NORWAY, IT WAS A ROCKY START BUT YOU STOLE MY HEART!

NORWAY, IT WAS A ROCKY START BUT YOU STOLE MY HEART!

We all know I travel to chase the sun, so you can imagine my disappointment when I arrived to an over cast and rainy 17 degrees. “Welcome to Oslo,” they said. The only silver lining was seeing my Beautiful friend Ingrid that I met over 2 years ago in Brazil.

It was so fun reuniting with Ingrid and catching up. She was really excited to celebrate the 17th of May or Norway Day as I call it, and they laugh. 

Norway Day was awesome, we started off with a huge, no…gigantic champagne breakfast. 


Some how the weather held out and it didn’t rain. There was even some sunshine when we went and watched the parade. I got to wave at the queen and king before heading back home for a BBQ on Ingrid’s rooftop. 


The next day…you guessed it the weather turned to shit again and it rain. One of my friend recommended visiting The Well, a spa and bathhouse with 15 different saunas, 11 pools and over 100 types of showers. I highly recommend it, if you want to get pampered we got the package with lunch and ended up nearly spending 8hrs there.


We then boarded the train to go to Stavanger where we were going to hike to Preikestolen. Wowza, that hike was incredible, obviously the look out was amazing but the whole two hours were breath taking and we got so lucky with the weather. That’s when I knew Norway was warming up to me, literally. 

Ingrid and I then parted, she flew back to Oslo and I boarded the ferry to Bergen. In my true form I confused the ferry length thinking it was 3.5hrs but in actual fact it was 5.5hrs. Luckily I found a couch and slept most of the way.

“Bergen, one of the rainiest cities in Norway…great,” I thought to myself. But to my surprise there was only one rainy day out of the seven I was there. On the second day I was there I hiked one of the 7 mountains that surrounded the city. 


The next day I took a day trip to Flåm again getting lucky with the weather there. On the last day that I was there it was 23 degrees and it was hot! I popped my Fjord swimming cherry, oh my it was cold! But as sooon as you got out you were hot again because the weather was amazing! 


There are two reasons for why I fell in love with Norway, one being obviously the fantastic weather that I had in Bergen. Okay, three reason, second being the beautiful scenery and third being the people. On the rainy day, Marieke (my German friend I stayed with in Bergen) took me to her friend’s house for Norwegian tacos (which are just standard western tacos, not authentic Mexican). The dinner was followed by random dancing in the living room and the night ended with someone whipping out a guitar and jamming and singing till 3am in the morning. Definitely a random night to say the least, but so incredible just the way I love it!
Thank you Norway and thank you my old and new friends! 

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WHERE TO GO IN COLOMBIA?

WHERE TO GO IN COLOMBIA?

My trip began in the north of Colombia and so will my tips. Of course you can do the reverse, skip or add stuff. Below is a little teaser and soon I’ll add more detailed tips for each location.

Firstly I highly, highly recommend crossing the Panamanian/Colombian boarder with San Blas adventures. There is also an option of doing a sail or flying.

First stop for me was a little town just over the boarder from Panama it is called Capurgana. That was the final destination of our San Blas adventure. It is super cute and the accommodation there was incredibly cheap. The only issues was that when we got there it was in the middle of the riots. I was originally going to stay a few days there but we found out last minute, that the last boat till who knows when was leaving that day, thus we decided to drop everything and go!

After a boat and a few chicken buses we finally made it to Cartagena. Wow, what a change from our last stop. A beautiful, modern city, with everything you could wish for, from international food to someone who knows how to wax. Here you can find delicious restaurants, beautiful beaches and huge shopping malls. If you are in the US you are lucky enough to find return flights here for $240 USD.

From Cartagena I then hopped onto a shuttle bus to Santa Marta, I was told to avoid this big ugly city and head straight to a cute little town called Taganga. Taganga is a popular place to dive and is knows as a hotspot from Israelis. It is also a great base for exploring the north of Colombia but you can also do this from Santa Marta.

Here is my must visit list for the Northern Colombia:

I started with the The Lost City Trek (Ciudad Perdida) they pick you up and drop you off anywhere you like. I was picked up from Taganga and dropped back off there.

Tayrona National Park is the next stop if you are working west to east.

Costeno Beach is the next on the stop.

