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January 27, 2010

News Alert: Heavy Rains and Mudslides Hit Inca Trail

By awayblog

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Heavy rains and mudslides around Machu Picchu have knocked out thousands of homes and stranded hundreds of tourists. is reporting that up to seven people have died, while the U.S. State Department posted an alert yesterday that landslides throughout the Sacred Valley have blocked routes in and out of Cusco. The Peruvian government is coordinating a rescue effort to airlift stranded locals and tourists.

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Related Topics: South America Travel · Travel News · Travel Videos

December 30, 2009

Five Best Places to Bicycle in Chile

PASSING ON THE RIGHT: Biking with the cows in Chiloé, Chile (ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours)

From the Atacama Desert in the north to Chiloé Island in the south, Chile has an incredible diversity of culture, history, and scenery packed into its 100-mile-wide strip of territory. If you are looking for sunshine in February or springtime in November, Chile is the place to be. A solid infrastructure throughout the country means a variety of quiet paved and unpaved roads, which tempt cyclists to jump on their bikes and start exploring. Here are our five favorite places to bicycle in Chile.

- 5. The Atacama Desert: Cycling in the Atacama Desert will change the way you think about wide-open spaces. Tucked between the Pacific Coast and the high Andean Plateau, some parts of this 600-mile desert have never recorded rainfall. With horizons that go on forever, bicycling in the Atacama offers miles of traffic-free, smooth roads. The endless view is the only thing that might interrupt your ride as you bicycle in the driest place on earth.

- 4. The Andean Altiplano: The "high plateau" of the Andes is exactly as the name suggests: high and relatively flat. At an average altitude of 12,300 feet (3,750 meters) a bicycle ride on the altiplano allows for a surprising amount of well-paved roads with little traffic and striking views of the surrounding mountains and colors. Mineral deposits from the past few million years have created a landscape scattered with red, brown, orange, and gold colors. A magical place to bicycle, the altiplano has near perfect conditions for anyone interested in long-distance cycling and high-altitude training.

Continue reading "Five Best Places to Bicycle in Chile" »

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Related Topics: Outdoor Adventures · South America Travel · Trip Ideas

October 30, 2009

Adventures of a Lifetime: Sky2Sea International

By awayblog

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We're excited to welcome Sky2Sea International (S2Si) as the newest provider on, an sister site that provides comprehensive listings for the world's best active vacations and adventure-travel trips. With over two decades of bespoke expedition-planning experience, S2Si runs wilderness trips through landscapes as diverse as the pristine rainforest in Guyana to an amazing one-week multisport expedition through Chilean Patagonia. Check out the video below for a glimpse of what to expect! This film shows the first 24-hour crossing of Patagonia by river, which was completed by a team of paddlers including S2Si guide Jon Clark.

Visit to discover thousands more adventures of a lifetime, from rafting the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River to hut-to-hut trekking in the Alps.

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Related Topics: Outdoor Adventures · South America Travel · Travel Videos · Trip Ideas

October 28, 2009

Getting Out There With Afar Magazine

Afar Traveling home from a conference in Québec last week, I picked up a copy of the premier edition of Afar, the newest travel magazine to grace an already crowded category on airport newsstands. An hour later after a thoroughly absorbing in-flight read, I can report that I was impressed. The magazine is "for readers who are curious about everything the planet and its people have to offer," according to founder and editorial director Greg Sullivan. In this day and age, when magazines seek to impress with the most luxurious travel experiences imaginable or cater to a budget-minded, close-to-home crowd, Afar bites off the essence of experiential travel with an honest, open, and upbeat appraisal of the world we explore. A bimonthly publication to start, each issue of Afar will be organized under the typical See, Connect, and Go sections; its first edition profiled everything from Japan's costume-play fetish to a local's guide to East London to the world's best treetop lodging. As someone who reads a pile of travel magazines each month for work, I'm happy to say that this is one travel magazine that will open your eyes, mind, and heart—not just your wallet!

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Related Topics: Africa Travel · Asia Travel · Beach Vacation · Budget Travel · Caribbean Travel · Eco-Tourism · Exotic Escapes · Outdoor Adventures · South America Travel

October 06, 2009

World Monuments Fund Announces Its 2010 Watch List

By awayblog

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Cordilleras rice terraces in the Philippines (Photodisc/Getty)

David Farley—author, New York Times blogger, and friend of the Travel Blog—writes today on the "In Transit" blog about the World Monument Fund's biannual release of its list of the world’s most endangered cultural sites. Ninety-three sites in 47 countries are listed as being under threat from neglect, overdevelopment, or mass tourism, among them Peru's Machu Picchu, the rice terraces in the Cordilleras region of the Philippines, and Taos Pueblo in New Mexico.

