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REACH FOR THE STARS IN CHILE

Chile is probably the best place in the World for star-gazing. Whether you are a casual star-gazer, or a professional astronomer, Chile is hard to beat. Astronomy is gaining popularity as more people are interested in the wonders of the sky and the mysteries of the universe. Much of this long country are sparsely populated which reduces light pollution. The dry desert climate in the north creates some of the clearest nights in the world and its location provides an ideal view of the southern sky. In the 1960’s, ESO (European Southern Observatory) built its Observatory La Silla in the outskirts of the famous Atacama Desert. In 2019, La Silla will celebrate 50 years of operation. 2019 will also be the year of a total eclipse in Northern Chile on July 02nd 2019. The Moon will cover the Sun completely in the late afternoon and turn the day into night. La Silla is organizing a ‘2019 Total Solar Eclipse Event’. Tickets sold out immediately. Accommodation almost anywhere in the zone of the eclipse also sold out a while ago. All is not lost however, we can offer a Glamping Experience for a 4-day/ 3-night trip from La Serena to the Elqui Valley (1-4 July). You will stay in the heart of the desert and be able to sip cocktails around a bonfire. A trip will be made to a unique observation point. Visit villages and sample the local cuisine and Pisco beverage. Other activities include sightseeing and bathing in thermal springs.

Even if you are not an astronomy enthusiast, the breath-taking view of the star-filled sky is always worth a visit. Tip: If you are heading to the Atacama, avoid the full-moon, so stars will be more visible. Contact us for more information and star-gazing programs in Chile.

RELATED: 8 Amazing Journeys You Should Take In Chile

SEE US AT THE BIRDFAIR IN RUTLAND

Once again Select Latin America will be having a stand at the Birdfair taking place at Rutland Water Nature Reserve 17 August to 19 August 2018.

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. You can try out camera lenses, binoculars or discuss holiday destinations with experts.

This will be our 18th year, find us at Marquee 7 Stand 36. Our experts will be on hand to help plan your next tailor-made wildlife adventure and our new brochure will be hot off the press.

We hope to see some old friends and make new ones there.

RELATED: 9 beautiful exotic birds from Latin America

Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up

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Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up is at the V&A museum in London. This is the first exhibition outside of México to display clothes and intimate possessions belonging to the iconic Mexican artist. This offers a fresh perspective on her compelling life story. The exhibition displays personal possessions from La Casa Azul (the Blue House), such as self-portraits, photographs, distinctive colourful Tehuana garments, pre-Columbian necklaces, hand painted corsets, letters, prosthetics, among other objects that will offer a visual narrative of her life. Tristram Hunt, director of the V&A, said: “Frida Kahlo is one of the most iconic and recognisable artists of the last century. We are very excited to bring together Frida’s fashion, medical corsets, make-up and other personal items with her self-portraits to better understand and celebrate this remarkable artist.”

Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up runs from 16 June – 4 November 2018 at the V&A. Sponsored by Grosvenor Britain & Ireland. Aeromexico, Mexico’s global airline, is supporting this exhibition.
Tickets are now available. Admission £15 (concessions available). V&A members go free. Advance booking is advised – this can be done in person at the V&A; online at vam.ac.uk/FridaKahlo; or by calling +44 (0)20 7942 2000 (booking fee applies).
To arrange a bespoke trip to Mexico please contact Select Latin America.

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PADDLE YOUR OWN CANOE ON LEGENDARY LAKE TITICACA

Canoeing Lake Titicaca

Try something altogether new and exciting by rowing Polynesian canoes across Lake Titicaca. Known as the world’s highest navigable lake. At a height of 3,812 meters above sea level Titicaca covers a surface area of 8,500sq km. This is a one-off adventure. Don the gear provided, hop aboard our canoes and make for the floating islands of Uros. Photograph these extraordinary landscapes where a cobalt sky merges with sapphire waters. A backdrop of snow-capped peaks stand guard over these tranquil scenes. Stop to admire uninhabited beaches and resident wildlife. Enjoy peaceful views by taking routes that avoid local boats. Row along canals flanked by totora reeds to moor up at one of the Uros Islands. Contact us for more information on Peru Tours.

