I find black-and-white photography mesmerizing. Some would argue that black-and-white photos are more intriguing than your regular color photograph. B&W always seems dated, for one thing, and at some level, maybe even at a subconscious level, you end up wondering what the colors really were like at the time and place the picture was taken… even when you took the picture five minutes before.
Photo: Tambako the Jaguar
Birding may not be on the mainstream travelers to-do list, but it’s serious business nonetheless, and Brazil is a bombshell for birdwatching. South America has the largest number of bird species of any continent and Brazil is among the top three countries in the world with over 1832 cataloged species and soaring higher. And while Hollywood might have poked fun at the birdwatching lifestyle in Jack Black, Owen Wilson and Steve Martin’s The Big Year (2011), there are a lot of people who get very excited about our fine-feathered friends.
Photo: SF Brit
For penguin peepers, glacier chasers, cruise fans, and those who love to visit far-flung places, Antarctica delivers. There are long days of summer sunshine, glassy waters and a constantly-changing seascape. Dolphin, whale and albatross sightings are practically guaranteed. From closer to the coast, or from landings, penguins, sea lions, different species of seals (including sometimes southern elephant seals) are also a sure thing.
Certainly one of my favorite ecosystems, full of orchids, ferns, colorful birds, waterfalls and other amazing flora and fauna. From all the places I’ve been to, the Manu Road has always been the most challenging. From the highlands it takes you deep into the forest. But biking this one-way road full of cliffs is even more challenging. Are you brave enough to take on this adventure?
How can you compare the beautiful places of the world, and decide which one is the most beautiful? Virtual Tourist ran a contest to have participants choose the 8th wonder of the world, and Chile’s vast Torres del Paine National park won. About 500 million votes were cast, and Torres del Paine beat out Guatemala’s Tikal, Belize’s Great Blue Hole, and Old Town Dubrovnik, as well as about 300 other nominated wonders.
Photo: Hotel San Luis Village
Sometimes, I suspect that the Colombian government is paying every single citizen of this country to act as an undercover tour guide. It seems like everyone here, from office workers to taxi drivers, is willing and able to offer an opinion on the best spots for weekend getaways, must-see locations in different cities and all of the food visitors absolutely have to try while here (often physically leading said visitor to the closest place selling that particular delicacy).
Photo: Cristian Perez
Volcanic activity in Chile’s main adventure sport destination, Pucón, assures visitors of a few things. First, on clear days, there is a great view of snow-covered Volcán Villarrica (travelers can climb with a guide), second, visitors are sure to take a photo of the signs downtown advising of volcanic conditions, and third, a visit to the local hot springs is a great way to spend an afternoon, evening, or even a few days.
There are hot springs to suit most tastes, from rustic to Asian-inspired, family-friendly and boutique. Below is a description of some of our favorite.
Photo: Maia Gambis
For several years after I graduated from college, one of my favorite things to do was take extended periods off from the humdrum of the city and travel up and down the Ecuadorian Pacific Coast, visiting different fishing villages, beaches, staying in friends’ beach homes or cheap 5 dollar-a-night rooms way back when 5 dollars for a room on the beach was actually not only a possibility, but a heavenly retreat.
I’m no photographer, let me tell you… I actually always forget my camera on my trips and everyone nags me for it. But this weekend I decided to take a quick ride up to the Mindo area, about an hour and a half away from Quito by car… and I decided to, what the heck, take some pictures.
Photo: Manuel Bahamondez H
Cajón del Maipo, a valley etched into the foothills of the Andes, and a short drive from Santiago, Chile, is where well-heeled Santiaguinos take weekend drives and where the wealthy buy homes perched on steep overlooks. It’s also a great place to go rafting, hiking, horseback-riding, camping, or just take a day trip up into the mountains. There is plenty of food and drink to sustain you, no matter what you choose to do. And if a single day isn’t enough, there are plenty of places to stay as well.