El Chocó, the area of Colombia on the Pacific Coast, has been out of reach for visitors until recently, and still receives very few visitors, though tourism, both Colombian & foreign, have shown first signs of take off in the last 2 to 3 years. There are several reasons why El Chocó still is so much Off The Beaten Track: Continue Reading →
For years, la Zona Cafetera has been one of the most popular areas of Colombia, and large numbers of visitors, Colombian & foreigners alike, have flooded this part of the country. Jardín, a comfortable 3 hour ride from Medellin, is a welcome change! So close from the main tourist centers, and so much Off The Beaten Track: even if the city is no longer completely a well-kept secret, only a handful of “Gringos” can be seen there…
La Guajira – Increasingly Popular
La Guajira’s reputation as a place beyond civilization is easily understood when looking at its past and modern history – A place where centuries ago pirates attacked Spanish ships loaded with precious cargo and strong-willed Wayuu never surrendered. Modern days see different kind of adventurers: large scale smuggling is so widespread, extensive and above all, so obvious that it is almost beyond belief…
The desert-like peninsula on Colombia’s northernmost point is still the home the Wayuu “Indigenos” who have inhabited this extremely hot and barren land for centuries, resisted all intruders and on their part raided towns like Riohacha as late as the 1930s. Things have calmed, but the area still exhibits an aura of lawlessness that – as least for me – seems unparalleled. Continue Reading →
Situated northeast of Bogota, this part of Colombia is more popular than ever, and for good reasons… I had already visited the most famous landmarks of this region back in 2009: Villa de Leyva, San Gil, Barichara & the Chichamocha Canyon. I wanted to go back, amongst others for photography, and actually found in 2016 that areas which were unknown or out of reach a few years back are opening fast and offer many different opportunities, well Off The Beaten Track. Continue Reading →
A Personal Selection of Markets in Africa, Asia, the Middle-East and South America
No matter where I travel, I immensely enjoy visiting markets. Many of them, especially in Africa & in Asia, but also in the Middle East & in South America, are an assault on your senses: colorful and at times disorientating, aromatic or even intoxicating, vibrant and eventually hectic places… But this is where “the real life” can be found, so different from touristic highlights (though some markets have turned extremely popular in the last years, also amongst tour groups…) Continue Reading →
Breathtaking Beaches, Splendid Colonial Cities, Unique Wildlife, Rio de Janeiro & … The Greatest Melting Pot!
Itinerary And Time Of The Visit
In 2007, I spent 4 weeks in Brazil and entered the country from Venezuela, discovering Manaus, Recife & Olinda, Fernando de Noronha, Salvador de Bahia & Morro de Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro & Sao Paulo. In 2015, I spent 6 weeks there and visited Salvador de Bahia & Morro de Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais (Belo Horizonte, Ouro Preto & Tiradentes), Rio de Janeiro & Ilha Grande, Iguazu (both Brazilian & Argentinian sides), Bonito, the Northern Pantanal (entering from Cuiaba and going to Porto Jofre), Brasilia & last but not least Sao Paulo. Continue Reading →
Expensive If You Are On A Budget, And Very Expensive If You Are Flashpacking
Type Of Travel
My two visits to Brazil couldn’t be more different: in 2007, I was on a Round The World Trip and hence traveling on a budget. In 2015, I was on a 6 week trip to Brazil, and was actually Flashpacking: mostly pleasant Pousadas instead of Hostels, indulging quite a few activities and local tours, usually flying instead of long bus drives and also going to less traveled areas like Brasilia, Bonito & the Northern Pantanal, which turned out to be very expensive. Continue Reading →
In 2007, I spent 4 weeks in Brazil and entered the country from Venezuela, discovering Manaus, Recife & Olinda, Fernando de Noronha, Salvador de Bahia & Morro de Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro & Sao Paulo. In 2015, I spent 6 weeks there and visited Salvador de Bahia & Morro de Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais (Belo Horizonte, Ouro Preto & Tiradentes), Rio de Janeiro & Ilha Grande, Iguazu (both Brazilean & Argentinian sides), Bonito, the Northern Pantanal (entering from Cuiaba and going to Porto Jofre), Brasilia & last but not least Sao Paulo.
Continue Reading →
More than 4.5 million African slaves where stolen from Africa and brought to Brazil, mostly to work under inhumane conditions in plantations & mines for the Portuguese Conquistadores. They were forced to assimilate and to turn to Christianity (partly adapting this new religion to their own culture, creating for instance the Codomblé) and forbidden to practice anything that would look like self-defence or Martial Arts.
It Is Very Much About The Jaguar, But Not Only!
Yes, the Pantanal is unique! Who doesn’t dream of spotting such an elusive “Big Cat” (the third biggest in the world, after Tigers & Lions) as the Jaguar, an animal that played a central role in the old cultures of Central & South America, for instance the Incas. And the Pantanal is indeed a place where your chances of spotting Jaguars in the wild are really high if you go there in the right season… Actually, the only place in the world!