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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Few islands in Indonesia’s Nusa Tenggara chain offer the same snorkeling travelers can find on Moyo Island. Lining the perimeter of the island's coast is a gold mine of untouched coral reefs. The reefs offer a trove of biodiversity that give even the most seasoned snorkeler something to revel in.

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Guyana is tucked away in a lesser-known part of South America, and within it is a rarely glimpsed species of big cat — the jaguar.

Many people think they know plenty about the jaguar — a spotted cat that loosely resembles a leopard or cheetah. However, this elusive, South American feline may be known more for the luxury automobiles named after it than its actual qualities.

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The Arenal Volcano is one of Costa Rica's most extraordinary sites, drawing thousands on Costa Rica tours every year. This nearly-perfect, conical volcano reaches 5,357 feet into the sky and for the past 40 years has offered regular eruptions that fascinate locals and visitors alike.

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The Galapagos Islands are perhaps best known for their curious and approachable wildlife, but there are 560 native species of plants in the islands—plants which arrived in the islands by natural means. And of these, 180 are endemic to the islands, meaning they are found nowhere else. The islands, formed by volcanoes, have a wide variety of climates and vegetative zones each hosting a unique set of flora and fauna. The desert-like lowland areas between the coasts and the higher-altitude areas are home to the aptly named lava cactus and lava morning glory.

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