Tuesday, November 8, 2011

December Getaway - GreenTracks Amazon Cruises

Explore the Amazon on a historic riverboat Wildlife Cruise to the Pacaya Samiria Reserve in Peru with GreenTracks this December. Experience the flora and fauna of the largest rainforest on Earth.

GreenTracks  Amazon Cruises are an adventure cruise aboard a restored rubber boom-era riverboat. There are several excursions daily off the riverboat, led by the GreenTracks Naturalist Guides. By small excursion boat, you will explore the creeks and oxbow lakes in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve in search of wildlife. There are both day and night hikes on rainforest trails in search of interesting animals, multicolored butterflies, bizarre insects, exotic flowers and gigantic trees.

Travel on the restored rubber boom-era riverboat - the M/F Ayapua. Steamboats were at the heart of the rubber boom trade, carrying raw rubber from remote regions of the rainforest to Amazon River port cities such as Iquitos, Peru and Manaus, Brazil. But, the steamboats are gone and virtually all of the original boats have disappeared. Fortunately, the M/F Ayapua has been restored to approximate it’s original splendor, converted to diesel for efficiency and is now the only operating riverboat of it’s type left from that era.

This is a 7 day/6 night cruise operating December 17 - 23, 2011. The riverboat has plenty of room to spread out and relax. Each cabin is air conditioned with a private bath. There is an enclosed air-conditioned dining room and an outdoor bar area. Meals of both international and regional cuisine are served buffet-style. A GreenTracks Amazon Riverboat Cruise is fun, stimulating and educational. With 20 years of operation GreenTracks has provided memorable experiences of the Amazon to thousands of travelers.

Click here for more info...

GreenTracks Amazon Cruises


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Magical Christmas in Cuzco with GreenTracks

The ancient Inca capitol of Cuzco blends a traditional Christmas with the Andean culture to provide a unique and magical setting for an unforgettable experience. As Christmas approaches hundreds of artisans gather in Cuzco’s Plaza de Armas for one of the largest craft fairs in Peru, the Santuranticuy market, on December 24th. The Santuranticuy (meaning Saints for sale) market harks back to the days of the Spanish conquest and here can be found, laid out on blankets, Christmas figurines, handmade ceramics, superb Andean textiles, Nativity scenes in Huamanga stone, retablos (sophisticated Andean folk art in the form of portable boxes) featuring images related to Christmas and carved gourds called mates burilados decorated with Yuletide scenes. The festive glow of lighted Biblical animals and the Andean version of Baby Jesus, el Niño Manuelito, are seen throughout the Plaza. Another important part of Christmas Eve is the Chocolotadas, where hot chocolate, bread and toys are given out to the poor by churches and local businesses. Street vendors sell ponche, a traditional hot, sweet rum punch to counter the chill of the Andes. At midnight everyone gathers to watch magnificent fireworks displays.

On Christmas Day itself the Plaza de Armas is cleared, traditional religious ceremonies take place and families spend the day together in their homes that are intricately decorated with Nativity scenes, retablos and lights. Peruvians, being a warm and hospitable people, often invite visitors into their homes to share this occasion.
On December 26th there is a Holy Births Contest aimed at promoting Christmas spirit with art. Judging takes place and prizes are given out. And then on December 27th is the time for the Situa Raymi, an Inca ceremony celebrating the Moon. On December 29th there is a New Year celebration with a video, light and sound show to highlight ancestral culture.

GreenTracks offers programs to Cuzco that include visits to the Cathedral, the Inca Temple of the Sun, the nearby ruins at Sacsayhuaman and the Inca Bath at Tambomachay plus a visit to the famed citadel of Machu Picchu, without a doubt the most important attraction in Peru and one of the world's most impressive archaeological sites. It was recently voted to be one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Built by the Incas on the summit of Machu Picchu (Old Peak), over-looking the deep canyon of the Urubamba River in a semi-tropical area 75 miles from the city of Cuzco at 8,000 feet above sea level. It is thought to have been a sanctuary or temple inhabited by high priests and the "Virgins of the Sun".

Visit the GreenTracks website


Monday, August 22, 2011

GreenTracks EcoTravel's Channel

Greentracks has now added a new video to our YouTube Channel - Flight of the Egrets and Cormorants.

You can also see our videos on Bushmasters, Oropendolas, Anacondas and more.

Click on the link to see all the videos -

GreenTracks EcoTravel's Channel


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

GreenTracks’ tours combine an Amazon Riverboat Cruise and Machu Picchu

This exciting GreenTracks package combines the grandeur of the mightiest river in the world, the Amazon, with the mystery and incredible sights of Cuzco and Machu Picchu. Experience diverse geography, culture and history in one unforgettable trip.

