For my birthday, Fitz surprised me with a getaway trip to the town of Guatapé full of activities. Guatapé is just a few hours away by bus from Medellin and is a popular day trip or weekend trip. Since we went during the weekday, it wasn’t too busy with weekend visitors so we were able to explore without a huge crowd.
Time seems to go by quickly here in Medellin. We’ve already been here for more than a month and it barely seems like any time has passed. We feel like we’ve settled into a good routine and I’m balancing work and fun a lot better than in Ecuador. Here are the highlights from this month, with the best being my birthday celebration.
In Southeast Asia, you don’t get a lot of Christmas celebrations, except for the foreigner-owned places. Here in Medellin, and throughout Colombia, Christmas is a big deal. There are Christmas lights and decorations on all the apartments. The city starts in October setting up light displays in October. There are lights in all the major parks and one really big one in the northern part of the city. I actually read this year was a lot smaller than last year as they usually put up lights along the river.
It has been a good long while since I last updated this blog. Here is the CliffNotes version:
- I was still in Quito, Ecuador
- I worked all the time at my online teaching positions
- I had nothing very interesting to report
The last Ecuador related post was about trying to extend our visa. Well, we never got notified that our visa was accepted or rejected, so we just stayed until we were told otherwise. I even asked a couple of lawyers to look into it for me and got nothing back! I am not sure if it was a problem with the bureaucracy or what, but we were in limbo. Luckily, I left Ecuador with no problems at immigration. However, I read some reports that the new fines/bans would go into effect in 2018.
I’ve written before about the benefits of traveling solo. But traveling alone doesn’t mean being by yourself all the time! There are so many interesting people to meet on your journey — on the bus, at your hotel, or in your tour group. You never know who you will meet and who might become a lifelong friend.
I’ve been taking a bit of a trip down memory lane recently, reading through old blog posts and Facebook pictures of the travels I’ve had over the years. Want to explore with me?
My first solo travel experience was to France to see my host family, who I met when I went on a short exchange trip in high school. In hindsight, it was a lot of work to get there, mostly because I was being extremely frugal. In true travel fashion, it involved trains, planes and automobiles, over the span of three days.
As someone who’s traveled around Europe, Southeast Asia and now Ecuador, I can say that travel is without a doubt fun, but it can get lonely sometimes. All the hotels and hostels, party of one dinners, moving on to the next destination every few days…often you are alone although you are surrounded by people. Even if you’re traveling with friends, after a while, you start to crave some new company.
I enjoyed the town of San Cristobal, Puerto Barquerizo Moreno, the most. Hundreds of sea lions were sunning on the beaches and I could spend a lot of time just watching them. They were kind of like puppies and cats at the same time; very playful with each other but also very lazy and slept a lot.
Isabela was the least developed island out of the three and we were told that it opened up to tourism eight years ago. However, it’s one of the larger islands and I enjoyed the snorkeling around Isabela the most.
Santa Cruz felt like the most developed island and bit “big city”–all relative, of course. The main town is Puerto Ayora but there are a few things to be seen in Bellavista, which is on the way to/from the airport.
We didn’t do any tours from Santa Cruz so we saved some money by doing the many free things around the island. We talked to others who did some snorkeling tours from Santa Cruz and said they preferred what they saw on other islands, so I think we made the right choice.