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Watch the migratory routes of birds through the Americas sped up

This fascinating gif shows the migration of birds throughout the year between the Americas from 118 species. As you can see, their are plenty of excellent bird watching spots for migratory birds, but the cross over between the Americas – Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala – are particularly good. We run bird watching trips throughout the year. If you would like us to create a bespoke bird watching tour please do get in touch.

via GIPHY

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Last chance to visit the Antarctic with one of our special offers

Antarctica_cruise_on_ushuaia

Antarctic Peninsula
Vessel: Ortelius
9 Feb – 18 Feb 2016

Twin porthole – €6,500 NOW €5,200 (20% discount)

Falkland Islands – South Georgia – South Sandwich Islands – Antarctic Peninsula
Vessel: Plancius
13 Feb – 6 Mar 2016

Quadruple porthole – €11,950 NOW €9,560 (20% discount)
Twin porthole – €14,350 NOW €11,480 (20% discount)

Antarctic Peninsula – Basecamp Ortelius
Vessel: Ortelius
28 Feb – 10 Mar 2016

Twin porthole – €7,250 NOW €5,800 (20% discount)
Twin window – €7,700 NOW €6,160 (20% discount)
Twin deluxe – €8,150 NOW €6,520 (20% discount)
Superior – €8,900 NOW €7,120 (20% discount)

Polar Circle – Antarctic Peninsula
Vessel: Plancius
6 Mar – 17 Mar 2016

Quadruple porthole – €5,950 NOW €4,760 (20% discount)
Twin porthole – €7,250 – NOW €5,800 (20% discount)
Twin window – €7,700 – NOW €6,160 (20% discount)

We’re offering free flights up to the value of £2,000 for the below two voyages.

Classic Antarctic
Vessel: Akademik Ioffe
28 Feb – 9 Mar 2016

Twin cabins – start at £7,197 per person

Antarctic Peninsula and the Falklands
Vessel: Akademik Sergey Vavilov
13 Feb – 23 Feb 2016

Twin cabins – start at £7,863 per person

Looking to book for the 2016/17 season? Booking before 1 April 2016 to get $500 off many cruises.

For more information or to book any of the cruises get in touch today.

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Everything you need to know about Argentine Wine in one handy infographic

Most people who drink wine are familiar with Malbec, the national grape of Argentina, but less is known about the countries other grapes. Take the Bonarda grape for example, or the excellent Patagonian Pinot Noir. Not only does this infographic show the regions of wine making importance in Argentina but the facts and figures around the industry. Who knew that the highest winery in the world is located in the Upper Calchaqui Valleys at over 10,000 feet?

Credit: Vinepair

Credit: Vinepair

To begin your wine tour of Argentina, get in touch with us today.

 

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10 absolute musts in Buenos Aires

Indulge your sweet tooth

Flickr: Wally Gobetz

Flickr: Wally Gobetz

If you’ve never tried dulce de leche you are in for a real treat. The thick, milky caramel used in many deserts, pastries and alfajores is loved by both portenos and tourists alike. Many of the gelatos in the city sell dulce de leche ice cream which is divine.

Visit the MALBA

Flickr: Médéric

Flickr: Médéric

For anyone with even the slightest interest in art, a visit to the MALBA: Colección Costantini is a must. Artists work on display including Diego Rivera, Tarsila do Amaral, Antonio Berni, Jorge de la Vega and Frida Kahlo.

Shop till you drop in San Telmo

Flickr: _Teb

Flickr: _Teb

The bric-a-brac and antique shops that line the Calle Defensa in San Telmo district make for a great day of bargain hunting. The area is best visited on a Sunday when the Feria de San Telmo market take over with a dazzling array of artisanal products and antiques.

Go to a Polo match

Argentina is famous for its polo and matches can be seen in the Spring months of September, October and November. You can even try your hand at the sport at one of the many clubs.

Tour the Tigre Delta

Want to escape the city? Just outside the lush scenery and calm waterways of the Tigre Delta. Jump on board one of the many small boat cruises and while away a sunny afternoon away from the bustle of the city.

Eat steak

Argentina has plenty of fine restaurants and a plethora of cuisines, both Argentine and international. But who (with the exception of vegetarians) could visit the city and not try and least one mouthwatering steak. Best accompanied by a glass of world-class Malbec.

Dance the night away at a milonga

Flickr: Lee

Flickr: Lee

Don’t just go and see a tango show, visit a milonga and try the steps for yourself. Milongas are held in many venues across the city, most of which resemble something between a community hall and a ballroom. 

Gorge on medialunas

Flickr: Jorge Gobbi

Flickr: Jorge Gobbi

Argentina’s answer to the French croissant, medialunas are delicious and best eaten accompanied by freshly roasted coffee in one of the many coffee houses dotted around the city.

Pay your respects to Evita at Recoleta Cemetery

Although it sounds morbid, its actually fascinating. Recoleta Cemetery located in the exclusive district of the same name is most famous for being the burial ground of Eva Peron. Although Evita is the most famous person buried here, there are many poets, scientists, presidents and military leaders that also rest in the cemetery.

