I think I’ll go to South America

YOU GUYS.

I have such exciting news today. Ok, well, it’s exciting to me. And probably should be exciting to you because it’s going to mean epic stories for the blog. Ready? OK.

I’m going to South America in April. Amanda and I are going to Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru.

We’re going to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu!

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Oh hai Machu Picchu, see you in THREE MONTHS.

Before I get into the rest of the trip, let me talk about Machu Picchu a little bit. Amanda is turning 30 at the end of March, so we are going in celebration of her birthday. We both love hiking, international travel, and doing things that most people think are a little extreme. So of course, hiking the Inca Trail is perfect. It’s a 4 day journey that actually is about as long as a marathon – 43 km, give or take. The Inca Trail is one of the most beautiful roads built by the Incas, and it passes by many important historic sites along the way to Machu Picchu. Hiking the trail is only available by permits, which must be acquired through an authorized trekking company, and no more than 500 permits are issued for each day – only 200 of which are for hikers. The rest are for tour guides and the staff who accompany you along the way to make sure you don’t fall off the mountain. So we’re going to hike in the Andes for 4 days, which means we will be camping. And not showering. It’s going to be gross. And it’s going to be beautiful. Fortunately for you, I will just take pictures, so you will not be able to smell me through the blog. This is in everyone’s best interest.

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Preliminary research indicates that the Inca Trail basically involves climbing stone stairs for 4 straight days – the original StairMaster.

We’re also going to be going to Ecuador (Quito and some surrounding areas) and Bogota, Colombia. We decided that we wanted to see a few different countries while we are in South America, and we can easily in and out of Quito and Bogota on our way to Peru. We’ll have two full days in Ecuador, but unfortunately, only one full day in Bogota due to logistics with the Inca Trail hike. Now, before anyone gets too hyped up about (read: opposed to) us visiting Bogota due to perceptions of Colombia acquired thanks to Scarface, take a deep breath and remember that I am the undisputed queen of compulsive research. Before deciding on our destinations, I spent a lot of time looking into the safety of each city and what we could expect – particularly Bogota. Without going into too many details because you presumably don’t care (yet), trust that we are staying in an extremely safe part of the city (not La Candelaria, for those of you who know anything about Bogota) and will be taking a guided tour on the day that we are there – and that the tour was ranked very highly on TripAdvisor by women who have traveled to the city alone. We will have chaperones, k? So we’re going to be fine, unless we get hit by a car or something crossing the street, which is highly possible since I find international traffic super confusing.

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We’re coming for you, Bogota!

As far as Ecuador is concerned, Quito is our first stop, and we will likely also be doing a day trip to see some sites outside the city while we are there. I’m beyond excited to visit this beautiful country and to stand on the Equator because I am a nerd like that. I’ve got a few things in mind as far as stuff to see, but it’s not completely planned out yet.

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We’re going to Otavalo Market outside of Quito and I’m basically going to buy everything. Dear family members – you will be getting some sort of rug for Christmas.

Also, one of my primary goals while in South America (Peru, specifically) is to find an alpaca and hug it. I never told you guys this, but I adopted an alpaca for AJ for Christmas. Not like I adopted it and brought it home, but like I sponsored its survival via the internet and now we have a framed 5×7 picture of it in our house. His name is Neill. There’s a story behind this, of course, but I’ll have to go into that another day. Anyway, I want to meet a real life South American alpaca. I figure our visit to the sheep farm in Ireland was so memorable that I can’t go wrong by including livestock in all future international adventures, right? Right.

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AND JUST LOOK AT THE FASHIONS. So sassy.

Because of this trip and how I’m paying for it (hint: I’m mostly not paying for it thanks to my compulsive research), I’m also going to be starting to incorporate some travel tips and tricks into the blog so that you too can experience the joy of international travel on a budget. You guys might think that I’m made of money or I have a trust fund or something to fund all these trips, but sadly, despite my pleading, T-Rex Mom and Dad have yet to set up a trust fund for me, so I pay for them myself. Anyway, I’ll be doing occasional posts on how to make travel more affordable. I want to see a lot fewer comments of “Wow, I wish I could go somewhere cool like that!” and a lot more comments of “Ok, now I know where I’m going for my next trip!” Don’t worry. I’ll help you get there.

LEAVE A COMMENT: Have you ever been to any of these places? Recommendations for things to do and places to go? Have you ever hugged an alpaca? Discuss.

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