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The 4Runner Revolts – Day 2

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Tossed and turned all night wondering what pleasures tomorrow would bring. I eventually saw the sun come up, kissed Lauren goodbye and hiked out the road.
Not much traffic flowing by at sunrise but eventually a lone tuk-tuk comes puttering along. As I was running him down he gave me a crazy look probably wondering what this greasy gringo was…

The 4Runner Revolts – Day 1

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This is the first part of a series of my hilariously rookie mistakes in the world of car mechanics…
It was a seemingly simply affair, pop up to Ecuador, renew our vehicle permits and passports for another 90 days, jet down to Lima to watch our buddies SprinterLife’s hound-dog for a few weeks while they introduce their new baby to…

Adios Huanchaco!

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One of my main goals before we left our apartment in Huanchaco was to finally get caught up on our perpetually lolly-gagging blog. Well… needless to say that didn’t happen. In fact our blog is now hitting an almost laughable 4-month delay compared to real-time. To all my faithful readers I apologize!
If you are interested in receiving real-time updates…

Carly comes to visit! Part 2 – Laguna LLaganuco, Chavin Ruins, y mas!

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We cruised down the bumpy road heading towards the town of Yungay.
Along the way we stopped to have some lunch. They had a full menu of Andes treats. Guinea Pigs, Stream trout, pork, and hen.

They also had Alpaca on the menu but after seeing these cute dudes roaming around in the backyard of the place. I just couldn’t…

Carly comes to visit! Part 1 – Canon Del Pato & Laguna Paron

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When we originally started out on the trip we had plan for it to take around 1-year to get down to Ushuaia. We had a quasi-budget and timeline that seemed reasonable.
Somewhere around Month #9 and the country of Peru we realized that our budget was way off. We really should have alotted more like 30-40% of our budget to…

Cusco and the almighty Machu Picchu

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We had a few days to explore Cusco before heading off towards Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu is the #1 tourist destination in all of South America. The city of Cusco is the gateway to this destination, which by my calculations would make it the #1 Touristy city in South America. Despite the constant barrage of touts slinging everything from guided…

The Gauntlet

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Driving through Central America is pretty cool, you can drive from one side of a country to the other in a single day or decide to stay a month or more really getting to know a place.

South America, is a bit different. Most of the countries on this continent are MASSIVE. You really need to adjust your scales when…

Hostal Huanchaco AKA our new apartment

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We settled into to life at our apartment. It was nice to have some routine after being on the move for so long. We would wake up in the morning, make some coffee, and hang out on the roof of our apartment watching the waves, the sun, and life waking up in our little town of Huanchaco.
It didn’t take…

Peru – Land of the Incas

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Up and on the road the next morning we quickly approached the Ecuadorian side of the border, turned in our paperwork, got our passports stamped out and jumped back in the truck. A few miles further the large Peruvian tourism logo greeted us. Welcome to PERU! Country #12.

It took us about an hour to clear through the entry paperwork.…

Ecuadorian Coast. Isla de la Plata and boobies galore!

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While we were camped out in the jungle, our guide Diego was reveling us with stories of Ecuador’s coast. Hearing tales of the Ruta Del Sol (Route of the Sun), Galapagos Islands, and fresh ceviche was enough to have us change our destination from mountains back to the coastline.
Headed out of the jungle we picked up a flat-tire, we…

Welcome to the Jungle – Cuyabeno Reserve

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Getting out to deep amazon jungle on your own is a bit difficult. The primary form of travel in the Amazon is via the millions of rivers and water ways that wind through the rainforest. There are very few roads and access via automobile is rare. We always regret not installing deploy-able Pontoons on the 4runner in situations like this……

Home on the Highway crosses the Equator!

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After completing the worlds easiest border crossing we headed on down the highway into Ecuador.
We had technically been traveling in the Andes mountains for about a month now, but we never seem to get tired of the views.

Our first Llamas! Or Alpacas? I dont know the difference yet.

I had heard about the cheap gas in Ecuador. But…

The death road to Ecuador and Las Lajas Cathedral

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We hit the highway once again from San Agustin. Looking at the map we are so close to Ecuador we could taste it.
There are 2 routes from San Agustin towards the border. One involves a bit of back-tracking north to catch another highway back south again. I hate going backwards. The other route led us straight down to Ecuador…

San Agustín Archaeological Park, Colombia

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Water goes quick in the desert and after 4 days we had exhausted our supply. Regrettable we pulled up our roots and bounced out of the desert back onto the “highway”.

