Friday, May 28, 2010

The GreenTracks Naturalist

Faces of Nature

Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus). This spectacular bird of the Andes, with a wingspan of 10 feet, is on the decline. It has been used traditionally in a brutal ceremony that involves tying an adult condor to a horse’s back and eventually beating the bird to death. Fortunately, there are now captive breeding and re-introduction programs for this great bird.

Blue-and-yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna). This unmistakable bird can still be seen in small flocks along the Amazon and its tributaries. The flight call is a rasping screech that brings visions of Long John silver to mind.

Brown-chinned three-toed Sloth (Bradypus marmoratus). Surely this sleepy denizen of the trees was the inspiration for ET!

Yellow-handed Titi Monkey (Callicebus torquatus). Titis are among the most secretive and beautiful of all primates. They are difficult to observe because they tend to stay in dense undergrowth of rainforests.

White-fronted Capuchin Monkey (Cebus albifrons). One of the most intelligent of primates, the capuchin often makes use of leaves and branches while foraging. It cracks palm nuts by banging them against trees.

Brown Capuchin Monkey (Cebus apella). Like other capuchin species, this inventive monkey uses all manner of clever tricks when foraging. In addition to fruits and leaves, Brown Capuchins will devour any small animal they can capture.

Giant Amazon Snail (Megalobulimus popelairanus). This massive creature is the heaviest terrestrial snail in the world, being exceeded in length only by a species found in Africa. Seeing one of these imposing creatures, spread out to dinner-plate size, as it cruises about on the rainforest floor is an unforgettable spectacle.

Gibba Turtle (Mesoclemmys gibba). Gibbas are secretive and nocturnal, never emerging from the water to bask. The barbells on the chin are highly enervated and may play a role in either prey or mate location.

Eyelash Palm Pitviper (Bothriechis schlegelii). Eyelash Vipers, perfectly camouflaged for life in the trees, range from southern Mexico to northern Peru. This is a venomous snake but it seldom is the cause of bites in humans.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Explorers of the Amazon
by Anthony Smith. 1990.

University of Chicago Press, Chicago

Smith does a top-notch job capturing the adventure and excitement, the sacrifices, suffering, and heroism displayed by the men and women drawn to investigate and open the grandest river on the globe. Well researched and written, Smith’s book is an introduction to the history of a fabled region, and an adventure story as well.

More info/Order


Friday, May 21, 2010

Railway Cusco-Machu Picchu to be fully repaired by June 30

Living in
12 May, 2010

by Isabel Guerra

Ferrocarril Transandino (Fetransa), railway concessionaire in Peru's south and east, issued a press release stating that their crews are working “intensively” to repair completely the damaged ways and restore the connection between Cusco and Aguas Calientes, aka Machu Picchu Pueblo as soon as possible.

After the reopening of the Piscacucho – Machu Picchu Pueblo, that took place on March 29, now the railway connection between Poroy and Ollantaytambo stations has been restored, too.

“At present, nine Fetransa teams are working between Chilca and Piscacucho, where there are four spots yet to repair, being the most difficult one at the kilometer 79. These works have been delayed because of the river surges, but it's been a month of intensive work,” states the company's press release.

The official statement concludes that if weather conditions keep on being favorable, works are expected to be completed by June 30, thus restoring completely the railway from Cusco to Machu Picchu.

The railway had been severely damaged by last January's heavy floods, that destroyed several spots.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Trip report

We received this letter from Florence Dodington who recently took a GreenTracks trip to Cuzco and Machu Picchu.

I cannot thank you enough for having arranged our travels in Peru - or my dear friend, Bonny, for having put me in touch with you! The trip was absolutely fabulous. The three of us agreed that it was one of the very best we had been fortunate to have.

We were upgraded to the owners' rooms at Inkaterra, which was one of the nicest accomodations we have been in anywhere. What a perfectly lovely spot, and how fortunate we were to have stayed there instead of at The Sanctuary! All of the other parts of The Inkaterra - the birding, orchids, tea making, as well as the food and excellent staff made it unforgettable. I don't know why we were upgraded, we were told that after all, we were staying there for two nights, but it was superb! If you had anything to do with it, we thank you.

