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Just like you, at Howlanders we love to travel and explore new places! Discovering new locations, observing different flora and fauna, experiencing unique adventures and bonding with people of different cultures. These are some of the reasons why we love travelling, helping others to travel. Along the way we’ve had some memorable experiences. As ancient explorer Ibn Battuta once wisely wrote, “traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” So, we’ve decided to share Howlanders team best travel stories with you today. If these travel stories inspire you to travel, check out our tours here for when you can travel safely again. If this blog post reminds you of some of your travel stories, you can share them in the comment section of this post. We’d love to hear some of your travel stories!
The thieving Coati in Iguazu Falls
I had been traveling Brazil for a year now, and was looking forward to seeing the Iguazu Falls. I really like photography and was excited to get some good images, so before the visit I spent some time researching how and where to take the best photographs of the Iguazu Falls. I missed the part about the “thieving coatis”, however, because while I was taking a picture of the Garganta del Diablo, I noticed that something was pulling my backpack. I was scared that it was a pickpocket, but when I turned around to see what it was, I saw a coati! Coatis (also known as coatimundis) are animals popular in South America and Central America. In the Iguazu Falls area they have a reputation for getting into places they’re not allowed at. They also love to steal sandwiches from the travellers looking at the falls, whenever they can.
I couldn’t save my sandwich- but I had a beautiful picture of the Garganta del Diablo and I made a coati happy!
The Soroche (altitude sickness) Struggle
My travel story was Barajas Airport, Madrid,11:30 p.m. Day 720 since I started the adventure that is Howlanders. I was so excited to finally discover the beautiful country that is Peru. After 11 hours of flight we landed in Lima and got tickets to take the next plane to Cuzco.
24 hours after leaving home I was tired, but also excited. So after leaving our luggage at the accommodation we decided to take a tour around the city center. Eva accompanied us, showed us the Plaza de Armas, the Cuesta de San Blas and told us about a real cevicheria (El Mariscal). Of course we took the next taxi to check it out. Deep down I knew I shouldn’t push myself on the first day, but I felt great so I ordered ceviche, some cusqueñas (beer), chicharrón de pescado and something else that I can’t remember…
It was a wonderful morning! It was the only thing I enjoyed that day, though, because when I got to the room the soroche (altitude sickness) punished me for it. Do you remember your worst hangover? Well, it was much worse, so I couldn’t do anything else that day. The trip was long and we had time so I drank a lot of water and rested. I did everything that we tell our travelers to do- and that I, brave of me, ignored completely at first.
The next day Paco arrived and feeling the same emotions that I felt, he followed all my steps upon arrival. It was a night for everyone!
The Lost Camera in Caribbean Sea
A few friends and I took a trip to the Dominican Republic, where we decided to take a boat trip that would take us to Isla Saona, a paradise. One of my friends decided to take the aquatic camera he had just bought on the trip to take some photos as a memory. While taking some pictures, he dropped his camera into the Caribbean Sea! He panicked and wanted to dive into the sea to retrieve it because it was floating, but the crew of the boat wouldn’t let him. There were sharks in the water and it was too dangerous. But he didn’t give up! He convinced the captain of the boat to turn around and go get the camera. Incredibly, we found it! The boat became a party from that moment until we arrived on the island.
The W Trek Challenge in Chilean Patagonia
My travel story was a year ago, two years after founding Howlanders, I finally made my first visit to Patagonia.
I am an outdoor lover, so my main tour was the W Trek. I was really well prepared for some cold and rain, but after two days of hiking it started to rain like CRAZY. Trust me, it was crazy! I made some friends on the way and we kept hiking. At some point we needed to cross a river that was not supposed to be there, but the heavy rain created it. After half an hour walking up and down the river trying to find an easy way to cross it.
Out of nowhere, a guy shows up, looking like an Alaska forest ranger. Without hesitation, he simply kept on walking the path, crossing the river like Jesus walking on water! For a moment we were surprised and confused but then we realised there was a stone to walk across just 1 cm below water…😬
Sometimes, things are easier than they look at first, we just need to look twice.
Recovering on Isla de la Plata
My travel story was in Ecuador, Isla de la Plata, August 2011. I was volunteering in Ecuador and we took advantage of the weekends to visit the coast. We stayed in Puerto Lopez and the following day we left for the Isla de la Plata. I was supposed to see and learn about unique animal species in the area such as the blue-footed (Sula nebouxii). We booked a tour that also included whale watching and snorkeling. It was a well planned and short 2-hour boat ride to the island, so what could go wrong? Well, it turns out that boats and I are not “friends”, and what better time to find out, than in the middle of the sea!
