We spent a few months in the Tuamotus, and would gladly return, because the water is beautiful and the living is easy. We visited several islands in the archipelago, enjoying our experiences in each. Read on for our Tuamotus favorites: where to anchor and eat and fun activities to enjoy.
This is for the sailors out there, and is based on our limited knowledge of only a handful of motus. We barely scratched the surface in this archipelago. Still, we can’t talk about our Tuamotus favorites without mentioning our favorite spots to stay on the boat for a while and these are definitely worth mentioning.
Hirifa is paradise for liveaboards. It has almost everything a cruiser needs: good internet, calm water for swimming and paddling, nice beaches for chill time, and for the kiteboarders, a sandbar for launching and consistent winds. Friends spent so much time there, they started a cruisers net.
Moorea is a slice of paradise in French Polynesia. We were lucky to visit twice and enjoy much of the island’s adventures. I’ve covered the marine life and now I’ll focus on the best things to do on land in Moorea.
Moorea is a small heart-shaped island northwest of Tahiti. The interior is mountainous, which means peaks to climb and lots of great hikes.
Hiking in Moorea is more accessible than in Tahiti. The trails are well marked and open to anyone without a guide, and there are many trails.
There are a few things to do in San Juan del Sur besides visit the beach – although the beaches are lovely! After one week, I’ve visited places that are tops on tourist lists, and some that aren’t. One of the first sites I visited was the statue of Cristo de la Misercordia, who sits 134 meters up on a hill overlooking the Pacific ocean.
Estatue de Cristo de la Misercordia
A pretty easy walk up a mostly paved road, or you can drive most of the way if you choose, the view is worth the hike. You can walk right from the beach of Playa del Sur through a residential neighborhood to the top. The site of the Christ statue offers a 360 view of the main town beach and more. Admission cost is $2. There is even a little chapel in the bottom of the statue!
It was interesting checking out the spot. According to the display in the church, the statue is quite new and was only completed in 2009. They did a good job because this is definitely a tourist attraction! Lots of tourists go, and apparently Jimmy Carter and his wife went a few years ago (there’s a photo of them in the chapel).
The weekend flew by and now I am sad. I know I’ve only been here 3 days, but I preferred this city to Cartagena in many ways. Here are my takeaways on my last day in Cali.
The weather is much easier to deal with! More temperate and way less humidity than humid Cartagena
Easier to get around: considering Cali is bigger with 2.5 million people to Cartagena’s 900,000, I can only guess this is because I stayed in a more convenient location to all the attractions as a tourist as compared to living in the barrio in Cartagena. I don’t think that’s totally it though
The sights are in residential neighborhoods: In Cartagena, you only go to one area as a tourist, The Old City and adjacent Boca Grande. In Cali, sights were spread out a little bit more, and were in areas where people live so it felt like I was seeing “the real Cali” while also sightseeing
Cheaper: apparently Cartagena is the most expensive Colombian city, and while still cheap to a Torontonian like me, I noticed that Cali was even more affordable
Cleaner and prettier: Aside from the ocean and the old city, Cartagena is not that pretty. And there is trash everywhere. In Cali, the river doesn’t smell so great, but the streets and paths were very tidy and well kept. The overall impression was it’s cleaner than Cartagena.
I don’t want to make it seem like I am sorry to go back to Cartagena, because I am not. I am really glad I visited Cali though! What a great weekend!
So I got to Cali late last night – too late for me to go out, I was beat – and woke up early today to see the town. From my searches online and with my trusty Lonely Planet guidebook, I found a lot of good things to see and do! Here’s a travelogue of my first day here and why I am loving Cali Colombia.
I started with a taxi from my hostel, Pelican Larry. I have a private room and access to a shared bathroom, which is all I need. Clean and with hot water! My room has a fan which had the dual purpose of keeping me cool and drowning out outside noise.
Getting Out of the Hostel
The taxi to downtown was quick and cheap and I got dropped off at the Modern Art Museum, which wasn’t open until 10am (it was 9:30am) so I went in search of a café. I found a good one thanks to Google Maps!
Let me explain downtown Cali first. It’s dominated by the Rio Cali, which has walkways on both sides, and a lot of the tourist sites are there or nearby. This walking route is great with lots of scenery, and compared to Cartagena, the weather here is GORGEOUS! Warm but with little humidity. Heaven after almost two weeks of non-stop sweating.
Cute Cafe in Cali
Cute Cafe Mulato was on a side street and full of locals. I was the only tourist and it was nice and homey. The waitress had a list with everyone’s name on it and what they ordered, that’s how local a joint this was.