All of the guides, airport greeters and drivers were excellent and the vans very clean and comfortable. We were tremendously impressed by the Peruvian people and their pride in their country. It is the cleanest of any south or central American one I have visited!

Thank you for your help and planning for us. I have already recommended you highly to friends who have asked about our trip.

Very sincerely,
Florence Dodington


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

New GreenTracks Tour Packages in Peru

GreenTracks has put together a series of Standard Tours that combine some of the diverse and fascinating areas of Peru. These programs make it quick and easy for travelers to find and book a tour that includes the destinations they desire. Peru is a land of unrivaled landscapes, the most biologically rich ecosystems on the planet, including almost untouched tropical rainforest, communities of indigenous people, a rich colonial history, and well-preserved vestiges of ancient civilizations.

Amazon Expedition Cruise & Machu Picchu (14 Days/ 13 Nights) The classic Peru tour that includes an Amazon riverboat cruise, Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.

The Inca Experience (6 Days/ 5 Nights) This program gives those with limited time the opportunity to see Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.

Peru Eco Adventure (9 Days/ 8 Nights) For people interested in ecosystems, wildlife and culture and history a trip that includes Sandoval Lake Lodge in the Amazon, the Sacred Valley, Short Inca Trail hike and Machu Picchu.

Inca Odyssey (9 Days/ 8 Nights) Designed for people interested in light adventure that includes Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Classic Inca Trail hike and Machu Picchu.

Ancient Cultures & Treasures (10 Days/ 9 Nights) Gives those with a love for archeology and history the opportunity to see the Northern Kingdoms of the Lambayeque, Chimu and Moche, Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.

Footprints of the Incas (10 Days/ 9 Nights) The most popular trek in the world - the Discovery Inca Trail hike. This program also includes Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.

Taste of Peru (17 Days/ 16 Nights) An exploration of the southern part of Peru that includes the colonial city of Arequipa, Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca, Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and the Amazon rainforest at the Heath River Wildlife Center.

Peru Explorer (19 Days/ 18 Nights) An all inclusive journey that includes Arequipa, Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca, the altiplano, Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Short Inca Trail hike, Machu Picchu, Manu Wildlife Center, Ballestas Islands and a flight over the Nazca Lines.

With these programs GreenTracks combines great experiences, adventure, wildlife, archeology and culture, all in Private Service. GreenTracks has nearly 20 years of experience in Peru and provides the best service and tours available. A GreenTracks vacation is fun, stimulating and educational.


Friday, May 7, 2010

The GreenTracks Naturalist

The Western Emerald Treeboa (Corallus batesi)

One of the classic Amazonian animals is the beautiful Emerald Treeboa (Corallus caninus). Strictly arboreal, this slow moving snake is seldom seen, even by local residents. Recently, based on DNA studies in which GreenTracks was a participant, the Emerald Treeboa was shown to consist of two species. The snake found in the Upper Amazon Basin is now called Corallus batesi, a name that honors Henry Walter bates, who wrote a classic 19th century book, The Naturalist on the River Amazons. All photos shown here are of Corallus batesi.

Like the Emerald Treeboa, Corallus batesi undergoes a remarkable transition, starting life as a red snake and eventually becoming green.

This marvelously camouflaged reptile has been known to remain in on spot for days. They are active at night and we find them on GreenTracks trips by using flashlights to spot the reflective eye in the trees.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010


The equatorial Galapagos Islands are located in the Pacific Ocean some 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador and consist of thirteen main islands.

(Click on map to enlarge)

The archipelago's climate is sub-tropical and its flora and fauna are so unique that this group of islands is considered to be one of the planet’s natural paradises. You will find unending beaches of marble-white sand, such as those of Tortuga Bay, lava tunnels, spectacular areas for snorkeling and diving, a marine reserve, not to mention the incredible animals and colorful birds you’ll observe.

The best way to explore the Galapagos Islands is by boat and GreenTracks offers acclaimed programs utilizing several different size ships. Galapagos trips can be combined with land programs on the Ecuador mainland and easily combine with our tours in Peru of the Amazon, Cuzco and Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, Nazca and more.