Visiting Chile’s nitrate ghost town – Humberstone, near Iquique

Ghost town. Are there many more evocative words in the English language? Maybe they conjure up images of dusty Wild West abandoned saloons, doors swinging in the breeze. Or places which once welcomed a gold or mineral rush, only to empty out twenty years later when all the mines were stripped clean of their treasures….

Five landscapes you have to see on your South American trip

South America isn’t short of spectacular landscapes, many of which I’ve been lucky enough to visit over the past ten years. Stunning salt flats, dramatic table-top mountains, thousands of waterfalls and snow-capped volcanoes, there’s something for everyone. Not to mention the world’s longest river, the Amazon which drifts through thousands of acres of primary rainforest….

Flamingos, llamas and salt lakes – a Salar de Surire photoblog

Salar de Surire is a dazzling small salt flat in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, about halfway between Iquique and Arica. Although not as large or impressive as Salinas Grandes in north-west Argentina (which remains one of my favourite-ever travel days), it’s home to a large population of three species of flamingo, including the…

Visiting Parque Nacional Lauca from Arica, Chile

Snow-capped volcanoes, lots of alpacas and vicunas and the bluest of skies – all things you can expect to see if you make the journey up to Parque Nacional Lauca from Arica in Chile. Read on for more about this intriguing but little visited corner of Chile. There’s a place on the Arica-La Paz highway…

Brazil and Chile trip plans!

  I’m just a little bit excited that in just over two weeks from now I’ll be back in South America, a fantastic end to a packed year of travel. Our original idea was to split our two-week stay between Brazil and Argentina, but fate (and outrageously high costs in Argentina) had other plans. So now we’re…

A South American love story: 10 years of travelling in South America

Ten years, almost. Ten years since I first got on that plane, stepping into the unknown, finally fulfilling my lifelong dream of travelling to South America. All those years of looking up flights, poring over maps, dreaming of places I’d maybe never see.   Until there was someone who shared my dream, encouraged it, searched…

Adventures in the Bolivian Pantanal

“We usually eat them whole, with our hands.”   She mimed chomping across the bony flesh, then gestured to the knife and fork on the table. “But you can use those.” Piranhas have a fearsome reputation but most of the time they’re harmless enough. Just don’t get into the water with them during mating season….

I left my heart in…Chapada dos Guimaraes

    “Ah, my other son. He’s in some tiny town in the far north, in Piaui state. I’ve never heard of it.” Our laid-back guide rolled the window down and shrugged. There’s many unknown places in Brazil. Take Chapada dos Guimaraes. It may be the official geodesic centre of South America, but until we…

A stroll through the streets of Corumba, Brazil

It took us four hours to cross the border from Bolivia into Brazil – one hour for an exit stamp and three to get into Brazil. The Puerto Quijarro-Corumba crossing is not one of the fastest or most well-used! A couple of kids from Sao Paolo adopted me for a while to practice their English….