Simply By Joy Escape the ordinary Thu, 14 May 2020 20:01:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Traveling as a vegetarian Thu, 14 May 2020 13:22:09 +0000 Welcome to this blogpost, fellow herbivorous. This blog would not be mine if sustainability and vegetarianism (or veganism) would not be encouraged 🌿It’s been approx […]

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Welcome to this blogpost, fellow herbivorous. This blog would not be mine if sustainability and vegetarianism (or veganism) would not be encouraged 🌿It’s been approx 2 years since I’m vegetarian – time to celebrate with a blog post! In my home country, Belgium, avoiding meat/dairy is not so much of an issue. However, we all know:
Not consuming meat (and/or animal products) + traveling = challenge.
But hey, who is afraid of a little challenge, right? 😏

Basic sentences in the local language

Not all cultures are used to the idea of omitting meat or dairy products. For example, ‘no meat (sin carne)’ in many South American countries means no meat except for chicken and fish. Meaning you might have to face the struggle to clearly mention not to consume ANY meat. You have to accept that not all cultures understand ‘vegetarianism’ or ‘veganism’ and you can not blame them nor get angry. Explain kindly why you prefer to not consume certain foods and I am sure they will try their best to understand. Keep in mind that not everyone has the luxury to ‘choose’ what they eat. (See the end of the article for some basic sentences in foreign languages.)

Research before traveling: find suitable places online

Google is your best friend! 📲 Go online and find some recommended vegetarian-friendly places near you. Another option is to surf to the Happy Cow website or app which finds suitable places for you nearby. You could also join certain Facebook groups or find suitable places through hashtags and geo-tags on Instagram. 

Choose vegan/vegetarian-friendly locations

Many places are very welcoming to us! Think of India, Indonesia, Isreal, and many European countries.

Be flexible

In certain situations, you could consider being more flexible. I know this is not always the easiest decision to make. Last year I traveled to the jungle for a few days where the host did his best to give me food to my liking. In order to show my respect, I tried his freshly caught and cooked fish. In the end, how strict you stick to your diet is completely up to you.

Cook your own meal

Many hostels offer a kitchen where you are free to cook whatever you like. If you use initiatives such as Couchsurfing I’m sure you can – through kind communication – make some arrangements.

Bring food in containers

If you are planning a multi-day hike, or trip you could always take along some pre-made dishes which are made to your wishes, that way you don’t risk getting hungry on your travel!

Food Tour

Living as a vegetarian/vegan is become more ‘popular’ (yay!). Businesses know that, and in order for a business to survive, they have to adapt to the ongoing trends of their customers. Many food tours have the option to join as a non-meat-eater or even have specialized tours.

Get social: Follow fellow vegetarians/vegans travelers on Instagram

Instagram can serve as a source of inspiration. My favorite profiles are:
Justin from Lotusarticoke
Amelie from Mostlyamelie
Caro from Veggiewayfarer
and… My profile of course 😉

🌿 My basic sentences for you! 🌿

I am vegetarian – 我是素食者 (wǒ shì sùshí zhě) 
I don’t eat meat – 我不吃肉 (wǒ bù chī ròu)
I am vegetarian – soy vegetariano(/a)
I don’t eat meat – No como carne
I am vegetarian – Ik ben vegetarish
I don’t eat meat – Ik eet geen vlees
I am vegetarian – Je suis végétarien(+ne)
I don’t eat meat – Je ne mange pas de viande
I am vegetarian – As (Ash) esu Vegetare
I don’t eat meant- As (Ash) nevalgau mesos

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Traveling through books – the quarantine life Wed, 29 Apr 2020 14:15:52 +0000 Traveling nowadays means: wandering from the kitchen to the living room & the bedroom. Fear no more! This article will inspire you for your next […]

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Traveling nowadays means: wandering from the kitchen to the living room & the bedroom. Fear no more! This article will inspire you for your next ‘quarantine and chill’ moment. Unfortunately, we can’t travel physically but what we can do is to take our mind on a fantasy journey 🙃🌎 Get inspired and let your thoughts wander through the letters of these books. (P.S. all books listed in here are read and recommended by me – you can expect a touch of spirituality and thoughtfulness.)

The Zahir – Paulo Coelho

A search for his wife, Ester, brought him not only to the desert in Kazakhstan but also to his inner self. The main character was challenged to find its way to his ‘Zahir’ while realizing many truths about his life and his marriage. This book makes you reconsider everything you know about love and your routined-life.