Rancho Relaxo is the stop after, I actually never made it there because I stayed longer in Costeno and then decided to go to the desert instead but I heard awesome things about the place if you just want somewhere to chill.

Polomino would be the next on the map but I actually skipped it to head straight for the desert and stopped there on the way back to break up the journey to Santa Marta.

Cabo de la Vela is one of the most incredible places I have ever visited, it is where the desert meets the sea. The juxtaposition of the reddest dirt and the bluest sea. It is also a great place to kite surf or just sleep in a hammock on the beach a meter away from the water.

Punta Gallinas (The most northern part of South America) you can get here from any of the above but the further away you book the more you will pay. The best was would be to make your own way to Cabo de la Vela and then book a tour from here for 150,000 Colombian Pesos which equals to $70USD, hammock included. The thing you need to know about these type of countries, they have a lot of travel agencies but everyone goes on the exact same tour, so we had people that booked in Santa Marta and paid $300USD for the exact same thing plus transport from Santa Marta. The transport which cost us like $20USD in total but if you hitchhike it would be free. It is just one road so hitchhiking is actually super easy.

After galavanting to the most northern part of South America I stopped over in Minca before returning back to Taganga to pick up my bags and get on the plane south to Bogota.

Minca is home to a little oasis in the mountains away from the heat, called Casa Elemento (it is famous for its giant hammock and delicious family dinners). A beautiful location to relax and to hike.

Hope you enjoyed the read and are now inspired to visit Colombia. More to come on Bogota, Medellin, and southern parts of Colombia.

ISLA MUJERES

How to get there? Super easy, you have to get to Puerto Juarez either from Cancun Centro ADO terminal or from a hostel you are staying in. From there you will buy a ticket to Isla Mujeres the ferry is only 15 minutes.

Where to stay? Poc Na is a popular hostel to stay you can book through Hostelworld or by emailing them directly. I recommend to call or email if its fully booked on Hostelworld because usually they put up only a limited amount of rooms on there and actually have more available if you contact them directly. There are obviously other options also, if you arrive during the day and have the energy to walk around you can find a hostel that is not listed online and stay for a bargain price. There are also many camping options at Poc Na and other locations on the island.

Where to eat? There is a great whole in the wall, Taco and other authentic Mexican little eats place right next to Poc Na, there are a lot of Vegan and Vegetarian options available also, and if you would like to splurge a little you can eat at one of the restaurants on the main street where the ferry docs (I highly recommend it, great sea food).

Party? Yes party island, beach parties at Poc Na very night.

Next… Another Mexican Island, Holbox, the main way to get around on this island is with a golf cart that can be hired in many locations.

HOLBOX

HOLBOX

How to get there? Is a little bit harder to get to but doable. Obviously if you are not a cheap backpacker you can hire a car or a private transfer but what is the fun in that, am I right? Here are the instructions for the bus.

There are daily departures [7:30 am, 12:30 pm, and 1:45 pm] from Cancun to Chiquila from the main bus terminal in Cancun City. From Chiquila you will get the ferry.

If you are going straight from the Cancun airport there is an Airport ADO Bus that runs approx every hour from 7:00am to 10:00pm. It leaves from the airport Terminals 2 and 3 and goes to the downtown central bus station in Cancun City on Tulum Ave.

There if you arrive early enough you can catch the 7:30am MAYAB line bus to Chiquila. The next bus is at 12:30pm MAYAB line to Chiquila, and the last bus is 1:45pm NORESTE bus line.

Many flights arrive in Cancun too late to make these connections so you might have to spend one night downtown at a hotel close to the Bus Station.

Going back to Cancun from Holbox there is a 5:30am NORESTE bus from Chiquila, a 7:30am MAYAB Bus from Chiquila and finally a 1:30pm MAYAB bus from Chiquila.

You can also come from a place called Merida I went there from Holbox, here are the instructions for that. The only bus we know that travels to Chiquila from Merida is a late nighter departing from Merida main bus terminal at 11 pm.

Directions borrowed from: https://travelyucatan.com/getting-to-isla-holbox/

Where to stay? I stayed in a hostel called Tribu a very popular option, it was recommended to me by many. It has a kitchen, a bar, free yoga and nightly activities. Again you can find cheaper options online or if you walk around upon arrival and you can also camp on this island.

