Taiwan or Not Taiwan???


That was our question last week.. Now here is our answer.

So we set off on another unknown adventure to travel and work in Taiwan. If you know us we are always pretty relaxed with our plans and although we planned to come to Taiwan and stay for a year we had no idea what it was going to be like or how it would turn out. Obviously we researched something’s but when traveling we don’t like to research too much and then you have expectations of what a place should be like based on other people’s opinions. We prefer to go and see for ourselves and make our own minds up. Unfortunately, we are saddened to say in our opinion this country didn’t have the wow factor for us. It’s the first time we’ve ever felt like this about a country as we usually fall in love with all the quirks and cultural differences.

So a week into our trip we had huge decision to make. Should we hang out here for a year as planned? Yes, if we stay we could potentially grow to love it but the vibes we have had about Taiwan there is something unsettling about signing up for a year in somewhere we are unsure we really like. We are so glad we went Taiwan because if we didn’t go we would never know what it would have been like. Rather than wondering for the next 20 years, what is Taiwan like? Imagine we lived in Taiwan what would our lives be like now? It’s an amazing country and I’m sure the lifestyle suits many people but just not for us at this point in our lives.

So plan B it was {always have a plan B} We thought of many places and after considering all of our options we choose to go home! Currently we are at Taipei airport after a lovey 3week holiday heading back to Glasgow. So after 4 years of being on the road and figuring out how to travel and work on the road we come to the other-side of the world to realize that in this point in our lives we actually want to be in bonnie Scotland!

You may think 3 weeks wouldn’t be enough time to see a countries full potential and you are probably right! Our instinct was telling us not to stay so we choose our own happiness and have some amazing opportunities lined up at home. We like to take risks and this time Taiwan didn’t work out but it has given us time to focus on what we want from life and how we are going to get there. We are grateful for all of the experiences and lovely people we have encountered on our trip. We don’t regret any part of our move and we managed to tick of country number 31.


Where will 32 be???????  Guess in the comments below!


Here are some of the reasons we were finding it difficult to settle in Taiwan.


We arrived on a 90day tourist visa to give us time to decide which visa was best for us. The working holiday visa only allowed us to work for 6months in the one job and all jobs wanted a one-year commitment. A work permit had to be applied for by an employer. So we had to find a suitable job willing to hire us without English teaching experience or a university degree.


Jobs being offered online at home seemed to be few and far between. They preferred experienced English teachers with American accents. Whilst on a job trial I was asked to adopt an American accent. This would have proved difficult as we are who we are and shouldn’t have to act like something we are not. Most contracts available were low hours which would result in low pay. As we arrived after July the 30th we would have to pay an extra foreigners tax. We decided the jobs were not worth taking on a year commitment as we had better prospects at home.

Education System

As I am used to working in Early Years in Scotland where a child centred approach is taken and our day revolves around free play it was difficult to see 3-4 year olds in proper classrooms with only 2x20mins play for a full day at school. The children were very advanced and the schools seem to work with parent’s expectations instead of the children’s needs. I was told that children in your class may find it difficult as when parents are questioning about their progression, instead of supporting the child they move them up to a higher class to keep the customer {sorry parent} happy. It is currently illegal for a foreigner to work in a kindergarten in Taiwan because the government don’t want young children to learn English. As these schools a run on profit and the parents demand their child to learn English it then creates an educational black market. Being a foreigner they would put your visa through another school and then if there were inspections you were to hide or run off the premises, if you were caught you could be deported. We definitely weren’t that desperate for jobs to be any part of this system.


To rent an apartment you need to have ARC residency permit which couldn’t be offered without a job. Also as a foreigner we would pay higher rates of rent which again which would have made it more difficult to save.


We did assume there would be beautiful white sandy beaches. Taiwan is just across the water from the Philippines right? While this is the location the beaches don’t meet up to its neighbouring countries standards. There are some nice beaches in the south and almost none in the north. The black sand city beaches had an out look onto the many shipping containers used for import and export, no beautiful horizons to be seen!


We were hoping to live a healthy lifestyle and have an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables. We found it difficult to find a decent portion of vegetables with food. This was partly our fault because mostly all menus were in Chinese and even when we order food with vegetables or pointed to a picture it would come with one floret of broccoli or a chopped spring onion. A lot of the food was fried seafood or meat and the vegetarian meals were served with tofu and under half a portion of veggies. There were many fresh fruit shops but to find vegetables you had to find a supermarket. These were few and far between even in the city, you would pay a premium price. We bought ingredients for a stir fry and spend around £20, this done us 2days but we could also buy meals on the street for under £2


Language Barrier

Our mandarin phrasebook has not been touched! free to a good home ha ha.. We know the language barrier is our fault, we love our lost in translation stories from all over the world. We are not the type of people that think everyone should speak English. It was going to imagebe extremely difficult to learn Chinese, before we left Scotland we already admitted we wouldn’t be able to read or write it. We know how to say hello, thank you and goodbye. We were lucky to encounter many friendly people willing to help us, trying their best to speak English which we really appreciated in restaurants, the library, buses ect.








