With just a few days left on our 90-day Chile tourist visa, and eager to escape the cold of the pacific coast in winter, we packed our bags and headed to warmer pastures (waters), bathing suits and running shoes in tow.
First stop: Rio de Janeiro. Visits to Sugar Loaf Mountain, Christ the Redeemer statue, Santa Teresa, Ipanema, and Copacabana beach left us convinced that this must be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Moreover, it made for a great place to run a 1/2 marathon!
We next decided to travel down the coast to a colonial town called Paraty, where we walked the cobblestone streets, dodged the tourist touts, and then embarked to a more distant beach on which to camp out for a couple nights. Just us, a few surfers, fisherman and sand flies.
The beaches, which required a hike to access, were beautiful. The water was warm (yay Atlantic!), and all was perfect. Except maybe the food. With proper gas canisters for our camp-stove unavailable, we made do with honey and sausage sandwiches with peanuts and granola on the side. Yum!
After camping, and a quick slide down a waterfall, we filled up our bellies and headed inland. Up next: Foz de Iguacu (Iguazu Falls). And what a site they were! We visited the national parks on both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides. Pictures were taken, monkeys were spotted, clothes got wet, and Jeff even chased down a would-be thief. (See picture and caption below).
Being that we were in the area, the next day we jumped over to the shopping mecca of Ciudade del Este, Paraguay, where the concept of “differentiation” apparently has not been introduced. With that being said, there was some type of chaotic brilliance to this place that baffled and intrigued us at the same time.
An overnight bus-trip later and we found ourselves in Sao Paulo, with two tickets to Cartagena, Colombia!
One of these little pariahs mistook my plastic bag, which contained a spare dry shirt, for an easy snack and took off with it into the jungle. I followed, giving chase, and with a little spotting and pointing from some other tourists in the park, reclaimed what was mine.
[More pictures can be found in the Photos section of our blog]