Flying roaches, black sand beaches, and SLOTHS all in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

As we leave Bocas behind us we made our way to Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica.  With its lush rainforest and vast variety of animals running about we were ready for a bit of a change in our journey….but first, The Border Crossing.

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The border crossing from Panama to Costa Rica was one of the more interesting crossings so far. First….I was seated next to THE WORST COUPLE EVER!! I mean it! I sneaked video footage of this ridiculous couple but I won’t subject you to their trashy, drunk, profane filled antics but know that in a shuttle bus of 8 people. ..all 6 of them felt sorry for me having to be seated next to them while Jorgie giggled behind me at my SUPERHERO like restraint from going off on them both. It took all I had not to go all HALF MEXICAN/HALF KOREAN on em! “JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL! ” Now, imagine that, then when you feel like the bus stops to deliver your brief moment of freedom from these crazies to cross the border, you see it….THE DEATH BRIDGE BORDER CROSSING. This had to be the shakiest, gap filled bridge ever! The busdriver said he would meet us at the other end of the bridge (in Costa Rica), he had all our bags, sometimes I guess you just have to move on faith. “Please busdriver, don’t make me judi chop you for stealing my things.” Turns out…no judi chops were needed….#THANKUJESUS

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We arrived out our hostel room to find it upgraded to the main room with a beautiful patio! WINNING!

So here’s the thing…
Costa Rica has these gigantic flying cockroaches.  Here’s our meeting one and our plot to kill him. Sorry bug….we can’t share a room. We obviously aren’t trained bug killers;)

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The black sand beaches create a coastline like we haven’t seen yet!

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If you travel further down the beaches no longer have the black sand but still provide a serene atmosphere.

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WE ARE MOBILE!
We decided to rent some bikes and ride up the coast to take in more of what Costa Rica had to offer on our way to visit the Jaguar Rescue Sanctuary
Note: No jaguars @ The Jaguar Sanctuary but dont miss this opportunity to play with howler monkeys and sloths!!

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After being a walking backpacker this long, having a bike felt a little like owning a car for the 1st time!;) FREEEEEEDOOOOOM! (In my best Braveheart voice) ;)

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The coastal ride provides plenty of stops at different beaches and surfers are always present and ready to hit the next big wave.
Do yourself a favor…GET A BIKE AND TAKE THIS RIDE;)

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The Jaguar Rescue Sanctuary awaits us….

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This little guy just walked right up to Jorgie for some lovin!;)

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TUCAN SAM

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THE HIGHLIGHT OF THIS PLACE! Cameras weren’t allowed in but we got to go inside and play with the monkeys!! I was a little nervous but the baby monkeys just swing and hang from you and everything!  So worth it!!

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And now ladies and gentlemen….it’s the Slowest Animal On Earth….
The Sloooooooooth;)
This little guy just PASSED OUT as soon as he climbed down the tree! What a lazy butt!! Lol

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And this one just stayed hanging asleep! Ha!

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Now that we are returning to town, a drink at our favorite spot, MADRE TIERRA was a perfect way to watch the sun set on the beach. Their drinks are strong and their bartender is the coolest!

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Sit upstairs on the balcony. …It’s great!

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Lazy days in Puerto Viejo……where everything is PURA VIDA ;)
Until next time Costa Rica……

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So… it finally happened… Bed. Bugs. (*Blank stare) Meltdown Numero Dos!

We made it to Panama!!! (As I jump from the sailboat to the ground kissing it..oh wait…it still feels like I’m swaying. ..ugh)
Now that we have completed our tour of South America we were excited to start Central America off in Panama City, Panama!

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We decided to stay in the Casco Viejo part of Panama. The history and architecture was beautiful! Colorful buildings, colonial style Presidential Palaces, and GORGEOUS views of downtown Panama City….what more can anyone ask for?

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Our view of downtown Panama City from outside the front door of our hostel! 

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If you find yourself in Panama City do not miss The Armador Causeway.  It is a stretch of land (sorta like a boardwalk) that is about 6-7 miles both ways surrounded by water and here you will find locals running, walking, and riding all sorts of bikes. On one side you will have the most stunning view of downtown Panama City and on the other is the south entrance to the Panama Canal!

