In the last month, we have not taken any flights but rather several long and cheap bus rides. We have been to six cities in two countries including Baños, the monkey sanctuary in Puyo, and Cuenca in Ecuador, plus Máncora, Trujillo, and Huaraz in Peru.
After two months on the road, here are some of our updated and new observations.
Constants from our first month’s items:
- No free tap water or refills at restaurants.
- You usually have to pay for public bathrooms.
- Bathrooms do not always have toilet paper or soap, so be prepared and bring what you need.
These will probably all be mostly true moving forward, so we’ll skip these in our future monthly observations - unless of course there’s something noteworthy.
New things we’ve experienced in our second month:
- We are finally in warm cities! In the places we’ve been to in Peru, people (including women) actually wear shorts and sandals if it’s hot outside. Maybe we’re just noticing or looking for it more, but it’s nice to be able to wear comfortable weather-appropriate clothing.
- Sunburns happen a lot faster at higher altitudes.
- Overnight buses can be good and bad. Good because you don’t have to pay for a night at a hostel or waste a day sitting on a bus, but bad if you can’t actually sleep. Plus it sucks getting into a city at 6 am; the day we arrive is basically wasted because we spend half the day catching up on sleep or else being zombies. Or both.
- The only time we’ve seen Zika referenced has been in Peru. We saw one infographic when we were crossing the Ecuador/Peruvian border, and there is another poster outside of the clinic down the street from our AirBnB in Lima.
- Laura likes exclamation points! A lot! Vesper usually tries to cut them out of our blog, but then, he likes to use comma splices, so we’re basically even in our excessive punctuation.
A note on budget:
- Hostels are not always the cheapest options for couples. They usually base their prices per person, which can add up for two people - especially when there are so many cute little bed and breakfasts or amazing AirBnBs that can be had for cheaper!
- It’s almost always cheaper to book directly with a hostel/hotel rather than via a website like Hostelworld.com or Booking.com. It might seem obvious since those websites are probably taking a cut, but sometimes you want to have a reservation ahead of time (aka if you’re showing up at 5 am after an overnight bus). In these cases, we try to only book one night and then either switch to a cheaper rate or find a new place to stay.
Month two highlights:
- Best street food: Kebabs in Ecuador
- Weirdest street food: Cow hearts in Huaraz, Peru (learn more about anticuchos here)
- Worst street food: Mysterious chicken parts (at least one being crunchy throat bits) in Huaraz
- Best Coffee: Anywhere that doesn’t serve instant coffee. This is actually a serious problem in Ecuador and Peru.
- Best Beer: Sierra Andina Brewing Company in Huaraz
- Favorite City: Huaraz, Peru (beer, food, beautiful views - how can you go wrong?)