We passed the Rio Magdalena, the most important river in all of Colombia. The river runs throughout Colombia. Its life-giving watershed is responsible for 86% of Colombia’s GDP. Understandably,…

Desierto Tatacoa, The Tatacoa Desert, Colombia

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We popped open our guidebook and searched for “What’s Next” while we drove south from Bogota.
Lauren found a short blurb describing a strange geological area of Colombia. The Desierto Tatacoa (Tatacoa Desert) is described as one of the “most attractive natural settings” in Colombia.
The guidebook described large sand pillars painted with orange and yellow hues, 30 foot deep…

Bogota Museo del Oro – Gold Museum

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I’m shuffling through my pictures here for some of Bogota. Looks like we didn’t actually take much.
Bogota is a huge city, full of history, and culture. It is one of the largest cities in all of South America. Needless to say, driving around in it is a stressful nightmare that does not lend well to snapping photos.
We eventually…

Villa De Leyva

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I awake from a groggy nap in the back of the truck.
We hit the winding road. I honk at my bar friends still going hard. I wonder just how long they have been partying?
Nacho and crew are caravan’ng with us. We climb through hills and valleys. I keep ahead of Nacho a bit but always wait to make…

Leaving El Cocuy…

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Leaving El Cocuy was interesting…
Our truck was secured in a nearby parking lot. I went to go pick it up one Sunday morning around 7AM, hoping the garage owner would be awake.
As I approached the garage I heard a lot of singing and revelry taking place. I figured, maybe its church?
I round the corner to the garage…

El Cocuy Parque Nacional… the hidden secret above the clouds of Colombia Part #2

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Not ones to stay down, the next morning we regrouped and relocated the trucks to another trailhead.
We found a nice little hacienda where we could camp and the host would cook us dinner, all for ~$5 each. Not bad!

We spent most of the day relaxing and drying out our camping/hiking gear, preparing to hit the trail the next…

El Cocuy Parque Nacional… the hidden secret above the clouds of Colombia Part #1

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Th 4Runner led the charge tracing through the sinewy backroads of El Cocuy National Park. Due to the consistent rainfall around this time of year, the unpaved road had transformed from nicely packed dirt to slick snotty mud. I had to use 4×4 a few times to make it up the inclines.
Traveling with our good buddy Nacho is kinda…

Budget #7- Time to get a job!

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BUDGET FOR THE MONTH OF JULY…

WE SPENT HOW MUCH?!!
COUNTRIES VISITED: Columbia, Ecuador, Peru
For those of you who follow along on Facebook, you may already know that we have decided to stop in Huanchaco, Peru for a few months and try to find some work.  After this past month we realized that it was time to take a…

From 95F to 25F – Our first taste of the Andes Mountains

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Spending the week sweating our butts off in Cartagena we were excited to finally have the truck back and we hit the road the next morning. Camping was #1 on our priority list. We considered cruising along the Colombian coastline but fearing the mercury would stick near 100F we decided to head for the hills instead.
We busted out the…

Budget #6

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BUDGET FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE

COUNTRIES VISITED- Panama, Colombia
PORT FEES- $127.77
GAS- $484.84
TRANSPORTATION- $182.77
Includes insurance for the car, taxis, parking fees, and tolls.  There were A LOT of tolls in Colombia.
ACCOMMODATIONS- $491.05
Ouch. We missed our car dearly when it was trapped on the container ship.
MECHANIC- $80
Includes oil change, tire rotation, alignment, balancing,…

The PanAm Shipping Process Part 2 – Colombia

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Growing up in Miami, arguably one of the hottest/muggiest places in all of the United States, I thought I was familiar with stifling tropical heat. Cartagena, Colombia made the hottest summer in Miami seem like a visit to the North Pole. This place was downright hell on earth. The temperature in the shade would hover around 95F at 90% humidity.…

Lost Lambs in Colombia.

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The urban sprawl of Panama City soon fades as we rise higher and higher into the clouds. Miles of housing developments, sky-scrapers, and asphalt soon give way to lush virgin jungle. We were flying over the Darien Gap. From the looks of it I think the 4Runner coulda made it… Of course its easy to talk crap from 30,000Ft.

After…

How to ship a vehicle from Panama to Colombia – Part I

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There are plenty of write-ups on the internet on the Panama to Colombia shipping process. Inevitably the process changes and all these guides become irrelevant as I am sure mine will in time. BUT! For now… This is the down and dirty method on how you too can ship your car around the infamous “DARIEN GAP” via shipping container all…

The PanAm Shipping Process Part 1 – Panama

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We rose early on Monday morning and met the guys from Adventure the Americas downstairs in the hotel lobby for our gratis gourmet breakfast of a cup of coffee and piece of bread. We confirmed everything was a GO with Seaboard Marine, our chosen shipping company, and mapped out a plan for the day.
Today mission was to get the…

Panama City

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The Pan-American Highway, a series of roads linking the great white North of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska all the way down to the southern-most reaches of Ushuaia, Argentina. At a total length of just under 30,000 miles, Guinness Book of World Records marks it the “World Longest Motor-able” road. Yes-siree, 30,000 miles of awesomeness all navigable with nothing but 4 wheels,…

PANAMA – Volcano Baru, Land of the Quetzal

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We booked it south from the Osa and were soon at the border of Costa Rica-Panama.
Within an hour or so we had gotten all our paperwork squared away, changed some Costa Rican colones into U.S. dollars (the official currency of Panama) and drove on in. Country #9. Our friends at fromatob.org have a nice writeup on “How to cross…

Backpacking Corcovado National Park

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It had been far to long since we did some backpacking and Lauren and I were getting very excited to visit Costa Rica’s Corcovado National park. Corcovado is located on the isolated and undeveloped Osa peninsula. It is considered the crown jewel of the Costa Rican park system. Corcovado contains the largest primary rainforest on the entire Pacific coastline and…