Travel Memories

With borders closed across the globe, we are reflecting on the moments, places, and people that have left their mark from previous journeys. Here are a few of our favourite travel memories from Chimu travellers and staff from years gone by to inspire us towards the better times ahead.

Antarctica

The natural world at its breathtaking best, an Antarctica expedition is a profoundly moving experience. One of the most common responses we hear from travellers returning from Antarctica is the life-changing impact of witnessing the magnitude and fragility of this unique environment.

Happiness: Doug White – March 2016

Doug White weraing a red jacket standing on the deck of a ship with Antarctica in the background
Photo: Doug White

Look closely, and you’ll see how happy I am here. Antarctica blew my mind! The landscape and the experience itself. It’s so difficult to describe, but I remember it clearly and also the deep appreciation I felt for the destination.

I have been so lucky to able to visit Antarctica, to open my eyes to what is out there and what we can preserve. It drives me to want to make it last as long as we can so we can share with the next generations.

A humpback whale pokes up through the water in Antarctica as a kayaker looks on
The moment Doug came face to face with the beautiful whale. Photo: Doug White

This was an incredible moment. When we were Kayaking in Antarctica, a group of about 15 humpback whales joined us. It was mind-blowing. I was a bit overcome, to begin with, as they are so big and we are so small, but I soon realised that though huge, they are incredibly aware of where we were, and they carefully navigated their way around us. The whales seemed as curious of us as we were of them. This particular one came so close I could have put my hand out to touch it. It was a life-changing moment. When you can be at one with nature, next to such an enormous mammal, in unspoken harmony, you realise there is more to the planet than meets the eye.

Doug White – Chimu Destination Specialist

Breathtaking: James McAlloon – 2019

A penguin in Antarctica with a ship and icy mountains in the background
Photo: James McAlloon

This trip was better than I could have imagined. We were fortunate in a lot of ways. For a place that is beyond spectacular yet renowned for its inhospitable climate, we were lucky. Picture perfect every day, blue skies and not much wind. Just seeing the mountains and glaciers, it will always be breathtaking.

2 people like at historic huts in Antarctica
Deception Island, Antarctica. Photo: James McAlloon

This is deception Island – once an international whaling haven abandoned due to the active volcano. The place is scattered with fascinating remnants from the history of Antarctic exploration. It was a massive joy to see all the places frozen in time. Learning about why it was there and what its purpose was. This building was used as a base for explorers to go and do area mapping. Completely different to the rest of Antarctica, filled with icy landscapes devoid of human structures. There were lessons on legendary explorers, Mawson and Shackleton which was cool because you could hear the stories and then go and see it.

The scenery is what makes it, an unedited view of this perfect landscape.

James McAlloon – Chimu Relationship Manager

Galapagos Islands

Polly in the Galapagos. Photo: Polly Templeton

It was an amazing experience that almost matched going on safari in Tanzania. We sailed from San Cristabel, and each day visited a different island with varied vegetation and wildlife to see. We saw several sea lion colonies, and I was thrilled to go deep water snorkelling and see a sea lion swimming right past me and playing with one of our local guides. The visit to the giant tortoise breeding centre was a highlight. Another was seeing hundreds of marine iguanas gathered on rocky outcrops.

Polly Templeton – Chimu Traveller

Patagonia

Patagonia is the wild southern region of South America. An extensive and captivating area that it is an unforgettable experience for all those who have been. Shared by Argentina and Chile, Patagonia is renowned for its incredible array of natural beauty. From snow-capped mountains to picturesque fjords, stunning lakes and impressive volcanoes, a Patagonia tour really has it all. 