Valentines Nights & Cat Frights!

Some random things happen whilst traveling but this has got to be my worst!! Lady and the tramp style valentines dinner & being attack by a cat.Throughout our time travelling and chatting to other travelers hearing some of there mishaps we always say for the last 3 years we have been really lucky nothing stolen or any of us injured ect.

The meal was just a  funny situation although we could be food snobs since we know the industry but we also are laid back and understand it was a busy night in a hostel not a fine dining restaurant but the cat was definitely one of the worst things happened to me whilst travelling..

The Meal..

We managed to get a nice candle lit table of two for valentines somehow without trying in a busy hostel full of people. We got a nice salad surprise to start off with,which was so fresh! We ordered dinner which was veggie pasta and were told they were cooking it fresh to order. Then while waiting on the pasta being cooked, the owner came over to us with one portion and joked that he challenged us to share a romantic bowl of pasta until the next bowl was ready in 5 mins (lady and the tramp style haha). About 30 minutes later the hostel helper came over with desert before we had our second bowl, they had most definitely forgot about the meal. The desert was an alphajores with a brandy flavored chocolate sauce. The pasta was worth the wait as it was “Delicioso”.


We have slept in various accommodation and throughout this trip I have been thankful for how well I can now sleep in so many different types of places, whether the bed is un-comfy or it’s a noisy hostel somehow now I just instantly fall asleep but I was in a lovely deep sleep and suddenly awoke around 1am. I turned to Chris and said “oh it’s so hot in here”

In a flash I turned on my back and half asleep looked at the curtains and thought to myself they are pretty see through then wondered how I couldn’t see the mosquito net surrounding us. It was the first time having a mosquito net and Chris liked it but I felt caged in it. Instantly something grabbed my foot it was agony and I screamed. Chris had just moved and thought he had caught my hair under his arm like he does sometimes. I was shouting I’ve just been attacked. It felt like a monster grabbing me as I moved my foot slightly and its teeth clawed into my skin! He started laughing and thought I was kidding. I told him to turn the light on a rat or something has attacked me. Then he put the light on and the hostels cat is looking quite comfortable at the foot of the bed!!

The hostel owner was shouting Gata gata! And Chris shewed it out of our room! There was a hole in the mosquito net of the door and it must have climbed through. Even when I knew it was a cat and it was out of our room I was terrified to get to sleep. I didn’t want anything else to get in or attack me. I lay awake listening to the noises of the jungle,the dogs barking and cats screeching.Sending my mind crazy overthinking instead of sleeping, in case I needed to go for a tetanus, texting my mum and panicking her.  I literally slept for 2 hours when the sun came up. In the morning when I looked at it I realized it must of just grabbed my foot with its paws and scratched it slightly. It did break the skin, but I survived and it didn’t get infected. Now i will be keeping an eye on those evil cat eyes watching me!!

The catastrophical name came from a few nights later in Santa Marta and an older man living in our hotel had cats follow him upstairs into his room every night. We would hear him laughing with his neighbor and shouting “Its Catastrophical”. As it wasn’t following me I can see the funny side and hopefully I will eventually get used to seeing random cats again!! 

What funny/ scary travel stories do you have we would love you to share them with us!!!


4 days in rainy Rio!!

When we arrived in Rio de Janeiro it was pouring down like nice tropical cyclone season in far North Queensland. we didn’t expect it, when you hear Rio you defiantly hear sunshine but unfortunately not for us. We couldn’t let this stop us exploring the city since we knew we now only had 3 full days instead of our original 5 due to transport. We attempted to wait for the rain to die off each morning but it was pointless so we just decided to go for it no point in letting rain spoil our short few days in Rio.

Living in a Favela

When booking the hostel Pousada Favelinha we were not sure what to expect but we thought it would be a good experience for us at a good price. We got a taxi to drop us off as close as they could and had a short walk(10 min) to get there although at the time in the rain and climbing uphill into the unknown it felt a bit longer. On our way some locals pointed out that we were on the right road as we were looking a tad lost. We arrived and the place was very clean had friendly staff that also spoke English which was a big help to us as we had been trying to practice Spanish and not even thought about Portuguese until arrived.