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If you get a chance….rent one of these…they are AWESOME; )

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If you don’t know, Jorgie’s emblem for his travels and his website (www.jrifter.com Check his site out if you haven’t! ) is the jrifter on the yellow crossing sign. Panama City has so many funny jrifters….this one here: BIG BOOTY JRIFTER; )

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I WORK OUT JRIFTER ;)

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THE “DO YOU EVEN LIFT?” JRIFTER ! LOL

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Panama City was good to us but now we are heading north to BOCAS DEL TORO!!!!

We thought we’d run into them along this trip….we even prepared for them by buying a really expensive 100% silk bedliner cause we read they hate them…but to no avail….there you were. You NASTY LITTLE THINGS. BED BUGS.   Now we noticed them as soon as the sun set, but after a very frenzied, tazmanian devil like gathering of our stuff, we were moved to another room where I TORE UP the room and bed looking for other little critters only to find this room crawling with geckos….BEFORE you let it slip from your mouth…I KNOOOOW “Geckos are our friends, they eat the bugs!” (in Jorgie’s annoying voice) ;) I’m truly not that scared of them but I think after the bed bug incedent I wasn’t having these little geckos. Here’s the freakout…ENJOY:

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Bocas del Toro is an archipelago ( group of islands ) so you have to take a small…I repeat…SMALL boat (THANK YOU JESUS!) to get there.

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Bocas is known for it brightly decorated building afloat the island.

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Keep your eyes open for hummingbirds! They are fast little things but they are EVERYWHERE here!

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Hand shaven RASPA!?! I’M IN! Let me get my money out; )

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Small bus ride can take you to another part of the island called Boca del Drago.  HIGHLY RECOMMEND!  The beaches here are gorgeous!

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Looks fake right!?

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Hop on a lancha for a 5 minute ride to STARFISH BEACH where there are no longer many starfish on the beach (if you swim just a little further out you will see them…but don’t pick them up out of the water because it kills them and they are trying to preserve them!)  This place makes you feel isolated from the rest of the world….with Piña Coladas ofcourse!  ;)

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Local fisherman regularly pull their catches on shore to sale to the foodstands.

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What in the world is the torquios one?!?

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If you wanna little taste of “home” while on Bocas, visit TACO SURF! This restaurant/surf school is great! Their tacos were a welcome treat to these two TEXANS that were just about to throw the towel in on traveling if we couldn’t find a decent taco! ;)

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The owner Justine and her husband run a cool place with a very chill vibe! For the budget traverler that’s wanting “not so budget tasting tacos” get your butt here! Thanks Justine….your place saved our trip!;)
Check them out on Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/bocas.tacosurf

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I may only see THE SAN BLAS ISLANDS once in my life, cause I CANNOT do this again!

Okay….I SERIOUSLY, waited awhile to write about this cause I struggled with how I wanted to write it and whether or not I should.
SO HERE IT IS…MY WARNING:
I can’t help but tell you about MY experience doing something….it doesn’t in any way mean I hated this part or place or doesn’t even mean I wouldn’t recommend it. I will try and remain as fair as posible in my review of sailing the open sea to The San Blas Islands. 

Now that that’s outta the way….OMGEEEEE…SAILING TO THE SAN BLAS ISLANDS WAS A 5 DAY NIGHTMARE THAT I COULDN’T FREE MYSELF FROM & THE ONLY CLEAR ESCAPE WAS TO FLING MY LIFELESS, SEA SICK BODY OVER THE EDGE, HOPING A DOLPHIN WOULD BEFRIEND & TAKE MERCY ON ME SWIMMING MY BODY TO SHORE!!! (*Panting…As I digress) No joke, I had to therapy talk myself from that ledge more times than you know.