Years of experience exploring the Amazon allows GreenTracks to offer a unique cruise experience. The GreenTracks Amazon Riverboat Cruise is a wildlife adventure cruise. There are several excursions daily off the riverboat led by bilingual Naturalist Guides. Using small excursion boats explore the creeks and oxbow lakes in search of wildlife in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. After dark do the same in search of caiman and colorful frogs and hear the incredible night sounds of the jungle. There are also hikes on rainforest trails in search of interesting animals, multicolored butterflies, bizarre insects, exotic flowers and gigantic trees.

These are 7 day cruises departing from Iquitos, Peru, on scheduled dates. Group size is always small, typically 8 - 12 people. The Amazon riverboat has plenty of room to spread out and relax. Each cabin is air conditioned and has private bath & shower. There is an enclosed air-conditioned dining room and an outdoor bar area. Meals of both international and regional cuisine are served buffet-style in the air-conditioned dining room.

A GreenTracks Wildlife Cruise is fun, stimulating and educational. With over 20 years of operation GreenTracks has provided memorable experiences of the Amazon for thousands of travelers.

Cuzco, the ancient capital of the Inca empire is now a modern small city that has retained much of its colonial charm. A tour of Cuzco includes visits to the Cathedral, the Inca Temple of the Sun, the nearby ruins at Sacsayhuaman and the Inca Bath at Tambomachay. Cuzco is an excellent place to purchase wonderful arts and crafts. Plan on picking up some of the local Alpaca wool sweaters.

The Legendary "Lost City of Machu Picchu" is without a doubt the most important attraction in Peru and one of the world's most impressive archaeological sites. It was recently voted to be one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Built by the Incas on the summit of Machu Picchu (Old Peak), over-looking the deep canyon of the Urubamba River in a semi-tropical area 75 miles from the city of Cuzco at 8,000 feet above sea level. It is thought to have been a sanctuary or temple inhabited by high priests and the "Virgins of the Sun".

The Combination Trip can start with any of the scheduled Amazon Riverboat Cruise dates and continue with a 3, 4 or 6 day program to Cuzco and Machu Picchu the following week. Call 1-800-892-1035 or click on the link below

GreenTracks Amazon Cruises and Machu Picchu Combination program

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Guaranteed Jaguar sightings on Pantanal Wildlife tours

GreenTracks now offers trips to the wildlife-rich Pantanal of Brazil featuring the Southwild Pantanal Eco-Lodge and the Southwild Jaguar Camp, with guaranteed Jaguar sightings.

GreenTracks has now added another exciting wildlife destination in South America - the Pantanal. The Pantanal is a tropical wetland and the world's largest wetland of any kind. It lies mostly within Brazil as well as portions of Bolivia and Paraguay, sprawling over an area estimated to be as much as 195,000 square kilometers (75,000 sq mi). Its seasonally-flooded savannahs and tropical forests offer some of the finest wildlife viewing in Latin America. 80% of the Pantanal flood plains are submerged during the rainy seasons, nurturing an astonishing biologically diverse ecosystem.

GreenTracks offers two spectacular locations (or a combination of both): the Southwild Jaguar Camp and the Southwild Pantanal Eco Lodge.

Southwild Jaguar Camp is the world's leading location to see and photograph wild Jaguars. Southwild Jaguar Camp is the only lodge in history that guarantees viewing of Jaguars. As the Jaguars are at world-record density and spend most of their time on the river edge hunting their favorite prey, namely Paraguayan Caimans and Capybaras, you can see the cats regularly without resorting to any Africa-style baiting or feeding. The term “guaranteed Jaguars” means that if you stay three nights and four days at SWJC and do not see a Jaguar, or if you do not see a Giant Otter, we will give you two nights and three days for free, either right away, or within 24 months.

Southwild Jaguar Camp is open all year for Jaguar viewing. Although most of the Pantanal is hard to access from January through April, Southwild Jaguar Camp is accessible all year thanks to the “Transpantaneira”, the only long, raised road that penetrates the wild heart of the Pantanal.

The Southwild Pantanal Eco Lodge offers the Pantanal’s best value for serious birders, naturalists, and photographers. We offer boat outings that feature the world’s tamest Giant Otters. Other exclusives are the Pantanal’s only mobile canopy towers strategically located at fruiting and flowering trees and silent, electric river catamarans for photographers using long lenses on tripods. We also offer horse rides, cattle drives, walks on scientifically-designed forest trails, research lectures, mammal spotlighting, and Brazilian barbecues.

