We are happy to have renewed a partnership with the Galapagos Conservation Trust. This non-profit organization raises money to help preserve these wonderful islands. Based in the UK it is part of the Charles Darwin Foundation who maintain a scientific research station in the archipelago. They advise the National park and help with specific projects. Among these are monitoring whale sharks, surveying resident seabirds like the endangered penguins and cormorants, repatriating giant tortoises that are captive-bred and restoring islands to their pristine state by eradicating introduced organisms. A recent project is to restore Floreana island, to re-introduce the endemic Galapagos mockingbird, a species that were as inspirational to Charles Darwin as the finches that bear his name. The GCT also fund environmental education of local students in the inhabited islands, for they are the future guardians. We will donate a year’s membership of the trust to each of our passengers visiting the Galapagos.
Category Archives: Select Latin America
We are pleased to announce that next week from 2 – 5 November we shall be at the Luxury Travel fair at Olympia, London. Come & feel inspired by one of the talks which take place every day including, critic and TV presenter Giles Coren, Planet Earth 2 Producer, Chadden Hunter, The Natural Navigator Tristan Gooley & Author Lord Norwich who will be talking about their travel experiences in a Q&A with members of the Condé Nast Traveler Editorial Team. You can also come and talk to us on Stand E31 about planning your trip to the Galapagos, Antarctica or Latin America. For free entrance go to the Luxury Travel Fair website and use the code: LTEX062.
Anyone who has travelled will tell you that experiences are more fulfilling than things. But why is this? For many, the thought of having the latest iPhone, a new watch or a car makes them happy. But there is evidence to back up the theory that travelling and experiences will make you happier than material possessions.
Many studies into the subject have been done in the past. One from Cornell University has proved that humans receive more gratification and lasting pleasure from an ‘experience’ than they do from an object. The reason for this is adaptation.
It’s obvious that wealth brings about happiness, however this is only for a very limited time. Over time, humans become accustomed to money and begin to take what they have as normal instead of a blessing. This works in the same way as processions. Think about it. When you bought that new iPhone, it probably felt good. It’s nice to have nice things. But how do you feel about it now? Most probably, it’s become a normal part of your day, a tool to use.
An interesting survey by Pew Research Centre in 2014 found that, in general, people in many developing countries where reporting an increased level of contentment than from the last study seven years previously. However, in more developed countries like the USA, there was very little or no increase. This also suggests that there is also a curve with money (and therefore processions) vs. happiness. A little more can give you the freedom to do the things you want and have less financial worries, but the more you have the less happiness you receive.
Memories of experiences work differently. You probably don’t look back on the television you had in the 90s with great fondness, but a trip to Cornwall or Peru or France will have left lasting memories that you will look back on with increasing joy.
“Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods. You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences.” explains Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a professor of psychology at Cornell University.
This also goes for negative experiences you may have gone through. Something which may have seemed traumatic at the time, can often be looked back on with rose tinted glasses in the future. Those who travel a lot can often find things which are negative as well as positive. These are things that become part of you and dictate your thinking. No one looks back on a laptop they split coffee on and think it was character building.
Another 50-year study on happiness from Berkeley University found that the emotion comes from social interaction. The study found clear links between meaningful relationships with other humans and happiness. Those who led a more isolated life were less fulfilled. Unfortunately, modern technology like social media doesn’t increase meaningful relationships. There is no substitute to face to face human interactions.
Travel is a wonderful life experience that helps you build bonds with others. Even if you weren’t together on the same trip, you are much more likely to forge a relationship with someone based on common life experiences than through the things you own. So, what are you waiting for. Forget buying yourself the new tablet computer and book a holiday instead. You won’t regret it.
To visit Latin America contact one of our travel experts on +(0) 207 407 1478 or email us here.
It’s that time of year again. If you’ve travelled with us this year we’d really appreciate if you could take a little time to rate us, the places you visited in Latin America and the airlines you flew with. This gives you the opportunity to share your impressions with the travel trade and to share your experiences with the travel community as a whole.