I got so dizzy that I couldn’t see the whales. To make things worse, once I arrived on the island my seasickness was still so bad that I couldn’t even make the trip to the nature reserve. So I lay on the beach all morning, like a tourist who had never seen the blue water before.
Did you know that the blue-footed booby bird species was extensively studied by Charles Darwin in his theory of evolution? I discovered it that day! And even though they were metres away, I couldn’t see them. Now I know it’s not advisable to include boat activities in my travel plans.💙
Sol de Mañana Geysers: visit Gone Wrong
We were doing a 3-day tour to the Salar de Uyuni salt flats, from San Pedro de Atacama. Seeing all the spectacular lagoons at each of the stops, we were having a great time and enjoying the trip. Our driver, Mike, told us that we were going to stop at the highest spot on the tour. We were going to be about 5,000 meters above sea level! The stop was not in vain, as we were going to see some impressive geysers called “Sol de Mañana”.
As we were approaching, Mike was informing us about the precautions we had to take to get off the 4×4: no running (we could get dizzy and catch altitude sickness), not to get too close to the geysers’ fumaroles (their smoke is toxic), and never to go inside (we would burn ourselves!).
I bet you can guess what I first did when I left the car… I was so excited to see so much steam coming out of the fumaroles that I immediately broke the rules that Mike gave us!
I ran to the fumaroles where I could see the impressive craters. But with my bad luck, the air suddenly changed direction and I inhaled all the vapours coming out of the fumaroles. This made me suddenly dizzy and I had to return to the car immediately before I fell. I was there for quite a while so that I could regain my balance and lose my nausea. I learned an important lesson that day: always pay attention to your guide or driver! They know what they’re saying and know the terrain best 🙂
An Unexpected Family Addition
My travel story was last summer, when my family decided to take a trip to Malaga, Spain together. It was a trip to relax, bond and explore the area. We looked at the famous Alcazaba and Gibralfaro castles, enjoyed a catamaran boat ride and walked through the world famous Picasso museum. We met a fellow traveller who had just come from volunteering at the local animal shelter. Inspired to give back to the community that had been so kind and welcoming to us, we decided to contact them and volunteer there for a day too.
The next day (our second last day in Spain), we woke up early, bought some things they needed and made our way to the shelter. After the day of volunteering we went back to the hotel and started packing, as our flight home was the next day.
On our last day in Spain the owner of the shelter messaged us about a little puppy found that morning that desperately needed to be adopted and given medical treatments. We had never thought about getting a dog. Especially not adopting one on a trip in Spain. But when she sent us the photos, we couldn’t say no. So we checked-out of the hotel, took our suitcases, and drove to a local vet, where she met us with the puppy. We called the airline and asked if we could take a dog with us at the last minute, and they said we could take him on board. He quickly got a dog passport and was vaccinated. Only a few hours after seeing the photo above of this adorable little guy, and with no plans to adopt a dog, we were sitting in the airplane to Austria with him on our lap. A year later he’s the love of our life and not a day passes where we don’t thank the universe for sending him to us. It was destiny!
A Night at the Airport
The second one of my travel stories took place in February 2014. I was on an Erasmus program in Lyon, France; and a friend came to visit me. Her flight connection was with the city of Montpelier, in the south of the country; so when she returned I decided to go with her and with another friend too and take advantage of this to visit the city. The flight left early, so we decided to spend the night at the airport and save that night of accommodation and leave early in the morning from a city we did not know. Around ten o’clock at night we head for the airport, taking the last bus that connects it to the city. What was our surprise when we discovered that the entire airport was closed for the night, and that there was no way to return to the city. And for more fun, the temperature on the street was about 3 degrees that night.
Paying for a night’s accommodation in one of the airport hotels to spend just a few hours was not at all in our student budget, so we decided to talk to the airport security staff. Although the French people are not particularly known for their friendliness, there is always one exception that breaks the rule! And amidst laughter and kindness they agreed to let us spend the night between the airport gates (we literally spent 6 hours locked in between the glass doors from which the terminal is accessed) until it opened the next morning. Sleep, we slept little, but less cold than in the middle of the street we did have!
Tip: if you travel to France, and plan to spend the night at the airport, check your schedule first. Most airports in the country are completely closed between 00:00 and 04:00 a.m.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our best travel stories! If you liked this post and want us to do another staff travel stories edition, let us know in the comments below. If these travel stories have inspired you to travel as soon as you’re allowed to and you’re in the mood to see someone walk across water in Patagonia (if it rains enough), or meet a cheeky Coati check out our exciting tours here. Do you have any funny or memorable travel stories? Share them with us in the comments below or post them on Facebook and tag us (@Howlanders)
You can also consult other articles in our blog with travel recommendations.