A Yellow Fever Issue Traveling from Colombia to Costa Rica

For those who know us well, you've come to expect that we plan every little detail far more than most other travelers.  We research a lot, and only very rarely have unexpected surprises pop up on us.

I say this as the intro to this article so you can imagine our shock when we tried checking in to our flight from Cartagena, Colombia, to San Jose, Costa Rica and were told we had to show our Yellow Fever vaccination records in order to fly.

You know, the ones that were lost when we were robbed in Peru.

Hello panic mode, my name is Jeremy.  I never thought I'd be seeing you this day.

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Hilton Cartagena Review – 5 Much Needed Nights

Hilton Cartagena from the beach.In our fourth and final Hilton credit card points redemption for this trip, we decided to splurge in our final city in South America.

Although some of our redemption choices in the past were for more stylish hotels, the Hilton Cartagena in Colombia was calling to us in order to recover after our six month journey around the continent.  With 120,000 points and two weekend certificates remaining in our accounts, we were able to exchange these for five-nights in an Executive room (after our gold status upgrade) worth $279/night.

As in the case of our previous stays, we have to ask one question: was the property worth our points?

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Spanish Lessons in South America – Lost in Translation

Woman in handicraft market in the Sacred Valley, PeruWhen the plane landed I was pumped. We had finally made it to the region of our trip that I was most excited for: South America!

I studied Spanish in high school and remembered quite a bit of it, plus I had been brushing up using the language learning app Duolingo and other Kindle books.

I was ready to breeze through this continent with my awesome Spanish skills.

Well, it didn't take me long to realize that things are a bit more complicated than that. Instead of friendly Spanish conversations I was met with blank stares. When reading menus, I resorted to the tactic of pointing at something and hoping for the best.

Basically, I had learned Castilian Spanish (what they speak in parts of Spain) and there are surprisingly a lot of differences between that and Latin American Spanish. I'm sure that tour operators are probably a huge resource when it comes to languages and the differences so next time I do a big trip I might go through someone like that.

Combine that with slang and dialects that are wildly different from country to country just within South America, and you've got a much more complicated language than I had anticipated.

What are some of the things that we learned that can help you communicate more effectively when you visit South America? We let you in on them in this post.

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Traveling South America Overland from Ushuaia to Cartagena

Our biggest milestone for this long-term trip has been accomplished: we made it from Ushuaia, Argentina, to Cartagena, Colombia, completely overland.

It took 9,788 miles and 167 days, but we made it from tip-to-tip of this continent without getting on a single flight to break up the journey! 

It seemed like a daunting goal at the beginning of the trip in February, but nearly six months later we made it all the way without breaking down and cheating with a plane flight.

All we have to asks ourselves now is this one simple question: was it worth it?

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