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Category Archives: Birds

TROPICANA BIRD PARK IGUAÇU

Toucan in the Bird Park

Brazil’s Iguaçu Falls National Park is full of exotic wildlife. Exploring the tropical waterfalls is a real ‘bucket-list’ experience, but there’s much more to discover. Often overlooked, is the Parque das Aves or ‘Bird Park’, an ornithological sanctuary. Here rescued birds are find a home. This attraction is a bonus for any wildlife enthusiast. Our private excursion will take a behind the scenes look at the park. You will spend time in the company of chattering songbirds, start at either 7.30am, 10.30am or 2pm. Though we recommend the early morning slot for keen twitchers.

You will have the chance to see staff at work, watch feeding and see rare species up close. Learn how passionate park rangers care for these beautiful, vulnerable creatures. Parque das Aves is also home to a blissful butterfly garden, and a resident boa constrictor. Round the visit off by enjoying some light refreshments and fresh fruit from the region. A delicious, sweet end to this insightful birding experience. This can be booked as part of any tour of the region.

10 places in Latin America that will take your breath away

Latin America is so full of wonders, it’s almost impossible to pick just 10. Our travels have taken us all around this varied continent and we’ve whittled it down to our absolute bucket list favourites.

Torres del Paine

Perhaps one of the most spectacular places on earth, the Torres del Paine National Park spans a large area of the Andes in southern Chile. Hiking through the park reveals some of the most exquisite scenery in South America as well as plenty of wildlife from roaming guanacos to circling condors. An absolute must.

Angel Falls

Flickr: ENT108

Angel falls are the tallest in the world. As water cascades over the edge it plunges 2,648 feet before heading the ground. Like something out of the movie Avatar, the falls remote location mean very few tourists visit so you’re likely to have the falls all to yourself. One of the best ways to see them is a scenic flight over the top.

Blue Hole

The Great Blue Hole is located off Belize’s Caye Caulker. Scuba divers from all over the world to visit this mecca to swim with manta rays, sharks and colourful exotic fish. To fully appreciate the shape of this sunken underwater cave, it’s best to take a light aircraft flight over the top. The nearby Hol Chan Marine Park and the three atolls of Glover, Lighthouse and Turneffe are all top notch scuba sites.

Cartagena

No other city exudes the charm of Cartagena. The colourful UNESCO city is flanked by the clear blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. The best way to explore the city is by foot. This cultural hub is packed full of museums, galleries, and churches to explore. By night, head out to explore the excellent restaurants and nightlife.

Rio de Janeiro

While it may be unoriginal to put Rio de Janeiro on a bucket list of South America, we simply couldn’t leave it off. The gorgeous hedonistic city is surrounded by towering mountains, the biggest urban forest in the world, miles of golden sandy beach and the Atlantic. No trip to Brazil is complete without a visit to this fantastic city.

Tulum

The golden sandy beaches fringed by palm trees are spectacular, but what makes this beach so special is the Mayan temple which loams over the beach from its clifftop site.

Pantanal

For wildlife lovers, there is no better place on earth. This vast wetland that sits just below the Amazon in Brazil is home to hundreds of animal species, from colourful hyacinth macaws, jaguars, caiman, giant otters, monkeys, tapirs, herons, hawks, marsh deer and egrets.  Best explored from one of the many comfortable lodges in the park.

Uyuni

Truly one of the world’s natural wonders. This huge 12,000 sq km expanse of white salt seemingly stretches on forever, only punctuated by an island of giant cacti. Nearby, it’s possible to see a train cemetery of rusting steam trains, hot springs, geysers and workers piling up salt. Be sure to stay in one of the hotels made entirely from salt.

Bocas del Toro

For rustic luxury and Caribbean vibes, visit Bocas del Toro, an archipelago off the northern Panamanian coast. The capital Isla Colon is home to colourful wooden houses, preserving its original Caribbean flair. Stay in one of the many over-the-water bungalows and spend your days swimming, snorkeling, swinging in a hammock, eating lobster and beach dwelling.

