Follow a winding road 1000 metres down into a steep valley surrounded by lush vegetation. See the turquoise blue river, steam pouring off her surface as she snakes through the valley floor. Soak yourself in a deliciously warm thermal pool, all to yourself, hanging over the edge of the cliffside while you stare off into the mountain valley. Let the warm waters pound on your back like a massage as they cascade down the mountain. And if you dare, climb into the very heart of the mountain through a black tunnel, torrid water pounding down from every crevice inside her, the hot blood of the mountain. Steam billows so thick you feel it in your lungs. Watch your step along the smooth rocks as you walk along them from ankle deep to neck deep water. At the end of the tunnel, in the mountains heart, sit and breath her in, feel her heat wrap you in a blanket. It’s impossible to tear yourself away; it’s like being back in the womb, the sounds, the comfort, the warmth, the peace you feel. But you must. The rest of the mountain is calling you. Dare to run through the blast of icy cascades pounding from the mountain top, the very mouth of the mountain. Pass through the frigid wall and reach the inside of the cavernous mouth, a warm reprieve, waste deep, with tiny smooth round tastebuds, pebbles on the floor, to massage your feet. Stare in awe at the stalactites, the strange smoothened figures on the walls and cavern ceiling, like grotesque teeth from thousands of years of dripping that warm, mineral rich water. And in the centre, a battering blast of hot water beckons you, dares you to try to withstand the power as the tongue of the mountain pounds on your back and pushes you down into the warm depths. Steamy breath gushes from her mouth out into the valley in clouds. Continue reading
After two nights in the sweet little town of Vik, we thanked our host most graciously for her help, and within minutes of driving away from the coastal town, we left the rain and mist behind us and burst back into bright sunshine. Oh the joys of the open road! Today we were off to see glacier lagoons, another national park and a river that tore down through a gorge in a valley called Fjathrarglijufur. As we drove, the landscape changed drastically and we suddenly found ourselves amid the largest lava field in the world! Every which was you looked was a blanket of blackened, cooled lava, which was being taken over by bulbous green moss tufts, creating a strange spectacle. Continue reading
Iceland was never originally on my radar- mostly because I thought it would be far too expensive. But it kept coming up again and again, and I couldn’t ignore the universe trying to send me a message. I was already in Europe, who knew when I would be back next… so why not? I looked at flights and while it was still an expensive flight, I had started dreaming about Iceland and knew I had to visit this place. I knew I made the right decision when my dear friend Emilee from back home in Canada messaged me to tell me her and another friend were heading to Iceland at the same time as me! That settled it. I booked my flights and made plans to meet the girls for an epic week long road trip through Iceland’s Ring Road. Emilee and Caitlyn had two weeks in Iceland, so we were going to start with the most exciting stuff in the South and work our way East then North, and then I would catch a bus from wherever we ended up after a week back to Reykjavik. Continue reading
I left the enchanting city of Edinburgh to escape into the Northwestern side of Scotland and venture into the Isle’s, the area of Scotland that I was excited to see most. I had a Pinterest board filled with images from this fabled land and couldn’t wait to explore it for myself at long last! I spent most of the day on a bus, traveling straight North to Inverness where I transfered and took another bus along the edge of Loch Ness. I kept my eyes peeled out the bus windows, just in case I caught sight of the ever elusive and mythical Loch Ness monster! (Just in case you were unaware… loch simply means lake, and there are loads of them in Scotland!). Sadly, the beast never reared her head and I was left to ponder her existence. In the later afternoon I arrived at the Isle of Skye, which is connected to the mainland with one large bridge near the main town Portree, but can also be reached in the south by ferry. Continue reading
I don’t think that words can really capture Igazua falls. Rather than attempt to capture that which cannot be, I figured I would just post a photo essay and urge you to visit this majestic place at some point in your life and travels. It’s one of those places in the world that will humble you, steal your breath and give you peace in return. It’s beautiful. Every fall, every mist, every cascade is a majesty. I was lucky enough to be able to sneak into the Brazilian side without paying (Canadian’s and American’s have to pay a huge fee to get into Brazil, even just to see the falls). Thankfully border patrol was lax that day and bought our story of ‘we got lost!’. You can read about the adventure HERE in Laila’s blog! Continue reading
I wish I could say I spent a few amazing days exploring the great city that is Quito, but Quito turned out to be a repeat of Medellin and Bogota- sick, sick, sick. You can read about my adventures dealing with illness for over a month on the road here. We spent 5 days in Quito, most of them being in the hostel bed, bathroom and couch, and then in the hospital. All we wanted was to get on the road. Other than exploring the streets near the hostel and on the way to the hospital, we didn’t really get to see any of Quito, unfortunately. We walked to the super market a couple of times to load up on soup, bread and rice which was all we could stomach. After a few days we were nearly delirious with desire for anything other than ichiban soup. The only excursion we set out on was to head to the equator which ended up in me getting painfully ill, almost as a lesson to not leave the hostel! Other than being terribly sick near the end of our day it was a a great way to get out and see a bit of Quito on the long drive to the Equator park. It’s cheap and there are lots of little shops – but it’s a pretty tourist heavy excursion; though still neat to learn the history! Continue reading
Ah Semuc Champey, the treasure of Guatemala. How many times did I Google you and stare in wonder at your picturesque beauty? Too many to count. You were the main reason I returned to Guatemala. How could I say I traveled this beautiful country if I had not rested my eyes on the fabled Semuc Champey, meaning ‘where the river hides beneath the earth’.
As I write this, I’m sitting in my rustic little ‘A’ frame thatch-roofed hut. The front end, opposite the door and where my bed is positioned, has a three foot high railing and that is all- it’s left entirely open. The rain is hammering down, the torrents coming down in waves, thunder is reverberating in the distance and the occasional flash of lightening sends a blaze of light into the hut. It smells of wet jungle – moist vegetation and damp earth. I sit shrouded in the opaque protection of my bug net and once again I am astounded that this is my life. Continue reading
It was a sad goodbye that we paid Laguna de Apoyo. We all packed up our bags, and some of us our hangovers and regrets over lost phones. It was time to move on yet again.
Ometepe island was the one major destination in Nicaragua that seemed to come up again and again from other travellers. It was the must see/do of the country. Thus, we all had rather high expectations heading there. We made our way by shared taxi to the port town of San Jorge, near Rivas. We walked down the pier heading towards what looked like a safe and reputable ferry. Continue reading
After two weeks camping in the jungles and dancing our bodies sore at music festivals, it was time to venture out to see what else Costa Rica had to offer. Like many of the other festival goers, We made our wary way across the Gulf of Nicoya and headed to Montezuma. I had heard the name many times since being in Costa Rica, but didn’t know what the place had to offer, and as a tribe we just decided to follow the masses and head to the coast for a few days of relaxing on the beach. Continue reading
The few days spent living in the jungle on the coast near Uvita, Costa Rica was a dream. Envision Festival brought together a group of strangers, and turned them into friends through music, dance, food (and by food, I mean Falafels), and exploration. Bonds were created and solidified as each day passed and plans were made by some to attend a second festival only a few days later near Costa de Pajaros, a few hours north up the coast. Continue reading