Visits

Location Date Transport Notes
La Paz 27 September, 2012 Flight Flight delayed by more than a day by rain, but fun once it happened. Tiny 19 seater Fairchild twin prop plane, noisy and a little bumpy at the end. Nice views over the mountains (so very close to us) in spite of the scratched up windows and the over-the-wing location of my seat.
Mornington Peninsula 25 September, 2012 Car (Private)
Mornington Peninsula 25 September, 2012 Car (Private) Hired a car and headed down with June, Pang and Chai.
Rurrenabaque 22 September, 2012 Car (Private) Two days biking from Sorata followed by three days on the river and camping nearby overnight.
Sorata 17 September, 2012 Car (Private) Ages just getting out of La Paz and Al Alto, followed by long straights, a trip past Lake Titikaka and then finally a few mountains and a steep decent into the valley.
La Paz 09 September, 2012 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Left just as the sun went down, so wasn't able to enjoy the scenery. Spot of excitement when we had to hop out, buy ferry tickets, ferry across part of Lake Titikaka and then meet up with our bus (from a separate ferry) again to continue onward. Arrived late at the bus terminal and just grabbed a taxi (10 bolivianos, a little over the odds) to our hostel.
Copacabana 09 September, 2012 Boat Back on exactly the same boat we arrived on, but this time we were smart enough to take the sun into account and sat in blessed shade the whole way back. Shattered from hiking all day, but no way to fall asleep on the seats provided.
Isla del Sol 08 September, 2012 Boat Slooooow boat to cover the reasonably short distance between Copacabana and Isla del Sol. Sat on the left, minor mistake as that was where the sun came in and there wasn't any shade :-/ Steep climb out of the port at Yumani up to the top, total appx. 150m vertical ascent...
Copacabana 06 September, 2012 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Took a collectivo from the Terminal Zonál in Puno to the border town of Yunguyo (8 soles); a little hot, seeing as the locals want to keep all the windows closed while sweating away and wearing thick jackets... madness. From the Yunguyo a motorcycle taxi (somewhat like a tuktuk in overall construction) took us up to the border, where we eventually figured out the process (first, go to the police office next to the Migracion building, then the Migraction building, then walk over the building and hit up the Bolivian Migracion building). From the border we took a private taxi (25 bolivianos, couldn't be bothered waiting for the completely empty collectivo to fill up) along the incredibly battered cross country route (a new road is being build, ready in about four months apparently) in to Copacabana.
Puno 05 September, 2012 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Got a very cheap deal on this ride, wasn't expecting to get the site tickets included as well. The bus stops at four sites in between Cusco and Puno and also includes a buffet lunch. Most sites not super exciting, but the bus was very comfortable so I was able to catch up on sleep en route...
Cusco 04 September, 2012 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Collectivos all the way back, changing at Urubamba.
Ollantaytambo 04 September, 2012 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. In the front of the collectivo, good views of the mountains over Urubamba and Ollantaytambo en route. Got dropped at the intersection to Mara with a couple of Dutch tourists, so we split a taxi up to Moray and then back over to the Salineras (60 soles). From there I walked down to the road in between Urubamba and Ollantaytambo (25 minutes) and flagged down an overcrowded collectivo (knelt on the floor for most of the way) to Ollantaytambo.
Cusco 26 August, 2012 Train Totally exhausted from the early start to see Machu Picchu and all of the climbing. Dozed on the train (nothing to see anyway, it was after dark), staggered to a collectivo then was kept awake by the somewhat suicidal driving style of the driver.
Aguas Calientes 25 August, 2012 Train Taxied up past Santa Teresa and on to Hyrdroelectric where we caught the train through. Pretty ride, but super short; they should really put a road through to cover the few km that you have to travel. Apparently Peru Rail doesn't want to end the monopoly for some reason...
Quellomayo 23 August, 2012 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Great ride over the Abra de Malaga (appx. 4300m) in a small 12 seater thing called a Starex from Cusco. Dropped at Santa Maria and taxied the rest of the way, the driver thought he was in a rally but got us there in one piece, so can't complain too much...
Cusco 19 August, 2012 Flight Booking the flight was a hassle (booking system broken, wouldn't take any of my credit cards, locked me out of the Verified by Visa system, booked in their office instead, charged extra fees and had to use $US because it was cheaper) but it was great once we were on. Quickly climbed above the grey haze above Lima and watched the mountains grow out of the sea of clouds, often only just below us. White capped peaks, turquoise blue glacial lakes, narrow, twisting roads and tiny villages were visible most of the time.
Lima 16 August, 2012 Flight Decent flight with one meal service and good in flight entertainment. Staff a little unfriendly.
Mexico City 13 August, 2012 Flight InterJet flight, half an hour late to depart but made up a little bit of that on the flight. Clouds most of the way, so not much to see, but some nice views of the Cancun Zona Hotelera during ascent.
Cancún 12 August, 2012 Boat Quick and slightly bumpy ride, followed by a taxi from the ferry (another 60 pesos).
Isla Mujeres 09 August, 2012 Boat On the Ultramar ferry, a decent catamaran that covers the distance in reasonable comfort and good speed.
Cancún 09 August, 2012 Car (Private) Another jungle ride on a nicer road though. The nice road comes with a savage toll though, 241 pesos. When we went along the same road by bus I only saw the 41 pesos somehow... ouch.
Valladolid 05 August, 2012 Car (Private) A long straight drag on a road cut through the jungle (like much of the Yucatan peninsula, it seems). Stopped off to visit Cobá along the way, which was a nice break.
Tulum 03 August, 2012 Car (Private) A pleasant ride down the coast from Playa, stopped in at Paamul and Akumal en route to check out the beaches. Paamul very relaxed with a nice beach and reasonably priced restaurant. Akumal much more developed, lots of hotels but limited eating, but with a very nice beach.
