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Antarctic cruise special offers

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The Antarctic is a truly amazing place, a wilderness of pristine icebergs, glistening waterways, waddling penguins, and fluking whales. The season runs between November and March and with places limited, if you plan to go, it’s best to secure your place early with a deposit. If you’re still not quite sure, here’s several early bird special offers to help you make your decision.

Cruise Date Days Special Offer
Falklands & South Georgia 20/10 – 7/11 19 $1,000 off
South Georgia In Depth 21/10 – 4/11 15 $750 travel credit
Antarctic Peninsula – Basecamp Ortelius 4/11 – 15/11 12 Includes free activities
South Georgia In Depth 4/11 – 18/11 15 $750 travel credit
Falklands , South Georgia & Antarctica 6/11 – 25/11 20 Up to $4,000 off
Weddell Sea – In search of the Emperor Penguin 15/11 – 25/11 11 Up to €1,200 off
Falkland Islands – South Georgia – Antarctic Peninsula 29/11- 18/12 20 Up to €1,100 off
Antarctic Peninsula Explorer 4/12 – 14/12 11 $750 travel credit
Antarctic Peninsula with South Shetland Islands 6/12 – 16/12 11 Up to €850 off
Antarctic Peninsula with South Shetland Islands 6/12 – 16/12 11 Up to €850 off
Antarctic Peninsula 14/12 – 25/12 12 $1,000 off
Antarctic Peninsula Adventure 3/3 – 13/3 11 $750 travel credit
Marne Mammals of Antarctica 23/3 – 2/4 11 $750 travel credit

To discuss your Antarctic travel plans or book your cruise, contact one of our experts at +44 (0) 207 407 1478 or message us here.

5 amazing places you’ll visit on an Antarctic cruise

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Antarctica, the last true wilderness on the planet. A vast, unspoiled continent that has been inspiring adventurers for hundreds of years. Access to parts of the Antarctic have become much easier in recent years and unlike Shackleton’s exploration, it can be done so in relevant comfort. Here’s 5 amazing regions you’re likely to visit on an Antarctic cruise.

Ushuaia & Tierra del Fuego

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Ushuaia is referred to as ‘The End of the World’ and though it feels like it, it’s the starting point for almost all expeditions to the white continent. Surrounding the most southerly town in the world are snowcapped mountains and the Beagle Channel. While most people land in the town and head straight off, it’s worth taking some time to explore. Hike along the trails with local guides, go trout fishing in the lakes, horse ride and take cross country skiing tours. The Tierra del Fuego National Park is home to much wildlife and is breathtaking.

Weddell Sea & Snow Hill

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The Weddell sea is a truly extraordinary place. To visit, one must travel on board an ice-breaker vessel which cuts through thick ice floes. This is a place where few have been before. Snow Hill is home to one of the only emperor penguin rookeries. Some vessels have helicopters to help you get a bird’s eye view and land nearby to walk among the colony. Here, the male penguins have survived the winter with little food while keeping the eggs of their young warm below their feet. An awesome site. Out at sea, Weddell seals can be seen basking on the chunks of floating ice or diving into the water in search of their next meal.

South Georgia

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Many of the Antarctic expeditions visit South Georgia, a place perhaps best known as the resting place or the explorer Shackleton. What fewer know is South Georgia is one of the most awe inspiring places on the planet. Rich with wildlife, thousands of penguins can be found along the Salisbury Plain while many more Gentoo penguins and huge elephant seals take up the beach along Gold Harbour. It’s also an excellent place for seeing wandering albatrosses and fur seals. Though the waters nearby can be rough, it’s sometimes possible to visit Elephant Island where Shackleton’s crew were stranded all those years ago.

