Kach and Jonathan Howe are working-on-the-road couple from the Philippines and UK. Having each decided to quit their jobs and set off around South East Asia to start their new lives, neither imagined they would end up traveling the world with someone they met in a backpackers’ bar in Laos. But that’s what happened! They are both certified Tantra Yoga Teachers, Ayurveda Massage Therapists and TEFL Certified Teachers. Working wherever and whenever they want! Travelling status: 20 months of being on the road and currently based in Arequipa, Peru.. their next major travel goal- Antartica via Argentina. You can follow along on their adventures through Two Monkeys Travel and connect with them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
1) What hidden gems of the country (s) you visited could you share with someone who has never been there?
Having lived in Arequipa, south Peru, for about 6 months now, we’ve been introduced to quite a few hidden places that a lot of people don’t know about. One of the best and truly unknown spots has to be Ilo in South West Peru. Although it does have a tiny (unflattering) entry in a certain, well-known guidebook, there are no tourists visiting this sleepy little port and fishing town perched on the edge of the south Atlantic coast. We only found out about this place because our friend drives there every other weekend to surf the deserted waves. In the town itself, there’s actually some excellent night life and amazing restaurants, making perfect for a for weekend break. Our other article about Ilo Beach, – Ilo – the Surf Spot Peru Forgot
2) Any places you would recommend that visitors may not find in a guidebook?
We became friends with one of our former English students, Edwin (now teaching us Spanish!) and a long-time friend of his, Pepe. Every now and again they call us up on a Sunday morning with an offer of some kind of random road trip. First was a ride out of the city is Pepe’s 1960’s VW Beetle to a little town called Characato. It’s a quiet little farming town that only locals live in and visit, has great little picanterias (small restaurants) and also happens to be where Pepe wants to retire with his family; perfect for getting out of the city and into some clean air.
3) What is your favorite place you have visited and why is it your favorite that’s not considered off the beaten path. For example, Paris would not be considered off the beaten path but you stumbled upon something hidden there that you weren’t expecting to find, whether it was a walking trail or place where the locals hang out?
My favourite ‘on-the-beaten-path place is still Barcelona. There’s so much potential in this city for getting lost in random back streets, following twist after turn until everything you see and find is some kind of hidden gem. I also arrived in Barcelona to find an old friend was there too on a university exchange, so we had a whole bunch of locals to show us the coolest, unfrequented places in town!
4) Can you share some local haunts you have found in your travels that the locals themselves have shared with you?
Another great little road trip began with Pepe and Edwin arriving outside our house in a big, old, beaten up VW Combi van. We only knew that we were looking for the Ruta del Sillar, which turned out to be the 500 year-old mining site where all of the white, volcanic building stone (or Sillar) is mined. There has never been any machinery allowed here, only traditional hand working and the local government is trying to promote the mine as a tourist highlight of the city. As you still need your own car to get there, it’s completely missed by tourists. It’s like driving into a white canyon with the occasional solitary worker carving out blocks of white gold.
5) Now that you have seen some of these ‘off the beaten path’s and hidden gems, would you consider trying to find more of these places when traveling or would you stick to the usual tourist places to visit? For example, many people visit Paris to see the Eiffel Tower and Rome for the Coliseum but there is more to these places than what we have seen.
We always try to do this to a certain extent, even if it’s just looking for a restaurant far away from the main plaza, where we’re more likely get a taste of real local food, away from the tourist areas. Because we prefer to live in a place for a while we tend to come across these hidden gems as a natural result over time; we make friends with locals and expats, then as we learn some of the language we can pick up secrets from people we wouldn’t have been able to speak with in English. It’s a natural process and probably the most enjoyable part of deciding to live somewhere for longer.