Best Machu Picchu trek: a comparison

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What is the Best Machu Picchu trek for you? We compare the pros and cons of each route to help you choose the trek that’s right for you

Machu Picchu, that great Wonder of the World, that icon of South America so ubiquitous on travel websites and agency storefronts. Is it any wonder would-be visitors fret about choosing the perfect trek?

Some book their trip months in advance to make sure they get their trek of choice, others are left heartbroken when they turn up to find that they’ve missed the boat.

Prior to our trip, we had one pressing question: is the Inca Trail worth it?

Visiting Salar de Uyuni salt flats in Bolivia

Salar de Uyuni lead

Amid freezing cold showers, a string of depressing breakfasts, dizzying altitude and interminable bus journeys, visiting Salar de Uyuni saves the day

After four months in South America came Bolivia, the biggest test but brightest triumph of the continent so far. After 10 countries and thousands of miles, it was the first place that made me utter those words that cannot be unsaid: I want to go home.

10 tips for buying annual travel insurance

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A comprehensive guide to buying annual travel insurance including what to look out for, the pitfalls to avoid and the questions to ask

In January last year, British adrenaline junkie Ben Cornick jumped out of a plane in Fiji at 12,000 feet. There was no way to know at the moment he leapt out of the aircraft that his parachute wouldn’t work properly and that he would plummet to Earth, breaking his leg in three places and shattering his elbow.

La Paz walking tour: 10 things we learned

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From a lawless harem in the middle of the city to affectionate zebras roaming around town, this La Paz walking tour is not your average day out

Few cities have a setting as dramatic as La Paz. At 3,650m above sea level, it is often called the the world’s highest capital even though this isn’t strictly true. The country’s official capital is Sucre which lies 690km to the southeast.

6 things not to say to an expat

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As part of Internations’ Culture Shock questionnaire, people were asked to share what one thing they were tired of hearing from people, either in their old country or new one  and share they did. Here’s a list of recurring themes in words directly from the mouths of expats. If you have an expat friend or family member, you may want to refrain…

“You’re so lucky”

Yes, we understand that we’re in a sunnier country with friendlier people and better job opportunities, but reiterating how ‘lucky’ we are implies that courage, hard work and tenacity played no part. If you want to live where we live, you can but you choose not to. That’s not because you’re unlucky; it’s a choice you have made, just like my new country is a choice I’ve made.

How to visit the Galápagos on a budget

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We thought twice about writing this post. The Galápagos were once an exclusive destination, but are now teetering on the precipice of mass tourism. We wondered if posts like this were contributing to the devolution of this once-secluded paradise. But, as we said in Eco-friendly tourism in The Galápagos, independent travel to the area is arguably more eco-friendly than visiting on a 100-strong cruise ship. If you’ve always wanted to visit, consider doing it yourself. Not only will you have more flexibility, you won’t have to spend several thousand pounds on your visit. Here’s how we saw The Galápagos on a budget and how you can too.

10 things to do on San Cristóbal, The Galápagos

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The great thing about San Cristóbal is that there are so many sights within walking distance of the main town, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Many of these offer abundant wildlife opportunities that (usually) don’t cost a penny. We spent three days exploring the island’s many natural wonders and didn’t break the bank. If you’re lucky enough to visit The Galápagos, take the time to head over to San Cristóbal and visit these lesser-known but never underwhelming sights.

Eco-friendly tourism in The Galápagos

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It’s a dream destination for many: the pristine islands of The Galápagos, haven to some of the world’s most unique and rare species of animal – or so we thought. There were certainly pristine sections of the islands but there were also roadworks in Puerto Ayora, broken beer bottles at Cerro Tijeretas, plastic bottles on Tortuga Bay and, saddest of all, a baby seal playing with a plastic spoon.

Swimming with Galápagos penguins

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I once asked Peter how often people have to take in their cats to be trimmed.
He looked at me, confused. “What do you mean?”
“To trim their fur. How often do you have to do it?”
“Erm, normal people don’t trim their cats.” He started to laugh, amused as ever by my lack of knowledge when it comes to nature  especially when as pedestrian as looking after a cat.

Diving the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

Diving the Galápagos

Having just completed my PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course, I was keen to put my new skills to the test. Diving in the Galápagos Islands seemed the perfect way to do this

We were pretty much winging our trip to the Galápagos Islands but we decided to pre-book our first hotel as well as our diving.

In the spirit of the Galápagos, we decided to break our budget for our first stop, and so checked into the rather luxurious Royal Palm Hotel in the centre of Santa Cruz island. It was nice to be away from bustling Puerto Ayora, cocooned within lush gardens with epic views across the island.

Testing my limits on Cotopaxi Volcano

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I knew it was going to be cold. I knew it was going to be hard. What I didn’t know is that I’d want to give up after a mere 10 minutes on Cotopaxi Volcano. Our altitude of 4,500m mixed with unusually harsh weather made every breath difficult, every step a labour. As the wind slapped my face, I closed my eyes and wondered not for the first time why I had let Peter talk me into this. Glaciers were his thing. Trekking in freezing cold weather was his hobby. I like adventure, sure, but not when it hurt this much. I prefer my adrenaline 10 degrees above freezing, thank you.

The best beaches we’ve ever seen

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When I first went on holiday I was 18 and on the lookout for the perfect beach. You know the sort: powdery white sand and clear turquoise water set against a blazing blue sky. I’ve seen beautiful beaches in Barbados, Tunisia, Thailand, Mexico and Dubai, but none were quite the same as the brochures and billboards.

Horse riding in Cotopaxi, Ecuador

Horse riding in Cotopaxi, Ecuador

Our Ecuadorian guide smiles at the motley crew of would-be horse riders assembled in front of him. In Spanish, he asks if anyone has any experience. A few people shuffle their feet nervously. When no-one else speaks up, I put up my hand reluctantly.

“Yo tomó doce clases hace dos años,” I tell him in my faltering Spanish, explaining that I took 12 lessons two years ago.

How to find a good camping spot: a guide

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While there are some things that you simply cannot plan for when camping, knowing how to find a good camping spot is essential

When I was young my Dad would tell a “funny” story of how he took my mother camping in Wales for the first time. They pitched in a dry riverbed and went to sleep cozy and comfortable after a hearty meal.

Alas, in Wales the weather is prone to change and so they awoke in a riverbed which had now become a river. My Dad would chuckle while he told the tale. My mother would look on far less impressed to say the least. They don’t camp much anymore.

Best South Pacific cruises: 5 stunning voyages

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Having spent six months of our trip crossing the ocean, we list the best South Pacific cruises and dream that one day, we’ll return to experience them all

The Pacific Ocean is the largest body of water in the world and the South Pacific is arguably the most beautiful. Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan first entered the Pacific on an expedition of world circumnavigation from 1519 to 1522.