On the northern coast of Colombia lies the magical Tayrona National Park. This protected area features forests teaming with wildlife leading down to pristine beaches on the Caribbean sea. The only way to reach many of the most beautiful, palm-fringed sands are the meandering footpaths through jungle and over sea-strewn boulders. With only a little effort you can find your own slice of paradise in Tayrona.
If money is tight Fremantle’s bohemian atmosphere make it a great destination by Australian standards. This compact city can accommodate backpackers even on the tightest budget. Here are my top 10 cheap ideas ranging from completely free activities stretching to bargain $10 prices.
Fishing Boat Harbour
Take a stroll along the boardwalk at Freo’s working harbour, home to hundreds of fishing vessels. Enjoy the waterfront lined with restaurants and find the statue of Bon Scott from AC/DC. In winter keep warm with a bag of hot chips, just keep an eye out for the hungry seagulls!
Somebody told me that Los Frailes is the most beautiful beach in Ecuador, so of course I had to see for myself. Just down the road from the small fishing town of Puerto López, I found it hard to believe that it would be much different from the littered beach there. I jumped on a bus heading north out of town for 50 cents and after 15 minutes they dropped me off at the entrance to Machalilla National Park. There was no entrance fee but I did have to sign a form promising not to litter and some other stuff that I didn’t understand so just hoped I wasn’t signing my life away.
A beer wielding man approached our table and gestured to one of the stools. I smiled and nodded that it was free for him to take. I wasn’t expecting him to sit and join us at our table, but he did. Pulling the sleeve of his top up he exposed a large scar along his arm. “Whale, do you understand the word whale?”, he asked in Spanish. I understood. “A whale was underneath my boat, it came up and whoosh capsized my boat,” he explained, acting out the scene with his hands. He turned his weather-beaten face towards me and started to ask where I was from and whether I had any children. “No children?! Pray to God that he will give you children!” he exclaimed whilst pointing to the sky and kissing his fingers. I tried to explain that I don’t have children through choice, I don’t want children yet, but he was on a roll, telling me I will have children when God deems the time is right. Giving up, I accepted his sympathy and left the drunken fisherman to drown his sorrows.
Just off the Western Australian coast lies an island named after one of its rather cute inhabitants. Rottnest comes from the Dutch for rat nest, as the small, kangaroo-like quokkas were mistaken for giant rats by sailors in 1696. Nowadays the island is a popular holiday destination for locals being just a 25 minute ferry ride from the city of Fremantle. I recently hopped aboard to spend a day exploring the affectionately nicknamed Rotto.