Category: South America

Peru, Huacachina – An oasis in the desert

The buggy is flying across the sand, the speed is such that we barely touch the surface. The warm desert air whirs around my head and my knuckles whiten as we suddenly get thrown back against our plastic seats, climbing up an impossibly steep ascent at frightening pace. The edge of the sand-mountain comes closer and closer and I can’t see what’s on the other side but the buggy doesn’t slow down. We hurtle recklessly towards it. My stomach drops and my eyes shut as we career over the edge into a seeming abyss, plunging down a near-vertical drop....

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The Magic of Machu Picchu

In my previous blog about the Salkantay Trek – the arduous but amazing walk to Machu Picchu – I said that Machu Picchu deserved a blog in its own right and it does… so here it is. Any photographic preconceptions of Machu Picchu don’t do justice to the sheer majesty of the ancient city, set high up in the cloud-covered peaks of Peru. Tumbling agricultural terraces are jewel-bright green, clinging to the edge of the mountain as lamas graze on them and Incan temples are a historian’s delight. The one hour guided tour at the beginning of our day...

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Peru – Conquering the Salkantay

After three days acclimatising in Cusco and a mad last-minute scramble to find a better trek deal (note – don’t book the Salkantay trek in advance, it’s way cheaper in Cusco), we were off. A 4am knock on our hostel door signalled the arrival of our guide– pitch black and cool outside, we stumbled towards our bus to begin what was about to be the most exhausting and most exhilarating five days of my life. The Salkantay Trek is a stunning, five-day hike to Machu Picchu and one of the more common alternatives to the Inca Trail. Arguably it...

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Mashpi – The remarkable story of the saving of a rainforest

In a previous article I described Mashpi Biodiversity Reserve in Ecuador.  It showed you just some of the remarkable, diverse and unique nature here. It is part of the Chocó rainforest that runs North from Ecuador through Columbia and into Panama. In this article, part 2 you could say,  I want to tell you of the remarkable story of how the Mashpi Reserve came to be saved from the loggers. 95% of the Chocó in Ecuador has been destroyed but the story of Mashpi’s rescue from the loggers is an up lifting conservation story and gives one hope for the future...

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Galapagos, Ecuador: Marine Iguanas – Darwin’s Imps of Darkness

In a previous article I did from Galapagos I focussed on the short walk at Punta Suarez on the island of Española. One of the highlights of the walk, and the other island of the Galapagos, is seeing the marine iguana (Amblyrhychus critatus). These reptiles are one of the strangest animals on the planet. A ‘cold bloodied’ animal that swims in the sea, has webbed feet, a broad tail (to assist swimming) and only eats seaweed – they are completely bizarre! It is well reported that Darwin thought them weird as well. When Darwin first saw them on San Cristobal (here...

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Galapagos, Española – one of the greatest wildlife walks on the planet

This trip to Ecuador was incredible each and every day. A huge highlight whilst on the the Galapagos was the short walk at Punta Suarez on the island of Española. We arrived offshore on the Sunday morning on La Pinta and disembarked for the dry landing on a headland. We’d been told to expect something special, and how right they were. It has got to be one of the greatest wildlife walks in the world – Galapagos sea lions, marine iguanas, lava lizards, blue footed boobies, Nazca boobies, nesting waved albatrosses, views to die for and all in about a...

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