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Chrisontour84

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Everything posted by Chrisontour84

  1. Habe endlich mal wieder Zeit gehabt um einen richtigen Reisebericht zu schreiben! :) Hole jetzt langsam mal alte Sachen nach, dieser Trip ist aus dem Jahre 2011.     [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/07/04/east-europe-roadtrip-part-ii-vilnius-riga-tallinn-helsinki/"][b]East Europe Roadtrip Part II – Vilnius, Riga, Tallinn, Helsinki[/b][/url]     [B]The second part of our East Europe Road Trip led us to Vilnius in Lithuania, Riga in Latvia, Tallinn in Estonia and last but not least, Helsinki in Finland. I had no expectations coming into the Baltic states, because there was just no one heading that way and telling me “Go to Tallinn!!”. Roughly four years later, I find myself being that person and was not only fascinated by Tallinn, but also the other towns along the way – even though Tallinn was definitely my favorite! Check out why in this post…[/B]   [U]Vilnius, Lithuania[/U]   Venturing into the Baltic states for the first time was a pretty interesting experience, I simply had no idea what to expect and did not do any research prior the the trip as well, I focused more on getting the Visa for Russia instead and decided to just see what happens before getting there. Our first stop was Vilnius in Lithuania and in general, we would only have time to see each country’s capital because we just had a bit more than three weeks for the complete trip. Joined by Anna from Russia, we were now three people traveling together. Finding some hosts on Couchsurfing was not a big deal and for our first night, we stayed with a nice couple in the heart of Vilnius. We had a nice time playing board games and shared the same room with five people – a rather typical Couchsurfing expierence! Oh and I almost forgot – we also went out for some karaoke and I put on a horrible performance of Oasis’ Wonderwall :) The old town of Vilnius is a UNESCO World Heritage and I especially liked the 57m high Bell tower on the Cathedral Square in the center. The blue sky on our sunny day made for some nice pictures of the white tower. We also went up to a viewpoint overlooking the town and river, sadly I can’t remember the name of it anymore and quite frankly, after four years it is actually pretty hard to remember a lot about this trip since I did not keep any notes! Let’s quickly go to the next town and see if I remember more from there ;)   [U]Riga, Latvia[/U]   Another really nice bus with WiFi, free coffee & hot chocolate brought us into Riga in Latvia, I didn’t even had to think hard to remember that! Another thing I will certainly never forget is how we met up with our Couchsurfing host. It was already pretty late by the time we arrived and he was working in a bar/club as a DJ, telling us he would host us if we didn’t mind to wait until he is down working. Obviously, it was no problem for us and sounded pretty cool too! We spent hours dancing to his music and around 3AM, made our way back home. He had nice old car parked outside the location, unfortunately though, he was too wasted to still drive it! It turned out that our Russian Anna used the same car to get her driving licence and she was not drinking alcohol either, qualifying her for the job of bringing all of us back home safely :) After a nice wake up call from our Couchsurfer’s cats, we found ourselves in the middle of the old town, a pretty great place to stay and start the sightseeing! I actually had no idea where we were when we arrived last night. Just like Vilnius, Riga’s old town is also an UNESCO World Heritage and it has a similar feel to it as well. I could definitely tell that the town was a fair bit bigger though, still small enough though to feel like a town rather than a city. Riga actually has 700.000 inhabitants! We checked out most of the trademarks, including multiple churches and the three brothers – basically three nice houses next to each other. We had a great time here and eventually boarded our next bus towards Tallinn in Estonia.   [U]Tallinn, Estonia[/U]   Arriving yet again in the evening, we first met up with our new Couchsurfing host and then explored the old town, which OF COURSE is also part of UNESCO’s list :) Exploring it at night for the first time was pretty cool, after just 20 minutes, we found three groups playing guitar on the streets. Everyone was in a good mood and super friendly – I just loved the atmosphere here! The old town has a nice square and is also split up between the upper and lower old town. The upper one was the original one created first and the lower part developed afterwards. Nowadays it is pretty cool to wander around both of them. We returned to the same area in the next morning to see everything in daylight as well and once again, I was blown away, this city was just awesome! The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral already gave us a little taste of what to expect in Russia, displaying a really nice orthodox church. Besides the old town with it’s city wall and plentiful churches, we also saw the Rottermann District near the coast. This industrial part hosts a lot of cool houses and shops and is a great place to wander around. Just another quick walk later, we headed to the nearby Tallinn Port with some pretty cool graffiti art and viewpoints over the sea. It was actually raining a bit as well when we returned to the center, forcing us to find shelter in a pretty cool cafe and drinking delicious hot chocolate :) Eventually, it was time to leave this great city – I only kept positive memories of it and would love to come back and also take some more time to explore the country side as well. For us though, it was time to head towards the harbor to catch the ferry for Helsinki in Finland, our last stop before entering Russia!   [U]Helsinki, Finland[/U]   So, after all the beautiful spots in the Baltics, we now made it to Helsinki and despite being the capital of Finland, it is actually smaller in population than Riga for instance. It is also a bit less beautiful. At least compared to the towns we explored prior to it, I just could not start to like Helsinki a lot. The harbor area is pretty nice and I also liked the rather unconventional church in the rock called “Temppeliaukion kirkko”, kind of looked like a little UFO and was for sure a nice contrast to all the other churches we’ve seen before. The rest of the city did not really strike me as beautiful or exciting though, maybe I was also a bit tired of seeing so many towns in a short time now and I was definitely looking forward to enter Russia soon! We were staying at a house full of nice Couchsurfers this time, drinking 90% vodka before lunch and listening to a DJ playing some tunes in the morning after a nice night out in a private house in the woods including a pool and finish sauna. I was actually pretty drunk that night and can only remember a few things, most certainly it was a great way to explore this very crucial part of Finish tradition! I have much clearer memories of the next day when one of our hosts had a day off and was able to show us the sea fortress Suomenlinna, located on a few islands just off the coast of Helsinki. This green open space with it’s cannons lined up on the hills was pretty much the highlight of Helsinki and a perfect way to end our time there. It was now finally time to visit Russia, one of the few countries that actually required me to get a VISA first!   [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/07/04/east-europe-roadtrip-part-ii-vilnius-riga-tallinn-helsinki/"]>> Pictures & Full Report[/url]   [I]You can check out the first part of this report right [URL="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2014/02/23/east-europe-roadtrip-part-i-austria-slovakia-hungary-poland/"]here[/URL]. The third and last part will cover Saint Petersburg and Moscow in Russia, let's see when I will start to work on that - I got a lot of other trips to catch up on first :)[/I]
