Well folks, it’s been a while hasn’t it? As I mentioned in my last post, I struggled with my mental health for the last month or so of my trip, and so blogging definitely fell to the wayside. Well, that and the fact I was hiking, surfing and exploring like you wouldn’t believe! So here you have it, the final rundown of my backpacker adventure… buckle up!
I was only in Costa Rica for a whirlwind 5 days, and I definitely crammed as much into that time as possible! I spent 2 days surfing, one day hiking in a cloud forest and getting severely rained on, and then another 2 days at the beach where I was intending on surfing. But sadly, I broke my rib and that meant near total rest for me. And a lot of painkillers!
After a painful flight to Peru I arrived in Lima, and headed almost immediately to Paracas to see penguins and sea lions on the Islas Ballestas, just off the coast. And then before I could even process what I had seen, I was off to Huacachina, an oasis in the middle of the desert, where I was sandbuggying to my heart’s content. It was one of my craziest travel days so far!
From Huacachina I was off to Arequipa, where I spent my days strolling around the old city and drinking Pisco sours with my friend Lizzie. Sadly my broken rib meant I was unable to do much in the way of hiking, and so I made a swift exit via 12 hour night bus to Cusco, the Incan capital. I spent two days adjusting to the altitude before heading off one early morning on the 5 day Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu. It was a truly amazing experience, and one that deserves and entire post of its own – so keep an eye out!
After Salkantay I did a bonus hike to Rainbow Mountain which, at over 5,000 metres above sea level, was the toughest on my body and required a lot of recovery time- which in all honestly, I didn’t fully appreciate at the time. Lack of recovery time meant that my next stop, Puno on Lake Titicaca, was a bit of a challenge, but I slept like a baby on the night spent on Taquile, one of the islands.
Following Puno i returned to Cusco a slightly exhausted emotional wreck, and spent about 2 days refusing to get out of bed. This was the closest I’ve ever been to the stereotype of a person with depression that I’ve spent most of my adult life running away from. I honestly felt at my lowest ebb, and couldn’t quite see how I was going to keep going on this adventure of a lifetime. To be honest I’m not actually sure how I managed, but that’s another story.
One of those days, my friend Lizzie told me that she was up in Mancora at the beach, and that flights were only £100. And so without any better plan, I booked a flight and took off for a week of sun, sea, and pisco sours. I spent as much time as possible on the beach, listening to podcasts and audiobooks and working on my tan. After 4 months of intense, albeit breathtaking experiences, I relished in that time to decompress. And then, I had my best week of the trip – a week spent hiking in Huaraz, by the Cordillera Blanca. Hiking outdoors for hours every day became a form of therapy which I sorely needed – plus the views were absolutely stunning.
Next stop, Río de Janeiro! Sadly a bout of stomach flu of unknown origin had me pretty crippled for a week, but once I finally managed to get out of bed, I hit the beach almost immediately. I spent the vast majority of my time in Rio, either hiking to my heart’s content, or lying on the beach all day getting a tan. Rio is a fascinating city and three weeks was barely enough to get me started, but it’s left me with a wanderlust and desire to return!
So there you have it, a whistlestop guide to the final weeks of my trip! Admittedly, the blogging side of life fell to the wayside as travel adventures got in the way, but honestly I wouldn’t have it any differently! Now that we’re all caught up, keep an eye out for my more recent updates, like the fact I’m now back in London and have thrown myself into marathon training..!
Lots of love,