If you can bear the heat and humidity, there are plenty of rewards for photographers in Cartagena. Every ancient wall is a canvas, every wooden shutter and every rusted padlock a handcrafted sculpture. The Old City has been beautifully restored, with just the right level of peeling paint and scuffed wood to stop it feeling …
As the sun sets and the sweltering temperatures begin to subside, the dancers come out in Cartagena. The energetic drumming is like a siren call, ringing through the colonial streets, drawing onlookers from across the old city.
For a fan of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the ancient wooden doors of Old Cartagena are each as exciting as a book cover – each awaiting to be opened to reveal the stories within, of traders, aristocrats and drug barons.
There is an island off the coast of Cartagena de Indias, far from the sounds of horses and carts clattering over cobblestones, from the salsa drum that drifts through shuttered windows. The island is near silent – the Caribbean heat is brutal here, and nothing can bear to move.
It’s not every day that you get a tattoo while 3,000m up a mountain. My tattooist was a delightful little Colombian named Maruja, and her simple tools were plucked from the Andean mountainside, just as they had been for centuries: a plant, and a pinch of soil. This was no ordinary traveller’s tattoo: this was a Muisca tattoo
“England, huh? So what language do they speak there?” It sounds like the punchline to a rubbish joke, but this was a question I was once asked by a Panamanian boat driver. As we cruised between Caribbean islets, I wasn’t exactly feeling close to home, but the question reminded me just how far away I really was.
The Amazon rainforest is a place so utterly bursting with life that as the sun sets and the temperature drops, it’s as if you can actually see the forest breathing. A thick snake of fog slithers its way along the rivers, while the canopy exhales steam which glows gold in the fading sunlight.
La Nomadita has a “Lord of the Flies” moment with the boy hunters of the Choco rainforest, Ecuador
Clinging to life between sea and storms on the splintered coast of southern Chile, the remote archipelago of Chiloé is drenched in fairytale and legend. This soggy Patagonian wilderness is both protected and threatened by the many mythical creatures who govern this part of the world: the evil witch who spews her intestines out every night; the hideous dwarf who impregnates young virgins; the kings, keepers and bloodthirsty villains of the sea.
Three days in a rickety jeep. Three sleepless, aching nights; three icy dawns with the wonder of the sun rising over the widest horizons I’d ever see, watching as my own skinny shadow stretched to the distant mountains. A world composed of salt and volcanoes and boiling water and dust, that made me ache for the sight of a green leaf, a blade of grass, a drop of rain. Life.