Erika and Marco (also known as Mochila Monkeys), live by the philosophy of ‘do what you love’. And this wisdom translates into a busy Instagram feed of dreamy photographs from their trips to exotic countries. The travel couple talks about their maiden trip to India and why they cannot wait to come back. By Adila Matra; photos courtesy of Erika and Marco
Tell us a bit about yourselves.
We are a travel duo—Erika from Ecuador and Marco from Germany. Travelling and creating travel-related content have been our passions, and we have been living that dream for almost three years now. The name ‘Mochila Monkeys’ is a combination of the Spanish word mochila, which means small backpack and represents adventures, and ‘monkeys’ because it goes well with mochila and they are cool animals [laughs].
What prompted you to travel to India?
Travelling, for us, is not just about seeing beautiful places, but also experiencing other cultures—getting to know the people and trying local food. We were always interested in Indian culture, so we didn’t have to think twice about a trip to India.
What was your ﬁrst impression of India?
Many expat travellers told us they experienced a cultural shock, but surprisingly, we did not. We started our trip in Jaipur and couldn’t stop admiring all the colours.
Which places did you visit in the country? And which one turned out to be your favourite?
During our seven weeks in India, we went to Jaipur, Pushkar, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Ranthambore, Amritsar, Rishikesh, Delhi, Agra, and Varanasi. We loved all of them, but if we had to pick a favourite, it would be Jaipur because of the beautiful architecture—the Hawa Mahal and Amber Fort were just exquisite.
Can you narrate one experience that stands out from your holiday?
The sunrise boat trip on the River Ganga in Varanasi, with a view of the ghats, was otherworldly. The Ganga aarti is also something we will never forget.
What is a unique aspect about travelling in India that you have not seen elsewhere?
We have never seen elephants, camels, goats, and rickshaws using the same street at the same time, anywhere else. It happens only in India!
A word of advice to international travellers visiting India for the ﬁrst time.
Be open-minded, immerse yourself in the culture, and try all the delicious food.
How do you suggest international travellers plan their visit to India?
India is a huge country, and travelling from one point to another can take a long time, so factor that in when you plan the route. If you plan to travel by train, get the tickets as early as possible, as most trains get fully booked pretty fast.
Do you plan to return to India? What’s next on your Indian bucket list?
We have earmarked Ladakh, Hampi, Kerala, Goa, and the Andaman Islands for our next trip. We would also like to go back to Ranthambore, as we could not spot a tiger the last time. Another thing on our bucket list is exploring Ladakh on a Royal Enﬁeld bike. We love the freedom that a motorbike provides, and we have heard the landscape is simply stunning.
Top ﬁve travel essentials while moving around in India.
An Indian SIM card, taxi booking apps like Uber or Ola, hand sanitiser, a lehenga for photos, and a camera.