For tailor made tours to Latin America, contact the experts here or call us on +44 (0) 207 407 1478

King Penguins in Tierra del Fuego

King Penguin

If you want to see King penguins but don’t want to go to Antarctica, go to Tierra del Fuego. A few years ago, a small colony of King Penguins started nesting at a local Estancia. This is the only place to find the second largest penguin within the American continent. We will be offering a day trip to see these graceful creatures. The itinerary starts in Punta Arenas and consists on a short flight to Porvenir and then a drive to the the reserve and then fly back. This is a perfect addition to any Torres del Paine itinerary with some idle time in Punta Arenas.

Tierra del Fuego means ‘Land of Fire’ after the fires the indigenous people kept going. The archipelago is shared between Chile and Argentina. Much of it is flat steppe grasslands, but a chain of rugged mountains runs down, covered in a permanent ice field. We also offer cruises that ply the islands’ fjords and include a stop at mythical Cape Horn.
Here are some Chilean holiday ideas.

Albatross Breeding Season Comes to Galapagos

The albatross breeding season has started. The waved albatross is the largest species of bird in the Galapagos Islands. They only nest on Española Island, where they can be spotted from the April until the December. This coincides with the cooler season when waters are richer in food. They are called the waved albatross after the wavy lines on their breast. Their courtship ritual is one of the most entertaining spectacles in the archipelago. During the courtship, the male approaches the female, then moves around her. They clack their beaks noisily together and point towards the sky. An eerie rattling sound follow, and much honking prevails. They sway around elaborately leading each other on. The movements are repeated many times. They manage to find their partners from previous years. It is said that they mate for life, which can be up to 40 years. They only lay one large egg on bare ground, which weighs nearly 300g. Once-hatched they rapidly grow, until 6 months later are ready to fledge. One reason they like Española island is it is flat and they can easily take off the cliffs. Film copyright David Horwell.

If you wish to book a Galapagos cruise contact the experts.

9 beautiful exotic birds from Latin America

The thousands of species and sub-species of birds and the high concentration of endemics in Latin America makes it one of the best continents in the world for bird watching. Here are nine of the most spectacular:

Quetzal

Flickr: lgb06

Flickr: lgb06

These shy colourful birds are often considered one of the world’s most beautiful. Part of the trogon family of birds, they are several sub-species found throughout South and Central America. Those who are interested in birding will certainly have heard of the resplendent quetzal, found in Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama and Guatemala (who even have the image of a quetzal on their flag). Other than the vibrant colours, the resplendent quetzal’s most prominent feature is their long tail plumes.

Lear’s macaw

Flickr: Joao Quental

Flickr: Joao Quental

Also known as the indigo macaw, this parrot is best known for its brightly colour plumage. Found through the Amazonian region of Brazil, the Lear’s macaw can reach up to 75 cms, almost a kilo in weight and can live up to 50 years.

Keel-billed toucan

This iconic bird will be the most familiar, even to those who take little interest in birding. While there are several species of toucan, the keel-billed toucan’s brightly coloured bill make it the most spectacular. Though the large bill may look cumbersome, it’s actually hollow and extremely light making it easy to collect their diet of fruit and eggs.  They are commonly found in Panama and Costa Rica.

Andean cock-of-the-rock

Found in the misty cloud forests on the slopes of the Andes, the bright orange coloured cock-of-the-rock display a very prominent fan-shaped crest. The males gather in groups to create noisy displays in the hope of attracting a female. One of the best spots to see the cock-of-the-rock is in Peru’s Manu region.

Andean condor

Watching the condors glide above and below you in the Colca Canyon is one of South America’s most amazing experiences. It’s an impressive size, with a wingspan of over 3.3 metres. This black new world vulture is a scavenger feeding on the carcasses of dead cattle or deer. Interestingly, the Andean condor is one of the world’s longest living birds reaching over 70 years.

Inca tern

The Inca tern is a seabird that lives along the Pacific coast of Latin America, primarily Peru and Chile, although it can occasionally be found in Ecuador. It’s most distinctive feature is the white moustache and red-orange coloured feet and beak. It’s one of the larger species of terns reaching around 40 cms.