I know I know…I have no real idea why I thought I was going to be able to handle a sailboat when a moving vehicle makes me nauseous other than I am a glutton for punishment and I think I’m Superwoman…turns out…this Superwoman’s kryptonite is sailboats. 
Sailing just wasn’t for me…for US…for that matter! Jorgie didn’t care for it too much either.
Short version: We get on a sailboat named The Jaqueline….Day 1 of this 5 day sailing trip, we both are violently ill, AT THE SAME EXACT TIME, so there was no aiding the other one. We are stuck for the first 30+ hours, in a room thats made of all wood so not only are we feeling every movement we hear it as well. We rock so violently that the door slams open and closed (it has no lock). It also has no windows and ofcourse no A/C so its completely humid in there. The only consolidation is that our dungeon of a room is beside the only 2 bathrooms on board this boat for 17 people (wait…someone broke one of em night 1… GREAAAAAT we are down to 1 bathroom) which we frequently ran back and forth from. We didn’t know that we had boarded a boat that would serve us for the next 5 days a cuisine made up entirely of pork and onion combos (we dont eat either), so we pretty much survived on the most delicious mangos and piñas for 5 days. I’d never been so grateful and also begged for God’s mercy in one place!! I desperately hated our room but was completely grateful that I had a place that I could go and hide to. It was such a weird prisoner feeling….AH! THAT’S IT! It felt like the song Hotel California!!!! We were supposed to like everything about this then we had a quick realization…..We’re stuuuuuck! Enjoy the sea!?! I can’t enjoy the sea! I’m stuck in the bathroom sicker than I ever thought possible!
*All those parasites & brain eating amoebas that our moms feared we get sick with….Yeah..I was praying for an exchange for one of those.
HERE’S THE THING… once the boat stops, and you find a enough energy to muster your very sick, sweaty, sea salt covered body out of the room…..it’s like paradise! It doesn’t make any sense at all!
The travel & room= Hell
Outside (as long as the boat is anchored)= Pure Heaven
Crystal clear water,  beautiful white sand, snorkeling that is amazing….so confused;) I’ll stop….here are the pictures and video of the worst I’ve ever felt or looked….Thanks Jorgie;)

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Clearly…this was BEFORE the boat started to move;)

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Beach bum life!!!

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When u see a swing…u have to swing. It’s an obligation; )

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We had dolphins lead our way and put on a show for us! Really great!!

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Hundreds of small deserted islands;)

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Trying to enjoy before the boat starts to move again;)

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Our sailing crew for 5 days!

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Early morning reading….

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The world is so big…and I am so small.

AND FINALLY…FOR LAUGHS…(our final night of sailing)

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We have made it through an ENTIRE continent!!

Well…at least all that we were going to see in South America;)
As we move forward into Central America I can’t help but be so grateful for all the places and people that we met along the way that even if for a short moment, helped, gave us company, advised, or simply went out of their way for us. God really has blessed our trail and has kept us out of dangers sight and instead, either kept us home or put us in good company. So before I move forward I want to look back and give my due thanks.
I truly could name so many things…probably one in each country but to keep it simple….here we go:

The cab driver in Río de Janeiro, Brazil
We refrained from telling our folks cause we didn’t want them to worry but when we arrived at our very 1st stop on this trip we were EXTREMELY lost. Every book and blog that we read warned us of the dangers of being an “obvious” backpacker. You know…all the rules. Don’t walk around after dark in this area, don’t have your valuables on you, know where your going, blah blahblah blah BLAH….and right off the plane here we are, breaking EVERY. RULE…like seriously…all of them. Our bus into Rio took way longer than we thought….we speak like virtually 3% Portuguese so we got off what looked like only blocks from where we needed to be, all our stuff on our backs with the sun setting. We spent the next 2hrs frantically going up and down blocks and blocks walking up to person after person asking for help with directions buuuuuuut when you speak like no Portuguese that was no help, seaching for that FREE WIFI spot that we just KNEW would be everywhere so that we could figure this out but to no avail, stopping taxi after taxi asking “Will you take us here?” (pointing on a map) only to have them tell us “No” then drive off. Then, as we are walking what looked like the same block for the 4th time now in complete darkness with all our crap on our backs…it happens. It starts to rain. ARE YOU KIDDING MEEEE!?! Seriously…our earlier “mall walker” pace now turned to a slight sprint to…..well we didn’t know where to….but we just knew it needed to be fast.
*Have you ever seen Amazing Race? We were the 2 lost dummies just running back in forth….soaking wet.
In a final “I give up moment” we walk/run shameless into this apparently nicer restaurant completely wet. Lol…We seriously looked like 2 homeless street dogs looking for food on those commercials promoting pet shelters. This was Stage 5 Newbie Traveler Crisis. So we are guided to a table (in the waaaaay back) with every waitstaff staring at us and we just sit down…and just look at each other. We have no wifi, we have no phone, we have no car, and we have no idea where we are and why taxis are refusing to give us a ride. What we do have is enough money to buy us a meal, a small map in the book, and 2 extremely smart, capable brains. After eating, we regroup and make a plan, I’m gonna figure out where in God’s name we are, and he’s gonna try and find a payphone to call our hostel for directions.  15 mins later BAM! I found where we were on this ridiculously small map and he called and got directions to the hostel……noooooow all we gotta do is find us a cabbie to take us there;)
{Insert our livesaver Cabbie}
Turns out…our hostel is pretty hard to find but this cabbie didn’t just kick us out…he stopped and asked 3 different people and a cop for directions and drove us right to the door. He went waaaaay outta his way when we kept getting resistance from everyone else.
THANK YOU CABBIE IN RÍO…We really appreciated all the help in a time where we were still so green in this trip.
***We later realized we were telling the other taxis to take us to the Christ the Redeemer statue instead of the neighborhood…Doh!