As an extra incentive Wanderlust are offering the chance to win one of ten copies of the brand new book – Wanderlust 100 Greatest Travel Experiences.
To take part click here.
We would like to take the opportunity to thank you all again and we look forward to creating your adventures in Latin America in 2016.
Having spent a week in the biggest city in South America, São Paulo, I took a flight to Alta Floresta one of the least populated places in the World. Here in Brazil’s Mato Grosso state, part of the Amazon, is home to cattle ranchers and folk living on the edge of the civilized world. The temperature on arrival was 37°C. I was shocked at the few pockets of trees left as we flew low over what was once primary rain forest. From the plane I saw plumes of smoke from the burning vegetation. The high temperatures are the result of land unprotected by trees, (the current drought over much of Brazil also exacerbated by deforestation).
Happily not all is doom and gloom, after an hour in a car on a bumpy dirt road we came to the river Telespires, deeply verdant forest was evident all around. I took a boat up river to the Cristalino river that flows through a private reserve 7,000 hectares of protected forest. This is thanks to the dream of Vitória Da Riva Carvalho and her husband who came here when Alta Floresta was just a frontier hamlet 25 years ago.
She had a vision of creating a way of making a living by protecting the natural environment and in 1992 Cristalino Lodge was born. Vitória’s first priority was to stop the forest being destroyed, and then achieve a sustainable income derived from tourism. They created the first private natural reserve in Mato Grosso in 1997 and two years later the Cristalino Ecological Foundation with both tourism, education and scientific research as key activities. The reserve is now bigger than the size of Manhattan island.
Only accessible by boat the lodge is surrounded by tropical forest making it a true jungle haven, Amazon and ringed kingfishers showed-off as I was paddled in. Once settled into my smart bungalow and refreshed with a tropical juice, it was off into the forest with my guide Fito. The reserve is known for rich diversity of birds and butterflies – more than 550 bird species and at least 2,000 butterfly species – but also for its varied jungle of primary rainforest and aquatic habitats.
Fito showed me the extensive trail system and a clean river perfect for canoeing and swimming. The tannin-rich black-water means mosquitoes are few. The eco-friendly bungalows follow sustainable practices, built on already disturbed land using local materials, ventilated screens instead of air-conditioning. Solar power is used for much of the energy. Waste water is biologically treated with permaculture.
The gardens are planted with native plants. Tour groups are kept to a maximum of 8 per guide. Despite the eco-credentials comfort is not sacrificed. The cuisine is traditional Brazilian fare cooked in a wood stove, dinners are lit by candles and plenty of organic fruit and vegetables, much grown in their own organic garden. The inside and ‘al fresco’ showers were powerful and among the best I’ve had in all Brazil. Cristalino ticks all the boxes.
At dawn Fito took me to one of the two 50m towers that soar above the forest canopy. The sight of the mists evaporating over the carpet of green will stay with me forever. We scanned for the elusive harpy eagle but made do with scarlet macaws, white-bellied parrots, laughing falcon, white-throated toucans, chestnut wood-peckers, hook-billed kites to name but a few.
On the way we stopped at trees covered in spikes and saw one of the few remaining giant Brazil nut trees.
After lunch and a siesta we took a canoe ride to observe the birds of the river: Cocoi heron, green ibis, anhingas (snake-bird), neotropic cormorants, white-banded swallows, great jacamar plus bats sleeping under a branch and white-whiskered spider monkeys playing in the trees.
We made many sorties at dawn and dusk when creatures are most active, catching up on sleep after lunch. We surprised many a caiman alligator sunning itself on the banks of the river, and river turtles on rocks and branches poking up through the water. I was surprised to see large mammals like deer, which show the forest is healthy.
The biggest shock was when Fito signalled for us to go up to a hide, rather like a kid’s tree-house, and minutes later a troop of white-lipped peccaries surrounded us. First a dozen or so of these noisy grunting boars arrived and wallowed in the mud. Soon there must have been over a hundred or so including families with babies. For a good half an hour we watched these pungent smelly pigs cavort, and then the leader made an eerie clicking sound and they disappeared just as quickly as they had arrived.
