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Monthly Archives: October 2014

This Bizarre Orchid Looks Like A Monkey’s Face

Monkey Face Orchid 1
Flickr/Dick Culbert

The Dracula simian is an epiphytic orchid which, due to its features, is more commonly referred to as the monkey face orchid. The beautiful and strangely lifelike orchids can only be found in the southern Ecuadorian and Peruvian cloud forests between elevations of 1,000 and 2,000 metres. These rare orchids are part of a family of 120 species and are difficult to cultivate at home, although some have managed. They are not season specific and therefore can flower at any time of year.  They fragrance smells strongly of ripe oranges, which is a shame as bananas may be more appropriate. To see a huge photo collection of these wonderful flowers Monkey Orchids flickr album.

Would you like to see the monkey face orchid in the wild? Get in touch to start planning your trip.

RELATED: Our picks for the 2018 hotspots in Latin America

Our Top 25 Most Unique Hotels In Latin America

From floating hotels on a Uruguayan lake to an aircraft nestled amongst trees in Costa Rica’s rainforest, we’ve searched high and low for Latin America’s most unusual and unique places to stay. Surprisingly Chile comes out on top with an impressive total of eleven.

Laguna Garzón Lodge – José Ignacio, Uruguay

Laguna Garzon

Explora Patagonia – Torres del Paine, Chile

Explora Patagonia

Ecohabs – Tayrona National Park, Colombia


Montaña Magica – Huilo Huilo, Chile

Magic Mountain

Eco Camp – Torres del Paine, Chile


Cristal Samaña – Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia

Cristal Samana

Home Hotel – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Home Hotel

Arrebol Patagonia – Puerto Varas, Chile


Inkaterra Canopy Treehouse – Amazon, Peru

Canopy Treehouse

Morerava Cottages – Easter Island, Chile

Morerava Cottages

Quinta Real Zacatecas – Zacatecas, Mexico

Quinta Real Zacatacas

Hotel Unique – São Paulo, Brazil

hotel_unique (5)

Awasi Patagonia – Torres del Paine, Chile


Espejo de Luna – Chiloé, Chile

Espejo de Luna

Canopy Tower – Soberanía National Park, Panama

Canopy Tower

Pueblo Barrancas Ecolodge – Pedrera, Uruguay

Pueblo Barrancas

Hotel Costa Verde 727 Fuselage – Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

727 Fuselage

Canopy Village – Huilo Huilo, Chile

Canopy Village

Cristalino Jungle Lodge – Alta Floresta, Brazil

Cristalino Jungle Lodge

Nothofagus Hotel & Spa – Huilo Huilo, Chile


Aqua Amazon – Amazon, Peru

Aqua Amazon

Entre Cielos – Mendoza, Argentina

Entre Cielos

Reino Fungi Lodge – Huilo Huilo, Chile

Reina Fungi

Hotel Endemico – Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico

Hotel Endemico

Nidos de Pucón Tree Lodge – Pucón, Chile

Nidos de Pucon Tree Lodge

To start booking your unique stay in Latin America contact the experts.

RELATED: 10 off grid hotels in Latin America

A Guide To The National Drinks Of Latin America

National drinks throughout Latin America vary immensely. Some opt for teas, others beer or liquor. Of course, there is also the age old debate on the origins of the Pisco Sour – the Peruvians or the Chileans. Whichever country you’re visiting, we highly recommend trying the national beverage. Most are delicious (although be careful with that Colombia fire water) and it’s a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture.

Argentina & Uruguay – Mate

Mate - ArgentinaFlickr/Marcos Cousseau

Most would imagine that the Argentinians and Uruguayans would choose alcoholic beverages as their national drinks. However, they have opted for the mate tea, particularly popular in rural areas (gauchos consume considerable amounts each day). This bitter tea made from the yerba plant is more than just a drink, it’s a daily ritual shared amongst friends and family. Find out how to prepare mate in the traditional way.

Brazil – Caipirinha

caipirinha - brazilFlickr/CristinaPessini

Although this zingy cocktail of cachaçu (a type of Brazilian sugar cane rum), sugar and lime juice served over plenty of ice is a delight wherever you are, it particularly good in its home country. Better still, grab one at the beach bars in Rio de Janeiro as you watch the sunset over the bay.

Bolivia – Singani


The Singani is a distilled liquor made from white Muscadet grapes and although it’s not brandy, most exports are marketed as brandy. Production of Singani is limited only to the Bolivian Andes and began way back in the 16th century.

Chile & Peru – Pisco Sour

Pisco sour - PeruFlickr/ Cathrine Lindblom Gunasekara

The age old debate on the origins of the pisco sour continues to this day. Both make claims to the invention of this tasty beverage and both consider it their national drink. However, there are subtle differences between the two. Both use pisco liquor as the base ingredient, as well as lime, sugar and ice, but the Peruvians add egg white and Angostura bitter to the mix. Both are excellent and slip down all too well.

