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10 impressions of visiting the Amazon

Iquitos, Amazon rainforest, Peru.

Iquitos, Amazon rainforest, Peru.

The Amazon is definitely one of the most amazing places on Earth. It’s the largest tropical rainforest in the world, hosting an enormous diversity of flora and fauna, and the Amazon River is the widest and the second longest (only after the Nile). The Amazon is a place that deeply impresses every single one of its visitors. From the less outdoorsy to the most incessant adventurers, this destination will spark your senses in many ways…

1.      Stand in awe of its grandioseness

There is no doubt about it… when you experience the Amazon, you know you are in front of something truly BIG. It is the biggest rainforest in the world, extending over more than 5.5 million square kilometers (about two times the size of India!). The Amazon River is the second longest river on Earth, flowing over approximately 6,600 km, but also the widest one. During rain season it can expand to up to 48 km width… It’s also by far the largest river in terms of average water discharge.

2.      Feel humid, warm and sort of sticky

The environment is tropical, with generally high temperatures, averaging between 25º and 30º celsius. Humidity is also very high, usually ranging between 70% and 90%. So, prepare mentally for a tropical slap as you get off from the plane.

3.      Enchanted by the mysticism

The Amazon is an intensly mystical place. There are endless legends about creatures and spirits living in the forests. These stories are part of the native communities’ oral traditions and also have a strong influence on their daily lives. Paintings by local artists and chants by shamans all convey that mysticism and guarantee an imagination boost.

4.      Be amazed by the indigenous tribes and locals’ daily lives

The Amazon is inhabited by around 350 ethnic groups. Some tribes are even believed to have never been in contact with the outer world. Others have been more or less influenced by occidental ways of living, but still preserve their traditional customs as well. Many are happy to welcome tourists and show them a bit of their daily lives.

5.      Live your own jungle book story

This gigantic rainforest is home to 10% of all species known to mankind, more than any other terrestrial ecosystem. With over 40,000 plant species, more than 400 mammals, around 1,300 birds, reptiles, amphibians and fishes, you’ll be surrounded by wildlife, even when you are not aware of it… So, keep your eyes and ears open!

6.      Feel respect for this great source of life

The Amazon actually also plays a big role in YOUR day-to-day life. Thanks to its size and dense vegetation, the Amazon rainforest produces over 20% of the world’s oxygen. The Amazon River is highly important for the water cycles, releasing around 55 million gallons of water per second into the ocean. Tons of food consumed by the world are produced here. And about a quarter of all western pharmaceutical products use amazonian ingredients.

7.      Feel alert (slightly afraid)

Although the Amazon’s biodiversity can indeed be utterly fascinating, there are some deadly creatures out there… venomous snakes and frogs, caimans, electric eels, jaguars, spiders, among others. It is thus highly important to comply with safety guidelines, always walk in groups, look where your stepping or grabbing and follow your expert guide’s instructions… Be alert and you’ll be just fine. It’s totally worth it, believe us! ;)

8.      Suddenly feel smaller

Everything is superlative here… from the widest river to the tallest trees. Plants and insects are bigger than usual. A bullet ant can be up to 1.2 inches long, beetles up to 6.5 inches… and some tarantulas can grow up to a size of 12 inches (leg span). The list can continue endlessly, but you get the idea.

9.      Be surrounded by an intense and ongoing sountrack

Most of the animals make some sort of noise, either on purpose or just caused by their movement. You can hear monkeys howl and jump between trees, fish and eels moving in the water, birds singing for their mates, cicadas chanting non-stop… The forest itself resonates as the rain pours down or the water flows down the streams. So you’ll have an ongoing sountrack for your jungle adventure.

10.     Waterways and boats will feel like standard transport

Cruising the river is the best way to get around… by the second day you’ll feel completely normal hopping on a boat just to go visit the neighbouring community. The movement of the boat can also be very soothing, but that’s just a plus. Oh, and keep an eye open for pink dolphins! ;)

Exotic Galapagos and mystical Machu Picchu: two South American wonders in one trip

MachuPicchux

If you are looking for an ultimate South American experience, combining nature with culture, history and amazing food, you might want to check out two of the most special places in the continent: Galapagos Islands in Ecuador and Machu Picchu in Peru. These two wonders will truly blow your mind in a journey that grants a fair bit of adventure with opportunities to relax and unwind from your day-to-day life. As a bonus, a mandatory pit stop in Lima gives a chance to eat your way through the capital of the world’s leading culinary destination –believe us, this title is very well deserved- and to explore this flourishing urban destination.