On my return to the lodge I had picked up a souvenir, a tick, but the attentive staff gave me special tweezers to remove the offending parasite. Just when I thought I’d had the last mammalian encounter on the afternoon’s boat ride, our boatman turned the canoe round and we were face to face with a tapir having a refreshing soak at the river’s edge.
My final exploration was on a hill made of ancient granite that poked up above the forest, it felt like Conan Doyle’s Lost World with strange multi-coloured trees, and parts are so steep a rope is provided as a hand rail. The hiker is rewarded with a great view from a natural vantage point. It was a special finale to a wonderful few days far from the madding crowd. Spider monkeys came to see me off; I never did see the harpy though so that’s a good reason to go back one day.
All photos © David Horwell. Please do not use without the express consent of Select Latin America.
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.
We are pleased to announce the publication of new brochure. This beautiful 96 page full colour booklet is packed full of our favourite hotels, country information, tours and maps to give you itchy feet and help with the planning of your next adventure in Latin America. To order you free copy, please get in touch.
Fancy a different way of exploring Patagonia? Why not trying our new Patagonia Overland Safari tour?
This can be either an eight or six days program where you will discover the most amazing corners of Patagonia on both the Argentinean and Chilean sides, including the mighty Perito Moreno Glacier, Torres del Paine National Park with the fascinating Grey glacier and Los Glaciares National Park which provides stunning views of Mount Fitz Roy.
Both programs can be combined with a visit to the vibrant city of Buenos Aires, the imposing Iguazú falls and with a Malbec wine tasting in Mendoza. At the same time we can include a few days exploring the marvelous Atacama Desert in Chile.
To start organizing your visit to Patagonia get in touch.
A new species of tapir, has been identified by scientists in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil and Colombia. The new mammal, unknown to science but known to local indigenous tribes, is the smallest of the five known species of living tapirs. The scientists have named the new tapir Tapirus kabomani. It is the first tapir discovery since 1865. Its skull differs in shape and features from those of all other living tapirs, having darker hair, a lower mane, and a broader forehead than its well known cousin. The first known specimen collected for this species of tapir remained unidentified for almost 100 years. The collector was Theodore Roosevelt, who was President of the United States from 1901–1909. Roosevelt remarked in 1914 that this specimen “…was a bull, full grown but very much smaller than the animal I had killed. The hunters said that this was a distinct kind.”
Pablo Neruda was born on 12 July, 1904, in the town of Parral in Chile, the son of a railway worker and a teacher. The poet, whose real name is Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto, grew up in Temuco. From the age of thirteen he contributed to newspapers. In 1920, he became a contributor to the literary journal Selva Austral under the pen name of Pablo Neruda. Some of the poems he wrote at that time are found in his first published book: Crepusculario (1923). The following year saw the publication of Veinte poemas de amor y una cancion desesperada, one of his best-known and most translated works. Neruda studied French and pedagogy at the University of Chile in Santiago. Between 1927 and 1935, he was given honorary consulships, which took him around the world. Neruda was appointed consul in Paris in 1939, and then posted to Mexico, where he rewrote his Canto General de Chile, transforming it into an epic poem about the whole South American continent. In 1943, Neruda returned to Chile and he was elected senator of the Republic in 1945, also joining the Communist Party of Chile. Due to his protests against President González Videla’s repressive policy against striking miners in 1947, he hid in a basement for two years escaping to Europe in 1949, returning home in 1952. Years later, Neruda was a close advisor to Chile’s socialist President Salvador Allende. Neruda was ill at the time of the Chilean coup d’état led by Augusto Pinochet. On 23 September 1973, Neruda died of heart failure. Neruda’s death was announced around the world. Pinochet denied permission to make Neruda’s funeral a public event. However, thousands of grieving Chileans disobeyed the curfew and paraded in the streets.