▪The lady on the bus in Mendoza, Argentina
I’m thankful for the lady in Mendoza, who looked like she could’ve been either of our grandmother, for letting us swipe her bus pass twice in exchange for pesos when we hopped on the city bus, again with all our crap attached to our backs, and didn’t know that the only way to pay was with a bus card that you load with money. As we stood there, the bus already moving, and the busdriver insisting us to pay and both us very confused, she stood up and let us pay our fares with her card. We gratefully gave her our thanks and the cost of our fares. Once again…saved by another person;)

▪For our new friend Miko

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I’m thankful to have met new friends like our new friend Miko who made us feel alittle more like home. When you travel sometimes it can feel like your not in the crowd but more observing what’s going on….and for a wine filled night…we were a part of Mendoza with a friend…talking about how all our moms worried about us traveling the same way;) Miko…my friend, I hope your mom is well and “God is still great!”

▪For Unplanned Days

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When so much of what we are doing is well planned….like 3 weeks in the future planned, I’m thankful for unplanned days that completely interrupted our plans but allowed us moments of rest. This day…it just rained, screwing up all the plans for that day. So we opened up the windows listened to the storm and read, listened to music, and finished a bottle of Argentina’s Malbec. It was a rest we obviously needed;)

▪For the ability to try new things

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I’m thankful for the freedom to try new things. This sole thing has the ability to change ones life big and small forever. One small change in my life going forward…Cactus fruit or sometimes called Tuna. I had never tried this fruit before and when crossing the Peruvian border I saw a lady peeling tons of these and tossing them into baggies I asked Jorgie “What are those?” He jumped at the opportunity to learn me a little something about these delicious little balls from heaven! They come in a variety of colors but I liked the bright pink ones the best….but don’t let me fool you…we downed a bag of 5 multi colored ones in a matter of minutes;)

▪My Co Pilot

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I’m thankful for Jorgie. We didn’t take on an easy task…it has been filled with moments of panic, hours of prep work, and even more moments of gut holding laughter. While we have had our moments,
(Everyone understands the “What do you want to eat” “I don’t care, you choose” “No wait…I don’t want that.” battle right?!? Yeah…try having that when your options are between a foodstand selling something that resembles meat on a stick with a potato on the end OR Doña Chencha’s fine dining where your waiter wears a tank top and flip flops while his son is sprawled across a rocking chair watching cartoons and eating something out of a bag while a street dog lays at your feet. It’s a lose lose situation….but I truly can’t imagine experiencing all of this with anyone else. Thank you Jorgie for filming my breakdowns, going on countless helado searches for the perfect cone, introducing me to so many new things, and even more, for being my co pilot on all of my wild requests for adventure…

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“You want to rub me down with mud??…Okay!” ;)

How could I forget the MUDDY MASSAGE?!?!? If you find yourself in Cartagena, Colombia be sure to take a day trip to Volcán de Lodo El Totumo. It’s a short bus ride but many believe that the muddy rubdown has healing powers… I’M IN!
(I had to lure Jorgie in with the promise that I heard mud wrestlin was part of the deal….LOL)

***FYI: There will be no muddy girls awaiting your arrival boys…nor will any wrestlin take place. I KNOW…I lied…but don’t act like you ain’t ever promised an ice cream cone to an unruly child to get your Sunday errands done…It happens;)

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To get to your massage you have to climb these sketchy steps to the top;)
PLEASE NOTE: You will be asked to leave your sandals at the foot of the Volcán….if you do, someone will watch them but you will need to tip them. If you would rather carry them up and keep them with you in the mud, you are free to.