Capped heron

The capped heron is found throughout the rivers, lakes and mangroves of Latin America from Bolivia to Suriname. This almost all-white heron features a black cap and blue facial features and bill. It mainly feeds on frogs, fish and insects which it captures using a slow walking technique.

Waved albatross

Also known as the Galapagos albatross, these large birds have a wingspan ranging from 2.2-2.5 metres. During mating season, usually May, the entire population of waved albatross descend upon Espanola Island in the Galapagos archipelago. Their unique courtship ritual evolves plenty of in bill-circling, sky-pointing, drunken swagger and bill-clapping. The rest of the time they spend along the coast of Peru and Ecuador and live to 45 years.

Curl-crested aracari

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Flickr: Heather Paul

One of the lesser-known toucan species, the curl-crested aracari can be found along the south-western section of the Amazon basin, the Tambopata National Reserve, the Noel Kempff Mercado National Park and the Cristalino State Park. It’s one of the most colourful of the smaller toucan species and one of only three to have red feathers on the nape and shoulders.

To begin organising your birding tour of Latin America, give one of our specialists a call on +44 (0) 207 407 1478, send us a message here.

If you are a wildlife lover you shouldn’t miss out on these amazing experiences

Latin America is full of wonders. The diverse landscapes make for an equally diverse set of species. Roaming jaguars, gentle whale sharks, lazy sloths and colourful quetzals, to name just a few. Here are videos of some of the most amazing wildlife experiences you can have in Latin America.

Flamingos at Laguna Colorado, Bolivia

This high altiplano lakes are commonly visited after a tour of the Uyuni Salt Flats in southern Bolivia. The bright red lake is home to a huge flock of flamingos which often break out into mass flight. The mountainous backdrop and vivid lake make for excellent photography opportunities.

Colourful quetzals in Boquete, Panama

Part of the trogon family, these colourful birds are found in the humid highland forests in Central America. One of the best places to spot quetzals is along the Quetzal Trail in Boquete, a highland town in western Panama. They are largely solitary and relatively hard to spot, making them all the more satisfying when seeing one for the first time.

Snorkelling with whale sharks in Isle Holbox, Mexico

Whale sharks come to Holbox Island off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula in numbers reaching 800 to feed on the water rich plankton and krill. A rarity, as whale sharks are generally solitary creatures. Whales sharks are the largest fish in the world reaching lengths of up to 15 metres and a weight of up to 15 tons. Snorkelling with these gentle giants, which are harmless to humans, is a magical experience. To snorkel with whale sharks, visit between mid-May and mid-September.

Watching the mating dance of the waved albatross in the Galapagos, Ecuador

Every April almost the entire adult population of the waved albatross return to Española (Hood Island), Galapagos in order to breed. At the visitor site of Punta Suarez, you can see their amusing courtship display including ‘bill-circling’, ‘sky-pointing’, ‘drunken swagger’ and ‘bill-clapping’. This flamboyant ritual dancing enables the birds to re-establish their pairs or the young to find their partner. It is the only time the birds come ashore.

Riding water buffalo on Marajó Island, Brazil

Marajó is a huge island, roughly the size of Switzerland, located where the Amazon meets the Atlantic.This is cowboy country, but instead of horses, large herds of water buffalo have been domesticated. These docile creatures are not native to South America, coming originally from Asia. Riding water buffalos is an excellent way to explore the island, but it isn’t just for tourists. The creatures are used for farming, transporting goods and even by the police to patrol the streets. An essential part of Marajó life.

See condors gliding below you at Colca Canyon, Peru

An unmissable wildlife experience in Peru, this majestic creatures sit on the rocks around Cruz del Condor and circle above and inside Colca Canyon catching the morning thermals. The experience has the bonus of also being able to look over the views of the Colca Canyon, which is deeper than the Grand Canyon in the US.

Noisy howler monkeys in the Amazon

Howler monkeys are found throughout the Amazon, but the most accessible spots are the lodges near Puerto Maldonado in Peru, near Manaus in Brazil and near Coca in Ecuador. The are considered the loudest land animal in the world, their sound can be heard for up to three miles. It is thought their howling is used for territory protection and mating calls.