Watch a football match at La Bombonera

Flickr: Pablo Alzate

Flickr: Pablo Alzate

There is no better way to introduce you to Argentina’s true passion that watching the Boca Juniors, the team Maradona once played for. Best if they are playing fierce rivals River Plate. If there’s no game you can still take a tour of the stadium.

To start your journey to Buenos Aires, contact us today.

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The messy completo is Chile’s finest fast food

Flickr: James

Flickr: James

Everyone knows the American hotdog. New York’s full of vendors plying the streets with the cheap snack, but did you know that the Chileans do a hot dog, and it’s a whole lot better.

If you spend any length of time in Santiago it’s impossible not to try the completo. Like their American cousin it begins with the basic hotdog between bun, but that’s all they share in common. It’s then loaded up with chopped tomato, mayonnaise and salsa.

There are plenty of variants on the basic recipe. You’ll commonly find the Italiano that includes mash avocado which along with tomatoes and mayonnaise looks like the Italian flag. If the inclusion of all that avocado and tomato seems to healthy, you can have them loaded with French fries, strips of beef and fried eggs. There is a growing number of gourmet completo joints including organic ingredients and German bratwurst sausages which are more expensive, but worth the extra.

Although the completo can be enjoyed any time of day, it’s best enjoyed after a few cold beers or a night of pisco sours, limited any potential hangover the following day. It’s also incredibly good value, starting at around $2.

They are loaded so high that tackling your first completo can be a daunting prospect. Don’t let this put you off, just embrace the mess. Once started you’ll soon forget you’re ruined your t-shirt and jeans and most has been lost to the table and floor. Order a second.

It isn’t hard to find a complete kiosk, but some of the best include Hogs on Merced 299 which offer upmarket completes or the stalls around Pio Nono and Bellavista where the hot dogs are cheap and plentiful.

To try a completo for yourself start planning your trip to Chile today.

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This unique pod hotel hangs from a cliff in the Sacred Valley

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The Skylodge is a unique set of pods that hang a 1,000 feet up a cliff in the Sacred Valley just outside Cuzco in Peru.

This set of three transparent pods are only reachable by climbing up the steep cliff on iron rung via ferrata, with the help of an expert guide. Once you arrive at the Skylodge, you can enjoy spectacular views over the valley.

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The pods are surprisingly comfortable and spacious at 24 feet long. This space includes a small living area, a bed complete with cotton sheets and down pillows and a small toilet, which quite possibly has the best view on earth. Settle in and enjoy a glass of wine while your guide prepares a delicious dinner which you can eat looking out over the stars from all angles.

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There are curtains provided should you need some privacy from the circling condors. In the morning you can watch the sunrise on the small platform above the pod while your guide brings you a hearty breakfast and coffee.

There are two ways to get back down to earth. Although it’s not recommended, if you wish you can climb back down the cliff on the irons rungs. Most however opt to take the exhilarating zip-line back down.

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The stay here can be combined with a visit to Pisac Market, the last inhabited Inca town Ollaytaytambo, Moras and Moray, as well as a more conventional (albeit beautiful) hotel.

If you would like to book a stay in the Skylodge or combine it with a larger tour of the Sacred Valley, Cuzco or the rest of the Peru, do get in touch with us today.

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8 Best Natural Hot Springs For A Soak In Latin America

Termas Papallacta, Ecuador

Flickr: Jo Simon

Flickr: Jo Simon

The Termas Papallacta hot springs a located around forty miles east of Quito.  Squeezed in an Andean valley between Antisana and Cayamba Volcano at over 3,000 metres above sea level, these thermal springs have been certified to have medicinal properties. It can either be visited on a day trip from Quito, or conveniently a hotel has been built around the hot springs to allow an overnight stay. It’s best visited in the colder months between June and August.

Laguna Verde, Bolivia

 

Laguna Verde

Flickr: sergejf

In southern Bolivia near the border with Argentina is the spectacular Laguna Verde, a seriously high altitude lake at the foot of Ojos del Salado Volcano. The temperature at 4,500 metres above sea level often gets below freezing so there is no better place to soak than these hot springs on the western side of the lake. Extra points for having one of the best views.

Baños Hot Springs, Ecuador

 

Flickr: Nicky

Flickr: Nicky

These communal hot spring baths in the Andean town Baños are not the prettiest and quickly fill up, but after a day of hiking or mountain biking in the surrounding hills you’ll be pleased to have them. There are a range of baths in differing temperatures. The cliff behind the hot springs has a series of cascading waterfalls which make for a scenic backdrop.

Tabacon Hot Springs, Arenal, Costa Rica

Whilst Arenal has plenty of hot springs, Tabacon is the original and still one of the best. Although it’s very popular, its split up into different bathing areas, so it’s possible to find a little privacy if you wish. The two rivers that feed the bathing areas, one of which is hot, is divided to produce pools of differing temperature. There are plenty of extra spa treatments on offer from mud wraps to massages.

