Quito’s not a bad place as far as capital cities go. We wouldn’t ordinarily choose to spend ten days there, but we’re on an admin-mission here. Missions accomplished, we head north towards Colombia, with a few detours hovering around the Ecuador Equator: a misplaced monument, some little and large birdies, a great-fiesta-escape, some hats, and (another) volcano.
Ecuador has its fair share of volcanos and an even greater share of active ones. In our last blog, we saw Chimborazo and Tungurahua. Now we’re moving on to the hyperactive Volcán Reventador. On the way, we see some jungle critters, spot a rare bird, walk to some pretty cool waterfalls (yes… more waterfalls) and end up with Uncle Sam’s ‘Man in Quito’.
North coast Peru travel doesn’t showcase the best of north Peru for the tourist; much more excitement on the Andean route. Loads to see there. But we got that tick last year and boy, is it a sloooow way to go! So this time, after arriving in south Peru from Brazil, crossing all the way over the central highlands from the Amazon to Lima, we’re winding-up Peru with a long run up the coast to Ecuador. We’ve done this leg before, but this time we see some history, watch some whales, hit the far-west and have a ‘ponder on Peru’ as we leave it for the last time. Continue reading
We’re back in Brazil. Friendliest country in South America, maybe even on the planet! French Guiana, Suriname and Guyana have been a fascinating, enjoyable de-tour and one that relatively few travellers make when overlanding South America. But Brazil puts them all in the shade when it comes to enthusiastic welcomes. Even when we can’t understand a word they say, Brazilians say it with a big smile and a thumbs-up! Now we’re in far north Brazil wondering what to do next…
Manaus Opera House – challenging those fancy Europeans!
Suriname, Suriname… where exactly is that? Near Vietnam? Nope. Next door to Ghana? Errr, no. It’s on the north coast of South America, above Brazil, snuggled comfortably between French Guiana and Guyana. It’s in the northern Amazon basin, so it’s hot, humid and – at the risk of stating the bleedin’ obvious – jungly! We’ve been here a month now and one of our highlights has been entertaining jungle kids with their first ever drone sighting (click here). But Suriname has some history, great wildlife and other stuff to see too, including some interesting ‘bird-cage culture’. Here’s the Suriname travel blog…
There are turtles and there are giant leather-back turtles. And then there are space rockets. An odd combination, but in French Guiana we’re lucky enough see both in the same week. The end of our last blog featured a cliff-hanger, waiting to see whether our application for tickets to the next French Guiana rocket launch will be successful. Well… we got them! And whilst we contain our excitement before the big launch day, we head off to see the giant leather-back turtles on the beaches of the far north corner.
Damn tedious all this protesting and road-blockade malarkey, but hey… ‘C’est la vie’, as they say here in French Guiana. In our last blog we arrived in a charming but blockade-ridden, far-flung part of the EU. Now, after a month of disruption, the protesters toddle home and things gradually get back to normal. For us this means freedom to move around the country. It means, the re-start of the Space Race (officially exciting!). And it means some first-hand proof of Hollywood’s tish, tosh and piffle on Papillon Island!
Just over the bridge from Brazil Amazon and… politics! Overlanders are always best advised to avoid national politics as they travel, but sometimes things just jump in your face. French Guiana is an overseas department of mainland France. It’s officially part of the EU, it has the Euro currency and, we find out to our cost, the people have the same French propensity for road blockades and labour strikes when they feel hard done-by! Continue reading
“I’ve seen enough boobies for today” Things you thought you’d never hear your husband say 🙂 But fair cop… these are the red and blue footed avian varieties of boobies, indigenous to the Galapagos Islands and we had indeed seen rather a lot of them on that particular day. By far the best way to see the unique wildlife of the Galapagos Islands is on a cruise and our friends Mark and Lindsey have flown out from UK to join us for one of the most exciting legs of our South American trip. It’s more than just a wee bit exciting, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves here . For our flights to Galapagos we need to get to Quito. Let’s first pick-up in the Galapagos blog, where regular Cuthbert followers last saw us: leaving Peru and crossing into Ecuador…
It’s not all samba and football in Brazil you know, there’s other good stuff too! Last time we came to Brazil it was for a Caipirinha-fuelled 24 hr stop-over in Río with the freight-ship on our way to Uruguay. Now we’re zipping in from Bolivia to see a different corner of the world’s fifth largest country (click here for route-map).
Pisco brandy and astronomy are two of the things for which Chile’s Elqui Valley is famous. We’re rather fascinated by the stars and planets, and we also aren’t averse to the odd drop of brandy and wine tasting, so the Valley holds some interest for us. After that we need to dodge the snow and find an ‘all-year’ Pass to cross the Andes, but first we’re heading to the coastal town of Valparaiso.
We could gush ridiculously about Antarctica but there simply aren’t enough superlatives in the English language to do so. Let’s start this Antarctica cruise blog with a simple ‘Wow!’ and take it from there… Continue reading
A great deal of nothing!
Between the worthwhile sights of Patagonia there is very great deal of nothing. Vast flat pampas plains dotted with estancias/ranches, herds of cattle, roaming horses and the occasional beret-clad gaucho galloping between them. In our last blog-post we rambled on a bit about the marvellous marine and wild-life here, but what else can we say about our travels down eastern Argentina? Continue reading
It’s a loooong way south through Patagonia. From BA to Ushuaia at the bottom of the continent, it’s over 3,000 km in fact, so we won’t be doing it in an afternoon. We’re heading down the eastern side of Argentina, across miles and miles (and miles) of vast, flat pampas land. It is featureless, but strangely all the more beautiful for this. We’re in no hurry and will be taking it slowly, in short hops Continue reading
The Gorillas of Parc des Volcans, Rwanda Click here for full Gorilla Trekking and Rwanda story
African flowers, birds, plants, insects and general sundry small critters
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park