Attacking orcas on the beaches of the Valdes Peninsula, Argentina

In Argentina’s Valdes Peninsula in Patagonia, orcas attack basking sea lion pups on the beaches between February and March. This spectacular hunting technique puts the orcas at risk of permanently beaching themselves. The area is also excellent for spotting dolphins and southern right whales.

Roaming jaguars in the Pantanal, Brazil

Jaguars are elusive creatures, but Porto Jofre in the Brazil’s Pantanal wetlands are one of the best places to see them. They often roam the river banks in search of prey such as caiman or capybaras. Although spotting jaguars here cannot be guaranteed, a day or two spent on boats along the river here often leads to sightings.

Whale watching in Baja California, Mexico

The warm, krill rich waters around Baja California, a peninsula in Mexico’s north west is home to many species of whale. However, the highlight is the curious gray whale which often comes up close to the boat and allows visitors to pat it. Other whales seen fluking are blue, fin, humpback, sperm, Bryde’s, and pilot whales. Dolphins are also a common sighting here.

Love wildlife? Want to start planning a wildlife adventure in Latin America? Get in touch with us today.

The Best Places To travel In 2016

The New Year is almost upon us. In celebration here’s our pick of the best places to visit in Latin American in 2016.

South Georgia, Antarctic

As the variety of expeditions to the white continent get larger, so does the choice of which combination of islands to visit. Follow in Shackleton’s footsteps to one of the most beautiful wildlife havens on the planet. Breath-taking glaciers, deep fjords and huge colonies of penguins, particularly the king penguin.

Salta, Argentina

Thinking of visiting Argentina in 2016? Whilst most opt for the wilds of Patagonia, a visit to the colourful arid deserts of the north are just as scenic. Find relics of ancient civilizations, striking landscapes (try the terracotta canyons of Quebrada de Humahuaca), indigenous people with fascinating histories and some of the best wine in Latin America. Without trying to be too clichéd: it has it all.

Tour suggestion: Enchanting Northwest

The Cayes, Belize

Flickr: cloud2013

Flickr: cloud2013

The Cayes form a chain of coral islands off the coast of Belize. With year round sunshine and picture postcard white sand islands, there is no better place to go for a year round beach holiday. It’s also arguably the best place to scuba in the whole of Latin America – the Blue Hole is the most famous. Exclusive hotels and luxury getaway guesthouses await.

Tour suggestion: Sun kissed Belize

La Paz, Bolivia

Flickr: Yann Duarte

Flickr: Yann Duarte

Most travellers to Bolivia skip past La Paz rather quickly in favour of visiting Lake Titicaca, the Amazon or the stunning Uyuni Salt Flats. But for those who spend a little more time, there are plenty of gems to discover. Just a wander around the city will reveal colonial churches, museums and Indian street markets (the Witches Market is a must). Just outside the city is the highest golf course in the world, skiing opportunities, beautiful valleys and gorges for trekking and the ancient monument Tiwanaku.

Tour suggestion: Tiwanaku & Beyond

Minas Gerais, Brazil

This landlocked state north of Rio de Janeiro is a cultural gem waiting to be discovered. With a tendency for most to stick to Brazil’s gorgeous coastline and beaches, those who venture inland are treated to pretty colonial towns, baroque churches, excellent food and some of the friendliest people in Latin America. Best explored on a self-drive adventure.

Tour suggestion: Cultural Buzz of Brazil

Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

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The Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica’s verdant south, covered with pristine primary rainforest, is a wildlife lover’s dream. From ocelots and tapirs to literally hundreds of species of exotic bird including hummingbirds, toucans, macaws. Whales, dolphins and turtles roam the waters around the peninsula. If you are lucky you may even see a jaguar.

Tour suggestion: Romance in Costa Rica

Cloud Forest, Ecuador

Another bird watchers mecca, the cloud forests of Bellavista and Mindo are located north west of the capital of Quito. Although the accommodation is fairly the rustic, albeit charming, the draw is the hummingbirds, toucans and parrots which inhabit the region. The trees are festooned with orchids, bromeliads, mosses and lichens and numerous species of colourful butterflies.

