ietravel's blog

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August 16 marks “National Rum Day,” and to celebrate we’re sharing the history and recipe for the popular Cuba Libre.

The Cuba Libre (Spanish for "Free Cuba") originated around 1900 in Havana during the Spanish-American War. Patriots aiding Cuba often toasted the West Indian Island and its freedom with this rum, cola and lime cocktail. Of course, there are variations calling for cherry cola, dashes of Caribbean hot sauce or even adding higher-proof rum – called a Cuban Missile Crisis.

The recipe is easy.

Cuba Libre Drink Recipe:

August 14, 2012

Leaf Cutter Ants

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Workers in a massive farming industry best describes the amazing leaf-cutter ants.

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The animals found in Africa are often unlike any other creatures in the world, and this goes for birds as well as mammals. The grey crowned crane is a shining example of distinct African birds, as its unusual features make it stand out in the African wetlands and the minds of travelers who see and hear the bird in action.

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The island of Bali in the south Pacific is considered to be one of the best places to relax in the world. While sitting on the beach and working on your tan can be a great way to spend the day, more active travelers are going to want to get out and explore at some point. Fortunately, Bali is also home to many snorkeling spots with plenty of aquatic life for you to see.

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A guest on our recent People-to-People Cuba program wrote a dozen poems about his experience and graciously agreed to share them—all are accounts of Cuba seen through the eyes of birds. James Blackburn's poetry includes stars of Cuba's endemic bird species: the Cuban trogon, the limkin, the Cuban tody and the smooth-billed ani.

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Every four years, the International Union for Conservation of Nature evaluates the status of animal species and determines if they belong on the Red List of Threatened Species, and the latest list has many conservationists worried. The number of bird species on the Red List jumped from 1,253 to 1,331 and the majority of the newly added species are found in the Amazon, specifically in the Brazilian Amazon Basin where the new Forest Code loosens protections on the Amazon.

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Although the country of Nicaragua may not be as high-profile as its neighbors in Latin America, this land boasts some of the most diverse wildlife on the planet, making it an animal lover's paradise. If you're looking for a country where you can glimpse sea turtles on the beach one minute and spot monkeys in the jungle the next, Nicaragua is the place for you.

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While planning your summer vacation, you have probably put some thought into what to pack. While you are stuffing suitcases, now may also be a good time to purge – your wallet, that is. Open up your wallet right now and you may be surprised when you realize you carry a window to your entire life – credit cards, store cards, old receipts, extra house keys, family photos. Our friends at Medjet have put together this great list of items that should be in your wallet.

What you should carry:

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On your next Kenya & Tanzania safari, be sure to carefully scan the surfaces of rivers and lakes for hints of hippos gliding in the depths below. These giants may lumber about a bit clumsily on the land, but once they are in the water they find a natural grace that is best explained by example. Whenever your safari exploration leads you along the river banks in Africa, you should watch for these creatures.

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