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Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas

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After spending several weeks in Peru’s dry and dusty coastal desert, Gregor and I were totally ready for a change of scenery. Up to this point, we hadn’t yet seen any of the majestic Incan ruins or fluffy llamas or traditionally dressed Peruvian natives that I had expected to see at every corner. If I’d actually done my geography homework, I would have realized that all that good stuff can be found in the country’s higher-altitude regions to the east. So we left the sand and sea behind and ascended the winding roads to Cusco, the former capital of the Incan Empire. (more…)

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Racing Through the Peruvian Desert

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It was the end of April and we were in Cuenca, Ecuador. We wanted to be in Ushuaia, Argentina, by early December to enjoy the warm weather in the southern tip of continent. Since touching Lucky’s wheels to South American soil, we had driven about 4,000 km in 4 months. We needed to drive at least another 10,000 km in 7 months to get to Ushuaia. Google Maps told us the ugly truth…if we didn’t start picking up our driving pace, we would never make it there on time. (more…)

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Quito, the Equator, and the Coriolis Effect (Part 1)

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Quito (pronounced ‘kito’) is the capital city of Ecuador and has a population of about 2,700,000 people. Since Gregor and I are not big fans of driving through big cities, we didn’t really want to spend too much time in Quito. Ultimately, a string of van-related events led us back to Quito twice over the course of 4 weeks and we spent a total of 18 days in the city.

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We Nearly Skipped the Galapagos Islands

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It was a no-brainer at first: We’re already in Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands are in Ecuador, so let’s go to the Galapagos Islands. Anyone who’s been to the Galapagos will tell you that it’s a fantastic place to visit. The islands are home to exotic species that you won’t find anywhere else in the world, like the Galapagos penguin, marine iguana, giant tortoise, and all sorts of wacky plants and insects.

So why did we consider skipping it and possibly miss out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity?

Because a week in the Galapagos was going to cost us four months of travel in South America.

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