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Jorgie hops in first and his rubdown begins;)

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Okay….I’M COMIN IN!!

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The mud is so dense you just float!!! It’s an awkwardly amazing feeling!;)

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BUUUUUUT …be careful!! Mud in the eye = “I gotta get out NOW!”

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As you climb out…Yes, once again on a sketchtastic ladder,  you make your way down the volcano and waddle your muddy bodies to a nearby lagoon where you bath yourselves to a greyish form of clean.
What do you expect…your bathing in a river with mud;)

ANOTHER NOTE:
When you get to the lagoon there will be local women wadding in the waters wanting to assist in rinsing you clean (Don’t think “SCORE! I’m about to be bathed by a ravishing young Sophia Vegara look alike!” Think more like Sophia’s grandma’s older sister) once again boys…Im sorry…Anyhow, if you allow them to wash you,  you must tip them;)

It’s a pretty awesome way to spend a day in Cartagena if you find yourself there;)

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Colombia and the Cochinas!!

Colombia was pretty high on my list to see (against my mother’s wishes….SORRY MOM!) A country that has so much history and elegance can’t just be what we see on TV… can it?? My hopes were high that Colombia would bring me much more than the cartel, drug trafficking, coffee drinking, murder business we see on the news.

AND IT DID;)

I’m happy to report that, though I did have some pretty delicious coffee, and couldn’t believe the amount of gorgeous women here (they are seriously pretty..like all of them) not too much scary business to report! Allthough Jorgie did get several whistles and hisses from the local “LADIES OF THE NIGHT” wanting to lure him into their nasty little web…. COCHINAS!

Val: “Waaaaait, OMG….Were those prostitutes propositioning you?!?”
Jorge: ” Yeah… Duh..Look at me!”
(INSERT SLAP) smh…

We saw no drug deals or murders……but there was a little cocaine smugglin…I’LL GET TO THAT LATER;)

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Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas
Cartagena is surrounded by large walks that were designed to protect the city long ago. Its a beautiful fortress worth a view;)
The walled city of Cartagena was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.

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These canons are a lingering memory of the protection once needed for this beautiful place. 

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From the top of the fortress you get gorgeous views of the city!!!

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Okay…I couldn’t pass this up. We have now seen multiple times people carry INSANE things on motorcycles…..YES…that is 2 people and a living room sized TV on ONE motorcycle!!! We couldn’t believe it!!

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You get to see many women adorned in the colors of the country!!

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In the square is the sculpture of Mujer Reclinada (“Reclining Woman”), by Colombian artist Fernando Botero

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Church of Saint Peter Claver

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The streets in Cartagena were so picturesque! I can DEFINITELY see why this place is a NOT MISS for anyone visiting Colombia. The colonial structures surround you and draw your eyes at every corner!!

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Puerta del Reloj- The entrance to all that you see

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Boca Grande in the background….

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At the end of the street we were staying on, we catch a neighborhood baseball game! They played right in the middle of the street!!!

Ooookay…..I promised some cocaine smugglin! Lol
So we planned on leaving Cartagena by sailboat to Panama City, Panama to visit the San Blas Islands….we book our boat, then some dummy backpacker tried to smuggle a kilo of cocaine to Panamá on a boat and caused all kinds of trouble for this industry.  All boats were docked and told that they couldn’t leave (How does this happen to us???) ……SOMEHOW we manage to find ourselves on the LAST boat allowed to leave Cartagena;)

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With a fist full of dramamine in my belly and Cartagena literally behind us, Jorgie and I set sail to the San Blas Islands;)
Thank u Jesus!!!   

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A lesson learned…Sadly.

