Posts for Peru

Top 5 Destinations Around the World for Homestays

Destinations - Ross French - November 12, 2016

A homestay can be an incredibly rewarding experience both for the homeowners and visitors. Typically, students use homestays as safe, affordable accommodations when traveling on a tight budget. But it’s also a great way to practice language skills in a comfortable environment and receive insider information on the best areas to explore in their travel destination—homestays are especially suited to solo female travelers.

Lake Titicaca, Peru

Peru is home to some of the greatest archaeological treasures in the world and exhibits some truly fascinating history. The entire country has something to offer: the finest specimens of Inca ruins, Pacific Coast beaches, Amazon River rafting, sand-boarding, incredible national parks, and magnificent cross-country train rides. There are a host of options for budget accommodation in Peru, but a homestay experience offers more; enjoy a vacation with a ton of insight into one of the most culturally and historically prosperous countries in the world. There are several homestays around Lake Titicaca (the highest lake in existence) providing authentic accommodations with the added value of a tour of the floating reed islands, local dining and Andean musical evenings, and a look at pre-Inca ruins and centuries-old agricultural terraces. If city living seems more interesting, there are many host families in colorful Cusco and in the capital city of Lima.

Brest Oblast, Belarus

There are a large number of homestays and farmstays in the Brest region of Belarus, a cosmopolitan town situated in the southwest bordering Poland. Here you’ll find historical monuments, war memorials, charming galleries, and Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park. If you’re traveling from the capital city of Minsk, prepare to disembark into a town far more influenced by its EU neighbors than the Soviets. Cozy, comfortable Brest homestays are run by friendly families eager to show guests surrounding attractions, cook traditional meals, and facilitate independent outings including hiking and fishing trips, cycling tours, and other outdoor pursuits. Visitors will find that Belarusians have an innate love for the natural world so expect to spend quality time exploring surrounding landscapes. Most homes are two stories and have anywhere from two to six bedrooms with shared bathrooms. Some sport saunas, outdoor fireplaces, canoes, and fishing boats so check amenities thoroughly.

Brisbane, Melbourne & Sydney, Australia

Australia has scores of homestay organizations typically helping students find a safe and comfortable place to live while studying abroad. Many programs are government endorsed, aimed at helping students acclimate in a healthy and safe environment while providing a reliable place to practice their studies. Though those scenarios are typical, homestays are also an option for anyone wishing to travel in Australia while staying with local hosts. There’s a dizzying array of options in Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney along the southeastern stretch and even more in the west and northern territories. Australian homestays are popular because of their relatively inexpensive rates compared to hotels while also offering an authentic local experience in the Land Down Under. If you’re using an organization to book accommodation, succinctly communicate your desired experience; some families offer more of a bed and breakfast whilst others set aside ample time to spend with guests.

Sa Pa, Vietnam

If Southeast Asian culture is appealing, there are Vietnamese families offering homestays across the country. From lively cities packed with people and an endless flurry of activity, to verdant farmlands and rice paddies where slow and steady is the pace, what’s up for grabs in Vietnam is fairly unique to many other countries. In the old town of Sa Pa in the Hoàng Liên Son Mountains there are stunning agricultural terraces that define the landscape where host families wait with open arms; Vietnamese people are extremely welcoming, hospitable, and chatty. Families embrace you, ply you with food and drink, introduce you to all the neighbors. They will even show you around the area. There’s almost no beating the incredible pride Vietnamese people feel when hosting foreigners. Enjoy Sa Pa’s beauty through climbing and hiking within the mountains, exploring hill tribe markets, volunteering at the local school—there are plenty of fulfilling activities available.

Kerala, India

Tucked into the southwest tip of India is delightful Kerala, a world away from the typical, chaotic India. A lovely coastal town nestled on the shores of the Arabian Sea, Kerala is a laid back plexus of gleaming backwaters and flourishing tea and spice covered slopes. Tame your inner wild child with a hefty dose of Kerala, breathe in the salty air, gaze upon peaceful temples, and smell the endlessly spiced aromas. Festivals and celebrations, wild elephants, and exquisite boathouses will reel you in. Most accommodations are heritage homes, unique in architectural design with anywhere from one to twenty-plus rooms led by easygoing locals for nominal fees—choose a smaller abode for a more personal cultural exchange. Hosts are easygoing, offer rides to and from town and usually provide bicycles for exploring. Sanctuaries and synagogues, beaches and bayous; Kerala is an arresting blend of attractions with piles of things to do and see.

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I’M COMING HOME! Recap of a Year Around the World

Travel Blog - Ross French - December 12, 2010

partying_lima_peru

partying_lima_peruBy: Lindsay Hogg

How Do You Put a Year Around the World Into Words?

I’m currently 6 hours away from my 22 hour flight home from Auckland to Tahiti to California to finally, Toronto. It’s another hazy day which will unfortunately fade the sweet ass tan I’ve obtained in the past few weeks. Balls.
Although I’m nervous about coming home to an extremely different world than I’ve been living in for the past year, the comforts of my own room and conversations that don’t start with ‘where are you from’ thrills me. As I scramble to finish writing the pending posts from rest of my trip, I’m faced with the dreaded and daunting task of REFLECTION – all those typical questions you should ask yourself after a life changing experience.
“What have I learned” “Have I grown” “Am I more knowledgeable” and so on…
But for now I will keep these answers to myself and simply share the experiences that stand out in my mind.
In the next week I will go into more detail about the ‘life changing moments’ (yay! – insert sarcasm) and the people I have met along the road who have effected my life for the better or worse.

How do you sum up a year of your life in one article? I quit my great job, sold everything in my apartment and left all my friends & family to backpack around the world solo.

South America: Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina (and Mexico since I missed my flight oops!)
Asia: Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, China
New Zealand

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Kitty and I swimming in Laos

  • Swimming in waterfalls – hot springs and lagoons, hiking through ancient ruins, riding bicycles -quads – horses through the mountains, kayaking through crystal clear – aqua waters
  • Jumping off boats, tubing down rivers, floating markets and fishing villages, touring wine vineyards to taste and learn
  • Driving on the left hand side of the road and roadtrips through scary, windy, mountain roads
  • Motor bike roadtrips, tuk tuks and long boats, sun burns and food poisoning
  • Learning Spanish and Mandarin

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    Els and I riding horses in Bolivia

  • Travelling with amazing new friends and awesome old friends, meeting the same people on 3different continents
  • Missing flights (yes, plural… flights) and purposely missing buses
  • Meeting friendly locals and not so friendly locals
  • Empanadas and lomo saltado, fried noodles and dumplings, kiwi venison and BBQ sauce
  • The boys, the bugs, the animals
  • Eating snake – rat – guinea pig and frog, lao buckets, all you can drink tequila, pisco, rice wine, lao lao, 3 day long parties, dancing till 8am
  • Crossing international borders by foot and by boat
  • Barely avoiding 2 major earthquakes
  • Bartending and sharing a room with 8 other people, sleeping in hammocks

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    The Point Hostel crew, Lima – Peru

  • Bargaining for everything, buying more than fits in my backpack
  • Toilet paper goes in the bin – bring your OWN toilet paper
  • Good decisions, bad decisions
  • Pink eye and bronchitis
  • Getting arrested, getting ripped off
  • Coming home one ipod – A LOT of cloths and one bankcard short
  • 30 new beers tried, 10 countries conquered, stories that will never be forgotten, stories that may never get told
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