Gingerbread hearts sold at a Christmas market in Frankfurt

It’s Christmas! Well, almost. It’s not far away anymore and when I went to the Christmas market with my co-workers last week, I felt inspired to write about the experience.

As I’m German, I grew up with Christmas markets. When I was a child, I found it strange that our English relatives would come especially for the Christmas markets. Why would they get so excited about such a normal thing?. Then, I grew up and realised that in many countries around the world, there either are no Christmas markets or they’re very different.

If you’re visiting Germany in December, you should visit at least one of them. That’s easy to do as every big city will have one Christmas market (or more).…

Barichara in Colombia

San Gil is the adrenalin capital of Colombia. You can go white-water rafting, caving, abseiling down waterfalls and paragliding. If you are looking for an adrenalin rush, this is the place to go to. Most blogs have a long list of suggestions on how to spend your time doing as many adventure activities as you can.

While that is great for some people, it’s not for everyone. I don’t mind a good rush of adrenaline from time to time but those activities are expensive! Plus, the friend I travelled with despises them. And after she hiked to the Ciudad Perdida with me because it was a place I really wanted to see, it was only fair that now we did something she actually enjoyed.…

Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino, Santa Marta, Colombia

Sometimes, when travelling, you end up coming back to the most unexpected places. For me, one of these places was Santa Marta – not because I loved this Colombian city so much but because it is a convenient transport hub and gives access to a lot of tourist attractions in the surrounding area.

At first, we had no idea what to do here. Santa Marta is not a very beautiful city and it doesn’t have many tourist attractions. Sure, there was a beach close to our hotel, but that was about it. But after having come back three times, we had, despite everything, found a couple of things to do. So if you end up in Santa Marta, let me give you some inspiration on what to do in the city itself and in the surrounding area.…

Street food vendors in Cartagena, Colombia

When I reached Cartagena after almost half a year of travelling through South America, I was tired of meat, rice and french fries. It didn’t matter where we went on this continent, it seemed as if half of the restaurants would only let you choose which kind of meat you wanted to have with your dry rice and your soggy french fries. And it didn’t matter which one we went for, the meat seemed to taste the same everywhere.

I am not saying that we didn’t have amazing food along the way. I remember that Patagonian lamb, for example. Or the delicious sopa de mani in Bolivia, a soup rich in flavours and spices. But there had also been parts where we hadn’t been able to afford anything other than the cheapest and most tasteless dishes, particularly in expensive regions like Patagonia or Galapagos.…

Mountain hut in the jungle

Located less than an hour away from Santa Marta, Minca is a little paradise. Up here in the mountains, a fresh breeze offers relief from the heat. You can hike through bamboo groves and swim in rivers and waterfalls. And at the end of the day, hammocks invite you to relax.

Not too long ago, this tiny village used to be a refuge for extremists who used to hide in the mountains. These days, instead of soldiers with machine guns, backpackers stroll through the streets.

And while Minca can be seen as a day trip from Santa Marta, you should consider staying the night. Let me show you why:…

Palm trees in the Cocora Valley, Colombia

This year, when travelling through Colombia, I was lucky and got to see the Cocora Valley. Located close to Salento, in the south of the country, it is a valley of green pastures, cows, hummingbirds and wax palm trees. Those palm trees are the national tree of Colombia and the tallest ones in the world. Walking in between them makes you realise how beautiful nature can be and also how small we are.

The Valle de Cocora is not just worth a visit because of the palm trees. Along the way, you will get great views of lush green valleys and you have the chance to spot hummingbirds and other wildlife at the Casa de las Colibris. Plus, the Cocora Valley is easily accessible from Salento.…

Alpacas on Mount Chimborazo, Ecuador

From white beaches to smoking volcanoes, jungle and giant turtles, Ecuador has it all. Despite its small size (it is only about half as large as Spain and smaller than the US-state Nevada), it has a lot to offer. This country full of contrasts can keep visitors busy for weeks.

Personally, I spent a bit more than three weeks here but I didn’t get to see nearly as much as I would have liked. As I said, Ecuador has it all. And to help you choose which activities to do and which places to visit, so you can easily put together a trip around the country, here are my personal highlights that I recommend to you and that you should not miss:…

Grilled Plantains, typical food in Ecuador

Ecuador is not known for its amazing food.

When I thought of Ecuador, I thought of the Galapagos Islands, of giant turtles, sea lions and white sand beaches. And of volcanoes and beaches, and the second-highest capital in the world. I certainly did not think of its cuisine.

But after spending a few weeks travelling around the country, I have gotten to know the most typical Ecuadorian dishes and found a few that I really liked. To help you discover the country’s unknown cuisine, I have put together this guide for you. Read up on the most delicious food and enjoy your stay here!…

Panecillo, Quito, Ecuador

If you visit Ecuador, you will sooner or later end up in Quito – just like me. When I visited Ecuador, my plane tickets to Galapagos left from the capital, so I didn’t have a choice but to come here. After a bit of research, I found out that it’s the perfect city to base myself for a couple of days. There are lots of things to do in the area, both in the city as well as in the surroundings. I could easily have spent a week or more in Quito and now regret that I only had a couple of days.

Quito is the second-highest capital in the world (if you want to go higher, you have to go to La Paz) and the one closest to the equator.…

Pyramids in Caral, Peru

Ever since I heard about Caral, I wondered why it isn’t more popular with travellers. The oldest ruins in the Americas, constructed at the same time as the first pyramids of Egypt. Who would not want to visit them? I was sure that going there would be easy and that I could spontaneously arrange a day trip from Lima, hopping on a bus with lots of other tourists.

Turned out I was wrong. Despite the significance of Caral, it was surprisingly hard to get there. I looked up tours but most of the companies only offered private trips and I wasn’t willing to pay a fortune. Surely, there had to be a better way?

There is! Caral can easily be visited independently as a day trip from Lima for a fraction of the price you would pay for a private tour.…