RELATED: 10 classic things to do on your first time in Peru

Tips on becoming a responsible traveller

As more people explore the world, those privileged to do so should be become more responsible travellers. But what does this mean? Travelling responsibly means respecting local cultures, looking after the environment and giving back. 2017 was declared the year of Sustainable Tourism for Development by the UN. As we move forward into 2018, here’s our tips for travelling more responsibly.

Know before you go

Take a little time before you go to understand the local customs, religions and cultures. Just a couple of hours of research will help you avoid any faux-pas with local people. Things to look for are dress codes, eating habits and gestures. You’ll have a far more fulfilling adventure and stop yourself having any embarrassing moments.

Learn some of the language

There are few things as respectful as learning another culture’s language. Being able to say a few words makes the world of difference when helping to connect with local people. It takes just a few minutes to learn how to say “hello” and “thank you” – you’ll be surprised at how much it is appreciated.

Support local as far as possible

While large corporations dominate the travel industry, you can still make a huge difference by choosing who you book with. At least once in your trip, try to steer clear of the big chains and book a night’s stay at a local-run hotel. Look for tour companies which help support the local communities.

Shop till you drop, just do it locally

Go ahead and shop till you drop, but instead of sending your money to the large global companies, try and spend your money with local artisans and shops. The products may not come with a warranty, but they’ll likely be better quality. You’ll return with something unique and be injecting money into the local economy.

Ask before you snap

Think about it like this. If a foreigner was in your country and started taking snaps of you while you’re eating your lunch, how would you feel? Thought so. Next time you want to take a photo of someone, ask their permission first. They may likely say yes, but if they don’t there’s no harm done.

Dress to impress

Before you travel, it’s worth checking the dress codes. Whether it’s religion or culture, many customs around the world dictate a certain way of dressing. If you are at all in doubt, your best bet is covering up. You may find out later that you didn’t need to, but it’s better than turning up in shorts and flip flops when you shouldn’t.

Be careful about who you give your money too

It’s hard not to give a little to someone who looks in need, but by offering money to beggars or children, you may very well be doing more harm than good. Instead, look for appropriate charities or organisations and support them. Your donations will be directed in a much better way. If you do want to get involved instead of handing over money, consider volunteering with local initiatives.  Try the LATA foundation

Dispose of your rubbish appropriately

It goes without saying that you should dispose of your rubbish appropriately. Even if you see locals dropping their waste, there’s no excuse not to hold on to it until you find a place to get rid of it. If possible, ensure you drop anything recyclable into the right bins. Try to avoid taking plastic bags unless you really need them and bring a reusable water bottle instead of buying plastic bottles.

Think carefully before you book a wildlife activity

Wildlife is one of the biggest draws for travellers. Few things are as magical as seeing a jaguar stalking along the river bank or dolphins playfully jumping out of the water, but before you book, ensure that it’s with a responsible operator. Just a few hours of entertainment could be leading to the suffering of animals. Be wary of any attraction that uses captive animals.

Reduce your carbon footprint

If you want to travel, you’ll most likely have to fly which causes a huge carbon footprint. There are several projects out there which help you offset your carbon omissions. Your donation will typically go towards forestry projects to absorb the carbon or investments in renewable technologies. One of the best is Climate Friendly.

If all else fails, just smile

If everything else fails, a simple smile will go a long way in helping you connect with local people. It costs nothing but will mean an awful lot.

Ready to go explore responsibly? Call one of our travel experts on +44 (0) 207 1478 to start planning your trip or email us here.

