Eco Travel

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Whether it's crossing the Serengeti on a Kenya and Tanzania safari or flying through the canopy on a zip line tour of Costa Rica, travelers visiting exotic natural environments are going to want to take a few snapshots to help them remember their journey. Yet while booking nature travel is simple, getting a toco toucan to pose for a photo can be exceedingly difficult.

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Those who come to the vast Amazon rainforest to learn about the jungle’s natural bounty of medicinal plants often encounter a complex combination of medicine and spiritual ritual administered by a local Shaman. While sometimes overlooked by those studying modern medicine, the Amazon’s medicinal plants and Shamans provide a vital link between nature’s ecosystems, ancient medicine and modern cures.

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A quick survey of our Travel Planners has uncovered the most popular question they get about our Amazon tour: When is the best time to go?

In truth, though it may sound cliche, there really is no bad time to visit the Amazon River; however, your personal preferences and activities will play a big part in choosing which time of the year you should take an Amazon cruise.

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International Expeditions' Amazon mini water treatment plants in the remote villages of San Jose de Paranapura, Irlanda and Santa Teresa, Peru are already making a big impact on the health of villagers! According to Dr. Linnea Smith, who operates the Amazon Medical Clinic, she is treating far fewer cases of intestinal parasites and common diarrhea now that the water treatment plants are providing clean drinking water.

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With school back in session and two full-time gardeners, a lot is happening at the IE-funded Las Malvinas urban garden project in Iquitos, Peru! During a typical week, over 300 students regularly come and go for classes in the gazebo and hands-on work in the garden. Our in-country partner sent this update.

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For former International Expeditions guest Dr. Linnea Smith, her time on an Amazon rainforest tour was truly a life-changing journey that is now having a positive impact on the people of the rainforest. This Wisconsin-based doctor gave up her practice to open a medical clinic in 1990 serving the Yagua and Ribereno people of the Upper Amazon Basin.

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Expeditions' newest mini water treatment plant has just been completed in the village of San Jose de Paranapura. About 60 families live in this village on the Rio Ucayali. A four-stage filtration system produces up to 2,200 liters of clean water each day. For these families, our water treatment plant means parasite-free water to drink, brush their teeth and cook with every day! Boiling is the only other way to get clean water, requiring harvesting of trees to build and sustain a fire.

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Bill Robison, International Expeditions’ Director of Product Development, spent the first part of 2009 in Laos and Vietnam researching locations for our 15-day itinerary. Follow Bill’s series of updates on these fascinating countries, as well as how he’s put together a Laos and Vietnam tour that covers the spectacular natural beauty and culture of Southeast Asia.

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By Expedition Leader Jorge Salas

During our Amazon Voyage, we explore the Pacaya River, in the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve, the heart of the Amazon. International Expeditions supports a Yellow Spotted River Turtle project in the reserve. This project protects the eggs of these endangered turtles until they are hatched, then reintroduces the turtles in the Pacaya-Samiria.

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IE's three decades of conservation work in the Amazon has been featured on National Geographic Traveler's Intelligent Travel blog.

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