Day trip with the Sea Lion to Paltra Sur (©photocoen)

Snorkeling with Sharks in the Galápagos Islands

"Shark!" I was facedown in the water, following a schools of surgeonfish weaving their way among the rocks, yet the word registered loud and clear. I looked up and saw my partner Coen waving frantically, pointing to something underneath his body. Read More

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Getting the Lowdown on Bogota’s Graffiti Culture

When we reached the end of the tour, I was already thoroughly impressed. And then we rounded the corner to discover four massive graffiti murals that just sung of revolution, of angst-y political statement and dissatisfaction. They were commissioned Read More

Calle de Suspiros (©photocoen).

Strolling Around Uruguay’s Most Scenic Village: Colonia del Sacramento

I pick up the thermos and fill up the gourd with mate, a popular herbal tea in Uruguay. It's a drink you share with others, so I hand the gourd to my partner Coen, who takes one last photograph before he sits down next to me. We're sitting on a Read More

Hand painted altar in a Franciscan church (©photocoen).

Discovering Franciscan Churches around Asunción, Paraguay

It all started with a photo: a beautiful photograph of an old wooden altar featuring an angel killing a devil, painted in blue tinges. Some of the paint had chipped off and the wood was damaged, and it was clearly a piece from colonial times. The Read More

The soccer museum in São Paulo's Pacaembu Stadium. (©photocoen)

Reliving Games in Brazil’s Soccer Museum of São Paulo

"The defeat of all defeats," the Brazilian headlines recently cried after Brazil's devastating loss against Germany in the World Cup 2014. Losing 7 to 1 on your own territory in the semi finals is a major crushing indeed. For the second time Brazil Read More

View of Machu Picchu from Mountain Machu Picchu (©photocoen)

Climbing the Machu Picchu Mountain in Peru

As Peru was going to be the next country on my itinerary in South America, I read the Buckettripper account of my colleague Grace Lichtenstein about climbing the Huayna Picchu, one of the mountains at the famous Machu Picchu ruins, with specific Read More

Uros women doing chores and chatting (©photocoen)

Meeting Uros People on Lake Titicaca in Peru

Living on an island of reeds, in a house of reeds, sleeping on a bed of reeds, cooking on fuel of reeds, and fishing from a boat of reeds? How intriguing is that? The Uros' way of life has fascinated me for years. According one of the stories, Read More

Superwoman on a Zipline (©photocoen)

Ziplining near Machu Picchu in Peru

I have a choice, I realized as I was swinging in midair. Either I freak out or let go and enjoy. While fear is an emotion, often used as an excuse – I can't help it, I'm just too afraid to do it – I took a rational decision not to be afraid and Read More

Group of traditionally dressed vendors of acarajé in Brazil (©photocoen)

Admiring Brazil’s Traditional Baianas de Acarajé in Salvador da Bahia

Amidst a crowd of typical, T-shirts-and-jeans-wearing Brazilians, a black woman stood out. She wore an intricate, white, lace bodice covered with necklaces above a dark-blue, billowing skirt and a white piece of cloth artistically wrapped around her Read More

No matter where you look in Ouro Prêto, you'll always see at least one church (©Coen Wubbels)

Being Enchanted by Brazil’s Best-Preserved Colonial Town of Ouro Prêto

Around 1700 gold was discovered in the state of Minas Gerais. In 1711 Vila Rica de Ouro Prêto (Rich City of Black Gold) was founded, which soon became the capital of the state and epicenter of Brazil's biggest gold rush. Thousands of slaves dug out Read More

Cheering on a Soccer Game in Maracanã Stadium, Rio de Janeiro (©photocoen)

Cheering on Soccer Players in Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanã Stadium, Brazil

"You can't leave Rio de Janeiro without having seen the Maracanã Stadium!" "The what?” I couldn't even pronounce the word. "The Maracanã Stadium! You don't know what it is?" "Sorry, never heard of it." "No, that's impossible. Everybody knows Read More

View of Sugar Loaf from Cristo Redentor Statue (©Coen Wubbels)

