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Category: Tales of a Backpacker

Tikal Sunrise: Sleep in a hammock and hear the jungle come to life!

Tikal Sunrise: Sleep in a hammock and hear the jungle come to life!

Tikal in Guatemala is the most impressive Maya site I have seen so far, compared to others like Lamanai in Belize for example.  It comes close to Machu Picchu in grandeur, although sadly there is no viewpoint to overlook Tikal, partly because it is surrounded by jungle!  This vast Maya site is actually closer to Belize City than most popular destinations in Guatemala, like Antigua and Lake Atitlan, so it makes sense to visit Tikal on your way to or…

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Hostel Nightmares: When Hostel Stays Go Bad

Hostel Nightmares: When Hostel Stays Go Bad

Hostels are wonderful places to stay.  Cheap, sociable, and perfect for backpackers, I have stayed in some amazing hostels all over the world.  However, sometimes hostel stays don’t work out quite as we’d hoped!  After a couple of terrible experiences in hostels, including having all my stuff stolen from a hostel locker, I asked fellow female travellers to share their hostel nightmares.  Read on, if you dare! Hostel Nightmares: Horrible Roommates By Claire from Tales of a Backpacker In Stockholm I…

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Semuc Champey Tour or Visit Independently?

Semuc Champey Tour or Visit Independently?

Semuc Champey is one of the highlights of most backpackers’ visit to Guatemala.  Beautiful turquoise pools amid the lush Guatemalan jungle certainly is a sight to behold.  However, a 2-day detour between Antigua and Flores, if you are on a tight schedule, think very carefully if you have time to fit in this little slice of paradise.  Once you have decided to go, the next decision is whether to take a Semuc Champey tour, or to visit independently. How to…

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What to Pack for La Ciudad Perdida Lost City Trek

What to Pack for La Ciudad Perdida Lost City Trek

The trek to the Ciudad Perdida, or Lost City Trek, in northern Colombia is an incredible hike.  It is not an easy walk though, and involves steep climbs and descents, two river crossings and hoards of mosquitos.  Here is a handy guide of what to pack for La Ciudad Perdida Trek to help you prepare, and handle it like a pro! I recommend Wiwa Tours for the trek, I went with them and had a great time, learning a lot about…

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24 Hours in Guayaquil – My First Taste of Ecuador

24 Hours in Guayaquil – My First Taste of Ecuador

I wasn’t sure what to make of Guayaquill.  I arrived at the bus station a couple of hours later than planned and it was starting to go dark.  Buses never arrive when they say they are going to, I had already learned about bus travel in South America so I wasn’t surprised!  The bus station in Guayaquil is in a huge shopping mall, and I walked through as quickly as I could, following signs for taxis into town. Find accommodation…

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Hostel Etiquette : How to Stay in a Hostel & Not Piss off your Roommates

Hostel Etiquette : How to Stay in a Hostel & Not Piss off your Roommates

Hostels are one of the best accommodation options for backpackers and budget travellers.  However, although sometimes I may complain about #firstworldproblems, I have realised after 18 months of staying in hostel dorms that there are certain unwritten rules that apparently do need to be written down to make sure everyone enjoys their stay.  If we all follow this simple guide to hostel etiquette, we will all get along just fine! Want to book a hostel bed?  I use hostelworld.com or…

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A Favela Tour in Rio – Interesting but Intrusive?

A Favela Tour in Rio – Interesting but Intrusive?

Rio is (in)famous for its maze-like favelas which surround the city, climbing high onto the hills overlooking the bay.  Previously very dangerous and no-go areas for tourists, in recent years the police have made a concerted effort to pacify the favelas, meaning that tours around these fascinating places are now possible.  However, if you decide to take a favela tour in Rio there are several things to consider before you sign up. Need somewhere to stay in Rio?  Check prices…

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ATM Cave Tour in Belize with Carlos the Caveman

ATM Cave Tour in Belize with Carlos the Caveman

It was pitch black.  I closed my eyes, then opened them again.  It made no difference, I still couldn’t see anything.  The only sound was the dripping of water, and my nervous breath.  Then a voice rang out in the cave…… The ATM cave tour in Belize was an experience like no other.  The caves themselves are spectacular, and to be able to see Mayan artefacts just millimetres away was truly unique.  I joined Carlos the Caveman on a guided tour of…

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Conquering Roraima: The Lost World of Venezuela

Conquering Roraima: The Lost World of Venezuela

When Arthur Conan Doyle wrote about the Lost World, he based his story on Roraima, one of Venezuela’s tallest Tepuy mountains.  Perched on the borders of Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana, the majestic flat-topped mountain rises from the horizon.  The trek to Roraima was beautiful, difficult, hot, brutal, and in parts, downright terrifying! Before travelling to Venezuela, please also read “Is Venezuela Safe to Visit” Roraima isn’t the most accessible place you will ever go.  Located in one of the most…

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Ciudad Perdida: The Lost City Trek in Colombia

Ciudad Perdida: The Lost City Trek in Colombia

The trek to La Ciudad Perdida or Lost City in Colombia is a challenging but fascinating journey that I highly recommend.  Trekking through the Colombian jungle for 4 or 5 days is beautiful, sometimes strenuous, always sweaty and at times very wet!  See how I got on when I did the Lost City Trek: The Best Company for the Lost City Trek to Ciudad Perdida Several different companies have permits to lead the Lost City Trek, and the price is…

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