I found myself in the small city of Nazca. This historic city lies about three hours south of Ica and the dunes of Huacachina. My goal was to get to Arequipa which is about 12 hours south of Nazca.
Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category
The goal was to be out at the crack of dawn, when the desert air is at its finest. Due to evening food and internet complications, a whole other story, I got to sleep a bit later than planned. My body clock finally forced my eyes open just after the sun began its ascent.
I was out the door at 6:25 and on the dune at 6:4o.
After spending almost two hours drifting in and around Riobamba’s center looking for a cheap hotel, I finally came across the Hotel Glamour. It was the sixth place I’d checked out and the first that was equipped with wifi in the rooms.
Of the two rooms that were left, I chose the huge one that had a work table. The other room on offer was only $10 but it didn’t have a window. I always try my best to avoid musty, windowless rooms. The big one was $15. The man kindly gave it to me for $13 after I asked for that price. I thought: It’s more than I want to pay. But, the room is great and I’m really tired of looking at hotel rooms. I have a vista of a snowcapped volcano to find before sunset and I’ve already used up way too much time.
Minutes before arrival at the volcanically heated hot springs of Termas El Salado, I was able to see the smoking Volcán Tungurahua. I thought: I don’t remember ever seeing an active volcano in front of my eyes. What a pleasant surprise. I was glad that I don’t take taxis unless I have to, as the walk rewarded me with a striking view.
Termas de la Virgen sits just beside –practically below– the Caballera de la Virgen waterfall.
After paying the $2 entrance fee I went in and glanced around in awe, finding five pools. They vary in water shade, size, and most importantly, temperature.
I was instructed to take a container, go to a changing room, put on swim trunks and place everything else in the basket.
A few posts ago, I mentioned that while in the hilliest city in Colombia, I got to go on a rather scenic hike that wouldn’t have been possible to figure out on my own.
At the time, I felt that I’d paid my local guide a bit too much. However, as I was just browsing through photos from that hike, I came across some that made me realize that the 30,000 COP or $16.85 for the five and a half hour guided hike was far from the worst deal on earth.
While sleeping in a hostel dorm room for my first five nights in Salento, I noticed a trend of backpackers coming for one or two nights. They make it to Cocora for a hike, and then they’re on their way out to see another site at another Colombian destination. It took me over a week in these idyllic surroundings before I finally got a jeep out to this natural wax-palmed wonderland.
Just a short time after I entered the premises of the national park I was reminded of something. Not far from where the trail started, memory of footage from the film The Lord of the Rings popped into my mind.
While on one of the three microbuses I took to get to the cute little town of Salento from Manizales, I thought about engaging in some hiking. I’d heard that it was a major attraction there. I pondered: I’m in the Andes, there has to be endless trails that are incredibly worthy of hiking. I’d really like to get in touch with more nature, with my diverse earth.
What I didn’t know is that I’d end up going on four unique hikes in just over a week’s time.
After arriving in Salento and being brought to my hostel, I decided to take a stroll into the tranquil and idyllic Salento night.
The smooth 38,000 COP or $20.93 minivan ride through the mountains from Medellín to Manizales reminded of a jaunt from Boston to New York City. The picturesque Andean landscape is not what made me think of the Northeast of the United States. I compared the two rides because the time and costs are similar.