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The little city of Banos is situated on the side of volcano Tungurahua and has gorgeous waterfalls like this one, the Pailon del Diablo or Devil's Cauldron. To get up this high the trail first drops about 1000 feet into the valley and then climbs via stairs and ladders until it ends inside the waterfall under a sheltered rock overhang with millions of gallons of water thundering around. It's quite wet and the "trail" turns into a crawl space at certain points but the view is astonishing.
Easter Island is a strange, remote, and magical place. After a full day of wandering around this tiny island, we were fortunate enough to witness an absolutely breathtaking sunset over the Pacific. The "beach" here is made up of pitch black volcanic stone. I found it to be utterly fascinating.
The route to Machu Picchu has gotten smoother, thanks to two hotels outside Cuzco. Aranwa Sacred Valley Hotel and Wellness resort is built on a 17th century hacienda and has one of Peru’s largest spas. Treatments feature coca leaves and camu camu, a fruit from the Amazon. To prepare for a trek, check into the Hotel Rio Sagrado and book an altitude acclimatizer massage at Spa Mayu Wilka. Photo courtesy of Aranwa Hotels. This appeared in the June/July 2013 issue.
During my stay at the new Hotel Surazo, I fell asleep to the sound of the Pacific surf pounding the sand. Located in Matanzas, a village on the sparsely populated, mountainous central Chilean coast, this low-slung, modern surf lodge is about 50 feet from the waves. The friendly Chilean owners, Andrés Tobar and Felipe Wedeles Tondreau, built two bunk-filled dormitories and eight minimalist, wood-and-glass private rooms equipped with terraces, ocean views, and hammocks. Daytime activities include sport fishing for merluza (hake), surfing, or windsurfing (lessons arranged by the hotel), and strolling along lonely black-sand beaches strewn with giant cochayuyo (an edible kelp that Tobar cooks for guests). At night, soak in one of the Surazo’s wood-fired hot tubs. —Vanessa Gregory Hotel Surazo, 56/99-744-2439, bunks from $28, private rooms from $60. Photo courtesy of Hotel Surazo. This appeared in the March/April 2010 issue.
Called Argentine Switzerland for its wooden chalets and alpine setting, this area is home to some of South America’s best spas. The Latin America travel specialists at Blue Parallel arrange yoga classes with views of lakes and the Andes. Guests can stay at the 1940s Llao Llao Hotel and Resort or the Correntoso Lake and River Hotel , which uses native herbs in its treatments. Photo courtesy of CarrieKFuller/Flickr. This appeared in the June/July 2013 issue.
By Mariana TschudiEveryone in Lima knows Canta Rana—some consider it the best cevichería in the city. The owners’ son has a spot in the main market called Canta Ranita where the ceviche is just as good, and even though it’s a stall, the place has tons more personality. I especially like their sudado [a fish dish made with lime and tomatoes]. Mercado el Capullo, Jr. Unión 147. Photo by David Nicolas Giraldo. This appeared in the July/August 2012 issue.
Cap your trip to Machu Picchu with a pisco sour on the Orient-Express train ride back to Cuzco. After boarding this luxury train for dinner and the return journey, everyone meets in the bar car for a drink. Live music, the rocking of the train, and the excitement from just experiencing Machu Picchu is a buzz to remember. Soon all the passengers are dancing as they travel through the steep mountainsides under the stars. —Lauren Maggard This appeared in the August/September 2013 issue. Image: courtesy of Orient-Express
Open only on Saturdays, this large market has stalls selling lots of fresh fruits and fish for good prices. Everyone who lives in Rio is addicted to açai, the Amazonian berry that’s loaded with antioxidants. The berry doesn’t come from this region of Brazil, but you can get it fresh in the market in a big bowl mixed with strawberries or ice cream. Rua Frei Leandro As told to Heidi Mitchell. Photo by Gabriel Rinaldi. This appeared in the March/April 2012 issue. See all of Batman Zavarese’s favorite places in Jardim Botânico.
The Santa Teresa district is a tangle of cobblestone streets and crumbling landmarks perched above the city. It’s undergoing a renaissance thanks to anchors such as the restored Hotel Santa Teresa and the working-class eatery Bar do Mineiro. The latter lures diners with its feijoada (bean and mixed meat stew). This appeared in the September, 2012 issue. Photo by Jan Sochor.
