Crossing to Atacama

Atacama desert tours

After more than three years without visiting the Chilean Atacama, we at Poncho Tours have now been across the Andes four times in three months (and I’m off again in February).   As you’ll already know if you read our blog, Chile was the last country in South America to re-open its borders after the … Continued

Hiking in north west Argentina

“Before we go any further, we have to ask for permission”.   We’d just started hiking through some of the most spectacular landscape in north west Argentina, close to the famous Seven Coloured Hill in Jujuy province.   Oh yes, of course, we have to ask Pachamama (Mother Earth) for permission to enter her territory. … Continued

Quick snack

Eating out in Argentina

Food again, after my ruminations on the Andean potato. (I try to write this blog first thing after breakfast, when I’m not hungry, but it doesn’t always work out that way).   Empanadas, as the Brits who have joined Poncho Tours on a trip to Argentina will know, are like small Cornish pasties.   The … Continued

Argentina Polo

The sport of kings

My only experience of polo was as a young journalist when I was sent to cover Prince Charles in the first flush of his marriage troubles with Diana, and the press pack was chasing him around the country.   It was at Cowdray Park in Sussex in the early 90s, and famous for Charles falling … Continued

USD in pesos

How much does a dollar cost in Argentina?

How much a dollar cost? I am pretty sure Kendrick Lamar was talking about the tough life of homeless people on the streets when he wrote his song, rather than Argentina’s parallel economy. But as those who have visited will already know, it’s essential to understand the real value of your greenback when you’re on … Continued

Cemetery in Maimara

Day of the Dead

  As anyone who has seen the film Coco will know, today is the Day of the Dead. Celebrated most famously in Mexico, but also throughout Latin America, its traditions are particularly strong in countries with a large mixed-indigenous presence like Bolivia and Guatemala, and where we live in north west Argentina. As with so … Continued

potatoes

Celebrate the humble spud

The humble potato gets a bad press. It’s associated with unhealthy eating habits: eg crisps, often eaten by a couch potato while another member of the family is provoking a chip pan fire in the kitchen. There’s the Irish potato famine which prompted mass starvation and emigration (blame the English landlords, not the potato). It’s … Continued

Birth of Inca Legend

Bolivia is famous for its salt flats, the Salar de Uyuni, and Peru is rightly celebrated for Cusco, Machu Picchu and the Inca trail, but there is much more to discover in these predominantly indigenous countries. I returned recently to Isla del Sol (after first visiting in 1999!): it’s the biggest island on Lake Titicaca. … Continued

Folk traditions

(Un)holy trinity part 2

Gauchito Gil, Difunta Correa & San la Muerte.   When you’re visiting Argentina with Poncho Tours, you will notice many roadside shrines: one featuring red flags, another mountains of plastic bottles. You may also be sharp-eyed enough to spot small altars festooned with black flags. These are three of the (un)holy trinity (one of those … Continued

Taking the bull by the horns

There is a curious ceremony in an obscure town in the Puna of Argentina which marks the Assumption of the Virgin Mary today (August 15th). The tiny town of Casabindo, nestled in the Altiplano north of the Salinas Grandes salt flats at over 3,400m altitude, is host every year to a bull-running ceremony dating back … Continued