach. We clean our feet, put back on our shoes and start our walk. We walk up to a high point on the island where the group splits into 1) continue up 2) head down and around the island. We choose to go up as this is where we can get close to the blue boobies. Literally five minutes into the walk and we have met some Boobies on the path! We get super close- less than a meter away from them. The guide only speaks Spanish but there is a French couple with us who translate some information for us. We continue on our way and meet so many boobies, some with partners, some flying, some protecting eggs and some performing their dance for the females.

We reach the highest point in the island and see red ___ birds. So many of them. They look strange with the big red balloon thing under their throats. As we continue along the path we see humpback Whales jumping. The guide explains that it is the mother teaching her young to jump. It’s amazing. We are far away from them but can still see pretty clearly. We loop back around to where the group split and head back to the beach.

We walk back through the water to the boat for lunch. We have pineapple and watermelon and then see loads of turtles around the boat!! The guide feeds them some watermelon and they stay around the boat for ages. We then have a sandwich and head to the place to snorkel.

We arrive just at another side of the island to snorkel. There are some fish but the visibility isn’t good at all. We stay here for a while and then hop back onto the boat. We get dried and dressed and start the joinery back to the mainland at Puerto Lopez. It’s so rough and bumpy back the whole way and it feels like we were going so fast. The weather changes In the way back too- it was never sunny at Any stage today just cloudy. This changes to misty rain on the way back. No whales on the way back.

We arrive back to the port at half four and paul discovers he has lost the wrist strap for the GoPro pole. We chat to the guide and he says they will look for it and drop it to the hostel if they find it. We head back to the hostel and do some internet stuff. We check the weather forecast and it is miserable wet and CloudKit for the next week here in Puerto Lopez. There is also no surf. We decide that it’s not worth staying and doing a full whale tour with weather like this. We decide to grab some dinner and head back towards Guayaquil and on to Mancora in Peru as the weather looks better there.

We eat in a lovely Italian called cappucino which has lots s of road works outside the front. Food was great and we got a size of cake after. We then get our bags and head to the Main Street to hail a bus. Not too long waiting and a bus passes going to Santa Helena but they usher us on board anyway and from what I understood of their Spanish say we can change buses at one of the stops and get the Guayaquil. Fingers crossed we get there at some stage tonight.

Funny police checkpoint lol

9th June- to Puerto Lopez

After only a couple of hours sleep we both feel so much more refreshed. The owner is watching the French Open on TV and tells us he is from Israel. We ask him about where to go for breakfast and he offers to make some for us. We accept and while we wait we do some research and chat to him about buses to and from various places. He tells us he heard whale season has started so hopefully we get lucky!

We grab a taxi to the bus terminal after eating, and first find out about buses to the town we want to fly from to Lima. Then get tickets for a bus to Montenita for 6$ each.

We arrive in Montanita at around two pm and head straight for lunch. Everything is pretty expensive here. Its a tacky kind of place with lots of shacks and bars. There aren’t many people here- not many tourists and the rest are locals. We eat some inexpensive food (fruit salad, omelette and pancake) and then Paul decides he wants to get in for a surf. He is able to rent a board for 5$ for an hour. While he surfs, I go for a run up to a view point. Not a great view but great to get for a run.

Paul is happy after his surf and is eager to find out about swells and stuff for the upcoming days. We hop on a bus onto Puerto Lopez for 2$ eac. The drive along by the coast is fabulous! We arrive in Puerto Lopez. A town where the roads are made of mud except for on the prom of the beach where there is paving. Its full of agencies selling tours to Isla del Plata and whale watching tours, as well as snorkelling and diving. The weather isnt great. Its warm but its very cloudy.. definitely going home pale once the burn has peeled off!!

We check into a hostel which we found on hostel world and get a really nice room with a double bed and set of bunk beds. Unfortunely the guy came back to the room like five minutes later to say it was actually booked so we move to a dorm. We shower and use the internet for a while to book a flight, bus and check in a bag to our final flight. We head out for dinner then.

After dinner we stroll around the town. Its not busy and is kind of starting to drizzle. We head back to the hostel and book the tour for tomrrow. Hopefully we see whales and the blue birds! We chat to our room mate. She’s from Switzerland and has been traveling for 4 months now. 

June 6th- Quito climb and the equator.

Woke up after a great sleep. I’m finally feeling better too! Had a wonderful breakfast this morning (Paul had a second) for only 3 dollars. We had planned to go to the equator but the weather was so nice with clear blue skies we decided it would be sinful to be getting on a bus again. So we were chatting to a guy from San Fran and he was saying he might go on the cable car and then to the summit there so we said we would all go together.

