South America

Brazil's Fernando de Noronha

Baia dos Porcos and Doïs Irmaos islets, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
Baia dos Porcos and Doïs Irmaos islets, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

Five hundred and twenty-five kilometres from Recife on the northeastern coast of South America (or 350km from Natal as the crow flies), the minuscule specks of land of Fernando de Noronha are to Brazil what the Galapagos Islands are to Ecuador—but on the other side of the continent.

Diving with Dinosaurs: The Galápagos Marine Iguana

The Galápagos archipelago, a chain of islands in the Pacific Ocean about 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, is like no other place on earth. More than a hundred islets, rocks and 13 main islands make up the Galápagos. It is home to strange creatures found nowhere else. This is one of the few places in the world where you can scuba dive and snorkel with animals which remind one of the dinosaurs of ages past.

Malpelo Island Revisited

School of hammerheads. Image by Larry Cohen

The main reason for diving Malpelo Island is the sharks. The area is known for large schools of hammerheads, silky sharks, Galapagos and whitetip sharks. In the winter there is a population of sand tigers, and in late summer and fall, whale sharks call these waters their home. Other large pelagics can also be viewed. Tuna, jacks and eagle rays are not uncommon, with the occasional manta ray making an appearance.

Fernando de Noronha

If I were to tell you about a special place where no one locks their doors at night, where crime is virtually nonexistent, where the number of tourists is intentionally restricted to preserve the ecological balance, and where each visitor must pay a daily fee of 15 Euros (approximately US$20) to protect the environment, would you think about Brazil? Probably not!

Galápagos’ Isabela Island: The Last Mirage

Images by Pierre Constant

Seen from space, Isabela Island—the largest island of the Galápagos archipelago— reminds me of a giant seahorse facing the great blue yonder of the Pacific Ocean. As one approaches land, the cap of thin white clouds dissipates. Isabela’s majestic landscape is a perfect alignment of shield volcanoes, rising above 1,000 metres, which stretches from the southeast to the northwest. Among them, Wolf Volcano reaches 1,700 metres.

Galápagos: Where the Big Things Are

Unlike Max in the children’s book by Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are, I hadn’t worn my wolf suit, or made mischief of one kind or another. I hadn’t been sent to my room before it transformed into an island of magical monsters only reachable after a year of sailing.

I wouldn’t want to spend that long on a boat, so I behaved(ish) and looked forward to being on Galápagos and spending my nights tucked up on dry land.

Malpelo Island

Three of world’s best shark spots are located far off the coast of Central and South American, in the eastern Pacific Ocean. The least known of them, the tiny Colombian island of Malpelo, together with Galapagos and Cocos, create a “golden triangle” for big fish fans.

Brazil’s Ilha Grande

There are a few places on this planet where things seem to fall into place without any hesitation. Ilha Grande, Brazil, is one of these places. Even on busy weekends, there is a no-stress atmosphere. On the beach, in the garden hammock, or at 20 metres depth—it’s all laid back and lazy.