17 megadiverse countries of the world

A tiger lazes in Ranthambore in IndiaOndrej Prosicky/Shutterstock

We profile the world’s megadiverse countries, from obvious contenders like Ecuador and Brazil to one or two surprise entries

It should be comforting to know that a mere 17 countries hold more than 70% of the world’s species. It should be easy to rally this small group of ‘megadiverse countries’ to protect the planet’s extraordinary biodiversity. Alas, some of these countries are also the world’s biggest consumers and polluters. 

13 stunning natural phenomena

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From the famous northern lights to the lesser known sea of stars, we share the world’s most stunning natural phenomena

As Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken made history this week as the first astronauts to launch to orbit on a private spaceship, the world took pause to watch. Given the turmoil of our times, one observer quipped, ‘Congratulations to the Astronauts that left Earth today. Good choice.’

Happiest countries in the world 2020

happiest countries in the world lead image 2020

The happiest countries in the world 2020 have been ranked in the latest World Happiness Report. For the third year running, Finland holds on to top spot

Happiness is a nebulous thing; hard to grasp and harder to hold onto. Scientists, economists and philosophers have defined it through the ages as a combination of different things, among them health, wealth, companionship and security.

24 interesting facts about Aconcagua

interesting facts about Aconcagua lead image

We share the most interesting facts about Aconcagua – from the world’s highest art gallery to mysterious mummified remains

I recently climbed Aconcagua in Argentina, the third step of my journey to climb the seven summits.

Cerro Aconcagua may not be one of the most beautiful mountains in the world and the ascent is certainly short on charm, but this enormous lump of Andean rock and ice is one of the most coveted mountains on the planet.

Argentina’s best hiking destinations

El Chaltén is one of the best hiking destinations in Argentina4kwonderland/Shutterstock

We explore Argentina’s best hiking destinations, from the highest snowbound peak in South America to the final scrape of civilisation at the end of the world

Argentina is one of the world’s best countries for hiking thanks to the 5,000km-long Andes that curve like a spine along the nation’s back. This vast landscape boasts the Patagonian steppe, hulking glaciers and the world’s highest trekking peak.

10 most (seemingly) dangerous things we’ve done

Danakil Depression tours military escortAtlas & Boots

Six years after we quit our jobs to travel around the world, we revisit some of the riskiest things we’ve done on the road

Peter and I have a long-running joke that I have fallen off my bike in the most beautiful places in the world – among them Bora Bora in French Polynesia and Isabela in the Galápagos. I only learnt to ride at the age of 28 and my lack of experience has led to numerous falls. 

Aconcagua gear list: all you need for summit success

Aconcagua gear listAtlas & Boots

Our complete Aconcagua gear list includes everything you’ll need to summit the highest mountain in the Western and Southern Hemispheres

Aconcagua in Argentina, at 6,961m (22,837ft), is South America’s highest mountain and one of the seven summits (the seven peaks that make up the highest point on every continent). 

I recently returned from climbing Aconcagua with Acomara Aconcagua Expeditions. A good trekking company will issue you with a detailed kit list, but I always like to see what other people have used.

Non-technical mountain climbs: 12 trekking peaks

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There are no ‘death zones’ on these non-technical mountain climbs but they offer plenty of challenges for mere mortals like me

As a climber, I have completed several indoor climbing and winter mountaineering courses but my technical climbing skills sill leave a lot to be desired. I have mastered basic rope, ice axe and crampon skills but don’t practise them as often as I’d like.

Climbing Aconcagua: my third seven summit

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Climbing Aconcagua was the culmination of a 10-year journey and the next step towards realising my ultimate dream: climbing the seven summits

At around 2pm local time on 19th January 2020, I stretched out my hand and tapped the top of the simple aluminium crucifix that marks the summit of Aconcagua at 6,961m (22,837ft).

Looking at the winter climbs taking place at the time in the Himalaya and Karakoram ranges of Asia, and given that our summit time corresponded to around 11pm in Nepal and Pakistan, it is safe to assume that for a few brief moments on that Sunday afternoon, I was the highest person stood on Earth.

5 best dive sites in Aruba according to divemasters 

Grunt fish duel for mates at one of the best dive sites in ArubaJames Dvorak/Shutterstock

From a ship scuttled in World War II to a fiercely guarded secret spot, we share the best dive sites in Aruba as chosen by local divemasters

When it comes to choosing dive sites, we are yet to find a perfect solution. Official rating apps are often skewed towards popular spots, meaning that a mediocre dive site with lots of visitors will trump a less-visited but better site based on the weighting system.

Diving the Sonesta plane wrecks in Aruba

Diving the Sonesta plane wrecks in Aruba

Diving the Sonesta plane wrecks in Aruba was eerie and surreal, but ultimately thrilling

I’m hopeless at fish identification. My memory is awful and I don’t like diving with a fish ID slate – it just becomes a piece of clutter to add to the essentials (pressure gauge, regulators, dive computer and my camera). As such, unless it’s a lion fish, grouper, clown fish, whale, dolphin or shark, it’s unlikely I’ll be able to identify it.

Most peaceful countries in the world 2020

most peaceful countries in the world 2020

The most peaceful countries in the world have been updated for 2020. Read our insights from the study and browse the rankings below

Global peacefulness has declined for the fourth time in the last five years, according to the latest Global Peace Index (GPI) report.

The GPI report is the only statistical measure of its kind and makes it possible to rank 163 independent states based on how peaceful they are. The 163 states cover over 99.7% of the world’s population and are assessed using 23 indicators, each banded or normalised on a scale of 1-5.

World’s most powerful passports 2020

We take a look at the world’s most powerful passports based on the ease with which you can enter foreign countries

Japan has been named the world’s most powerful passport in 2020, beating Singapore in second place and Germany and South Korea in third. 

The Henley Passport Index uses data from the International Air Transport Authority to measure how many destinations a passport-holder can enter without a prior visa. It analyses 199 different passports and 227 travel destinations to produce what is considered the most authoritative ranking of its kind.

Unknown treks: 10 off the beaten trail adventures

unknown treks -swedenSander van der Werf/Shutterstock

From remote deserts to polar escapes, these unknown treks will get you far off the beaten trail

I spent 10 years living in London, riding the crowded tube to work, fighting for space with those around me and standing in queues at bus stops, supermarkets, anywhere really – I am British after all.

Naturally, this inspired daydreams of escaping it all and running off to the wilderness with only my backpack, tent, camping stove and a handful of freeze-dried meals.