Latin America

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Trying the regional dishes is one of the most fun – and tasty – ways to be immersed in the local culture when you travel. That’s why International Expeditions includes excursions to local restaurants and meals at leisure during our itineraries. Recently, our Costa Rica tour naturalist Jonathan Sequeira told us about one of the most frequently asked guest questions during meals out: “What’s this sauce?”

November 08, 2011

Stargazing on the Amazon River

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South America is different from its northern counterpart in many ways, but this will be especially apparent to stargazers or amateur astrologists searching the night skies. Nights on IE’s Amazon River tours offer plenty of time to admire the stars of the Southern Hemisphere. Some of the constellations seen in these areas are seasonal but others are circumpolar, so they can always be spotted.

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For 32 years, International Expeditions has been focused on preserving Earth’s wild regions…along with the creatures that call these environments home. So we’re thrilled to share news from Brazil’s Pantanal, where IE is heavily involved in trying to restore the native populations of macaws.

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Like many species of the Galapagos Islands, marine and land iguanas are colorful, eccentric and can vary noticeably depending on the island you happen to be visiting.

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Andean condors offer the ultimate in viewings for avid birders and amateurs alike. The massive birds are some of the largest flying creatures in the world, and are a highlight of nature travel through the Andes. A particularly good place to spot these awesome animals is at Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia.

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Researchers from Case Western Reserve University recently found the oldest fossils on the South American continent along the banks of the Ucayali River, an offshoot of the Amazon River.

The fossils, which are at least 41 million years old, are the teeth of mouse and rat-sized animals that experts say are most closely related to African rodents. They are from the suborder Caviomorpha, which means they are related to living species such as guinea pigs, chinchillas and New World porcupines.

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Of the myriad species spotted on Galapagos Islands cruises, most travelers expect to see rare and exotic species of sea turtles. Now it seems that the days when vacationers could see the ancient Pinta tortoise could be numbered, as the species has dwindled down to a single representative.

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Paddling along the Clarinho River in Brazil's northern Pantanal will offer many fantastic wildlife sightings, but the capybara may be one of the most interesting for those seeking a rich nature travel experience.

Resembling both a guinea pig and a beaver, the 100-pound mammal is the largest rodent in the world. Found in several South American countries, the capybara lives in the dense vegetation that surrounds lakes, rivers, marshes and ponds, which is why visitors to the Pantanal — a spectacular wilderness of wetlands — are likely to see one.

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Brazilian scientists reported finding a new river in the Amazon basin that they estimate is the same length but nearly 100 times as wide, The Guardian reports. Lead researchers Valiya Hamza and Elizabeth Tavares Pimentel of Brazil's National Observatory presented their findings at the International Congress of the Society Brasiliera Geophysical in Rio de Janeiro.

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 While the Amazon River may be home to larger aquatic animals, piranhas are perhaps some of the best-known residents — primarily for the lore associate with their sharp teeth and voracious appetites.

Travelers who venture into a tributary with slower-moving waters on International Expeditions’ Amazon River cruise will likely find red-bellied, white or black piranhas. Of these three species, the red-bellied variety had the strongest jaws and sharpest teeth of all of these carnivorous fish.

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