RELATED: Our picks for the 2018 hotspots in Latin America

New Suites at Napo Wildlife Centre

AMAZON IN STYLE

You can’t beat spotting Amazon wildlife at Napo Wildlife Centre in Ecuador. This lodge is set within the Yasuni National Park. This comfortable eco-lodge has now added four panoramic suites. If you fancy the jungle with a private whirlpool on a panoramic balcony, this is your place. Not to mention a cosy living room with a glass floor above the water to spot caiman alligators passing below. From your hammock, you might spot pre-historic hoatzins, huge arapaima fish, and even giant otters on the hunt for piranhas.

After taking a half-hour flight from Quito. Napo Wildlife Centre sits by Anangu Lagoon, a couple of hours by canoe from Coca/San Francisco de Orellana. You can explore the virgin forest on guided hikes, take canoe-rides and visits to a nearby parrot clay lick. For bird-watchers, there is a watchtower. For a bit of culture visits to an indigenous kichwa community. Ecuador is one of the most accessible places to visit the Amazon and one of the most diverse. You could easily combine this with a Galapagos cruise.

RELATED: French artist projects faces of Amazon tribe onto rainforest canopy

Caiman Lodge Brazil’s Pantanal Special Offer

Mother & cub jaguar

Caiman Lodge Brazil’s Pantanal
We recently had the honour to meet the owners of one of the finest lodges in Brazil’s Pantanal wetlands. Caiman lodge is in the state of Mato Grosso del Sur. It is also one of the best places to see jaguars and other large south American mammals like the giant anteater. It was where the BBC Natural History unit made the film ‘Jaguars: Brazil’s Super Cats’. Caiman Lodge was established in 1985 as the first ecotourism operation in the Southern Pantanal. Since then offering visitors a means of getting close to the region’s nature and culture, while offering great hospitality and gastronomy. Its two lodges Cordilheira (5 suites) and Baiazinha (6 rooms) are 22 kms apart and run independent operations.
Caiman operates an important Nature Conservation Programme that consists of maintaining a private reserve and supporting various research and species management projects on the whole ranch. Important conservation projects focus on the stunning blue hyacinth macaws and Americas’ biggest predator, the elusive jaguar.

We have two special offers to visit Pantanal: You can either book 4-nights and pay only for 3-nights, or book a 5-nights for the price of 4. Book two apartments and get your get a 30% discount on the second accommodation’s rate. These offers are valid until June 10th, except during holidays and commemorative dates. Contact us to know all the conditions that limit these offers.

RELATED: Top 5 holidays in Brazil

Andean Explorer The New Luxury Sleeper Train in Peru

Andean Explorer Train Peru

Peru is a top destination for travellers who like authentic experiences. The amazing landscapes plus Machu Picchu, Cusco and Lake Titicaca attract culture and history buffs. Getting around involves much travelling, which is why railways have been important. Now Peru has its’ first sleeper train.  This week sees the start of the operation of the first luxury sleeper train in South America. The Belmond Andean Explorer will cross the Peruvian Andes. Here you can explore natural wonders and ancient kingdoms, by high altitude railway. From Cusco to Lake Titicaca and Arequipa.

Aimed at wealthy travellers, the train has high-end interior design inspired by local textiles. They offer a three-day or a two-day experience, the former Cusco, Lake Titicaca and Arequipa. The latter Cusco to Lake Titicaca. The train departs from the Inca capital, crossing the high plains at over 4800m. At Puno there is a chance to visit the floating islands of the Uros on Lake Titicaca. At Arequipa you can visit the immense Colca Canyon, home to the Andean condor. As one would expect the cuisine is of high standard and there are two dining cars. There is an ‘observatory’ car, an outdoor deck and a saloon car to relax in style.

This will be an extra luxury train along with the Hiram Bingham Express, the luxury train to Machu Picchu. The company also runs hotels in inspiring destinations including Lima, Cusco, and the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

For a tailor-made Peru holiday please contact us.

RELATED: The 7 best train rides in Latin America

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.

RELATED: 10 classic things to do on your first time in Peru

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