Marveling from the Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Thus far thick traffic and having to watch my back had made me wary of the city but after a leisurely walk up the Sugar Loaf, I took in the view and suddenly understood the spell that visitors as well as Cariocas – Rio de Janeiro's residents – fall Read More

Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires (©photocoen)

Listening to Stories of the Dead in Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina

City of Angels, City of the Dead, or City of Cats: These names all refer to the Recoleta necropolis in Buenos Aires. With 5000 sepulchers this eternal resting place is a rich synthesis of history, art, religion and death, and serves as a tribute to Read More

The estancia of Jesús María stands out for its wrought iron fence and gratings (©Coen Wubbels)

Exploring the Jesuit Estancias in Córdoba, Argentina

When in the 16th century the Jesuits came to Argentina, they founded schools and universities in Córdoba, an area today referred to as the Jesuit Block. In order to finance these institutions estancias were set up in the surrounding areas, where Read More

Drawing of Slaves on a Wall in the Slave Quarters (©Coen Wubbels)

Absorbing the Story of Slavery and Cachaça in Redenção, Brazil

In 1873 Colonel Simião Jurumenha bought a sugarcane farm and built the cachaça factory of Douradinho, some 80 kilometers south of Fortaleza in northeast Brazil. Ten years later slavery was abolished here, five years before the rest of Brazil. 130 Read More

Macaws rescued from illegal trafficking in Bolivia (©Coen Wubbels)

Taking a Break at Biocentro Güembé in Santa Cruz, Bolivia

"Another Inca ruin?" "Again so many hours in a bus?" "Can't we go swimming somewhere?" "More markets? I want to go swimming! Please!" I don't have kids but I can imagine this being a frequent scene between kids and parents on vacation (or Read More

The decorated walls and carved pillars characterize Bolivia's Jesuit Missions (©Coen Wubbels)

Touring the Jesuit Missions in La Gran Chiquitania of East Bolivia

150 kilometers of unpaved road meander through thick forest and cattle ranches in eastern Bolivia. The road takes me to my third Jesuit Mission: Santa Ana. It's the smallest of the six missions that make up the UNESCO World Heritage Site of La Gran Read More

Walking here is utterly peaceful (©Karin-Marijke Vis)

Running through Brazil’s Colonial Town of Goiás Velha, a UNESCO Site

Running through a town? What kind of way of exploring a place is that, you may ask. Did I get to see anything at all? Yes, I did. In fact, running through Goiás Velha was exactly what made my visit to this 17th century, colonial town Read More

According to the neighbor the most beautiful building in the city (©Coen Wubbels)

Studying the Art of Azulejos in São Luís, Brazil’s City of Tiles

In the doorway stands an elderly man. Our eyes meet and I shake his hand. "You are lucky to live in such a beautiful building. What an incredibly tiled façade your home has," I comment. For the past couple of hours I have been strolling through the Read More

An example where Oscar Niemeyer's architecture and Burle Marx's landscape garden complement each other (©Coen Wubbels)

Appreciating Modern Architecture in Brazil’s Capital of Brasília

"Why would you want to go to Brasília? It is an ugly city that lacks a soul," is the most common remark I have heard from Brazilians about their capital. Despite these discouraging words I decided to visit the city and judge for myself. My Read More

Maria and Billoquinho's garden (©Coen Wubbels)

Learning about Life in an Oasis in Lençois Maranhenses National Park, Brazil

"Farinha in your coffee?!" "Oh yes, that's the best breakfast. Much more nutritious than biscuits or white bread, like kids want to eat today. Drink coffee with some grains of manioc in it and you don't need to eat for hours," my host Maria Read More

What is vegetation and what is the reflection? (©Coen Wubbels)

Boating Through the Flooded Forest of Anavilhanas in the Brazilian Amazon

I feel as if I am looking at a scene in the cartoon of Jack and the Beanstalk. The tree trunk is a good three meters wide, and as I look up, I see that the tree divides into three immensely thick branches that reach high into the sky, as if they are Read More