Category: South America

3 Worthwhile Lima Destinations

Lima felt like my South American home-base, just as Delhi was my Indian home-base and DC is my North American home-base. And they don’t earn this title because I like them. They earn this title because they lure me back time and time again like little black holes, smugly manipulating...

Hitchhiking Chile: Part 1

On an overcast day in the dusty northernmost Chilean border town of Arica, I cringed when the ticket salesman quoted $100 for a 24 bus hour ride to Santiago (this was, of course, before I’d experienced Argentinian bus prices).  Never having paid more than $15 for the same length on...

Living the Dream on Easter Island

We arrived on Easter Island at 2 a.m., our flight having been delayed for two hours. It was cool and rainy as we walked across the tarmac into the small airport, and the floor surrounding the baggage claim was slippery with mud and impatient passengers looking for their bags like...

Rainy Days in Banos, Ecuador

“The rain started three years ago….” breathed the owner of the vegan restaurant in Banos, “…and it hasn’t stopped since.”  I nodded empathetically. I’d experienced the same exasperation towards the relentlessly sunny weather in Los Angeles. I don’t mind the rain… which sure is a good thing to not mind,...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...