  2. [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/06/28/live-59-tayrona-national-park-colombia/"][b]Live #59, Tayrona National Park, Colombia[/b][/url]     [b]25/02/2015 Tayrona National Park should ring a bell for a lot of people, forming one of the most spectacular coastlines in Colombia. About four months ago, I spent a few nights there and can finally present you my story wandering through the beaches, doing some great bouldering and exploring the “mini” lost city Pueblito :)[/b]   I arrived at the entrance of Tayrona National Park around 11:00 after being stuck in traffic with the public bus. First off, you need to watch a video and actually receive a ticket as proof that you saw the video – without it you won’t be able to buy your entrance ticket. I met a few people in line that had to go back to get the ticket as it is not very obvious. The line was not really huge, but thanks to the fact that only two people sold tickets, I ended up waiting over an hour to get my ticket, leaving me enough time to make new friends which would explore the park with me together :) We finally were able to pay the 40.000 Pesos entry fee and started to walk along the paved road and hiking path for an good hour before arriving at Arrecifes beach. You can also take a shuttle for more than half of that trip if you are short on time. The landscape at the first beach was nothing short of impressive, combining an awesome beach with huge boulders and a thick jungle in one spot! It was also very hot in February and walking in the sand did not make it any easier. None of us had any spot to sleep yet and the little group split up a little bit, me ending up with a German couple at a place called Finca don Pedro, offering Hammocks for 12.000 per night after some negotiating – a pretty decent price! We relaxed for the rest of the day before heading down to the beach for sunset. It actually took about 15 minutes of walking to get there, but we preferred to be up in the jungle a little bit and would then stay right at the beach for the second night. Having all those boulders around, I decided to grab my climbing shoes and make my way to the beach for sunrise in the next morning. I arrived at 6AM, just a few minutes before the sun came out of the cloudy sky. Barely any people could be seen along the huge beach line and I came back to one huge boulder I spotted the day before. Some nice cracks and the sand offered me two great easy routes (V1 and V2 I’d say) which I could do without using a crash pad. It was so much fun to finally climb again and I ended up staying for 2 1/2 hours in that one spot before heading on to find some more boulders further down the beach. I was able to find some, but actually ran out of time, because I really wanted to see Cabo San Juan as well, being the most famous beach in the Tayrona National Park. Arriving at the check-in, my plan was to get myself a nice spot in one of the hammocks for the night already. However, rumors turned out to be true and they did not sell any spots until 2PM, which was 5 hours away by the time I got there! I had no intentions to wait that long and decided to find another spot while checking out the really amazing coast line over here. Walking up to a little hill towards the more expensive hammocks offered a great view, perfect beaches dotted with palm trees everywhere. Oh and guess what- I met my friends from Australia once again over here, they were actually sleeping at the beach last night :) Since there was no other good place to stay the night at the beach, I grabbed all of my stuff and decided to walk towards the “mini” lost city “Pueblito” La Ciudad Perdida to then sleep in Santa Marta afterwards. It was really hot by the time I started the hike through the jungle and boulder fields and the journey turned into a sweat-fest. After doing some more bouldering within the forest area, the path constantly went uphill through more and more huge boulders. I had to squeeze under some of those as well and actually used some climbing techniques to get on top of some others with my backpack. All of that made the hike very physical challenging in the speed I progressed, but man how much fun it was hoping and crawling on top and under the boulders! Once I arrived at Pueblito, I finally had time to rest and enjoy the pineapple I was bringing along. Drinking the rest of my 5L water canister, I realized that I was completely alone at the site and spent a few minutes exploring. It was really enough time as it was pretty small. Nonetheless, it was nice to see the terraces and it made me look forward to my hike to the actual lost city in the next days. My water ran out and I hurried up towards the main road and alternative access point of the Park. I quickly bought 3 bags of water there for just 200 each and entered the public bus, which was presently inspected by some police. That same procedure actually happened again two more times within just ten minutes of driving! It took a very long time to return to Santa Marta and to round this nice trip up, they would just drop me at the roundabout outside the city, forcing me to take another shuttle towards the hostel, where I could finally relax a bit and reflect on the amazing trip I just had! [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/06/28/live-59-tayrona-national-park-colombia/"]>> Pictures[/url]
  3. [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/06/25/round-the-world-trip-statistics-02/"][b]Round-the-World Trip Statistics #02[/b][/url]     [b]It’s been 270 days or 9 months since I started my trip in Canada and so far I have spent nearly 13.000 €. I will actually take a break from traveling now for a couple of reasons, but have a lot of material left to keep you guys busy for a while – no worries :)[/b]   A lot of people have asked me how much money I would spend on this trip. It was always hard to answer before I actually started, but now that I was on the road for nine months and thanks to my neat little Excel sheet, I can now provide you with some information! My total spendings so far add up to 12.758,22 € This figure includes everything: food, accommodations, booked trips and all the rest like buying new shower gel or paying to get into a climbing gym. Whenever I spend money, I convert the local currency to Euros and add it to my Excel sheet. The biggest part of the above sum was the cruise to Antarctica in March. More interesting for yourself might be how much I actually spend on the food (including all sorts of drinks too) and accommodations in each country. The following stats will give you an insight on that. Luckily, I was able to Couchsurf every single day in Canada, making the average spendings in North America look a bit low because it just reflects Mexico. It is also interesting that South America matches Central America in terms of average food spendings! Hope you liked that information, I will continue to gather the data in my lovely Excel sheet, haha. (I’m soooo German, I know…) [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/06/25/round-the-world-trip-statistics-02/"]>
  4. [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/06/21/live-58-santa-marta-minca-colombia/"][b]Live #58, Santa Marta & Minca, Colombia[/b][/url]     [b]23/02/2015 My time in Brazil is slowly coming to an end after almost two months and exploring Santuário do Caraça as well as colonial towns such as Ouro Preto was another great experience. I barely had internet in the last days, but now I can finally get a quick update out. Santa Marta has been an amazing base for a lot of different things in the northern coast of Colombia; one short side trip in a Jeep took us up the mountains to a small village called Minca.[/b]   I had to bear through another long bus ride with Colombian music videos featuring local music and ridiculous half naked girls to arrive in Santa Marta at 7pm. The drop bear hostel was just 3km away from the Bus station, so I decided to walk over there in a creepy atmosphere, a thin layer of mist covering the ground in the dark. The hostel turned out to be pretty amazing, featuring a huge swing, really nice game room and very comfortable, clean and big dorms. Since it was pretty hot in Santa Marta, I jumped into the swimming pool to cool off before heading off with my new four buddies from Australia to explore the mountain village of Minca in the next morning. We made a deal with a Jeep driver to get us up there and picked up another guy on the way: Tristan from England. Seemed like a cool guy and just jumped off another bus when we were about to leave town to head into the mountains. Once there, we started the 45 minute walk to the local waterfall. I paid 3000 to get in and 2000 for a beer (instead of 3000, pero no tengo mas!! – haha) and we enjoyed the nice water for a while before heading back down. The town itself is not so spectacular, what makes it really enjoyable though is the surrounding landscape. And because of that reason, I decided to quickly run to a viewpoint while the rest waited for the Jeep to bring us back again. After running into the wrong direction first, I finally found it but was not too impressed by the view. Still a nice workout running around in that altitude hehe :) When I made it back to the center of the village, everyone was already waiting in the Jeep for me to squeeze in on the last tiny spot in the back. We made it back to Santa Marta at nightfall and dropped off at the supermarket to store up for the trip that everyone was looking forward to already: Tayrona National Park. This next update will certainly be a much bigger one – I could even do some really nice Bouldering there! :) [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/06/21/live-58-santa-marta-minca-colombia/"]>> Pictures[/url]
