ietravel's blog

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Anyone visiting the neotropics is most likely very aware of the large, paper-like nests that are often found in trees at various levels from near ground level to the mid-story or even the higher canopy at times. These large structures are the nests of a variety of type of termites. (Not a variety in one nest but each species makes nest in similar shapes)

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The Amazon River and its surrounding rainforests are shrouded in mystery, and scientists are constantly discovering new species and information culled from the South American jungles. For the most part, experts visit the jungle to study it in person, but new research has created a 3D map of a three-mile stretch of the rainforest in Peru.

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For an nature travel enthusiast thinking of going on a Bali cruise, a stop at Rinca and Komodo Islands to spot the famed dragons is a must! Komodo dragons are the largest living lizards in the world, and only found on a few islands in Indonesia. Aside from zoos, there's nowhere else in the world where you can see these massive reptiles.

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Chinchillas are popular household pets, but these South American rodents are critically endangered. There are two types of chinchillas in the wild— long-tailed and short-tailed. The former species is found exclusively in the northern mountain range of Chile, while short-tailed chinchillas exist throughout the Andes in Bolivia, Argentina and Peru as well as Chile.

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On your next Costa Rica ecotour with International Expeditions keep an eye out for the shining honeycreeper. This diminutive tanager is found throughout Central America and in parts of Colombia, and is easily recognizable due to its prominent royal blue coloration.

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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).

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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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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.

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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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.

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