September 2012

September 04, 2012

The Cuban Emerald Hummingbird

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This poem about the Cuban Emerald Hummingbird was shared by James Blackburn, a guest on our recent People-to-People Cuba trip.

 

The Cuban Emerald Hummingbird
by James Blackburn

September 06, 2012

5 Foods to Try in Peru

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Latin America features some of the most dynamic cuisine in the world. It goes much further than just tacos and burritos. This just scrapes the surface and only represents some of the foods that can be found as part of the cuisine of other cultures. The fact is that Latin America features a diverse range of foods, many of which you aren't going to find elsewhere. Peru is no exception. Below we spotlight five can't-miss foods to try in Peru.

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Everyone knows lions are the kings of the jungle, but their reign is in danger of coming to an end. These majestic cats once roamed all over Eurasia and Africa, but these days their empire has been restricted mainly to sub-Saharan Africa.

The fall of the lion empire

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The plants and animals found on Galapagos that helped Darwin form his Theory of Evolution are exactly what makes a Galapagos cruise unforgettable. There are many endemic birds on the archipelago, including the Galapagos flycatcher. This small bird is also called the large-billed flycatcher even though its bill is not that big in size compared to the bird itself.

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Cuba's rich and long history, coupled with isolation from much of the developing world until recently, has created a unique culture on the island nation that will intrigue and surprise visitors as they delve into the daily lives of locals on International Expeditions’ people-to-people Cuba travel program. There's even a religion among parts of the Afro-Cuban population on the island, known as the Santeria religion, that may be completely unfamiliar to individuals from other parts of the world.

September 21, 2012

Painted By Achiote

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Achiote is a beautiful shrub that grows throughout the Amazon Basin and it is frequently found in villages as it produces pretty pink flowers, typically has a nice shrub shape and the fruit produces seeds that are used as a red dye called “annatto.”

The fruits from this shrub are not edible and they grow in clusters of red or brownish red with each fruit is covered in spines. The spines are not extremely hard but rather prickly to the touch. It is, however, the seeds within the pod that have value.

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Paradise tanagers are as colorful as parrots and just as plentiful in the Amazon rainforests and throughout northern regions of South America. These small birds are prized by birders, and you can see one of the subspecies on your next Amazon cruise. These creatures travel in mixed-species groups of about five to 20, but rarely remain in one spot for very long.

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There are many reasons to travel to the Galapagos Islands, but the diverse, approachable wildlife is one of the most popular reasons for people to visit the archipelago. Besides Charles Darwin's finches, perhaps the most famous inhabitants of the Galapagos are the tortoises — and these islands includes a few famous ones.

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Pygmy marmosets, which have long held the title of the smallest monkeys in the world, make their homes in the rainforests of the Upper Amazon Basin. Be sure to keep a keen watch for these tiny primates on your small-group cruises (see this post about Amazon wildlife sightings).