Women Who Run With Wolves – Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Let your mind be guided by the adventures of the Wild Woman through fairy tales, folk tales, and other stories. Not only will you be reading these stories, but you’ll also be invited to contemplate on them while the writer gives you a clearer insight into your unanswered questions. Deep truths about the woman’s psyche which empowers your inner self ♀.

The Tao of Pooh – Benjamin Hoff

The Tao of Pooh is a book that will make you indulge in the Chinese philosophy of Taoism. Effortless doing, that’s what it is all about. And who, you say, will teach us more about this practice? It’s only our dear friend Winnie the Pooh. You might think “what a childish idea” (as this is what I thought too) but after reading the first few pages you’ll think differently.  

The Alchemist – Paolo Coelho

While searching for a treasure, the Spanish shepherd embarks on a trip to the Egyptian desert. His journey, of course, brings many challenges and life lessons. This book is full of inspiration, beautiful lessons messages, and heartwarming quotes. 

Eat Pray Love – Elizabeth Gilbert

Of course, this book had to make it to the list. The main character, Elisabeth (who is also the writer), took the decision to travel for a year: four months in Italy, three months in India, and finally spend the remaining time in Bali. This spiritual journey began after a difficult time at home, leading her into a different way of life. 

Feel free to recommend me books as well, I’m always open for new ideas. I wish you to be strong during these complicated times! Take care and stay healthy!


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Sustainable travel – who, what, how? Fri, 17 Jan 2020 20:29:12 +0000 Finally, after three years of studying International Tourism, I have gained a deeper insight into the ongoing tourism industry. I have learned many things, one […]

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Finally, after three years of studying International Tourism, I have gained a deeper insight into the ongoing tourism industry. I have learned many things, one of them being the impact of tourism. The economy, the environment and the social structure of a country can be affected by the mass amount of incoming tourism. These impacts aren’t necessarily only negative, don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of positive aspects of tourism. This article, however, will introduce some tips on minimalizing those negative impacts when traveling.

Because, hey, we all like to travel from time to time. Look at the following steps as a helping hand for your next travels, or maybe just as useful tips to keep in mind during planning.

Minimize flying

Aviation is, unfortunately, the fastest-growing source of Green House Gas emission. We all know that not flying would be impossible but…

… (try to) choose direct flights

Most carbon emission comes from the act of ascending and descending airplanes. A big step would be avoiding connecting flights. A perfect example would be: flying from Brussels (Belgium) to Chengdu (China) with KLM Airlines. This track usually includes a connection in Amsterdam (the Netherlands). A solution could be: Take the high-speed train from Belgium (Brussels or Antwerp) to the airport in Amsterdam and then continue your flying journey. Think of alternatives such as coach travel, carpooling, or making use of high-speed trains.

Pay and ‘compensate’ your carbon emission

Initiatives such as give you the opportunity to calculate your CO2-emission and pay for compensation. The money goes to climate projects that benefit nature/the environment. Conduct wise research or check if the airline you’re flying with provides the option when checking out.

Avoid business class

Why you ask? People who fly business class leave a larger carbon footprint because they take up more floor space. I know what you’re thinking “but the business class-area is already provided. It isn’t going to change anything if I don’t fly in that class.” There is not much that I can say or do but give you the information and mention ‘change only starts with you.’

Say no to cruises!

Yes, I know how magical and extraordinary a cruise trip could be… But the impact of the cruise industry is SO DAMN BAD. I am sorry, but this is the hard reality. Cruise ships produce an incredible amount of solid and hazardous waste, which is dumped into the ocean and sea. Aside from the waste, there is also an enormous consumption of portable water, which -after consuming for several purposes- gets contaminated. Guess what happens with that? Yes, correct. It (also) gets dumped into the ocean and/or sea.

Further, regarding the social-economic impact, it’s important to know that tourists who arrive ashore usually do not contribute to the local economy as they have food and drinks on board. Mass tourism origination from cruises indirectly contributes to higher taxes and inflation for the locals.

Certifications for travel organizers

Many travel organizers are certified by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, which means that they conform with a set of criteria in their management, social-economic -, cultural -, and environmental impact. You can find these companies on the website of GSTC.

