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Monthly Archives: July 2013

NEW ECUADOR HACIENDA – COTOPAXI PUNGO

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On a recent visit to Ecuador I visited new country Inns. The Hacienda Cotopaxi Pungo lies on a farm on the slopes of Pasochoa Volcano and is surrounded by the Cotopaxi, Antisana and Sincholagua volcanoes, with spectacular panoramic views. Cotopaxi Pungo means ‘Gate to Cotopaxi’, is about one and a half hour away from Quito, but only 45 minutes to the new airport. The build is new but the architecture modelled on traditional architecture. From all the rooms one can contemplate the beautiful landscape of the Andes through big picture windows. I sampled a hike down into the green Pita canyon past several waterfalls and saw several hummingbirds. I opted out of the horse-riding in the mountains, but then realized that is the best way to see them without getting altitude problems. Other activities on offer include mountain biking, canopy zip-lining and a visit to Cotopaxi National Park. Alternatively it is a great place to just relax and share the gourmet cuisine by a big log fire.

Start planning your trip to Cotopaxi and the Avenue of Volcanoes.

RELATED: New Suites at Napo Wildlife Centre

Mexican Region becomes Biosphere Reserve

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Pinacate Volcanic Field (Richard Waitt)

El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar in Mexico has just become a biosphere reserve and are of great scientific interest. This 714,566 hectare reserve has two distinct parts: the dormant volcanic Pinacate Shield of lava flows in the east and the ever changing sand dunes (some of which reach heights of 200 metres) of Gran Altar Desert in the west.

The arid region harbours highly diverse plant and wildlife species including freshwater fish and the endemic Sonoran Pronghorn. There are ten deep and almost perfectly circular craters formed when the volcanic area was active contribute to the incredibly dramatic beauty.

Start planning your adventure to Mexico.

RELATED: Interesting facts about Mexico you probably didn’t know

Flight of the Butterflies 3D

Flight of the Butterflies 3D is an extraordinary tale of insect endurance as we follow Dana, a Monarch butterfly on her perilous migration route from Canada to Mexico.  Along with her daughter, granddaughter and great granddaughter they travel over 2,000 km south, overwinters and makes a final trip to Southern United States to lay her eggs.

It’s also the story of the determined scientist who spent 40 years searching to unravel the mystery of where they go each autumn. Along with his wife Norah he enlisted thousands of volunteers across the North America to tag hundreds of butterflies and track their migration route.

Coming to the BFI IMAX at Waterloo this September.

RELATED: 9 beautiful exotic birds from Latin America

Peru New World Cultural Heritage Sites

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UNESCO is considering declaring the Inca archaeological complex of Saqsayhuaman and the city of Ollantaytambo, both near Cusco in Peru, World Heritage Sites, which would be a great add-on to the long list of UNESCO sites in South America. South America has many cultural and natural World Heritage sites which include the Central Amazon (Brazil), the waterfalls of Iguazu (Brazil, Argentina), wildlife haven Peninsular Valdes (Argentina), Patagonia’s Las Glaciares National Park, the Galapagos Islands, with their giant tortoises, marine iguanas and countless bird species, mysterious Easter Island (Chile) and of course Machu Picchu (Peru), hidden high up in the Andes and one of the world’s most iconic cultural sites. Discover the World Heritage Sites of South America with Select Latin America and contact us for tours and bespoke journeys that incorporate tours with expert guides.

RELATED: Q’oyllur Riti Festival Peru

British Bird-watching Fair

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Our ‘Mr Galapagos’ David Horwell is giving an illustrated talk on Saturday 17th August 2013 at 10.00 in the Anglian Water Bird-watching Centre entitled – Galapagos, Islands of Birds and Reptiles – the talk will cover: How to get to the Galapagos, why it is so special, ways of visiting the archipelago (e.g. cruising versus Hotel based trips), animal and bird life, conservation issues. David is author of best selling ‘Galapagos Wildlife: A Visitor’s Guide’ (Bradt); he will be available at a book signing after the talk at the Select Latin America stand, marquee 1, stand 36. We will be having a stand for the duration of the show for the 12th.year. David has led over 50 tours to the islands and one of the renowned experts in Galapagos tourism and natural history.

RELATED: 9 beautiful exotic birds from Latin America

Mexico: A Revolution in Art, 1910 – 1940

Key 99_DACS Diego Rivera – ‘Dance in Tehuantepec’, 1928

Opening this week, at London’s prestigious Royal Academy of Art, this exhibition features art of the Mexican Revolution. The turmoil between 1910 and 1920 was a period of great political change in which the arts were placed centre stage. Often referred to as a cultural renaissance, artists were employed by the Ministry of Public Education on arts projects designed to promote the principles of the revolution. The show examines the intense thirty year period of artistic creativity that took place at the beginning of the twentieth century. This exhibition brings together work by Mexican artists at the forefront of the artistic movement including Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Also on display will be work by international artists and intellectuals who were drawn to the country by its political aspirations and the opportunities afforded to artists. Among them were Marsden Hartley, Josef Albers, Edward Burra, Paul Strand, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Tina Modotti, Edward Weston, André Breton and Robert Capa. Mexico: A Revolution in Art, 1910 – 1940 reveals a dynamic and often turbulent cultural environment that included some seminal figures of the twentieth century, reflecting on their interaction with each other, all of whom were inspired by the same subject: Mexico.

RELATED: Interesting facts about Mexico you probably didn’t know

Poison Arrow Frogs

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Poison dart frogs have long been used by tribal peoples of South America. They learned that rolling a blow-dart tip over a live frog’s skin creates a coating of poison that can paralyze any animal, making it easier to hunt. The frogs not only taste vile but will also kill any predator that eats them. The frogs accumulate the toxin from their diet of termites, ants, and beetles. The frogs are immune to their own poison, which is stored in its skin glands for years. The tips of arrows and darts soaked in these toxins can also keep their deadly effect for over two years. The effects can vary from irritants to hallucinogens, nerve poisons, and vasoconstrictors; some are so powerful that they can lead to fibrillation and heart failure. Most are found in Central and South America, but many are endangered due to disappearing habitat. Poison dart frogs all have bright colours, to ward off potential predators. Their toxins can have valuable medicinal uses, such as anaesthetics and researchers have developed a synthetic compound that shows promise as a painkiller more effective than morphine, but non-addictive. Hopefully these medical properties will mean we will value these tiny, yet incredibly beautiful amphibians much more, so future generations will see them in all their glory. On our Wonders of Nature and Man tour to Panama and Costa Rica you can visit Red Frog Beach, named after this colourful resident.

RELATED: The Red Frogs of Bocas del Toro

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