Tag Archives: South America

Bucket List Travel: 3 Once-in-a-lifetime Adventure Trips in South America

South America doesn’t get the love it deserves.

Europe and Asia feature defined backpacker “trails” that have been well-worn thanks to decades of Lonely Planet-inspired travelers. While South America sees its fair share of visitors too, much of it remains pristine and ripe for exploration. Here are three of the continent’s most bucket list-worthy trips.

Get Lost on the Amazon River (Peru to Brazil)

Untamed Path Adventures

Exploring the Amazon River may be the most audacious journey an adventure traveler can undertake. Some rustic lodging and other services exist along its 4,300-mile route but, for the most part, travelers are completely on their own. It’s remote, wild, and rugged. Malaria, piranhas, river pirates, and whirlpools are very real dangers. All of which means it’s best to go with a guide who knows the area and how to get out alive. Untamed Path Adventures provides a bespoke guided expedition that’s like a highlight reel of everything the Amazon River has to offer. The 12-day journey includes riding downriver in a dugout canoe, beach camping under the rainforest canopy, fishing the Amazon River, and landing a tiny Cessna prop plane on a dirt runway in the middle of the jungle. It’s a bit like an episode of Narcos but with a lot less cocaine.

Continue reading Bucket List Travel: 3 Once-in-a-lifetime Adventure Trips in South America

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15,568 Feet. 120 Kilometers. A Long Trek Into the Mountains of Northern Colombia Written by Steven John

Author’s note: Without the permission and the assistance of the Kogi, a tribe that has maintained its culture and way of life for centuries even as the world around their isolated mountain range has changed dramatically over the past few centuries, the trek herein discussed would have been impossible. However, as the Kogi wish to remain largely untouched by, and uninvolved with the outside world, to respect their privacy, I will largely omit their mention from this piece and will give no specifics on the locations of their villages, their sacred sites, nor even on the starting point of this multiple day hike. Instead, I will focus on the actual trek and its varied challenges and moments of celebration. My heartfelt thanks go to the Kogi, to the unnamed guides and handlers who helped this journey become a reality, and to Columbia Sportswear, who financed the trek and provided much of the gear upon which I and the other members of the team relied.

The first day was going well, overall, despite the heat and humidity that are to be expected when one is hiking through a rain forest located a few dozen miles from the Caribbean coast of South America. There was one consistent cause for frustration, though: the steep, rutted, dirt trail spent as much time going down as it did up, and as any mountaineer knows, every step you take down now means a step up farther along the path.

Continue reading 15,568 Feet. 120 Kilometers. A Long Trek Into the Mountains of Northern Colombia Written by Steven John

5 Unkillable Houseplants for Guys without a Green-Thumb

If you find yourself in that transitional period where dog-eared beer cozies seem passé, yet the idea of spending $300 on bed sheets is laughable, investing in a houseplant might be just the ticket.

Guaranteed to spruce up your home and improve the quality of air you breathe, while simultaneously sending out clear eligible signals to any ladies passing through, houseplants are enjoying something of a comeback right now. The Manual suggests getting all up in it, with our pick of the (kill-proof) bunch.

1. Echeveria Nodulos

This distinct species is part of the succulent family – low-growing, low-maintenance fleshy plants to you and me. Able to store water within its leaves, this little fella will grow steadily if left on a sunny windowsill or–if you’re feeling adventurous–in a terrarium. When watering, the trick is to keep the soil cool and damp, so a splash of water every couple of days should be plenty.

Continue reading 5 Unkillable Houseplants for Guys without a Green-Thumb

Sunken British warship with £1 BILLION in gold to be raised from the ocean 250 years after battle

A sunken British warship wrecked off the coast of South America is due to see the light of day once again – along with £1billion in gold coins .

The Lord Clive was blasted by cannon fire in 1763 after an attempt to reclaim Uruguay’s Colonia del Sacramento, a former British colony which had been seized by the Spanish.

Continue reading Sunken British warship with £1 BILLION in gold to be raised from the ocean 250 years after battle

Top Gear Team Driven Out Of Argentina

Top Gear

The stars abandon their cars at the roadside and are pelted with stones by people accusing them of joking about the Falklands War.

The BBC has dismissed accusations that Top Gear deliberately chose a car with a number plate appearing to refer to the Falklands War to cause controversy while filming in Argentina.

The programme’s cast and crew are flying out of the country after facing protests from politicians and army veterans.

Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond were reportedly among those who had to abandon their cars at the roadside and flee after being pelted with stones by an angry crowd.

The team used a Porsche with the registration number H982 FKL, which some people suggested could be seen to refer to the conflict which took place in 1982.

A group of war veterans protested outside their hotel and one local politician said they were escorted to the airport.

Juan Manuel Romano, secretary of social development for Ushuaia in southern Tierra del Fuego province, said: “They have taken the decision to leave.”

