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Posts tagged ‘desert’

Photo Essay: Paracas & El Carmen

We traveled north up the Peruvian Pacific coast, first stopping at the Islas Balestas near the town of Paracas, followed by the Afro-Peruvian village of El Carmen which lies in the province of Chincha. Peru has many influences including Italian, Spanish, Japanese and African. Chincha and especially El Carmen are at the center of Afro-Peruvian culture. From native drumming on the cajon (a drum made out of a box) to African-inspired unique dishes, you can feel the rhythm in this dusty yet charming town.

The history of El Carmen dates back many years ago when the Africans first immigrated to Peru and were enslaved to work on local haciendas (farm estates). The culture was born out of that time and has remained strong today. Afro-Peruvian dancing and music, exemplified by festivals like the Verano Negra or the Festival de Danzas Negras (held in February & November, respectively), remain at the core of El Carmen.

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Photo Essay: Pisco tasting in Ica & discovering the mystery of Nazca

Pisco, sand dunes and ancient, mysterious lines carved into the desert floor. These are the first things that come to mind when I think of the southern Peruvian coast. The area around Ica, Peru offers up some striking sand dunes that will make you feel like you are in the Sahara.

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Life on Mars. Otherworldly Chile

It's just barely dawn. You are up almost 14,000 ft (4,200 m) at the highest geysers in the world. The sun is barely a sliver and already the light starts pouring into the vapor filled landscape where mud pools noisily bubble & everywhere you walk, the earth hisses at you. It's a scene straight out of the dawn of time. During the day, pink flamingos crowd altiplano lakes while volcanoes look menacingly on.

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Heading south; first stop Mendoza, the country’s biggest wine country

From the northwest of Argentina we traveled south to Argentina's other (and more famous) wine country in Mendoza. Mendoza is a fairly large city in Argentina, located in the north west part of the country. It's also easily reachable from Santiago in Chile. Mendoza is located in the desert Cuyo region making it an arid, hot place and even though it's a desert, a startling number of trees have been planted all over the city, providing some much needed shade especially in the summer months.

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Top tips for visiting the northwest of Argentina

Visiting the northwest of Argentina was one of the highlights of our trip in South America so far. However, I found it a bit daunting when planning our time in this region. There is so much to see and do, where do you start? We knew we wanted to rent a car for sure to give us freedom and flexibility but for how long? Where would we rent the car? I scoured the internet and guide books for answers.

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The wine capital of the northwest, Cafayate. Getting to know Torrontés

Ah, wine. I love wine. Who doesn't love a great wine? If you love wine like me and are interested in learning more about a grape you probably haven't heard of, well listen up!

When most people think of wines from Argentina, immediately they think of the lovely Malbec. But Argentina has more to offer than just this red grape. The north of Argentina is home to one of the most beautiful wine regions in the country, Cafayate and it's shining star, the Torrontés grape. What the malbec grape has done for Mendoza, the torrontés grape does for Cafayate.

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Road tripping from Tucuman to the north of Argentina. We got wheels!

The north of Argentina has one of the most beautiful landscapes in all of the country, if not all of South America. You can drive from thick jungle mountains to giant cactus filled deserts one day and on other days find yourself in cloudforests or standing in front of ancient Andean ruins. One of the biggest, if not the best, wine countries lie in this region, in Cafayate. Salta is the major city in this region and it's filled with animated peñas where you can hear the traditional music sung live, and visit beautiful churches decked out in colonial architecture.

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TBC restaurant, Tigre

Since Tigre was our first stop in Argentina, we couldn't wait to have some famous (and rightfully so) Argentinian beef. The ill-named TBC restaurant, did not disappoint. Although it's located on the Paseo Victorica, which is the main road that strolls along the waterfront, it is a bit under the radar and hidden, due to the giant ivy covered walls that surround it, concealing it slightly.

Behind the walls, revealed a grand mansion, tastefully decorated. We were led to the spacious porch where diners could sit and enjoy the exquisite beef while sipping their Malbec wine. Service was attentive and we were seated on the porch right away

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