Tour suggestion: Hummingbirds & Turtles

Chichicastenango, Guatemala

Come to the largest and most colourful market in Central America. Also known as Chichi or Santa Tomas, the pretty white-washed highland town is most famous for its Sunday and Thursday markets where thousands of indigenous locals living in the surrounding countryside come to town to sell their wares. Get ready for some serious bartering.

Tour suggestion: Maya, Magic & Mystery

Best Birding Locations in Central & South America

Latin America is simply one of the best continents for birding on earth. In total there are over 3,000 species roughly equating to thirty two percent of the world’s bird species. There are so many good birding spots in every country in Central and South America that it would be impossible for us to list them all here, but below you will find 10 of the highlights.

Flickr: putneymark

Flickr: putneymark

Galapagos Islands – Ecuador

Although there are only 56 native bird species in the Galapagos, its draw is that 45 of these are endemic to the archipelago – they are found nowhere else on earth. There are 29 more migratory species that come and go depending on the season and another 64 that have been spotted very occasionally. Most will be familiar with the iconic blue-footed booby, with their brightly coloured feet and funny mating dance, but did you there are two other types of booby – the red-footed and Nazca? One of the best times to visit the Galapagos is during May when nearly the entire world’s population of waved albatrosses (around 30,000) return to Española Island to breed. There elaborate dance can last for days and includes much beak-fencing.

Flickr: dany13

Flickr: dany13

Pantanal – Brazil

The Panatanal is a wildlife enthusiast’s dream location. The ecosystem is home to over a thousand different species of bird life. Although some of the birds here are endangered, its isolated location has allowed most species to flourish. Highlights include seeing jabiru, greater rheas and viewing over 24 different species of hawks, eagles and kites. In recent years it has been possible to see nesting harpy eagles, an absolute must for keen birders.

Colca Canyon – Peru

Colca Canyon may not have the largest list of bird species, but it is the best place to see the Andean Condor. From the Cruz del Condor viewpoint located on the canyon rim over 1,200 metres up it is possible to see these majestic birds close up. Get there early in the morning and for the opportunity to see them gliding above and around the canyon walls below. If you explore the canyon a little more you will find hummingbirds, Chilean flamingos, mountain caracaras and Andean goose as well.

South Georgia

If numbers was the best measure, South Georgia would surely win. The tiny inhospitable island between Argentina and the Antarctic Peninsula is home to over thirty million nesting birds. Over 80 species have been recorded but 31 of these breed and bring up their young here. Species include grey headed albatross, white chinned petrels, prions, blue-eyed shag, pintails and much more. However, most visit to view the large colonies of penguins. There are 6,000 pairs of chinstraps, 100,000 pairs of gentoo, almost half a million pairs of king penguin and over 2 million pairs of macaroni penguins. Unfortunately although the numbers of king penguins increase year or year, the macaroni penguin population has decreased over 50% in the last twenty five years.

Flickr: vil.sandi

Flickr: vil.sandi

Manu National Park – Peru

Manu National Park is easily accessible from Cuzco in Peru. This 15,000 km² biosphere reserve that tumble down the eastern slopes of the Andes to the Amazon is home to over a thousand different species of bird, about ten percent of the entire world’s species. It even holds the record of the most number of species seen in one day – 331. Of course it would be impossible for us to list ever species here, but highlights include the many clay licks used by parrots and macaws and is one of the best places to spot the mating dance of the cock-of-the-rock. There are plenty of excellent birding lodges with knowledgeable birding guides in the region.

Atlantic Coast – Brazil

The hundred kilometre wide strip of the Serra do Mar forests that run along the Atlantic coast in Southern Brazil are a mecca for birdwatchers. The varied altitudes ranging from the shrubby lower levels at sea level to the 1,500 metre mountain forests allow for a vast array of bird life. There are over 500 species to be found, of which almost 200 are endemic and can be found nowhere else on earth. This incidentally is the highest number of endemics in one region.