Banos Morales Hot Springs, Chile

Flickr: sulaire

Flickr: sulaire

Located near San Jose de Maipo near Santiago in Chile, the Banos Morales have two hot springs feed by the Morales River and heated by the nearby volcano. Rich in sodium and iodine, they are reportedly excellent for healing ailments and skin conditions.

Puritama Hot Springs, Atacama, Chile

About twenty miles from San Pedro de Atacama, located in the middle of the high altiplano desert are the scenic Puritama Hot Springs. These medicinal waters that range from 25ºC to 30ºC in eight different pools connected by wooden walkways are excellent for soothing soaks after a day of activities and offer excellent views of the surrounding desert.

Termas de Cacheuta, Mendoza, Argentina

Overlooking the Mendoza River, just outside the city is the Termas de Cacheuta hot springs. The spa provides a circuit of pools ranging in temperatures winding through indoors and outdoors, as well as other treats like a water volcano and bubble baths to enjoy along the way. There is also natural steam room and other spa treatments included.

Deception Island, Antarctic

Flickr: pratt

Flickr: pratt

Ok, it’s not Latin America, but its only reachable from a cruise departing from Latin America. Deception Island, part of the South Shetland Islands off the Antarctic Peninsula. The large flooded caldera has created a natural harbor and the geothermal activity from the active volcano provides steaming hot water best enjoyed after taking the famously cold polar plunge.

To start planning your hot springs tour of Latin America get in touch.

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5 useful apps to make your travels more eco-friendly

App

If you are traveling to Latin America in the coming months, you will want to help preserve the pristine landscapes and beautiful regions as much as you possibly can. Protecting the environment is a noble cause, and travel can put a good deal of stress on the environment considering the waste products of most vacationers. You know you can do better.

One of the best tools for doing so is possibly in your hand right now. Apps give smartphones new versatility, and fortunately for all of us, app developers have been hard at work developing products that help us protect the environment through services or advice. All it will take is a few minutes of your time to improve your vacation and lessen your environmental impact.

Here are five apps that will make your vacation better for both the environment and yourself:

Google Maps

While it may seem obvious that Google Maps (or a similar application) should be on your phone to save you from lugging around tons of maps, you have probably used it mostly to get to a friend’s house in your car, yet there is a public transport setting and a walking setting that will allow you to get around unknown cities without using wasteful taxis and rented cars. Most tourist cities have developed great public transport systems, and it’s these features that will prevent you from getting lost as you save the environment one ride at a time.

Zinio

You should take Zinio with you instead of a bunch of paper magazines that you’ll likely have to throw out anyways. It is an app that allows you to access your magazines on your smartphone and read them while traveling or otherwise indisposed. They almost certainly have your favorite travel magazine available, and discovering new options will be easy. Think of the paper and ink wasted on useless ads alone and you’ll realize just how much of an impact Zinio will have in helping you reduce yours.

Trip Journal

Trip Journal is the perfect travel app for yourself and those back home who want to see your adventures. You can make real time updates about your vacation and share them with others, allowing you to keep some of the clunky or wasteful logging equipment back at home and focus more on you and your personal journey. You can take notes or photos and integrate them easily into your blog or journal. You can put your scrapbook away and just worry about keeping your smartphone safe from the elements instead (which you were going to do anyway).

Farmstand

Farmstand helps you eat healthy and organically while you travel. It will spot farmers markets and similar events in your immediate area that you can get to so you can eat healthy wherever you are. These markets are much better for the environment than dealing with the extra costs of transport. Its catalog may not be complete everywhere you travel due to farmers markets not being registered, but when you go to major cities, it will prove extremely useful.

A Virtual Private Network

Without the protection of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) you won’t be able to safely use public networks (a necessary and dangerous evil) while you travel. On them hackers and cybercriminals will be able to intercept your information, which can include your online accounts and financial information. This may tempt you to waste paper and print out bank statements and other vital documents you need, but VPNs eliminate the need for a financial paper trail. Not only that, but you can also use it to stay anonymous online and access otherwise blocked services and websites such as Netflix so you have something to do on a day when nature doesn’t feel like cooperating with your itinerary.

Our use of the planet’s resources is expanding, but our technological advancements are allowing us to bring ourselves back from the brink of ecological ruin. You can help, and it won’t even be an inconvenience.

Do you have any thoughts on any of the above apps, or do you use any others to help you stay while you travel or otherwise? If so, please leave a comment below and give us your thoughts on this important subject.

Brought to you by Jess Signet

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Come and see us at the Destinations Travel Show

Destinations

We’re exhibiting at the Destinations Travel Show in London this February and it would be great to see you. 

Destinations Holiday & Travel Show is the UK’s largest and longest-running travel show. Hundreds of the leading tour operators (including us) and over seventy tourist boards will attend as well as travel celebrities, presentations and cultural shows to help your 2016 trip planning go off with a bang. Fuel your sense of wanderlust and discover myriad holiday opportunities, whilst discussing plans with the experts. The Meet the Experts Theatres will provide over fifty hours of free travel advice covering everything from the hottest destinations to travel advice. 

And the best part? We’re offering free tickets! Follow this link and use the code MSC58 to claim them. We look forward to seeing you.

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