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.
Ometepe is a volcanic island in Lake Nicaragua. It is home to two volcanos, one active and one dormant and they are a beautiful sight to behold as you approach the island on the ferry. Going to the island is a chance to retreat from the hustle and bustle of cities and immerse yourself in a relaxed and quiet way of life, while also having the chance to stay active through hiking and kayaking. In this article, I’ll go through the main things you need to know before you visit, from how to get there, to a mini budget-breakdown to activities available on the island.
While we were staying in Cusco I, as usual, picked up a bunch of leaflets for different activities and companies from our hotel reception. Leafing through them I came across one for a company called Peru Hop, which boasted of a “safe, flexible, and fun” hop on hop off bus system around southern Peru. At that point AJ and I had already booked a bus to Puno, and were looking at travelling from there up to Lima, so we decided to look into this company and what route we could take with them.
Huaraz is a small town high up in the Andes which acts as the gateway to the Corderilla Blanca National Park; it is because of this that it is perfectly set up for the multitude of backpackers, hikers, climbers and thrill seekers that descend on it every year. It was a last-minute addition to the itinerary as we charted a route through northern Peru into Ecuador – the promise of cosy cafes, good food and day hikes drew us in so we set aside three days to cram in what we could. Arriving early morning from an overnight bus on day one, and out on another overnight bus on day three. Given the variety of activities on offer, we had to whittle them down to the following itinerary in order to enjoy the best of what Huaraz has to offer in the short amount of time we had.
While often seen as a necessary stopover rather than a destination when travelling in and out of Peru, the Historic Centre of Lima has an exciting array of sights to see and places to explore for any travellers who take the time to get to know this unique and hectic city.
If you would like to read more about what the Historic Centre of Lima has to offer, I have written an article for Travelicious here.
Once AJ and I decided we wanted to go travelling for a year, the first important decision was where in the world would we go? While a simple question, it’s one that needs a lot of careful thought and consideration, especially when you’ll be travelling over an extended period of time. What budget are you working with? How long will you be away for? Do you want to see many different places or fewer places but in more depth? When’s the best time to visit your destination(s)? What’s on your bucket list?
The difficulty of what to pack seems to grow exponentially with the amount of thought and preparation you put into your decisions. There is a seemingly endless amount of things to consider, from the climate, to how long you’ll be travelling for, to the luggage you’ll be using, to what activities you plan on doing. It’s enough to give even seasoned travellers a headache. AJ and I spent months reading articles and blogs and crafting and honing our packing list so, to try and help you save some time, I’ve laid out the different factors we considered when deciding what pack, and the final packing list itself. I plan to do detailed reviews of the equipment and clothes that I use throughout my trip to hopefully give some insight into what I’ve found useful and what I would avoid in the future.