Peru

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Our second full day in the Amazon on our International Expeditions River Cruise started at the crack of dawn, as we left on our skiffs for an early morning birdwatching expedition on a small tributary of the Ucayali River. We saw dozens of species along the way, but the light was largely too low (or the birds too far away) for good photos, even with my 400mm lens. But this gorgeous Dusky Headed Parakeet proved remarkably cooperative, posing atop a stump near the water.

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You will see many different species of monkeys on International Expeditions’ Amazon River cruises, but few compare to the uakari. This endangered animal stands out from the crowd with distinct features including a red face, short tail and bald head. IUCN Redlist classifies all three subspecies of the uakari as vulnerable, just one step away from being endangered. When the animals become excited, their faces flush. This may be a tactic for attracting mates, as pale skin is often a sign a uakari monkey is sick.

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Iguana, piranha fishing and capped heron...and it was just Day 1 of Bret and Mary's Amazon River cruise with IE! Co-Founded by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett, Green Global Travel is a website devoted to ecotourism, nature/wildlife conservation & sustainable living.

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Many distinct animals make their homes in South America's Andes mountain range, including the brilliantly colored Rupicola peruviana - commonly known as the Andean cock-of-the-rock. And since Peru is home to the most known bird species in the world, the Andean cock-of-the rock had to beat out some impressive species to earn the title of “national bird. ” The main reasons this bird was chosen above the other hundreds of bird species found in Peru are its striking plumage and unique mating rituals.

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Alligators are some of the most dangerous predators in the world, and few are more feared than the black caiman. These semi-aquatic reptiles are the largest alligator species on the planet, and the deadliest killers in the Amazon rainforest. They tend to stick to shallow waters, so your Amazon River cruise guides will be on the look-out for these creatures on skiff excursions through the South American jungles.

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In the U.S., guinea pigs stand alongside hamsters, cats and dogs as beloved family pets, but that is not the case in Cusco. Rather than snuggling these furry rodents, Cusco natives see them as a tasty treat, and you will likely see Cuy, the Quechuan word for guinea pig, listed on the menus of many local restaurants. Native to Peru, these rodents reproduce and grow quickly, making them a cheap food source. Luckily, they are rather tasty as well.

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Dear Traveler,

Just a few days ago, someone asked me to really define what kind of journeys International Expeditions offers. The terms we so commonly use — like nature travel and ecotourism — did not seem descriptive enough. So I came up with a statement focusing less on who WE are and more on what YOU experience.

IE guests discover the world through small group experiences where they are immersed in the nature and local culture of Earth’s greatest wilderness regions.

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Amazon River cruises are ideal for bird watchers and anyone else who enjoys nature travel. When you think of jungle birds, you may first picture toucans and parrots, but there are many other winged creatures living among the trees in the Amazon, including the hoatzin. This bird's many distinct characteristics have caused scientists to reclassify the species in different orders, since it doesn't seem to quite fit into any one group in particular.

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20 Years Later: A Photo of Charlie’s Machete

The Amazon Medical Project was founded in 1990 by Dr. Linnea J. Smith, M.D., a former IE Amazon rainforest tour guest. The project supports the Yanamono Medical Clinic, which provides primary care, involving locally trained people and encourages preventative medicine. Below is PART 1 of Linnea’s recent letter to clinic supporters and friends.

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The Amazon rainforests are home to many unique creatures — so many that scientists regularly discover new species. Already this year, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced that 365 previously undocumented species have been recorded in the Bahuaja-Sonene National Park, which encompasses a portion of the Southwest Amazon.

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