It's at this point we have to mention one of our favorite stores Stanfords which we've always known about and used over the years and whilst we've decided to go digital for things like Lonely Planet guides we will be sticking with old school paper road maps for routes. A quick email to the sales team at Stanfords asking for some advice on the best maps to use for our trip soon solved the issue and a huge thanks to Luckasz for being so helpful and delivering all the maps we needed at a discounted price which was a bonus :) So anytime you`re near Covent Garden they are definitely worth a visit.
Neither of us had thought about Colombia and probably had some of the same preconceptions of Colombia that most people had football, coffee and drug cartels. Having the Caribbean sea on one side and the Pacific on the other with the Amazon and tropical rainforest means we are in for real treat with Colombia being one of the most bio diverse countries in the world along with neighbours Brazil and Ecuador.
We hope to be able to trek to Ciudad Perdida the Lost City in the north of country which was only discovered back in 1972 and dates back to 800 AD, maybe learn some salsa in Cali (well that's a big maybe and if we try it will be 10/10 for effort but probably 1/10 for skill!) or watch whales off the Pacific coast.
The one thing that we both know about Colombia is that it's going to be good fun and the perfect start to our trip and we are really looking forward to seeing everything and meeting the people.
Jen had already travelled to Ecuador on her previous round the world trip so has really good knowledge of the country. In terms of budgeting, we are still weighing up if we will go to the Galapagos Islands as we want to try and get out to Easter Island.
Definitely on our list in Ecuador is Ciuadad Mitad del Mundo, let's face it who doesn't want to put one foot in both hemispheres at the same time and Gav will be on the hunt for a toilet on the Equator to see which way the water goes down the loo.
We both love to browse the local markets and know that family and friends won`t be able to contain themselves with the bargains we pick up at Otavalo Market, Jen will have her trusty calculator at hand to get the best price!. When we are not sightseeing or shopping we might be up for riding the Nariz del Diablo or doing some trekking at the Cotopaxi volcano or the Quilotoa loop.
Being one of the more famous countries in South America we won't be stuck for things to do and see, amongst the obvious things will be trips to Machu Picchu, Kuelap, Cordillera Blanca and the mysterious Nazcar Lines.
The less obvious things to do and see are things like playing the Pan Pipes in the Andes, watching wildlife in some of the many national parks which of course means seeking out Pastuzo.
Gavin's Peruvian Spanish teacher Monica has confirmed that Cuy is a delicacy and we can't leave Peru without trying it so watch out to see if it's Cuy or Ceviche that tickles our taste buds.
La Paz is well known for being on of the highest cities in the world at an altitude of 3660m but it isn't the capital of Bolivia as is commonly thought which is Sucre.
Then there's the worlds largest salt flat at Salar de Uyuni which contains up to 70% of the worlds Lithium and is so flat that you can see the curve of the earths surface and we think is going to be a highlight of South America, the time lapse video below says it all we think.
As our trip through Argentina is split by our Antarctica expedition, the route from Bolivia to Buenos Aries will really depend on the amount of time we have, so it could be a mad dash to meet the MS Fram mid December or a route via Paraguay and Brazil.
Hopefully we will get to see the fifth highest train line in the world Tren a las Nubes and visit Salta and possibly even make a return trip to Iguazu Falls.