Ancient ruins from a magnificent kingdom. Mountains rising over a lush, fertile valley. Colorfully dressed llamas. Welcome to tiny Ollantaytambo, Peru, a mouthful of a town with its own enormous archaeological site, but forever overlooked next to nearby Machu Picchu. Ollantaytambo offers ancient culture and fascinating history that dates back to the pre-Columbian era, a place to respectfully learn about and support the lives of the local Quechua Indigenous people, and a jumping-off point to explore the Sacred Valley. Here are all the best things to do in Ollantaytambo!
Carnival. Street parties. Christ the Redeemer. Samba. Soccer. Beaches. Rio de Janeiro is a megacity and it’s got it all. (That’s not a dumb millennial word I made up, it really is called a megacity). Rio de Janeiro has a ton of distinct neighborhoods, each with its own unique vibe. With a historical center, beaches and favelas, the city is incredibly diverse. This self-guided walking tour of Rio will take you through the Centro and Lapa neighborhoods and treat you to the best of Rio’s incredible culture and art!
The Galapagos Islands, located off the coast of Ecuador in South America, are a bucket list destination. From the clear turquoise water and white sand beaches to the huge variety of unique animals and happy, ecologically protected wildlife, the Galapagos Islands are a magical place to visit. We spent 9 incredible days exploring the Galapagos Islands on a budget and it was by FAR the highlight of our trip to South America. But there were definitely some surprises along the way. Like for starters, the Galapagos Islands aren’t tropical. At all. In fact, from island to island, the geography completely changes: Isla Isabela has palm trees and sandy beaches, but Santa Cruz is actually covered in desert and cactus and volcanic rock. The geological variation is part of what make the islands SO interesting – and surprising! Now that we’ve had some time to reflect, we’ve created an essential Galapagos Packing List to help you plan your trip.
We’ve been back to visit Minca multiple times (Lia: 3x, Jeremy: 2x, and counting), each time discovering new things to love about this magical place. And every time we’ve returned, we’ve stayed in the same place: Casa Loma Minca. There is something truly amazing about this eco-hostel, which feels like a rustic tree-house perched on a hill in a mountain. It’s the kind of hostel that turns travelers into backpackers. The kind of place where you make friends that last a lifetime. The kind of hostel that you’ll forever compare all other hostels to. Learn why Casa Loma is the best hostel in Minca, Colombia, and why we keep coming back.
Lima, Peru is a giant, bustling sea-side city, full of delicious food, beautiful parks, stunning art and rich culture. During our year-long honeymoon, we spent 2 weeks in Lima, which allowed us to do things like befriend every cat in Kennedy Park, eat at a zillion incredible restaurants, and learn to make ceviche and Pisco Sours. One thing we wish we had during our trip? A free self-guided walking tour of Lima! Today’s Guest Poster spent 5 months exploring Lima and created an excellent self-guided tour through 3 coastal neighborhoods in Lima: Miraflores, Barranco, and Chorrillos.
Isla Barú, located just off the coast of Cartagena, Colombia, is the kind of tropical paradise that most visitors to Cartagena envision when they book their tickets. Palm trees, bright blue Caribbean sea, sandy beaches, fresh seafood and fruit juice… heaven, basically. You can visit Isla Barú for the day, sunning on the shores of stunning Playa Blanca, or you can choose to stay overnight, which is what we did. Read this travel guide to Isla Baru for more tips about visiting Isla Baru and Playa Blanca, and our pick for the best Isla Barú hotel!