  5. [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/05/25/live-55-san-blas-islands-panama/"][b]Live #55, San Blas Islands, Panama[/b][/url]     [b]16/02/2015 I’m back from the Brazilian Pantanal, feeding Caimans and Eagles on a Boattrip and spotting countless animals along the road. The area around the capital of Brasilia is next for me, but first it is time to release the last update from Panama and thereby wrapping up all of Central America! Cruising the San Blas Islands towards Capurganá in Colombia is probably the best way of crossing countries, just after going on foot through the Gap of Darien of course; this true adventure seemed to be a bit too risky at the time though and I promised my mom to stay safe. If you are in the mood for some photos of picture perfect isolated beaches, check out this update! :)[/b]   Getting to the port village north of Panama City took a little while. First, the 4×4 Jeep came half an hour late at 05:30 in the morning and then struggled to find the last missing person, which turned out to be someone I actually met months ago in Nicaragua climbing Volcan Telica! Everyone else in the vehicle booked the 5 days sail cruise and I was the only one with the 4 days speed boat cruise, which focuses more on staying on the islands. Luckily it was all sorted out and I later changed into another jeep, getting me to the right departure spot of the speed boats :) The ride in the boats was very bumpy, resulting in a lot of splash water in my eyes and a painful butt after a while. Our first ride luckily didn’t take too long, after around 45 minutes we reached a tiny island to relax, play volleyball and go snorkeling. Lot’s of clouds were hiding the sun sadly but everyone still had a great time getting to know each other – we were actually a group of about 28 people or so, split down in two speed boats. We continued the ride to a bigger island, on which we would spend the night as well. It featured a few huts on the sand with a bunch of hammocks for us gringos, as well as some more the people living there. Did you know that every coconut on the San Blas Islands belongs to a person and you can only get one if you pay a dollar? Well, now you do. :) I was not really interested in coconuts anyway. The actual food provided for us from our tour company was created in a joint effort of our guides and the local family and I have to say: It was pretty damn impressive! We would get a huge all-you-can-eat buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner and not only was it much more than we could possibly consume, it was also amazingly fresh and delicious! We also got rum punch every night, followed by more drinking of stuff that everyone bought on the mainland. Add a guitar, really nice people and you don’t want to leave that place anytime soon again! The second day welcomed us with a lot of sunshine – the last thing that was missing to make this trip perfect! Everyone was in a great mood, sunbathing, chilling, playing games and socializing. It felt a little bit like being on the island from LOST – just without all the drama and mystery :) We were not alone on the island either, more and more sail boats anchored around us and paid us a visit. One group was actually a Kite Surfing tour, doing some kind of documentary. Although the weather was really nice, the forecast regarding the wind actually made us stay for another day on the island. The evening was perfectly commencing with the rum punch after dinner and I got to know three new drinking games (I liked “21” a lot), which resulted in hilarious situations once everyone was pretty much drunk. I will spare you with the details and am sure the people involved will agree :) We had a lot of fun, some actually a bit more than others and causing a little bit of a problem. I didn’t think it was a big deal, but the tour operator felt differently and actually removed one Australian dude (joined by his girlfriend) from the island for bad behavior while he had a bit too much to drink. It was a shame because I was actually getting along with them very well and would meet them afterwards in Colombia again. On the next day we had to catch up on some ground after being stuck on the first island for 2 nights. The resulting two hour boat ride was not really comfortable but despite all the splash water in our faces, everyone was still in a great mood because we spent two amazing day on a beautiful isolated island. We had a nice lunch break on the island that was supposed to be our home for the second night and spent about three hours there. Enough time to take the snorkel and swim over to one of the nearby islands. There are actually about 365 islands in the San blas and only 49 are inhabited. It was great to be able to swim to another tiny island and go exploring. One problem we were all facing I suppose was the fact that there were no fresh water showers around. Even my short hair started to be sticky after constantly being in the salt water without having a way to get the salt off afterwards. Well, certainly a problem everyone would like to have I guess – at least if it’s not for weeks or even months :) Eventually, it was time to move on to our last destination: A Kula village with roughly 800 inhabitants. Houses are built on stilts along the waterfront and married women wear traditional clothes and jewelry, which actually looked really nice I have to admit! Especially the kids were really excited to see us, being very happy and playful. Experiencing how the local indigenous people on the islands live was a great way to end the trip! The last dinner at a local restaurant, though, was not nearly as good as they stuff our guides prepared and also the portion was pretty small. At least for my appetite :) After partying a lot in the last nights, everyone was a bit tired now and took it easy in the last night. We were sleeping in the village and had rooms full of (uncomfortable) hammocks as well as  a really cool outdoor bathroom, in which you can see how fish take care of your business as you just poop into the water. Sounded strange at first but I have to admit I was never entertained more sitting on a toilet! We ended the (amazing) trip by arriving in Colombia’s northern border town Sapzurro, which can only be reached by boat. We got our passports stamped, luggage checked and eventually arrived in Capurganá. I did not know much about this place first but luckily found out that it was supposed to be one of Colombia’s most remote and best diving location, making me decide to actually spend two nights there before heading onwards to Cartagena. The next live update will show you if it was really that good as I took down my first fun dives after the PADI Open Water Certification in Utila, Honduras :) [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/05/25/live-55-san-blas-islands-panama/"]>> Pictures[/url]
  6. [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/05/11/live-51-boquete-panama/"][b]Live #51, Boquete, Panama[/b][/url] [b]05/02/2015 I made it safe & sound to Brazil and already visited two great spots in the south’s nature: Itaimbezinho Canyon and Caracol Falls! More on that in about three months or so when I will probably reach Brazil in my Live Updates ;) Now it’s finally time to cover the last country of my Central America trip! Panama exceeded my expectations and it all started in Boquete, hosting a Jazz & Blues Festival at the time and some really nice hikes in general.[/b] As mentioned before, I came very well prepared to the border of Panama after crossing the Golf of Golfito in Costa Rica; presenting an American Airline Ticket from Panama City to Frankfurt (which was just on hold) as well as plenty of cash, leaving me with no problems whatsoever to enter Panama. Once in the country, I had to get to David first and then change into another chicken bus towards Boquete in the north. Everything worked out smoothly and in Pension Topas, I even found a last second accommodation during the busy Jazz & Blues festival weekend. I actually ended up sleeping in a tent because all rooms were booked out, but thanks to the very nice German owner, the tent has been very comfortable with a lot of sheets and pillows. It was already getting a bit cold in Boquete, mainly due to it’s higher elevation, and going for a swim in Topas’ pool was certainly a good way to wake up in the morning. I had big plans that day, trying to hike as much as I could from the Quetzales Trail. Doing it from East to West and starting in Boquete takes a long time, as the trail gains over 1000m in elevation. I originally planned to take a collectivo to the starting point but then opt in to walk because of the fact that nobody else wanted to share the collectivo, leaving me with a pretty high price on my own. Walking up there was actually really nice, passing Mi Jardín es Su Jardín on the way and enjoying it’s free garden. I eventually made it out of town and soon after got a ride actually for about ten minutes, getting me to the starting point of another little excursion: The lost waterfalls hike. I hiked up the muddy path and eventually reached a little booth. There was a charge to enter and getting to the last waterfall was supposed to take a long time, making me turn back while enjoying the splendid views across a nice valley. Getting up here was actually worth just for that view! I continued the hike uphill along a street with some cool climbing areas nearby, sadly I had neither shoes nor ropes or a climbing partner with me. The path finally turned into the jungle and all of the sudden it started to rain pretty heavy. I was crossing the river several times and trying to stay in good spirits while the rain constantly battled down on me. No other people could be seen anywhere until about one hour later, when a french couple told me that they had turn back because of the rain, mud and probably very bad visibility on the lookout. Eager to check out the situation myself, I walked into the actual really muddy jungle path for another hour, motivated by the stopping rain and periodically peaking out sun. After a while the sun disappeared again and I had to keep the time in mind, stopping me just before a bigger river crossing. I was out there without a tent and had to get back the roughly 24km to Boquete on the same day. After leaving the jungle and entering the road again, I saw a collectivo waiting and ended up taking it this time since it was already half full. My feet were certainly happy about that decision and I made it back to Boquete early enough to enjoy the town’s Jazz & Blues Festival for a little bit. One older gentleman looked like Gandalf’s secret brother and certainly had the best mood of all people in town, I am sure you are able to spot this guy in the video :) [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/05/11/live-51-boquete-panama/"]>> Pictures[/url]