Animal Welfare – be critical

A photograph of you holding a tiger cub? Riding an elephant? Holding a snake? Cage-diving with sharks? Yes, it is all amazing and adventurous. But I am sure you and your moral compass know better than that. Obviously, there ARE sustainable wildlife tourism companies. But there are many that only seem to be. Please consider which company you invest your time and money in. Not all companies care much about the lives of an animal. Keep in mind that every interaction with animals, either in their natural habitat or not, will affect their well-being and their physiology.

Support local economies

In many countries, tourism causes the exclusion of local enterprises because of international intervention. Think of big hotel chains such as Hilton, The Marriott group, …. Try to find alternatives by staying at local hotels/residencies and making the use of local tourism services. Further, I advise you to buy your souvenirs which are made by the natives. I mean… who travels to Poland, only to buy a souvenir that is actually made in a completely different country 😉

The tips mentioned above are rather a small portion of possible measures we can take to fight unsustainable practices within the tourism industry. Let’s stand together and help our beautiful world a hand. I (and many others) will be grateful! Thanks for reading.

More tips on traveling? Catch your (solo) travel bugs here.

Peace and love!

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Klaipeda, Lithuania’s hidden gem Thu, 10 Oct 2019 18:00:30 +0000 Klaipeda, the city of birth of one of my greatest friends. Reasons enough for me to visit. The scenic city of Klaipeda is located along […]

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Klaipeda, the city of birth of one of my greatest friends. Reasons enough for me to visit. The scenic city of Klaipeda is located along the Baltic coast and is known to be the third biggest one in the country. Not only is it the third biggest city, but it also locates the only port in the country. The charm of Klaipeda lies in its old town, untouched forests, and beaches.

From the airport of Vilnius to Klaipeda

The commute from Vilnius Airport to Klaipeda takes about 3 hours so I wouldn’t recommend taking a cab. However, you could get there by bus (or more specifically by minivan). I traveled with the company Ollex and had a good experience (tickets are bought online through their website). Once you reach the airport, you’ll walk out and head to your right. There you’ll find a small parking lot for the minivans that are used for this type of transportation.

1. Klaipeda and its beaches

My friends and I visited the Melnarage coast to watch the sunset. HIGHLY recommended! Getting there is rather easy as a public bus takes you right at the entrance of the beach. My local friend also recommends ‘Dutchman’s Cap’, as it shows a great forest and beach. There are lots of beaches to find north of the city, so go ahead and find your favorite one

2. Have dinner @ Friedricho pasažas

A picturesque street with a couple of cozy restaurants. During my trip, I passed by and stopped at the Gurman’s to get myself a delicious bun.

3. Second-hand shopping

I’m a real thrifter, and I minimalize my fast-fashion purchasing. Also in Lithuania, I felt like shopping so my friends and I went to visit the store Humana. I absolutely loved this store. It became one of my favorite second-hand shops of all time.
– Taikos pr. 29
– Turgaus a. 2
– H. Manto g. 36

4. Stroll along the Dane river

You wouldn’t be able to miss the Dane River. It’s the river that crosses the city and is connected to the Baltic Sea. Along the water, you’ll find a lot of cute restaurants, coffee bars, and shops.

5. Visit the Curonian Spit

The Curonian Spit is a peninsula located 10 minutes by boat from the border of Klaipeda city. The particular piece of land is still Lithuanian country and is bordering to Russia. The easiest way of getting there is by traveling by boat. There are two terminals. Visitors on foot and bike can go to the old terminal, which is the closest to the city. There, you can embark for only 1 euro. Once embarked, you’ll get to the island within 15 minutes.

I haven’t visited the following place myself but my local friend recommended to write about the Nida sand dunes. This area consists of kilometers of sand dunes which offers a beautiful landscape. Can’t give any tips on that, but it’s worth the try 😉


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Discover San Pedro de Atacama by car Mon, 08 Jul 2019 15:46:51 +0000 Two friends and I decided to pay a visit to the driest desert in the world. Before our departure, many people told us it’s an […]

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Two friends and I decided to pay a visit to the driest desert in the world. Before our departure, many people told us it’s an amazingly beautiful place. Once I got there, I (indeed) couldn’t believe my eyes. According to me, San Pedro de Atacama is (besides Patagonia) the most beautiful spot in Chile. We also heard San Pedro is really expensive, so we did great research on how to travel there on a budget. Guess what, we prepared pretty well! Let me share our great ideas with you.

