For our latest trip diary / blogs and lots of pics as the trip unfolds go to: www.travelpod.com/members/ronamoon
TRIP DIARY PART 2 - BRAZIL / BOLIVIA / PERU / EDUCADO / COLOMBIA
Link to Trip Diary Part 1 - Chile / Argentina / Paraguay / Argentina
Link to Trip Diary Part 3 - Panama / Costa Rica / Nicaragua / Honduras / Guatemala / Belize / Mexico
Link to Trip Diary Part 4 - NORTH AMERICA - USA, Canada, Alaska
CAMPING sites for South & Central America
Link to CAMPING sites for North America
Bobbing around in Bonito - April 08, 2011
Bonito, State of Mato Grosso do Sul, Aquario Natural, Gruta do Lago Azul
From Iguazu Falls we headed north into Brazil via Toledo, crossing the Rio Parana (again) at Guaira.
It was one big farm on both sides of the road - corn and sugar cane being the major crops and as you may guess it was hard to find a camp. And of course anywhere near a river or creek was flooded and it was still raining .... heavily! One night was spent camped behind a small little used church - the only spot of dry land that wasn't cultivated that we could find with good (meaning 'not boggy') access off the main highway. ...
To read more click on the link below.
Paddling with Piranhas in the Pantanal - April 10, 2011
Miranda, Pantanal, Corumba
On leaving Bonito it was an easy run north through magnificent grazing country, the grass so green it near hurt the eyes. Patches of jungle, large and small, with rainforest clad hills and tree lined streams made a patchwork tapestry of the land. It was delightful. ....
To read more click on the link below.
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First Taste of Bolivia on the way to Santa Cruz - April 18, 2011
Arroy Conception, Aguas Calientes, San Jose de Chiquitos, Rio Grande de Guapay, Santa Cruz
I guess our 5 hour crossing of the border was no big deal but the dusty, dirty busy Bolivian border town of Arroy Conception (pretty name for such a dump!) didn't instil any confidence in staying over night so we hit the road even though it was late in the afternoon.Luckily we found a hotel (La Patanal Hotel & Resort) just up the road and to the girls delight they wouldn't let us camp. It was more than good luck as an incredible storm then dumped inches of rain on our hotel and the surrounding area in an hour or so - we didn't care! ....
Read more: http://dirtroaddiaries.com.au/bolivia-south-america
Searching for Che on the high road to Sucra - April 22, 2011
Santa Cruz, Cuevas, El Fuerte de Samaipata, Samaipata, Vallegrande, Che Guevara, Ruta 5, Aiquile, Puentre Arce, Mojotoro, Sucre
Climbing up from the flat plains around Santa Cruz that had been our lot for the past few weeks we all breathed a sigh of relief as the humidity magically melted away. Our camp amongst green and sheer mountains at 1500 metres at Cuevas was a beauty. ....
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Flippin' Freezing at Salt Flats of Salar de Uyuni - April 25, 2011
Sucre, Potosi, Uyuni, Salar de Uyuni
We spent an extra day in Sucra and after a Good Friday parade and a great meal in a small hotel just up from the Plaza, next day we packed our bongos and headed out of town.
High & Breathless in Bolivia's high country
April 26, 2011
Uyuni, San Cristobal, Villa Allota, Villa Mar, Reserva Nacional Eduardo Avaroa, Huayflajara, Laguna Colorado, Hospedaje Las Rogas, Laguna Grande de Chalviri, Termas de Polques, Laguna Verde, Volcan Licancabur, Bolivian border
We headed out of Uyuni past the rubbish tip where the very poor people were scrounging a living from the flotsam and jetsam of the more well off.
The road was dirt from here and passed along the southern edge of the great salt lake of Salar de Uyuni. It's a bloody dry country and when we saw a flowing stream - the 'mighty' Rio Grande de Lipez - we had to stop and take a pic of it. ....
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BACK INTO CHILE
Chile's North Coast and Atacama Desert
May 6, 2011
San Pedro de Atacama, Volcan Licancahur, Atacama Desert, Calama, Chuquicamata, Tocopila, Ruta 1, Urcu Sud, Urcu, Iquique, Reserva Nacional Pampa del Tamarugal, Cerro Pintados geoglyphs, Giant of the Atacama, Humberstone, Azapa Valley, Arica
The descent from the Bolivian border - a short drive or 5km or so on dirt road to a major new bitumen highway (which leads 170km to Salta in Argentina) - was a beauty. It dropped over 2000m in 25km - the road at the blacktop being 4500m - the town of San Pedro de Atacama at 2400m! Luckily we were going downhill - for the semi-trailers hauling goods uphill it was a long slow trip! The Patrol ... and us .... breathed easier as we got lower.
