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Strolling across Comuna 13 in Medellin

Our next stop was the famous “Comuna 13” which had the most tumultuous history of the city, which was once known as the most dangerous community due to its huge homicide rates and forced displacement of thousands of residents. Comuna 13 is an over-populated and poor place situated on the west city hills. Houses are placed on top of the other like in a huge lego puzzle. This place was the center of paramilitary, guerrilla and gang activity because of its location that provided easy transportation of guns, drugs, and money. But today this place looks new as if it was reborn from its own ash. The neighborhood has embraced an era of freedom and hope! Nowadays residents aren’t afraid to leave their homes and their quality of life has increased.They started to express themselves through art like graffiti, street dance and music. Here I’ve seen the most beautiful graffiti ever. The walls became a canvas…

Sleeping under the stars in the jungle of Tayrona National Park

After two weeks in Peru, we arrived at the Caribbean Sea in the North of Colombia. We were supposed to have a trilling get away in the jungle of Tayron National Park. A real paradise. The perfect combination of wild jungle and green palms that make the perfect background for the turquoise Caribbean water. Tayrona is surrounded by the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the world’s highest mountains on the coast, with altitudes of up to 5,700 meters and it is one of those places where you can enjoy peace and nature. There are four things that make this place unique: It is huge. We are talking about 15,000 hectares of wildlife and Caribbean beaches. It had a unique environment of fauna and vegetation. Tayrona is home of hundreds of species of birds, mammals, plants, but at the same time hundreds of fish and coral species. It still has indigenous tribes. Traces of…

Discovering Machu Picchu – The lost city of the Incas

When you think of Peru there is only one thing that comes to your mind – Machu Picchu After all, it is one of the most fascinating archeological sites on the planet. It is also a symbol of the power and ingenuity of the Inca people and a once in a lifetime place to see. We spent the night in the city below the mountain: Aguas Caliente and at about 4.00am we arrived at the queue at the bus station, in order to catch one of the first busses that go up to Machu Picchu. Immediately after us, the queue started to build. Anyway,  we got on the third bus and we arrived at Machu Picchu among the first people that came to see the sunrise here. In the first few hours, everything was covered in clouds and fog. We sat down at the perfect view spot and waited. At mid-morning things started to…

Inca trail to Machu Picchu – The ancient road of the Incas

The most popular and famous hike in South America – Inca Trail, passes by breathtaking archaeological sites, cuts through an exuberant sea of clouds and climbs steep passes to Machu Picchu. The Inca Trail is an amazing technical achievment, a network of over 22,000 km of road, as it stretches across an entire mountain, a tropical forest and some desert areas of the empire. Of course, there is a tiny fragment of the road that can be taken today. So today’s, if you want to hike the Inca trail you have the following options: Inca Trail 7 days (Salkantay) The trail starts at the sacred Salkantay mountain and joins the classical Inca Trail on the fourth day at Wayllabamba. This route involves some high passes, mountain sceneries of Runcuracay, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca and Winay Wayna before arriving at Machu Picchu. Inca trail 5 days (Classical) This one follows the same route of…

Strolling in the Sacred Valley of the Incas

The Andean mountains and the valley surrounding the Urubamba River were once the epicenter of the Inca Empire because of the fertile land, perfect climate, natural resources and strategic position. It is one of the most stunning landscapes in the world and still maintaining its ancient characteristics, like the traditional clothes, spiritual ceremonies, language and the strong connection with Mother earth: “Pachamama”. Here is the place where you can find everything: from well preserved Inca ruins and agricultural terracing to authentic villages and cultural places. We booked a one day tour through the Sacred Valley with KB Peru.com. We chose the one full day transportation through Sacred Valley and they took us to Pisac Market, Pisac Ruins, Maras, Morai and Chincheros. Pisac Market So, we started our morning at a local ancient market: Pisac. The Pisac Market is one of the most famous markets in the Cusco region. Especially the…