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

This is by far one of THE most exciting destinations for nature lovers. It’s like a natural playground for diverse species, giving you endless opportunities to come up close with those iconic sea iguanas and giant Galapagos tortoises, thousands of bird species and a whole underwater universe, in an out-of-this-world setting.

The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of volcanic origin comprised of 18 main islands, located about 1,000 kilometers west of continental Ecuador. It is a National Park, a Marine Reserve and World Heritage (UNESCO), recognizing its enormous significance. It is a truly unique place where you can follow Darwin’s footsteps on his theory of evolution.

Of course, being tropical islands by the Pacific Ocean and near the Equator, Galapagos also has some superb beaches where you can sit back and just let every bit of stress fade away. Imagine white sand beaches, soothingly warm waters, the shadow of some trees to keep you fresh and natural rock pools. Among the favorite beaches on Santa Cruz Island (touristic hub for Galapagos) are Tortuga Bay (turtle bay), El Garrapatero and Playa de los Alemanes (beach of the germans).

If you are looking for some activities, there are great options too. Visit Las Grietas, a sort of small canyon with two volcanic rock walls on the sides and filled with clear water (don’t forget your snorkeling gear!). There are also several short hikes featuring fantastic desert-like landscapes filled with opuntia cactus (endemic), lava lizards and many birds. You can also visit “los gemelos” –two adjoining sinkholes that resemble craters-, the lava tunnels and the giant tortoises ranches. Oh, and don’t miss out on dining at the fun and flavorful “calle de los kioskos” (kiosks street) in Puerto Ayora, where you pick your own fish or lobster to throw on the grill.

MACHU PICCHU AND THE SACRED VALLEY OF THE INCAS

Prelude – eating your way through Lima

Before heading to Cusco you will necessarily go through Lima. So, why not stay a day or two and enjoy this thriving coastal city with countless dining options. Everything from street food to fine dining is exciting in Peru, with and enormous variety of dishes and styles. While you are there, you can also check out Lima’s downtown and the touristic quarters of Miraflores and Barranco… a bit of walking might help make new room for your next meal. ;)

Now… Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu

A short flight from Lima will bring you right up to the highland city of Cusco, at almost 3,400 meters above sea level. Allow some time for exploring the city itself, but pay close attention to the gorgeous Sacred Valley and, of course, the mystical and stunning Machu Picchu.

You can start by discovering the valley first, to get a good sense of the essence of the area, where culture and history mix up with nature. Located just over an hour outside from Cusco, the valley stretches over approximately 60 kilometers along the Urubamba River. It is also a fair bit lower than Cusco, making it into a very fertile and warmer land. There are archaeological sites all over it, local communities, beautiful weaving and artisanal handcrafts, Incan agricultural laboratories and many other features. It is also the perfect place to just kick back and relax.

Once you get a grasp of the special place you are at, then you’re ready for the main number. You’ll take the train to the town of Aguas Calientes, from which you’ll discover the Incan citadel of Machu Picchu. This outstanding piece of Incan ingenuity will absolutely amaze you; so give it a good full morning just to wonder around. There are also complementing visits and hikes, such as the Inca Bridge, Huayna Picchu Mountain, Intipunku or the Machu Picchu Mountain. Don’t forget to take your classic postcard-worthy Machu Picchu Picture… it is a World Wonder after all! ☺

For more ideas on what to do in Aguas Calientes, visit this other post.

Check out this itinerary example:

https://www.journeyou.com/en/tours/peru/galapagos-machu-picchu-adventure/

10 Tips for travelling to South America hassle-free

Rio de Janeiro. Foto: Shutterstock.

Rio de Janeiro. Foto: Shutterstock.

From the awe-inspiring Galapagos Islands, to the world’s driest desert in Atacama, going through world heritage sites, such as Machu Picchu, and natural wonders like the Uyuni salt flats, South America has something amazing in store around every corner.

