Guayaquil sign, Malecon, Ecuador

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:…

Volcan Santa Ana, El Salvador

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.…

Desserts sold at a market stand, Peru

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.…

Evening view of Tortuguero, Costa Rica

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.…

Ceviche, Peru

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.…

Harvin, our tour guide from La Fortuna, Costa Rica

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.…

Village in the Amazon near Iquitos, PEru

“Put on your rain jacket,” the Kiwi guy said.

I looked up at the blue sky, with no cloud in sight.

“It protects you against mosquitos,” he added. “Trust me, I’ve been here for a couple of days already.”

Have you ever ended up in the middle of nowhere and realised that you forgot to pack the most essential items? For me, one of the biggest appeals of staying in a jungle lodge in the middle of the Amazon was its remoteness. Far away from cities, traffic and big malls, I could enjoy nature. But it also meant I had to be extra careful when packing so I wouldn’t forget anything important.

Believe me, you do not want to visit the Amazon without insect repellent.…

Libertad Jungle Lodge in the Amazon near Iquitos, Peru

If you want to go to the Amazon in Peru (and you totally should), chances are high that you’ll pass through Iquitos. Iquitos is the biggest city in the world that cannot be reached by car. You can go by boat down the Amazon, but most travellers arrive here by plane.

While many jungle lodges can arrange to pick you up at the airport, you might find yourself spending a day or two in Iquitos. Either because your flight arrives too late or leaves too early or because you still need to arrange a jungle tour (which most hostels can help you with). Whatever the reason that leaves you staying in Iquitos itself, there are a couple of things to do here.…

Amazon near Iquitos, Peru

“There!” I pointed towards the place where the fin had just disappeared. “Did you see it? Was that one of the pink dolphins?”

I can’t remember the first time I had heard of those creatures. Probably when I was researching my trip to South America. Or when I was in Peru almost two years before, searching for monkeys in Puerto Maldonado. Whenever it was, the moment I learned of the pink dolphin, I knew that I wanted to see one. Dolphins were amazing creatures and what could be better than a freshwater one that was tinged pink?

While these creatures may have played a huge role in my decision to visit the Amazon region in Peru and stay at a lodge a couple of hours away from Iquitos, there are many more reasons to plan a jungle trip in this country.…

Ricardo, our tour guide in Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica

Last week, I got the chance to visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. While the weather was rainy and cloudy (I guess that’s why it’s called a cloud forest) and we did not get to see many animals, we walked through a beautiful forest. And I had the opportunity of meeting Ricardo. He was our jungle guide, someone whose family had been around at the founding time of Monteverde, and he was nice enough to agree to do an interview with me.…