The view from the hostel was awesome looking over Rio including the sugarloaf mountain. We were told it has the best sunrise, unfortunately it was too wet and cloudy for us to view. This proved to be a perfect base for us as it was on a good bus route and was close enough to walk down to the metro for access to Copacabana etc. The hostel staff were able to arrange anything you needed regarding tours, transport etc.

The actual favela experience was awesome we got to share this world for our few days and could see the daily struggles the locals had to go through by carrying everything they had up the steep sided slopes. They also had to walk back to the main road with all trash which can prove to be a lot especially in a hostel, local shop or restaurant. There was nothing scary about this place as the locals would always greet you with a smile and a bom dia (good day). We managed to get ourselves lost on the way back to the hostel one day and the locals that we asked were more than happy to get us back on the right track. On the last night we were leaving at 9:30 on Friday which is party night. The hostel staff walked us up to the main road to get our taxi, we saw a few busy house party’s but were greeted with huge smiles and people waving to us and saying tchau (bye). We would highly recommend staying here and would love to come back another time!

Burger in the hood (better than 5 guys, as legend has it from a local review)

By the time we got to the our hostel we were pretty tired so had a chill and got organised to head out for something to eat. As it was getting late and we were still very tired after our bus journey the hostel staff suggested we have a hamburger from a local burger restaurant that served fresh burgers. We walked down some stairs searching for the food and found a spray painted hamburger on the wall of a house so knocked on the door. Some kids answered and noticed we were foreign so passed us their phone on google translate to ask what we wanted. It was really funny as we just typed in 2 hamburgers please although we could have easily said this in Portuguese and pointed at the hamburger picture if we got stuck but oh well they said the would deliver them to the hostel in 5 min. The burgers were pretty good although we’ve never actually had a 5 guys to compare haha!


Escadaria Selerón (Seleron steps)

These are world famous steps decorated in brightly coloured tiles that connect Lapa to Santa Theresa. The steps were old and run down before the restoration began in 1990 and lasted until 2013 when the artist Jorge Selerón ( the artist who created them) was found dead on the steps he spent his life decorating. On a positive note they are beautiful and were designed as a tribute to the Brazilian people. They are made up of more than 2000 tiles collected from over 60 countries around the world. They played a role in Brazil achieving their 2016 Olympic bid as well as appearing in Snoop Dogg’s music video Beautiful. The steps attract thousands of visitors each day and are well worth a visit while in Rio.

Santa Teresa
This was the closest area to our favela. This had plenty of chic restaurants and bars which were pretty over priced and touristy. The streets here were long, winding and steep. We managed to get drenched wandering around for hours. From here there’s an awesome view of the city. You could also get a good view of the Christ statue although we only managed 1 short glimpse at night on our first night when he was lit up, the rest of the time was too cloudy. Its easy to get a bus up to the town or if you prefer a bit of exercise its a good walk (you may get lost) It’s a nice area to spend the day and it has some lovely viewpoints which are weather dependent. The locals say we were just very unlucky with the weather its not usually like that at this time of year.


This was  short walk down the hill from our favela. It had a metro link that is useful to get around the city, we used it to get to Copacabana. There is many shopping centers, cafes, restaurants in the area and we tried some food at a Brazilian buffet it was amazing! At the plaza we watched some samba performers performing for a TV show/ news, we assumed it was practice for carnival.


Christ the redeemer
We walked to the square in Lapa to book our trip up by van to see the Christ statue but when we got there they said there was zero visibility. This was not what we were hoping for as we had left it till the last day on the hope of getting a good view. We decided to go for some lunch then try later on. We went back around 2 and it was looking a bit better although was still still really cloudy. We had to go for it as it was our last chance for a while. On the way up it kept on looking clearer all the way until we got there and the clouds just disappeared not for long but long enough to get some cool photos and admire the view from the top. The statue itself is very big when you get up close it was cool to see although was a struggle to get photos as you could hardly move for all of the tourists that had squeezed onto the platform surrounding it.




We couldn’t go to Rio and not make it to Copacabana beach. We were optimistic about the weather the rain had started to clear and we saw some blue sky. Unlucky for us as soon as we walked from the metro to the beach it started raining again. To our surprise the beach was still really busy loads of people in swimming. On a sunny day it must be crazy busy! We got drenched walking along the 4 km stretch of the beach and then decided we deserved to sample a caprhini. It was very strong think I would have preferred it with vodka. A man came round and offered us some freshly roasted cashew nuts they were delicious and perfect as we keep saying we need to eat more nuts. There was a cool market selling all of the usual touristy souvenirs, beach sculptures and lots of traders selling the usual bracelets, brollys and selfie sticks.