As fascinating as this unique mixture of experiences may be, traveling through South America can also be a bit overwhelming, especially if this is your first visit. But there really is no need to worry. Just follow these tips and you’ll have an ultimate South American journey! ;)

1.      Time your trip carefully

South America is huge and incredibly diverse, so there really isn’t one best time of the year to visit, but there are some general pointers. The north and rainforests have a generally warm climate. As you go further south or to the highlands, temperatures drop drastically. Seasons are the opposite as in the northern hemisphere, summers extend from December to March and winters from June to September. Beware of rain season in each country. If you are willing to stand some rain or cloudy skies, off-season can be less crowded. Get personalize advise from us on this matter!

2.      Pick up some local phrases

You don’t need to fluently speak Spanish or Portuguese, but learning the basics will go a long way when trying to engage with locals and will allow you to enjoy your exploring of the destination that much more. Get a small notebook for writing down your new lingo.

3.      Know immigration requirements

Each South American country has its own visa regulations depending on your nationality. Some have a nearly open borders policy, whereas others require you to acquire a visa before your trip. Let us know if you have any questions on this regard.

4.      Know the local currencies and bring some US dollars

There are multiple currencies in South America. Each country has its own type and exchange rate. Try an online currency converter to get an idea before you leave home and always go to official currency exchange offices at the destination. It is also a good idea to take US dollars with you, as you will generally get a better value exchange rate and some places even take them as payment.

5.      Keep a watchful eye

South America is known for petty crime and while it actually exist, you can easily stay safe by keeping your eyes open and trying not to call attention to yourself with unnecessary flashy clothing, jewelry or a chunky wallet. Be especially careful when you are out on your free time exploring the town. Avoid dark streets and marginal areas. Get your guide’s or locals’ advise on safe areas, taxi rates and companies… and you’ll be fine!

6.      Bring proper clothes!

Having pretty much every type of climate all in one amazing journey, calls for a wide array of clothes. High-quality outdoors clothing might do the trick, easily adapting to different temperatures. Think in layers, summer tank tops, warm winter jackets, thin shorts, warmer trousers, windproof jackets and breathable fabrics. Also bring a pair of hiking boots and flip-flops.

7.      Check electricity and plug outlets

Check your electric appliances to see if you need any converters or outlet adaptors. Electricity varies between 110 and 240 Volts. Plug outlets are diverse. You might want to get a universal adaptor to be able to charge your gadgets everywhere.

8.      Stay healthy!

Try to keep up with your workout routine before traveling. A generally good health condition can go a long way when facing altitude and hard weather conditions. Also beware of where you eat during your trip. Street food can be OK (and exciting), but keep an eye for hygiene conditions. And, of course, good medical insurance is a must!

9.      Be brave about local cuisine

You’re in for a treat! Food is a major highlight in South America, with many diverse things to try out. It is also a huge part of local culture, so you’ll learn a lot of the place you’re at by eating. We strongly encourage you to be open to try different things! ;)

10.     Leave some room for spontaneity

While arranging a tour in advance is a great way to make the most out of your time in the continent, also be open to spontaneous plans during your free time. South American people are very welcoming and locals often will treat you with an insiders’ tip. Also, wondering around you might stumble with some hidden gem that will make your journey so much more special.

48 hours in Aguas Calientes – How to make the most out of them

Condor Travel II 1271x

Whether you take the train from Cusco or hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, if you are visiting the lost city of the Incas, you will be going by –and most likely staying at- the town of Aguas Calientes. This village exists only to cater for tourists visiting the World Heritage Site, but if you follow these tips, you can turn this passing-point into a whole new experience. So, what is there to do in 48 hours in Aguas Calientes?