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Related Topics: Africa Travel · Asia Travel · Central America Travel · Eco-Tourism · South America Travel · Travel News

July 02, 2009

Behind the Image: Machu Picchu

An untraditional view of the famous ruins of Machu Picchu (Nathan Borchelt)

Machu Picchu is one of the rare places in the world where all expectations are exceeded.  Whether you hike the Inca Trail to the ancient city, hop the train from Cusco via Aguas Calientes, or trek for three days in the adjacent Camino Salcantay valley with Mountain Lodges of Peru (one of the newest—and best—Peruvian tour operators), you already likely know what to expect: the stone ruins of a vast, sprawling pre-Columbian Incan city 8,000 feet above sea level, with dense cumulus clouds blanketing the peaks of this mysterious UNESCO World Heritage-listed spot. 

Despite its many unanswered questions, one thing is almost universally known: what it looks like, thanks to that singular, ubiquitous image of Machu Picchu.  Looking down from the upper reaches of the ruins with the neighboring peak of Huayna Picchu jutting upwards, the ruins sprawl across the peak, almost like a half-constructed, stone Lego city built across terraces carpeted with verdant green foliage.

And when you follow the path up to that vantage point, the view does indeed hit every travel cliche: It steals your breath, quiets you, humbles you, makes you feel alive and aware and bigger than life, and yet small and insignificant. And you also realize that the photo you're obligated to take is...well, just like every other one you've seen.

So, when you find yourself in a place such as Machu Picchu, take on the challenge of finding something different. 

Continue reading "Behind the Image: Machu Picchu" »

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Related Topics: South America Travel · Travel Photography

March 30, 2009

Tips for Traveling Solo as a Woman in Latin America

By Liza Prado

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SAFETY FIRST: Traveling solo as a female can be challenging but also rewarding (David Epperson/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty)

Every time I've hit the road on my own, I've gotten a slew of advice from, well, just about everyone: "Don't leave your hotel room after dark," "don't accept drinks from people you don't know," "don't hitchhike," "don't talk to strangers…." But after 15 years of on-and-off travel on my own throughout Latin America, I think I've gotten it down pat. Here are a few rules of the (Latin American) road that I've come to live by:

- Take any unsolicited advice with a grain of salt. People tend to be alarmists, especially when describing the dangers of traveling in Latin America—that goes for locals and foreigners alike. I haven't taken any polls or anything, but in my experience, the reasons behind this are twofold: overly graphic newspaper stories about crime in Latin America and the paternalism (or maternalism) that people feel towards women, especially women traveling alone.

Continue reading "Tips for Traveling Solo as a Woman in Latin America" »

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Related Topics: South America Travel · Travel Tips

January 05, 2009

Machu Picchu Part 2: Temple of the Moon

SOLITUDE ON MACHU PICCHU: The author has a moment alone at the Gran Caverna (Karen Kefauver)

I imagined that exploring Machu Picchu in Peru would be one of the highlights of my two-month solo trip in South America. However, I was not excited about sharing this New Wonder of the World with thousands of other visitors. My favorite destinations are off the beaten path, far from large groups of tourists. So when I had just one day to visit Machu Picchu, I tried to make it extra special. For me, that meant seeking the road less traveled. For the first part of my story, see Machu Picchu Part 1: Trying to Get Off the Beaten Track.

My hike up the mountain of Wayna Picchu (that peak in the background of all the famous shots of Machu Picchu) had taken a little over an hour. It was a steep climb, mostly on narrow, stone stairs. There was one spot, near the top, that required a wriggle through a tunnel and another that had cables to grip for added support. There were some Inca ruins along the way to the top of the 8,639-foot (2,634-meter) peak. I often stopped to move aside to let others come down the same trail. The breaks were a welcome chance to look down at the magnificent "Lost City of the Incas."

Continue reading "Machu Picchu Part 2: Temple of the Moon " »

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Related Topics: Dispatches from the Road · Outdoor Adventures · South America Travel · Trip Ideas

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