Category Archives: Central & South America

Havana, Cuba and Returning Home

The Lost Girl

The very last stop on my trip (minus the five hour lay-over in a Florida) was the very peculiar, unique and exciting city of Havana.

I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect when coming here. I had heard so much about Cuba already from history lessons revolving around the Cold War, and my interest in the place, its politics and ultimately its people was curious before I arrived.

IMG_5329.JPG Political graffiti showing Che and Fidel on a roadside

The Old Town of Havana seems to have forgone a transformation, with the narrow cobbled streets flanked by souvenir shops. Parque Central and the Capitol Building are impressive sites, as well as the churches near the coast. Furthermore, the Art Museum just off Parque Central is worth a look for a range of art from across the world and centuries.

IMG_5328.JPG Old town Havana with the Capitol Building in the background

The roads are…

View original post 455 more words

Last Stop in South America – Ecuador – Quito, Banos, Cuenca and Guayaquil

The Lost Girl

So that inevitable day has come;  I have finally ran out of money. The end of money spells the end of my six month trip passing through fifteen countries by the time I step back afoot on native soil, and unfortunately my very last stop in South America was a small country called Ecuador.

IMG_4896.JPG

Named, funnily enough, because of its position on the equator, Ecuador has a friendlier, safer feel than its Colombian neighbour; evidently this rather small country was not so badly hit by narcoterroism, the poverty is still rife here, as it has been through pretty much all of the Latin American countries I have visited.

IMG_4900.JPG

The capital city of Quito pleasantly surprised me, and was one of the most agreeable capitals I have visited throughout my six months. It is larger than expected, and many hostels are situated in the New Town, a surprisingly trendy area with…

View original post 680 more words

Cartagena, Medellin, Guatape, Coffee Country and Cali

The Lost Girl

Just along the coast from Santa Marta is the beautiful fortified city of Cartagena. You can actually walk on top of these walls overlooking the sea, which is quite a sight, and all the buildings are sweetly colonial. These a nice set of market stalls under arches just across from the clock tower which sell sickeningly sweet treats; the fudge block shaped like a baby was delicious/

Moving away from the coast, one reaches an area that little-less than thirty years ago was fiercely controlled by gangs.

IMG_4808.JPG

Medellin in particular was badly affected by narcoterroism, having been the home of infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar. Nowadays, Medellin isn’t considered quite as dangerous and parts of the city, namely the trendy El Poblado, full of hip open front bars and stunningly dressed young people, are even quite nice to stay. You can still visit Escobar’s grave and the rooftop on which…

View original post 295 more words

Santa Marta and the Ciudad Perdida Trek

The Lost Girl

Another night bus to the coast and I found myself in the very Caribbean feeling Santa Marta. Next to the coast, this industrial town with a huge port isn’t exactly known for its beaches, though Parque Tayrona further up the coast is a bit more equipped for the idyllic beach scene.

IMG_4534.JPG

The main reason for coming here, apart from staying in an awesome hostel with a mango tree, was to go on the Ciudad Perdida trek.

IMG_4612.JPG

This was honestly one of the highlights of my entire journey. I love trekking, and the coastal, jungle terrain of Colombia made the perfect spot for diverse wildlife, towering jungles trees and crystal blue rivers which we got to swim in. The Ciudad itself is quite modest, with platforms of circular grassy discs rising up on the side of the mountain. Indigenous people still live there and go up and down the trails with…

View original post 24 more words

Colombia – Bogota, Bucaramanga and Giron

The Lost Girl

So Colombia’s capital city is an interesting stay…

IMG_4372.JPG

I arrived after about two days of dodgy sleep; a night bus from Arequipa to Lima and an early early morning flight to Colombia.

IMG_4373.JPG

A public bus from the airport took me straight to La Candelaria, the main central part of town. Here you’ll find a square full of people putting seeds on their sleeves to get a photo of them being stormed by pigeons. Furthermore, the Military Museum is free and interesting to look around – details of the famous drug-fueled war between the government and paramilitaries are exhibited as well as some more historical weapons and uniforms, complete with a helicopter and missiles in the back garden.

IMG_4374.JPG

As a vegetarian, I fell in love with a Colombian food which I expect a lot of people might find quite bland; the Arepa. Essentially a pancake made out of maize (though I…

View original post 356 more words

Llama or Alpaca?

The Lost Girl

Probably the biggest and most important question which had been raised in my mind over the two weeks I have been in Peru is how you can tell the difference between a llama and an alpacaca.

And google returns some very interesting results.

  1. So one of the main differences between the two is the ear shape. Apparently llamas have long, banana-shaped ears whereas alpacas have very short thin ones
  2. Furthermore, alpacas are the smaller ones and llamas are generally much larger.
  3. Llamas faces are longer and alpacas shorter and more cutesy cramped
  4. Alpacas wool can be used in textiles whereas llamas aren’t so fortunate and are more likely to be used for farm labor and meat
  5. Alpacas are herd animals and llamas are very strong independent individuals

Basically llamas are larger and spit more. Another important question answered. You are welcome.

View original post

Arequipa Peru

The Lost Girl

Looping back up into Peru, I arrived in the beautiful town of Arequipa. Surrounded by snowcapped mountains and with a delightful centre square, cathedral and being home to the 16th century Santa Catalina monastery, the place is picturesque to say the least.

IMG_4357.JPG

It is a good town to base yourself if you wish to visit Colca Canyon – the world’s deepest canyon about 150km north of the town, and companies run regular tours ranging from multiple day hikes to a day trip.

IMG_4348.JPG

The market here is delightful with a range of traditional foods being offered, such as ceviche, the vegetarian option of some layered potato thing (it was actually very tasty!) and also stuffed peppers which unfortunately had meet in them. The juice here is great to try too.

IMG_4354.JPG

View original post