An Amazonian Jungle Safari in Cuyabeno, Ecuador

The noise of the jungle is deafening, but some calls are so strange, so unique that they stand tall amongst the crowded reverberation of insects and animals.  This we determined when the startling song of the oropendola lured us from sleep deep in Ecuadorian Amazonia.  The mating call, best described as an electronic interpretation of a surfacing water bubble echoing in a cave, was alone worth the trip to this remote rainforest.  But this bird barely scratched the surface of wonders in this remote forest. Read more

Buenaventura, Colombia’s Uncharted Food Paradise Is More Than Meets the Eye

Walking into the best food market in Colombia is an experience all on its own.  Tucked deep inside a temporary storage yard, the dozens of garage stall kitchens would be all but invisible if it weren’t for the half dozen ladies waving their menus at each passerby.  Entering the makeshift food court without one of these kitchen owners alongside means an almost guaranteed squabble as to who claims the newest customer.  The small concrete courtyard is filled with plastic tables and surrounded by mini restaurants, each identifiable solely by their stall number.  We had followed a young lady to stall 92, and were now being served a bubbling cauldron brimming with cazuela del marisco.  Resembling a thick seafood étouffée, this dish displays the Afro-Colombian influences which make up the rich culture in this port city.  This was like discovering New Orleans without the spice or the price. Read more

Japan, You Stole Our Hearts and Our Wallet

When we arrived in Japan on a balmy summer day, we were prepared to step into a quirky futuristic wonderland, where cartoon characters roam the street, social order is near perfection, space age trains run faster than a speeding bullet, and temples are made from sushi.  Fortunately for us, the country we uncovered was exactly nearly what we had been dreaming of.  The following seven reasons capture why travel in this fantasy world is so special.

Read more

Myths, Misinformation and Chinglish: China Travel Unraveled

“The road to peace, from the beginning of the fire started.”  The sign was trying to tell us something, but exactly what was up for debate.  We could narrow it down to either instructions, directions, prohibitions, or perhaps an ancient Chinese proverb.  Regardless of its message, it was hilarious.  Chinglish signs like these are all over China and made travel in this misunderstood country, well, still misunderstood. Read more

Great Wall Trekking, Beijing and Beyond

The Great Wall snaked ahead as far as we could see, following the most difficult path across mountains with impossibly steep ridge lines.  We were trekking atop 2,200 years of history, where numerous dynasties defended the borders of modern day China.  Many phases eventually left almost 10,000 kilometers crossing the country.  It was built to stop invasion from barbarian nomads, and close to 500,000 people had died during its construction.  The very wall that had faced the Mongols now made our trail through wild North China.

Read more