Soooooo after the Galapagos Islands we flew to Quito, Ecuador. Home of the equator…..BY FAAAAAR the prettiest parks I’ve seen throughout this tour, and one of the coolest places we stayed in….AAAAAAND I have NO pictures of any of it.

TRAVEL RULE #1:
Move you pictures off your camera asap!

Because we both threw our cameras (not our main ones) into what we thought was a waterproof bag and then took it into the water….I lost all the Quito photos that I hadn’t backed up yet.
DOH! (Smack my forehead). Guess that bag wasn’t waterproof :/
So here’s my small synopsis of Quito minus the pics….
IT’S AWESOME! GO! Seriously though, it’s pretty.  When I say it had some pretty amazing parks….it’s an understatement.  Sorry for the ridiculous post without many pics….what can I say…
***These are all I have…THANK U JORGIE;)

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AMA LA VIDA ;)

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Equator…..though I read this isn’t EXACTLY the middle of the world. This monument was constructed before modern technology could exactly pinpoint it….though it seriously is impressive they are super close!!

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El Mitar del Mundo

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On to COLOMBIA!!! (I got pics!!) ;)

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Scuba diving & The BEST beach I’ve seen so far

So we decided to get the full animal experience and become a
fish for a day;) This would be both of our first time to scuba dive and snorkel so we were excited!
 

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We boarded this magnificent sailboat that would take us to North Seymore for our day of scuba and snorkeling.

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I have no idea why, maybe it’s our faces, but we were chosen to be the first to scuba dive. (Whatever that is…I wish it would stop. I needed a moment to panic) But it was time to suit up. Squeeeeeeezing my body into this wetsuit was a task but eventually my ass cooperated and got in there;)

Scuba diving was sorta scary. Resisting the urge to breathe out of your nose was extremely difficult. It goes against everything I’d ever trained myself to do while running…not being a mouth breather in this scenario completely worked against me. Honestly, I had several sheer moments of panic.  I mean, we did have an extensive WHOLE 15 minutes of training where we were supposed to learn hand signals that were imperative to my life but that all went to hell when I was underwater. Lol! On the second try to descend, I got nervous and wanted to go back up and gave the OKAY signal, rapidly started pointing up (that’s not even a signal he taught us) then for some reason gave him the SHARK signal (he’s super confused now) said “To hell with this!” and started flailing my body upwards. Once my head was above water the instructor comes up and looks at me soooo confused and was like “What was that!!!??? Why aren’t you doing the signs? I won’t understand you if you don’t do the signs!” Is he serious? He’s lucky I even tried to do ANY signs at all before I bailed! Not my finest moment I must admit, but I seriously was scared. Lol!  It took me several attempts, but finally I just let go, and forced myself to continue on and when I did..

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It was A Okay;)
I saw sharks, soooooo many fishes, and some super long fish that I can’t remember the name of.  Wifi sucks here so I can’t upload to my YouTube channel to post the video so I’ll post to my Facebook instead. To see Scuba Diving Val check out my FB page at http://www.facebook.com/valarieivester.com

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What was not okay was me not taking dramamine…. Meet SEA SICK VAL just moments after a rather embarrassing violent vomiting fit.
TAKE THE PILLS! Geeez.

NOOOOW…. on to (in my opinion) the prettiest beach we’ve seen so far.  Tortuga Bay Beach ;) Be prepared….its a 30 minute walk to the beach and an additional 15 minute walk to the lagoon but it’s completely worth it.

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We have gotten to visit many beaches but this one had immaculately white soft sand, turquoise crystal clear water, very little people, no vendors trying to sell you refreshments or whatever bracelet they made that day,  all you could hear was the water rolling up on shore and beating against the rocks. It was so serene.

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Tortuga Bay Selfie;)

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Daaaaaaaaaaang;)

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Our walk to the lagoon was great. Even though its super hot in the Galapagos,  once you get here, the breeze coming off the ocean is so cool and smells of salt.

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Once again we run into these gigantic land lizards!!

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TONS of them…just keep walking….they won’t bother you;)

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And the lagoon;) This shallow secluded part of the beach was refreshing and filled with little fishes! We were sitting half in the water and a tintorera (harmless small sharks native to this area) just swam right by us!!!! In shallow water!!! So cool!

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As we walked back we soaked up as much sun as we could (as if either of us need it…we are getting super dark!)

