Crossing Borders – Tigre to Carmelo

27 Mar

Mention the words ‘South American’ and ‘border crossing’ in the same sentence and travelers will often take a sharp intake of breath.  They can be places of frustration and nervousness, with ramshackle government buildings, long queues, stern faces, bag searches and occasionally demands for bribes.  In contrast to this image, one of our most pleasurable border crossings in all of South America was from Tigre in Argentina to Carmelo in Uruguay by small passenger ferry through the beautiful Parana River Delta.  This crossing is not only simple and straight forward but also offers gorgeous scenery, a chance to experience local life and a taste of adventure.

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The Greatest Show on Earth – Carnival!

4 Sep

Sequins sparkled, peacock feathers quivered and scantily clad curvaceous ladies danced to a thumping Samba beat.  Elaborately decorated floats sailed past and muscle-bound men performed acrobatic moves to wow the audience.  We had joined thousands of excited people to descend on the Sambadrome to party and the anything-goes celebratory vibe was completely infectious.

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Journey Back In Time – Jesuit Missions

27 Aug

Landlocked Paraguay is officially South America’s least visited country.  Many travellers mistakenly assume Paraguay’s lack of big ticket attractions means there’s nothing to see so side-step the country entirely.  Paraguay’s location at the heart of the Continent certainly makes it difficult to get to but for those who want to get off the beaten track, it’s an ideal destination.  Travellers with an adventurous spirit will be rewarded with a wealth of things to see and do, plus a truly genuine South American experience.

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The Art of Booking Bus Travel In South America

21 May

If you’re heading off on a South American adventure then you’ll definitely be using the extensive bus network to get around due to the limited rail and hire car options on the continent, and relatively expensive flights. Long distance or short distance, each bus trip will undoubtedly be an experience in its own right. We had some great fun on buses, saw some amazing sights and met great characters, but we also had plenty of less positive experiences too! Each country does it slightly differently, but by asking a few essential questions at the outset you can save yourself some money and a whole world of pain!

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Wonder of the Modern World: Itaipu Dam

8 May

“Don’t look down” the man next to me said just before I lent over the ledge and looked down. It resembled a giant 483 metre waterslide with H2O in abundance lining up to take the ride. The gigantic reinforced concrete gates, above which we stood, were holding back the World’s seventh largest river and when the doors slid open, millions of gallons of water hurtled down the curved ramp at 60 thousand cubic metres per second with a deafening roar.

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Getting Up Close and Personal with Iguazu Falls

28 Feb

To describe Iguazu Falls without blatant and unashamed flattery is an impossible task. They are some of the most beautiful and majestic falls man has ever encountered. With an incredible 275 cascades set in dense tropical rainforest, Iguazu is considered to be one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Many such celebrated destinations don’t live up to the hype but Iguazu Falls packs a punch and left us open-mouthed and starry-eyed. We were in good company as even the late United States First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was lost for words upon first viewing Iguazu and simply gasped “Poor Niagara!”

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Picture Perfect Ilha Grande

16 Jan

The relaxing island hideaway of Ilha Grande is located 100 miles south of Rio de Janeiro. With beautiful white sandy beaches, clear blue water, unspoilt Atlantic rainforest and relaxed vibe, it’s the type of holiday destination people dream of. The eleven mile crossing from Angra dos Reis to Ilha Grande takes just over an hour, but the difference is huge. Leave behind the high rise developments and busy beaches and arrive on the sandy shores of a laid back, undeveloped paradise. It’s all about relaxing in the sun, swimming in clear waters, swinging in hammocks, hiking forested trails and dining by candle light on fresh seafood with the sound of samba floating through the air.

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Rio’s Favela Tourism – Eyes Wide Open

28 Nov

Our mini-van climbed high into the hills of Rio de Janeiro leaving behind the glitzy malls and million-dollar apartments lining the famous Copacabana and Ipanema beaches.  We sped past a chaotic mass of ramshackle houses clinging precariously to the steep mountainside.  We noticed the prevalence of armed police and our guide Ricci pointed out walls ravaged by bullets and covered in gang graffiti. We had arrived at Rocinha – Rio’s largest favela – and we were about to step into a world once firmly off limits to tourists.

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