Brazilian people are so friendly even although our Portuguese was very poor. The locals would always help us out where the could. Next time we visit Brazil we will spend a bit more time in Rio and a lot more time travelling around hopefully at least travel fluent in Portuguese!

Was it worth it Wednesday?

Where have we been?

Santa Marta, Cartagena & Medellin (Colombia)

Moving countries next week!

Where have we stayed?

1 night @ hostel Miramar 60,000 pesos, £15 small clean room, relaxed atmosphere, free breakfast, good wifi

3 nights @ unnamed hostel: 50,000 pesos, £12.50  Private room, Shared Bathroom, ok wifi

1 night @ Playa Blanca: 50,000 pesos, £12.50 Room in a hut, Bed literally on the sand, Share Toilets, No Shower, No wifi

1 Overnight bus: Free Sleep (if you can call it sleep)

1 Night @ Hotel Neuva Samatarini: 38,000 pesos, £9.50 Clean hotel, Private bathroom, Our first warm water shower in Colombia.



Santa Marta-Cartagena

Cartagena – Playa Blanca

Playa Blanca – Cartagena

Cartagena – Medellin:

Total transport: 

What have we done?

Chilled at the beach: Free

Cartagena Free Walking tour: 20,000 £5 donation

Nights out @ Havana, Bahai club:


Total cost of Experiences: 

What have we spent?

Still on a £50 per day budget  £350 per week.

Total Accommodation: 298,000 pesos, £74.50

Total Food: £73.50

Total spent: 


What we loved?
What we learned?

  • Never ever EVER go on an overnight bus straight from the beach in beach clothes, forgetting to take jumpers and throws out of your backpacks, especially when its an express 12 hours no stopping to get into the bunker.  its blasting out air-con!
  • That we can salsa… But need lots of practice! or maybe a lesson or 2!
  • One conversation with someone on a bench in the middle of a city can lead to an amazing friendship!
  • It can be very difficult to find a vegetarian restaurant in a new city!

How’s the Spanish going?

Chris is now able to have some jokes in Spanish! As we were drinking our coconuts on the street a man  was trying to tell her they were too small. So when Chris went to pay the woman she asked for 7000 pesos, we usually only pay around 2000 or 3000 pesos each. He laughed and pointed at the huge one and said “No Senorita, Muy Cairo, 7000 par uno grande”

We made a friend in Cartagena who had little English, and with our little Spanish we were able to have 2 full amazing nights out and lots of wonderful conversations. There were miss-communications but we always figured out what the meaning was eventually.

When Nic was trying to order a melon fruit juice the waiter brought over a Milo milkshake!

Carrrrrrrrnaval!! -Barranquilla


First day: Local experience

We got a taxi from the hotel with the group we had met up with last night. The taxi took us to the grandstand where the tickets were 80,000 cop, £20 each but we walked down 3 blocks and got tickets there for 10,000 cop, £2.50. This was a much better experience as we were in with the regular locals who were a lot of fun. As tourists we attracted a lot of attention especially as we were dressed as traditional Colombians. This attention usually consisted of “hey gringo” and spray in the face with an espuma (foam spray) then having a packet of cornflour tipped over your head. This was all in good spirits and part of the Carnaval fun so we bought an espuma  6000 pesos, £1.50 and started a few foam wars with the locals. We had a few kids sitting beside us and a four year old boy sprayed us non-stop for most of the day!!!  The locals were sharing their snacks with us and one family even gave us a whole container of arroz con yucca y queso (rice with yucca and cheese) which tasted really good. We consumed plenty of cervezas and finished off the rum from the previous night, it had gotten really warm after a few hours in the sun. We had an absolutely fantastic day as we had no idea what to expect and it was no stop fun all day.


Second day: Tourist experience
We got a taxi back to the grandstand area and got tickets here for 15,000cop £3.75 the mood in the crowd today was much more calm this may have been due to everyone being up late partying last night. We did get a much better view of the parade as we got front row seats. The parade also went on a lot longer today and we were there from 1 so we hoped to see the end but left at 6 as there was sill more parade than we could see all the way down the street.


The Parade
On both days the parade was so colorful and the music was energetic on both days getting the crowds tapping and on their feet boogieing.  The floats were decorated in flowers and came equipped with massive speakers blasting salsa and other various local music at full volume. The dancers were all dressed bright and beautifully in traditional outfits from all over Colombia. It was wonderful to see all generations participation from children to the elderly demonstration of their skills. Each region had a group of traditional dancers showing off their tribal roots. It was great to see although we didn’t fully understand what it all symbolized, we could still observe and appreciate the pride and passion that Colombians put into their celebrations. The performers were so happy to be there the had huge smiles from ear to ear. They would run up to the crowd for cheers and would pose for photos. They would even come over to get some water or a shot of rum from someone in the crowd.


