Category Archives: Postcards

Top 10 Incan things that aren’t Machu Picchu

YVD blog 23&24 image-32-December 31, 2015Cusco was the Incans’ capital city and the valleys leading to and from it, especially the Sacred Valley, following the Urubamba river towards Machu Picchu, are full of Incan delights. We spent more than three weeks in the area (see this accompanying blog to read about what else we got up to), giving us plenty of time to sample many of them. Machu Picchu gets all the attention, but there is so much more to it than that! In this blog, we pull out our 10 favourite Incan things from our time in the area, plus a little bit about Machu Picchu at the end.
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Magical Lake Titicaca

On the Isla del Sol

Titicaca (or Titiqaqa in Quechua) is the largest lake in South America and, sitting at 3,812m,  the highest navigable lake in the world. Coming here was one of the most anticipated parts of the trip for me, perhaps largely for what it represented. It straddles the border of Bolivia and Peru, at the top of the Altiplano, and sits at the heart of the historical cultures of the high Andes.

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Bolivian Highlife: In and out of La Paz

YVD blog 21 image-90-December 02, 2015It was perhaps appropriate that our arrival in La Paz,  a city of dramatic geography, caught us out with its crazy topology. We arrived on November 21 2015 from the south, having driven for a few days up across the flat “altiplano” (high plain) that sits at around 3,800m, pausing on route to look for the recently disappeared Lake Poopo. We based ourselves on the outskirts of the city, coming and going from trips out to see the beautiful volcano Sajama on one side of the altiplano to the west and, to the east, the steep, lush Yungas mountains.

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Remote Bolivia: Plains to mountains

YVD blog 20 image-28-October 30, 2015

The Mission church of San Ignacio

We’re not usually that interested in religious history, but the Jesuits’ social experiment in the heart of this fascinating continent is rather absorbing. We took a back road route across the border from Caceres in Brazil to pick up the “Missions Circuit” in the lowland plains of eastern Bolivia, then had an adventurous journey back up into the mountain valleys to spend more time in and around the lovely city of Sucre, visiting a traditional market, chasing dinosaur footprints and letting llamas distract us from rock climbing on the altiplano.

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A dip into Brazil: The glorious Pantanal

Hycinth Macaws asking us to turn the heat down

Hycinth Macaws asking us to turn the heat down

September & October 2015: They say, if you want to see jungle, go to the jungle, but if you want to see animals in South America, go to the Pantanal. Although South America doesn’t have the chart topping diversity of big animals that some other continents have, the Pantanal displays what it does have in glorious quantity and boy does it make up for it in diversity of bird and insect life.
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Brazil’s two elegant capitals: Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia

Flying out over Sugarloaf, Rio

September & October 2015: Whilst Brasilia has been Brazil’s official capital city since the 1960s, Rio de Janeiro is still the country’s heart, beating to a uniquely Brazilian rhythm. We flew into Rio in mid-September, using it as a hopping off point for a return trip to the UK. We stayed for 2 wet days on the way out, then enjoyed 10 glorious days on our return from the UK in October, before flying into Brasilia for a one night stopover on route back to the van in Campo Grande to continue our exploration of the Pantanal.

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Bolivia 1 – pt 2: From Potosi, to Sucre, and down on to the plains below

From Uyuni, our journey across Bolivia took us north and east, first, to the historic mining city of Potosi, then onwards through the lovely city of Sucre and slowly (via very bad roads), down from the Andes and onto the plains below, near Santa Cruz, from where we headed East towards the wetlands in Brazil. Continue reading

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Bolivia 1 – pt 1: High Altiplano driving – from the far Southwest to Uyuni

This amazing drive, the first half of our first crossing of Bolivia, started with the “Lagunas Ruta”, in the remote southwest corner of the country, and took us across one of the wonders of the world, the Salar de Uyuni – and not without incident! As we left Chile, we were braced for one of the most remote and challenging drives of the trip…
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The Atacama Desert: More of it, and for longer, than expected

As we descended into the Atacama Desert, the driest place on earth outside of the polar regions, on Sunday 12 July, we were expecting to spend around a week exploring the area around San Pedro de Atacama, but that wasn’t quite how things turned out…
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Last weeks in Argentina: the magnificent northwest

YVD image-103-July 02, 2015We continued our journey north through the dramatic wildernesses of Argentina’s northwest. The journey to the this corner of Argentina turned out to be an amazing road trip, with each day revealing new landscapes, sometimes several a day. This blog is presented as a photo story, to try to relay some of the drama of what we saw. Continue reading

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