How to get to San Pedro?

Coming from Uyuni: The usual way to get to San Pedro is combined with a tour from Uyuni, Bolivia. There are hundreds of tour companies that offer a 3 to 4-day tour through Salar de Uyuni and finally end in San Pedro de Atacama. They will help you cross the border and finally bring you to the center. Flying in from Santiago: This is what we did. We found a cheap flight (60 dollars back and forth, off-season) to Calama Airport. This flight only took us two hours to get to our destination.

How to get from Calama to San Pedro de Atacama?

By rental car: When we arrived at the airport my two friends and I decided to split up and bargain with every car rental company available. The stands are displayed at the exit of the airport. When we finally came to good terms with a certain company we took off and started our holiday! We found a very good deal at Europcar. Before flying in we already checked online what prices we could expect. When making the deal, we asked for a discount twice… and got it twice. Yay us! The final price for 5 days was 169 000 CLP ( +- 220 EUR) for an SUV + 4×4 car. By bus/public transport: If you’re not planning on renting a car you could get to the center of Calama by Uber, taxi or shuttle bus; there you should find the bus terminal and get a bus to San Pedro. No need to book in advance, there are lots of choices. If you arrive late in Calama and plan on traveling the next day, I advise you to stay at Hostal El Lao. I stayed there one night on my way back to Santiago and found it to be the best option price/quality-wise.

Why a rental car?

As we traveled by rental car, I can only share tips for this way of traveling. I’ve encountered many people who did not rent a car and decided to travel by themselves (by the use of bicycles or tours). Seeing San Pedro by bike must be really impressive… but heavy. San Pedro is located in the North of Chile and usually has a warm climate during the day. There are also mannnnyyy climbs. If you’re looking for a bike experience I advise to visit Valley de La Luna and Valley de La Muerte by bike. The other option is taking tours. Now, you have to know that San Pedro is one of the most touristic spots of Chile, meaning that the tour companies aren’t afraid of asking a high price. I’ve looked around… and believe me… Tours are REALLY expensive. Especially during high season. So, with the money that we spent on the rental car and the gas (divided by 3 people) we definitely saved some pesos. We saw everything in San Pedro on a smaller budget than anyone who was taking tours. Also, you’ll probably find people at the hostel that would gladly join you & pay for gas or rent partially.

Our hostel

The Feel Atacama hostel was recommended to me and I highly recommend it to all of you. It’s located a bit out of the center, but that forms no problem if you are traveling by car. It was the cheapest option we found and the ambiance and atmosphere are just great. Of course, you could also try Couchsurfing or camping.

Day 1 – Calama to San Pedro

We drove from Calama airport to our hostel in San Pedro in the afternoon. On this route, you’ll be able to make a stop at Cordillera de la Sal. This will give you a first impression of how you’re staying in San Pedro will look like: peaceful, beautiful and impressive. Take some time to take some photos or to stretch your legs. Very recommendable!

After this stop, we drove towards the hostel. No need to do groceries in advance as there is a local store at 5 minutes walking distance of the hostel. We cooked our dinner, prepared lunch for the next day and joined the caipirinha-evening which was organized by the staff. Great start of our trip 🙂

Day 2 – Ruta 27

We departed around 10 am, together with two Germans we met in the hostel. On this day, we’d be driving on Ruta 27 towards ‘Reserva Nacional Los Flamencos‘. Before reaching the national park we made several stops:

 – Vulcano Licancabur: here you could park the car and walk closer up to the volcano. You can’t really miss the volcano as it is 5920 meters high. At a certain point, we reached a small canyon. There we had some fun taking pics and enjoying the view.
– Further we drove to Mirador Quebrada Quepiaco: However, we stopped a bit in advance and parked the car at the side of the road. This place was so beautiful! Impressive landscape & many vicuñas.
– We drove towards Laguna Pujsa, which was off-road. It was much fun to drive off-road but the destination wasn’t the most impressive one. If you don’t feel comfortable driving off-road, then it’s not too bad to skip this stop.
– Our next visit was the Reserva Nacional Los Flamencos which is found right after a big curve. You’ll need to go a bit off-road. You’ll see this sign:

Drive further to see some impressive rock formation and even further to get to the Monjes de la Pacana. (Be careful while driving there & avoid it with a normal car).

