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Monthly Archives: August 2014

try making this simple mouthwatering Cazuela Recipe

CazuelaArtangelo/Flickr

Cazuela is the name given to certain dishes in some countries of South America, where ingredients such as meat and vegetables are mixed and cooked in a casserole dish, resulting in a delicious hearty soup/stew. The dish has been named after the Spanish cooking pot cazuela in which is usually cooked.

In Chile, this tasty warming soup is the national dish and although the most usual types of cazuela are made of chicken and beef, it can also be prepared with lamb, pork or turkey. The cazuela is a home cooked inexpensive dish usually eaten in the rural areas during winter time, however, these days it has become part of an all-year-round menu for all Chilean families.

For Chilean people, it is more than just a dish, for them it means home. Making this tasty dish is very simple.

Serves 5

Ingredients
5 chicken drumsticks or thighs
1 squash, cut into small chunks
5 small potatoes, pealed
5 pieces of fresh corn
3 carrots, cut into small chunks
1 onion, cut into thin slices
5 cloves of garlic
½ cup of Rice
Pepper to taste
Salt to taste
1 handful coriander, roughly chopped

Method
Heat a medium casserole dish on a medium heat and fry the chicken for a few minutes until is golden brown. Add the sliced onions and garlic cloves and fry with the chicken for another minute. Add 1 ½ litres of water and cover until boiling. Add the carrots, potatoes, squash, corn and rice, and salt and pepper to taste and cover until it is boiling again. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve in a bowl with plenty of chopped coriander on top and enjoy.

Inca Trails gain UNESCO World Heritage status

Peru_adventure

In June the Inca trail system was officially declared a World Heritage Patrimony by the UNESCO. Its Quichuan name Qhapaq Ñan means ‘Great Road’ which seems apt as there are over 6,000km of Inca Trail extending into Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

These extensive trails were built during the era of the Tawuantinsuyu to connect this mighty empire from the Amazon through the Andes to the coast.

this is what it looks like to cycle down death road [vid]

Death RoadMarco Antonio/Flickr

For anyone who’s ever wondered what cycling down death road in Bolivia is like, here’s your chance. This POV video perfectly captures the ride. You’ll notice how the roads look well paved as the video starts and no doubt you’ll be asking yourself what all the fuss is about but as it progresses the road (if it can even be called that) gets much tougher and much narrower. Cycling death road isn’t for the faint-hearted but it is rewarding experience for those who dare.

Cycling tours in Bolivia can be arranged as part of a larger bespoke tour. To begin creating yours, please get in touch.

18 bird species you won’t find anywhere but the Galapagos

Galapagos is a bird-watchers paradise. From the misty slopes of the Andes, the tropical coast, mighty Amazon and Galapagos archipelago there are over 1,663 recorded species of bird, 44 of which are endemic. Here’s a list of just 18 of those endemic to the Galapagos.

1. Galapagos Penguin
Spheniscus mendiculus

Galapagos PenguinCharles Pence/Flickr

2. Waved Albatross Phoebastria irrorata

Waved Albatross Steven Bedard/Flickr

3. Galapagos Petrel Pterodroma phaeopygia

Dark-rumped PetrelVince Smith/Flickr

4. Flightless Cormorant Phalacrocorax harrisi

flightess cormorantBrian Gratwicke/Flickr

5. Lava Heron Butorides sundevalli

Lava heronDerek Keats/Flickr

6. Lava Gull Leucophaeus fuliginosus

lava gull 2alh1/Flickr

7. Swallow-tailed Gull Creagrus furcatus

Swallow Tailed Gullputneymark/Flickr

8. Galapagos Dove Zenaida galapagoensis

Galapagos DoveAnne Dirkse/Flickr

9. Galapagos Flycatcher Myiarchus magnirostris

Galapagos FlycatcherKathy Drouin/Flickr

10. Hood Mockingbird Nesomimus macdonaldi

Hood MockingbirdAnne Haase/Flickr

11. Large Ground Finch Geospiza magnirostris

Large Ground FinchA.Davey/Flickr

12. Medium Ground Finch Geospiza fortis

Medium Ground Finchputneymark/Flickr

13. Small Ground Finch Geospiza fuliginosa

Small Ground Finchputneymark/Flickr

14. Common Cactus Finch Geospiza scandens

Common Cactus FinchBen Tavener/Flickr

15. Large Cactus Finch Geospiza conirostris

Large Cactus Ground Finchputneymark/Flickr

16. Small Tree-Finch Camarhynchus parvulus

Small Ground FinchMike Comber/Flickr

17. Galapagos Hawk Buteo galapagoensis

Galapagos HawkPaul Krawczuk/Flickr

18. Galapagos Mockingbird Nesomimus parvulus

Galapagos Mockingbirdputneymark/Flickr

To begin your bird watching tour of Ecuador, get in touch with us.