Where to eat? If you stay at Tribu they will give you a map and point out local markets and some restaurants. Otherwise most places are on the main road that leads from the ferry doc. We had amazing Pizza at the Pizza place and amazing ceviche and fish tacos at the little markets.

Best coffee (Australia standards) was at Tierra Mia.

Party? There are a few bars on the island to party at or Tribu.

Extra info.. Go see the flamingos and the HOLBOX hammocks in the water.

Next… This is a mini Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, lots of American tourists and huge party. Personally I only went because I was going to the music festival BPM.

PLAYA DEL CARMEN

PLAYA DEL CARMEN

(Read original blog post here)

How to get there? Super easy. Get an ADO bus straight from the airport or from the Cancun city terminal.

Where to stay? I think the most popular accommodation is at the Yak but when I visited my friends there the internet was sooooo bad. The place I stayed at was called Tres Mundos it was on the local side, super nice people running it, it was cheap, free toast and coffee, beds were okay and it had a kitchen. There are so so so so many hostels that are not online so just walk about and you will find something.

Photo taken in Playa of some local dancers.

Where to eat? There is lots of street food (I love love love street food) especially in the park on 15 Avenida Nte and Calle 2 Nte. I think on the way to that there is the best taco shop I ever went to but I can’t remember the exact address and it didn’t have a name but I will describe it and perhaps you will find yourself there. I was on the corner, it has a plastic chairs. Scratch that I just looked it up on google maps its on the corner of 15 Avenida Nte and Calle 4 Nte. They are so simple but amazing, I am drooling right now.

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Party? If you can try come for BPM, otherwise I heard Coco Bongo is nuts.

Extra info… There are a lot of cool cenotes around playa. Cenotes are fresh water whole usually in underground caves, super cool. I didn’t go to this one but I heard Dos Ojos is amazing, you can also snorkle or scuba dive in them.

Next…Of Playa there is an island called Cozumel, it is known for its diving. I was there before I got my scuba but I met lots and lots of people that said it was incredible.

COZUMEL

COZUMEL

(Read original blog post here)

How to get there? Super easy, from Playa Del Carmen you just get a 45min ferry over.

Where to stay? I stayed at a hostel called Beds Friends, it is really nice and the stuff were super helpful. Also up Calle 10 Nte, there is a place called Tamart they do a by donations yoga classes.

Where to eat? Because it is an Island where all the cruise ships stop they have all the American food joints like Hard Rock but also lots of local restaurants.

There is also a super cute juice shop few streets down from bed friends.

Extra info.. Go diving here, you can do your open water or fun dives. Also hire a scooter and explore the island, it only cost us $20US for the day.

Our next stop on the journey is going to be Tulum, a little beach town you can not miss.

TULUM

TULUM

(Read original blog post here)

How to get there? From Playa Del Carmen you can get a collectivo (a mini van) that goes straight there, just ask the hostel and it should only cost you 35 mexican peso, so just under 2 USD.

Where to stay? I stayed in a place called Chill Inn, which I loved, it had a different breakfast every morning, a kitchen, and big beds with privacy curtains, and you had your own light, fan and a power point. Again if you wanted to find somewhere cheaper you could.

Where to eat? Lots of delicious tacos on the street and great cheap restaurants, they also have some fancy ones too but I didn’t visit those.

Party? Lots of different bars.

Cute bar front in Tulum ft. a Mexican man.

Must do.. Go to Akumal Bay, there you can swim with turtles and stingrays, they are everywhere. They will try sell you a $20 US tour but you don’t need to. We hired our snorkle from the hostel for a dollar. And then you just walk to the other end where the beach is not marked off and they just swim around. You can also swim up to one of the tours but the turtles are everywhere. We also got some snacks, beers and a cooler from an OXXO (convenience store) which is just before the entry.

What else to do? We tried to hire bikes and cycling to the beach ruins but in the end we just got a collectivo.

You can also hire bikes or scooter to explore beach further away.

We hitchhiked for the Copa Cenotes (three very different cenotes in one area), and they also have Copa ruins there. The great thing about those cenotes was that we were the only ones there. That is until we got to the last one where some guys were filming a music video. All three were huge one even had a 10m diving board.

Extra info.. Great place to do laundry.

Next we are going to visit the famous Ruins in the Yucatan region Chichen Itza. The ruins are located just out of a town called Valladolid.