From here you could reach Salar de Tara, which is yet another long way off-road. We never got to the actual lake since we were getting really tired of driving off-road, and we were also losing a lot of time to see other places. So, we decided to head back to the main road. From the main road (Ruta 27) we continued to drive toward the border Chile- Argentina, where we passed two other lakes.
Laguna Aguas Calientes and Laguna Quisquiro: After spending some time there we decided to drive back and find a nice spot to watch the sunset. You should know that this route is quite long and you might need some time to get back. Of course, I recommend going as close as possible to San Pedro center before it gets dark. We found the perfect spot to watch the sunset: we stopped again at the Vulcano Licancabur.

Day 3 – Ruta 23

On the second day, we decided to head southeast on Ruta 23. The final stop on this route would be Piedras Rojas. It’s a quite long drive, so we had decided to make 1 stop before reaching the final destination. Actually, we were hoping to see flamingos on day 1 and we thought they’d just be in any laguna we’d pass – but we thought wrong. Somehow, we gave up hope to see these pretty pink birds. While driving to Piedras Rojas we reached ‘Salar de Atacama‘, so that would be our stop before heading further. Mission of the trip completed: we saw flamingos. To enter Salar de Atacama you pay 2500 CLP, and you’ll be welcomed by local people that are passionate about the conservation of the park. As we were entering we asked a lot of questions to the man at the entrance, so he decided to give us a little tour. There, we learned more about the types of animals living at the Salar, what they eat, when they bread, etc. We spent about 1h30 minutes in the park. Because we felt so welcome and comfortable we had decided to eat our prepared lunch there, while looking over Salar de Atacama.

After the flamingo adventure, we headed back to the main road & drove through Tocanao. Unfortunately, we got told that Piedras Rojas would be closed. Stubborn as we were we decided to check it out anyway. As the people of the town had already warned us, we came to learn that indeed we couldn’t enter. However, a man along the way pointed out where we could find a nice viewpoint.

After Piedras Rojas, my friends and I headed back towards San Pedro. However, it was not the end of the day. Before heading to the hostel there were still some stops to be made. The first one was Laguna Miscanti & Laguna Miniques. (I can’t surely say what the normal entry price is. I, as an exchange student in Chile, could get a discount. As a student, you pay 2500 CLP to get it.) Side note: while driving towards the entrance you’re very likely to come across foxes. Please do not feed or touch them. Be ethical. Admire them from a distance.

Once you get out of the park, there is one more stop I recommend before calling it a day: Laguna Ojas de Salar & Laguna Tebinquiche. This is the perfect spot to watch the sunset and take nice pictures. Don’t stay out too long as it’s an unpaved road & still quite some time to reach the center – try not to drive in the dark.

Once we got back to the hostel, we had to get ready for our stargazing tour. The only tour we took (obviously because we do not have the knowledge). My advice: check if there’s a full moon or not (if there is, you won’t be able to see the stars well) & dress warmly. I’m not going to advise the company I went with because I’m not completely satisfied with their service. There are several tour agencies at the center of San Pedro.

Day 3 –  El Tatio Geysers & Caspana

Day three was kind of rough. The girls and I left at 3 am and drove a long way in the dark towards El Tatio Geysers. It’s a 2h30min drive and it’s completely dark. The nice thing about the dark is that you could make a stop to watch the stars. Believe me, that’s really worth it.

We arrived at the entrance of the Geysers around 5h30 am. Again, we had a student discount and paid 4000 CLP pp. Once you get in, drive all the way to the back: there you can find estacionamiento to park your car. There are two good things about being so early: there are no annoying tours (= many people)  and, because it is so cold, the geysers are very active. The reaction of the combination of the heat underground and the cold air gives you some impressive views. When I say cold air, I mean … really cold air. We had to endure a temperature of -17 degrees. My hands and toes were freezing off, so come prepared… Also, don’t forget to take a small breakfast with you. Another nice thing about being so early is that you can see the geysers at three different settings: first when it is completely dark, secondly during sunrise and finally when the sun is up. Once the sun is over the mountains the temperatures are much more comfortable, so no worries you won’t have to endure the cold too long.

In the same park, when you drive back to where you entered, you’ll encounter another route which leads you to more geysers and a hot spring. Don’ expect too much from the hot spring as the water isn’t super warm and there are many people watching you while you’re bathing. Kinda awkward.

