unURBAN Adventures - Alaska to Argentina to AFRICA!

jfj

Observer
Well documented travel and very inspiring! While I have been offroading for more than 10 years, I have not tried long travels as you have done.
 

unURBAN

Adventurer
More from Ecuador



Ecuador is a fine country to travel in. Stopping at a gas station to fill up is almost a pleasure. I think the only cheaper place would be Venezuela. After hearing some stories about bad fuel in Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, we try to fill up only about a quarter of a tank at the time, about 10 gallons. A good way to spread risk and use the toilets at the same time.



I just wish that we could see prices like these at home in Norway. In the time of writing, I read that the price of one liter ¼ gallon is about 2,5 USD! (and a beer in a bar is about 10-12 USD)



We had a night’s stopover in Cuenca on our way south. We hadn’t really scheduled in a stop in this city, but all the locals told us it was SO nice, so we decided to do some speed tourism: we drove around in the city center taking pictures. A little embarrassing to admit this, but hey, we are on a roadtrip, right? And it looked like a nice town!



A day’s drive further south is Vilcabamba. It is not on the Panam, but on a smaller road going to a quiet little border crossing further east. Vilcabamba is known because the locals have the highest average life expectancy in the world. And this place has also seen a lot of gringos coming in to buy a place for their retirement. Coincidence? Wishful thinking? Well, and because of this, Vilcabamba also have one of the highest property prices in Ecuador.



We camped at the parking lot of Hosteria Izhcayluma, and here we met up with Brianna and Logan (panamnotes.com), and Georg and Andrea (toyotours.com). This was a really nice place to relax a couple of days. They even had a happyhour with free Cuba Libre! (bad idea with all these overlanders hanging around…). It turned out to be a great Friday! The night before we left, another overlander pulled in: http://www.weltreisende.ch/. From Vilcabamba, we headed for the La Balsa at the Peruvian border.



A lot of initiatives for improving the main roads, but still, most of the smaller roads are dirt.



Border crossing info soon.

E&M
 

Nullifier

Expedition Leader
Wow love this thread what a great adventure. So far Ecuador is my fav South American country. We loved our time spent there in Quito, Beautiful city, nice people. We long to return to S.A. Again.
 

unURBAN

Adventurer
Ecuador to Peru at La Balsa

We just posted info from our last border crossing, Ecuador to Peru. Way too soon, but there is a flight waiting for us in Cusco... Hope to write a few more posts for Peru, though.

Border info at unURBAN.no

E&M
 

NorCalLC

Adventurer
Wow, I just spent some time catching up on your thread, and this is an awesome trip report. I love the old architecture, roads and villages along with all the amazing beaches and mountains.

Thanks for all the time you guys are putting into this report, it let's me escape a bit.
 

bobDog

Expedition Leader
For us readers its going to be sad when you post the last part......sigh. Thanks I have enjoyed all you have shown and shared.:):)
 

Ozarker

Explorer
I have spent all morning reading of your adventures and this is awsome!

I've learned alot too, thinking that rock crawling was just for specialized machines, I know now there is a practicle side and real purpose for raising a vehicle and having much larger wheels and tires. Your pictures in the States showed it is necessary to get through tuff terrain. I've just never been in areas like that! AWSOME!

This must be just the tid bits to get all of interested for your new book! LOL

Great thread, be careful and take care. :Wow1:
 

unURBAN

Adventurer
Hi Everybody,

Just in case I mislead somebody here with my comment about a flight back to Norway from Cusco - this is only for a family reunion and some administrative details. :ylsmoke:

We'll be back in Peru a couple of weeks later and continue south to Ushuaia and the southern tip of The Americas. We never stop before we are where we wanted to go! So we'll keep bothering you all with pics and trip reports for at least another four months....

E
 

unURBAN

Adventurer
And thanks for the nice comments!!!
.

I have spent all morning reading of your adventures and this is awsome!
I've learned alot too, thinking that rock crawling was just for specialized machines, I know now there is a practicle side and real purpose for raising a vehicle and having much larger wheels and tires. Your pictures in the States showed it is necessary to get through tuff terrain. I've just never been in areas like that! AWSOME!
This must be just the tid bits to get all of interested for your new book! LOL
Great thread, be careful and take care. :Wow1:
It has definitely been nice to be able to get a little bit further away from the beaten track a couple of times. Not to mention being able to move fast when the roads get REALLY rough and bumpy, and you need to find a place to stay before it gets dark. However, I've also learned that you can do a trip like this in almost any vehicle if you plan accordingly and avoid the worst roads. We meet people all the time in old 2wd trucks, and newer, not modified 4x4s.

Our Nissan Patrol was prepared as an offroad toy before we started planning for the trip, so the discussion went more in the direction of "can a vehicle as modified as this actually do a 80000 km / 50000 miles trip without too much trouble"? And so far I have to admit I'm almost surprised. 60000 kms and no issues at all for the Patrol.

E
 

unURBAN

Adventurer
Coffee, Rice and Kuelap



Our first impression of Peru was coffee and rice. Farmers south of the La Balsa border crossing were drying their coffee beans in sunny spots all along the road, and the narrow roads got even narrower. Every open flat space was in use and the village’s soccer fields were covered in black tarps with beans on top. Close to sunset everyone was busy collecting every single bean into bags for overnight storage just to repeat the whole procedure of spreading the beans out in the sun in the morning. From San Ignacio it was downhill to Rio Chinchipe and there the crop changed to rice. One paddy field after another was something we associated more with Asia than Peru.



It was really nice scenery to drive through. Further along the road we entered the Amazonas department of Peru, and it was a funny thought that all the rivers we drove across actually would end up in the Atlantic Ocean all the way on the other side of this enormous continent. We spent the night in Chachapoya, the capital of the Amazonas department at 2334 meters!! We felt pretty cold that night, and did not really have the Amazonas feeling… :)

Chachapoyas was also the name of the pre-Inca group of people that lived in this area from 600 AD until the Incas came in around 1470. They built their cities high up in the mountains or on mountain tops. Kuelap at 3100 meters above sea level is one of the easiest accessible Chachapoyas cities todays since you can drive almost all the way up, while others you can hike to for some hours or days. We got up to the Kuelap Ruin parking lot late in the afternoon and camped up there for the night. Next morning we had the best view for breakfast. Looking down on the valley with its steep farmland and up on the ruins.





When walking the path up to the ruins, we walked on some even older history. Some of the rocks used on the path were full of fossils. The hill top had been filled out with rocks to make a larger flat area where they built their circular houses and the city.

It is only three pretty steep entrances to the city and the further up in the entrance you get the more narrow it becomes, and in the end it is only space for one person to enter at a time. Kuelap was a really impressive site and the best is that there are hardly any tourists up here. This is a big site and we saw only one other tourist when we were there.









Back on the parking lot there was more action with more people and police. We had to move the Patrol a bit down on the side because they were expecting a helicopter??? After a bit of waiting the helicopter arrived and it turned out to be the Peruvian President’s helicopter. Some people came out and walked around, and we are guessing they were there to check out the site before the President was supposed to arrive in two days.





The mummy museum in Leymebamba contains the 150 mummies found at Laguna de los Condores, and they were the last we saw of the Chachapoyas culture before we headed for the coast.



We could easily have spent another week or month in this area exploring more of the sites, but we also know that there is so much more to see in Peru. Next time….

E&M
 

Ruined Adventures

Expo Poser
Great photos E&M. We've been looking forward to this part of your trip...

FYI we've saved a whole folder of PDFs to our computer, all made from your border crossing guides. Thanks for sharing the info!
 
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