Six months in South America – Part II

Watching the sunrise in Salar de Uyuni, enjoying the Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro, coffee picking in Colombia, and trekking in Peru. Only a few of our experiences during the six months trip to South America.

If you have read my previous post, then you already know how the first three months looked like. Pretty good, if I may say so myself :). However, the adventure didn’t stop there. We had three more months to experience this fascinating continent while discovering more hidden gems.

Driving through Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, South America

Bolivia: Salar de Uyuni

January 2016. We had been dreaming about Salar de Uyuni for a year, so we were ecstatic to finally see it. There were several options to get there, our choice was to cross from the Atacama Desert. The first day of the crossing was pretty hard for me as the altitude sickness was unbearable when we reached 5000m altitude. However, this slowly improved as we started descending, and I could enjoy nature’s wonders in country number four: Bolivia.

In order to experience the mirror effect of the biggest salt flat in the world, it needs to rain the night before. Seriously. If there’s no water covering the salt flat, there’s no magic. I mean, it’s still pretty cool to see and experience, but with a few centimeters of water, it’s truly spectacular!  We were lucky to have rain the night before we arrived, and I tell you, I cried when I saw it. Our guide, woke us up painfully early so we could reach Salar at sunrise. Although we hated the wake-up call, we loved what we saw. It was a major goosebumps moment and one of the most beautiful, surreal, amazing moments we had in six months in South America!

Spectacular Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, South America

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia at sunrise during a six months trip to South America

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia at sunrise during a six months trip to South America

Sunrise in Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia during a six months trip to South America

Brazil: Rio de Janeiro, Iguazu Falls, and Jericoacoara

February 2016. After a grueling 48h bus(es) trip, we arrived in country number five: Brazil. We were welcomed with extreme heat, awesome fruit juices, and one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature: Iguazu Falls. 

Brazil makes my “top countries in South America” list and for good reason. From the beginning, I loved the culture, the cuisine, the language, and yes, Rio de Janeiro is as amazing as they say! Along the way, we discovered quite a few hidden gems such as Ubatuba and its secluded beaches; Ilha Grande, a paradisiac island; Paraty and Olinda, two gorgeous colonial towns; Porto de Galinhas and Jericoacoara, must-see beach destinations. 

On the beach in Porto de Galinhas, Brazil during our six months trip to South America

Photoshoot in Olinda, Brazil during a six months trip to South America

Street photography in Olinda, Brazil during a six months trip to South America

Beach football on Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro during our six month trip to South America

Amazing sunset colours in Jericoacoara, Brazil during a six months trip in South America

Colombia: Ciudad Perdida, Cartagena, and Zona Cafetera

March 2016. We arrived in Bogota, the capital of Colombia and our 6th country where I discovered my new swimwear obsession. Right after we traveled to Santa Marta for the hardest trek of the trip – the Machu Picchu of Colombia: Ciudad Perdida. A true hidden gem – although not for long, as it is becoming more and more popular – Ciudad Perdida was one painful and rewarding 5 days trek that caused massive blisters and knee pain, as well as getting me into the best shape of my life. After the trek we went on for some relaxation time on the Caribbean coast, discovered the colonial beauty that is Cartagena, eat our way through Medellin, and finished on a high with Zona Cafetera. My top recommendation for Colombia is Valle de Cocora. It’s superb! More about it in a later post. I promise!

At the top of Ciudad Perdida in Colombia, South America

View over Valle de Cocora in Zona Cafetera, Colombia - South America

View over Valle de Cocora in Colombia, South America

The small and charming town of Salento in Colombia, South America

Strolling through the charming town of Salento in Colombia, South America

Discovering the old town of Cartagena in Colombia, South America

Colonial architecture in Cartagena, Colombia - South America

Ecuador: Quito, Cuenca, and Galapagos Islands

April 2016. Ecuador (country number seven) was a massive surprise for Bertrand and I. Besides Galapagos Islands, we didn’t expect much, simply because we didn’t know anything about it. It proved to be our favorite country in South America and Quito, the preferred capital. Also, not to be missed are a visit to Cotopaxi and Cuenca, and some shopping at Dominga and Andes Fashion. More about these two fashion hidden gems, in a future post.

