South American Adventure

Over the past several years, I’ve tried to use as many points and miles as possible for trips that would otherwise be out of reach for me.  I would guess I’ve redeemed over 4 million miles/points over that time and I’ve had outstanding experiences in Europe, Southeast Asia, South Africa, and Latin America.  I’ve also tried to get to some unique places before they become completely homogenized with Starbucks and McDonald’s on every corner such as getting to Cambodia and Vietnam a couple of years ago.

This past summer, I started to look at possibilities for a trip in January and considered the possibility of a Myanmar/Thailand/Laos trip but the logistics were looking difficult.  Around that time, I saw a brief mention of a motorcycle tour operator in Ecuador and things started clicking.  I quickly dashed off some queries and started looking at award flights and hotels.  Over the course of a week, the trip started to take shape and morph into three trips in one over a 24 day period of time.

My oldest daughter has had the travel bug for several years now and, at the age of 18, has already had the chance to travel in Europe, South Africa, and Mexico.  When I’ve taken trips to South America in the past, she has always wanted to go with me but it has never worked out.  Since she has to be back at university for classes on 11 January, we are leaving tomorrow for Panama for three days and then onto Bogota, Colombia.  By transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points from my personal and business credit cards, I was able to book all of our flights in business class with United Miles on a combination of United, Copa, and Avianca flights.

She will return from Bogota and I will then head onto Cusco, Peru where I will be doing the Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu.  January is the height of the rainy season so I’m expecting to get wet.  Assuming I survive the trek, I will then head to Quito, Ecuador where a buddy will be meeting me and we will be going on a seven day motorcycle tour of the country.

So, this has the potential to be the proverbial “trip of a lifetime” and I’m excited about having a lot of variety over the course of the three weeks.  I’ll be blogging as we go along and giving some details about each of these locations and the sites we get to see in each city.