We got a taxi from outside the hostel and for 6 dollars we got up to the cable car. eight dollars round trip was the price of the cable car- no wonder there was no queue and no people using it! Thinking back to La Paz when we paid 25 cent or so for our trips on the cable cars there. Views were wonderful from the top but it was prettty cold, so after taking a few pictures we started on our way to the top. We were starting from 4100m. The name of the peak is Rucu Pichincha (4700m) and the trail along gave us spectacular views of the Cotopaxi snow capped mountain. Paul raced ahead with no altitude sickness this time round! We met another American guy who walked with us. Coming to the summit proved quite technical. We were climbing using all four limbs and i certainly did not look down because it was such a vertical drop down! The hike was tough but so rewarding at the top. An amazing 360 view of Quito and its surrounding landscape greeted us. We met some people who had climbed a different route and they had walking poles and had used ropes. Our San Fran friend didnt make it to the summit because of the altitude. 

The walk down was lovely. We appreciated the views without struggling to catch our breath! We were up and down in about five hours total. Back down on the cable car and back to the old town. 

We grabbed some well deserved lunch in a local place and Paul tried the local dessert made from eggs. It wasn’t great. It tasted really sweet and kind of like cream from a can. Next was back to the hostel to check if they had some room for us for tonight. We were able to get a private from for only 3 dollars more than the dorm! We also found out about how to get to the equator here in Quito and put out names down for dinner later.

We walked to the bus station. Some locals helped us find our bus and off we went to the Monumento a la Mitad del Mundo. Much to our misfortune the place was closed when we got there! This meant we couldn’t visit the monument there so instead, lead by Paul, we walked along the road until we crossed the equator ourselves. It was quite fun. Our San Fran friend was with us also. 

Back to find the bus back to the city. There were lots of kids from the military on board and we had some fun chatting with them. Turns out we took the wrong bus and ended up having to get a taxi part of the wat back- this was only three dollars so didn’t break the bank. The bus journeys were only 40 cent! 

When we got back to the hostel our food was ready and waiting. It was a delicious pesto chicken sandwich followed by creme brûlée. We chatted with a girl from Dublin and an Australian girl from a while but then went off to shower and get ready for bed as we were both so tired. Paul got a fair bit of sun burn today so plenty of after sun will be needed. 

Until tomorrow. 

8th June 

After a great nights sleep and a substanchal breakfast we headed to the bike shop to rent bikes for the day. We were given a quick ovierview for the rought and headed off. 

The first 2 waterfalls were very impressive. Not very suitable for swimming but nice all the same. At the 2nd one we watched some people absailing down from the top looked cool. I also got in for a quick swim.PIC

We continued. The read i very narrow but it is all down hill. The buses and tricks pass very quick its kinda scary.

THe next waterfall is at the bottom of an impressive gorge. THere are loads of zip lines and cable cares set up around it. It is 10 euro but we didn’t do it as we are broke. Continuing down the valley you pass many impressive waterfalls, all the tunnels on the route are bypassed which makes it much safer. 

Next stop is a little town with what has to be one of the biggest waterfalls i have seen nessled at the bottom of a canyon. Its 2 euro to enter but well worth it. 

We come to a little village just 2km from the town where the two rivers meet when it starts to rain. A bus flashed us and so we thought it best to turn back. Another bus came by coming from Quito so we hopped on. They put our bikes into the boot and we went back to Banos for 2.50. 

When we got back we grabbed some lunch and Paul went back up on the four o clock bus to cycle down the mountain trail we had done yesterday. We met again around 5pm at the hostel and made our way to the bus station. We got on a bus to Ambato pretty much straight away.

When we arrived in Ambato we realised the bus was actually going to Guayaquil so we stayed on. six Lon uncomfortable and sleepless hours later we arrive in Guayaquil. Its like half two in the morning so we hop in a tax to a hostel we saw on maps.me. Its closed. So we walk for twenty minutes or so to the next and its closed, so is the next. And we tried a hotel too. We are bedless in a new city at three in the morning with all our bags.

We decide to head back to the bus station and pass one of the hostels on the way. Paul notices a bell so rings it. We wait…. someone turned on a light and we couldn’t believe our luck! 11$ each for the night. Maybe the best 11$ we will spend as awe are both so so tired. The guy is really nice and doesnt mind that we woke him at such an hour. We both go to sleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow.