Our South America Bucket List Experiences
This is our South America bucket list: the 5 best experiences we had in 5 months in South America. The ones we will never ever forget.
It feels almost surreal to be writing about this trip in past tense. If I close my eyes I can still feel the excitement of the day we took that first flight with direction Santiago de Chile, the first stop of our almost five months backpacking South America.
Writing this article while sitting in a room overlooking the hills of Kandy, Sri Lanka, is only the proof that the first part of our life-long dreamt world trip was an unforgettable experience, which gave us even more desire to continue traveling.
Backpacking South America was not only a trip, it was a lifestyle change, a door opening to a new us. The start of something so much bigger that I believe only in few years, looking back, we will be able to fully appreciate.
A month prior to leaving we quit our jobs, sold almost everything in our Paris flat where we lived for a year and drove the remaining boxes with our lives inside to my parents house in Italy. We had been dreaming on taking this leap for as long as I remember, trading our sedentary office lives for a life on the road, taking a leap that many thought crazy and many others brave. For us, it meant bringing to life what our souls had been longing for: freedom.
To tell you that our experience in South America was great, is a understatement. I feel words might fail me in describing properly what this five months truly were, but I will share with you the experiences and places that touched us above all the others.
If your dream is to travel, our biggest suggestion would be stop pondering and waiting for the right moment. This moment is your life.
The enchanted islands: Galapagos (Ecuador)
There is a secret world that is kept intact despite the changes of time and protected from the impact of humans. A world where animals are free to reign and nature is untouched and unchanged. Darwin called these part of the world ‘the enchanted islands’ and there is no better adjective to describe their spell. The Galapagos islands were the last stop of our time in South America and the highlight. During our seven days cruise with Ecoventura on board of the Eric, we cruised the Pacific ocean crossing the equator line seven times and touched the shores of six different islands. We saw blue whales and dolphins gliding through the waters, swam with sea lions, baby sharks, turtles and iguanas, observed the pristine underwater world and walked the millenary lava rocks. An experience almost difficult to capture in words, that forever changed our appreciation for nature.
A salty horizon: Salar de Uyuni (Bolivia)
A landscape that will play games with your perception and sense of orientation. Kilometres and kilometres of white salt, only interrupted by strange cactus islands. When the sun sets and the sky becomes pink and orange it reflects on the pools of rain water on the salt, blurring the line between the sky and the earth, like a real life mirage.
Three days in the Salar de Uyuni are a proper adventure. Three days spent 24/7 with your driver and four stranger with which you divide the small space of a Jeep, creating hilarious moments and making for a story you will forever enjoy recounting.
Breathing in, breathing out: Peruvian Amazon (Peru)
Being in the Amazon was a dream come true. Waking up for sunrise and watching the sun explode in the most intense orange sunrise over Rio Madre de Dios is a memory that will never fade. We were taken aback by the sheer force of the wide body of water that breaks the green pattern of the jungle like a vein and we marvelled at the unique wildlife. Whether is in Peru or in any of the other countries were the Amazon expands, make sure to live this adventure.
The beauty of history: Cartagena (Colombia)
Cartagena easily became our favourite city in Colombia and South America as a whole. We fell head over heels for its charm and character. The old town is a perfectly maintained historic gem, made of colourful streets with blooming balconies and uncountable top notch restaurants, bars and cafes. In Cartagena all your senses will rejoice!
Landing on the moon: San Pedro de Atacama (Chile)
A dry landscape were the harsh sun has created deserts and salt lagoons and some of the most beautiful landscapes in South America. The desert town of San Pedro de Atacama is the perfect base to explore the surroundings which include Valle de la Luna, the salt lagoons , the Geysers and all the other natural wonders of northern Chile.
We the hope to meet you again soon South America. Thank you for the unforgettable lessons, for the fun, for the struggle and for your immense, beautiful soul.