Colombia – Aguardiente

Aguardiente - ColombiaFlickr/matias Jaramillo

Aguardiente or fire water, a type of sugarcane liquor, can be found in many countries across Latin America, although it is perhaps most popular in Colombia who have declared it their national drink. This clear anise-flavoured liquor is usually drunk neat or with a dash of water.

Costa Rica – Guaro

Guaro Sour - Costa RicaFlickr/David Berkowitz

This clear liquor made from sugarcane is similar to Colombia’s fire water and is found in many countries across Central and South America. It is sometimes referred to as ‘soft vodka’ and is typically served in a refreshing Guaro Sour.

Ecuador – Canelazo

Baños, Ecuador

This warming tea of cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, sugar, orange zest and a dash of Ecuadorian fire water is typical of the Andean region. Perfect for a cold night in the mountains.

Guatemala – Gallo Beer

Gallo Beer - GuatemalaFlickr/David Dennis

Guatemalans are proud of their Gallo (rooster) beer, their national drink. This excellent, refreshing lager is hugely popular throughout the country.

Mexico – Tequila

Tequila - Mexico
Flickr/Douglas Muth

Perhaps the most iconic of national drinks in the world. Who would imagine that liquor made from the nectar of the humble blue agave plant could be so popular around the world. Mexican laws when it comes to Tequila are tight and it can only be made in the state of Jalisco (and limited regions of a number of others). The best way to drink tequila is neat, although margaritas are also pretty good.

Panama – Seco Herrerano

Seco Herrerano - Panama
Flickr/Anamaris Cousins Price

Another excellent sugarcane liquor. Seco Herrerano differs due to its longer process of distillation. It is traditionally drunk neat, although it can also be used as a replacement for vodka or rum in cocktails.

RELATED: Delicious Baja-style Mexican fish taco recipes

What To Eat For Breakfast In Each Latin American Country

Breakfast in Latin America varies immensely between countries and also regions. You’re not going to, for example, find the same breakfast in the Andes to that which you will find on the coast, even in the same country. Below is just an example of some of the best things you can start you day on in each country.

Argentina – Medialunas


Argentinians, like many parts of Europe, prefer something small and sweet for breakfast. Medialunas are much like croissants, buttery crescent-shaped pastries that are perfect when smothered in rich dulce de leche and served with milky coffee.

Chile – Tostada con manjar

Manjar - ChileFlickr/Germán Poo-Caamaño

In Chile, the humble breakfast is simple fare. Typically Chileans will have tostadas covered with jam or caramel manjar.

Brazil – Bolo de Laranjá and tropical fruits

Fruit and cake - brazilFlickr/Turismo Bahia

Brazilians have a wide variety of breakfast foods. Delicious exotic fruits are always on offer but it may surprise you to know that cake is often eaten in the morning. An orange cake called Bolo de Laranjá is delicious and one of the most common.

Bolivia – Salteñas

saltenasFlickr/Rodrigo Galindez

Salteñas are basically smaller versions of their Argentine cousin, the empanada. Delicious baked pastries filled with a beef, pork or chicken and sometimes vegetables like peas. Vendors start selling these tasty morsels at 7am and they can quickly sell out.

Peru – Ceviche

CevicheFlickr/Ron Dollete

The classic Peruvian dish of ceviche is popular on the coast. A variety of raw fish marinated in lime and other citrus juices, chilli and onions and served with corn-on-the-cob and sweet potato.

Ecuador – Tigrillo

Tigrillo - ecuadorFlickr/Rinaldo Wurglitsch

A hearty mix of mashed green plantain, scrambled eggs and cheese, sometimes served with avocado and lime wedges.

Colombia – Changua

ChanguaFlickr/manuela y Daniel

Changua is a typical breakfast dish of the Colombian Andes and particularly good in Bogota. This simple soup of milk, spring onions, coriander, bread and poached eggs is an excellent way to start the day.

Uruguay – Bizcochos

Bizcochos Uruguay

Bizcochos is a term used for pastries in Spanish, and in Uruguay this usually means the croissant-like pastries that are very popular for breakfast. Similarly to Argentina these are accompanied by sweet milky coffee.

Panama – Tortilla Con Bistec


Panamanian cuisine is a reflection of its position between two continents and its diverse population. It draws influence from many of the countries that surround it. Typically breakfast includes corn tortillas with beef and onions.

Costa Rica – Gallo Pinto

Gallo PintoFlickr/regan76

Gallo pinto is the most commonly eaten breakfast in Costa Rica. A simply but delicious dish of rice and beans cooked in chicken stock and served with toast and eggs.

Guatemala – Desayuno Chapín

desayuno chapínFlickr/Phil

Desayuno Chapín (Chapín being the nickname for Guatemala) is a scrumptious hearty medley of scrambled eggs, refried beans, chirmol (tomato sauce), fried plantains, cheese and bread served with plenty of coffee.

Mexico – Huevos Rancheros

huevos rancherosFlickr/Kevin

This is typical of rural Mexico, usually served in the mid-morning. Fried eggs laid on corn tortillas are topped with plenty of extras including refried beans, avocado, chili sauce, rice and more.