Day 1

  • Discover the Incan citadel of Machu Picchu and be amazed by this World’s Wonder. Give a whole morning for your first exploration of this outstanding piece of Incan ingenuity. A good complement can be to visit the Inca Bridge, an impressive piece of Inca architecture, located west of Machu Picchu, only a 20 minutes walk away starting at the guardian house. The way itself is interesting, with great scenery, local flora and fauna.
  • Puente Inca - Machu Picchux
  • After an action packed morning, a great option is to have lunch at Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, located just by the entrance of Machu Picchu. Just sit back, relax and take in the wonderful views at this priviledged location, while you savour some of the delishious dishes they serve, with both Peruvian as well as international options. Lunch is served 12pm-3pm.
  • Visit the Machu Picchu Museum (Museo de Sitio Manuel Chávez Ballón). Few travelers go there, but it is very useful for understanding the story of the Incan citadel, its uses, how it was built, its re-discovery, among other facts that will enrich your actual time in Machu Picchu. Note that there is no interpretation on the site itself, only the explanations from your guide. On your 25-30 minutes long walk to the museum, you can check out the butterfly sanctuary and enjoy the views of the Vilcanota river flowing through the mountains. Check on business hours and entry fees, as they vary from season to season.
  • A great way to end the day is with dinner at the Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel, a luxury 5 star hotel, tucked away in Aguas Calientes. The food there is superb and it has a romantic atmosphere, should you want to spark up the magic with your loved one. The hotel also offers an array of activities that will immerse you in the Andean culture, such as the Andean marriage ceremony (arac masin), a romantic 7-course tasting dinner for couples, the payment to the Earth ritual, the culinary experience of preparing a pachamanca, among other options.


Day 2

  • There are two options to kick-start your second day in Aguas Calientes:
    1. A second visit to Machu Picchu, taking one of these three alternative routes:
      • Huayna Picchu Mountain – Exciting, physically challenging, but also very rewarding. Note, if you are afraid of heights, you might want to choose one of the other two. Please, be advised that you need to book your tickets months in advance.
      • The way to Intipunku – just 30 minutes farther than the point where you would have taken your “Machu Picchu postcard picture”, at the end of the Inca trail.
      • Machu Picchu Mountain – also a challenging hike up, with endless staircases, even higher than Huayna Picchu, but the way is wider and less steep. Your legs might be sore by the time you reach the top, but some people claim these are the best views of Machu Picchu one can get… totally worth it!View from Intipuku

         

    2. Hit the way along the railroad tracks towards Santa Teresa until you reach the 114.4km marker (there should be signage, but it’s not a bad idea to ask around). The hike to Mandor is especially interesting for nature lovers. You’ll see different local bird species and orchids and be rewarded with a nice waterfall at the end. You can also have a picnic and swim in the river. A small fee is to be paid at the entrance.
  • Any of the hikes will have worked out your appetite. Cooking classes where you can learn to prepare some of the most iconic Peruvian dishes and eat them afterwards is a fun way to get that covered. You can ask about the ones at Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel.Cooking class at the Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel.

     

  • Finally, before heading back to Cusco, check out the local handicrafts market (mercado de artesanías) and get some souvenirs to take back home. Or maybe, just allow yourself to get lost in the labyrinthine streets of Aguas Calientes.

Cusco and its surrounding areas are out of harm from the heavy rain and mudslides happening in some areas of Peru

It has come to our attention that you have been receiving wrongful information regarding Cusco’s situation due to the heavy rain and mudslides that are currently affecting different areas of Peru.

Rest assured that Cusco and its surrounding areas are completely out of harm’s way in light of what is happening due to the El Niño phenomenon. Certain versions even ensure that passengers are being evacuated by helicopter from Machu Picchu due to flooding. This information is not true, which is why it shouldn’t affect in any way the wonderful experience you’re looking forward to having in Peru.

At the same time, the rest of the country’s Southern touristic circuit -which aside from Cusco includes Puno, Arequipa and Madre de Dios- is out of risk, as well as the North Oriental region -San Martin, Amazon and Loreto. In the larger part of the city of Lima operations have not been affected. These areas are not at risk because they are located at a long and safe distance from where these events are taking place.

Sadly, Chiclayo, Trujillo and Mancora are some of the damaged areas, which is why no tourist operation will resume until after April 15th.  Besides that, touristic operations to Nazca is being suspended as well, since the road that connects Ica and Nazca is experiencing complications by the Ocucaje area.

We also want to share with you, that for each booking Journeyou will make a donation to the affected people.

Mapa_Peru_22-03-2017-ENG

Galapagos Islands: How to make the most out of this destination

Photo: Shutterstock

This is definitely one of the most recurrent destinations in travelers’ bucket-lists, especially for those who love nature. The natural wildlife on these islands simply has no comparison and is really well suited for having extraordinary up-close encounters with some fascinating species, both in the water, as on land.

