South America

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Photographed almost a decade ago, Cotopaxi cuts an impressive figure at sunset in darkening conditions. Ironically it was covered in cloud nearly all day but the clouds lifted just as the last vestiges of sunshine lit this Ecuadorian giant. Still an active volcano, it stands just under an imposing 6000 metres with a rough road that runs to an overnight hut (mainly for climbers) at 4600 metres. ....Continue Reading >>
Around 250 kilometres south of Lima is the wonderful nature reserve of the Ballestas Islands. Thousands of seabirds fight for their tiny piece of real estate on the off-shore islands. Protected for conservation reasons, visitors cannot disembark on the islands and the only access is an inexpensive and excellent organised boat tour.On the way is the unusual and perplexing giant rock formation of the ....Continue Reading >>
My friendly “buenos días” was greeted with a guttural but joyous “guten morgen”. Despite being in the heart of Chile, Frutillar was as German as leather shorts, sauerkraut and Oktoberfest. While well assimilated now, German immigrants settled around 150 years ago on good volcanic farming soils, building and developing a new area from deep forests. The heavy influence of the early settlers ....Continue Reading >>
Less than an hour by bus from the seductive colonial city of Cuenca is the primeval travel wonder of Cajas National Park. Numerous paths criss-cross the majestic, but bleak Ecuadorean wilderness that has striking similarities to the west of Scotland. The routes are numbered but signage is extremely limited making hiking in this park without a detailed map or economical local guide difficult.I’d never ....Continue Reading >>
The photo of the week shows an exceptional example of the simply, extraordinary mortarless masonry skills of the Incas. The twelve-sided Hatunrumiyoc stone is part of an Incan palace and later the Archbishop's Palace and is a short walk up a small street off the main square of world heritage-listed Cusco. As claimed, I couldn't get the blade of my pocket-knife into any gap around the perfect stonework. ....Continue Reading >>
Particularly popular in the highlands and Andes mountains of the travel wonder of Peru, coca tea provokes some controversy and reaction. Simply made by adding hot (but not boiling) water to a handful of coca leaves, the drink has the grassy botanical taste of many herbal teas with the slight bitterness of traditional green tea.To listen to a local, the tea takes on the medicinal qualities of Tiger ....Continue Reading >>
Unlike Santa Clauses in Australia with their cotton wool facial hair, the jolly red fellows in Santiago's main square of Plaza de Armas grow their own beards. Being the middle of summer, it is hot work for these joyous folks who distribute their Christmas cheer. The poor reindeer look like they have seen better days...To all my readers, compliments of the season to you all and best wishes for a healthy ....Continue Reading >>
The Irish super-group, U2 sang about them in Mothers of the Disappeared. These are every day Argentine mothers and grandmothers who lost their sons and daughters in the so-called Dirty War when they were seized by representatives of the military government of the time in the late 1970s. Most of the missing are assumed to have been tortured and murdered.Every Thursday afternoon for over thirty years, ....Continue Reading >>
The cathedral, built in 1835, stands majestically in Plaza Murillo, in the world's highest capital city of La Paz. At 3800 metres above sea level (12,000 feet), the more affluent people live below the city where there is more oxygen rather than above La Paz with its panoramic views. ....Continue Reading >>
To establish European thinking and religious beliefs with the indigenous Indian population three hundred years ago, the Spanish built a modest mud-brick and wooden church on the site of an old Incan temple in a small village about forty kilometres south of Cusco. Arriving late in the afternoon in dull light, the church certainly didn’t inspire any wonder, and I wished I’d stayed on the bus to Cusco. ....Continue Reading >>
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Welcome to Travel Wonders

My name is Mark and I’m a keen traveller. In fact, over the last 25 years, I’ve travelled to every continent and over 80 countries. This blog is about the most memorable destinations – the places I regard as the travel wonders of the world. I’m also a keen photographer, and have taken nearly all the photos you’ll see. During my travels, I’ve met some incredible people, seen inspiring places, viewed extraordinary wildlife and scenery and had some amazing experiences, and I’m writing these stories not only to entertain but primarily to inspire others to discover their own travel wonders.

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