Trek through the Andes to the 15th-century Incan ruins of Machu Picchu on the lesser-traveled Salkantay Trail. Four luxurious lodges—three with outdoor hot tubs at the foot of craggy peaks, the last in a lush avocado orchard—will serve as your accommodations. At the first, Salkantay Lodge, men from the Quero area give offerings to Pachamama (Mother Earth) to ensure your safe passage. Along the 39-mile guided hike, you pass icefalls and glacial lakes, climb up mountain passes circled by Andean condors, and walk through coffee plantations and orchid-filled forests. Then, from the Incan archaeological site of Llactapata, you’ll spot mystical Machu Picchu in the distance. —Kelly Lack Mountain Lodges of Peru, (877) 491-5261. From $2,560 for a seven-day trip, including meals and lodging. This appeared in the July/August 2011 issue. Photo by Alex E Priomos. See more hut-to-hut hikes.
Comprising four coaches—with interior designs ranging from pre-Hispanic to neoclassical—the Tren Crucero takes four days to mosey from the Pacific coast to Ecuador’s capital in the Andes. An open terrace car provides unbroken views of the Devil’s Nose promontory, coastal plantations, and Ecuador’s highest active volcano. From $990. (800) 873-637. Photo courtesy of Tren Ecuador/Facebook. This appeared in the June/July 2013 issue.
The legendary Pisac Marketplace on Sundays. Just a short taxi ride from Cusco, this place is filled with everything you can imagine. It is split into two areas, one being the art, textiles & souvenirs, and the other side being a food market where the locals bring their produce to sell/trade. There are vendors who serve boiled or fried corn with seasoning, which is excellent! Don't be surprised to see a cow head sitting next to a bowl full of fresh fish. You can easily walk away from this place with all of the gifts you would want to bring home for your loved ones. After visiting the market, check out the ruins of the old fortress & terraces which overlook the town.
This store is just a little ways off the main street of the San Blas arts district in Cusco, but definitely worth the diversion. Inside, funky, modern jewelry and handbags are mixed with neatly hung vintage dresses, shirts, and jackets. The walls are covered with artistically placed magazine pages that reflect the style of the wares for sale. It's one of those stores where you go in thinking "oh I could get a souvenir here" and end up buying one or more of the beautiful bobbles for yourself.
Where in the world can you read Shakepeare's famous plays while on a stage, or in the box, and pretend to be the Bard while reading about the Bard? Only one place that I know of, El Ateneo in Buenos Aires in the neighborhood of Barrio Norte. Featuring one of the world's largest collections of books for sale, a terrific cafe and corner after dark corner ripe for long hours of book perusing and reading - this Argentinian bookshop that was once a theater is heaven for lovers of drama both acted and written. There isn't really a bad time to go, the space is more than large enough to accomodate crowds and yet cozy enough to surround the visitor even when nearly alone. The only thing you'll have to decide when you do go, is how you fit everything else into a day of sightseeing when inevitably everything else you had wanted to do won't seem quite as appealing after you've stepped through the front doors and into this theatre of literary love.
Do you go down to the beach via ladder, or just sit on the cliff and get lulled into a trance with with rhythm of the waves? Or just come back again tomorrow? Ahhh choices.....
Take a Sunday stroll through the cobblestone streets of San Telmo in Buenos Aires. The streets surrounding the Plaza Dorrego are filled with vendors selling art, antiques and souvenirs. In the center of the plaza you are bound to come across a street performance or two. Here in the center of the plaza, a couple entertains the crown with the dance that Argentina is famous for- the tango.
The carne at this San Telmo restaurant is so succulent that the servers cut it with a spoon. Order the lomo cut, which is the Argentine version of filet mignon. 54/(11) 4361-5557. For the September, 2012 issue, Humberto Leon and Carol Lim of Opening Ceremony shared with us their favorite places in Argentina.