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Tortuga Bay on Santa Cruz Island is definitely high on my list for beach bummy days and #1 beach so far on my list.

And finally…..the most of any travelers budget is devoted to where you will be staying.  We opted to save some real money by staying with a family in their home that they are converting to a hostel. This might of been the biggest saver for us in the Galapagos.

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Meet Jimmy (we found his place on Airbnb) and his sweet family. Getting to stay in their home was a real treat! They treated us like family and even invited us to dine with the family at dinner cooked by Auxillidora. I would highly recommend Casa de Hospedaje and Jimmy for your visit to the Galapagos. Thank you Santiago family!!

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Holy Crabs! The Galapagos Islands…Parte Dos

Day 2 we visited the Charles Darwin Research Center. It’s free to enter and is filled with hiking trails,  access to beaches, and an observatory for animals that are endangered.
Ps . . .don’t forget to bring your water bottle with you anywhere you go, it’s hot and reeeeeal humid here. You will thank me for it later;)

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This is the home to the giant land turtles. These things are the size of small boulders!!! They live to be extremely old but are currently endangered and they are trying to breed them to preserve the species.

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Lizards…..eeek. This guy was pretty scary looking to me….

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Doesn’t he just look like he’s coming to get ya?!?

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Okay….he wins. I’ve had enough if this guy….Moving on! ;)

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They have managed to determine that if incubated at a certain temperature, they can create either a male or female turtle.  Slightly colder temps gives you female,  slightly warmer, males.

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And the beach;) Here you will find locals with their families taking a dip in the cool water and resting on the beach.

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Like all parts of the Galapagos, the animals are still running free. Just keep your eyes open or you will get a scare….when I saw this little guy, I almost stepped on his tail. Scared me half to death!

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HOLY CRABS!! Be careful when finding a rock to sit on…these crab change colors! Look at the one closest to me…its turning from red to black to blend in to the rocks.

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Galapagos animals do not disappoint!!! They are all over the place here!!!

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The shoestring budget version of The Galapagos Islands…Parte Uno

When we were planning the trip we both placed this seldomly visited group of islands HIGH on our list, but being on a shoestring budget we weren’t sure if we were going to need to cut it out.  We read by many other travelers that the only “proper” way to see all that this had to offer was to book a cruise that would run us roughly $2,000 EACH…MERICAN!!! (As I nearly coughed up my wine) “Are you kidding me?!?!” “We can’t do THAT!”
Here is our version of The Galapagos Islands sin (without) the expensive cruise. ;)  

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We flew into San Cristóbal Island. Right outside the aiport is an abandoned fleet of ships;)

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And right off the plane do we see this little guy!

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SEA CHUYS!!!! Isn’t he cute???

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Okay….for those of you who don’t know…. Meet Chuy;) This is my sweet pups back home…he is some sort of weenie mix of cuteness and Jorgie and I think he looks sorta like a sea lion;) Now scroll back up….short legs…husky body…you see it;) Hence….Sea Chuys.

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The animals here on the Galapagos dont know to fear humans so they have no problem being extremely close to you.

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Sharing a bench with a Sea Chuy;)

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I feel inclined to inform everyone that if you want to get to the other islands you need to make sure you book your lancha before 2pm. The last boats for island hopping leave around 2 or 3. So if you miss it, or its full, your stuck on that island for the night. We BARELY make it onto a boat headed for Santa Cruz Island.
Please,  pleeeease, for the love of God, TAKE. YOUR. DRAMAMINE!!!
This is a almost 3 hour death journey for anyone remotely proned to sea sickness. After 3 hours, 2 pills, and multiple prayers to God to TAKE ME NOW, Jorgie scrapped me off the floor of this boat to land;) (as I raise my hands) “Thank you Jesus!”

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Once on Santa Cruz you just have countless alleys that all end…

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To this beautiful view;)

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We strolled up to a local fisherman who was selling fresh caught lobsters and the sea gulls and sea lions were patiently waiting for an occasional drop of food;)

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These giant lizards are everywhere just hanging out!!

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An end to our 1st day of the Galapagos Islands on a shoestring budget was perfect. Sea lions, lizards,  and dramamine Oh my!
Lol on to day 2!!!

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