Run the equator: Itineraries for various countries

Monday, March 12, 2007

Itineraries for various countries


April 2007

Day Plan Sleep in
1 Fly from Seattle to Cancun, rent a car, drive to Valladolid Valladolid
2 The Ek'Balam ruins and Cenote Diznup Valladolid
3 See Chichen Itza on the way to Merida Merida
4 Merida, tour the town Merida
5 Side trip to Celestun and the flamingo reserve Merida
6 Day trip from merida to the Dzibilchaltun ruins and the beach town Progreso. Merida
7 The Convent Route by Car, Merida to Ticul. Ticul
8 The Puuc Route by car, Ticul to Uxmal. Campeche
9 Relax day in Campeche Campeche
10 Drive from Campeche to Rio Bec Rio Bec Dreams lodge
11 See the Calakmul ruins Rio Bec Dreams lodge
12 Relax day at the jungle lodge Rio Bec Dreams lodge
13 See the Chicanna and Becan ruins Rio Bec Dreams lodge
14 Drive from Rio Bec to Tulum Tulum
15 Tulum ruins, hanging out on the beach Tulum
16 Drive to Playa del Carmen (initially planned to drive to Cancun and drop the car) and back, drop off the car. Tulum

Continue overland by bus to Belize.


May 2007

  • Orange walk - visit the Maya ruins at Lamanai (2 days)
  • San Ignacio - outdoor activities - visit the Aktun Tunichil muknal cave, horseback riding, the Cahal Pech ruins (4 days)
We left Belize early for Guatemala (overland), because it was too expensive, and decided to skip the diving at Caye Caulker.


May 2007

  • Tikal - visit the Maya ruins at Tikal (afternoon ond morning), sleep at the jungle Lodge (1 day)
  • Antigua - Visit the most beautiful colonial town of Central America, hike the Pacaya volcano, relax (5 days)
Continue overland from Antigua to Honduras (microbus).


May 2007

  • Copan and La Ceiba - visit the Maya ruins at Copan and continue to La Ceiba on the comfortable Hedman Alas tourist bus (1 day)
  • Roatan island - Dive and obtain the Advanced open water certification, explore the island - the place the most expensive internet ever (7 days)
  • San Pedro Sula - Ferry from Roatan to La Ceiba and the Hedman Alas bus to San Pedro Sula where we seemed to be the only tourists in town. (1 day)
Take a flight in the morning from San Pedro Sula to Quito, Ecuador - with a stop in San Jose (Costa Rica) and a plane change in Panama City.


June 2007

  • Quito - Visit the churches and colonial streets of the old town, the vibrant areas of the new towm, Mittad del Mundo (the equator line), the Otavalo market, take the teleferico to the Rucu Pichincha mountain (5 days)
  • The Galapagos islands - A boat cruise of the most incredible archipelago in the world (8 days)
  • Cuenca - Spanish lessons (aborted early due to price misunderstandings), stayed with a very nice local family. (4 days)
  • BaƱos - relax in this small mountain town, horseback riding, diarrhea, doing nothing but watching the rain... (5 days)
Leave to Quito again and take a plane to Lima, Peru.


June/July 2007

  • Lima - Visit the majestic colonial old center, and the modern Miraflores neighborhood, stay in an old colonial house turned hostel (3 days)
  • Cuzco - Acclimatize before the Inca Trail, visit the beautiful but very touristy town and the Sacred Valley, hike with Michael and Mor (6 days)
  • The Inca Trail - High-altitude torture. Nice but hard! Ending back in Cuzco on the last day (4 days)
  • Cuzco - wanted to relax, but had to deal with stolen money (1 day)
  • The Tambopata river - Explore the jungle of the Tambopata national park and go back to Cuzco (5 days)
Take a nigth bus from Cuzco to Puno and another one from there to Copacabana, Bolivia.


July 2007

  • Copacabana - Relax at the posh "Las Olas" hotel after the too much hiking done in Peru (4 days)
  • La Paz - Explore this amazing town, look for travel deals to Uyuni and further, get some good food (5 days)
  • Uyuni - Altiplano at its best. Tour the salar de Uyuni and experience life in a little, freezing-cold town, with nothing to do! (4 days)
  • Tupiza - Horseback-riding, relax and prepare to cross into Argentina (3 days)
Take the train to Villazon and cross the border into Argentina.


July/August 2007

  • Salta - Relax and recover after the Altiplano (3 days)
  • Buenos Aires - Rent and apartment, explore the city, eat lots of steak and do some shopping (2 weeks)
Take a big, fat jumbo jet all the way across the Atlantic Ocean.