There may be no better place in Rio to watch the sunset than Arpoador Rock. Wedged in between Ipanema and Copacabana, is it a gathering point for Cariocas and tourists alike to toast the day with a fresh caipirinha. Watch the sun fade behind Ipanema’s famed double peaks and Pedro Bonita, the rock structure where hang gliders launch into the clouds throughout the day. Time stands still at Arpoador rock, and everyone participating shares in the same goals in those moments: to enjoy life. As the sun cascades behind the rocks, people bask in its beauty, couples kiss and everyone erupts in clapping and cheering, saluting the earth for the magnificence it possesses and appreciating life for the fullness it offers. Surfers take a moment to sit on their boards and let the waves roll underneath them as they also salute the painted sky. It is a perfect ending to a perfect Rio-kind-of-day.
The traditional dwellings of the region’s Kawésqar people inspired Ecocamp’s domed structures. Constructed from locally sourced materials, they make use of solar and wind energy. —Kellie Schmitt Ecocamp, (800) 901-6987, from $1,200 per person for a five-day stay with trek. Photo courtesy of Ecocamp. This appeared in the May/June 2010 issue.
While hiking along a waterfall in the national nature reserve, we came across a naturally formed infinity pool where the waterfall gathered itself for a long plunge into a green canyon below.
In the San Blas district of Peru, was the restaurant Pachapapa. This was by far the best meal we had in Peru. It was nestled in a courtyard and all the dishes were prepared in an oven next to us. Quite spectacular. DELICIOUS!
Buenos Aires should be called the 'city of really cool markets.' I don't think there is any item that you cannot find there. And more often than not, you will find just the right item that you didn't even realize you were looking for. I came upon this little stand one afternoon, and was struck by the fact that this vendor sold ONLY this one item. I mean, are colorful seltzer bottles in such high demand that one can devote an entire booth to them? Apparently so, because this place was thriving. Of course, I had found that perfect item that I didn't even know I wanted.
In a single day in Torres del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia, we were lucky enough to see herds of guanaco, baby ostriches, and condors gliding through the sky. The clouds parted to give us a glimpse at the famous "towers" and "horns," and we gazed at the gigantic Grey Glacier from afar, while enjoying the views of several large icebergs from up close. We also visited the section of the park destroyed by the wildfire and are happy to report that it is slowly coming back to life. We were graced with a mild, partly cloudy November day for hiking, although our traveling companions told us the day prior they experienced snow. One of the charms (and challenges) of Patagonia is the opportunity to experience all four seasons in one day. For us, Torres del Paine more than lived up to its reputation of being one of the most stunning places on earth. Since we only had a single day at the park, we chose to do a series of shorter day hikes so we could see more of what the park had to offer. We stayed at the Singular Patagonia hotel in Puerto Natales, and we had a fantastic guide and van transport that allowed us the flexibility of doing one-way hikes.
On the way from Arequipa to the Colca Canyon, the road traverses the altiplano--an average of 4000 m/12000 ft above sea level. Wild vicuña and their domesticated llama cousins kept us company in the thin air, with snowcapped volcanoes on the bright, cold horizon. To know who belongs to whom, the Quechua-speaking herders adorn their llamas with red-yarn 'earrings.' Vicuña wool, once the exclusive property of Inca royalty, is gathered only once every few years; each animal produces only about a pound of wool a year. A few decades ago, only a few thousand were left in the wild; fortunately, they've recovered and still thrive on the Andean plateaus.
This Sunday street fair provides a glimpse into traditional Argentine gaucho culture. Wander the stalls and you’ll find scarves, leather goods, and authentic souvenirs by local artisans. For the September, 2012 issue, Humberto Leon and Carol Lim of Opening Ceremony shared with us their favorite places in Argentina.
Rio has never been busier. The city is building up and out for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. Part of a massive port facelift, the Museum of Art of Rio opens later this year. But in colonial bairros, such as Santa Teresa, fresh paint hasn’t changed the carioca spirit. This appeared in the September, 2012 issue. Photo by Julian Love.
By Mariana TschudiAmorAmar is by far the chicest spot in the neighborhood. Part of the dining room is open-air, and an art gallery and a florist shop are on-site. The menu is half Peruvian classics and half fusion-y dishes. Their pisco sours with aji amarillo (yellow chile peppers) and milhoja puff pastries, layered with chocolate and lúcuma, a local fruit, are fantastic. Jr. García y García 175, 51/(0) 1619-9595, amoramar.com. Photo by David Nicolas Giraldo. This appeared in the July/August 2012 issue.
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