Shadowed by three dramatic volcanoes, Arequipa’s setting is about as glorious as you can get. Much smaller than Lima and far less touristy than Cusco, Peru’s second-largest city has just as much cultural significance – and arguably considerably more beauty. Arequipa’s centre gained UNESCO World Heritage status in 2000, and the city’s vistas, with the El Misti volcano looming behind, are magnificent. The iconic white baroque buildings are made from local white volcanic sillar rock and give the centre a grand and markedly European flavour.
For backpackers, tourists, or anyone who travels for work, trying exotic new cuisines is one of the best things about travelling. Who wouldn’t be excited to try authentic empanadas in Mexico, steaming-hot street food in Vietnam, or a plate of fresh gnocchi in Italy? But if you don’t eat meat, fish, dairy or eggs, things can be more difficult. Though the vegan movement is growing quickly, in many countries meals still centre around animal products, and the very concept of veganism can be met with bewilderment.
Deep in a highland valley in the South American Andes is the city of Cusco, Peru’s most popular travel destination. Once the beating heart of the mighty Incan Empire, today Cusco is a launchpad for tourists to explore the historic villages and relics of the Sacred Valley, most notably the “lost” city of Machu Picchu. But while the area surrounding Cusco offers a dizzying array of cultural excursions, treks and outdoor activities, the city itself is a joy to discover. Designed by the Incas in the shape of a puma, at Cusco’s centre is the splendid Plaza de Armas, around which labyrinths of colourful cobbled streets beckon for exploration.
Outside of Australia the name Noosa Heads might not ring a bell, but its reputation stretches far Down Under. Billed as the Australian Hamptons, this sunny Queensland beach town is every bit as glamorous as its counterpart, and just as beautiful. Located about a two hour drive north of Brisbane, Noosa’s tropical climate, excellent shopping and upscale dining has made it a mecca for luxury-seekers across the world. Celebrity sightings are aplenty (Richard Branson, Russell Crowe and Greg Kinnear are all fans) and the cosmopolitan crowd who flock here spend around $940 million per year. But despite its parallels with the Hamptons, Noosa is entirely unique.
New Zealand is known for its Middle Earth–inspiring beauty, Maori culture and passion for rugby more than for its food. Yet the endless swaths of farmland and 8,700 miles of coastline mean that meat and seafood feature strongly, and popular national dishes include roast lamb, oysters, and fish and chips. But vegetarianism has been increasingly steadily, and in the past five years the number of vegetarian Kiwis has reportedly grown 27 percent. During my time here I found that while there were few exclusively vegetarian eateries, most cafés and restaurants have several decent meat-free free options. Naturally, some are (much) better than others. Here’s where to find the best vegetarian food in New Zealand.
After spending the past eight months travelling through Latin America, our two week layover in the US felt very welcome. It was so good to be able to communicate easily again (our Spanish sucked), and it was also good to enjoy that excellent customer service. Not that Latin America had bad service (apart from Bolivia…), but it’s just SO good over here. So when we arrived in Las Vegas, the city of hedonism, excess, consumerism and glamour, we thought we may as go all out.
Goodbye Central America, hello South! After three months travelling through Mexico, Cuba and Central America, our first stop on this new continent was Cartagena, Colombia. This historic city is Colombia’s most touristy destination, and was where we met up with our friends Dave and Jess – the first to visit us. Situated on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, Cartagena is hot and humid – the type of heat where you’re resigned to having a permanently sweaty face and damp t-shirt. That aside, Cartagena is the most incredible place to visit.
I entered Nicaragua almost grudgingly. Guatemala stole my heart, and after a nightmare 19 hour night bus and too many frustrating misunderstandings to go into, we finally arrived in the city of Leon at six in the morning. Unable to check into our AirBnB until 7:30, we wandered the streets trying to find somewhere open for breakfast. Even at that early hour we could tell Leon was seriously, seriously hot, a shock after cool, temperate Guatemala. Tired, sweaty and pissed off, it’s fair to say I didn’t have the best first impression of this country. “You’re no Guatemala, Nicaragua!” But what do you know. After a long sleep in a comfy bed, it turns out that Nicaragua is pretty great after all.
In May this year I quit my job, sold my possessions, found my cat a new home, said goodbye to friends and family and set off to travel the world. To describe this as something I’d been dreaming of doesn’t do it justice. Wanderlust evokes positive images, but this desire to travel and see the world was beginning to consume me. It was all I could think about, all I dreamed about, and it revealed a deep, persistent dissatisfaction within me.
Some places you know you’ll love as soon as you see them. For us, Caye Caulker was one of those places. We were sold from the moment we set foot on this island. After flying back from Cuba, getting the night bus down from Mexico and then hopping on a water taxi from Belize City, any destination where we could dump our bags and relax for a while would probably seem pretty idyllic. But Caye Caulker truly is the stuff of backpacking dreams.
Havana is the strangest, most fascinating city you can imagine. Raw, tropical, vibrant and energetic, Havana is alive with an energy and spirit that pervades its entire culture. It’s a city of stark juxtaposition, where magnificent colonial squares sit alongside decayed and crumbling buildings, and classic American cars blast out the latest reggaeton music. Havana must be seen and experienced to be believed, but if you’re thinking of heading to this exotic island, here are ten things to know before you go…
Cuba is famous for many things. Rum. Cars. Cigars. Che. Food isn’t one of them. Aside from the staples (every Cuban citizen receives a regular supply of rice, sugar, coffee, meat, eggs and bread), food supplies are often limited and can run out without warning. Traveling the world as a vegetarian, Cuba was the country I thought would prove hardest to eat well in — or even moderately well. Its vegetarian food has a reputation for being either “completely uninspired” or “uniformly terrible” — but is the vegetarian food in Cuba really so bad? In a word, no. Definitely not. But I wouldn’t call it great, either. Let’s explore. HAVANA The first stop in Cuba is usually Habana Vieja, or Old Havana. As the…
The best thing about travelling is eating. There’s no better way to appreciate a different country and its culture than to tuck into the national dishes, and for most people, sampling the local cuisine is one of the things they look forward to most about exploring a new place. But if you’re vegetarian, things aren’t always so easy.