The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of volcanic origin located approx. 1,000km to the west of continental Ecuador. There are 18 main islands and many smaller ones scattered about. They served as inspiration for Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and are now a National Park and Marine Reserve. Also, in 1987 they got listed as World Heritage (UNESCO).

Photo: Shutterstock

The best way to explore Galapagos is by boat and there are many different itineraries and boat types, depending on the time you’ll be staying and what you would like to see. The islands are all very different and boast their own special landscape and wildlife, so it is a good idea to research a bit on each of them before deciding. Some say Isabela island is the most beautiful, others claim that Espindola is the most magical… so it really is a matter of personal taste. Luckily, ¡they are all amazing in their own right! ;)

In any case, your Galapagos trip will revolve around the wildlife, which you can discover by diving, snorkeling, hiking, kayaking or on board one of the many vessels you will get on while you are there. Many species on the islands are endemic –unique to Galapagos. Here is a little preview of what you might see:

  • A diverse array of birds: the very popular blue-footed boobies, albatross (at Punta Espinosa in Espindola), penguins (around Tagus Cove, on Isabela island), and the Darwin’s finch, among others.
  • Marine iguanas! These are a Galapagos icon so you must see them. The largest colony is at Fernandina, but you can also see them during the Bay tour at Santa Cruz. During your hikes you can also spot numerous lava lizards.
  • Marine wildlife to spare: hammerhead sharks, blue sharks, eagle rays, whales, sea lions, Galapagos crabs –zayapas-, gigantic sea tortoises and an endless array of fish types. If you want to make the most out of your marine wildlife experience, ask for the diving tours… mostly to dive spots on Wolf and Darwin Islands.
  • Giant land tortoises, at the various breeding centers, like the ones at Santa Cruz, San Cristobal or Isabela Islands, where you can get up-close with these prehistoric creatures.
  • The opuntia cactus –endemic to the islands-, chandelier cacti and other local flora.

Photo: Shutterstock

Finally, a few tips for you to have the ultimate Galapagos experience:

  • What to pack:  waterproof camera or dry bag, binoculars, swimsuit, swim mask and fins (tours usually provide these, but if you have your own, take them anyway!), sun hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, a long-sleeved shirt with UPF, refillable water bottle, a rain jacket and good hiking shoes (as well as flip flops).
  • Bring motion sickness medication for your boat tours.
  • Visit the Darwin Scientific Station at Puerto Ayora, ideally when there is a guided tour.
  • Dine at the “Calle de los Kioskos” in Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz Island). Pick your fish (brujo is very popular) or lobster (make sure it’s not ban season), and enjoy! This street is also a feast of flavors and colors.
  • Before leaving home, fill out the pre-registration in the Galapagos Government website. And before boarding your flight to Galapagos go get your TCT card at the Galapagos Government counter in the airport (Guayaquil or Quito), paying $10. This is where filling the pre-registration form comes in handy.
  • Upon arrival in the Galapagos airport, you will have to pay the entrance fee to the National Park ($100). This is usually not included in the tours’ prices.

Find the best Galapagos cruise and tour packages:

https://www.journeyou.com/en/tours/galapagos/

Practical guide for traveling to Peru

 

View from Intipunku. Machu Picchu, Cusco, Peru.

If you are traveling to Peru you are in for a treat. This country really has a bit of everything to offer… from Lima’s coastal urban flair, to the majesty of Machu Picchu, and the intensity of the Amazon rainforest… Should you choose the adventurous nature experiences, or rather the urban escapes; here are some general tips for making your trip to Peru a smooth one. ;)

Before your trip:

  • Get informed on visas, vaccinations or any other special requirements.
  • Be sure to have enough cash and accepted credit cards with you. Cash (preferably in smaller denominations) is the most accepted payment method. Visa and MasterCard are also generally ok, Amex only in some places. Other methods might not be accepted. There are ATMs in most big cities. Exchange houses are also available in the touristic cities and paying in US$ is sometimes an option, but you’ll get charged a high exchange rate.
  • Get informed on currency and exchange rate (1 US$ is usually between S/.3 and S/.3.50 soles).
  • Know that the Inca Trail is genuinely physically demanding and, should you decide to do it, be sure to prepare accordingly.
  • Check your electric appliances. Electricity in Peru is 220 Volts and 60 Hertz. Plug outlets are either two-pronged plugs with flat, parallel blades, or two round prongs. Some outlets accept both types.
  • Drinking age is 18.