After the geysers we didn’t really have any plan, so we started driving around. Finally, we headed towards the town called ‘Caspana’ (which we had found on the map). It’s located in the middle of nowhere, but it’s taken care of really well. There are even a museum and a cultural center. Unfortunately, when we got there, these were closed. It’s important to know that these facilities won’t open on both Sunday and Monday. Meaning I cannot tell you about the museum, but I can tell you about the scenic drive there. We didn’t even pass 1 single car. The views on this road were so spectacular and we saw much wildlife as well: foxes, donkeys, horses, vicunas, llamas, …

When we got back to the hostel we didn’t plan anything else in the evening as our day started rather early.

Day 4 – Valle de la Luna & Valle de la Muerte

The following day we wanted to take it slower. We drove off to Valle de La Luna which is pretty close to the center. Many people bike there. Once you arrive at the Valle, you’ll have to pass the entrance and pay. We paid 2000 per person (student tariff) which also gave us access to enter the viewpoint of Piedra del Coyote. Here is a summary of the prices in low season:

After spending time at Valle de La Luna, we visited Valle de la Muerte (where we watched some people failing at sandboarding – hilarious) and finally, we headed to Piedra del Coyote to watch the sunset. Best time to go to Piedra del Coyote is around 5 pm already, because if you’ll arrive at 5:30 pm, you’ll have to mingle with the hundreds of tour buses that come. If you’re earlier, you can take advantage of taking pics without other people, you’ll be able to find a nice spot, and you can enjoy the view quietly for some time. A nice alternative for this mirador to watch sunset would be Cordillera de la Sal. I suppose there will be fewer people as it is a lot less touristy.

Day 5 – Adios San Pedro!

On the 5th day, we had to return our car. I had a bus towards Uyuni around 10 in the morning, so I wasn’t able to join the girls on their last stop. They decided to see two more things: Tulor and Chuquicamata. Tulor is the oldest archeological site of Chile and according to my friends worth the visit. After their visit, they drove to Calama where they met up with their tour guide (Avenida Granaderos 4025) for a mine-tour. On this tour, they take you along the mines and give you further explanations. Tip: try to book this tour a few days in advance on this e-mail: It’s the biggest open mine in the world, and it’s free!

Are you looking for ways to travel more sustainable? Learn about the concept and get to know some tips and tricks for traveling sustainably!

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Salto Del Agua – Daytrip from Valparaiso on a (very tiny) budget Thu, 04 Jul 2019 23:56:40 +0000 Valparaiso is a famous port town near Santiago; it’s vibrant, charming, picturesque, and all of the good adjectives one can think of. However, sometimes it […]

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Valparaiso is a famous port town near Santiago; it’s vibrant, charming, picturesque, and all of the good adjectives one can think of. However, sometimes it can be nice to get out of the hustle and the bustle by escaping to nature. This blog post serves as a guide to Salto del Agua, which is located about 40 minutes from Valparaiso. And the best thing is… it’s completely free! FYI, Salto Del Agua is a waterfall 😉

How to get there?

You can take a micro/bus towards Curauma. From the Sotomayor square, you could take bus number 001, 002 and 901 (or you can check the number of the busses through Google Maps). Try to follow your actual location on your online maps, or ask the bus driver to let you know when you get to Avenida Curauma Norte. Once at the town of Curauma, get off at the (only and) big roundabout. From there on, you can walk towards the park and start your journey.

Depending on your arrival time you could decide to walk along the lake and then walk towards the waterfall, or immediately head there. I’d recommend you to download MAPS.ME application on your smartphone. The application clearly shows you the possible paths within the park. The waterfall is named ‘Salto Del Agua’.

Once you’ve reached the viewpoint of the waterfall, you’ll be able to hike down. I’d like to make it very clear that it’s not the easiest hike, it’s very steep and slippery, full of rocks and tree roots. Also, the way up is a serious challenge as you’ll have to be able to climb over the big rocks again. I used the roots of the trees to help to pull myself up. It’s heavy but it’s worth it! Consider it as a small adventure. I don’t recommend this hike for people who do not feel fit. It’s also perfectly possible to enjoy the landscape from the viewpoint, without hiking down.

In order to get back to Valparaiso, you’ll have to head back to the main road and the roundabout. There, you can take several buses back. Just check with the driver.


