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OSGUR Ó CIARDHA

TIPS FOR STAYING SAFE IN SOUTH AMERICA

WEDNESDAY, 20, APRIL, 2011

To start with South America is much like anywhere else in the world; Overwhelmingly safe, as long as certain precautions are followed. Imagine the advice that you would give to a traveler visiting your home country.

1. Socialise with fellow travelers and explore areas accompanied. If exploring or sightseeing by yourself, check with hostel/hotel staff that the area is safe and worthwhile to visit. Certain areas that are safe during the day might not be so safe at night so be aware of the time of day and how to get home. Avoid standing on the street with the Lonely Planet in your hand while you try and work out where you are going.

2. Always carry small bills and coins for taxis as most taxis in south america will not break large notes. Have a reasonable idea of how to pronounce the street that your hotel/hostel is on. Ask the hostel/hotel staff to write it down for you as well as the standard taxi fare. Ask the hostel and other places to ring you a reputable taxi to bring you to your destination. 

3. Get to know the layout of the town/city during daylight hours and identify a few easily recognizable tall buildings or features to orientate yourself.

4. Do not carry your credit cards or large amounts of cash with you at night or unnecessarily. A money belt is a great way to keep your money and cards safe but very often there is no need to carry all your funds with you. Most hostels/hotels have lockers, but if you feel that they are flimsy or unsafe, ask to store your valuables in the manager's safe. If you need to withdraw money, do it only during the day, and in a discreet manner. Anytime that you are paying for something, be discreet.

5. If someone approaches you in the street unsolicited, no matter if they look local or foreign, it is best to ignore them and keep walking. Very often, down-on-their-luck travelers consort with locals in scams to make them appear genuine. Scams vary from town to town but they usually follow a similar pattern of distraction or deception. Ask at reception if there are any common ones in that area.

6. Be aware of cultural differences in regards to clothing, style etc. Be aware of the difference between a Hostel Bar which would be most likely full of like-minded people and a local establishment where there might be a mix of locals and foreigners. When out at night, keep an eye on your friends, like you would at home.

7. The majority of incidents involving backpackers and gap year students getting into troublesome situations usually involve the pursuit of illegal drugs. For this reason, and many others, we advise people not to partake in them. There is no "safe" way to procure them, no matter what anyone says.

8. In restaurant, bus stations etc keep a close eye on your property, be mindful that distractions such as accidental spillages or loud noises can often be used to steal your possessions. On buses it is best to lock your big backpack with a good lock or one of the protective metal nets even if they are going into the hold of the bus. Be sure to get a ticket in exchange for your bag, so that there will be no issue in reclaiming it.  We would recommend that your day pack contain your essentials and that you keep a tight hold of it at all times, strapping it to your arm or leg while sleeping. Again it is good to lock this with a strong lock.

9. Do not let any of this advice dampen your enthusiasm for South America. It is a fascinating and exciting continent. Keep your wits about you, look out for your friends and if a situation feels dodgy, leave.

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OSGUR Ó CIARDHA

NEW VOLUNTEERING OPTIONS IN LIMA

TUESDAY, 19, APRIL, 2011

Check out all the info at http://www.lokihostel.com/en/volunteer

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OSGUR Ó CIARDHA

LOKI CUSCO IS SEEKING AN ASSISTANT HOSTEL MANAGER!

TUESDAY, 05, APRIL, 2011

Loki Cusco is seeking an Assistant Hostel Manager!

Do you:

  • Want to work in a dynamic, ever changing, fun hospitality environment?
  • Feel you can contribute to the growth of a young, growing hospitality business?
  • Want a unique experience in an international setting?
Can you:
  • Manage a large and diverse team, including foriegn and local staff?
  • Have a basic grasp of the Spanish language?
  • Proove your hospitality management capabilities?
Then email your CV and brief statement addressing the above, to:

[email protected]

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OSGUR Ó CIARDHA

THE HUAYNA POTOSI CLIMB PREPERATION

FRIDAY, 18, FEBRUARY, 2011

Hey All,

 

So now that Ive announced it to family and friends, I feel that I have follow this through. The challenge has been set to climb Huayna Potosi.

 

It is a distant goal as I will in the words of my friend Gooey "have to loose some weight and do some excercise". Dror, is arriving in La Paz today and has volunteered to help in this goal. Gooey has suggested that instead of taking the elevator to my apartment, I take the stairs, barefoot. Apparently this is an excellent way to built muscle strength in the back of the legs which is essential for the climb. I have been living at 3500+ for 90 percent of the last 5 years so I should be acclimatised. 

 

Gooey, who is our main man in Loki Travel, has offered to guide us, our crew numbers 3 now. This will be a joint Kanoo Tours, Loki La Paz and Loki Travel summit attempt! 

 

Phil has suggested we climb Mankilisani first. To be honest, even after living here in La Paz for 4 years I had never heard of this mountain. From what I can gather on Kanoo Tours website you first drive to La Cumbre, which I do know well. It is famous for being the start of the World's Most Dangerous Road cycling tour. I sometimes go to Coroico on the weekends, to chill out and relax. La Cumbre is on the road to Coroico. I read as well that there is a 80 degree Ice Climb that can be attempted on this trip. Knowing that there is a pretty steep final Ice Climb on the Huayna Potosi trip, I would be very keen to try my hand at this.

 

Will keep you all posted!

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OSGUR Ó CIARDHA

I'VE DECIDED TO CLIMB HUANYA POTOSI

WEDNESDAY, 16, FEBRUARY, 2011

Hey Guys,

 

I remember the first time I heard about the mountain Huayna Potosi. We had literally just opened Loki La Paz in March 2007. Two English guests, who's names escape me now, handed me a photo at reception that was of a mountain peak at dawn. They asked us to pin it up behind reception and show it to anyone who asked about climbing Huayna Potosi. On the reverse of this stunning photo was the scrawl: "Don't do it".

 

4 years later, I am in bad shape. I'm over 100 kilos at last weigh in and have been living a fun and booze-filled life. I eat well and drink even better. As I am into my 30s now, my priorities have changed a little and I am begining to worry that my most adventurous days are behind me. Bi-yearly trips to Rurrenabaque have started to become less and less engaging, and in what could well be a pre-mid-life-crisis, I have decided to climb Huayna Potosi.

 

Huayna Potosi is sometimes called the easiest 6000meter mountain in the world. This doesn't really make me more confident as for the last 4 years I have heard the almost weekly backpacker chatter about success and failure on the mountain. My own brother, who has was in the first Irish expedition to cross South Georgia ( since Shackleton and Crean of course ) attempted Huayna Potosi a year ago, but was turned back by a ferocious snow storm.

 

I should be in good company with Phil Rice, who is the owner of our partner tour agency in La Paz, Kanoo Tours, who along with another friend has decided to undertake the challenge. Our plan at the moment is:

 

1. Get Fit

2. Climb Mankilisani 

3. Realise we didn't really get fit, and start again

4. Sometime in June/July climb HP

 

Stay tuned to see how it all pans out!

 

Is Mise le meas

 

Osgur  

 

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