Driest place on Earth: visiting the Atacama Desert in Chile

atacama desert with mountain in background

The Atacama desert is the driest place on Earth and possibly the world’s oldest desert. We take a 30km bike ride across its dramatic landscape

Our journey to Atacama was far more complicated than expected. Up to that point, the border crossings on our journey had been relatively straightforward so we were surprised there was no direct route from Uyuni in Bolivia to Atacama in Chile.

Instead of taking a bus, we had to book a $50 USD transfer, spend a night in a room that was almost exactly like a prison cell, take the transfer to the border, pay another $20 to enter the national park and then take another transfer on the other side. All in all, a journey that can be done in nine hours took about 24 hours instead.

5 best hiking trails in the South Pacific

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During our four months in the South Pacific, we completed some of the best hiking trails in the region. With dramatic coastlines, rugged interiors and challenging trails, the islands offer far more than sun, sea and sand. Here are five of the best hiking trails on offer.

6 tips for visiting Isla Del Sol, Bolivia

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If your trip to Bolivia is anything like ours, you’ll need a place to catch your breath and reset. Visiting Isla Del Sol is the perfect answer

Like most round-the-world trips, ours has not been a big yellow ball of shining happiness but rather a gradient of colours. At one end lie vivid and soaring reds: the Mount Yasurs and Salar de Uyunis of the trip. At the other end are greys and browns: the 32-hour bus journey from Guayaquil to Lima, the insurance claim for ruined electronics. And in the middle are large swathes of greens and blues: the days that aren’t breathtaking or life affirming, but pleasant and fun nonetheless.

Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu: highlights and lowlights

best machu picchu trek a comparison

I look back on the highlights and lowlights of our Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu in Peru, to help future trekkers prepare for the challenge ahead

There are three things I feared when embarking on our year-long trip around the world. First: the bugs (let’s face it, that was warranted).

Second: our multi-day Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu in Peru (was I fit enough? Could I cope with the altitude? What about the lack of commode? Would I break down after a long bout of camping?). Third: Dealing with the Patagonian winter (I’ll face that battle when I come to it).

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?

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.

Off the beaten canyon: exploring Grand Canyon’s hidden gems

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There’s something familiar about the Grand Canyon. Its dramatic landscape and red-gold hues have been depicted in movies, posters, pencil cases and postcards. It’s a recurring symbol of the road movie, a faithful slice of wholesome Americana – and, yet, when you see it for the first time, it’s still daunting, still overwhelming.

Things to do at the Grand Canyon, USA

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To make your visit as easy as possible, we put together the top things to do at the Grand Canyon – one of America’s greatest attractions

A trip to the Grand Canyon can be overwhelming, not only because of the incredible vistas on display but the sheer range of activities, hikes, trails and viewpoints to choose from.

To make your visit as easy as possible, we put together the top things to do at the Grand Canyon during your trip. Note that numbers 1-4 can be done in a single day but you will need several days should you wish to do the rest.

Rarotonga Cross Island Walk in the Cook Islands

rarotonga cross island walk

The Rarotonga Cross Island Walk is one of the best hikes in the South Pacific. Even the most inexperienced hiker can get up there with a bit of care

We stood outside our hostel, staring up at the morning sky. It had been raining all night long and the ominous clouds still threatened to thwart our plans. Adrienne, the hostel owner, had already warned us against doing the Rarotonga Cross Island Walk.

Hiking Mount Yasur volcano on Tanna Island, Vanuatu

Mount Yasur volcano erupts

On Mount Yasur volcano there was not a soul around and not a noise to be heard – other than the deafening eruptions, that is

The first few weeks of our trip had been active enough. We’d hiked, climbed, caved, canyoned, kayaked and more. It would have been perfectly acceptable to spend a few days lounging on a beach on Tanna Island, soaking up the Pacific sun.

However, you don’t go to Tanna without seeing the “Old Man” that is Mount Yasur volcano, and we were no exception.

Meeting “Da Craterman – world famous in Samoa”

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The day started badly. Our taxi was 30 minutes late, which isn’t so awful considering we were on island time but we were desperate to beat the midday sun on our six-hour round trip to Mount Matavanu Crater. Despite this, we cheerily greeted our driver who dropped us off at the base of the crater.

Millennium Cave in Vanuatu: exploring in the dark

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Millennium Cave in Vanuatu is a fun and adventurous hike through Vanuatu’s biggest cave located on the outskirts of Luganville

We’re two weeks into our long-awaited round-the-world trip and already in the midst of a haze of activity. So far, we’ve had a day at Kiwanis (Vanuatu’s annual horse-racing event), swum beneath Mele Cascades waterfall, kayaked to Erakor Island, dived for the first time ever and seen the wreck of the SS Coolidge.

Every day has brought a new experience, the most demanding of which has been the Millennium Cave Tour, a trek through Vanuatu’s biggest cave located on the outskirts of Luganville on the island of Espiritu Santo.

Millennium Cave in Vanuatu

We set off with a group of six other adventurers, trekking through lush rainforest to the small village of Vunaspef where we were told to leave anything that couldn’t get wet. A few of our companions handed over expensive cameras, checking and rechecking that the guide would keep them safe.

Climbing Kilimanjaro: Africa’s highest peak

Peter on the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in TanzaniaAtlas & Boots

Climbing Kilimanjaro was the first step on my path to climb the seven summits, the highest mountain on every continent

Why climb? Because it’s there… and it can actually be done by most.

Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is the world’s highest freestanding mountain, meaning it is not attached to a mountain range. I trekked it in 2010 and it was inspirational to say the least.

Climbing Nevis Peak unguided, St Kitts & Nevis

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Nevis looks more like rolling hill than a volcano – until you try climbing Nevis Peak unguided. That’s when it reveals itself as a formidable feat!

If you ever find yourself on the tiny island of Nevis in the Caribbean, you’ll surely notice Nevis Peak, the 3,232ft volcano that provides a beautiful backdrop to the picturesque island.