100 days ago we were just leaving Arequipa and didn’t know how much longer we’d be in South America…but now we’re almost at the end of our time here.
After spending a month in Arequipa, we spent two weeks travelling through some of southern Peru’s gringo hotspots: first Chivay in the Colca Canyon, then north on to Nazca where we learnt about the famous lines, followed by Huacachina for our anniversary, a brief stop in the slightly ugly town of Ica and Paracas to visit the Islas Ballestas.
We then arrived in Lima ready to settle again in an apartment, in no small part because we had some issues with our stomachs. In Lima, we spent six weeks, mostly working but also visiting lots of museums and poking around its different neighbourhoods before we flew up to the north of Peru and had a few lazy beach days before crossing the boarder to Guayaquil in Ecuador. From there we headed to a resort in the rainforest near the coast to celebrate Zab’s birthday and then flew up to Quito to meet my mum and her husband.
From there, we travelled south to Latacunga to hike in Cotopaxi National Park, travelled on the Quilotoa loop, made a brief stop in Riobamba and then settled into another rented apartment in Cuenca, where we are now.
(If you care to read, in way more detail than you could ever possibly need, exactly what we’ve been doing these last 15 weeks, check out our travel diaries.)
- Hiking in the Colca Canyon was one of the experiences that helped Zab face his fear of heights, and was a great way to experience this beautiful landscape.
- Learning about the Nazca lines (and seeing them without flying) was pretty cool, and was our first real glimpse at how deep and rich Peruvian history is.
- Making chocolate in Lima was not only very tasty, but also gave us a greater appreciation for something that we had previously taken for granted.
- Staying at the Black Sheep Inn in Chugchilán on the Quilotoa loop was quite possibly our favourite hotel stay of our entire time in South America.
It feels like we’ve been to loads of places in these last 100 days, but having only slept in 17 different beds, it’s not really that many. Some places that have stood out have been:
- Lima, in particular the district of Barranco, for its abundance of cool cafés, second hand shops and wacky street art.
- Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city for being much nicer than we’d expected. It even had a lighthouse!
- Cuenca for its bustling art scene, lovely riverside walk ways, pleasant weather and good food.
If you’ve been following this blog for more than five minutes, you’ll know that food is a central part of our travels. Apart from the consistently good fruit in Peru and especially Ecuador, we’ve had three very memorable food experiences in the last 100 days.
- Almazen and Raw Café vied for our praise as best vegetarian restaurant in the Peruvian capital.
- Cuchara de San Marcos in Quito was a pleasant find, in a tucked away corner of the city.
Travelling is really all about the people, not the places. We’ve met (and met up with) a whole heap of awesome people in the last 100 days.
- While in our apartment in Lima, we were able to invite Laura & Radek, who we originally met in Samaipata over for dinner and good conversation.
- We also happened to bump into Sarah and Henry, who we’d also originally met in Samaipata in the Quito tourist information office!
- Plus we met lots of other cool travellers, including Dominque and Taso in Guayaquil, Janneke and Marlie in Latacunga and Kim, Casey, Tania and Alex in the Black Sheep Inn.
- And of course, we got to hang out with my mum, Sarah, and her husband, John, in Quito for a week!