Ibera Wetlands – Argentina

The Ibera wetlands covers a region roughly the size of Belgium in the northern region of Argentina. This series of swamps, lakes and lagoons is 13,000 km2, the largest protected area in Argentina, and the second largest wetland area in the world (after the Pantanal in Brazil). There are over 325 species of birds that nest or migrate through the area. Trips are mostly taken by small boat or horseback and bird highlights include kingfishers, kestrels, nightjars, hawks, storks, tanagers, jaribus, hummingbirds and herons. The best place to stay is Rincon del Socorro which over very comfortable accommodation and excellent birding guides.

Cloud Forest – Ecuador

There are a number of different reserves including Bellavista and Mindo that make up the cloud forests on the western slopes of the Andes, a couple of hours north-west of Quito in Ecuador. Each one is busting with bird life. At 1,300 metres it lies at a midway point between the coast and the high Andes offering a greater diversity of species – over 550 in total. It’s a great place for toucans, cock-of-the-rock, antpittas, manakins, ducks, however, most come for the variety of beautiful hummingbirds. Most lodges are comfortable but basic and offer very knowledgeable birding guides. Pick one like Bellavista Cloud Forest Lodge which hang feeders near to the lodge attracting hummingbirds right to you.

Flickr: vil.sandi

Flickr: vil.sandi

Boquete – Panama

Panama is often overlooked for birdwatching, however the country boasts over a thousand species. One of the best areas to visit is the cloud forests around the Boquete highlands. There are plenty well marked trails making it easy to explore by yourself should you wish. During the dry season there are over 400 species of bird to spot. Highlights include the emerald toucan, sulfur-winged parakeet and plenty of hummingbird species. Many come to the region to hike the famous Quetzal Trail which offers one of the best opportunities to spot the resplendent quetzal, one of the world’s most beautiful birds.

Flickr: Don Henise

Flickr: Don Henise

La Selva Biological Station – Costa Rica

Costa Rica has so many good birding locations, its tough singling out just one. However, the 1,500 hectares of lowland rainforest is one of the best. Owned by a consortium of research institutions and universities there are over 300 scientists which venture to the area each year to explore the rich biodiversity. On the latest count there are 467 species of birds making it one of the largest in Central America including native and migratory species.

To begin your birding tour anywhere in Latin America get in touch today.

Meet us at the Birdfair

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We are pleased to announce Select Latin America will be having a stand at the Birdfair taking place at Rutland Water Nature Reserve 21 August to 23 August 2015.

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 15th year, find us at Marquee 7 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.

This year David will also be doing a presentation – ‘Galapagos; A visitors Guide to these Enchanted Islands’ which will be on the 23th August in Lecture Marquee 3 between 3.30-3.50 pm
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We hope to see you all there.

The 20 Best UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Latin America

Best for Birding

Atlantic Rainforest

Name – Atlantic Forest Reserves
Country – Brazil
Date of inscription – 1999
Why it’s the best – Covering over 112,000 hectares of coastal forest, this area is a bird-watchers paradise. There are over 930 species of birds, of which 200 can be found nowhere else on earth. If that’s not enough over 8% of the world’s plant species and thousands of mammals and reptiles can also be found here.
Suggested tourBespoke tour

Best for Marine Life

Belize Reef

Name – Belize Barrier Reef
Country – Belize
Date of inscription – 1996
Why it’s the best – The Belize Barrier Reef is the largest in the northern hemisphere. Several offshore atolls, mangrove forests, coastal lagoons and several hundred sand cayes make up the protected reserve. There are over 106 hard and soft coral species and over 500 species of fish. With 90% of the reef that still hasn’t been researched yet it’s safe to assume that these figures only make up about 10% of species that call the reef their home.
Suggested tourSun-kissed Belize

Best from the Air

Nazca

Name – Nazca Lines
Country – Peru
Date of inscription – 1994
Why it’s the best – Located four hundred kilometres south of Lima in the dry deserts lie some of the most mysterious archaeological wonders ever uncovered. Between 500 B.C. and A.D. 500 vast geoglyphs of animals, people and flora were scratched into the surface of the ground, some of which are several kilometres in length. Best appreciated from up above.
Suggested tourBespoke tour