  7. [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/05/07/video-from-nicaragua/"][b]Video from Nicaragua[/b][/url]     Time for the next video! The Stone Man Alberto Gutierrez already received a [url="https://vimeo.com/118044541"]special video[/url] a few months back; now I can present the rest of Nicaragua – one of my favorite countries in central america actually! Check it out for the awesome Volcano Telica & Isla de Ometepe, and of course it also features some GoPro footage of the infamous volcano boarding at Cerro Negro :) Hope you like it!   [url="https://vimeo.com/125300432"]>> Direct Vimeo Link[/url]
  8. [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/05/01/live-49-chirripo-national-park-costa-rica/"][b]Live #49, Chirripó National Park, Costa Rica[/b][/url] [b]29/01/2015 Volcan Calbuco erupted again but luckily the wind did not blow the ash to Bariloche, so my flight last night to Buenos Aires was not cancelled! I am here now and will try to get a nice Argentinean BBQ organized :) This update reports from my failed attempt to climb Cerro Chirripó in Costa Rica![/b] I had planned for a 40km overnight hike to Cerro Chirripó in a single day due to limited time, so wearing in the hiking boots first by doing a short 6km hike in the Cloudbridge reserve just next to the Chirripó National Park seemed like a good idea. The weather was pleasant while we hiked through the jungle, crossed a few waterfalls and had a little dip in the freezing cold water of the river. I also found two solid wooden sticks that I would use for the hike to Cerro Chirripó for midnight. We stayed in a very nice hostel called Casa Mariposa, I can only recommend checking it out! It is also conveniently located just next to the entrance of the National Park. Staying at the same hosteI was an American guy called Nathan, who had the same plan for the Cerro Chirripó. So obviously we joined forces and met up at midnight while everyone was sleeping, trying to sneak up the mountain. We both had no permits, hoping that no one would check up on us now! To our big disappointment, just 50m after leaving the hostel, a group of six people waited for us at the entry point and while I first thought it was just another group to go up with a guide, they were actually there to check for the permits in a pretty unfriendly way :( Since the hike did not work out, I decided to get down into town to buy a pizza instead in the evening! Someone in the hostel told a story about huge pizzas for just 3500, giving me enough motivation to start the long hike through the jungle, into town and then onwards to the other end of the town. I actually found the place but they would only sell pizzas for 7000! I told them I only have 5000 and they gave me a special deal, making me leave with an actual big (not huge for my appetite though) pizza :) It took me about 40 minutes to walk uphill all the way to the hostel again while eating half of the pizza already and watching fireflies around me in the dark jungle :) [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/05/01/live-49-chirripo-national-park-costa-rica/"]>> Pictures[/url]
  9. [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/04/25/5394/#more-5394"][b]Volcan Calbuco eruption in Chile[/b][/url]     [b]25/04/2015 [/b]I think recent event’s here in Chile justify a small special live update from the front. Just two hours after I left Puerto Montt towards Chiloé last Wednesday, Volcan Calbuco erupted and caused airport’s to be shut down and the evacuation of 4.000 people in a 21km radius. You can see a YouTube Video from the spectacular event here. After spending a few days away, I arrived in Puerto Varas yesterday and am currently stuck here because the border to Argentina is closed. The volcano is constantly producing a lot of smoke, but a third major eruption did not happen yet. I will keep you updated on Instagram and hope that my flight from Bariloche to Buenos Aires on the 30th of April will not be cancelled!   [url="https://instagram.com/chrisontour84/"]>> Instagram[/url]
  10. [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/live-48-monteverde-canopy-tour-costa-rica/"][b]Live #48, Monteverde Canopy Tour, Costa Rica[/b][/url] [b]26/01/2015 A spectacular eruption of Volcan Calbuco happened yesterday just a few hours after I left Puerto Montt, coming back from the four day Navimag cruise along the Western Fjords of Patagonia. Now I am in Casto (Chilóe) and have to change my plans a bit, climbing in the Cochamó valley is off the table since it’s very close to the still active volcano… Well, at least I can get the next update out from the Canopy/Zip Lining trip in the Monteverde Cloudforest in Costa Rica. Hope you like it and I hope I will be able to leave the area again towards Buenos Aires as planned![/b] A 20-minute drive took us to the Xtremo arenal including 14 Zip Lines, 1 rappel (30m), 1 Tarzan Swing and 2 Superman Lines. The first superman, stretching over a really nice valley for more than 1000m was certainly the highlight, closely followed by the Tarzan Swing. The rest was okay but nothing nerve wrecking. Weather wise we were confronted with the typical weather in Costa Rica: Rain! It rained so much that day, we were completely soaked wet after the 4-5 hours Canopy tour and happy to come back to town with some sunshine to dry off everything. Even though it’s always a bit wet in the cloud forest, the amount of rain we received was not normal according to the guides. Well that’s it! We saw a lot of rainbows again that day and sadly we were not able to get to the Skybridges since they are located in a different part and we had to catch the 4 1/2 hours bus to San José. [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/live-48-monteverde-canopy-tour-costa-rica/"]>> Pictures[/url]
  11. [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/04/11/video-from-honduras/"][b]Video from Honduras[/b][/url]     I arrived in Puerto Natales and will start a five day hike in Torres del Paine tomorrow! The weather looks good and I can’t wait to have a walk without pouring rain all day long like the last one to Cabo Froward near Punta Arenas. As mentioned earlier, I finished two videos while crossing the Drake Passage to Antarctica and this is the second one. Honduras had a lot to offer and I especially liked the Tucan that tried to steal my Marshmellows in Macaw Mountain and of course, my very first diving sessions in Utila! Hope you like the video :)   [url="https://vimeo.com/124031045"]>> Direct video link[/url]
  12. [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/04/07/live-46-tamarindo-costa-rica/"][b]Live #46, Tamarindo, Costa Rica[/b][/url]     [b]24/01/2015 Starting with my first live update from Costa Rica, I will now use the date of the actual time I have been to the places in my live updates here instead of the current day. It just makes much more sense and I don’t know why I haven’t done it from the beginning :) So Costa Rica… the first country in which everything gets a bit more expensive. The start was really cool, watching turtles laying their eggs at the beaches near Tamarindo! [/b] Tamarindo itself did not please me a lot, it’s full of tourists and the only thing you can do is haning out at the beach I suppose. Not my cup of tea. However, during night, there is a really great thing to do: Watching huge pacific green turtles laying their eggs! We went out with our guide Sergio (20$ each, most others charge 35$ but he just wants to cover his costs) and he turned out to be an awesome one, according to the people working in Tamarindo it is actually the best, so try to get him if you are around! It was already 22:00 when we started our night tour in the beaches north of Tamarindo, about a 45 minute drive away. We were only allowed to use the red light of our head lamps and had to wait patiently in one spot while Sergio went out in the pitch black darkness to find the turtles. Eventually he found 6 of them for us, some of them on the way back to the beach and some of them drying to dig a hole to lay their eggs. Some of them had problems digging the hole deep enough because of rocks, but the 6th one we encountered was actually able to lay their eggs. We were all lying down around her and witnessed the complete process of laying around 80 or so eggs. The whole experience was great, walking around in the dark at the beach along had it’s atmosphere for it and actually seeing the turtle lay the eggs was certainly the highlight. Nobody was sad that we could not see the bigger leatherbag turtles after all. Great start to the new country!   [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/04/07/live-46-tamarindo-costa-rica/"]>> Pictures[/url]