Quito, the most beautiful capital city in South America

Wildlife in Galapagos Islands, Ecuador during a six months trip in South America

Admiring the view in Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, South America

Breathtaking views over Quito, the Capital of Ecuador and one of the most beautiful cities in South America

Peru: Cusco, Salkantay trek, and Machu Picchu

April 2016. Last, but not least: Peru. Country number eight did not disappoint. We finished the trip on a high with Machu Picchu. Literally! It’s very touristy, but definitely worth it! Also worth it is the 4 days Salkantay trek leading to Machu Picchu. Hands down, the best trekking experience we had in South America. The sad part about Peru was that we didn’t get to see that much of it. Besides the trek, we spent some time in Cusco and visited The Sacred Valley, both worth the time and money, but we felt that it wasn’t enough. We promised to go back.

Salkantay pass during the trek to Machu Picchu in Peru, South America

Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu in Peru, South America

View during the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu in Peru, South America

Over over Machu Picchu in Peru during a six months trip to South AmericaPhotography by Bertrand Delvaux.

 

There is more to come…

That’s a wrap for Six months in South America part I and II. There is so much more to come in the next days, as I’m starting to share more posts for this incredible journey, as well as from other (European) destinations. Stay tuned!

 

 

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15 Responses
  • Ivan Jose
    July 5, 2016

    I envy you for having been able to travel to these beautiful places. I love how you captured the sceneries through your photographs. South America looks so warm and carefree.

    • atunitsirc2014
      July 5, 2016

      Thanks for the visit and compliments Ivan. Just a small correction, the picture are taken by my partner, Bertrand, who is a photographer. I take pictures as well, but my camera is not as fancy as his :). Hopefully, soon I will be able to showcase my pictures as well.

  • Erika Bisbocci
    July 5, 2016

    Spectacular! You’ve hit some of my absolute top bucket list items in South America. I’d love to hike up to the lost city and go to the Galapagos Islands. I’ve done Patagonia, Peru and Iguazu, but there is so much more of the continent to visit. You were so lucky to see the Salar de Uyuni after a rainfall!
    Also, beautiful pictures :)

    • atunitsirc2014
      July 5, 2016

      Thank you for your comment and visit, Erika. I know I was lucky, besides some annoyances here and there, things went quite smoothly and I got to see amazing things. Although I can’t complain about the itinerary, I missed a few things. I guess I need to go back :).

  • Amanda Williams
    July 5, 2016

    Wow, it certainly sounds like you have had an amazing six months. I have always wanted to go trekking in Peru and the the Rio Carnival, but coffee picking in Colombia is such a unique thing to do. Sounds awesome. I love your photos too!

    • atunitsirc2014
      July 6, 2016

      I can’t complain Amanda :). Thanks for your visit!

  • Tatiana Bastos
    July 15, 2016

    Beautiful pics! Bravo, Bertrand! :)

  • Gabby Beckford
    September 24, 2016

    Your photography is so gorgeous! It looks like your South American adventures were so life changing. You make me want to go to Cusco!

  • Alice Cardillo
    September 24, 2016

    Beautiful article ! The pictures are amazing, makes me want to go right away !!

  • Punita
    September 25, 2016

    Absolutely resolutely vowing to visit South America after seeing this post and fabulous pictures.

  • Tara @ ShataraTravel
    September 25, 2016

    This is the best! We are deciding on where our next destination is for NEXT MONTH, and I am pushing so hard for South America! Thanks for sharing!

  • Alex Cote
    September 25, 2016

    Some of the most breathtaking pictures I’ve ever seen of South America. A lot of my friends are from Columbia and Brazil, and would be soo happy to see you enjoying yourself! Thank you for sharing your journey! Sharing this now :)

    -Alex, mindfulmermaid.com

  • melbtravel
    September 26, 2016

    Wow, you have some really beautiful pictures of South America and what a great experience. It makes me want to visit even more now.

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