Best Phenomenon

Name – Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve
Country – Mexico
Date of inscription – 2008
Why it’s the best – This 56,259 biosphere northwest of Mexico City is home to one of Earth’s most beautiful natural phenomenon’s. Ever autumn millions of butterflies from a huge area of North America return to this relatively small area of forest changing the landscape to hues of orange as they gather on the branches of trees, changing the landscape completely. In spring they return back to Canada, a journey which takes 8 months in which time four successive generations are born and die.
Suggested tourBespoke tour

Best for Whale-Watching

Valdes Peninsula

Name – Península Valdés
Country – Argentina
Date of inscription – 1999
Why it’s the best – Not only is this a hugely important breeding spot for the endangered southern right whale, but it’s one of the only places to see the unique hunting technique of orcas who almost beach themselves in an attempt to catch prey.
Suggested tour – Whales & Welsh in Patagonia

Best Town

Antigua

Name – Antigua
Country – Guatemala
Date of inscription – 1979
Why it’s the best – This truly beautiful town was founded in the early 16th century, only to be almost entirely destroyed by an earthquake in 1773. It was however rebuilt, inspired by the Italian Renaissance. It famous cobbled streets and archway are some of the most photographed in Central America and the town has a wealth of excellent hotels.
Suggested tourMaya, Magic & Mystery

Best for Modern Architecture

Brasilia

Name – Brasilia
Country – Brazil
Date of inscription – 1987
Why it’s the best – Built by the urban planner Lucio Costa and the word renowned architect Oscar Niemeyer, Brasilia was completed in 1956 to critical acclaim. Every part of the city from the official buildings to the homes was built in harmony with the overall design of the city. From above the city is often compared to the shape of a bird in flight.
Suggested tourBespoke tour

Best Historic Centre

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Name – Quito
Country – Ecuador
Date of inscription – 1978
Why it’s the best – Quito is the second highest capital in South America standing at an altitude of 2,850 metres (9252 feet). Its rich centre includes many historic buildings including monasteries, churches and colleges. The interiors are some of the most impressive on the continent – part of the ‘Baroque school of Quito’ which fuses Italian, Spanish, Moorish, Flemish and indigenous art.  Although there was a devastating earthquake in 1917, the city has managed to preserve the majority of its historic centre.
Suggested tourCotopaxi & the Devil’s Nose

Best Spectacle

Iguazu

Name – Iguazú/Iguaçu Falls
Country – Argentina & Brazil
Date of inscription – 1984
Why it’s the best – Quite simply one of the most astounding natural wonders in Latin America. This semi-circular waterfall raising over 80 metres and almost 3 kilometre, bordering both Brazil and Argentina is rightly famous. The tropical rainforest that makes up the Iguazu National Park is over to over 2,000 species of plant and many species of wildlife including butterflies, monkeys, jaguars, cayman, anteaters and exotic birdlife.
Suggested tourBrazil Kaleidoscope

Best for Horse Riding

horse_back_riding_pantanal

Name – Pantanal Conservation Area
Country – Brazil
Date of inscription – 2000
Why it’s the best – This area of 187,818 hectares of freshwater wetland is a wildlife enthusiast dream. Often likened to safari in Africa, this region is one of the best places in the country to see large mammals including jaguars, giant anteaters and exotic bird life. The best way to see this wildlife is by horse, led by local guides.
Suggested tourBrazilian Safari

Best for Hiking

Inca Trail & Machu Picchu

Name – Qhapaq Ñan (Andean Road System) & Machu Picchu
Country – Peru
Date of inscription – 2014/1983
Why it’s the best – We’ve cheated a little here and included both the Qhapaq Ñan and Machu Picchu. Qhapaq Ñan is the Andean Road System which includes the well-known part of the Inca Trail. More than this, the Incas created a network of paths for trade, communication and defence which span over 30,000 kilometre that run through rainforests, valleys and desert. Machu Picchu will need no introduction and is perhaps one of the most famous landmarks in the world. Some truly stunning hiking opportunities.
Suggested tourJungle & Mountain Trek