Playa del Carmen 01 August, 2012 Car (Private) Wooo, we have a car! Somewhat worrying at times as June masters the art of driving on the right (wrong) side of the road. Stopped for food and to pick up supplies, otherwise a quick drag down a good highway from Cancún.
Cancún 01 August, 2012 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. ADO bus again, decently comfortable. Watched the new-ish Karate Kid movie in spanish and enjoyed the jungle rolling past. The tollway went almost dead straight the whole way there.
Mérida 30 July, 2012 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Unexciting, flat, green, overpriced.
Palenque 27 July, 2012 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Decent ride for a night bus. Scenic mountains out of Oaxaca, stopped for an hour waiting for a truck which had overturned to be moved out of the way, got woken at 1 am for dinner and then onwards to Palenque.
Oaxaca 28 June, 2012 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Second class bus for the first time (AU is the company) and it's not actually too bad. While there's no toilet on board and it's a bit older than the first class buses, there's still decent space to sit and there's no annoying TV screen anywhere to be seen. Scenery is pleasant en route, watching a storm roll in over Mexico City as we roll out. Looks like it would have been good later on, but it was after dark :-/
Cuernavaca 22 June, 2012 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Nice trip down from Taxco, again inspiring car sickness but offering good views.
Taxco 20 June, 2012 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. A pleasant trip, aside from a little car sickness. The scenery along most of the route was pleasant, with the countryside lush and green at the beginning of the wet season. Much of the way climbs up and down the sides of small mountains, adding to the carsickness but giving good views.
Mexico City 11 June, 2012 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Primera Plus company, nice bus, snacks served, expensive and boring.
Guanajuato 08 June, 2012 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Savagely expensive bus (I hear that they all are here), but very nice all the same. Heaps of leg room, snacks given, comfortable seats, very smooth ride. Scenery uninspiring most of the way.
Mexico City 30 May, 2012 Flight Interjet flight, purchased on special (two for the price of 1 + taxes for the second as well).
Havana 29 May, 2012 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Heavy rain patches on the return trip, making for nice views over the mountains with towering clouds.
Vinales 29 May, 2012 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Boring scenery as far as Pinar del Rio, but improving as we drew closer to Vinales. Stopped for a brief visit to a rum factory in Pinar del Rio then continued on our way.
Havana 28 May, 2012 Flight Looked like a big storm was rolling in before we took off, but it didn't end up causing us any problems. More interesting was the small crab mysteriously scuttling around the departure lounge... Flight was operated by Aero Carribean for Aero Cubana. Plane was old but decent, but the flight was overpriced.
Santiago de Cuba 26 May, 2012 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Getting the ticket was a bit of a nightmare, as was finding out the real departure time. The ticket office in Baracoa only seems to open immediately prior to departure, so forget about booking in advance (maybe this is better in high season). Beautiful scenery on the way back, no food breaks on the five hour trip however.
Baracoa 23 May, 2012 Car (Private) The bus to Baracoa was full so we chartered a taxi. It's a beautiful ride with some very pleasant terrain for parts of the trip between Santiago and Guantanamo, then a seaside drive for quite a way followed by fantastic jungle and mountain scenery over "La Farola", the mountain road over to Baracoa. Unfortunately the driver decided to try to up the price to 120 CUC on arrival; to avoid too much argument we settled on 110 CUC, so if you're doing this yourselves be sure to be exact on the price.
Santiago de Cuba 21 May, 2012 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Finally a ride with some pleasant scenery. The last stages featured valleys, jungles and mountains, a welcome relief from the boring flatness of most of Cuba.
Bayamo 20 May, 2012 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Got tricked on this one. We were waiting for the Viazul departure at 6.55pm (11 CUC) but a local offered to get us on a "minibus", which would head straight to Bayamo via Las Tunas, arriving at 9.30pm; we agreed because the Viazul bus goes via Holguin, a very long route (arriving at midnight). The bus was a Cuban one, Astro (which was fine, but conflicted with his minibus story), which turned out to go via Holguin as well and only got us in half an hour before the Viazul bus at twice the price... Live and learn, I suppose.
Camaguey 20 May, 2012 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Similar trip to the way out there.
Cayo Coco 18 May, 2012 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Nice enough bus, but slow travel; half hour delay on departure and plenty of shagging around at various points. Less than three hours actual moving time, probably only 2 - 2.5 in your own car. Final stretch coming out onto the island via a long causeway (many kilometers) is pretty cool.
Camaguey 16 May, 2012 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Reasonably unexciting, actual time travelling was much less but there were several stops including 45 minutes for lunch. Terrain interesting in between Trinidad and Spiriti Sanctus (valleys, cloud topped mountains) but thereafter flat and boring.
Trinidad 13 May, 2012 Car (Private) Hired a private car to take us to Trinidad via El Nicho. Hot, no aircon, mild aroma of petrol as the car struggled up the steep bits, but otherwise alright. Scenery continues to be reasonably unexciting. A few nice looking beaches as we came in close to Trinidad.
Cienfuegos 12 May, 2012 Public Bus, Minivan, Truck etc. Pretty boring trip, a few sugar cane plantations but otherwise not much to see. A 20 minute food stop around the middle was included.
Havana 07 May, 2012 Flight Flight with Condor from Prague to Frankfurt (1.5 hrs, Lufthansa) then from Frankfurt to Havana (11 hrs, Condor). Better than expected given that I thought I was booking on a budget airline, plenty of leg room on both flights and decent food served on the long flight as well.
Prague 04 May, 2012 Train Nice trip, much of it after Dresden along a pretty river valley.
Berlin 03 May, 2012 Train
Frankfurt 02 May, 2012 Train
Berlin 28 April, 2012 Train

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