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The Andes are a pain in the arsies

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So it must have been longer than I thought since my last blog post as I was talking about day 48 then and I've now passed 50.

The journey so far

Banos continued to be a great time as I travelled into the Amazon jungle, another tick off the old bucket list, although I hope to go even deeper into there when I visit Peru in a few weeks. The trip was great, although it started off a bit ropey as we went down a river in a boat cut out of a log that had no real business being on the water. As always, like an idiot, I had my wallet on me, so was more worried than I needed to be about falling in as we hit rocks, got stuck in the middle of the river and generally bobbed and swayed like the uncontrolled log we were.

We were lucky not to drown! Luck and the fact the water was about 2 foot deep

Miraculously, we managed to stay afloat and dryish and proceeded an hour further into the jungle to visit the Huaorani tribe in their village. It was pretty touristy, with native dances and demonstrations. We drank some drink, I have no idea what it was, but was told by my guide that before the coronavirus it was made with spit rather than water. Chalk on up to the virus!

We then hiked up through the jungle to a waterfall. After some much tougher hikes, this was a breeze! I'm pretty pleased with my generally improving fitness! At the top everybody jumped into the pool at the bottom of the waterfall. I say everyone, it was everyone apart from the guides and me! It was raining and the water was bloody cold! I did the swimming in the waterfall pool thing in Costa Rica, where it was 35 degrees. I'll give this a miss cheers!


All good things must come to an end though and the next day was my day to travel to Guayaquil. It was a 5.5 hour journey, but I've had worse. Or so I thought! Pretty much the entire journey apart from the last hour was just slaloming down through the Andes mountains. It was terrible. I couldn't read a book, watch a movie or anything because as soon as I looked away from the road I felt sick. I'm usually fine, but this was really hard. I tried to sleep a bit and I could listen to music or a podcast, but I had to keep my eyes on the road the whole time. Fortunately the Ecuadorian landscape is stunning! But it was small consolation to me as the journey went on for 7 hours straight.

Guayaquil Cemetery is pretty bloody incredible!

Guayaquil is going to be a bit of a rest for me, I don't have anything much planned. Today was spent walking around, getting to know the place, with a stop at a square filled with meter long iguanas! It was crazy seeing them all just walking around the park. They didn't care about the people there at all, and the park was filled with them. I hadn't realised how many there actually were until I narrowly avoided being hit by a stream of lizard piss and looked up to see the trees filled with them too! There must have been a hundred there!

Iguanas and turtles and Koi oh my!

Tomorrow is for the football (It's coming home!) and then Monday will likely just be getting ready for the Galapagos, so I may be away a few days, but I thought as I've passed day 50, in fact now day 52, I'd update with some stats:

I have travelled a total of 8,277 miles, through 4 countries if you include the 2 hours I was in Spain on day 1.

I have stayed at 15 hostels, hotels and apartments in 14 different towns and cities so far. The shortest time I stayed in a room was one night (The hostel in La Fortuna filled with kids). The longest I stayed in a place was a week, in Boquete, where I could have stayed even longer.

I have travelled a conservative 64 hours so far by plane, boat, car and oh so many buses. That doesn't include any time waiting for buses or sat in airports etc. I have walked 240 miles so far. Up and down mountains, through rivers, jungle, rainforests, beaches and mangrove swamps. I don't know how much weight I've lost as I can't find any scales, but I'm using a hole in my belt that's never been used before.

I've seen countless new animals, but highlights are Howler Monkeys, Sloths, Hummingbirds and Tapirs!

And this lazy bastard

I have lost or broken very little thankfully. I had a towel stolen on day 3 or so, lost a sock a few weeks in, so tossed the other one, cracked the back of my phone, but that can be fixed and the strap broke on my small bag, so I replaced it with a small rucksack.

I broke a fingernail in half, got dirt stuck up my thumbnail after a slip that hurt a lot more than you'd imagine and of course did something to my back 20 mins before leaving that seriously affected my first few weeks of travel. I've also been bitten by mosquitoes about a million times.

I'm having a fine time, and it's getting better. I missing everyone very much though.

Right, I'm gonna go, some hippy looking guy is doing something weird with a flower covered stick in the hostel and I want to see what's going on!

