We came to Nicaragua on a bit of a lark. We owned flights to neighboring Costa Rica, so we thought we should try to see Nicaragua as well. After a bit of research, we found out some Hollywood stars had vacationed near San Juan del Sur, a small fishing town on the emerald coast just across the border from Costa Rica.
We decided that during our time in Costa Rica, we should visit neighboring Nicaragua as well. It would be Aaron last country in Central America. So we headed off to San Juan del Sur, a rugged little beach town on Nicaragua’s emerald coast just over the border from Costa Rica.
Small and colorful Salento is the closest town to the Cocora Valley, home to the tallest palm trees in the world. The buildings are well maintained, the streets are clean, and there are many restaurants and cafés to choose from.
Cocora Valley is home to the tallest palm trees in the world and one of Colombia’s most popular outdoor destinations. Hiking the valley was one of our neatest experiences in South America, but it wasn’t without a little misadventure.
Bogota is Colombia’s capital city at the foot of the Andes, with a colonial old town remarkably similar to the one in Quito, Ecuador. Even though Bogota is a huge city, the tourist attractions are mostly clustered in the old town, which you can visit in a day or two.
From Cartagena we flew to Medellin, Colombia’s city of eternal spring set in the lush Aburrá valley. Once the most dangerous city in the world in the 1980s, Medellin has transformed itself into the most innovative city in the last decade.
In February we spent a few days in Cartagena, Colombia, famed for its colorful old city inside a fortress-like wall. February we discovered was summer, the dry season when the city receives the most tourists, driving prices up and making Cartagena Colombia’s most expensive city.
There are two places to see penguins in the wild near Punta Arenas, Chile. One is Magdalena Island, where small Magellanic penguins roam free. We decided to go to Magdalena Island because it’s close to Punta Arenas and the entire island is run over by these little penguins.
Puerto Williams is the southernmost city in the world, a small town and naval base of merely a few thousand people on Navarino Island at the southern tip of Chile.
In October I took a day trip to Machu Picchu from Cusco. I wasn’t sure if my timing would be too tight, but it turned out perfectly.