CHILE and BACK into BOLIVIA
Across High Mountain to La Paz - May 8, 2011
Llute Valley, Poconchile, Pukara de Copaquilla, Zapahuira, Socoroma, Lauca national park, Lagunas de Cotacotani, Lago Chungara, Bolivian border post, Parque Nacional Sajama, Patacamaya, Highway 1, La Paz
Once we headed north out of Arica we turned up the Llute Valley which seems to grow a heap of veges and corn for over 30km along its well watered valley floor.
Beyond the small hamlet of Poconchile - not really more than a truckie stop - the road begins to climb more steeply and once away from the floor of the valley the stark hills are dry and sterile!
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Cruising Amazonian Rivers to Remote Chalalan - May 13, 2011
Rurrenabaque, Chalalan, Madidi National Park, San Jose de Uchupiamonas
For a break from the high altitude and to see some real green trees we headed for the Bolivian Amazon at Rurrenabaque (Rurre to locals and us people who've been there!) and our first night in this remote tourist town on the edge of the Rio Bein was at the Safari Hotel on the edge of town. It was a pretty good spot too.
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Lazing around in La Paz - May 23, 2011
La Paz, Bolivia
We've had a big break in La Paz not because it was really planned that way but with Neil and Chris heading home from here after about 7 weeks with us and then Linda and Rob coming in to join us for the next six weeks or so, it just worked out that way.
Defying Death on the Death Road
May 26, 2011
Coroico, La Paz, Bolivia
The famous (or should that be infamous?) Death Road begins at La Cumbre - a 4700m high pass about 20km outside La Paz. The road drops over 3000m (10,000') in 50-60km and was built in the 1930s by Paraguayan prisoners of war (a war Bolivia lost ... again). It links La Paz with its Amazon jungle - the road pushing east to Rurrenabaque and onto the Brazil border.
Beached at Copacabana ... but not that Copacabana!
May 28, 2011
We found our way through the maze of La Paz and the bedlam of El Alto that seems to sprawl forever out across the dull coloured plains of the high alto. The country was a mosaic of farm land with scattered farms and clumps of houses dotted all over the countryside with an occasional village stretched out alongside the roadway. The plots of land were small as they seem to be ... and need to be ... as they are all worked by hand. There were people planting crops, digging pototoes, thrashing grain and piling cut hay into small piles and bundles for drying.
The long road back to Arica
May 29, 2011
Volcan Sajama, Lago Chungara, Lagun as de Cotacotani, Arica Chile
Once we had left Copacabana we headed south back thru El Alto bypassing La Paz to head south.
Puno & the floating Reed Islands of Titikaka
June 3, 2011
Tacna, Moquegua, Arequipa, Puno, Islas de los Uros, Taquire Island, Yavari
The border crossing into Peru was going pretty well until we lost all our fruit, veg, meat and chicken we had bought the day before in Arica ..... bugger!
The drive north was thru' uninteresting dull coloured desert as bare as a baby's behind. In places the government was trying an 'experimental irrigation project' but it looked like it was a big flop with the few straggly plants struggling to survive. The cactus were doing well but the banana plants were making a hard time of it all.
Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu
June 7, 2011
Cusco, Saqsaywaman, Rio Urubamba valley, Sacred Valley, Pisca, Yucay, Urubamba, Ollantaytambo, Machu Picchu, Agus Caientes
Our intro to Cusco as we wound our way into the city was going pretty well until Nuvi led us up a narrow steep street and we were stopped by a set of vertical stairs! The next couple of hours was spent turning the vehicles and T-van around. We created mayhem with the taxis who were coming up the road to drop passengers off - it didn't take us long and we ignored them, their pleas and their honky horns. Locals bought soft drinks and chips and sat and watched as we slaved away getting the camper pointed down the hill. It may sound easy ... it wasn't! We finally got ourselves pointed in the right direction and then found our way via some narrow streets and the main plaza up the hill to our campsite. Geez, we were glad to get there!
Read more: http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/ronamoon/25/1307485604/tpod.html
Onto Nazca ... and some Crazy Lines in the Desert!