Falkland Islands

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Another common stop off point on the way to the Antarctic, and for good reason. The Falkland Islands, located around 300 miles east of South America, is home to much wildlife. Similar to the windswept islands of Scotland, there are more than 200 recorded species of birds on the archipelago. Magellan and  Gentoo penguins on Carcass Island, and rockhoppers, blue-eyed shags and black-browed albatrosses nest on West Point. The islands are the perfect breeding ground for elephant and fur seals who crowd the beaches.

Antarctic Peninsula and Circle

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One of the most magically moments for most is the first sightings of icebergs during the approach to the Antarctic Peninsula. The huge towering monoliths of all shapes and sizes slowly float past before waterways and mountains surround the vessel from all sides. An expedition is likely to take you down Antarctic Sound (sometimes called Iceberg Alley) and through the stunning Lemaire Channel.  Look out for leopard and crabeater seals basking in the soon and humpback and minke whales fluking near the ship.

The next Antarctic expedition season starts in November 2017, but the limited spaces get booked up fast. To start planning your once-in-a-lifetime cruise to the white continent, contact one of our experts at +44 (0) 207 407 1478 or send us a message.

5 cable cars to take in South America

Cable cars are, in our opinion, one of the best modes of transport. Quick, no traffic and it’s possible to take in the landscape or city from above. Many of the cities located along the Andes are, unsurprisingly, hilly, making transport difficult. Though some cable cars are being used for tourism, others are transforming parts of Latin American cities by making the areas more accessible.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

South America’s most well-known and oldest is Rio de Janeiro’s Sugarloaf Mountain cable car. Built in the early 20th century, it was designed for tourists to take in the city views from the mountain’s summit. The journey takes just a few minutes to reach the top.

La Paz, Bolivia

Flickr: Inhabitat

Flickr: Inhabitat

The highly successful state-run cable car that connects La Paz with El Alto is the highest in the world. Since its inauguration in 2014, millions of tourists and locals have used the cable car which costs just £0.25. The line can reportedly carry a staggering 18,000 people per hour. During the World Cup, some of the cars were painted to look like footballs.

Santiago, Chile

Flickr: Robert Cutts

Flickr: Robert Cutts

The Teleférico Metropolitano was built in 1980, but has since been refurbished and reopened late last year. It takes tourists and locals up to the huge Metropolitan Park, one of the largest in Chile. Some of the cabins have been adapted to fit bikes, a popular sport in the park.

Medellín, Colombia

Another highly successful transport system, the Medellín Metrocable opened almost fifteen years ago, and has helped to connect the cities hilly districts. More lines have since been added, the latest being in 2016.  The city one an award for innovation in 2012.

Quito, Ecuador

Flickr: Stuart King

Flickr: Stuart King

The Quito Teleférico hasn’t been created as a mode of transport to get around the city. The cable car starts are 2,950 metres above sea level and arrives in the heady heights of Cruz Loma at 4,050 metres. Fantastic views over the city and the adjacent Pichincha Volcano can be seen from the top. It’s also possible to spot Antisana, Cotopaxi and Rumiñahui on clear days.

If you’d like to take any of the cable cars in South America, or visit anywhere else on the continent, speak to one of our travel experts on +44 (0) 207 407 1478.

Lonesome George returns home

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Almost five years after the death of Lonesome George, the last Pinta tortoise has returned back home to the Galapagos Islands. He remains were sent to New York in 2012 to be preserved by taxidermists and was exhibited at the American Museum of Natural History in 2014.

For those who don’t know Lonesome George, he was the last survivor of the Pinta Islands sub-species. He was found on Pinta Island alone in 1972 when most believed that his species was extinct. After being brought to the Charles Darwin Research Station in Puerto Ayora, there were efforts by the park to mate him with female tortoises, but unfortunately this was unsuccessful. At the point of death, his age was unknown, but is thought to be well over 100 years old. He was the star of the show at the research station and during the 40 years he lived there, tens of thousands of tourists visited him.

The Ecuadorian Pacific archipelago is famous as the place that Charles Darwin developed his theory of evolution. There are 15 species of giant tortoise that inhabit the islands, three of which are now extinct, including George’s sub-species.

