Bolivia to Brazil – trip highlights in photos

I’ve just returned from a great trip which took me from Bolivia to Brazil, through stunning landscapes and surprising cities. While I gather my thoughts, here are a few of the best pictures from my trip. Above – with ‘sticker Pope’ in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. We were there during the papal visit, along with an…

Mamiraua – discover the Amazon in a unique place

Many years ago Mamiraua was my first introduction to Brazil and I’ve been in love ever since. Nothing I’ve done before or since has left such an impression as that journey. Below are my original travel diary notes of my first impressions.   Tefe looks pretty relaxed after Manaus, or maybe it’s just the illusion…

Travel wishlist *updated for 2015*

  Photo credit – Midorisyu – Creative Commons I’m not sure exactly when Japan started seeping into my consciousness, but suddenly it’s there. I’m trying to branch out a bit more from just travelling in South America (much as I love it). Japan intrigues me and is definitely somewhere I hope to visit; mountains, megacities…

Manaus, the Amazon city where the waters meet

As the home to England’s first World Cup game, the spotlight falls on Manaus this weekend. (England are already phoning in their excuses about the humidity which can be brutal). Manaus often gets overlooked by visitors to Brazil. It’s a long way from anywhere (a four hour flight from São Paulo), and those who do visit are…

Destination guide to Itacaré for South America Backpacker

The World Cup is just around the corner and interest in Brazil is higher than ever. Which is a perfect opportunity to give a little love to one of my favourite places in Brazil, Itacaré . I’ve written a destination guide to Itacaré for South America Backpacker, a great new site from the people behind…

Cartagena, you’re not how I pictured you

“To him she seemed so beautiful, so seductive, so different from ordinary people, that he could not understand why no one was as disturbed as he by the clicking of her heels on the paving stones, why no one else’s heart was wild with the breeze stirred by the sighs of her veils, why everyone…

A day in Tayrona National Park

“Parque Nacional Tayrona?” The bus driver looked at us blankly. Staying in a little village only a few miles down the road from the park entrance, we thought our journey should be simple enough. “Just flag down any bus, they all go past there”, we were assured. It wasn’t till we looked around that we…

In search of ‘El Pibe’ in Santa Marta

“Could you drive us past the statue of Valderrama?” “Ah, El Pibe!’ smiled the taxi driver. “Si, claro!” You can’t go far in South America without finding a statue. On a hill, in a plaza, at the border – statues. Santa Marta was the last resting place of Simon Bolivar, liberator of much of the…

There’s nothing ‘brave’ about visiting Colombia

“Colombia? Wow, you’re brave!” Just one of the reactions I’ve had since I came back. Several others have joked that at least I didn’t get kidnapped. But there’s nothing brave about visiting Colombia. Sure, a lot of people still associate it with the FARC. There are still areas not recommended for travel due to residual…