The camper trip from Buenos Aires to Cartagena through Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia is now 5 month ago. Enough time to sort out the 3000+ photos and look back on the trip.
I have reduced the number of photo’s down to the 3-slideshow posted on YouTube. You can access them via the links below.
https://youtu.be/m8KP1fVPuZQ “Peru 2019 From jungle to mountains and coast”
https://youtu.be/ay7xhEIHClw “With VW Camper through Misionas
(Argentina) and Brazil 2019″
https://youtu.be/maT-DeAPGxM “Through Ecuador and Colombia by VW camper April-March 2019”
A few things stand out from this trip:
- Montevideo is nice but not as fascinating as Buenos Aires and of course Rio and Sao Paulo
- The ruined Jesuit communities, which were set up as refugee and education centers for the local population (Guarani) between 1609 and 1767 are fascinating. It is a real shame that this humanitarian experiment was stopped as a result of European power play.
- Visit both sides of the Iguazu waterfalls (Brazil and Argentina). They are spectacular.
- The old coastal town of Paraty allows beach camping and has beautiful cobblestone streets.
- Driving though Brazil is not very exciting. There are rolling hills with fenced off plantations. The jungle has disappeared all the way till 100 km before the Peruvian border.
- Bonito is a very nice Eco tourism place and as such an oasis in the plantation landscape.
- The drive through the Pantanal over the Transpantaneira Highway (a dike through the swamps) was dry. One bridge was under repair and had a pull barge for crossing. Lots of mosquitos and birds but unlucky no Jaguar sighting.
- Along the long highway the petrol stations are the main attraction. There is food (cheap and good), a place to sleep/camp, Internet and sometimes showers.
- Porto Maldonado is a real jungle frontier town and expanding rapidly. Soon the Tuk-tuk’s will be replace by cars. For interesting jungle experiences, take a multiday trip to a jungle lodge
- Before reaching Cusco, there is a large (Inca) entrance gate to reach their land.
- Despite the high prices Machu Picchu, it is worth it. But we also very much enjoyed the salt pans and the round terraces near Moray
- Driving through the Andes mountains is a great experience. We wished we could do more, but our camper was not up to it.
- Also do not leave Nasca without flying over the lines.
- Lima is a very big city. Extremely good food for anybody’s budget. A few days is enough.
- Do not miss the Temple of the Moon and Chan-Chan ruins at Trujillo.
- The figurative pottery of the Moche culture is fascinating. Every aspect of life from birth to death has been depicted.
- The many gold crowns and breastplates the various ancient rulers had to wear is staggering. The museum of “the Lord of Sipan” near Lambayeque shows it all.
- Except for a few stopping places a drive along the Peruvian coasty is not very interesting. It is a road through a coastal desert. Only near Ecuador does it start to get green because the cold coastal Humboldt current turns towards the ocean.
- Quito is the nicest of the old capital cities visited along this trip. We skipped Bogota because we had enough of cities.
- Do visit a small coffee plantation.
- The Vale de Cocora in Colombia have nice walks up into the mountains.
- The small old towns of Barichara and Villa de Leyva are touristy but well worth the stop. There is even a campsite run by a Dutch couple near Barichara.
- Cartagena is a must stop. Where in the world do you find a colonial city with its city walls and street structure still intact.
If you have followed the blog, you may have noticed that we had some trouble with PP2 (= our camper Passepartout). All in all, out of the 136 day we were stranded for 30 days waiting for spare parts. This time of course was not lost. We enjoyed our extended stay in Lima with our friends Luisable and Javier, in Puerto Maldonado at the Anaconda Lodge which served excellent Thai food and in Foz do Iquazu where the VW garage went out of their way to help us. PP2 was shipped back to Holland and spent some 2 weeks in the garage for repair. The tires were replaced as well as the dynamo and the rear wheel bearings which were installed in Argentina on the first trip and may have been of poor quality. The turbo system was checked, and new sensors were installed. Now the power is back. On the first long drive through Wales this summer we discovered that the right-side CV joint was making a terrible noise. Some rings were missing, and a new CV was installed. In January the clutch will be overhauled again, and a new flywheel installed. The camper should then be good for shipping to Halifax, Canada, for part 3 of our 4-part America’s trip (Prudobay to New Orleans).
Watch this place for the next posting.
Rudy and Jamaliah Welling
Assen, The Netherlands