  • +/- 1000 CLP to pay for the bus
  • … that’s it 😉 there is no entrance fee for the park


  • Bring enough water & lunch/snacks.
  • Leave on time from Valparaiso (approx. 10 am).
  • Walk through the park towards viewpoint: easy.
  • Hike from viewpoint towards the base of the waterfall: hard (wear suitable clothes: walking shoes, comfortable pants, …). Avoid hiking alone.
  • If you’re planning beforehand: don’t pay for a tour, you can perfectly do it without a guide!

Safe travels! Love, Joyce

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One month in Peru – itinerary Mon, 24 Jun 2019 21:39:06 +0000 As you might or might not now, my exchange to Chile began the first of March. My travel partner and I decided to leave for […]

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As you might or might not now, my exchange to Chile began the first of March. My travel partner and I decided to leave for South America a bit earlier and take some time to discover Peru. I’m super glad I did: I’ve deeply fallen in love with the country and the Peruvian culture. Besides from me loving the country, I’ve got many reasons to share my itinerary with you. Budget wise we did a good job, and I personally think we saw a bit of everything that the country offers. Perfect combo, no?

Iquitos – day 1 to 2

Our adventure started off by flying in from Brussels to Lima. We didn’t leave the airport just yet as we had booked another flight straight to Iquitos. We spent 4 hours waiting at the airport for that next flight. I really recommend to avoid waiting yet another few hours after an international flight, but in this case, we immediately wanted to fly north in order to be able to travel downwards.

Iquitos is a city located in the middle of the jungle, which connects tourists with their future jungle experience. We stayed in there for about two days before we’d start our 5 day-jungle trip.

My 3 tips for you:

  • Check the timing of the year: rain season or not?
  • Bring repellent (a lot!)
  • Read my article 😉

The Amazon Jungle – day 2 to 6

We stayed at the ‘Ayahuasca Ecolodge’ with Louis as our local tour guide. Oh, what do we love this man! Despite being there during the rainy season and being eaten by mosquitos, it was one of the most interesting experiences so far. Regardless of the several hikes I’ve committed myself to, I have never had been this close to nature. We stayed at the lodge for 4 days, 3 nights. Read here more on how to book a stay in the jungle.

My 3 tips for you:

  • Stay at least two nights
  • Buy enough bottled water to take along
  • Bring a headlamp and breathable clothes that cover your skin (arms and legs) completely

After these few days in the jungle, we traveled back to Iquitos by boat where we stayed for one more night before we’d fly back to Lima.

Lima – day 8 to 10

After this intense experience between the tall trees, snakes, insects, and air thick environment we had decided to spend some days in the capital city of Peru: Lima. We stayed at a random hostel we found last minute, rested out prepared ourselves mentally for the next heavy adventure. Besides resting and strolling around, we didn’t do much since we knew we’d come back to Lima later on our trip.

Huaraz – day 10 to 17

It is only a 7-hour bus ride to get from Lima to Huaraz. Oh, do I love this place. Huaraz is known to be a paradise for hikers and nature lovers. Coming from Lima and Iquitos we found the weather a bit colder. Chilly weather, coming along with a lot of rainfall. Especially at night. The city has an average temperature of 14 C, with a good deal of rainfall during the summer months.

But hey, still no reason to hold you back! As I mentioned before, it’s a paradise for nature lovers!  We joined a 3-day trekking into the Andes Mountains: the famous Santa Cruz Trek.

The tour company we traveled with was Galaxia Expeditions and it totally satisfied our needs. Of course, if you’re an experienced hiker you could do the trek without a guide. Besides from the Santa Cruz trek, Huaraz offers many other trekking opportunities such as Laguna 69 (1-day trek), Huayhuash (multiday trek), etc.

