Sunday, May 27, 2012

South America 2011 and 2012: Summary

  • Day 3 of the Inca Trail, it was a moderate walk, through the Clouded Forest
  • Swimming with the Penguins in the Galapagos
  • Seeing the Macaws at the clay lick in the Amazon

  • Take two swim suits for the Galapagos - this was by far the best advice I got and I'm glad I took it!
  • Be prepared to get wet on the Inca Trail - we were rather lucky, but most people we met had horror stories of days of rain
  • All we heard about Tahiti was how expensive it was. Reality for us, living in one of the most expensive cities in the world was that it wasn't really. The food/drinks in the supermarket was cheaper than home. Shop there for basics. Local restaurants were moderate cost if not inexpensive, eat where the locals do. Finally if you eat in the Hilton in Sydney you will pay $30+ for a hamburger, it should not shock you then when a hamburger in the Hilton Moorea is $30+.
  • It's nature not a zoo
Favourite Photo:

Machu Picchu, Peru - the end of our 4 day hike

The 7 Explorers - Rapa Nui/Easter Island

Favourite Meal/Dish:
  • I loved being able to eat raw fish/ika mata/ceviche everywhere!

  • Our dinner at Zig Zag in Arequipa was fantastic

  • As was dinner at in Rapa Nui

Low lights:
  • South America is a huge continent, there was just no way we could see everything

  • Seeing Machu Picchu after the 4 day Inca Trail

  • The stunning Iguazu Falls - from both sides
  • Galapagos Cruise
  • Avoid western chain restaurants - they always disappoint and we should know better by now!
  • Pre-plan with medication - you might not need the altitude sickness meds, but if you do you need Diamox it's better to have it then use the local version
  • Don't be disappointed if things don't go according to plan - go with the flow, you never know what you might experience
Favourite Photo:
It's hard to pick, but this one of the Devil's Throat is hard to beat

Favourite Meal/Dish:
  • Zig Zag, Arequipa
  •  The raw fish/ceviche was also good

Low lights:
  • TGIF - give western meals a miss, even though everything else was closed we would have been better off eating in the hotel

Friday, May 25, 2012

South America Day 41: Moorea to Papeete

January 2012

Up at 730 am to make the most of our snorkling opportunity. Got two more swims in before having to checkout.

Hang out by the pool before catching the transfer back to the wharf and the ferry.

We walked back to our hotel and dropped off our bags before heading back down to the wharf for the Roulottes. This is where there are heaps of different food carts, we found one with the local raw fish and steak with blue cheese sauce and fries. It was inexpensive and fantastic. We choose one that was busy and it was a good choice.

Fare Suisse, Papeete

Les Roulottes, Papeete

Snorkle, Moorea

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

South America Day 40: Papeete to Moorea

January 2012

Up early to pack before heading off to catch the ferry. Stopped at the supermarket to buy breakfast, lunch and some water before heading down to the wharf.

We got the Amereti 5 at 915 am and about 30 minutes later we were on Moorea.

We were picked up at the wharf and taken about 30 minutes around the Island to our accommodation. We were surprised that we were able to check in and spend the full day in our over water bungalow.

We grabbed our snorkel and got straight into the water right off our balcony. The water was warm (but good) and we were able to see heaps of tropical fish. After a quick baguette lunch we headed back in for another snorkel.

We went for about a 5 k walk to find a place that sold soda, only to find one about 300 meters away from the hotel!

We went for another snorkel before watching the sunset.

We then headed down the road for dinner. We both had the set menu, DH having the pizza and I having the local raw fish, followed by ice cream, before heading back to the hotel.

Hilton Moorea, 107 Over water Bungalow

Pension Motu Iti (left out of the hotel)


Monday, May 21, 2012

South America Day 39: Rapa Nui to Papeete

January 2012

One more day in my childhood dream location.

Out on a snorkeling excursion at Orongo. We got in the water and snorkeled for about an hour seeing blue and white coral and tropical fish.

We headed back to town for lunch before going on a walk along the coast to the Tahai Complex. Here they have a few different Moai's, one with eyes.

We continued further along to the museum. The exhibit is small but they have booklets explaining each item in whatever language you need.

We headed back into town and ending up dipping our feet in the water and then heading to dinner and ordering the same dishes we had our first day here - ceviche and the baked crab dish.

We then headed back to the hotel for our transfer to the airport and 6 hours later arrived in Papeete, where we were picked up and headed to our hotel.

Fare Suisee, Papeete

Haka Honu, Rapa Nui

Snorkeling at Orongo
Tahai Complex
   Ahu Vai Uri
   Ahu Tahai
   Ahu Ko Te Riko

Saturday, May 19, 2012

South America Day 38: Rapa Nui/Easter Island

January 2012

Another morning of breakfast, a walk to the water and then on the tour bus for another day with the Moai's.

Our first stop was Akahanga, where there are a number of Moai's lying down.

We then visited Ahu Tangariki, where there are 15 large Moai's with their backs facing the sea, all restored in 1955, before being pushed over by a tsunami and having to be re-restored.

Next was Rano Raraku, which is a large quary that contains over 500 unfinished Moai's, with a great view of Ahu Tangariki.

We had a BBQ lunch before beading off to Te Pito Kura where there is one large Moai. The story here is that it was built to honor a woman's late husband and was one of the last Moai to be destroyed or pushed over in the 1850s.

We spent the afternoon at Anakena beach, where they have the Ahu Nau Nau and you can swim in the ocean overlooking the Moai's.

That evening we had dinner at Kanahau on the main street. We shared the raw fish for entree, for main DH had the tuna curry and I had the tuna with scallops, prawns, local mash and cream sauce - it was fantastic and I still think about that meal.

Hotel O'Tai


Day tour with Kia Koe Tours
Ahu Tongariki
Rano Raroku
Te Pito Kura
Anakena Beach with the Ahu Nau Nau

Thursday, May 17, 2012

South America Day 37: Rapa Nui/Easter Island

January 2012

Up late for breakfast and a quick walk down to the water before being picked up for our day tour.

We drove to Ana Kai Tangata, a cave where they have paintings of the bird men cult.

We drove further up the hill to Orango, where you pay our park fee. There is a large volcanic crater here (Rano Kau), and you can see the Motu in the distance as well as the traditional houses made of stone.

We then drove to Ahu Vinapu to see our first Moai's. The main one being a head, and some large ones lying down.

We went back to the main street and had some empanadas for lunch, before getting picked up again for our afternoon tour.

This time we visited Puna Pau, which is the quary of the headpieces or hair on the Moai's.

We made at stop at Ahu Akivi, which was my favourite location and is the 7 explorers, the only Moai's to be facing the sea.

We drive onto Te Pahu, where there are lava flow tunnels, and finished our afternoon tour.

That night we went to Te Ra'ai, for the traditional Polynesia dinner (umu) and dancing.

Hotel O'Tai

Donade La Tia Sonia
Milkafe for icecream
Te Ra'ai

Valcano Rano Kau
Ahu Vinapu
Ana Kai Tangata
Ahu Akivi or the 7 Explorers
Te Pahu
Puna Pau