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Nazca Sands Hop

Nazca Sands Hop

Travel Pass from Lima to Nazca, Huacachina, Paracas and back to Lima - Frequency: Daily Departures - Minimum No. of People: 1 - Recommended Min...


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Bus Trip From Rio to Lima | June,06 2013

We love adventure and want to experience things that we can't see at home

We love adventure and want to experience things that we can't see at home

Over the years many friends and family have questioned the type of holidays my husband Kim and Sister Trish and I do. Their comments always along the lines of 'Why would you rough it and go to third world countries when you can go to nice places and stay in style?'

The reason is simple! We love adventure and we want to experience things that we can't see at home.  And most of all, even though we are all in our early 50's we are not dead yet!  So we have travelled on overland trucks thru Africa and the Middle East and have just completed Nine weeks backpacking from Brazil to Peru.

Before arriving to South America we were to travel on an overland truck again but unfortunately just one week from setting out the company we booked with went into receivership. With  encouragement  from family and friends all much younger who have done it, we decided we were more than capable to wing it and go it alone so we flew to Rio De Janeiro without a plan and 9 weeks up our sleeve.

Iguazu Falls in Brazil

We were given the name of a Travel company called the Green Toad Bus which we contacted for a little assistance. This company made our travel through South America just so easy. We were constantly in contact with them and after we had told them where we wanted to go and things we wanted to do, they came up with a plan for us. It was a totally flexible way to travel and we used mainly buses. They booked it all and often included accommodation and many excursions.

Our first 10 days were spent in Brazil. Rio to Iguazu Falls via Ilha Grande and Paraty. This was a lovely start as we were able to enjoy the beauty of the Brazilian coast. While at Paraty we went on a Jeep trip and had the best day. We rock surfed and rope swung and had a drink or two. Iguasu Falls would have to be the highlight of Brazil. Words and photos cannot describe how amazing these falls are and the jet boat under the falls is a must.

San Pedro Valley of the Moon

The Argentina side of Iguazu is just as stunning and we enjoyed a full day wandering here. Then it was off on a 24hr bus to Salta and horse riding thru the country side. This was supposed to be a half day trip ending with an amazing Argentinian Barbeque for lunch. For some reason the owner of the property took a shine to us. We wandered out of there at 5pm after an afternoon full of laughs and many red wines.

We were off again the next day to San Pedro Atacama, Chile. What a stunning little place. We would have liked to spend longer relaxing here but it was the starting point of our 4 day trip across the Bolivian Salt Plains. We travelled in a jeep with a lovely guide and two young girls who truly made the trip special. They became our official translators and we laughed and sang our way across the Salar. Overnight we stayed in hostels in minus 18 degree temps and one hostel was made entirely out of salt. (Including the furniture).

Jeep Tour from San Pedro to Uyuni

We parted ways with the girls and headed to La Paz, Bolivia. We developed a love hate thing for La Paz. Love because we met some lovely English Med Students that we enjoyed several funny nights with both in La Paz and in Madidi Jungle and the Mosquito Bar at Rurrenabaque. And because it was here we did something everyone told us we were crazy to do!  We rode down Death Road on Mountain bikes. Incredible!!! And scary as. But we have the T-shirt to prove we did it. We also flew out to the amazon and spent 3 days Trekking for Jaguars, saw Macaws nesting, fished for, caught and ate Piranhas and built a raft and floated down the Amazon.

Surving the Death Road

The hate part is only because I was dumb enough to relax long enough to allow someone to steal my bag. This resulted in a delay for several days to organise emergency travel documents. Once again Green Toad Bus stepped up and reorganised everything for us.

We finally left La Paz and crossed the border into Peru but not before having a personal guide (organised by GTB) for several days. We were taken to Copacabana and Isle de Sol. Then across the Bolivian border into Peru and heading to Cusco. We visited the amazing Reed Islands and other ruins on the way.

Machu Picchu meet-up

For me Cusco was my favourite city. I relaxed here before joining Kim and Trish after their 4 day Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu. I caught the train up and met them early morning. They were exhausted but I think very proud (and rightfully so) to have completed the trek. They did however say they would never do it again as it was the hardest thing they had ever done!

We then flew  to Lima to organise more emergency papers for travel and then decided  to bus down to Nazca and take the flight over the Nazca Lines and then on to Huacachina for a Dune-buggy ride and sand boarding. This was an excursion that Green Toad had organised and we were quite convinced that it would be boring and there was no-way we would do the sand boarding.  Well we couldn't be more wrong! Possibly a highlight of the trip. Definitely a great way to finish. The dune buggy driver was nothing short of crazy and as for the sand boarding there was no way we were going to miss out on flying down 150mt plus sand dunes. We shared a very late night here with the locals and as a result were under the weather for our final excursion of our amazing trip. A boat trip out to Ballista's Island. This was beautiful but possibly not appreciated as much by us as it should have been.!

Meeting the locals in Peru

Summing up we had an amazing time. We laughed a lot. We travelled on local transport, stayed in backpacker hostels, did some amazing things and met incredible people that I have no doubt we will stay in touch with forever. There were times when we struggled and thought seriously about going home. This was when we were robbed and possibly the struggle we had with the altitude. Our lack of ability to speak Spanish also made it hard at times but we reminded ourselves that these problems were nothing to do with our age and that everyone had the same issues.

Anyone at any age can do trips like this. You just have to be positive and have a go! We would recommend GTB to anyone thinking of travelling to South America and are so grateful to them for making our trip as incredible as it was.

Perhaps another big tip here would be to learn the language! Being able to speak Spanish would have made things much easier for us. But we got by and soon learnt the necessary words for survival like Vino and Cerveza!  Being able to laugh at yourself and be flexible also helps you to travel in countries like South America.

We will be forever grateful and we would not hesitate to recommend the Green Toad Bus to anyone considering a trip to South America.



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