• South America
  • The Kennedy Park Cats: Cat Lover’s Paradise in Lima, Peru

    There are fluffy Siamese cats. Old ginger cats. Feisty cats. Shy cats. Cats that love attention. Cats that just want to stretch out in the sun and nap. There is every variety of cat. We felt like Willa Wonka when he first walks into the chocolate factory: all around us were THE BEST THINGS and we wanted to touch them all, but we weren’t sure we were allowed to (this park is, after all, the property of the Kennedy Park cats). Plus, one time I went to a cat cafe in Oakland and the poor over-stimulated kitties lashed out at me. Literally – I got a claw through the hand just from walking too close to them. It’s the cat equivalent of turning into a giant blueberry and rolling away: the reward isn’t worth the risk.

  • South America
  • 40 Things Nobody Tells You About Backpacking in Peru

    A supermarket aisle in Arequipa filled with Inca Kola. Peru is obsessed with Inca Kola! It's one of the things nobody told us about backpacking in Peru!

    If you’re going backpacking in Peru, chances are you’ll hear a lot about Macchu Picchu, something like “don’t spend any time in Lima” (we disagree), and some generic advice about acclimating in Cusco for a few days before doing anything athletic, like getting out of bed or walking up a flight of stairs (we agree). And that’s about it. We arrived in Peru with very little idea of what to expect. After a month of backpacking in Peru and figuring it out as we went, we’ve cobbled together some observations from our very gringo perspective, with varying levels of usefulness and in no particular order.

  • Hiking
  • Hiking Laguna 69 in Huaraz, Peru: Everything You Need to Know

    Stunning glacial lake Laguna 69 sits at a grueling 15,000 feet above sea level. The difficult hike is worth the view! Laguna 69 is outside of Huaraz, Peru in the Cordillera Blanca mountain range.

    Laguna 69 sits at the base of a giant glacier in the Cordillera Blancas. Its elevation is at approximately 15,000 feet, which beats anywhere in the continental United States by a good 500 feet. Somehow, no one in Huaraz seemed to be impressed by this.To give you an idea of how incredibly high Laguna 69 is, once Lia and I jumped out of a plane to skydive from the highest altitude they were legally able to fly us, and it was STILL lower than Laguna 69. I knew this would would be no walk in the park, but I had no experience hiking at such a high altitude before. I was about to get a crash course.

  • South America
  • La Balsa Border Crossing: from Ecuador to Peru

    The La Balsa Border Crossing is the lesser known way to cross from Ecuador into Peru. It's incredibly scenic, not too difficult, and totally free of tourists!

    Sometimes travel makes you miss things that you never knew you appreciated before. Like the immigration kiosk at the airport. You hop off a plane, hand them a slip of paper, answer a couple questions, then you’re off to enjoy a new country. Sure, you might wait in a long line, but at least you’re not scrunched in a van next to a rooster careening along a cliff at 80mph while the driver talks on his cell phone.

  • Featured
  • Hiking the Quilotoa Loop in Ecuador: Reverse Route Travel Guide

    The stunning Quilotoa Lake in

    The Quilotoa Loop is a 3-day long hike in the Andes mountains in Ecuador, peaking at 12,500 feet. We thought we were taking the “easy” route. It turns out there is no easy route. Of course, we didn’t know that until after getting lost, unintentionally trespassing, crawling up a mountain on our hands and knees, injuring ourselves, and finally hitchhiking the rest of the way.

  • Accommodation Reviews
  • Hostel Review: La Serrana Hostel in Salento, Colombia

    La Serrana Hostel in Salento, Colombia is one of the best hostels in Colombia!

    Tucked away in the Eje Cafetero/coffee region of Colombia lies the little town of Salento. This town has become a major stop for travelers due to its proximity to the famous Valle de Cocora, myriad coffee farms, and stunning views of the area’s rolling green hills. Our experience in Salento was amazing, and one of the major reasons for that was our hostel, La Serrana Hostel and Eco-Farm.

  • South America
  • Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls: My Waterfall Rappelling Catastrophe in San Gil, Colombia

    Don't go chasing waterfalls: my waterfall rappelling disaster in San Gil, Colombia

    “How do I stop?? How do I make it stop going down?!?” I shriek frantically at my husband, who is calmly dangling in mid-air a few feet below me. I can’t make out his response through the roaring, cascading waterfall that we are both being drenched in as we rappel down a sheer rock face 250 feet in the air, but it’s probably something like ” Use the rope, idiot!” Oh, right.

  • South America
  • 30 Things Nobody Tells You About Backpacking in Colombia

    Guane on the Camino Real hike from Barichara in the Santander region near San Gil, Colombia. To get there, just take a bus from San Gil! Read all about transportation in Colombia in our guide.

    It has officially been 1 month since we took off for South America with only what we could fit in our backpacks. Our first destination? Colombia. We got a lot of weird looks when we told our friends and family we were starting in Colombia; looks that said things like “but you know there’s plenty of coke in San Francisco, right?” Well, friends and family, our month in Colombia was spent coke-free, but we did end up with a lot of questions. Like, why are the coins all random sizes? What’s tranquilo? And what’s with all the honking??