Best for Colour

Quebrada

Name – Quebrada de Humahuaca
Country – Argentina
Date of inscription – 2003
Why it’s the best – This spectacular canyon in the northwest of Argentina follows a deep ravine cut by the Grande river through a range of geological strata. It is also culturally interesting having been used a trade route for 10,000 years by pre-Inca and the Inca Empire. The variety of rocks make this one of the most colourful places to visit. Best seen by hiking.
Suggested tour – Enchanting Northwest

Best pre-Inca Ruin

Chan Chan

Name – Chan Chan Archaeological Zone
Country – Peru
Date of inscription – 1986
Why it’s the best – Once the largest city in the Americas, and the biggest ever constructed out of adobe. Chan Chan was built by a Pre-Inca culture of the Chimú as their capital. As you wander through the site it’s possible to see the nine palaces which make up the citadel and imagine what it was like in its heyday.
Suggested tourWarriors of the Clouds

Best for Unspoiled Beauty

Amazon Basin

Name – Amazon Basin
Country – Brazil
Date of inscription – 2003
Why it’s the best – Specifically the Central Amazon Conservation Complex makes up a six million hectare area of the most unspoiled part of the Amazon basin made up from forests, lakes and channels. This is one of the most bio diverse spots on earth.  It protects some of the world’s most threatened species including the giant arapaima fish, the Amazonian manatee, the black caiman and two different species of river dolphin.
Suggested tourDeep into the Amazon

Best for Art

Cueva de los manos Santa Cruz

Name – Cueva de las Manos
Country – Argentina
Date of inscription – 1999
Why it’s the best – The Cave of the Hands contains an excellent assemblage of art that was created between thirteen and nine thousand years ago. It’s most famous is the stencilled hands but there are many others of animals and hunting scenes.
Suggested tourBespoke tour

Best for Wildlife

Galapagos

Name – Galápagos Islands
Country – Ecuador
Date of inscription – 1978
Why it’s the best – Made famous by Charles Darwin whose visit to the islands in 1835 helped form his theory of evolution by natural selection. The Galápagos Islands are located a thousand kilometres from the continent, and it’s here at the confluence of three ocean currents that some of the world’s most unusual wildlife has flourished in isolation from human contact. Endemic species are rife; Notable species including the land iguana, giant tortoise and many types of finch.
Suggested tourThe Full Galapágos

Best for Culture

Salvador

Name – Historic centre of Salvador de Bahia
Country – Brazil
Date of inscription – 1985
Why it’s the best – Salvador was the first capital of Brazil and the blend of European, African and Amerindian people such a fusion of cultures that can be seen today through their music, dance, art, buildings, and food.
Suggested tourCultural Buzz of Brazil

Best for Agriculture

Agave

Name – Agave landscapes of Tequila
Country – Mexico
Date of inscription – 2006
Why it’s the best – The agave plant has been farmed in this area for at least two thousand years used for drinks and cloth. The Teuchitlan cultures changed the landscape through the creation of agricultural terraces for the growth of the planet. More recently it has been farmed since the 16th century for the production of tequila. Many distilleries can be found in the area reflecting the growth of tequila’s popularity throughout the world.
Suggested tourBespoke tour

Best Jungle Ruins

Tikal

Name – Tikal
Country – Guatemala
Date of inscription – 1979
Why it’s the best – This is one of the best jungle ruins. This 6th century B.C. Mayan site is surrounded by lush forest that once engulfed the several pyramids. Today you can still see much wildlife in the forest including cats like the jaguarundi and ocelots. For its age it’s in surprisingly good condition, with temples, palaces, ceremonial centre, public squares and ramps. A must for any trip to Guatemala.
Suggested tourDynamic Guatemala

Best for Taste

MTCO0142

Name – Coffee Cultural Landscapes
Country – Colombia
Date of inscription – 2011
Why it’s the best – Located on the foothills of the western and central ranges of the Cordillera de los Andes, the tradition of growing coffee here is a long one. It’s an exceptional example of a sustainable and productive cultural landscape and one that must be preserved. Colombia coffee is world renowned and of course, it’s best trying it at source.
Suggested tourCoffee Beans & Scenes

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