The Galapagos Islands

51-YVD blog 29-March 13, 2016As two biologists who both studied evolutionary biology, the Galapagos Islands are an iconic destination and one that we had every intention of doing thoroughly! Indeed, when we were in the early planning stages for our South American adventure, even before we had thought about what sort of vehicle we would get, we had a line in our budget for our visit to the islands. On the 6th March 2016, after about 40,000km of driving round South America, we finally touched down. Our time there was spent mostly on two boat tours – a diving trip to the excellent diving locations around the remote northern islands of Wolf and Darwin, followed by a more traditional naturalist cruise round the western islands. Continue reading

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Lima: A six day foodie splurge

YVD Blog 27 image-7-February 17, 2016We wouldn’t exactly describe ourselves as foodies, but we do like our food and enjoy eating out regularly. Learning about and trying the different foods we have, and are yet to, encounter on this trip is an important part of the travel experience for us and we suspect we are choosing to spend more of our budget on dining out than many of the other overlanders we meet on the road. Given that, we arrived in Lima (on Tuesday 16th February 2016), dubbed the food capital of South America and one of the world’s great dining destinations, with high hopes for some gastronomic experiences. But a good meal (or two) every day for six days was more of a splurge than even we had anticipated! Continue reading

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Peru’s historical coast: A journey through time

YVD image-February 24, 2016-200To drive along the coast of Peru is to journey through numerous cultures spanning more than 6,000 years, charting the rise and fall of civilazations. As we travelled north up the coast in February 2016, we visited as many archaeological sites as we could to try and get an understanding of the pre-Columbian history of this fascinating country, as well as taking some time to appreciate the rich coastal sea-life. Continue reading

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Canyon & Carnaval: Adventurous driving in Peru part 2

This blog describes the second of two exciting mountain drives to and fro across the Andes of Southern Peru, taking in two of the deepest canyons in the world, Colca and Cotahuasi. This drive took us from the historic city of Arequipa, through the remote Cotahuasi canyon and over one of our highest passes yet, to join the major road to Ayacucho, arriving just in time for the start of its carnaval on 6th February. Continue reading

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Canyon & Convent: Adventurous driving in Peru part 1

We set off from Cusco on Sunday 17th January 2016 to cross the Andes southwards to Peru’s second city of Arequipa. Given we were in the midst of the wet season in the mountains, we expected to simply drive north up the coast of Peru from there, but that wasn’t quite how things developed. This blog describes the first of two exciting mountain drives to and fro across the Andes, taking in two of the deepest canyons in the world, Colca and Cotahuasi. This drive, the first of the two, took us to the historic city of Arequipa and its famous convent of Santa Catalina, via the picturesque Colca canyon and its condors.  Continue reading

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Climbing in Chile and Bolivia: Places with potential

Rock climbing has only recently become a popular activity in Chile and Bolivia and this is most obvious when you see who is climbing – most people are in their 20s. Unless you are a mountaineer, or fancy a go at climbing the formidable Torres del Paine, then the crags are probably best visited as an element of a wider trip to explore the country, as they were for us. Saying that, there is plenty of potential for rock climbing in these two beautiful countries. Continue reading

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Christmas season in Cusco and the Sacred Valley

New Year's Eve in Cusco

New Year’s Eve in Cusco

We arrived in Cusco from Lake Titicaca on 23 December 2015, just in time for Christmas. In the end, we spent more than three weeks in and around Cusco and the Sacred Valley, which gave us plenty of time to explore the many, many Incan sites in the area. We’ve selected our favourite of these for an accompanying blog here – there is so much more to this area than Machu Picchu! As well as seeing how modern Peru marks Christmas and New Year, we caught the festival of the “Coming of the Kings” in the Sacred Valley at Ollantaytambo, and, despite it being the rainy season, we did some delightful walks along some lesser known Incan trails and even managed a little rock climbing, as well as the fantastic Skypod experience. 
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