  13. [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/03/14/live-43-laguna-de-apoyo-nicaragua/"][b]Live #43, Laguna de Apoyo, Nicaragua[/b][/url]     [b]14/03/2015 I had a great day hiking to Laguna Torres yesterday and then up one of the higher mountains in the area today after sleeping at the camp ground. The wind nearly blew me off my feet this time and it was a shame I could only take pictures with my phone and GoPro fake, the views were just amazing even though I could not see Cerro Torre. The internet here is very bad, so I’m keeping the update very small as well. But at least I can get an update out :)[/b] There is not so much to say about Laguna de Apoyo in Nicaragua anyway. I think going down to swim in it for at least 6$ or more is not really worth it, but I really enjoyed the viewpoint up the road, so if you are passing through you can at least check that out and go swimming somewhere else for free :)   [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/03/14/live-43-laguna-de-apoyo-nicaragua/"]>> Pictures[/url]
  14. [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/03/08/live-42-cerro-negro-volcano-boarding-nicaragua/"][b]Live #42, Cerro Negro Volcano Boarding, Nicaragua[/b][/url]     [b]08/03/2015 I’m sorry for the limited internet access in the last days; now I am back though and can deliver some pictures from the Volcano Boarding on Volcan Cerro Negro in Nicaragua. Later today I will leave Colombia behind and fly from Bogotá to Buenos Aires in Argentina![/b]   I wasted no time after the wonderful climb to Volcan Telica and started the next trip to Volcan Cerro’s Volcano Boarding on the very same day. This time, our former guide Bismark was now the driver and we had a new guide taking four other people and myself up the mountain. Everyone had to carry their own board while we could enjoyed the views on the black lava fields from the 1999 eruption around us. It was pretty windy up there and I had to hold on tight to the board from time to time. The hike in general is pretty easy though and you will find yourself at the top after around 45 minutes.   Before it was time to slide down again, we were headed to the very peak to take a look into the crater. After ten minutes, everyone put on the extra clothes and protection gear that were provided in a small bag and the full outfit including an overall, gloves, buff towel and goggles looked pretty funny. The others went town first and seemed to have some problems getting the board started on the first meters. Eventually though, everyone was on the way down and in the end it was just me left on top because I wanted to take videos from the other guys first.   My ride had a slow start too, I was actually stuck in the ground and had to walk a few meters forward to get to a steeper part. From there, it worked better and I slowly began to pick up speed on my way down. Soon after though, the board drifted to the left on its own and despite my efforts on keeping it in a straight line, I eventually lost speed and stopped half way through. The same thing happened closer to the bottom and it turned out that my board was not the best according to the guide. It was a shame because It would have been cooler with a speedier board I suppose! Still, it was a great and fun way to end the day and I can just recommend it to anyone, even though it is a pretty touristic activity.   [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/03/08/live-42-cerro-negro-volcano-boarding-nicaragua/"]>> Pictures[/url]
  15. [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/03/05/rumble-in-the-jungle/"][b]Rumble in the jungle[/b][/url]     05/03/2015 I just got back from the Lost City trek in Colombia and it has been pretty eventful! I won’t have the time to get another Nicaragua Live Update out now, but hope you will be entertained with this small video in the meanwhile. Fingers crossed that the guy made it to the hospital in time. We actually killed a poisonous snake on our way back as well, this place seems to be fully of them!   >> [url="https://instagram.com/p/z3HnV4HyAU/"]Instagram Video[/url]
  16. Video from Guatemala (Part 2): Atitlan, Xela, Antigua, Acatenango And here is the second video of Guatemala, one of my favorite countries in Central America! You will see a lot of volcanoes in this one Lake Atitlan, Xela, Antigua Guatemala and, as the highlight, Volcan Acatenango with a top notch view on Volcan Fuego are all featured in this video. Hope you like it! Video Direct Link
  17. Live #39, Somoto, Nicaragua 22/02/2015 Sitting in an air conditioned dorm full of snoring guys in Cartagena, I can now finally use some fast internet again to update my blog! This is actually the very fist update from Nicaragua and my first stop was the town of Somoto, close to the border. The Somoto Canyon is one of the least explored tourist attractions of Nicaragua, so check this post out to see how my non guided tour turned out I actually had no idea about Somoto until the day I arrived there. Luckily some fellow traveler adviced me to go there and after checking out the reviews on the internet, it sounded really cool to explore the canyon there. I met a guy from Costa Rica at the bus stop in Tegucigalpa before and he spontaneously joined me as well. We arrived just after sun set and could not make it up the view point close to the city unfortunately. Consequently, we decided to check out the sun rise from there instead in the next morning. Somoto as a village was really pleasant as well. Not too many tourists (yet) and people are very friendly. The trip to the canyon is usually done with a guide, however we both did not have the time to do the long six hour 20$ tour that was already scheduled with a few other people, so we decided to do it on our own. First though, we walked up to the viewpoint at 4:30 AM in the morning to be there for sun rise at 5 AM. At least that was the time the owner of the hostel told us, making us wait until 6:30 AM until the sun finally crawled up behind the mountains. Being delayed quiet a bit, the guy from Costa Rica decided not to go to the canyon anymore and so I joined the big group to take the public bus together. We left at 8:30 AM and the bus was really cheap, so getting to the canyon on your own is certainly not a problem. After around 15 minutes, the group started to ascend deeper into the canyon and I had to stop since I was not equipped with waterproof bags and you have to swim a lot. Instead I used the time to climb around a bit and enjoyed the pretty nice view that you get from the beginning. Afterwards I walked back to the street to reach the Viewpoint. I received some directions from a local and was pretty sure that I followed them as I know that right means derecho in Spanish. However, after taking the right turn and walking up the path for about 90 minutes, I eventually realized that it could not be the right one. A lot of fences crossed my way and I had to cross a few farms until I decided to turn back. At least I was able to find a cool spot to see the canyon in the end, even though it was not the official viewpoint. Coming back to the point which led me to the wrong direction, I turned left this time and quickly noted that this would have been the right way. Unfortunately, It became pretty late already and I did not want to miss the last bus, so I just walked down for about 20 minutes and then headed back towards the street. Luck was on my side this time and the last bus just arrived two minutes after arriving at the street! We passed a burning car on the way back to Somoto and my next destination Esteli to find the Stone Man Alberto. Read more about this adventure right here! >> Pictures
  18. [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/02/13/live-36-lake-yojoa-honduras/"][b]Live #36, Lake Yojoa, Honduras[/b][/url]     [b]13/02/2015 Panama City has been a pleasant surprise so far after checking out Casco Viejo, the Miraflores locks and Amador Causeway, all of which I can only recommend! Today marks the beginning of the carnival season here in Panama and I will head town to the Las Tablas area to celebrate it. This update features Lake Yojoa in Honduras. I still can’t pronounce the name correctly, but can certainly summarize that I had a great time exploring the area without a guide.