mike

Nasca Desert

The desolate pampa is an arid, sun-bleached place and water, or the lack of it, has dominated human life since the first people settled around Nasca in 1000BC. Whether it’s mysterious lines on the desert surface, ancient mummy cemeteries, buried pyramids, museums or watching a local goldsmith at work that appeals to you, there is […]

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Iguaçu Falls in Flood

As I stepped off the plane a dark, almost purple sky was torn apart by violent lightning and a torrential downpour began. Like thousands of others, I had come to this corner of the Brazil-Argentina border to see one of the most awe-inspiring sights on the planet, the famous Iguaçu Falls. According to a legend

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A Grandmother’s Story

With its tales of spectacular waterfalls, lush jungles, harsh deserts, remnants of long lost cultures and man-made wonders, South America has always been a continent that has beckoned to me. But it wasn’t until 2005, as a grandmother in my late fifties, that I managed to spend six weeks there, travelling independently and on my

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Wild Giant Tortoises

To early pirates and sailors calling at the Galapagos Islands, the giant tortoise was easy prey and a convenient source of fresh meat. Given the added bonus they could be kept alive without food or water for up to a year in the hold of a ship, it’s not surprising tortoise populations were decimated almost

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Pachamama Sun Island

At the southern end of Sun Island, on Lake Titicaca, is a sacred place, used by the local Andean Indians and their Kallawuaya for rituals and offerings to Pachamama, the Earth Mother. The Kallawuaya is a fortune teller, or native doctor of the Andean Altiplano; and this one is a small man, dressed inconspicuously in

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Pakana’s Sentinels

The Alta Puna, Altiplano, or high plateau, lies at an altitude of over 4,000 metres to the east of San Pedro de Atacama, in the remote border area between Northern Chile, Bolivia and Argentina. It is a landscape of visual feasts created by extreme conditions; of volcanoes, salt fields and shallow lakes; where high winds,

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