Nicaragua was a bit of a last-minute addition to AJ and I’s itinerary; we found ourselves with a week and a half to kill before we had to be in Costa Rica, and when we had a look at what there was to explore in Nicaragua we knew straight away that we had to go. Nicaragua is a really beautiful country, and I think is definitely a hidden gem of central America right now. “The Land of Volcanoes and Lakes,” it has all the beauty and charm of Costa Rica without being as tourist-centric. That’s not to say that it doesn’t have its issues; there was a severe litter problem in the cities we visited, and the infrastructure for tourism isn’t very developed. I’ve heard that there’s a debate over whether or not to build a canal through the country, similar to the Panama Canal; while this would bring a lot of money into the country and provide a lot of jobs while the building is being done, it would ruin Nicaragua’s natural lakes and therefore deprive the country of some of its beauty. I hope that instead the government decide to take Nicaragua in the same direction as Costa Rica, focusing on eco-tourism and using the resources the country already has. I will definitely be visiting Nicaragua again in the future; what AJ and I experienced during our week and a half there was an amazing taster for what the country has to offer. In this article I will go through my favourite memories from my time in Nicaragua.
Cartagena is a wonderfully vibrant city full of history and culture, from its colonial architecture and original city walls to its many and varied museums. There are also many parks and beaches providing opportunities to relax and unwind. A trip to Colombia would be incomplete without a visit to this city boasting Café Havana, Casa Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and its local mud bath volcano. Below I’ve put together a three-day itinerary for seeing the best of Cartagena, with ideas for what to do afterwards.
The capital of Colombia’s Antioquia province, and the second largest city in Colombia, Medellín is a monstrously large, thriving metropolis. The city has done a huge amount of work to move away from its notoriously violent past and reputation as the ‘murder capital of the world’ and is now known as the ‘City of Eternal Spring’ due to its consistently temperate climate. Within the city you will find an eclectic mix of commercial, colonial, industrial and urban areas, as well as multiple outdoor spaces, tourist-centric areas, affluent areas and the poor barrios, all connected by the Metro system. AJ and I spent five days exploring Medellín and nearby attractions and found that, while overall we had a brilliant time, there were things about Medellín that we did not enjoy. In this article I’ll be going through my favourite and least favourite things about Medellín.
Cali is a beautiful city in the southwest of Colombia, full of a mixture of new and old-style buildings, beautiful examples of colonial architecture, impressive street art, fabulous (and not-so-fabulous) parks, and interesting museums. Top all that off with some really nice food options and Cali is definitely worth a visit. AJ and myself spent two days exploring the San Antonio area of Cali; in this article, I will go through the sights we explored and how we found them.
Over the course of a month AJ and I flew, bussed and hiked our way around Ecuador, soaking up everything the country had to offer. We found Ecuador to be a land of wildly varying climates and environments – from the humid and lush cloud forest of Mindo, to the scorching hot beaches of the Galapagos Islands, to the ever-changing weather within the urban landscapes of the mountainous cities and towns. We had the opportunity to experience many different activities during our time there and came away from this incredibly beautiful country with a whole slew of amazing memories. Here are my favourite memories from our time in Ecuador.
You can read all about my Ecuador adventures here.
While it once had a less-than-stellar reputation (and in a sense still does – I get strange looks every time I tell people that I enjoyed my stay), Guayaquil is growing as a city and a tourist destination. A lot of work has been done to improve its appeal and I would encourage travellers to take a few days to explore and enjoy this vibrant city, rather than just using it as a pitstop on the way to the Galapagos Islands or other Ecuadorian cities. Here are my top things to do while staying in Guayaquil.