Hotel San Macros
We got very lucky and had trouble with booking a hotel for carnival and ended up booking 3 hotels. We were going to have to change hotel on the Saturday and Sunday but luckily for us they squeezed us in at San Marcos both nights for the same price as we had paid for the other nights we were staying saving us around £100 from moving and a lot less hassle. The staff were so nice here especially the owner who organised a group of guests to go out for a party on the Friday night. He came with us as our guide also making sure we all got in the taxis and paid the correct price.

Friday: Plaza de la Paz & La Troja

We went to a stage in the la Plaza de la Paz where they played local live music. The crowds were big and everybody was in good spirits as Carnaval was kicking off. We stayed at this place till around 10 the we headed to a street party at La Troja 8 on carrera 8. The club was so busy it had people crowded inside spilling out onto the street which created a huge street party. The massive speakers blasted the music around the streets and the crowd danced all night long.   People were selling beers on the street from eskies and there was a bottle shop across street where Ron got a bottle of rum that was called Ron Medellin so it was quickly renamed Ron’s rum. Firstly we finished off the 250 ml then he went back for a 500 ml which made its way out to Carnaval the next day. The only thing about the street party was that el baños (the toilets) were inside the club and it took us over half an hour to squeeze in we even gave up and turned back then decided to go again. All along the way we were being scooshed with foam. Definitely a fantastic night with great people to begin carnival madness!


Saturday: Carrera 8 clubs
We headed back to La Trojas as  we had such a good night last night but it was much quieter tonight. So we walked down the street to check out some of the other clubs out. We were a bit of a smaller group tonight so it was easier to get in and move around in the chaos of Colombian parties and being ‘gringo’ attracted some local girls to dance with us we even got a number to meet them for carnival the next day but we were hungover and didn’t manage to meet the again. A lot of people like to party on the street so we bought some beers and joined on the road. We even managed to get free salsa lesson after being asked to dance and looking like we had two left feet haha. . We had another fun night but we were all pretty tired from a full day of carnaval.


Sunday: Calle 74 Carrera 45 @ La Troja
Tonight we headed to a recommended local after party in the street where the dancers from the parade were going to party but when we got there they had taped off the street I’m sure they would have let us in but we didn’t just want to turn up uninvited so we asked the taxi to take us to the clubs and he dropped us at la troja, but in another area from the previous nights. It had a no other clubs around so it ended up being another huge street party with loud music, foam and flour!!  We had another awsome night dancing and getting photos with locals as we had dressed up again for out last night there.



Each night locals were all so friendly and genuinely interested in where we are from when we say Escocia they usually ask about our skirt then tell us that Colombian ladies were a skirt but never the men. One guy even said highlander. One of the most popular drinks in Colombia is Old Parr whisky from Edinburgh we could hardly believe it especially as we had never heard of it before.

The Markets

The local street traders were just a short stroll from our hotel. Each street had a different thing to sell, one row full of fruit and veg, one with shoes, and cobblers, one with meat, one with clothes, lots with carnival accessories and outfits. Needless to say we got wonderfully lost wandering around the markets. From 7 am they get all set up then packed down around 7 pm. And then the night shift team comes to clean the streets and the full street is empty and very clean after all of the busy hustle and bustle of daytime trading. We met a lot of people worried about going around the markets but we enjoyed it and didn’t feel intimidated one bit. Everyone was friendly and even with the lack of communication we had a laugh with the market traders Shouting “hello Johnny” out of nowhere we heard a voice “do you speak English” a little boy said “good afternoon”


We pretty much ate arrepas for breakfast and fresh fruit from the markets then grab a kebab stick at the carnaval plus our arroz con yucca y queso on the first day. We also ordered food from a local takeaway hoping for a salad but we got some lettuce on top of half a box of chips and processed chorizo with ketchup all over it not the healthiest of meals we couldn’t even finish it. The bakeries near by the hotel were a hit and a miss if you got there early when it is freshly cooked it was very tasty but sometimes it had been lying all day and wasn’t the best.

Was it worth it Wednesday?


Where have we been?

Taganga, Minca & Santa Marta (Colombia)


Where have we stayed?

3 nights @ local’s house with room for rent 40,000 pesos, £8 per night double room, clean and we were allowed to use the kitchen to cook fresh seafood just landed a 5 min stroll from the house.

