Eating and Meeting in Lima – Peru’s Capital and Dominant City

Ugly Water Fountain, Plaza Mayor, Lima

Part of the central water fountain in Lima’s historic Plaza Mayor; the red and white flags fly in anticipation of the 28-29 July Fiestas Patrias (Peruvian national holidays)

Arequipa maybe Peru’s food capital and Cusco the country’s tourism capital but Lima is its transportation, business, dining and official capital. With one-third of Peru’s population, Lima dominates the country.

For many time-limited tourists, Lima is merely a place to transit between planes and buses. However, in a city with almost ten million people, there is much to do. Continue reading

Isla del Sol, Lake Titicaca: the Largest Island on the World’s Highest Lake

One morning last July the Bolivia Hop bus picked me and others up from La Paz’s Wild Rover Hostel. Our destination was Copacabana on Lake Titicaca, at 3,800 metres, the world’s highest navigable lake.

Bolivia Hope Bus on Lake Titicaca

The Bolivia Hop bus and other vehicles being moved by barge across Lake Titicaca on the way from La Paz to Copacabana Continue reading

La Paz: Death Road Downhill Mountain Biking, Zip-lining and Partying

My July 2016 second visit to La Paz, Bolivia, included mountain biking Death Road, zip-lining over valleys and partying in the high altitude city. My first stay in La Paz ended with me needing to escape to a lower elevation due to altitude sickness. Not this time.

Death Road Mount BikingThis great view of La Paz from Pirwa Hostel’s patio did not beat Death Road’s scenery

North Yungas Road, also known as Death Road* (Ruta de la Muerte in Spanish) was named by Inter-American Development Bank in 1995 as the world’s most dangerous road. The road’s 64 kilometre length, steepness, amazing scenery and infamous reputation make mountain biking down it a must-do day trip for adventure-seeking visitors to La Paz.

Continue reading

From the Brazilian Pantanal to La Paz, Bolivia by Taxi, Train and Bus

From the amazing Brazilian Pantanal I needed to get to La Paz, Bolivia. With no direct flights and one-way flights ridiculously expensive, the best mode was overland.

Leaving the excellent Hostel Road Riders in Corumbá, Brazil, Dana, Ela and I took a taxi to the Bolivian border. As an Australian, I obtained my Bolivian entry stamp easily. Not so Israeli passport holders Dana and Ela. Border officials shunted them around, asked for itineraries and bookings and treated them with disdain.

Quijarro Border Crossing, Bolivia

The Corumbá-Quijarro border crossing from outside a shop on the Bolivian side where I waited for Dana and Ela

After a few hours Dana and Ela still had not received their visas so I left the border for Puerto Quillaro’s La Brasilena train station. There I met New Zealanders Kyle and Anna who also wanted to buy a ticket on the Death Train to Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Continue reading

The Epic Pantanal Wetland

The Pantanal, Brazil

A Pantanal water lily

The Pantanal, spread across South American countries Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay is the world’s largest tropical wetland. The region is also an amazing place for viewing wildlife despite consisting largely of privately owned cattle stations. In four days of Pantanal exploring I saw and photographed so many birds and other animals, they required separate blog posts. Continue reading

Birds of the Brazilian Pantanal

During my trip to the Brazilian Pantanal wetlands I saw dozens of bird species. Following are my best birding photos (see here for other animal photos).

Birds of the Brazilian Pantanal

Water birds, including pink roseate spoonbills, red-necked jabirus and all-white great egrets, fly off after being disturbed

Continue reading

Animals of the Brazilian Pantanal

Besides birds, the Pantanal hosts many other animals. Following are photos of non-avian creatures from my June 2016, four day, three night Pantanal Trekking tour.

Animals of the Pantanal

This porcupine in a tree was only the second one the guide had ever seen. The farm workers could not believe we saw a porcupine
Continue reading

Voting and Running in Sao Paulo

Australia held an extraordinary federal election on 2 July. Citizens on the electoral roll could participate at overseas voting centres prior to election day. Brazil had two centres: Brasilia’s Embassy and São Paulo’s Consulate-General. With a terrible federal government in power, I ensured I exercised my democratic right by visiting São Paulo during the late June early voting period.

Although many tourists enter South America via São Paulo, the continent’s largest city is not a major tourist attraction. Despite this, I enjoy the city and, besides voting, also caught up with fellow runner and Pearl Jam fan, Cleide.

Sao Paulo, Brazil

Union protesters on São Paulo’s main Paulista Avenue had the volume cranked up Continue reading