Teardrops at Torres – Doug White

Doug at Torres del Paine, Chile. Photo: Doug White
Photo: Doug White

For me, this hike was not only one of the highlights of my trip but of my life! To get there, it is an arduous trek, the return takes all day, but it is worth every step. To begin with, you tramp ever upward through a stunning valley, rising from the flat and comparatively barren landscape of the pampas of Patagonia. It takes all of your focus to move skyward into the unknown. Nothing prepares you for arriving at the base of the Torres. By comparison to other mountain ranges, the Andes are young and, in many parts, erosion is still curving the shapes. The Torres are prime examples of this as they rise jagged in sublime geographical architecture. Just sitting there, it’s hard to believe what you are looking at is real and hard to understand where you are. The surreal beauty of it brings a tear to many eyes.

Doug White

Torres del Paine, Chile – Tenille Hunt

Tenille in front of the famous Torres del Paine
Tenille in front of the famous towers. Photo: Tenille Hunt

This was one of the best travel experiences ever. It was the most challenging but the most rewarding. It was a 10 hour round trip to the base of the towers. The feeling of when I made it, I just burst into tears, I was so emotional. The tour guide wanted to turn back because of adverse weather conditions, but we persisted because we were almost there.

Tenille Hunt

I Want To Go Back – Valerie Waterston

I want to discover more of Patagonia. The most travel I’ve done in Patagonia is through overland expedition travel – so mostly camping. Patagonia to me is somewhere to go back to. It is such a beautiful, unique, pristine environment. For your outdoor enthusiasts, it really is unbeatable. There are no altitude issues. You have glaciers and beautiful lakes and stunning scenery and really great hiking, and also just the experience of staying at some of the properties. Food is a big thing in these properties and to have such high-quality meals by specialised chefs after you’ve been out trekking for the day is part of the holiday experience.

Valerie Waterston – Chimu Destination Specialist

Colombia

Man cooking Arepas in Colombia
Arepas stall. Photo: Tenille Hunt

My very first few hours in Colombia, I arrived late at night and woke up early the next morning to go to the markets. I can still taste the food today it was so delicious. Check out these Arepas! Arepas are made of ground maize dough and are a delightful part of Colombian cuisine. Colombia truly is an amazing place.

Tenille Hunt

Machu Picchu

You can’t go past the WOW factor of Macchu Picchu. It is famous for a very good reason. It’s the history and the architecture itself, but it’s also the setting. It’s set on this amazing mountain in the cloud forest, so it’s beautiful to see before you even learn about how amazing the construction is. One of my favourite things about Macchu Picchu is – everyone has this idea that getting to Macchu Picchu for sunrise is the thing to do. However, by 2 or 3 pm, even with the new regulations, is when it starts to get quieter and you can have Macchu Picchu to yourself by 4-5 pm. The gates open at sunrise and close at sunset. Everyone wants to get up there for sunrise, but very few people stay till sunset. You can sit and enjoy the site with fewer and fewer tourists. One of my favourite things to do is to go later in the afternoon and relax and enjoy the peace and magnitude of the site.

Valerie Waterston

Travelling with Family

Polly Templeton – 2015

A lady stands in front of the Iguazu Falls, Brazil
Jenny, Polly’s mother in front of the Iguazu Falls. Photo: Polly Templeton

My mother, Jenny, was an air hostess flying from London to South America and in particular Rio in the early 1960s. She had often expressed the desire to re-visit Brazil. Our trip started in Buenos Aires for a couple of days before being taken to see the fantastic Iguazu Falls, first from the Argentinean side and then from the Brazilian side.

Polly and her mother in Rio. Photo: Polly Templeton

We then flew on to Rio de Janeiro with a couple of days spent seeing the sights and Mother was astounded at how much Rio had changed. The highlights for her were the trips up Corcovado and Sugarloaf Mountain plus sampling pisco sour cocktails along the Copacabana boardwalk.

Polly Templeton – Chimu Traveller

Tenille Hunt – 2020

Tenille in Antarctica with her parents
Photo: Tenille Hunt

This photo is extremely special. Antarctica is my fave place on earth and to be able to share that with my parents was amazing. To experience the beauty of Antarctica with them was just incredible, and to show them why I love what I do.

Tenille Hunt – Chimu Relationship Manager

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