South Africa

August/September 2007

  • Pretoria - Get used to the vibe of the new continent and apply for visas for other African countries (5 days)
  • Cape Town - Visit the beautiful city and its waterfront and apply for more visas (4 days)
  • The Karoo - Take a rental car and drive east with copious stops at wineries throughout the wine country, and the Karoo. Stop in Franschhoek, Montagu and Oudtshoorn (4 days)
  • The Garden Route - Keep driving along the beautiful South Atlantic coast and stop for the night in beautiful places like Buffalo Bay, Tsitsikamma national park, Hermanus and Simons Town (8 days)
  • Back to Cape Town - via a tour of the cape peninsula, for a couple more days of sightseeing and (of course) wine tasting (2 days)
Start the Africa overland trip on a safari truck.


September 2007

  • Sesriem Canyon - See the southern desert, the canyon and the red sand dunes
  • Swakopmund - Stroll through the streets of this relic town of colonial times
  • The Etosha Pan - Animals, animals, animals!
  • The Waterberg Plateau - Hike up the escarpment and take a look at the immense plain that lies below
  • Windhoek - Spend a couple of hours in the capital of Namibia, do some shopping, drop some people and move on


September 2007

  • The Okavango Delta - Camp for two days among the meandering waterways and wake up with the elefants
  • Chobe National Park - Take a cruise along the this river teeming with life
Leave the tour which goes to Zimbabwe, and cross over directly to Zambia.


September 2007

  • Livingstone - Spend a few days in this sleepy town hanging out with other backpackers at the Jollyboys hostel, celebrate our one-year anniversary swimming in Devil's Pool on top of Victoria Falls, hook up with the tour group again.
  • Sinda school - Meet the students and the teachers at this rural school near Lusaka, play soccer with the kids and teach an impromptu math class.
  • South Luangwa National Park - Wake up among elephants and giraffes in this amazing corner of Africa
Cross the border into Malawi


October 2007

  • Lilongwe - Stop in the sleepy capital for a few hours to refuel.
  • Lake Malawi's Beaches - Cruise in our truck from beach to beach, swim, drink and relax.
Cross the border overland into Tanzania


October 2007

  • Dar es-Salaam - Drive all the way across the country to the old capital.
  • Zanzibar, Stone Town - Visit the beautiful but dilapidated Stone Town and get lost in its maze of alleys reminiscent of Venice.
  • Zanzibar, Nungwi - Spend a couple of days in Nungwi, a village at the northern tip of Zanzibar island, with beautiful sandy beaches, sprawling tourist resorts and decent diving.
  • Serengeti - Cruise for two days through the most famous game park in the world.
  • The Ngorongoro crater - A few hours spent in this gigantic caldera teeming with wildlife will make you forget all the ugliness in the world.
Keep on driving to Kenya


October 2007

  • Nairobi - We didn't really visit the country, we just spent two nights in Nairobi, where our tour ended.
Hop on a plane in Nairobi and fly all the way to Egypt


October/November 2007

  • Cairo - Get lost in the largest and most overwhelming metropolis of the Arab world.
  • Alexandria - Spend a couple of days on the Meditarranean and meet my friend Murad who repatriated after years in America. Take a night train to Aswan.
  • Aswan - Visit the fabled ancient monuments of the southern Nile (instead we met Ismael and spent five days talking to him and his extended family, going to Nubian weddings and drinking a lot of tea).
  • Luxor - Fend off the attacks of the tenacious touts in the hassle capital of Egypt, visit the majestic temples of Luxor and Karnak and the tombs and temples of the scorched Valley of the Kings. Fly to Sharm el-Sheikh.
  • Dahab - Five relatively hassle-free days of divine diving in the Sinai peninsula. Take the bus back to Cairo for a last day of shopping and bazaar-browsing.
Fly from Cairo to Athens, Greece. Take a rental car from the airport and drive all the way to Nafplio


November 2007

  • Nafplio - While away some lazy November days in this gorgeous town and visit the surrounding medieval and classical ruins. Sprinkle every meal with tsatsiki and lots of wine.
  • Mystras - Spend a day exploring this uniquely-preserved Byzantine hill-town. Sprinkle every meal with tsatsiki and lots of wine.
  • Monemvasia - Take refuge between the walls of the last still-inhabited Byzantine fortress turned tourist attraction on the shore of the Aegean sea. Sprinkle every meal with tsatsiki and lots of wine.
  • Delphi - Is there any better place in the world to plead for the help and grace of the gods? Sprinkle every meal with tsatsiki and lots of wine.
  • Athens - A nice albeit uninspiring city, home to possibly the most celebrated ruin in the world, the Parthenon. And to great shopping and the 2€ Starbucks cup of drip coffee. Sprinkle every meal with tsatsiki and lots of wine.
Take a plane from Athens to Rome


November 2007

  • Rome - Five days in the most celebrated metropolis of the world is never enough. I love this town. I'll have to return... again and again.
Budget airline to Madrid


November/December 2007

  • Madrid - Discover the real meaning of "tapas" and marvel at Picasso's masterpeices in this incredibly lively and cosmopolitan European capital.
  • Seville - Take it easy for a few days, get lost in the meandering streets of the old town and enjoy a bit of warmer weather.
  • Barcelona - Meet Robert and Eva, neither a native of this town, but both quite knowledgeable about its ways. Enjoy a bit of Gaudi's legacy and... well, just enjoy...
Budget airline to Bucharest


December 2007/January 2008

  • Bucharest - Spend a few rainy days with my aunt in the capital.
  • Cluj-Napoca - Meet the family and the friends from high-school. Enjoy a few weeks at mama's hotel.
Side trip to Budapest and back to Cluj


December 2007

  • Budapest - Admire the beauty of a real imperial city in the coldest period of the year.
Fly Tarom to Istanbul. Wait for Angela's lost luggage to arrive.