2 nights@ Casa Loma  90,000 pesos, £22.50 per night for double room in the tree house, private balcony, stunning views, chilled vibes, eco friendly, no wifi, no fan/ air con, great veggie food.

1 night @ Sierra Nevada 55,000 pesos, £13.75 family run, very clean, no fan, ok wifi.

1 night @ hostel Miramar 60,000 pesos, £15 small clean room, relaxed atmosphere, free breakfast, good wifi.


What have we spent?

Still on a £50 per day budget  £350 per week.

Total Accommodation: 391,000 pesos, £97.75

Total Food: £73.50

Rough price of main meal is around £2- £5 estimated 3 meals @ £3.50


Taganga-Santa Marta bus: 2800 pesos, £0.70

National park bus/boat trip:  25,000 pesos, 2800 pesos, 45,000 pesos boat each: 145,600 pesos, £36.40

Taxi to Minca: 22,000 pesos, £5.50

Taxi from Minca: 16,000, £4

Total transport: £46.60

What have we done?

Diving: 2 dives each 130,000 pesos , £32 each

Tayrona National Park: 35,000 pesos, £8.75 each

Hiking : free

Cascade waterfalls: 3000 pesos, £0.75 each

Coffee Plantation: 10,000 pesos, £2.50 each

Total cost of Experiences: £88


Total spent: £305.85

Loss/ Profit?  We have probably broke even this week as that £44.15 extra  we add to miscellaneous drinks, cheeky coffee & cake, new flip flops

What we loved?

It had been slightly over a year since we had been Scuba diving. So our highlight of this week was getting back into the under water world. Hear about our fun dives in our Taganga post.
What we learned?

  • Don’t sit on a petrol can of the boat
  • Don’t let a cat in your room whilst sleeping catastrophical!!
  • We can achieve much more than we think we can. We just need to act on situations.
  • That we are able to eat only vegetarian meals, the only non-veg we will eat is fresh seafood.


How’s the Spanish going?
We are now having simple conversations in Spanish to locals who are able to comprehend what we are saying. A few words may be mixed up but we are definitely on track in listening for key words and understanding the basic context of the conversation. By pushing ourselves to learn more words we are also able to interact in the conversation. We know we can always do better and strive to be fluent in Spanish one day soon!

We were able to translate for a Russian guy and Filipino woman in the restaurant as the waitress was trying to tell them there was no fresh juice except maracuya (passion fruit) and they had no idea what she was saying so we manage to tell them. They were so thankful and the woman then thought we actually spoke Spanish and now we feel more confident and very happy with our accomplishments as we basically had no Spanish when we arrived.



Was it worth it Wednesday?

We have decided to plan a weekly post on an update of our weekly budget, accommodation, experiences and lessons learned. During our first few weeks we have been pretty laid back about our blog and have so much still to write about, it’s hard for us to be focused on writing when there are so many fun distractions on the road. So we have officially gave ourselves one deadline. Every Wednesday we will give you the lowdown on our week. You can let us know if our week was worth it?

Where have we been?

Barranquilla & Taganga (Colombia)

What have we spent?

Our rough budget is £50 per day and we expected to go over this week due to Carnaval but we are slightly under which is great after a few crazy party days!

Accommodation: £101

Food: £60, Rough price of main meal is around £1.50- £3


Bus (Barranquilla – Taganga) £4each,

Sharing taxi’s during carnival/ bus station: Roughly £15


Alcohol: around £40 (2 beers at carnival were £1)

Carnival outfits: £8

Nic’s Dress & Hair piece £4, Chris’s Poncho £4 ( hat & Rum were gifts from friends, muchas gracias amigos)

Carnaval tickets: £11

It was £20 for grandstand tickets outside the gate so we walked a few blocks to another gate and paid £2.50 for a local experience and the second day we got grandstand for £3. Happy savings!!

Total: £243

Daily spend roughly: £34.71 per day for both of us to eat, sleep, party at carnival and escape to the beach!

We now have £15.29 per day (£107.03) to add to any extra travel or experiences most likely towards scuba diving!
Where did we stay?

5 nights in San Marcos hotel (Barranquilla) £17 per night pretty cheap for carnival nights, met amazing people and hotel staff were awesome!

2 nights in a local house with room for rent £8 per night double room, clean and great wifi.

What we loved?

I think its obvious that our highlight this week is carnival!!

Post in progress to hear about the madness!

What did we learn?

