Features // Neil McQuillian

9 tips for backpacking South America
9 tips for backpacking South America

Taken from the Rough Guide to South America on a Budget, these are our top nine tips for backpacking South America. From the tropical beaches of the Caribbean to the windswept archipelago of Tierra del Fuego, backpacking South America guarantees a treasure trove of adventures that has fuelled the imagination of travellers for centuries, with dizzying…

Six spectacular sights in Bolivia
Six spectacular sights in Bolivia

From the heights of La Paz to the Amazon rainforest, the immense Lake Titicaca to the blindingly white Salar de Uyuni salt flats, Bolivia is blessed with a wealth of spectacular sights. Neil McQuillian reveals his six highlights.    The Death Road Any reputable Death Road mountain biking operator will bore you to tears with safety instructions, dos and don’ts, and…

Three magical days on the Rota Vicentina
Three magical days on the Rota Vicentina

Neil McQuillian explores a new network of trails in Portugal My ankle rolled to the side and I tumbled over. Our guide, José Granja, came across to check I was OK. “You know, you need to taste the floor,” he said, peering at me as we set off again. “I fell off my bike once,…

Ten things to do in Chicago for free
Ten things to do in Chicago for free

To paraphrase Frank Sinatra’s crooned take on the city, Chicago can be your kind of town – even if you’re skint. Here’s my top ten tips to enjoy the city for nothing. Soak up the culture The Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College does what it says on the tin. There’s more free photography…

Santa Cruz: gateway to an alternative Bolivia
Santa Cruz: gateway to an alternative Bolivia

A new direct flight route from Europe to Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia could open up another side to the country writes Neil McQuillian. Travellers setting off on a South American tour rarely make Bolivia their first port of call. But as non-stop flights between Europe and the county restarted again last November (with Air Europa),…

Gorging on Portuguese food in alluring Alentejo
Gorging on Portuguese food in alluring Alentejo

Alentejo is huge and Alentejo is gorgeous. The Portuguese food is excellent, the wine arguably even better; it’s cheap, it’s quiet and it’s wild. And for now at least, besides a handful of the rich and famous who own houses here, you can have it largely to yourself… Neil McQuillian takes a rather delicious tour…

Natural beauty and outrageous luxury in Switzerland
Natural beauty and outrageous luxury in Switzerland

In 2014 Switzerland’s Graubünden region celebrates its 150th anniversary as the birthplace of winter tourism. Although much has changed since then, Neil McQuillian finds plenty of old-school luxury – and some pleasing eccentricities. My guide John and I were about to be shown round the spectacularly sited Romantik Hotel Muottas Muragl, and had just met the…

Ten things to do in Manchester for free
Ten things to do in Manchester for free

The IRA’s 1996 bomb in Manchester city centre was one of the city’s darkest days. Extensive damage was done, but ultimately it served only to unleash a flurry of investment that carries on to this day. This means, of course, that there are myriad ways to spend your pennies here these days. Yet deep down,…

Riviera Nayarit: hippy-hunting on Mexico’s Pacific beaches
Riviera Nayarit: hippy-hunting on Mexico’s Pacific beaches

On a trip to Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit, just a short drive from bright lights of Puerto Vallarta, Neil McQuillian discovers the unexpected… There! I whipped my head round to get a better look. Yes – roger that – no doubt about it. That rare combination of bright, clashing colours and drab browns: remarkable. Quite a…

R2-D2 takes to the skies
R2-D2 takes to the skies

As if Thursday’s new trailer for December 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens wasn’t enough, Japanese airline ANA have risked sending Star Wars fans’ mental equilibrium into a galaxy far, far away by launching a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner painted like beep-talking robot R2-D2. OK, it’d look lame next to the Millennium Falcon or Death Star – and why…