June 11, 2011
Machu Picchu, Abancay, Reserva Nacional Pampa Galeras, Sechura Desert, Nazca, Nazca Lines, Pan American Highway
After leaving Machu Picchu there were lots of small farms and great high country farmland as we headed west towards the coast. There were lots of mountains to cross though and we climbed and dropped over the ranges a couple of times going from 2400m to 3700m down to 1900m and then back over 4000m to arrive at Abancay after another drop to around 2000m. It's a slow haul and the second day was much the same but topping out at 4570 metres (about 15,100 feet). Luckily there was also a lot of relatively flat high plains on some of the mountain tops and these we cruised along at 70-80kph. Mind you, trying to do anything left us breathless as each of these plains were over 4000m.
The Rocky Road north to Guayaquil
June 20, 2011
Reserva Nacional de Paracas, Laguniias, Lima, Reserva Nacional de Lachay, Huacho, Caral, Huarney, Tuquillo, Chiclayo, Bayovar, Talara, Negritos, Punta Parinas, 3 Puntas Resort
As we were getting close to Guayaquil and just a couple of hours after crossing the border into Ecuador we were pulled up by a stinking rotten copper ..... but, I'm getting ahead of myself! A few days previously with Nazca behind us we headed north on the Pan American highway and that afternoon found our way through the tourist village of Paracas to the Reserva Nacional de Paracas. We set up camp on the cliffs above the sea near the small fishing port of Laguniias.
Gobsmacked by the Galapagos
June 24, 2011
Galpagos Islands, Galapagos, Ecuador, Santa Cruz Island Dragon Hill, Rabida (Jervis) Island, Santiago Island, Fernandina Island, La Cumbre volcanoe, Isabela Island, Darwin Volcano, Bartolome Island, Port Ayoram, Charles Darwin Research Centre
The Galapagos are situated nearly a 1000km off the coast of Ecuador and like most tourist these days, we flew from Guayaquil to Baltra, the islands main airport.
Beach bums along the Ecuador Coast
July 5, 2011
Guayaquil, Ayangue, Salango, Manta, Canoa, Quito
Once back from the Galapagos - a trip that will be pretty hard to equal let alone beat - we went back to the same hotel in Guayaquil, sorted out our trucks, said goodbye to Linda and Rob who were heading to Quito and the Amazonian jungle for a few days before heading back to Oz, while we headed west out of town looking for a beach or two to enjoy as we headed north.
Mountain High in Ecuador
July 7, 2011
Equator, The Avenue of the Volcanoes, Cotopaxi, Cayambe, Otavalo, Ecuador/Colombia border
We crossed the Equator into the northern hemisphere and then as we headed inland to the Andes once more we dropped back into the southern hemisphere. As we got further into the mountains and on more major roads, all leading towards Quito, the traffic became an endless travelcade of trucks and crazily driven buses.
Humming Along the Pan Americana
July 18, 2011
Ecuador/Colombia border, Ipjales, Las Lajas, Rio Cauca, Cali, Buga, Medellin, Sincelejo, Tolu
Think of Colombia and you'll probably think of drug barons, cocaine wars and FARC rebels kidnapping whoever they could get hold off. That's all pretty ancient history, but the reputation lingers. Still, we were just hoping the police and military might be reasonable and not too demanding, but their friendly attitude and manner still came as a surprise ... a very pleasant surprise.
The Magical north coast of Columbia
July 24, 2011
Rio Magdelena, Cienaga Grande de Santa Maria, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Parque National Tayrona, Rioacha, Mayopo, El Pajaro, Uribia, Cabo de la Vela
On our way north through Columbia we turned off the Pan Americana and bypassed Cartagena while pushing on towards Barranquilla. About 20km north of the junction the road enters the vast floodplain of the Rio Magdalena and after Soledad, where we veered east in a hubbub of traffic and road works, we finally made the coast again. Here the road begins to hug the coast and crosses the isthmus that stretches along here between the sea proper and the inland lake or swamp of Cienaga Grande de Santa Maria. There's some good birdlife along here as you may suspect and some poor fishing villages, their huts strewn like flotsam along the shore or out on spindly wooden stilts in the water.
July 27, 2011
We really enjoyed this city of about 1.2 million on the edge of the Caribbean. It reeks with history, has some fine architecture, good places to eat and drink, some half reasonable beaches (most people say they are brilliant - but they are not comparing them with Aussie beaches!) and we found it safe and friendly.
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