Marine iguana at Turtle Bay, Santa Cruz, Galapagos, Ecuador

The Galapagos Islands are known for being one of the most expensive destinations in the world.

If you google them, you will find beautiful cruise ships that take you around the archipelago for thousands and thousands of dollars. You will see luxury resorts and tours promising you the best experience – if you pay them enough. The islands have the reputation of being expensive and it is possible to spend a small fortune coming here.

Yet, it is also possible to experience the wonderful nature and wildlife without blowing your budget. While the Galapagos Islands will never be the cheapest destination in the world, I have travelled here for less than 60$ a day. This included a double room with a private bathroom, two excursions and lots of awesome wildlife encounters that I wouldn’t want to miss.

You can do the same. There are just a few things you need to keep in mind.

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Pelicans at fish market, Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, Galapagos

Most travellers who visit Galapagos end up on Santa Cruz sooner or later, and I was no exception. In fact, I came here twice. Once voluntarily and once involuntarily.

My first, involuntary stay, unavoidable due to all boat connections from San Cristobal to Isabela going via Santa Cruz, lasted only a couple of hours. I used that time to eat a giant cup of ice cream – a decision which I regretted later that afternoon when I took a boat to Isabela and desperately tried not to empty my stomach into the sea.

My second encounter with Santa Cruz was more fortunate. I stayed for three days so I had a chance to properly get to know the island beyond the ice cream parlour. I saw giant tortoises, sea lions and marine iguanas, swam in crystal clear water and took selfies with pelicans. Santa Cruz has a lot to offer so I highly suggest you plan to spend at least a couple of days here.

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Sea lion, Las Tintoreras, Isabela Island, Galapagos, Ecuador

If you asked me to choose a favourite island on Galapagos, I would have a hard time. I went to three of them, San Cristobal, Santa Cruz and Isabela, and loved all of them. Each was special in its own way. But if I absolutely had to decide, I think I would go for Isabela because it was just a bit more special than the others.

Isabela is the island of marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies and pink flamingos. It has endless white beaches and a small town consisting of dirt roads. Upon arriving, we were greeted by sea lions who had taken a rest in between the mangroves.

Isabela is just perfect. And so you know how to spend your time here and make sure you don’t miss any of the highlight, here is what I recommend doing:

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San Cristobal is paradise. White beaches, warm weather and thousands of exotic animals. This island was our first stop in Galapagos and it didn’t disappoint. Within two hours of arriving, I had seen more sea lions than I had expected to see during my whole stay in the archipelago.

My friend and I had two and a half days on San Cristobal and we would see many more sea lions during that time. Big ones, small ones, tiny babies drinking from their mothers, young ones frolicking in the water.

But San Cristobal is not just about sea lions. There is a lot more to discover. Keep reading to find out what to see and do on this island:

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Most travellers to Ecuador pass through Guayaquil. If you want to go to Galapagos, this is where flights come from. If you come from Peru, it is a convenient stop to break up what would otherwise be an endless bus ride.

So if you have to come here anyway, why not turn this into a sightseeing stop?

With its colonial buildings, the Malecon, the hillside neighbourhoods and a mangrove island just off its coast, Guayaquil is a great place for tourists. There are plenty of things to do in Ecuador’s biggest city. If you are wondering what you shouldn’t miss, here are five of Guayaquil’s highlights:

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After nine days in Honduras, Copan was our last stop. We had a great day here, exploring the Mayan ruins and observing macaws and toucans on Macaw Mountain. But eventually, the time came for us to leave and that’s when it got complicated.

We knew that we wanted to go to El Salvador next. Ideally, we would make our way from Copan to Santa Ana, but we were also prepared to stop in San Salvador since we knew transport was going to be difficult. There are regular tourist shuttles between Copan Ruinas and El Salvador, but they only leave three times a week, get cancelled often, are expensive and, and that was the main reason we didn’t take one, didn’t leave on the day we wanted to cross the border. So we didn’t have a choice but to do it on our own.

Fortunately, when asking for transport to El Salvador, we came across Josue. Josue was originally from Tegucigalpa but had lived in Copan Ruinas for the past years. He asked if we wanted to go together and we agreed because he seemed to know what he was doing

Not everyone is lucky enough to meet a guy like Josue, so in case you want to make the journey on your own, I have put together this guide for you. This is how we went from Copan to Santa Ana and I hope it can be useful for you.

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By now, most people will have heard of the amazing Peruvian food. Restaurants all over the world serve dishes like ceviche and lomo saltado. But what about Peruvian desserts?

Until travelling to Peru, I had no idea such a thing even existed. But after spending a month and a half in the country, I got to appreciate many of the sweet dishes they sell at streetfood carts and in restaurants.

If you don’t know about Peruvian desserts, don’t worry. I have put together this overview so you know what to seek out next time you travel to Peru.

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During the last ten months of travelling, transportation had always been straightforward. Along the Silk Road, I did an overland tour and used a truck. Through Southeast Asia, we went by bus. Those buses were comfortable and drove from one touristic place to the next. In French Polynesia, buses were irregular but distances were mostly short and I had more than enough time to wait. And in South America, I might have had to switch buses once, but rarely more than that.

It wasn’t until I got to Costa Rica that I faced my first challenge. We were in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca and wanted to go to Tortuguero – without taking one of those very expensive shuttles that cost two or three times as much as public transport. The guidebook wasn’t very helpful and while I could find some information online, it was lacking important bits and pieces – like the travelling time between some of those places. This is why I have decided to put together this guide, to help you get from one place to another without having to pay for an expensive shuttle.

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It is no longer a secret that Peru is a foodie destination. Over the past years, the country’s cuisine has gotten more and more international attention. So when I travelled to Peru, I was excited to try ceviche and… well, ceviche. It was the only Peruvian dish I knew of.

After a month and a half of travelling through the country, I now know that there is far more to Peru than ceviche. I tried lomo saltado, rocotto relleno and chicha morada. I joined a food festival in Lima and ate dishes unique to the Amazon region.

Here are my favourite pieces of Peruvian cuisine.

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As I mentioned before, one of the most interesting parts of travelling is meeting people along the way. While language is an issue (even though my Spanish is getting better, I still find it hard to have a proper conversation with anyone), I was lucky and could at least get to know some of our guides better. In Costa Rica, I already did an interview with Ricardo, whose family was involved in the founding process of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. But I also got the chance of meeting Harvin, a young guide who helped us find a red-eyed tree frog in La Fortuna.

Harvin’s story is an interesting one and I am very happy that he agreed to do an interview with me.

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