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Colca Canyon Trek, Peru – A Complete Guide [2024]


Covid-Related Travel Update Jan 2024 – Peru is now open to international travelers. And as per Supreme Decree 130-2022-PCM in Peru’s official gazette El Peruano, Covid entry requirements and all other regulations and restrictions were lifted from November 2022. You can also look at the official website of the Peru government for more information. My Peru Visa guide for Indian citizens would be helpful, too.

Daring Colca Canyon, Peru

I did not know about the Colca Canyon in Peru until I reached Arequipa. When everyone in Arequipa asked me if I was going to do the Colca Canyon trek, I nodded. As a lazy researcher, I believe in improvised navigation. I had no idea what to see in Peru and went with the flow.

When I decided to do the Colca Canyon hike, I didn’t know Colca is twice as deep as Arizona’s Grand Canyon. The travel company with whom I booked a two-day Colca Canyon tour asked if I had any trekking experience; I thought about my recent Villarrica Volcano endeavor. I nodded. Though the volcano had improved my confidence, trekking into the 3,300 meters deep Colca sounded ambitious.

But without hiking Colca Canyon, my Arequipa visit would have been incomplete. So I paid 120 soles for the two-day hike, ate a heavy dinner, and hit the bed early.


Bolivia Visa for Indians (From India & SA) + Extension Process

flags-in-the-salar-de-uyuni-tour-of-bolivias-salar-de-uyuni image used as feature image for bolivia and chile visa controversy for indians

Bolivia gives a visa on arrival to most western countries, to other South-American countries such as Chile and Peru, and India. But this on-arrival visa is only available at Santa Cruz and La Paz airports (and perhaps at a few land borders). The Bolivia visa on arrival for Indian citizens (and others) costs USD 55 (and sometimes even $120 or $160). You also need crisp currency notes else your money won’t be accepted.

As I was crossing into Bolivia via land, I decided to get a visa for Bolivia beforehand. I went to the Bolivian consulate in Cusco. The visa application process was fast; Bolivia visa for Indians is free; and I had the visa in an hour.

I have received mixed reviews about the visa on arrival in Bolivia from Indian travelers. It’s not surprising as getting visas for Indians is always a mixed experience. But posts and forums such as these shows that even citizens of other countries (and when I say other country I mean the US) are also struggling.

If you are planning to get a Bolivia visa on arrival, please confirm by calling the Bolivian consulate in your home country. Ask them about the requirements, prepare your documents, and in the above forum it is also suggested to fill an online application form and get it stamped by the nearest consulate.

Well, I just found it easier to get a Bolivia tourist visa for Indian citizens through the Bolivian consulate.


Bolivia Travel Guide [2024] – Everything to Know


Covid-Related Travel Update Jan 2024: Bolivia is now open to international travelers. As far as I have researched, Bolivia doesn’t seem to have any travel restrictions. Please do consult your local Bolivian embassy for precise information at the time of travel.

When I think of Bolivia, I remember stout, brick-red mountains. Women adorning traditional Bolivian clothes mending potatoes in fluorescent open fields. Bolivian men with wrinkled faces driving taxi up the steep streets and roads.

Potato and cheese empanadas being sold in kiosks on the streets in Bolivia. Bolivian soaps running on the television in local food courts.

People marching against the democratic government and Chile. Golden sunshine beaming in through the blue sky.

Enormous graffitis watching us from the walls of the big city of La Paz. The charismatic Uyuni salt flats and the blue lagoons sprinkled with pink flamingoes spread in the midst of the driest desert of the world. Tiny villages bustling with international tourists who went there looking for a simpler life from around the world.

The gorgeous high lake Titicaca where the indigenous Bolivian people first established themselves but now only a couple of thousand Bolivians live on the legendary islands on the lake. Sky trolleys flying people from their homes to run their chores in the administrative capital of La Paz. And the clingy high altitude that never leaves you oxygenated while you are traveling in Bolivia.


Myths About Nomadic Life I Shouldn’t Break


I haven’t gone out of my friend’s home, where I sit and write here in Bangalore, for three days, apart from a small walk that I did to the grocery store because I wanted to eat something better than lifeless noodles with invisible vegetables. Ironically, today I am writing about 100 days of my nomadic life.

I thought that being nomadic means staying on the road 24×7, and maybe, you feel that way, too. I will get to that, but first, let us go back in time to understand how my digital nomad journey started.

I chose this life for I wanted to be location independent. I wanted to be able to travel whenever I yearned to see a new place or live in a jungle where I could only hear the crickets whistle and the leaves rustle instead of the incessant blasting traffic of Bangalore or any other metropolitan. But having a rented apartment was sort of becoming a hindrance to free movement and adding up costs without adding any value, apart from providing me with a quiet writing space with a balcony.

