The hiatus is over! I am officially home from two months of travelling, the majority of which was in South America. I travelled through Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Peru and Chile, making sure to complete as many adventures along the way. I will be writing about the highlights such as surfing in Brazil, trekking in the Andes mountain range above 3,800m, venturing into the Amazon jungle and chasing winter to ski in Chile. But first I want to give a well deserved review for ECCO’s BIOM Terrain Sandal, which a pair was generously given to me to take on my trip and put them to the test.
Out of five categories here’s how I rated them.
When I initially started thinking about what I would be bringing with me, a sports sandal didn’t cross my mind. Looking back on the trip now, and the sandals show it, was I ever glad to have these angels in my backpack! Starting out they were a beautiful pristine grey yak leather (yes, you read that right, they are made out of yak leather), now they have spots of discolour, not because of poor material, but because they withstood adventure after adventure. Here’s what and where they went through.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Smacked with humidity and heat as soon as you step off the plane, there’s no way I was putting on socks and shoes to explore this vibrant city. From beach days on Copacabana Beach to walking 6+ hours through the sites of Rio, my feet remained blister free and cool. Not to mention I felt pretty cute walking around Rio with them on!
Ilha Grande, Brazil
A small island off the coast of Brazil. It’s so small that the only way to get from one beach to the other is either by hiking through the jungle or water taxi. Hearing about the elusive Lopes Mendes beach and it’s incredible surf I decided that was my destination and my sandals got me there. My feet still remained blister free as I scrambled up and over boulders through dense jungle for two hours leaving my travel companions in the dust. Another point for the sandals!
Iguassu Falls, Brazil and Argentina
Not only did we take a boat under the falls and get soaked, but we also trekked up and around the 250+ falls the comprise Iguassu. The constant mist and humidity from the falls makes the surrounding rocks and paths extremely slippery, but my sandals seemed to have infinite traction. Not to mention the comfort of not walking around in wet shoes and socks all day. People were starting to get jealous of my sandals at this point.
Lares Valley, Peru
Far away from the tropical beaches of Brazil, I was now embarking on a three day trek through the Lares Valley in Peru. Our starting point from the trek was at a local hot springs. From the hue and opacity of the water there was no way I was stepping into those pools barefoot. Thank you sandals. I should also add that careful consideration was taken in deciding what to bring on this trek since it would all need to be carried, anything too heavy was vetoed. Thankfully ECCO has made these sandals super light and I barely noticed them hanging off my backpack. I’m not sure I can think of a better feeling then taking off a pair of hiking boots after a long day and sliding my feet into these comfy sandals.
Machu Picchu, Peru
Exploring Inca ruins for 5+ hours in the hot sun was so much more enjoyable with my feet out to breath rather than socked up in a boot. The hour long staircase of death hike up Wayna Picchu (the prominent mountain in the back of Machu Picchu pictures) was no problem with my sandals, where slippery tiny steps cut out of the rock face threatened your sure footedness with ever step. By this point the sandals are starting to surpass my hiking boots on my favourite shoes list.
Amazon Jungle, Tambopata National Reserve, Peru
While I highly advise against wearing sandals in the jungle, in fact only wear rubber boots or hiking boots with your pants tucked in, these sandals were a great relief when lounging in the luxury lodge in between excursions or taking boat rides down the river. Although the heat and humidity made my feet cry out for sandals, the constant threat of ants the size of gummy bears and spiders the size of dinner plates made me think twice about my feet’s desire.
Termas Geometricas, Chile
While staying in Pucon, Chile and waiting for a break in the weather so that we could climb the active Villarica Volcano we visited another set of hot springs. Being on the edge of Patagonia in the middle of South American winter made the hot springs a warm relief from the cold. Wearing my sandals as we hopped from pool to pool not only saved me from slipping but also kept the cold bite of ice away.
Thank you ECCO so much for sending a pair of your BIOM Terrain sandals for me to take with me on my trip. They truly are an amazing sandal and I genuinely recommend them. My experiences would have been drastically different had I not had them with me. Not only do I think they are great to travel with but also I can’t wait to use them on canoe trips and as camp shoes on backpacking trips around home.
These sandals have set the bar pretty high for the rest of ECCO’s outdoor line, but I am so excited to see what their BIOM Terrain Akka GTX hiking boot has in store!