We have learnt how extremely friendly Colombian people are. Along our travels in Colombia we have not felt intimidated. Every local person has been so nice helping us out and worried about us, reminding us to look after our things even with little English/Spanish or via hand gestures. Colombia is amazing it provides the perfect atmosphere to party with the locals being so welcoming and also one of the best places to chill in the world as the lifestyle is so laid back it really is a unique country and should be on everyone’s bucket list (we love Colombia so much we haven’t even scored it off ours)





Montevideo, Uruguay

Our time in Montevideo was good although we feel that we spent a bit long in big cities by this point as we had just come from Buenos Aires. We would have liked more time in Uruguay to visit some small towns and rural areas as we have heard many good stories from other travelers. As we had travel commitments at this point we had to rush through Uruguay quicker than we would have liked. Anyway here is some of the things we enjoyed while in the city;

The People
The Uruguayan people we met were very chilled and friendly. We couldn’t believe that they seemed to drink even more yerba mate than the people of Argentina. In Uruguay  almost every second person had their mate cup in one hand and thermos under their arm while walking down the street, they love it so much the cannot put it down. There is a very big hippie culture in Montevideo which adds to the chilled atmosphere.

Plaza De Independecia

This is an important square in the centre of the city which separates the city from the downtown. There are many grand  buildings, such as the Solis Theatre and the workplaces of the president. Many locals come here to sit and drink mate or to relax on there break from work.


Artigas Mausoleum

This is a memorial of a local hero José Artigas and his part played in the independace of Uruguay. It was built in the 1930’s and Artigas’s remais are kept underneath the statue which is guarded by Blandegues de Artigas’s. We stumbled across it in the Plaza de Independencia when Chris was curious about what was down the stairs.
Old Town
We strolled around the old town people watching and looking at the amazing architecture and differences of the buildings. Along the way there are plenty of little market stalls selling things like sun hats, mate cups, gifts ect. There are many restaurants around the old town, we decided we had to try the famous “Chivito” this is basically a steak sandwich it was really tasty although we were trying to be healthy and order salad and no chips it came with chips and no salad. The waiter was really rude towards the end and showed us our bill then gave us a calculator with the price he wanted us to pay with his tip already added, we thought it was some form of tax!!


Marcado Peurto
We read reviews for this market and decided it was a must. When entering the market you are hit with delicious smells of meat sizzling away on the grills, there are some lovely little shops but most things are higher priced due to it being a bit touristy. We maybe shouldn’t have ate due to our budget, the food was good but wouldn’t say it was worth the price though we ended up spending $35 on lunch for a chicken salad, asado and 2 bottles of water. We were so full up so we didn’t need to eat for the rest of the day which was great for the wallet haha.


At the coast of the urban city there are  beaches, the only thing is the water is pretty brown as it meres with a river. We took long strolls along the beaches whilst lots of locals were in swimming and having family fun. There are plenty of facilities close to the beaches such as swing parks, outdoor gym equipment, football nets, sports courts. We really enjoyed the beaches although we did have to watch out while walking for the dead fish that had been washed up on the sand. If you walk all the way along the beach and climb up the hill you can get photos with the Montevideo sign.



One month in one post..

Countries Visited: 4

Argentina: 10 days, Uruguay 4 days, Brazil 4 days & Colombia 7days + Next month!


5 Flights:

Glasgow – Amsterdam (2hrs), Amsterdam – Buenos Aires (14hrs)

Rio De Janerio – Lima (5hrs), Lima – Bogota (3hrs 45mins), Bogota – Monteria (1hr 15mins)

1 Ferry:

Buenos Aires – Colonia (1hr)

3 Buses:

Colonia – Montevideo (3hrs)

Montevideo – Porto Alegre (14hrs)

Porto Alegre – Rio De Janerio (24hrs)

Total  travel time: 68hours

Read about our border crossings here!


Casa De Santiago & Casa De Pancho: We were very lucky to stay friend and his brother in their apartment in Buenos Aries and then in his mothers house in Dolores.

Blanes Hostel: 3nights @ £22 per night

VeiwPoint Hotel: 1night @ £24 per night

Pousada Favelinha: 3nights @ £17 per night

check out our post in Rio to see how it was living in a favela!

Casa De Vivi: We met up with our Colombian friend vivi and spend 2nights in her sisters beach front apartment at Covenas beach and then in her mothers lovely house in Sincelejo.

Its has amazing to catch up with friends and even better to see them in their home countries and have wonderful tour guides haha. We have been so privileged and of course it does help whilst traveling on a budget so we would like to say a massive thank you and one day we hope to return the favour in Escocia (Scotland) Muchas Gracias Amigos!!!

Next month we are on our own so look out for dodgy hostel post, possibly might even try couch surfing!