I can't get enough of hiking through jungles

Posted by cblanc102 05:40 Archived in Ecuador Tagged waterfalls skylines people animals birds planes rainforest wildlife hiking beach travel bus hostels jungle costa_rica aeroplane bugs beauty flights ferry coffee south_america central_america ecuador solo solo_travel coronavirus Comments (0)

Border Time - Feel like I'm going to lose my mind

I finally left a country!

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What a crazy day!!!

I woke up at 6 am raring to go! Excited to be leaving to go to Panama. Not that I was happy to leave Costa Rica, It's a beautiful country, filled with amazing animals, stunning landscapes and lovely people. I would have stayed a bit longer, but to go anywhere new would have meant travelling about 11 hours back through San Jose to visit the Caribbean side of the country and I just didn't have it in me. Especially as many of the things I still wanted to see, like more volcanoes, tapirs, the aforementioned Caribbean Sea, are also in Panama. Decision made!

Goodbye Costa Rica, you were Pura Vida for sure!

I had my shower, breakfast and coffees, sorted out my rucksack and said my goodbyes to the people at the hotel. It really is lovely there and the people who work there make you feel like family. Top marks. I decided to walk to the ferry pier, even though it was already 28 degrees or so, it was only about a kilometer away and the journey wasn't too bad.

As I sat waiting for the boat, I wondered where I'd put my travel adapter? I had definitely taken it out of the socket, but I couldn't remember which bag it had gone in. I went through both bags pretty thoroughly, the answer? Neither. I'd left it at the hotel. It was also during this search that I knocked my mask into the ocean and then couldn't find my backup. I was doing well.

I returned back to the hotel, both bags in tow and they had my adapter waiting for me. but by then it was too late. I would miss the ferry and the next one wasn't for almost three hours! But off I went, still carrying thirty pounds of bags in the now 30 degree heat.

I know what you're thinking, that I should have just forgotten about the adapter, I can get another, but it's a very good adapter and cost me £15 and I'm on a budget!!

It's bloody great and worth walking 3km for

After walking there and back and there again, I had lots of time left to go through my stuff and find some masks, read a book and watch the world go by until the boat arrived.

After my ferry journey arrived in Golfito at midday, I was told the bus to Peso Canoas would arrive after 1 pm, which it did. About an hour after 1 pm! But arrive it did, and it was super cheap (about £1.40 for a 60 km journey) so I was happy enough and after an hour or so, we arrived at the border crossing into Panama.

Welcome to Panama!

Now, I had read up on it, so I had an idea of what to do, but most of that went out the window and the next 90 mins or so was just a rat in a maze type puzzle that I was locked into. Here's what I had to do and bear in mind, no one spoke any English. Well, I did say I wanted to learn Spanish!!

1 - Firstly, pay the Costa Rican Exit tax ($9). Confusingly, this isn't at the Costa Rica border office, but over the road, in a hotel or restaurant.
2 - Take your passport with exit tax slip to the CR border office to get your stamp.
3 - Go to the Panama Border control (this took me ages to find, even though there's a big building that says 'Panama' on it. There were lots of places within that it could have been.
4 - Fill out your details, have your temperature taken
5 - Go pay for an antigen test where a woman will shove an impossibly long bud impossibly far up your nostril - Pay your $46 - Wait 15 mins
6 - Take this back to the guy in step 4, who then sends you along to another booth two or three places down.
7 - Show proof of your accommodation, proof that you're leaving the country (my flight out) and proof that you have at least $500, a credit card will do. Have your photo and finger prints taken, get your stamp.
8 - Walk out, not knowing really if that's all done, only to wander out into Panama without speaking to any guard or anyone.

As far as I can tell, I could have just walked right into Panama without anyone stopping me. My only issue would have been trying to leave I guess!

Panama's Flag is great

I managed to find a bus fairly quickly, it was a bit bonkers! Going super fast, overcrowded, playing loud music, people jumping on and off at any time. It was pretty fun and again, super cheap.

But I'm here now. In Panama, with a day to spare in another city that seems a bit rubbish, in a room with a curtain but no window (??), but it's clean, has great wifi and a shop across the road and I'm heading North on Sunday to see some more volcanoes. All seems pretty good right now and after about 70 days of travel (this journey and the last) I've finally gone from one country to another!!!


The curtain feels a tad redundant!

Posted by cblanc102 05:21 Archived in Panama Tagged water bus crossing panama costa_rica border ferry journey south_america central_america latin_america solo_travel Comments (0)

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