What to pack:

  • Sunblock, sunglasses, a hat and some repellent.
  • Proper hiking boots, waterproof, preferably. Flip-flops are also a good idea for those lazy afternoons.
  • A basic first-aid kit with general sickness medication, such as Pepto-Bismol, aspirin, ibuprofen, Band-Aids, cleaning wipes, and any other specific meds you think you might need.
  • A small notebook for writing down words in the local language, addresses or any other useful information.
  • A rain jacket (although you can also buy a plastic poncho in Cusco).
  • Clothes for pretty much every type of weather, sunny and warm, but also cold and rainy. Oh, and, of course, a bathing suit! (You never know.)
  • Camera, empty memory cards and extra battery.

While on your trip:

  • Cellphone rentals are available at Lima Airport, should you want one.
  • Most –if not all- people need some time to adjust to altitude. When arriving in Cusco or other high places, take it easy, rest, drink lots of water and try some coca or muña tea.
  • Do not drink water from the tap, unless advised to by locals.
  • Always get informed about what is or is not included in any of the tours or services you hire.

What not to miss while in Peru:

  • Ceviche is a must-try for any tourist visiting the country; it is the most popular dish, made with fresh, raw fish marinated in lime juice and chili peppers, some salt and onion. Advise your cook or server if you can’t handle much spiciness.
  • Pisco in any form, but we specially recommend trying pisco sour, a cocktail combining pisco with lime juice, syrup, egg white, ice and Angostura bitters.
  • Try pretty much all the food you can. Average price for a meal varies radically, from S/.10 (US$ 3) to up to S/.170 (US$ 50), depending on where you eat, but generally, S/.70 (about US$ 20) should be enough.
  • A walk along the Miraflores seaside parks (malecón).
  • Cusco and, of course, the World Wonder Machu Picchu.

Finally, be sure to find the right Peru travel package with us! :)

https://www.journeyou.com/en/tours/peru/machu-picchu-tour-with-air-from-us/

Rainbow Mountain, practical guide for reaching the top

Rainbow Montain, Cusco, Peru.

Rainbow Montain, Cusco, Peru.

Vinicunca, also known as Montaña Arco Iris (“Rainbow Mountain” in Spanish), is most definitely one of the trendiest spots near Cusco. Travellers claim it’s stunningly beautiful and the picture-perfect scenery make it into a superb setting for a mini photo shoot. It is a rather unusual natural formation, where the mountain appears striped in many different colors, as if it had been painted, resembling a huge rainbow.

This gem is one of the scenes travellers come across while on the 6 day Ausangate trek. However, there are now other options to enjoy it on a full day tour or a 2 days/1 night trek. In any case, while you don’t need to be an experienced hiker, getting to Vinincunca is not like a light stroll along the promenade. It does take a fairly good physical condition, but there are also some tips to reach the top and make the most out of the experience.

Before undertaking this walk… be sure you are in a generally good physical state and acclimatized to the altitude, as the low level of oxygen can actually make it that much more demanding (you will walk over 4,000 meters above sea level!). It is advisable to have arrived in Cusco a couple of days earlier… unless you are already coming from a higher place, like Puno, for example.

Also, let your tour operator know if you have any dietary or special requirements.

On the day of the walk, you should take with you…

  1. Proper hiking shoes, with good traction and preferably waterproof.
  2. Comfortable trekking clothes and use them in layers, prepared for cold weather during the early morning and late afternoon, even an eventual snowstorm, but also ready for some pretty warm moments while walking (many hikers are actually in shorts and t-shirts for parts of the way)
  3. A rain jacket or poncho (just in case)
  4. Warm hat and gloves (wool or soft shell)
  5. Hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and lip balm (also with sunscreen!)
  6. Water bottle (for the whole day) and maybe some snacks
  7. Coca candy or coca leaves (ask your tour guide about this)
  8. Any medicine that you might need… paracetamol or aspirin and some altitude sickness meds are not a bad idea, just in case
  9. Some cash for horse renting or any other fees not included in your tour (ask about this beforehand!)
  10. Camera with full battery and lots of space for some AMAZING PICTURES! ;)

Pack everything in a small backpack, as you will be carrying your own things (at least on the full day tours).