[/b]   Lake Yojoa was a must see for me since I really like nature and the lake provides some great spots to see both wild life and amazing landscapes. My first stop coming from San Pedro Sula was the Pulhapanzak Waterfall. Using the direct shuttle for 35 Lempiras, I arrived around 3:30 PM and had enough time to see the falls before heading onward to the D&D Brewery, located closer to the lake. The waterfalls were really nice and it was the first time to use the “new” used lens that I bought the day before. Not the best, but certainly better than my phone or GoPro camera! The D&D Brewery offers all sorts of beers from around the globe, as well as a few self brewed. The Raspberry beer was nice but nothing spectacular. The normal lager tasted like other lagers as well, but I think I just don’t have a good enough taste to tell big differences between all the lagers, they just taste pretty much the same to me anyway :) The D&D also has a pool, which was pretty dirty sadly and no one really used it. During dinner I was consulting the local guide for some advice on getting to the lake on my own. He told me that it is not possible without a guide in this part of the lake, giving me even more motivation to head out on my own the next morning. Getting up around 7AM, I decided that it would be time for another run, the last one being in Cancun, Mexico months ago! The run was pretty nice actually, crossing the village to reach the river and then from there making my way towards the lake. Eventually though, the ground became pretty muddy and it was not possible to reach the shore from that end, so I decided to cross the river and make my way up the mountain to get a good view from the top and then make my way down to the shore. Some locals pointed me in the right direction. Even though the direction was right, it was pretty hard to get to the top of the mountain though. Obviously, I was not on any sort of path but still tried to make my way through the thick forest. This must have been the third time I’ve done that on my trip so far actually! In the end, I made it to the top but could not find a good spot for a view, so I decided to head down again. Getting out of the jungle after roughly twenty minutes, I found myself in a beautiful spot that must be used by locals, judged by the boats that I could spot along the shore. The scenery there was just amazing and I was completely alone, giving me a nice happy end for the tough hike before. I made my way along the shore to reach yet another great spot that was even good for swimming in the cold, refreshing water. At some point I had to force myself to stop taking pictures though, trying to catch the next bus to the east part of the lake. My hostel there was called El Cortijo del Lago and I liked it much more than the D&D Brewery. There were only three other guests around, I had the dorm room completely for myself and could even watch some birds before the sunset. The food there was much better as well and having a parrot around always adds some value :) I made friends with a couple from Argentina and we decided to explore the PANCAM parque together in the next morning. More on that in the next update! [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/02/13/live-36-lake-yojoa-honduras/"]>> Pictures[/url]
  19. Video from Guatemala (Part 1): Tikal, Flores, Semuc Champey & Guatemala City The first out of two Videos from Guatemala features Tikal, Flores, Semuc Champey & Guatemala City. All the volcano action from Antigua and Xela will be featured in the next one Hope you like this one for now though, I will soon start working on the second part!
  20. Hi Sisa,   also Neuseeland und Nepal sind auch auf der Liste, es dauert nur ein bissl bis ich da hin komm da ich jetzt erst einmal nach Südamerika gehe und dann Afrika und dann richtiung Indien hehe :)   [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/02/02/live-32-macaw-mountain-copan-ruinas-honduras/"][b]Live #32, Macaw Mountain, Copan Ruinas, Honduras[/b][/url] [b]02/02/2015 I am just about to head into Corcovado National Park to our Lodge in the jungle. Since their website states that they don’t even electricity over there, I figured to give you guys another update while I am waiting for the bus in Puerto Jimenez. Actually it’s the very first one from Honduras! Coming in from Guatemala, the first town on my route was beautiful Copan Ruinas, named after the very close by Maya ruins. On my first day there, I started off with a really cool activity: visiting the Macaw Mountain with their amazing display of Parrots, Tucans, Macaws and other birds :)[/b] Copan Ruinas is covered in cobblestone streets and ranks in the top 3 of my favorite villages visited on this trip so far. Juayua is still no.1 on that list, partly also because Copan Ruinas draws in many more tourists. I came without any reservations and the only hostel I had gathered some information before was fully booked. I ended up staying in Don Moises for the first night, located very close to the center. It has a really cheap restaurant for food just in front, providing excellent value for the money spent. After checking in, I stopped a Tuc Tuc in front of the Hostel and told him to bring me to Macaw Mountain. I would walk the way down again because getting there is all up hill! Not long after, I find myself in my bathing shorts talking to the receptionist, only to be told that the swimming hole there is closed! Well, it’s down to “only” watch the birds then. As time passed by, I was more and more amazed by those birds actually. They put up a circuit for everyone to follow and you see all kinds of Parrots and Macaws before heading into the Tucan cage. Having them so close was really nice as I only saw them inside a cage so far. One of them even landed on my hand, apparently being very interested in my plastic bag – or maybe the marsmallows inside? Other people got jealous and wanted a picture of them and the Tucan though, so my plastic bag was passed on to everyone but he would never sit on anyone elses arm :) I walked the Sendero National Trail afterwards but other than walking through a lot of spider webs, nothing else really happened there. I would say you could skip that trail and head straight to the end point of the standard route instead. If you come to the right time, somebody will be there to place a Macaw on your head. I was there at the right time just before they would go to sleep and my Macaw friend was really active, screaming at me so we ended up in a little battle haha. Back in town, I naturally had to check out a German bar called “Sol de Copan”. The German owner imported everything he needs to brew his own beer there according to the German purity law. He served me a Christmas beer, which tasted like a normal lager though. Nothing special but it was nice to talk to an authentic German “Gastwirt” again :) [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/02/02/live-32-macaw-mountain-copan-ruinas-honduras/"]>> Pictures[/url]
  21. [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/01/28/the-stone-man-alberto-gutierrez-in-esteli-nicaragua/"][b]The Stone Man Alberto Gutierrez in Estelí, Nicaragua[/b][/url]     [b]28/01/2015 The 15th of January has been a very special day for me. I met 75 year old Alberto Gutierrez,also known as the Stone Man, in his beautiful home deep in the Tisey Estanzuela Natural Reserve. He has been carving stones there for almost half of his life and will proudly present his work, should you make the effort of paying him a visit. It is not the easiest place to find and certainly off the beaten path, but if you ever get near Estelí on your Nicaragua trip, I would highly recommend to make this experience on your own. If not, just check out my report, pictures and the video here :)[/b]   About three months ago, I started to research Nicaragua and stumbled upon Nomadic Matt’s post about Alberto. What I have read was so fascinating that I had no other choice than putting it on my list. Now I can proudly say that I am yet another person privileged enough to meet this character. To be more precise, I am number 61 in his most recent visitor book. Only about 1000 people have met him ever since he received his first guest in 2006. Fellow bloggers have documented their time with Alberto, providing great information on how to reach him (such as yet another Matt right here) and thereby making it easier for all of us to get there. In my case, it was really easy thanks to my Couchsurfing host Jhon. This is my story of meeting Alberto… I arrived in Estelí in the pouring rain and while I had no intentions of doing any sightseeing here, I couldn’t wait to get out to Tisey, hunting down the Stone Man Alberto Gutierrez. Getting deeper into the Tisey Estanzuela Natural Reserve, my Couchsurfing Host and I got both more excited the closer we got. One of his friends knew Alberto, so we had a good idea how to get there. You first drive into La Garnacha and follow a dirt road until you see a sign saying “Bienvenidos. Finca: El J Lacate, Dist 1Km”. You then cross the gate and keep on walking down the hill for about twenty minutes until you reach his home with a sign saying “Bienvenidos A Galeria Esculturas en Piedras”. Just go in and call out for him! Alberto is growing all kinds of fruits on his property and will probably give you some of it too, we got some lemons. If you are lucky you might also get a pineapple :) For the next hour, he showed us around all his stone carvings. It starts off with bits and pieces until you eventually get to the top of a hill with a nice viewpoint, featuring the highlights such as an huge Elephant! He started his work 38 years ago on October 17th, 1977 and since then is carving different landscapes, animals and historical moments into all kinds of stones. I was surprised by seeing the World Trade Center as one of his sculptures! All of his work has been done with the same tools: two metal chisels and a hammer. He also has a fixed schedule, only working between 6AM – 9AM, enabling him to greet visitors coming during the day. He was also featured in a documentary, which resulted in his bigger popularity, but visiting him still feels like a very unique and special thing to do! I have read that he would be too proud to accept money from his guests, this apparently has changed now since he gladly accepted ours :) I also gave him some sunglasses from Ray Ban, which he really seemed to like and they suited him much better than me :) [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/01/28/the-stone-man-alberto-gutierrez-in-esteli-nicaragua/"]>> Pictures and Video[/url] (If vimeo is not causing troubles again!)
