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Un Poquito Uncomfortable in Quito

My shifts pass quickly at Café Dios No Muere in Quito, Ecuador, thanks to the constant gossip between the two Quiteno sisters that cook the Cajun-Ecuadorian menu. The chatter fills the tiny first floor of the three story, 400 year old, barrack-turned-restaurant, built into the back corner of the Santa...

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Why I Love the Otavalo Market

Malls drain me of energy faster than the roaming mode drains a phone’s battery. Thirty minutes in the blinding, contrived vastness of a shopping mall leaves me depleted and directionless. Markets are different… each market has its own character. Markets have food to sample, people to haggle with, and a...

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Parque Tayrona on the Cheap

I walked…no, I limped, out of Parque Tayrona, feeling quite smug. Yes, my back ached and hunger knotted my stomach, but I felt like I’d gotten away with something. Every traveler I’d met had warned of the park’s high prices, but apparently it would be worth the money. I’d successfully...

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Insomnia in Medellin

I am hovering between dreams and reality. My fitful nap came to an end when I sleep- walked out of my hostel bed and into the common area. I awoke to a heavy French accent asking me something that I– in my heavy drowsiness– could not decipher. I responded with a...

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How to Keep Cool in Cartagena

I thought that two weeks in Cartagena would have my body used to the heat, yet even on that 14th morning as I stepped into the sunbaked hostel courtyard; the hot blast of air had me instinctively scrambling back into the air conditioned dorm. No, I’d never get used to...

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How to be a Tourist in Capurgana and Sapzurro

Accessible only by boat and plane, Capurgana and Sapzurro lie along Colombia’s Carribean coast, fenced by the dense jungle of the guerilla-ridden Darien Gap. Until a guerilla attack on the town in 1999, a tiny airstrip in Cartagena kept both tourists and illicit substances coming and going during the last...

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The Cartagena to Capurgana Survival Guide

Solemnly heed the warnings of all horror stories regarding the journey from Cartagena to the isolated jungle town of Capurgana. The hellish voyage involves manifold buses and a torturous 2.5 hour boat ride in which your spinal vertebras will misalign and your ribs will crush into each other. If your...

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Four Fantastic Days in Bogota

I tried to hold no expectations for Bogota; online reviews did not put it on my “must see” list, nor on my “don’t go there” list. I only planned two days in the capital city, not wanting to base my first impression of Colombia upon a mass of bland concrete...