  • Arriving in South America & meeting our friends from TI again
  • Leaving the wonderful Scottish winter weather behind for a Colombian Summer.
  • Drinking Yerba Mate
  • World wonder 2 ticked off the list, Christ the Redeemer
  • Getting our blog up and running after 2 years of talking about it.
  • The vast differences in the environments we have encountered.


Lessons Learned: 

  • Sometimes whilst travelling no matter how much you try to plan ahead it ends up outwith your control. Due to limited availability and being unable to book tickets online we ended up with a 2 day journey and mere 3 nights, 4days in Rio instead of the 5 we had planned which wasn’t going to be enough in this amazing city. On the plus side another trip to Brazil will be on the cards one day!
  • Not having enough Spanish to have full conversations had been a drawback although we are slowly learning! It has definitely restricted many conversations with some wonderful locals we have met. “hello how are you” conversations are just not deep enough to gain the knowledge and insight that these people have to offer us. LEARN MORE SPANISH!





Ferries, buses & border crossings

It proved difficult for us to book transport whilst in Buenos Aries being unable to book online with our bank card which turned out the locals weren’t able to do either due to government legislation regarding foreign purchases being relaxed. The sites were undergoing maintenance and also the bus booking office was unable to give us an international ticket. So we planned the route and had to book the bus to Brazil when we arrived at Montevideo. We had already booked our flight to Colombia 2 weeks before to lock in a decent price therefore our time frame was restricted. Luckily it all worked out well! We are writing this post to help out anyone planning a similar trip.

We traveled from Buenos Aires to Rio by 1 hour ferry 41 hours of buses and half an hour in taxis it’s a crazy long journey but we made it.

Ferry & crossing into Uruguay

We booked a ferry and bus in Buenos Aires to Montevideo with SeaCat Colonia, this cost A$550 Pesos each around £28. We arrived at the Buquebus terminal in Buenos Aires and checked in our backpacks then carried on upstairs to go through immigration. This was a very easy process as there was an Argentine immigration officer in the booth who stamped our passports out then we passed them straight to the Uruguayan officer who stamped us straight in to Uruguay. Next we boarded the ferry for out 1 hour trip to Colonia. We caught the bus from Colonia straight to Montevideo from the ferry/bus port which was included in our ticket price.


Booking the next part

When we arrived in Montevideo bus terminal we went straight to book our bus onward to Rio. The only tickets available were a day later than we had planned. We had to get a bus to Porto Alegre or São Paulo and couldn’t purchase the onward ticket to Rio from here. We checked out the bus prices from both places onto Rio and managed to save money by booking to Porto Alegre first. This bus cost U$2450 pesos each around £57. We found a company online called busbud who we could book our ongoing bus from Porto Alegre to rio for US$74 each this saved us around US$100 each compared to taking the bus to São Paulo.

Montevideo to Porto Alegre (crossing the Brasilian border)

We found the transport to be very expensive in South America compared to our other trips in Asia but on the bright side the benifits of these busses being so expensive is that they are actually quite comfortable. We had a fully reclining seat with a pillow and blanket. Dinner, breakfast, water and soft drinks were all included. Unfortunately there was no wifi on our bus but we’re told that there usually is on other busses.

When crossing the border to Brazil we didn’t even have to wake up or leave the bus as the driver had collected our passports when we entered the bus and dealt with immigration for us then returned our passports in the morning. It was definitely the easiest border we have crossed no passport control or security check just catching some sleep!!! this trip was scheduled to take 11 hours to reach Porto Alegre but it took 14 hours. luckily it didn’t bother us much as we would just have just had to sit around the bus station longer if the bus was on time as we had an 8 hour wait for the next bus.

Porto Alegre to Rio De Janerio

So in our now 5 hour wait we attempted to charge our devices and use wifi but we didn’t get very far with either as we had a poor connection and couldn’t find any available sockets. We had a bite to eat and waited until it was time to get on the next bus. Sadly we were spoiled a bit on the first bus as this one wasn’t as comfortable, had no pillow or blanket and didn’t include food. The bus stopped every 3 hours and changed drivers every 6 this did allow us to feel more at ease as we had thought that 1 or 2 drivers would possibly attempt to do the whole trip. This bus was scheduled to take 29 hours so we were a bit worried that it could take even longer. We got to see some beautiful Brazilian countryside on this trip as we had all day to look out the window. The best thing about this bus is that it didn’t take 29 hours in fact we made it in 24 so got an extra afternoon in Rio which was a massive bonus as our time was so limited here.


We finally made it….. check out what we got up to in 4 days of rainy Rio!