During the walk… First of all, find your own pace and stick to it! Also, let your guide know if you are having any trouble or doubts about anything. And, should you not be feeling too well, feel free to rent a horse, many tourists do so. Just bare in mind this is usually not included in the tour’s price. Chewing on coca leaves can also help with altitude and tiredness.

After the walk… make your friends jealous with all those wonderful pictures and brag about your altitude trekking performance! ;)

 

5 reasons for having Chile on the top of your bucket list

About 4,300 km length from north to south make of Chile a geographically extremely diverse country, hosting a wide range of sceneries, from deserts to glaciers, going over beaches, the Andes, valleys… Therefore, this is a destination that has an experience for everyone. We’ll try to sum a few of our top ones here. ;)

So, why should Chile be on the top of your bucket list?

 

1. It is home to the world’s driest desert, the “Atacama Desert”

It showcases stunning views of salt flats, geysers, natural hot springs, volcanoes and out-of-this-world landscapes like that of the “moon valley”, area which resembles the moon surface. All of that is topped up by the clearest skies in the world and some serious stargazing.

San Pedro de Atacama. Photo: Shutterstock.

San Pedro de Atacama. Photo: Shutterstock.

 

2. The Chilean Patagonia and its immense glaciers will blow your mind

The Torres del Paine National Park, one of its most iconic protected areas, features immense glaciers like the Grey, and pristine lakes, such as lake Nordenskjöld. The Chilean Patagonia also gives away unique views on icebergs, mountains, intensely colored turquoise waters and picturesque towns like Puerto Varas.

Torres del Paine National Park. Photo: Shutterstock.

Torres del Paine National Park. Photo: Shutterstock.

 

3. Few places are more intriguing than Easter Island, PLUS, it’s also gorgeous

More than 1000 stone statures from the Rapa Nui culture known as “moais” are waiting for you on this island full of breathtaking scenery. Here, your imagination will be highly stimulated, as the real origin behind these sculptures is yet unknown. According to the legend, 7 of the statues represent the first explorers of Rapa Nui, which were sent by King Hotu Matua. The archeological treasures scattered about the island are framed by amazing geography, from white sand beaches to craters and lava formations. You can horseback ride or hike to explore this destination, but, heads up, there’s also a whole underwater world to explore.

Easter Island. Photo: Shutterstock.

Easter Island. Photo: Shutterstock.

 

4. Santiago and their neighbor coastal towns of Valparaiso and Viña del Mar

There is always something going on in the capital of Chile, Santiago, especially in its downtown and financial district. You’ll also get a great panoramic view of the city with a fantastic backdrop, from the San Cristobal hill. Santiago’s surroundings are also worth visiting, especially the coastal towns of Valparaiso and Viña del Mar (connected by a coastal road featuring beautiful views). During winter, there are also some great ski resorts just about an hour away from the city.

Santiago de Chile. Photo: Shutterstock.

Santiago de Chile. Photo: Shutterstock.

 

5. And, of course, Chile has some world-class wine!!! ;)

While you are there, seize the opportunity to visit any of the most re-known wineries nearby Santiago. Day trips to Maipo Valley, Casablanca, or Colchagua Valley, having a taste of some of the best wines in the world is a perfect way to round-up your Chilean experience.

Wineries near Santiago. Photo: Shutterstock.

Wineries near Santiago. Photo: Shutterstock.

Travel with Journeyou and win a journey to Galapagos 2016


We will announce the winner on June 30th!

Meanwhile check out the chosen photos that have made it to the final round!

 

Una foto publicada por @mikesbca el

 

Una foto publicada por Lora P. (@thumpergurl) el

 

Una foto publicada por @sheemakhan el

 

Una foto publicada por David (@dlcox) el

Una foto publicada por Kathryn Davisson (@dkaysplace7) el

 

Una foto publicada por Amy Waldinger (@amywaldinger) el