Belize – Fry Jack

fry jacksFlickr/Larnie Fox

Fry Jacks are a stable of Belizean breakfasts.  These deep fried crispy dough pieces are often served with eggs, beans or jam and honey.

RELATED: Delicious Baja-style Mexican fish taco recipes

Eleven Amazing Experiences You Can Have In Latin America [VID]

1. Snorkel with whale sharks on Mexico’s Holbox Island

2. Track wild jaguars in Brazil’s Pantanal wetlands

3. Hike in the spectacular Torres del Paine National Park in Chile

4. Watch huge blocks of ice carve off the Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina

5. Hand glide over Rio de Janeiro in Brazil

6. View orcas in the Valdes Peninsula in Argentina

7. Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru

8. Drive across the Uyuni Salts Flats in Bolivia

9. Get up close to the Iguazu Falls

10. Get up early to see the Tatio Geysers in Chile

11. Watch the mating dance of the blue-footed booby on the Galapagos Islands

To book any of these adventures get in touch with us here.

RELATED: A typical day in the Galapagos Islands

12 Fascinating Facts About Brazil You Probably Didn’t Know

1. 93% of new cars sold in Brazil run from an ethanol created from sugar cane

carsFlickr/Belenos Govannon

2. Brazil has the world’s best beach according to TripAdvisor – Baia do Sancho on the archipelago of  Fernando de Noronha

beach_brazilFlickr/Almir de Freitas

3. There are around two million Brazilians of Japanese descent in Brazil

JapanFlickr/Eduardo M.

4. Rio de Janeiro’s famous statue, Christ the Redeemer, stands more than thirty 38 metres high and weighs over 635 tonnes

Christ the RedeemerFlickr/Christian Haugen

5. The ‘favela’ of Santa Marta in Rio de Janeiro has been visited by many celebrities including Madonna and Michael Jackson

santa martaFlickr/Alexander Fns

6. Brazil has the fifth largest population in the world

busyFlickr/Diego Torres Silvestre

7. According to a recent report there are at least 70 uncontacted tribes left in the Brazilian Amazon

amazon tribesFlickr/Rodrigo Soldon

8. Some prisoners in Brazil can reduce their sentences by four days for every book they read, a program dubbed “Redemption through Reading”

prisoner booksFlickr/Ali

9. The fisherman in southeast Brazil use dolphins to herd fish towards their nets

dolphin fishing

10. Over 82% of Salvador’s population is of African descent

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFlickr/zapstratosphere

11. Brazil was the first country in the world to ban tanning beds


12. Brazil’s capital Brasilia was built in under 4 years between 1956 and 1960 and is shaped like an aeroplane

Brasilia_planWikipedia/Uri Rosenheck

RELATED: 38 Outrageously Luxurious Hotels In Brazil

Zingy Colombian Avocado Soup


A beautifully fresh and zingy Colombian soup that can be served either hot or chilled.


1 tbs butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove
500 ml chicken or vegetable stock
½ lime, squeezed
2 ripe avocados, peeled
¼ tsp ground cumin
250 ml double cream
1 handful of chopped coriander
salt & pepper

Heat a saucepan over a medium heat and melt the butter. Sweat the onions gently for around 5 minutes before adding the garlic. Add the lime juice, stock and avocados and reduce over a low heat for 10 minutes. Pour into a blender and add the cream, cumin, coriander and seasoning. Blend together and then pour back into the saucepan. Cook for a few more minutes and serve.

RELATED: Delicious Baja-style Mexican fish taco recipes

12 Vintage Black & White Photos From Travels Around Brazil

We’ve been creating memorable adventures around Brazil for almost 30 years. Here’s a collection of some of my old black and white photos from travels around this fascinating country.

Angry Brazilian Woman Brazilian Amazon Brazilian Man Brazilian Woman Brazililan Family bw house bw paraty beach boats bw Paraty bw Sao Paulo 2 Collecting Water Happy Kids Woman WeavingAll photographs © David Horwell – all rights reserved. Contact for any usage requests.

RELATED: 38 Outrageously Luxurious Hotels In Brazil

Whale watching in the Yellow Submarine


Ever fancied whale watching from below the surface of the water but anxious about being in the water? We might have the perfect thing for you. The Yellow Submarine is a semi-submersible vessel with leading technology for underwater whale observation located in Chubut on the Valdes Peninsula. Although they offer a more conventional whale watching tour by viewing these gentle giants from the upper deck, the exciting part of this is the 40 submerged viewing windows which give you up close front row seats to some of the most exciting wildlife watching on the planet.  English speaking guides will give you real insight into the Southern right whales as well the other wildlife you may typically see – sea lions and Patagonian sea birds.

The whales come so close to shore it only takes a few minutes to locate them at which point the hour and a half magic begins. You are free to roam the upper and lower decks to enjoy different perspectives of these creatures. During the cruise, the whale watching guide will comment on the behaviour and interpret the activity that the whales may be performing. The whale watching season runs between early September and mid-December.

To find out more information on the cruise on to book the submarine tour as part of your trip to Argentina please get in touch with us here.

RELATED: Our picks for the 2018 hotspots in Latin America