Asunción, Paraguay

20 interesting facts about Paraguay

The most interesting facts about Paraguay, from a double-sided national flag to the ‘Heart of South America’

American essayist P.J. O’Rourke once quipped that Paraguay was “nowhere and famous for nothing.” He then took a business trip there, fell in love with the country and promptly moved there.

While we can’t say we felt the same striking attraction, we certainly appreciated Paraguay’s history and authenticity. The small and struggling country is a steamy subtropical land of remarkable contrasts with a tragic and torrid history filled with violence and loss.

Icebergs in Antarctica

Arctic or Antarctic: how to pick your polar adventure

Can’t decide between the Arctic or Antarctic for your polar adventure? Our guide will help you choose between 66° north or south

The North and South Poles were only “conquered” in relatively recent history. The South Pole was first attained in 1911 by the Norwegian Roald Amundsen after his epic race with the ill-fated Robert Falcon Scott.

map of the most peaceful countries in the world 2021GPI

Ranked: most peaceful countries in the world 2022

The most peaceful countries in the world have been updated for 2022. Read our insights from the study and browse the rankings below

Iceland is once again the most peaceful country in the world followed by New Zealand, Ireland, Denmark and Austria.

However, the world is a slightly less peaceful place as the number of countries experiencing violent internal conflict rose, the latest Global Peace Index (GPI) suggests.

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El Chaltén hiking trails: our top 6 picks

We’ve selected six of the best El Chaltén hiking trails, showcasing the finest Andean vistas around Argentina’s trekking capital

Patagonia’s El Chaltén hiking trails should be on the bucket list of every serious hiker. The trekking capital of Argentina provides access to a network of well-maintained hiking routes with some of the most breathtaking alpine viewpoints on the continent.

mountaineering calendar whitney usaDreamstime

Non-technical mountain climbs: 13 trekking peaks

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 still 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.

map of the poorest countries in the world

Poorest countries in the world – ranked

African nations dominate the ranking of the poorest countries in the world based on the latest data from the World Bank

We all have preconceptions about places. Take Ethiopia for example. As children of the eighties, Kia and I were only too aware of the struggles Ethiopia has faced historically: political unrest, civil war and, of course, famine.

It was easy then to imagine a vast desolate dust bowl ahead of our visit in 2017. 

Rio de Janeiro in brazilDreamstime

23 interesting facts about Brazil

The most interesting facts about Brazil we learnt during our stay in Rio, proving it’s not all Carnival and football around here

Our short city break in Rio de Janeiro was tagged on at the end of our big trip so we didn’t get as long as we wanted in either the city or Brazil itself. We’re committed to returning one day to explore the country’s massive interior and take a boat trip down the Amazon River.

Fitz Roy day hike: an essential guide

A Q&A guide to the Fitz Roy day hike, telling you exactly what you need to know to reach this iconic peak

We had unfinished business with Fitz Roy. We first visited in 2015 after a disappointing trip to Torres del Paine in Chile. It was winter in Patagonia and thanks to awful weather we saw absolutely nothing. 

How to visit Perito Moreno Glacier: a complete guide

An updated guide on how to visit Perito Moreno Glacier following our second encounter with the giant Argentine wonder

When reporting on our first trip to Patagonia back in 2015, Kia lamented that once you’ve been travel writing for a while, it’s hard to come up with fresh superlatives.

“I mean, you can’t say gaze-catching instead of eye-catching and you can’t say stride-stopping instead of heart-stopping, can you?” she wrote. The source of her discord was Perito Moreno Glacier, a sight so overwhelming that it’s utterly, er, step freezing.

Best things to do in Ushuaia, the capital of the end of the world

Seven years after our first visit, we return to Tierra del Fuego to rediscover the best things to do in Ushuaia, the capital of the end of the world

There are few places left in the world that still evoke the romance of old-world exploration. They inspire nostalgia for a time we never knew; places to which we’ve never been.

We know their names in the same way we know Neverland and Narnia: shrouded in legend and lore. Cartagena, Antarctica, the Northwest Passage and Vinson Massif. Even men sounded greater then: Drake, Amundsen, Livingstone and Shackleton.

A carp pond with bridges and Japanese ornamentssaiko3p/Shutterstock

Secret gardens: best parks in Buenos Aires

We explore the best parks in Buenos Aires to help you find a spot of calm in Argentina’s whirlwind capital

Buenos Aires whizzes past. While its cafés, bars and restaurants spill out onto the sidewalks, honking throngs of traffic hurtle by just inches away. Porteños (residents of Buenos Aires) barely raise an eyebrow over their espressos, but for those of us uninitiated, Buenos Aires can be overwhelming.

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The travel that changed me: Shafik Meghji

From the biggest myth in travel writing to the dream destination he hasn’t yet seen, author Shafik Meghji tells us about the travel that changed him

In his early teens, Shafik Meghji came to the conclusion that he wasn’t going to make it as a professional footballer. As such, he settled for the next best thing: a job as a roving sports reporter. He won a coveted Scott Trust Bursary from the Guardian which funded his diploma in newspaper journalism and led to a role at the Evening Standard. 

facts about Colombia lead image

24 interesting facts about Colombia

Our curated list of the most interesting facts about Colombia we learnt during our visit

We didn’t plan on staying a month in Colombia. After spending longer than we had planned in the South Pacific, we were wary that we had only six months for an area far larger than what we had seen thus far.

Of course, our journey through Cartagena, Santa Marta, Taganga, Medellin, Guatapé, Popayán and San Agustín warranted more than the two weeks we had planned.

A hiker in Finland – the world's happiest country

Ranked: happiest countries in the world 2022

Finland tops the rankings of the happiest countries in the world for the fifth year running

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.

Kia looks out across Paradise BayAtlas & Boots

Antarctica: why my seventh continent was more than just an ego trip

Kia explains why a voyage to Antarctica finally gave her a sense of peace

I am one of six sisters, which has always earned me a certain cachet; a sort of second-hand, useless celebrity like that of air hostesses and identical twins. The last time I mentioned “all my sisters” in public, a stranger cut in to ask how many. People are often keen to know if we all get along, how often we see each other and what it was like growing up. 

An abandoned whaling boat in BarrowDreamstime

12 of Earth’s most remote places and communities

From eastern Greenland to northern Alaska, we explore some of the most remote places on Earth

Whether it’s astronomical distances, inhospitable climates or extreme terrains that define these remote and hostile lands, there’s one thing they all have in common: they are on my bucket list. That and the fact that people live there.

japan has the most powerful passport

Ranked: world’s most powerful passports 2022

Japan and Singapore have the world’s most powerful passports with the UK and US in joint sixth. We take a look at the rest of the results

It feels a little masochistic to look at the world’s most powerful passports after yet another year of recurring lockdowns. However, as we’ve said before, we remain hopeful about the future of travel. We believe that exploration is a human instinct and that as soon as it is safe, people will return to the road.

seven second summits k2 - 1

The seven second summits: a tougher challenge

The seven second summits are considered to be a much harder mountaineering challenge than the more popular seven summits

Previously, I’ve written about my dream of climbing the seven summits and laid out a realistic if not deeply challenging and expensive program of how to achieve that goal.

This week I look at the seven second summits; the second-highest mountains on each continent. The highest summits are a dream of mine, but I draw the line at the second-highest – they’re simply too scary for an amateur enthusiast like me!