The expertly preserved body arrived back on Puerto Ayora on an Ecuadorian military plane and is now on display at the park. Would you like to see Lonesome George or the other wildlife on the Galapagos? Call to speak with one of our travel experts today on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 or see our sample Galapagos tours here.

French artist projects faces of Amazon tribe onto rainforest canopy

Deforestation continues to sweep through the Amazon rainforest. A 2016 project by French street artist Philippe Echaroux aimed to draw attention to the issue through art. While staying with the indigenous Suruí tribe in Brazil, Echaroux photographed the local people and projected their images up onto the rainforest canopy at night creating staggeringly beautiful images in the trees.

The idea behind the project was highlighting the deep connection between the rainforest and the people that live there. Their existence relies on the forest, so it stresses the importance of preserving the region. The work was creating in collaboration with the tribe’s chief Almir Suri Narayamoga who is also working with the Brazilian government to replant this area of the Amazon.

Late last year, Echaroux displayed his photography at the Taglialatella Gallery in Paris. Unfortunately, the exhibition is now over, but the work can still be seen on his website or Facebook page.

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Première Mondiale: du Street Art au coeur de la Forêt Amazonienne – World First Street Art in the Rainforest. from pays-imaginaire.fr on Vimeo.

Photos by Philippe Echaroux

Want to visit the Amazon rainforest? Get in touch with our travel experts on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 to discuss your travel plans.

Top 8 things to do in Nicaragua

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Nicaragua may not be the most visited country in Latin America, but it certainly packs a punch and is tipped to be one of the hottest travel destinations of 2017. The large Central American country has everything from steamy volcanos, rich wildlife, pretty colonial towns, excellent food, white sandy beaches and adventure sports. So, what are you waiting for? Here’s our pick of the top 8 things to do in Nicaragua.

Wander through Granada

Flickr: elaine faith

Flickr: elaine faith

Granada might just be one of the prettiest towns in Central America. Wander through the old cobbled colonial streets and gawk at the beautiful architecture. There are plenty of excellent cafes selling Nicaraguan coffee, the perfect place to people watch.

Go volcano boarding

Flickr: Pete

Flickr: Pete

A must for adventure junkies. Hit the lava slopes of Cerro Negro outside León and throw yourself down on wooden boards. It’s well worth it, but don’t expect the same infrastructure as ski resorts. There’s a steep walk to the top before the fun begins!

Scuba dive on the Corn Islands

Flickr: @N3T1O

Flickr: @N3T1O

These paradisaical Caribbean islands are the perfect place to while away a few days at the end of the holiday. Though it’s well worth the visit just to lounge on the beaches, most come for the snorkelling and scuba diving which is world class. Both Little and Big Corn are both excellent places to stay, but try Little Corn for something a little quieter.

Hike up Concepción Volcano

Flickr: ashokboghani

Flickr: ashokboghani

Concepción Volcano is the second tallest volcano in Nicaragua and is still live. It’s a challenging but rewarding hike across lava flows and through rainforest. Be sure to only take this on with the help of a guide.

Surf at San Juan del Sur

One of Nicaragua’s best surf spots, San Juan del Sur is a must for anyone looking to hit the waves. With year-round swells, it’s also an excellent place to learn with plenty of surf schools. Grab a cold beer and watch the melting sunset from the beach each night. Be warned, it has somewhat of a reputation as a party town, so won’t be for those looking for a quiet holiday retreat.

Eat the street food

Flickr: hollykathryn

Flickr: hollykathryn

Nicaraguan street food is simply delicious (and cheap!). Be sure to try the nacatamal, a type of tamale filled with meat and vegetables and cooked in a banana leaf. The typical morning breakfast of gallo pinto (spotted rooster) is rice and beans served up with eggs, refried beans and plantains. Stuffed pupusas (a type of corn tortilla) are served with everything.

