Adios to South America

I‘m currently spending a few more lazy days in Cartagena before sailing across to Panama via the beautiful San Blas islands; after a little over six weeks, it‘s almost time to say goodbye.

My trip didn‘t originally include time in South America, but I‘m really glad I came. It is more different than I could have expected, leaving me continually surprised and inspired.

(Inside a mud volcano, just outside Cartagena)

The countries I visited remind me a lot of Zimbabwe, from the brands sold to the places they sell them, the colour of the grass, and the absurd weights people manage to carry.

My impressions of Brazil are obviously coloured by Carnaval – it would be nice to see what Rio is like during a more normal time of year – but it remains one of my favourite cities I‘ve visited. The Pantanal was definitely furthest outside of my comfort zone, and while the scenary and wildlife were simply amazing, I don‘t think I‘ll be heading back there.

(The geographic centre of the South American Continent in Cuiaba, Matto Grosso)

Into Bolivia and my first taste of Latin America; I saw such a range of urban and rural landscapes here. I saw, and then ate, my first llama (not the same animal!), witnessed the indigenous culture that is still alive and kicking, and started to see the same travellers in different places – I officially joined the Gringo Trail.

Peru saw me become more confident, in both getting around on my own, and in speaking Spanish. I took lessons in Cusco and have been chatting to locals as much as I can. The country is full of adventure, as well as jaw-dropping natural beauty, and I would definitely come back here.

And now Colombia! The heat is very welcome, and the pace of life slows way down. People here seem more relaxed – there‘s no shocked stares if you wear shorts – and there‘s also a larger mix of different ethnicities. After Bolivia and Peru, the variety takes a little getting used to.

I‘m very excited to see what Central America has to hold!