South America

The Lost City of Z is a very long way from a true story — and I should know

1 April 2017 9:00 am

A new Hollywood film portrays Percy Fawcett as our greatest explorer. It’s pernicious nonsense

‘Cassava with White Peacock Butterfly and young Golden Tegu’, 1702–3, by Maria Merian

The 17th century painter who hacked her way through Suriname in search of insects

7 May 2016 9:00 am

Maria Sibylla Merian was a game old bird of entrepreneurial bent, with an overwhelming obsession with insects. Born in Frankfurt…

Life in Rio’s most infamous favela — where you have to pay the cops to arrest criminals

19 September 2015 8:00 am

When Stefan Zweig first arrived in Rio de Janeiro in 1936, he was overwhelmed not only by the city’s magnificent…

The war on drugs is stupid and counter-productive

18 July 2015 9:00 am

Rosalio Reta was 13 years old when recruited by a Mexican drug cartel. He was given a loyalty test —…

Peru's Indians are repressed with more efficiency than blacks ever were in South Africa

4 April 2015 9:00 am

In The Spectator of 21 March a column by Toby Young caught my eye. Discussing the pros and cons of…

One day the Condor and the Eagle will fly wing-tip to wing-tip

4 April 2015 9:00 am

The pub was disappointingly empty, so I took my first pint of the evening upstairs, where some sort of New…

Aimé Tschiffely with Mancha and Gato. The strongest emotional bonds he formed on his epic journey were with his horses

A horse ride from Buenos Aires to New York? No problem!

14 June 2014 8:00 am

Sam Leith marvels at a lone horseman’s 10,000-mile ride, braving bandits, quicksands, vampire bats and revolution in search of ‘variety’

Big Red

30 June 2011 12:00 am

In Argentina, they love their barbecues with meat, meat and more meat. And in the Malbec grape, they have the perfect match, says Marina Ray

Glutton for punishment

26 March 2011 12:00 am

With its vast areas of barely explored wilderness, and its heady mix of the sublime, the bizarre and the lushly seductive, South America would appear to have all the ingredients to attract the travel writer.

What lies beneath

25 September 2010 12:00 am

There’s the pretty-much-mandatory South American setting, the gloomy reflections on the nature of reality and unreality, along with a clutch of wildly unreliable narrators.

Slum-dwellers and high-flyers

29 December 2008 12:00 am

Heliopolis, by James Scudamore