  22. Hehe bitte nicht :)   One of the highlights of my trip so far! Hope you like it :)   [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/live-28-volcan-acatenango-guatemala/"][b]Live #28, Volcán Acatenango, Guatemala[/b][/url] [i](click link for pictures)[/i]     [b]19/01/2015 Time for a new Live Update after finishing some videos. Sadly Vimeo causes problems with Copyright violations, so I might have to look out for another platform. If you have some suggestions, put it in the comments please! Currently I am in Granada, Nicaragua and will head to Isla de Ometepe tomorrow morning. This update will be the last from Guatemala and it is safe to say that climbing the 3,976m Volcán Acatenango was one of the highlights of my trip so far. Getting to the top requires some effort, but the reward is incredible: Witnessing the super active Volcán de Fuego right in front of you during night, erupting car-sized rocks every 5-10 minutes.[/b]   I arranged the overnight tour to climb Volcán Acatenango from Antigua and got a decent last minute deal. The good news was that the other two people in the group cancelled, so it was just me and the guide! I got picked up in town and was transferred to the guide’s private house close to the Volcanoes entrance trail. Having a local guide actually helps against the occasional robberies, which only target tour companies that are not supporting the local guides and thereby the community’s job industry. At least that is what the owner of the company I used told me. Another group just got back from the mountain and was waiting for my car for a ride back into town. They told me I’d better have a sleeping bag and good jacket because it was so cold on the top. My guide Eddie and I started walking up the street for a few minutes to reach the path leading to the Volcano. His dog Tarzan joined us all the way and was a fast and pleasant third member of the team, not slowing us down or being annoying like other people could have been :) It just takes five minutes walking on a gravel path until we reach the first group gasping for air. It was pretty hot that day and the gravel makes it hard to walk, but I was still very surprised to see the first girl crying out of exhaustion after a distance that took us just five minutes to walk! Anyway, I was looking forward to the rest as the climb was supposed to be one of the hardest you can do in the country. Passing one resting point after the other and actually only using one of them for ten minutes, we make it to the summit of Volcán Acatenango in just 3 1/2 hours. It was great to have a good and fast guide with me and being in a good shape as well as the mountain really will challenge you, especially if you do not rest a lot in between. I could feel my heart pumping really hard on the last steep gravel part up the top, each step sliding down half of the previous step again. It’s been a while that a mountain required this kind of effort and I really liked it! Once on the top, we waited for all the clouds to disappear until I could finally see (and not just hear) the first eruption of Fuego just meters away. Luckily the clouds vanished even more and I could get some great shots of the crater and the landscape around us before we were running / skiing down the gravel on the other side to reach the camp spot, which was already prepared by Eddie’s dad. Just before we got there, Eddie climbed a high tree to cut off branches with his Machete for our bonfire. Having it set up, I felt in great company and even part of the family by now, even though my Spanish is not good and all of them spoke no English at all, we still found a way to communicate, sometimes using a stick to sketch drawings in the ground As it got dark, the real show started. Volcán de Fuego showed off his angry face and instead of grey smoke in front of blue sky and white clouds, we would now witness a red and yellow light show in the pitch black darkness every 5-10 minutes. Surprised by how active that Volcano actually was, it produced really big explosion every 20 minutes or so. The view on Volcán de Agua to our left side of the camp spot was great too, being surrounded by all the yellow lights of the cities such as Antigua and even Guatemala City in the back. But back to the main attraction! I switched my location to get rid of some trees in front of me and spent ten minutes looking for a good spot to sit down and lay my camera on something to do long exposure shots. I eventually found a cut-off tree that would suit me as a natural tripod and even though it was very tiny and I had troubles to keep my camera on it, I still managed to get a few decent shots. Spending three hours just sitting and watching Fuego errupt, I finally made it into my tent. I could still hear all the eruptions from there and in a reflex, would constantly open my tent to check if it might be an even bigger one than before. Eventually, I had to force myself to get some sleep around 1AM though, having had one great new experience that I will never forget in my life. I woke up just in time for a nice sunset and after breakfast, headed down together with Eddie and Tarzan while his dad stayed at the camp spot to clear the fire. It only took us 1 1/2 hours to return to his house, resulting in a pretty long two hour wait to get me picked up since we were just way too early. Eddie’s place and lovely family made my wait very pleasant though and I enjoyed the view on Lake Atitlan’s Volcanoes in the distant while having a nice hot tea…   Pictures >> [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/live-28-volcan-acatenango-guatemala/"]Link[/url]
  23. [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/video-from-caye-caulker-belize/"][b]Video from Caye Caulker, Belize[/b][/url]     This Video is actually pretty short – just under ten minutes! Check out how I was swimming with Sharks along with some Snorkeling in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. And don’t forget to Go Slow… since we are talking about Caye Caulker in Belize [b]https://vimeo.com/116928793[/b] Have fun! :)
  24. Next :)   [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/01/10/live-25-lake-atitlan-guatemala/"][b]Live #25, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala[/b][/url] (click for pictures)     [b]10/01/2015 I’m still in San Pedro Sula and tried everything to get into the Cusuco National Park and to replace my broken lens. Unfortunately, both did not work out in the end and I will now move on to Lake Yojoa without a working camera :( But let’s talk about the past, Lake Atitlan. When I first did my research about Guatemala, I quickly came across Lake Atitlan and ever since had the strong desire to go there. A lake surrounded by three volcanoes sounded and looked great and it was so worth going there in the end![/b]   The chicken bus got me into Panajachel, the main tourist hub around the lake. The complete town is based on tourism and I was glad that I would not stay over there and instead go to the less touristic spots around the lake, hopefully getting in touch with the locals during my two scheduled couchsurfing occasions as well. Taking a lancha over to Santiago Atitlan, I immediately liked the atmosphere there much better. Instead of all the backpackers walking around, I could now spot a lot of friendly locals on the way to my Couchsurfing place, which was pretty interesting and hard to find by the way! After making my way through a bunch of bushes and back alleys, I eventually made it to the Hotel which was supposed to be just next to the place and got picked up from there :) Their house looked great and my lovely host even let me use her room since they had another guest at the same time, already occupying the couch. On the next day, I walked around the city to find the Maximón. Not being able to do so, I had to use my superb Spanish skills to ask the local people and eventually made it there. They wanted to charge me to take pictures inside, so I only got one from the outside instead. It was lunch time afterwards and I got four empanadas and a bag full of fruit for just 21Q (~2,20€) – streed food is just awesome! Another great source for food was located just five minutes walking distance away from the Couchsurfer place: Las Lagartijas. Located in a small booth outside of town, it provides delicious food and you should check it out if you are in the area! After a cold swim in