Cocora Valley: Tall Trees and Fluttering Wings

30 11 2011

SOUTH AMERICA – THE JOURNEY PART 28
COLOMBIA

Cocora Valley, the coffee zone, central Colombia

Only 11 kilometres from the cappuccino-sipping town of Salento lies another world completely. In Cocora Valley the menu is simple: a dose of tranquility, eye-boggling scenery, a side helping of cowboys and a sprinkling of the world’s tallest palm trees.

Available to devour in one or two days.

Wax plam trees in Cocora Valley, the tallest palms in the world. I’m in the bottom left-hand corner, for scale.

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The Quilotoa Loop

29 06 2011

SOUTH AMERICA – THE JOURNEY PART 25
ECUADOR

The Quilotoa Loop – for quick facts about the route, scroll to the bottom of the page.

I skidded down the sand path, desperately grasping at tree roots to break my fall. To my left was a 200-metre drop down a rocky outcrop to Quilotoa’s vast crater lake.

“Nothing lives in there except algae, the alkaline water kills all life,” an American had told me the previous evening. His words resonated round my head now, drowned out only by my thumping heart and skidding feet. I lashed out again and caught a clump of grass; I was determined this lake wasn’t going to claim my life.

The evening sun reflects down on Lake Quilotoa

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Hiking the Santa Cruz Trek Solo

9 06 2011

SOUTH AMERICA – THE JOURNEY PART 22
PERU

SANTA CRUZ TREK, HUARAZ

For quick facts about hiking solo along the Santa Cruz trail, scroll to the bottom of the page.

Situated in Cordillera Blanca mountain range, the Santa Cruz trek offers solo hikers thrilling highs of 6,000m glaciers, cobalt blue lakes, spectacular valleys and if you time it right, hardly another soul in sight.

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The Rise and Fall of Machu Picchu

12 11 2010

SOUTH AMERICA – THE JOURNEY PART 19
PERU

MACHU PICCHU

The Lost City

It was 4.30am and darkness had pursued me through the streets of Aguas Calientes. Beneath the orange glow of a street lamp I prepared myself for the impending challenge – I was about to climb 1000 jungle-clad steps to the ruins of Machu Picchu.

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Colca Canyon: The Deep Truth

3 11 2010

SOUTH AMERICA – THE JOURNEY PART 18
PERU

COLCA CANYON, AREQUIPA

Colca Canyon, the world’s second deepest ravine, receives over $US10m in annual tourist revenues but corruption is siphoning the money from the area’s villages.

Accommodation at Fure village, Colca Canyon

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El Bolson – a sleepy Patagonian town

30 05 2010

SOUTH AMERICA – THE JOURNEY PART 2
ARGENTINA
 

Bariloche – El Bolson 

 
 

   

  

El Bolson, Patagonia, Argentina

 

Arriving in El Bolson in a downpour, I stepped off the bus into a gigantic puddle, and how glad I was that I’d purchased non-waterproof boots in the UK. Walking with soggy socks and a giant backpack, I made my way down pot-holed roads, accidently bashing into several locals at the weekend craft market.  

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