ietravel's blog

January 29, 2013

Costa Rica's Best Volcanoes

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Many people frequently ask me: “Should I go to Belize or Costa Rica, and what is the difference”? Well, the two countries, though not separated by a tremendous number of miles, are as different as night and day. One of the major differences, are the presence of volcanoes in Costa Rica along the central spine of mountains running northwest to southeast from Nicaragua to Panama.

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The Amazon rainforest is home to many different primate species, including titi monkeys. There are many varying subspecies of titis, including the white-eared titi, red-bellied titi, ornate titi and the recently discovered caqueta titi.

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The harpy eagle is one of the most powerful predators in the Amazon and one of the largest eagle species in the world. This winged hunter preys on monkeys, sloths, reptiles, rodents and other birds, and the sight of a harpy eagle snatching a monkey from a tree branch with ease is one you won't soon forget if you're lucky enough to witness it on International Expeditions’ Amazon river cruises.

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Most people do not think too kindly of caterpillars — especially those with flower or vegetable gardens — and certainly farmers, who do all that they can to rid their crops of the little eating machines.

When one considers the diversity of butterflies and moths, it is quite overwhelming. There are researchers who spend their entire lives searching out new species, and others who spend their lives trying to come up with new chemical technologies to wipe out insects, including caterpillars, that are harmful to crops.

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When most people hear the words “sea snake,” they immediately think of highly venomous snakes that inhabit marine (salt water) environments, just part of the reason sea snakes are greatly feared by many people. Most people also believe that sea snakes are only found in the Indo-Australian regions and the South China Sea, but sea snakes are much more wide ranging than that.

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Every year, travelers come to IE looking for experiences that that offer under-the-radar appeal and authentic connections to the local culture. In fact, according to the Adventure Travel Trade Association, 26% of all travelers are looking for adventure activities on vacation. As we strive to provide our guests with brag-worthy excursions — and be a true “life list” Sherpa for intrepid travelers — International Expeditions has put together four suggestions for your adventure “bucket list.”

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Chewing on ginger root or mint leaves can ease an upset stomach, and hemp can be used as a source of fuel or to make clothing. These are just a few examples of the benefits plants can provide, and scientists are discovering more advantages of new plants in places like the Amazon rainforests every day.

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Bird lovers planning to join International Expeditions’ Costa Rica ecotours will relish their time in Sarapiquí. The Sarapiquí region of Costa Rica's Heredia province is one of the few remaining locations where travelers can see the great green macaw. Keep your eyes on the trees to catch a glimpse of a macaw's nest, and listen for their crow-like call.

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The Amazon region of South America is home to so many different species of animals it can be hard to keep track of who's who, but the black-capped squirrel monkeys tend to stand out from the pack. These tree-dwelling primates have brownish-yellow coats of fur with distinctly darker heads, white masks around their eyes and fuzzy elvish ears. They can be found in many tropical regions from Brazil to Peru and Bolivia, and even as far north as Costa Rica.

December 10, 2012

Cuba's Bee Hummingbird

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Who said birds had to be big to be spectacular? There is a wide variety of flying creatures in Cuba, but one of the best is so small that you might mistake it for an insect. The bee hummingbird is only slightly heavier than a paperclip, and at just over two inches in length, could perch comfortably on your thumb. The male claims the title of the smallest bird in the world.

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