Just imagine the Galapagos…with no majestic giant tortoise, no quizzical looking blue footed boobies, no sea lions taking over the park benches on the water front, or no dinosaur-like marine iguanas sun-baking on the rocks.
It’s a scary thought – but if not for one action 50 years ago, that’s how the Galapagos Islands could be now.
Maybe it’s the broadening of existential horizons that comes with seeing how different folk dwell – or perhaps it’s just long beach-bound days perfectly suited to naval-gazing – but overseas travel has a habit of bedevilling the professional ambitions of even the most career-satisfied.
You know the score: one week you’re perfectly content toiling away in the sensibly chosen industry of your sensibly completed qualification, the next you’re in Cuba ruminating that your true calling may be as an antique watch-repairer. And while such whimsical wanderings usually last no longer than the evening’s final mojito, overseas adventurings can on occasion herald vocational redirections of the most drastic variety. Take Charles Darwin for instance.
Why have fountains flowing with water when they could be splashing about in the country’s national drink?
Yes, Peruvians are so passionate about their beloved Pisco that on the first Saturday in February they honour their famous cocktail with Pisco Sour Day. On this day each year the fountain at Plaza Mayor in Lima even pours with thousands of litres of the local brew!
If you can’t make it to this huge Pisco party, there is another chance to celebrate the iconic liqueur on National Pisco Day in July. And if you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, you can join Intrepid’s special Pisco Making Urban Adventure in Cusco to discover why this national drink has a way of bringing locals and travellers together.
Our ‘hairy neck’ in Peru, David Knight, has shared with us many wonderful insights into Peruvian life the past 6 months. But now as his time as Intrepid’s Community Based Tourism researcher is drawing to a close, it’s hard not to wonder if his alternative career ambition is to be a world food writer!
We’ve heard all about spicy aji on the side of soup, the delights of cuy (guinea pig), chicha (corn beer), ceviche, the best quinoa soup around, fresh honeycomb and ‘spider’ punch. Now David shares with us the triumph of the humble tater…
“It took several minutes before I realized that an entire squadron of baby spiders was repelling down from the thatched roof above me and into my cup of hot aba* punch”, relates David Knight, Intrepid’s Community Based Tourism researcher in Peru.
“My research assistant and Spanish-Quechua translator, Nilo, seemed all too amused. Together, we had been invited into the home of a kind local woman to shelter from the hail that had begun to fall in destructive force upon the high Andean town of Amaru, where we’d been conducting research for several weeks. As the tiny spiders descended upon me to escape the fury of the elements, I couldn’t help but laugh with my companion in contemplation of the unique challenges and experiences we’d had thus far in these remote and breathtakingly beautiful highlands.
Real cultures, people and places are what our friends at Matador Network are always wanting to discover. So who better to talk to about the highlights of Buenos Aires than these talented travel journalists who have either lived, or are living, in Argentina’s iconic city…
Tom Gates, Matador Nights:
Arguably the best Japanese food in Buenos Aires is at Comedor Nikkai, which is, not surprisingly, located in the Japanese Cultural Center (Av. Independencia 732, San Telmo).
Sure you can get a buzz on roller coasters, jet boats and hang gliders, but as Intrepid’s Ella Benjamin discovered, sometimes a simple piece of ply board can give you the most thrilling ride of your life…
“Flying face-first down a hundred foot mountain of sand is one of the most exhilarating and adrenaline pumping experiences of my life.
Huacachina, a tiny town in southwest Peru, has increasingly become an attraction for tourists drawn by the sport of sand boarding and taking dune buggy rides. The town is built around a small natural lake in the middle of the desert and is surrounded by enormous sand dunes.
One of the best holiday thrills is to arrive somewhere new and discover that a festival in full swing.
Not only is this a chance to join in all the fun, but as Sean Kennaway discovered on his Intrepid Patagonia trip, it also gives you an ideal opportunity to sample some mouthwatering food…
You’ve decided that Peru and its famous Inca Trail is at the top of your travel wish list, but how do you make it happen? Is it within reach for an inexperienced hiker and what should you know before you go?
No doubt about it. The sheer abundance of wildlife in the Galapagos is enough to overwhelm even the most ardent nature fan.
From sea lions to tortoises, to blue-footed boobies and rare iguanas, you’ll quickly lose yourself in the many wonders of these incredible islands.
For most of us it’s a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, so you want to make sure you cover off all the highlights and then some. Here, travel bloggers and possibly the most adventurous couple we know, The Planet D, nominate their must-see experiences on a tour of the Galapagos…