See wildlife on Ometepe Island

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Ometepe Islands was created from two volcanoes and lies in the middle of Nicaragua Lake. It’s laid back vibe, rustic charm and opportunities for hiking and kayaking make it somewhat of a mecca for those visiting the country. However, one of the biggest draws is the wildlife. There is plenty of exotic birdlife on the island as well as tropes of howler monkeys that can be heard making their calls in the morning and at night.

Climb up León Cathedral

After exploring old León, it’s well worth climbing up the bell tower and taking in the views from the domed roof of the cathedral.

Want to visit Nicaragua? Get in touch with our travel experts on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 to discuss your travel plans.

10 things you should eat in Belize

Flickr: regan76

Flickr: regan76

Belizean cuisine has not quite made it (yet!) onto the international food scene. This is surprising. Belizean food is a fusion of Caribbean, Spanish, Mexican, African, and native Mayan. Along the coast and on the islands, be sure to steer towards the catch of the day. In land, mouth-watering chicken and beef stews thick with dark spices are common in most restaurants. Here’s 10 dishes you simply can’t leave Belize without trying.

Salbutes

Flickr: Krista

Flickr: Krista

A seriously popular street food, these tasty little morsels are made with fried tortillas packed with cabbage, tomatoes, avocados and chicken. Depending on how spicy you like your food, try topping with plenty of Marie Sharp’s pepper sauce (you’ll see it on every table in the country).

Grilled lobster

Flickr: A Cromwell

Flickr: A Cromwell

The importance of lobster to Belize’s economy cannot be overstated. In season, spiny lobsters (a smaller cousin to the Atlantic lobster found off Canada and the US), are in abundance. Along the shores of Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye, lobsters can be seen grilling on drum barbecues and are seriously good value. Grab a cold beer, stick your feet in the sand and tuck into a lobster covered in lemon garlic butter. Bliss. For the last ten years, the San Pedro Lobster Festival on Ambergris Caye kicks off lobster season and has been voted Belize’s best festival.

Boil ups

Flickr: Bernt Rostad

Flickr: Bernt Rostad

Boil ups are exactly what they say they are. Everything the cook has in from vegetables, fish, eggs and more are thrown into boiling chicken stock and served with bread dumplings. Simple, but really, really good.

Cochinita pibil

Flickr: Noonch

Flickr: Noonch

This ancient dish hasn’t changed much since the Mayans created it over a thousand years ago. Found on restaurant menus throughout the country, it’s made from marinated, slow-cooked pork and served with corn tortillas.

Fry jacks

Thiese puffed-up dough balls resemble something like a doughnut, albeit they are usually served as a savoury accompaniment to eggs and refried beans in the morning. Be sure to look out for stands selling stuffed fried jacks. These pockets of crispy good stuff are filled with everything from chicken, cheese, ham, eggs and beans, and at around US$2 make for a good value and filling breakfast.

Conch fritters

Flickr: Steve Grant

Flickr: Steve Grant

Another coastal favourite. Conch is roughly chopped and mixed with flour, pepper, onion, garlic, Habanero peppers. It’s then formed into little patties and fried until golden brown. Best eaten with Belize’s famous hot sauce.

Ceviche

Flickr: regan76

Flickr: regan76

Ceviche may be from Peru, but the Belizeans have taken it as their own. It also differs from its Peruvian counterpart. Almost like a chunky salsa – tomatoes, onions, sliced cucumber, coriander, lime juice and habanero peppers are mixed with par-boiled conch, shrimp, octopus or white fish, cooled and served with nachos. Though it can be found inland, it’s obviously best eaten near the sea on a sunny afternoon.

Johnny cakes

Flickr: stevemonty

Flickr: stevemonty

Johnny cakes are a stable of Belizean cuisine. These small savoury baked bread cakes made from flour and coconut milk are cut in half and filled with beans, eggs and cheese for breakfast. For a more filling lunch, try adding some chicken or beef. Though they are best eaten right out of the oven, they do last for several days giving them their other name, ‘Journey Cakes’.

