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Monthly Archives: March 2013

PERU – ANCIENT SHRINE FOUND NEAR LIMA

Hardly a month goes by without a new archaeological discovery in Peru. This month is no exception; The Andean Centre for Archaeological Research, CIARA, has made the extraordinary discovery of the 4500 year-old Huaca Rosada urban centre, located in the district of Ventanilla, Callao the port of Lima. The ‘Pink Pyramid’ belongs to the most ancient culture of the Americas Caral, which covered Peru’s central coast area. More details can be seen on our Facebook page, which you should ‘follow’ to be kept up to date on all things Latin American.

CARTAGENA – COLOMBIA’S CARIBBEAN TREASURE

I recently had the good fortune to make a flying visit to Cartagena, Colombia’s lively Caribbean port city. Cartagena is a culturally rich city with great eating and nightlife; also a beach destination and jumping-off point for some Scuba diving islands. The colonial city of Cartagena is one of those places you will never want to leave. The picturesque cobbled streets are lined with brightly coloured houses with wooden balconies and dripping with blossoms. Every other building seems to be a bar, café or boutique, and wide, leafy plazas provide shade from the intense Caribbean sun. The old town is surrounded by fortified walls and filledwith colonial-era churches, plazas and old palaces. For more-natural attractions head to the nearby mangrove swamps. Canoe tours are usually piloted by members of a nearby village. The close-by Rosario Islands consist of more than two dozen coral islands designated as a national park. The islands can be reached by boat, with the trip averaging about an hour, one-way. The coral reefs of the Rosarios are a favourite underwater destination for guided dives, or Baru Island, just off the coast is also popular. The star of Cartagena’s culinary scene is seafood, with ceviche, fish marinated in lime juice, a local favourite. Combine these elements to create a unique, memorable holiday. Within the walled city are some beautifully restored boutique hotels such as the Anandá.

PENGUINS AT PUNTA TOMBO

Patagonia is known for its unspoilt wilderness and unique opportunities to see animals. Punta Tombo, is a peninsula located on the Atlantic Ocean of Argentina and is the best place to see Magellanic Penguins within continental Patagonia. With more than a million and a half Penguins arriving to Punta Tombo every year to breed, you can get up-close to these popular sea birds. Though the first penguins arrive in September and stay at Punta Tombo until mid-March, the best time to visit is after November once the babies are born. The area is striking for the sheer volume of penguins and despite being a conservation area, visitors are allowed to get surprisingly near to the penguins, as long as you don’t disturb or touch them. Magellanic Penguins are medium-sized penguins which grow to be 76 cm (30 in) tall and weigh between 2.7 kg and 6.5 kg. Penguin couples stand in front of their nests, protecting the eggs from birds and other predators, and occasionally one adult goes to the sea for food. Other wildlife encountered in the area are sea birds (mainly seagulls, chimango caracaras and cormorants), rheas and guanacos. Other important nearby colonies are Bahía Camarones and Cabo Dos Bahías. Punta Tombo is part of the new marine National Park Golfo San Jorge. Select Latin America offers several holiday ideas which can include Punta Tombo.

WONDERS OF THE UNIVERSE – IN CHILE

The world’s largest space observatory has just opened in Chile.  At an altitude of 5,000 meters, with almost no humidity or vegetation, the world’s largest ground-based astronomy project opened last week. ALMA is a joint effort of North American, European and Asian agencies. At Llano Chajnantor, on a mountain plain near Chile’s border with Bolivia, and near the town of San Pedro de Atacama, scientists found ideal conditions for the project. As there is virtually no humidity to get in the way, the ALMA’s 66 antennas, ranging in diameter from seven to 12 meters, can glimpse at things in the darkest and remotest regions of the universe. Early findings by ALMA scientists include the groundbreaking discovery of two galaxies on the edge of the universe which are 12 billion years old, revising the estimated date of the first star birth upward by a billion years. Select Latin America can offer special star-gazing tours, please contact us to learn more.

ARGENTINA GETS READY FOR ‘POPE TOURS’

Argentina is gearing up for an influx of tourists looking to follow in the footsteps of the new Pope Francis. As the world gets to learn more about the life of the new Argentine Pope, who was inaugurated last week we expect to see growing interest in the country from all over the globe. As with Pope John Paul II and his native Poland, a popular and beloved Pope will drive people of faith to want to follow in their footsteps. Visiting a pope’s birthplace, notable towns and cities in which he lived and the Churches and communities in which he has served the Catholic faith, are all strong attractions for pilgrims. As Francis becomes more well-known, we anticipate the same will happen with Argentina. In South America a large and growing Catholic population will attract many to the culture and history Argentina has to offer. Places of significance, including his birthplace Flores in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, or the Catedral Metropolitana, where the former archbishop presided over Mass. He studied at the Inmaculada Concepcion seminary in Villa Devoto, a leafy suburb on the western edges of Buenos Aires and was later head of the Argentine Jesuits in the city of Cordoba. Cordoba is already on the tourist trail thanks to the Manzana Jesuitica, the Jesuit Square which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pope Francis is famously a big fan of the San Lorenzo soccer team, based in the central Buenos Aires neighbourhood of Almagro.  It is said he never misses a match and in 2008 he offered to conduct a special Mass for the team’s 100-year anniversary. Contact us for where to go in Argentina.

Guatemala Cooking Masterclass in London

Select Latin America attended an exciting evening at L’Atelier des Chefs in London. London’s first Guatemalan Gourmet Cooking Masterclass hosted by the Guatemala Tourist Board. We had the opportunity to cook some of the best Guatemalan dishes with renowned Chef Humberto Dominguez who flew to London especially for the event. We also met Guatemala’s top travel names, diplomats and drank the local rum.

Ingredients
750g of chicken breast, cut into strips
½ glass of fresh orange juice
4 tablespoons of tamarind extract
1 tablespoon of honey
½ teaspoon of brown sugar
¼ cinnamon stick
½ onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Method
Place the chicken on a large flat roasting tray and cook under a hot grill for around 8 minutes turning once half way through.

Place the rest of the ingredients in a pan over a low flame for approximately 10 minutes and stir constantly until it reaches the desired consistency.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and mix. Serve with fluffy cooked rice and vegetables.

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