How to see penguins in Punta Arenas

You’re probably in Punta Arenas because you are on your way somewhere else. But if you have a day to spare, I definitely recommend going to Isla Magdalena to check out some penguins and sea lions. Solo Expediciones is the only company that goes there outside of high season (before December or after January). To maximize your chance of actually going to the island, you should go to Solo Expediciones HQ (shown on the map at the end) basically as soon as you arrive in Punta Arenas. Continue reading “How to see penguins in Punta Arenas”

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A whirlwind trip to Tikal

We had one goal in coming to Tikal: see some coatis. I know. It’s weird. I guess we were interested in the ruins as well. You can go here or here or here to find useful information on Tikal. I just have these 3 useful tips to add for visiting Tikal.

      • Get your transportation from Fernando Rodas. He is amazingly friendly and can tell you lots about the history of the region and has very reasonable rates.
      • Get to the park by 6am. There will be very few people and it will not yet be unbearably hot. This is best done by staying in one of the lodges in the vicinity of the ruins. We liked Tikal Inn for the pool that you can lounge in during the extremely hot and humid late morning/early afternoon hours. If you are on a budget, there are also campgrounds near the park. You will need a flashlight to enter the park at this hour. Most of the time it is misty in Tikal so rushing to get to Temple 4 with all of the other tour groups will get you a view of fog rather than sunrise. Save it for a bit later and instead go to one of the side temples and have it all to yourself (might I suggest Temple 6 to see monkeys in the morning).
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This is what Tikal looks like with only 1 person
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chilling by the pool at Tikal Inn
    • Bring a raincoat. It rains all of the time. Tikal is in the rainforest. You should probably also wear mosquito repellent.

Also, you will see coatis. Many of them!

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coatis everywhere!

A Day in Corcovado National Park

I really wanted to go to Corcovado National Park so we took a day trip with Perla del Sur to Sirena station. The cost is $130 per person and includes lunch (Beware vegetarians, their idea of a vegetarian meal is asking you to remove the ham from a ham and cheese sandwich). It starts at 7 (ish) from Sierpe (do not eat the food from the Perla del Sur restaurant, it is not good! Coffee is ok though.) and you take a boat for about 2 hours through the mangroves (stopping for any crocodiles or caimans) and into the Pacific Ocean to reach Sirena. There’s a possibility of seeing dolphins on the boat trip but we only saw one really far away. Upon reaching Corcovado, we hiked for about 4 hours around the Sirena Ranger Station before returning by boat. While Corcovado is well known for its wildlife, I didn’t hold out so much hope since we were going during the day and animals tend to sleep at this time but I was VERY pleasantly surprised. Our guide, Stanley, was great at spotting wildlife and every guide brings along a scope so that you can see the animals up in the treetops. I fully recommend visiting Corcovado if you are anywhere near the area. The rest of this post is basically just going to be pictures of all the animals we saw that day. Enjoy!

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Weaving, Hiking, and Boating in Peru

As part of the tour, GAdventures brought us to Ccaccaccollo to visit a weaving community and see how alpaca textiles are made. The products at this community seemed much better than what we found in Cusco so we bought loads of scarves and sweaters. We spent the night in Ollantaytambo before heading to Km 82 to begin our trek.

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Every Animal Ever Along the Kinabatangan River

SO MUCH WILDLIFE! We stayed at the Nature Lodge Kinabatangan, which took care of everything including pickup in Sepilok and dropoff as well arranging for tickets to Kota Kinabalu. The Nature Lodge is run sort of like a summer camp; a loud bell is used to signify meals and activities. You can also rent most things that you need from them. Our itinerary on the Kinabatangan river basically consisted of doing everything possible to spot some wildlife.

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