Having a homestay with the locals in Amantani on Lake Titicaca

Located on the border between Peru and Bolivia, Lake Titicaca is the world’s highest navigable lake and home to some amazing and beautiful places. Amantani Island is another place which preserves the traditions of the old empire. About 40 km away from Puno, on the Lake Titicaca, Amantani island is situated. It has two mountain peaks, Pachatata(“father earth”) and Pachamama (“mother earth”) and terraced hills, mostly worked by hand. The main activity of the people is farming potatoes. They have also a small textile industry, but not as developed as the other islands. In Amantani there is also a cooperative where some families subscribe and receive tourists at their home. With the help of www.titicacaperu.com, they started to hosted tourists and to show them their ways of life. The tourist schedule on Amantani happens on a rotational basis. Every week, a different community hosts tourists. Once in the program, each family is able to host…

Visiting the floating island of Uros on Lake Titicaca

In the Andes, on the world’s high navigable lake, you can find the Uros people. Ancient people  that live on an approximate of 120 self-made floating islands on Lake Titicaca, near Puno. This people are descendants of the ancient Uros, who are one of the first major ethnic group to have settled in the high-altitude plateau and choose to live on the islands on the lake. Initially, they constructed their islands into the middle of the lake where they lived untouched for centuries. But due to a strong storm that destroyed the islands, they were forced to rebuild closer to shore, near Puno. And this was the point that opened the islands to the civilization and, of course, tourism. We arranged a tour with www.titicacaperu.com to visit the Floating islands and to have an authentic day and night on Amantani island. The price that we paid for both experiences was 65 USD/person. So,…

Experiencing a real oasis in Huacachina

After the beautiful and wild Paracas we went dipper in the desert arriving to Huacachina. Huacachina is a real desert oasis and the first that I m seeing ever. It is the only natural desert oasis and has the largest sand dunes in South America. How to get Public busses The public busses won’t take you directly to Huacachina. You will have buses almost from each town: from Lima, Cusco, Paracas but it will take only to Ica and from here take a taxi till the oasis. Of couse, it will be more difficult if you do the steps separately, but it will be cheaper. Bus from Lima to Ica is 10-15 usd taxi from Ica to Huacachina is 1 usd, entrance fee in Huacachina is 3 usd. PeruHop Is another option that we tried. The Peru bus took us from Paracas directly to Huacachina, and this was part of…

Exploring Ballestas island | The Poor Man’s Galapagos

Our second destination in Peru was Paracas, which is well known for its Ballestas Islands. Paracas National Reserve is one of the biggest protected desert reserves in South America; A fantastic desert that meets the ocean. Actually, it is a saline desert formed in the place of an ancient ocean and now home to a large wildlife. Because of its impressive marine and terrestrial wildlife, in 1975 was established as a protected area. Ballestas Islands What Are the Ballestas Islands The Ballestas are a collection of rocky islands, just a few kilometers off the western coast of Paracas. The islands are hosting a large wildlife. They are home for a thousand birds and mammals including penguins and sea lions. How to reach From Paracas, you’ll need to take a 2-hour wildlife-watching boat tour. Peru Hop arranged our tour with a local travel agency and we paid 15 USD. The tour…

Going crazy with a “Mad Max” experience in Paracas desert

Paracas represents the coastal desert region famous for Ballestas Island and Paracas National Reserve. Paracas national Reserve is one of the biggest protected desert reserves in South America; desert and ocean. It covers more than 3,000 kilometers of which 65% of it is sea and 35% is dry land and islands. It is considered one of the richest and most uncommon ecosystems in the world, but the attraction is not only its wildlife but also the beauty of the ocean and desert landscapes. We spent a day and a night here and we had the chance to experience a glimpse of what it can offer. After lunch, we rented some buggies and we started our mad driving adventure in the desert. We drove for 10 min to the Paracas National Reserve from our hotel, paid an entrance fee and started discovering the desert along the Paracas coast which was thrilling. We…

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