the lake here, tucked in between the three volcanoes, I eventually had to move on again, this time to another smaller village on the other side of the lake: Santa Cruz. The prices for the lanchas were recently raised apparently and the information I got on the internet was not valid anymore. Now you have to pay 25Q (or 20Q if you negotiate like I did) to cross the lake. I had to change boats in Pana again and used the opportunity to buy a new mouse there since I had just broken mine a day before. Getting to Pana was a wild ride actually, the boat took on a bit too many people, leaving me without a seat in the front on the by far bumpiest ride ever! I had to hold on with both hands and was still jumping half a meter in the air while sitting on the ground and everyone was screaming as if they would be in a rollercoster. Just thinking about it makes my ass hurt again! When I finally arrived in the small and relaxed Santa Cruz, I was picked up by my next Couchsurfer and his guest. A japanese couple decided to use this village as their base in Guatemala and I can totally understand why! It was just great there and thanks to my hosts, I could make the most out of my time. We walked around the town and had a great dinner together in the evening. Ironically enough, their guest used to be a korean WarCraft 3 programer as well and it was funny talking to him about the good old times with players like SlayerS_BoxeR, which we both knew from our time as a gamer. At that moment we wished to have two computers to play a round haha :) On the next day, we had lunch in Posada Jaibalito, run for over nine years by a German guy called Hans. If you go there, say Chris said hi, you will easily recognize him thanks to his immense white beard :) He offers traditional German food and even bread for a very low price, definitely a highlight and hidden gem! The village of Jaibalito is great as well, no road is leading there and you either have to walk or take a lancha. The locals here are even more friendlier it seemed and you will see lot’s of kids playing around on the street. This afternoon was one of my highlights along the lake! The next and final stop was the backpacker village of Lake Atitlan: San Pedro. I liked it much more than Pana, because despite having the same amount of backpackers, the village itself was just more pleasant. After staying in a pretty cheap place somewhere in the back of the village, I moved over to Hotel Mikaso for the other two nights. This place was perfect, located outside of the busy area but still close enough to walk everywhere. You will have some great views from there and even be able to enjoy the hot pool for free! They also had good Internet there and I could follow my team Frankfurt win against Dortmund with 2-0 in the German Bundesliga :) What a good day it was… [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/01/10/live-25-lake-atitlan-guatemala/"]>> All Pictures[/url]
  25. [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/live-21-tikal-guatemala/"][b]Live #21, Tikal, Guatemala[/b][/url]     [b]30/12/2014 Yesterday I arrived to the currently famed “[url="http://wikitravel.org/en/San_Pedro_Sula"]most dangerous place on earth[/url]” and my second stop in Honduras: San Pedro Sula. I was supposed to leave to the Cusuco National Park today, but due to my slight delay and a booked flight to Utila tomorrow, I decided to do it after my return from the Island in order to spend two nights in the remote jungle. I will use the extra day to check out the city today and of course update my blog, reporting “live” from Guatemala for the first time. Coming from Belize, it was obvious that I would have to stop in Tikal, one of the most famous Maya sites in Central America![/b]   Joined by Philip, a German guy I met before in San Ignacio to explore the ATM Caves, we made our way to the Border in a taxi and successfully dodged the extra fee that they are trying to squeeze out of tourists while entering Guatemala (just ask for a receipt and you won’t have to pay it). We missed the last bus due to the public holiday and were forced to take a more expensive private shuttle directly to Tikal, ending up paying a bit more than 200 Quetzales each. We arrived at 3pm and were just in time to get the 150Q entrance ticket that would be valid for the next day as well, so we wasted no time to drop our staff at the Jaguar Inn Hotel and made our way into the rainy jungle that surrounds the mighty ruins of Tikal! Having not purchased either the Sunset or the Sunrise tour for an extra 150Q each, we were making the most out of our time anyway. The rain provided a great atmosphere and a good alternative to boring blue sky ;-) It got dark very fast and the ground was very slippery, nearly dropping us a few times. We headed straight to Temple IV, which was supposed to offer the best view. They built some staircases to reach the 64m high top plateau and the view is somehow limited as you can just see other temples peaking out. Before coming to Tikal, I was hoping to see some bigger structures from there but it was great in any case. We only met two other people during the late hour of that day and joined up together on the way back, walking through complete pitch black darkness as the sun was gone around 6pm. Joined by the rangers that clean out the park so nobody sneaks in without having paid for the Sunset ticket – which would not have been great in that weather anyway – we made it back to the Jaguar Inn to have a suprsingly good and well portioned dinner there. Sleeping in tents they provide for “just” 15$ seemed like a good deal considering the fact that we were staying in the middle of the Park and right next to the Entrance gate. I could hear all kinds of monkeys and other animals (and also the snoring tour guide Caesar in a tent next to us) while trying to fall asleep. The next morning, we woke up at 5:30 to make it to the entrance as early as possible to get in without the special sunrise ticket, meaning 6AM. The weather did not change since last night, so we were happy that we did not spend all the extra money. The sounds of the awaking jungle were still clearly present at 6AM, even though it should probably be even better getting in at 4AM. We walked a slightly different route this time and headed to the main plaza including the famous Jaguar Temple. Certainly a pretty cool structure to look at and a shame one is not allowed to climb it up! Some people have died doing so in the past after slipping down. We returned to Temple IV again and had slightly better weather this time, still clouds dominated the sky though but I think it makes for a great atmosphere. Overall we spent nine hours in Tikal on both days and the rest of the second day was spent walking around through all different corners. Arriving at the Lost World Pyramid aka Gran Pyramid, we were waiting until everyone around us disappeared (it was not busy in that part of Tikal luckily) in order to climb it up. Climbing it is not allowed, but it is a very easy and safe climb, so we could not resist the temptation. The view from up there was amazing, actually it was my favorite view of them all because you could see all other major temples from a much nicer perspective compared to Temple IV. Just when we arrived to the top, some guy was waiving at Philip and we could hear a starting car engine, so we got down pretty soon after again. Turns out the waiving guy was just a Japanese tourist and not one of the guards when we saw him five minutes later to say hello :-) It was already pretty late and we wanted to head back to the Hotel in time to catch the bus to Flores. However, Tikal made it really hard to leave as we spotted even more great places on the way out, for example Temple V, the second tallest structure at 57m and just very impressive to look at. All of the sudden, the sun came out again and we took some more pictures from the Jaguar Temple again. Even after nine hours, I could have stayed some longer and have to say that visiting Tikal is an absolute must for anyone interested in the Maya culture! One more Club Sandwhich and a nice shower later, I was headed to Flores to stay with a new Couchsurfer and relax a bit after all the walking at Tikal…   [url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/live-21-tikal-guatemala/"][b][i]>> Link to the Pictures[/i][/b][/url]
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