Tag Archives: South America

Moon Shadow

Moon Shadow

It felt like the rainiest day in the history of rain and days. I sat at breakfast, looking out of the Vira Vira hotel’s enormous windows as a million raindrops machine-gunned into a manmade lake outside. I checked my weather app and hoped for the impossible. There was, of course,..
Salt, Stars and Survival

Salt, Stars and Survival

A cold, bloodless dawn breaks above the Andes, the yolk of a white sun spilling out across the Atacama Desert ahead. I’m standing next to the ruins of a shepherd’s hut, 13,800ft above sea level. This altitude — over three times that of Ben Nevis — plus the fact I’ve been..
Pablo, honey

Pablo, honey

The boat was bouncing in a schizophrenic way that made sleep impossible. Just as any kind of soporific rhythm was established, we’d catch a little air and the belly of the hull would slam into the ocean, compressing our spines and snapping us awake. There were 10 of us on..
Life Between Volcanos And The Sea

Life Between Volcanos And The Sea

South from here there’s nothing but the vastness of the Pacific, nothing until you hit Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf where, for now, the ocean still freezes. Due west you’ll find more of the same ­– only the mighty sea, all the way to the island of Biak, just north of..
On Bartolomé

On Bartolomé

It feels like a place summoned from the scorched pages of a Cormac McCarthy novel. Out on Bartolomé all humidity is gone, all moisture burnt away. The very air feels as though it has been drained like the victim of a vampire. Here, in the rain shadow of Santa Cruz, the..
In Quito

In Quito

Over the next year or two, if travel writing still exists, it’s going to have yet another Covid problem, specifically whether or not keep acknowledging the compound squalors of the pandemic and their effects on the industry. Eventually people – I mean editors – are just going to want writers..
Mistakes Were Made

Mistakes Were Made

I’ll start this story in La Paz in March 2011, though in truth that city has little to do with it. My then fiancée and I were on the tenth month of 13 on the road, backpackers who by that stage had grown feral without really knowing it. We had seen..
The Teeth of Navarino Island

The Teeth of Navarino Island

Often in Patagonia, you see the wind before you hear it or feel it. On water, white horses have their manes torn out with such force that the surface appears to be smoking. On land, howling gales rip dust from the surfaces of unsealed roads.  On the morning my group..
Guyana Rising

Guyana Rising

As our little Cessna Caravan navigates a corridor of puffy clouds, Guyana’s Atlantic coast is exchanged for an infinite sea of green. Along with seven others, I am high above this one-time British colony, heading deep into its vast interior. Below, varicose rivers channel brown water through the jungle. There are..
Hell in Paradise

Hell in Paradise

Ronnie Vorswyk spends most of his days in a Napoleonic jail at the edge of the Amazon jungle. A guide in the sprawling, long-disused Transportation Prison in Saint Laurent du Maroni in French Guiana, the 60-year-old is originally from the former Dutch colony of Suriname, just on the other side..