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Birders and intrepid travelers looking for a new nature travel destination in 2012 should add Costa Rica to their list. Here, they can visit the La Amistad International Park and the Cerro de la Muerte region for immersion in a lush, tropical wonderland.

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Photographing landscapes seems like the easiest type of photography. The subject is still and straightforward, yet many times, the end result is flat, dull and boring - nothing like the breathtaking and memorable scenery that was there.

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South America's Amazon region is one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world, and Amazon river tours can give travelers a chance to see the natural beauty of the region first-hand. The entire region is considered to be endangered, primarily due to industrial companies clearing the land of forests to use it for profit, but the positive effects of preservation efforts are starting to be seen.

January 04, 2012

Saving the Bali Starling

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Thousands of birds enjoy the tropical islands of the Indonesian archipelago, but only a few species can call themselves natives.

One is the Bali starling, a critically endangered species that is endemic to Bali. This striking white and sapphire blue bird has not expanded its range much since scientists first discovered and recorded it in 1912 — it can only be found on the island, mostly throughout the northwest third of it.

January 04, 2012

Four Tips for Packing Light

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Whether trekking Machu Picchu on the Inca Trail or birding in Borneo, nature travel often requires you to be able to readily grab your bag and head off to the next adventure. Large, bulky suitcases can make it difficult to meet the luggage restrictions imposed on small, in-country flights, so the best way to pack for these expeditions is with as little as possible.

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Often recognized from cartoons and cereal boxes, many may misunderstand toucans, a bird that thrives in Brazil's Pantanal.

While the bird is widely recognized internationally, those visiting Brazil may get a close-up view of the red-breasted toucan, one of the 40 species of the bird that exist.

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Many children dream of climbing on Pride Rock in the Disney-created land of Simba and Nala, but those on an IE custom Tanzania safari can get as close to that dream as possible.

At Lake Manyara National Park in Tanzania, the game drive will offer sightings of lions, the king of the big cats. One of Africa's Big Five, the lion used to be widespread across the African continent, but now is confined to the sub-Saharan region.

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Paragominas, a Brazilian municipality roughly the size of New Jersey, was once the site of rapid deforestation, losing its forests faster than any other area of the Amazon. However, the Brazilian government in partnership with The Nature Conservancy has put a stop to illegal deforestation and turn Paragominas into a "Green City."

The Nature Conservancy has been working since 2009 to end illegal deforestation in the Amazon, and recent efforts by local government officials have managed to accomplish the task in Paragominas.

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Kanha National Park is home to a wide variety of creatures from tigers to peacocks to elephants. It is such a scenic nature travel destination that Rudyard Kipling used it as his inspiration for the classic children's story, The Jungle Book.

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Most people travel to Machu Picchu and Cusco to learn about the ancient "lost city" or explore the legendary rainforest of the Amazon River. However, archaeological and natural wonders aside, the kitchens and dining rooms of Peru have plenty more to offer those who travel to Peru.

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