January 2008

  • Istanbul - Shed a tear for the fading ruins of Constantinople and gorge yourself with pide and baklava in the streets of mysterious Istanbul.


January/February 2008

  • Trivandrum - Discover the flavors, the street dust, the dark temples and the overwhelming human crowds as you enter the magic country of a thousand languages.
  • Varkala - Relax on the fine-grained beach under the tall bluff and drink some beer watching the sunset over the Arabian Sea.
  • Kollam - Visit the lagoons around Monroe island. Take a boat cruise through the backwaters all the way to Aleppy.
  • Kumily/Periyar National Park - Spend some days at higher altitude, away from the maddening heat of the coastal plain.
  • Cochin - Back to the sea in this old Portuguese colony.
  • Chennai - An insanely busy and large town; a nacessary experience for anyone who wants to understand India. Appy for the Thailand tourist visa.
  • Mamallapuram - Share the company of a few lost hippies in a quiet setting by the sea.
  • Mysore - Immerse yourself in the art of the filthy-rich maharajas and enjoy some cool weather and the lack of mosquitoes.
  • Hampi - Peace of mind among thousand-year-old ruined temples.
  • Palolem, Goa - Beautiful beaches, great food, easy people and cheap beer. I didn't want to leave. Ha!
  • Mumbay - The New York of India where extreme poverty meets unapologetic luxury in a fading European colonial setting.
  • Aurangabad - See the Ellora caves carved in the side of the mountain by thousands of skillful devotees for the glory of the gods.
  • Agra - You can't just come to India and not visit the Taj Mahal, the wonderful shrine of love built by Shah Jahan. Too bad it's set in the middle of the biggest shithole town in India.
  • Varanasi - Take a boat ride along the Ghats and take a walk in the labyrinth of back alleys among the paan sellers and the stoned hippies.
  • Kolkata - Finish the Indian adventure with a stay at an expensive business-class hotel, a visit to an elegant bookstore and dinner at the most famous restaurant in town.
Fly from Kolkata to Bangkok


March 2008

  • Railay/Ao Nang - Celebrate the return to civilization and cleanliness with a stay in the overpriced but beautiful islands of the Andaman sea coast.
  • Bangkok - Crazy and relaxed, modern and traditional, this fascinating metropolis will knock your socks off.
Take an overpriced flight to Siem Reap in Cambodia


March 2008

  • Siem Reap / Angkor - You cannot believe that a place like Angkor Wat exists until you actually see it. The heat is crushing but the stone doorways keep calling.
  • Phnom Penh - Enjoy French baguettes, a chic colonial ambiance and the gruesome reminders of history in a town reborn from its ashes.
Take a bus to Stung Treng and boat ride across the river into Laos


March/April 2008

  • Don Det and The Four Thousand Islands - Discover an isolated place that has not yet been put on the mainstream tourist trail, and hang out with the other hippies brave enough to get away from safety, civilization and electricity.
  • Pakse and the Bolaven Plateau - Rent a scooter and drive on dirt roads through the gorgeous fog-covered mountains. Careful with the gas pedal...
  • Vientiane - Good international food, French colonial remains and a capital city relaxed enough to be negotiable by bicicle. Apply for the second Thai tourist visa.
  • Vang Vieng - The hippie nation could not be better represented anywhere else. Despite shroom shakes, pizza parlors and deadly drinks, this place still keeps a country-town feeling where people sip a few beers after dinner and go to bed early.
  • Luang Prabang - A gorgeous mini imperial capital deep in the heart of the mountains. Do not miss the Scandinavian Bakery and the night market!
  • The Mekong - Take a two-day river trip to the Thai border.

Thailand (again)

April 2008

  • Chiang Mai - Go crazy at the Thai new year, get splashed on the street with buckets of water and dunk strangers when they don't expect it.
  • Ko Chang Island - Save the few last days of the trip for the beach...
  • Bangkok - spend the last day shopping and eating in Bangkok's exquisite malls.
Take a plane home...


Brooke said...

Congratulations you two. Take good care of each other and enjoy the wild blue yonder....Lots of Love, Brooke and Abi

Anonymous said...

Your trip is admiring, I wonder why you chose 3rd world countries most of the time and roughly, how much it costed.. once again great adventure congratulations ;)