Ladies and gentelmen, it is finally official. The South America tour is booked! For those who have not been keeping up with my activity on this blog and Facebook, I have been planning a tour to South America. Why? Because that is the only continent I am yet to visit. As this will be my first time really traveling on my own (and in a foreign place where I know no-one), I decided it would be best to find a tour company which could introduce me to the country and identify what I would like to explore in depth later. After much research, I decided on Tucan Travel. They have a very professional setup and I have only heard good things about them. They offer a massive range of tours all over the world and their prices are extremely competitive. Definitely worth a look to those who want to get away but feel antsy about doing it by yourself.
So, without further a do, this is what I’m doing:
Pre Tour – Rio Carnival
Another tour offered by Tucan Travel is the Rio Carnival tour which lasts for 4 days over the carnival period and ends on the day the South American Explorer tour starts which makes it very convenient. I arrive in Rio on the 17th of February around 15:40 and will then get picked up and dropped off at the hotel / hostel which we (tour mates) will be staying at. As for the specifics of the itinery, well, you could look it up online if you like but I will rather save all the details for when I can write about my personal experiences of everything. Basically, there will be lots of party, lots of fancy dress and lots of photos!
Tucan Travel have a Facebook page with a most useful App. It allows people who (in most cases) do not know each other but share a commonality of being on the same tour the ability to chat with each other. This has allowed me to meet some of my fellow tour mates and so far, we have a good crowd. Look forward to meeting them all in person soon.
Tour – South America Explorer
This is the meat and potatoes of the whole tour. I’m not going to provide you with the full itinery here. If you would like to read up on it some more, visit the Tucan Travel website and view the tour with tour code BXAS. What I will mention is some of the highlights am I most looking forward to. Since this tour spans almost 4 months, you can be certain that there will be sufficient time spent in the various destinations to get a good feel for the place. Most of the tourist attractions will be visited as well as some more “off the beaten track” attractions.
Probably the most highly anticipated part of the tour is the Inca Trail trek. This is an optional tour which does have to be booked separately but is offered as something to do when in Peru. We will hike into the Peruvian mountains to Machu Picchu, home of the legendary Inca tribe. 3 nights and 4 days will spend on the hike to and from the Inca ruins (pictured at the start of this post).
Next in line is the Iguazu falls. I have seen my fair share of waterfalls during my time but from what I hear, the Iguazu falls will thoroughly pulverise and then feed them to themselves (that metaphor sounded better in my head than it does “on paper”). I am a massive fan of nature and do therefore live up to my name (“Braden” means “for the love of wide open spaces”). Will definitely treat you to some fantastic shots when I get there.
It is going to be interesting being couped up with about 25 people for almost 4 months. I can imagine that there might be some conflicting personalities and possible blow-outs but that is all part and parcel of the experience. Being a budget overland tour, everyone will be expected to contribute in some way to the running of the tour. Be that washing up, erecting tents or digging toilets, I am looking forward to it (maybe not the toilet part so much).
Post Tour – Quito and USA
Quito (Equador for those without a map) is where the tour ends. I have requested 4 days of booked accommodation after the tour to give me some time to relax a bit, see Quito in more detail and spend some quality time working on the blog, editing video and updating you all. From there, I will be flying out to Seattle (North West USA) to visit some friends and then go with the flow. I do not have a set plan of where to go while in the States so think I will just jump on a bus and move about. I do have lots of friends scattered all over so will hopefully be able to see them for a bit.
My travel time ends around mid July as I have got to go back to Namibia and sort out some admin issues. Will also need to knuckle down for a little bit and save up some more money. Looking to hit the Asian scene after this adventure. But let me not get away from myself. South America is coming, and that is where my focus lies!