I thought I better spend the money which I paid for the apartment where people shut doors on each other as if they were enemies on gorgeous Airbnb’s or friendly home stays or rustic hotels in the hidden corners of the world. At least I would explore, meet interesting people and have some meaningful conversations, and live life at my own pace.

So I gave up my room in the Bangalore flat and packed my bags to wander freely while working online. The whole idea was to move slowly; I have never found any joy in visiting a place for a weekend or two days and then leaving it, while I didn’t even know what lay in my backyard though I saw all the famous attractions of that destination. And while exploring the world one place at a time, I could afford the lifestyle of a digital nomad because of my writing portfolio.

But I have come to realize that not having a permanent location is not about traveling all the time. It is about moving with a choice.

This nomadic life has put up all sorts of choices in front of me and let me be honest with how I feel about them.


Learning Spanish in Chile–A Mind-Numbing Experience

ubiquotous graffitis in valparaiso in chile.jpeg

Covid-Related Travel Update, Jan 2024: Chile is open to international tourists. Visit the Chile government’s official website for travel-related information and regulations. Don’t forget to read the government’s rules to be followed in public spaces here.

I went to Chile in July 2016 to teach English in a state school. I’m not a trained teacher, but I was volunteering as part of the English Open Doors Program, an initiative of the Chilean government.

All my friends, family, relatives, and acquaintances asked me what made me go to Chile. I told them I didn’t think much. They asked me if I could speak Spanish; I replied I would learn Spanish in Chile.

My family concluded my idea to travel to South America was an immature escape as the journey would leave me all alone and financially unstable. I was sucked into a whirlpool of emotional hurdles stirred by my loved ones who asserted they cared.

I was fired. I had just ended a two-year relationship I believed was my long-lasting love. The Titanic sank. I was going to be twenty-nine soon. Friends were getting married. Babies were being born. I did not know anyone in Chile. I did not speak Spanish.

Before I left, an uneasy feeling lingered in my stomach. Like the one that makes you shuffle through your pockets when you walk out of your home. Later I understood I was scared: of being alone, of unknowns, and of not knowing Spanish.

I did not know that in a couple of months I would learn the foreign language and speak it fluently.


Chilean Culture: 13 Unique Traditions [Travel Easy in Chile]


Covid-Related Travel Update, Jan 2024: Chile is open to international tourists. Visit the Chilean government’s official website for travel-related information and regulations. Don’t forget to read the government’s rules to be followed in public spaces here. My guide to Chile visa would be helpful for Indian citizens.

A month before my solo trip to Chile, I ran into Valentina. We were riding the same train from Bangkok to Siem Reap. As we got off the train, Valentina told me she was from Chile.

What a coincidence! I was just heading to Chile. Cozying into the same hostel in Siem Reap, we soon became travel friends. Call me Val, she said.

While strolling together in the magnificent Angkor Wat temple, Val asked me if I knew how Chileans greeted each other. I shook my head. I knew nothing about the Chilean culture. We were in June, and my flight ticket to Santiago was booked for the end of July. The classic me hadn’t yet applied for a Chile visa. But I wasn’t worried. I was going as a volunteer of the English Open Doors program [EODP] to teach English in Chile; I knew the program would help me arrange a visa quickly.

Val took it upon her to educate me about the traditions in Chile (and also gave me a lot of travel tips for Chile). And Val’s guidance made my six-month solo adventure through Chile a little easier. To return the kindness, I am aggregating all the unique things about the culture of Chile travelers should know.

Hope you enjoy the read.


Peru Visa for Indians, 2024 [From India and South America]

puno countryside beautiful green landscape with llama and huts

Covid-Related Travel Update Jan 2024 – Peru is now open to international travelers. And as per Supreme Decree 130-2022-PCM in Peru’s official gazette El Peruano, Covid entry requirements and all other regulations and restrictions were lifted from November 2022. You can also look at the official website of the Peru government for more information. My guide to Peru visa for Indians would be helpful.

Table of Content (TOC)

Peru is an easy country to enter. People from the US, most countries in the Americas, and Western Europe do not need tourist visas for Peru. But it is a different case for the Indian citizens.

Peru Visa for Indians

The process of the visa to Peru was worth the effort to see the gorgeous country (here’s my extensive travel guide to Peru). But the process simplified soon after I visited Peru.

Since March 2017, Indian nationals holding a minimum six-month valid visa or who are permanent residents of either the US, Canada, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Australia, or any Schengen member country can enter Peru for one-eighty-days (180) per year without a Peru visa (for tourism and business visits). 

The maximum period of stay will be up to one hundred and eighty (180) calendar days, either as a continuous visit or several consecutive visits, during the term of one year.

You can check out the declaration of the Peru visa exemption by the Embassy of Peru in India.

But those of you who do not hold any such visas or permanent residentships, please read on to understand the process of Peru visa for Indian citizens. 


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