Join us at the Birdfair

Toucan Barbet

We are pleased to announce Select Latin America will be having a stand at the Birdfair taking place at Rutland Water Nature Reserve Friday 15th – Sunday 17th August.  Described as the birdwatcher’s Glastonbury, Birdfair encompasses the whole spectrum of the bird-watching industry whilst at the same time supporting global bird conservation. There are lectures, events and celebrities and hundreds of stands selling the latest products for wildlife enthusiasts. This will be our 14th. year, find us at Marquee 1 Stand 36. Our experts will be on hand to help plan your next wildlife adventure and our new brochure will be hot off the press. The bird illustrated is a toucan barbet from Ecuador.

We have launched our new brochure. Get it hot off the press

Brochure Cover
We are pleased to announce the publication of new brochure. This beautiful 96 page full colour booklet is packed full of our favourite hotels, country information, tours and maps to give you itchy feet and help with the planning of your next adventure in Latin America. To order you free copy, please get in touch.

Central American and Caribbean Short Stories

C Am Short Stories

If you want some entertaining holiday reading I suggest ‘Central American and Caribbean Short Stories’ by Eduardo de Benito. This collection has recently been published by Pegasus. I had the pleasure of meeting the author at the launch in London’s Belgravia. Eduardo worked for many years in London as a broadcaster and writer for the BBC World Service and as correspondent of Spanish political weeklies. He certainly has had an interesting life in both the tropics and Europe. Now a bearded, bespectacled, grey-haired writer he was the son of Spanish exiles from Franco’s fascist regime in Spain, then brought up in Bogota, Mexico City, and Paris. He now based in North Norfolk where he is a keen sailor and walker. From his stories one can gather that he has had some hair-raising experiences and he admits the boundary between fiction and fact is far from clear.

Each of the five stories takes unexpected twists from the traumatic shock experienced by a young Scottish woman while she stays with the peaceful Kuna Indians on the archipelago of San Blas to the unplanned adventures of a French petit-bourgeois couple in Venezuela, Tobago, and Belize. These are sometimes based on real people; sometimes they are simply the product of the author’s imagination. All the stories have political undertones and touch on attitudes to class and race ‘The Table’ is about a well-to-do couple forced to flee from Europe in 1939, but share a boat with working-class compatriots and things get tricky when the drunken captain strands the boat in the middle of the jungle. Eduardo has a mischievous sense of humour too. ‘Of Urban Three-toed Sloths’ sees two bungling friends who are allegedly going to Costa Rica to do bird-watching, but end up embroiled in espionage among the swamps along the Nicaraguan border. The stories have a dark side none more so than ‘To be dead or alive is the same here’ which begins and ends in torture of a hapless journalist under Nicaragua’s Somoza dictatorship. ‘Don’t mention Coral reefs’ features the aforementioned French couple whose marriage undergoes a renaissance after bribing cops in Venezuela, the wife having an affair with a tour guide in Tobago, and the husband visiting a brothel in Belize. The book is an ideal summer read. Copies can be purchased direct from the publisher.

Patagonia Overland Safari Our New Product

Fancy a different way of exploring Patagonia? Why not trying our new Patagonia Overland Safari tour?

This can be either an eight or six days program where you will discover the most amazing corners of Patagonia on both the Argentinean and Chilean sides, including the mighty Perito Moreno Glacier, Torres del Paine National Park with the fascinating Grey glacier and Los Glaciares National Park which provides stunning views of Mount Fitz Roy.

Both programs can be combined with a visit to the vibrant city of Buenos Aires, the imposing Iguazú falls and with a Malbec wine tasting in Mendoza. At the same time we can include a few days exploring the marvelous Atacama Desert in Chile.

To start organizing your visit to Patagonia get in touch.

The Last Supper with a Guinea Pig

Last Supper

Photo credit: Toño Zapata/Wikipedia

If you’ve ever visited the Cathedral in Cuzco you may have noticed a painting depicting Jesus and his disciples at The Last Supper. Although it looks like a piece of religious European art it was painted by a Peruvian man called Marcos Zapata in the 18th century. After the Spanish conquered the Inca Empire in 1534 they tried to convert the remaining Incas to Catholics and one of the ways they tried to do this was through art.  Religious artists from Spain were sent to Cuzco to open the Escuela Cuzqueña (Cuzco School) and teach indigenous Quechua people and mestizos how to draw and paint. What’s interesting about Zapata’s painting are the Andean cultural influences that may not be immediately apparent. Native Peruvian foods including peppers, corn and different coloured potatoes adorns the table as well as cuy (guinea pig), a typical Andean staple. It’s commonly considered that the drink is either chicha (fermented corn) or the local fire-water Pisco. To the forefront of the painting Judas can be seen holding a bag of money below the table. Some say that this figure looks very similar to Francisco Pizarro, the Conquistador who captured and murdered the Inca Emperor Athualpa.

Want to see the painting for yourself? Get in touch.

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