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CHILE EXPANDS PARKS OF PATAGONIA

Chile has hugely expanded its National Parks area by 631 thousand hectares. Thanks in part to the vision of the late Douglas Tompkins. In this remote area of northern Patagonia his Pumalín park is combined with Melimoyu and the parks Corcovado and Hornopirén, Now over 20% of the continental territory of Chile is protected. This is good news for the birdlife including Condors and the huemul, an Andean deer. The region is crossed by the ultimate road trip along the southern highway or Carretera Austral.
“For all our team, we are proud to have contributed with this management to the State of Chile, and the fact that Pumalín Park now bears the name of Douglas is a recognition of its vision regarding the public value of national parks, its love for Chile and commitment to conservation,” said Tompkins Conservation Chile executive director Carolina Morgado.

The American millionaire Douglas Tompkins, founder of the firm The North Face, began in 1992, the acquisition of large tracts of land in order to protect the temperate rain forest. In 2017, the foundation that bears his name donated 407,000 hectares to the Chilean State for the creation of the National Parks Network in Chilean Patagonia. His wife Kristine carries on the good work, which also includes part of Argentina. To visit this remote part of Chile, contact us.

Related: Wildlife Spotlight on the Andean Condor 

WISH LIST FOR 2019

This time of year is ideal to dream about places to go in 2019 or beyond. Here is our list to inspire you. From sailing around the Galapagos Islands or cruising in Antarctica. Other wildlife adventures are to be had in the Amazon, or the coral reefs of Belize. For impressive natural wonders, it is hard to beat Iguazú Falls. To visit colourful indigenous people and their ancient past, our two top places would be Peru and Guatemala. Finally, for the best barbeques in the world washed down with Argentine Malbec you can’t do better than Mendoza.

CRUISE THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

Galapagos is the dream trip for anyone interested in wildlife. Have your own Darwin moment discovering flightless cormorants and swimming iguanas. The joy is that most of the strange creatures are fearless of humans, so you get up-close and personal to albatrosses, giant tortoises and the iconic dancing blue-footed booby. Snorkel with sealion pups and the only tropical penguin not to mention unique fish, turtles and whales.

EXPLORE ANTARCTICA

You won’t forget the first giant iceberg that comes into view as you head across the Southern Ocean to Antarctica. Follow in the footsteps of the great explorers, but on a comfortable expedition cruise ship. Our expert scientists on board will help identify the wildlife and fill-in on the history of the Great White Continent. Have fun with penguins, fur seals and keep a watchful eye on the huge elephant seals

INTO THE MYSTIC MACHU PICCHU

Peru, Machu Picchu Copyright David Horwell

The ‘lost’ city of the Incas can be reached on foot or luxury train down through the Andes. This iconic World Heritage Site will live up to all the brochure photos you’ve seen on first sight. New regulations have been introduced at Machu Picchu to limit visitor impact, but we can still organize a second visit on your own if you wish to experience the ruins and meditate without being rushed.

FEEL THE POWER OF IGUAZÚ FALLS

The hundreds of cascades that make up Iguazú falls lie between Argentina and Brazil. We recommend visiting both sides. On the Brazil side you will get a spectacular panoramic view. Walk down to the base of the biggest drop and feel the power of the spray and marvel at rainbows created. You will get wet! On the Argentine side, explore trails into the jungle, with tropical birds, butterflies and a small train to the top of the Devil’s Throat.

DIVE INTO BELIZE’S CORAL REEF

Belize has the second longest coral reef in the World. Here you can snorkel or Scuba dive into another world. Get eyeball to eyeball with turtles, reef sharks and giant mantas. Spot multi-coloured tropical fish teeming around coral formations. You can even explore wrecks. If you tire of the underwater world head into the jungles and find hidden Mayan ruins.

RUB NOSES WITH EASTER ISLAND STATUES

Esater Isalnd Moai copyright David Horwell

Easter Island or RapaNui, as locals call it, lies thousands of miles out into the Pacific from Chile. This is surely a real trip of a lifetime. You will be rewarded by the hundreds of Moai or giant statues hewn from the volcanic rock. Explore the fascinating quarry where many statues lay abandoned, the ceremonial centre of Orongo or the caves where natives sought refuge. The best part is meeting the local people, we can arrange homestays, fishing trips or traditional stone cooking or visit during the annual Tapati festival.

DISCOVER THE AMAZON

The greatest rainforest in the world covers seven countries. For animal and bird-watching we suggest the upper amazon tributaries in Ecuador or Peru. Here there are accessible lodges or luxury small cruise boats. In Brazil the distances are far greater and the rivers much wider, but for the real wildlife enthusiast you get deep into the forest at Cristalino or Uakari lodges or take a cruise from Manaus, once the centre of the rubber boom.

WINE-TASTING IN MENDOZA

Mendoza’s relaxed atmosphere and fine dining make it an excellent choice to visit for rest and relaxation. A cycle in the afternoon sun around the many vineyards dotted just outside the city is a must, and of course a great way to try some of these top-notch wines. The hot days and cool nights of the region are the secret to the success of Mendoza’s wine region. If you’re not a city person why not stay at one of the many bodegas, learning more about the process of wine making and, in the harvesting season help collect the grapes: a lovely way to while away a few hours.

GUATEMALA A PHOTOGRAPHER’S PARADISE

Tikal – Guatemala

Guatemala is a country busting at the seams with a mix of colonial architecture, rich indigenous history and spectacular volcanic and tropical jungle scenery. Meander through the colourful local markets bartering with stall holders. Get lost in the lively festivals or spontaneous live music that bursts onto the streets and plazas. Delve deep in the steamy rainforest to discover vast Mayan cities, hop on your bike to cycle around shimmering lakes and towering volcanoes. Out of all the Latin American countries, this one has got to be one of our favourites

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

Frida-Kahlo-with-Olmec-figurine-1939-photograph-by-Nickolas-Muray©-Nickolas-Muray-Photo-Archives

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.

RELATED: Searching for Sugarman: the ‘70’s Rock Icon Who Never Was

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

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