My 3 tips for you:

  • Get off your lazy ass and go hiking/trekking
  • When you trek/hike outside the season be prepared for lots of rain
  • If you decide to trek/hike with an agency: negotiate & compare

Lima – day 17 to 20

Thanks to past travels we had met great people from Lima, they gave us the best local experience ever. There’s plenty of things to do in the capital city of Peru: bicycle tours, paragliding, free walking tours, party, beach, etc. Of course, despite the local encountering we still felt obligated to be the typical tourist. I very much dislike water but I still got convinced to go swimming with sea lions, didn’t regret it a moment (maybe a little bit)! There isn’t too much information about this activity found online, so go ahead and check out my tips for swimming with sea lions 😉

My 3 tips for you:

  • Try to get to know some of the nightlife of Lima
  • Do a free-walking tour
  • It’s a big city; be aware of pickpocketing

Cusco – day 20 to 23

Cusco is known the be the cultural heart in the Peruvian Andes range: Macchu Pichu, Sacred Valley, hiking, rafting, … As we only had a few days to spend in Cusco we decided to participate in a tour that’d visit several places in one day. It was a good tour and lovely to have seen most of the places in a short time but of course, I recommend taking your time to see these beautiful spots.

  • Chinchero
  • Moray
  • Maras
  • Urubamba
  • Pisac

Aside from these impressive places, there are also many interesting museums found at the city center, such as: Museo de Historia Natural, Museo Inka, Museo de Arte Precolombino. Peru wouldn’t be Peru if you wouldn’t encounter massive markets; my favorite market was the Centro Artesanal Cusco. Stroll around, found some cheap food and juices, get a souvenir, …

Accommodation wise we stayed at the (not so international) Incama hostel/hospedaje. We booked a private room and found our cheapest option here. Friendly people, big room, central location, not too expensive.

My 3 tips for you:

  • I’ve skipped Machu Pichu – don’t make the same mistake as I did!
  • Avoid eating out at the city center of Cusco, try to find cheaper places around.
  • Negotiate with the tour companies.

Puno – day 23 to 27

We arrived in Puno without a plan. With no accommodation yet, we figured we would just let it come to us. We came from Cusco to Puno by night bus (+- 9 hours), meaning it was only 6 o’clock in the morning when the bus arrived. We saw the sunrise over Puno, so that was definitely worth it! Of course, we were worrying a bit that finding accommodation at this time might be difficult… But nope! As we were walking into the center we encountered a lady offering accommodation at a hospedaje. The price was really fair, and later on -when we talked to other people- we got to know that we had found the cheapest option. Cheers to that! Arriving at Puno feels like going back in time: many locally dressed people and this time not for tourism reasons. 

The reason why we visited Puno is because of Lake Titicaca. Puno is the highest navigable lake above sea level but besides that, it’s also very popular with its floating islands.

Puno Boat Departures
Boat departures and prices from the port of Puno

Don’t expect much from the Uros island. I really felt like being trapped in a zoo, overwhelmed by the ‘locals’ asking for money in all kinds of ways. Of course, the floating island is really something you need to see when there, so don’t skip it if you’re there.

I heard people talking about a homestay at the floating islands, and they had a great experience. Maybe, if you have enough time to travel, this might be something you’d like to look into.

The next stop of the boat was the Island of Taquile. Be aware, it’s quite a climb to get to the main square… But absolutely lovely. Even though the boat said they are just transportation and not a tour, the had planned on eating lunch together at a restaurant at the main square. We just sneaked out from the group so we could go on by ourselves. We found this lovely family-owned place that I can only recommend. At that moment we really regretted not bringing any stuff to sleep over at their hostel. They were very kind and their prices aren’t high. So if you are planning on spending the night at Taquile island, this is the place to be:

Illary Hospedaje

My 4 tips for you:

  • Spend the night at Taquile Island
  • Don’t just accept the tour offers of vendors on the street. Go to the port and book your trip there.
  • Avoid hostels and try to find hospedajes, much cheaper!
  • Wander through ‘Calle Lima’ at night.
Summary of visited places

Border crossing Peru & Chile – day 28

Puno was my last stop in Peru before heading to Chile. This is where I continued traveling alone. From Puno, I traveled to Tacna, where I took a bus to Arica (Chile). Unfortunately, I had limited time during my travel to Peru. We weren’t able to see the whole country, sadly. Other must-see places in Peru are (according to travelers I’ve met along the trip):

  • Machu Picchu – Depart from Cusco. I consciously skipped Machu Picchu & Rainbow Mountain, however, I don’t recommend skipping it. For the Dutch readers among you, read here how to get to Machu Picchu on a small budget.
  • Arequipa (close to Puno)
  • Huacachina (desert oasis)
  • Mancora (beach)
  • Colca Canyon (south of Peru – hiking)

Any other recommendations? Questions? Please let me know, I’d gladly listen!

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