The BBC confirmed they were leaving the country, although show bosses have said the number plate was merely a coincidence.

The programme has already run into problems this year, with one episode found to be in breach of Ofcom’s broadcasting code for the use of a racially offensive term during a two-part special filmed in Burma, following a complaint from a couple of viewers.

And Clarkson apologised after unbroadcast footage emerged in which he appeared to use the N-word, although he denied actually saying it.

The team from the show are in South America filming a special on a remote highway passing through Chile and Argentina.

Executive producer Andy Wilman said: “Top Gear production purchased three cars for a forthcoming programme; to suggest that this car was either chosen for its number plate, or that an alternative number plate was substituted for the original is completely untrue.”

Ecuador heralds digital currency to start before year end

Ecuador has announced it plans to start circulating what it calls the world’s first digital currency in December. It also claims it has options for developing its new oil refinery which do not depend on China.

Financial analysts have suggested the introduction of the new electronic currency in Ecuador could be used to increase the money supply and devalue US dollar holdings, a first step to abandoning the US dollar as its currency.

The new currency was approved, and stateless crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin simultaneously banned, by Ecuador’s National Assembly last month.

A young man texts at a market in Quito as government prepares to introduce electronic currency

The electronic currency is to exist in tandem with the US dollar and to be backed by “liquid assets,” according to Deputy Central Bank director Gustavo Solorzano. Officials said it would be geared towards the 2.8 million Ecuadoreans too poor to afford a traditional bank account.

Central Bank officials said on Friday the currency does not have a name and officials would not disclose technical details. The amount of the new currency created would depend on demand, they said. President Rafael Correa has denied there is any plan to replace the US dollar, which Ecuador set as its currency in 2000 after a crippling banking crisis.

Initially payments are to be sent and received on cellphones, Solorzano said. Similar schemes have already been set up by private companies in Paraguay and in Africa – including in Kenya and Tanzania.

Nathalie Reinelt, an emerging payments analyst with the US-based Aite Group, said she does not understand any other motivation for creating such a currency other than to allow Ecuador to increase its money supply and, essentially, devalue its US dollar holdings. But analyst Juan Lorenzo Maldonado of Credit Suisse said “It is far too early to know how they are thinking of making the electronic money work.”

Pacifico Refinery

Ecuador’s minister for strategic sectors (Sectores Estratégicos) Rafael Poveda said he hoped to finalize a $9 billion (6.85 billion-euro) deal with major partner China within the month for a refinery on the Pacific coast to process 200,000 barrels of crude oil a day.

Ecuador is also reported to be asking Beijing about borrowing $1.5 billion more. Including the credit line, total loans from China are equivalent to about 13.6 percent of Ecuador’s GDP as of 2013.

Criticised locally for becoming too dependent on China, Poveda said about the refinery deal, after a week-long visit to southern near-neighbor Chile which ended on Friday: “If for any extraordinary reason, which up to now does not exist, this does not happen, we have an option for this project.” However, he did not elaborate on the options.

A pile of US currency, topped with a mobile phone, reminds us that money talks and can be very persuasive!

China has become Ecuador’s second-largest foreign investor, after the United States, mostly in mining and quarrying sectors. Ecuador has already borrowed over $11 billion from China since 2008, when the Andean country defaulted on $3.2 billion of foreign debt.

Last year, Chinese money helped cover as much as 61 percent of the government’s financing needs. In exchange, China has claimed up to 90 percent of the country’s oil shipments over the next few years. Ecuador has South America’s third-largest oil reserves.

Ecuador recently sold $2 billion in bonds with a 7.95 percent return, as well as obtaining another $400 million from Goldman Sachs in exchange for part of its gold reserves.

The Other 9/11: A CIA Agent Remembers Chile’s Coup

Chilean soldiers guard the presidential palace the day after the coup against Allende. (Reuters)

What role did the U.S. play in the overthrow of Salvador Allende?

Forty-one years ago—on September 11, 1973—Chile’s socialist president, Salvador Allende, was overthrown in a coup.

He committed suicide under mysterious circumstances as troops surrounded his palace, ushering in more than 15 years of military dictatorship under Augusto Pinochet. Since that time, the CIA has acknowledged knowledge of—but not involvement in—the plot.

The agency “was aware of coup-plotting by the military, had ongoing intelligence collection relationships with some plotters, and—because CIA did not discourage the takeover and had sought to instigate a coup in 1970—probably appeared to condone it,” the CIA writes in a history of its operations in the South American country.

Jack Devine was a CIA agent in Chile at the time of the coup. In an interview with Atlantic contributing editor and Efecto Naim host Moisés Naím, he discusses the CIA’s role in the insurrection and in supporting the opposition to Allende.

Of the decision not to stop the coup, Devine claims the agency’s instructions came from the White House, which was occupied at the time by Richard Nixon.

“That is a Washington policy decision, that is not a CIA decision,” he says.

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