Grilled fish

Flickr: Narisa

Flickr: Narisa

Belizeans know how to cook fish. It would be impossible to name every grilled fish eaten in Belize. Some to look out for include barracuda, snapper, grouper and lion fish. Depending on size, it’s usually served whole and accompanied by coleslaw, veg and rice and beans. On Caye Caulker, try Maggies, a tiny home restaurant near the northern Split.

Chimole

Chimole is also known as ‘Black Dinner’ due to its dark appearance. It’s a common homemade chicken stew made using spices and some black achiote paste.  It’s usually served with tortillas and boiled eggs.

Meat pies

Wiki: Alpha

Wiki: Alpha

Meat pies are a throwback to when Belize was a British colony. Light flaky pastry is filled with minced beef and gravy. Most top it with some of Belize’s famous hot sauce. They’re perfectly sized for mid-meal snack and can often be found on the carts of mobile street vendors.

Tamales

Flickr: ohocheese

Flickr: ohocheese

Tamales differ somewhat from their Mexican counterparts. Here, plantain leaves are used instead of traditional corn husks. Recipes vary depending on what part of the country you’re in, but are often served with cull, a thick gravy made from chicken stock. Mostly found inland, though they are occasionally found on the islands.

Want to try Belize food for real? Get in touch with our Belize travel experts on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 to discuss your travel plans or see our example tours here.

LATAM begins new route between Lima and Mendoza

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As part of LATAM’s expansion plans and taking advantage of the newly-refurbished international airport in Mendoza, the airline has started a new direct route between Lima and Argentina’s wine country capital.

Since 2nd February, the airline has been running four direct flights per week between Lima and Mendoza running daily from Friday until Monday. The return journey from Mendoza to Lima runs daily from Thursday to Sunday.

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For those that wish to visit both Peru and Argentina, this cuts out a significant dog leg to Buenos Aires and onward to Mendoza creating a much more efficient route into the country. For those that want a quick stop in Argentina’s wine country before visiting Chile, there are also direct flights onward to Santiago.

Peru and Argentina are two of the most visited countries in Latin America. Between the countries, they have some of the continents highlights including the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, Nazca, Lake Titicaca, Arequipa, Lima, Buenos Aires, the Valdes Peninsula, the Beagle Channel, Iguazu Falls and wine country. The service between Lima and Mendoza opens up a new route to explore both countries while reducing the number of flights and cost.

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Mendoza has a laid-back atmosphere unlike anywhere in Argentina. It’s also got some of the country’s best fine dining restaurants making a stay in the city well worth it. However, be sure to spend a couple of nights in the surrounding countryside, one of the world’s great wine making regions. The hot days and cool nights are the secret to the region’s wine making success. Many of the bodega’s have opened their doors as hotels and small luxury guesthouses. Spend afternoon’s cycling around the vineyards, stopping for tastings. If you visit at the right time, it’s possible to spend a day or two helping collect grapes during the harvest, giving you a deeper understanding on the wine making process.

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For the more adventurous, there are plenty of other activities near Mendoza. Trek up Aconcagua that towers up 6,959 metres above sea level, one of the highest peaks in the Americas. Or try white water rafting in the rivers that cut through the central valley.

In addition to Mendoza, there are other flight hubs now available. From Cordoba there are direct flights to Lima, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Panama and Madrid. From Ushuaia in the south, there are direct flights to Punta Arenas, a popular route for those looking to explore Patagonia in both Chile and Argentina. Since 12th September, LAN Ecuador has been operating a daily service Quito – Lima – Buenos Aires – Lima – Quito. There are also direct flights between Lima and Salta and the resumption of the Lima to Rosario service by LAN Peru.

Want to visit Peru and Argentina? Get in touch with our Latin American travel experts on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 to discuss your travel plans or see our example tours here.

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