Click here for more info - Pantanal of Brazil


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

GreenTracks offers discounts on Amazon Cruises

GreenTrack is now offering one of our most popular cruises at a $200 discount. Selected dates are available on both 4 and 5 day cruises, aboard elegantly appointed riverboats. On these cruises you will travel to the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve of Peru, home to some of the largest populations of wildlife in all the Amazon. Hordes of pink and gray river dolphins, packs of howler and squirrel monkeys, massive flocks of brilliant macaws, huge lagoons covered in giant lily pads teeming with fish of all sizes and colors....all of these and more mark the region as Another World. Activities include wildlife viewing, hiking in the rainforest and visits to a riverside villages. Two luxurious riverboats to choose from - The Delfin I and Delfin II.

Delfin I
- The newly refurbished Delfin I takes you one step beyond luxury, where comfort and grace combine effortlessly with the wilderness in the most unique vessel ever to cruise the Amazon River. In a setting of understated elegance and world-class hospitality this classic river vessel features 4 spacious Deluxe Suites, all with private terraces and two of them with a private Jacuzzi.

Delfin II
- The new Delfin II has fourteen large guest suites, including four Master Suites with 180° panoramic windows and ten Suites – four of which can be interconnected to accommodate families - providing all the comforts of world-class suites, yet preserving the spirit of casual and refined elegance. The dining room on the second deck, the observation deck, bar, entertainment center, library, and our special hammock sun deck will be the perfect gathering places for all our guests.

Visit the GreenTracks website for $200 off of standard rates on selected dates.

Visit GreenTracks Amazon Cruises

Or Call 800-892-1035 or 970-884-6107 for information.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Showmanship vs. Reality on reality TV wild animal shows

by Bill Lamar, GreenTracks, Inc.

The abundance of nature oriented television shows is a blessing and a curse. After an auspicious beginning with properly researched and well-filmed documentaries, ratings—largely a function of the preferences of the sofa-set—began to change their direction. One can see the transition from inspired work such as the films by Sir David Attenborough to features that showcase sweating pseudo-Tarzans spewing words like “jungle,” “aggressive,” “survival,” etc. They have devolved into tired depictions of Man vs. Nature that inevitably cast the natural world as something dangerous and in need of conquering….and, of course, they showcase anything with blood. What was a lofty and necessary pursuit has degenerated into cheap thrills.

Television programs are stories and making them is tedious, unromantic, difficult, and expensive. The teams who actually do the filming are marvelously talented and dedicated to their craft. Not surprisingly, the home office is replete with “suits” who live in fear of irate advertisers, the internet, and who cast a dry and often timid eye on the programming choices. Placing a team in the field is, in fact, so costly that time is at a premium, so naturally most animals are procured in advance and wrangled for the scenes. This is perfectly reasonable as long as it is performed by experts who understand the ecology and natural history of their subjects and as long as the research, writing, and editing is rigorously pursued. While all of this is integral to wonderful films produced by and for BBC, Nature, and Nova, it is increasingly rare among the other networks, big names notwithstanding.

The problem arises owing to the innocence of the viewing public. Networks, ever wary of the bottom line, have realized that many, perhaps most, viewers are ill-equipped to distinguish between films featuring solid science and those that stress hyperbole and exaggeration. Risk analysis, a fine science that we use in nearly all aspects of our daily lives, is woefully lacking when it comes to our concepts of wildlife. In brief, the ceiling above you could fall down. That is a hazard. But what is the risk factor, the likelihood that it will happen? While we have a fairly accurate idea as to how high this is, lay-people inappropriately assign high risk factors to all animal hazards. This silliness remains essentially unchanged since the dawn of civilization. And it permits huge liberties to be taken by showmen who know the risks are usually low.

Thus we are now pained to view competent fishermen gasping for breath and trying to portray powerful but essentially harmless fishes as something to be feared; folks molesting terrified snakes while calling them “aggressive,” and “jungles” depicted as places to be subdued. Ditto that for the hokey survivalists, pest controllers, etc. There have been a few legitimate authorities who have presented programs for television, but the majority is anything but that. Additionally, one has the constant problems of animal management. A short scene will often require considerable preparation time for lighting and equipment, yet wild animals are not built to go five rounds. Their reactions—be they defensive or feeding responses—are sudden and of short duration. So by the time the hero hurls himself on top of the anaconda, the snake has long since grown accustomed to being held in readiness off-camera. For those familiar with wild animals, the machinations (not to mention bad acting!) that accompany such staged scenes are ludicrous. Yet the public does not realize this at all.

The film industry has a strict and frequently unrealistic code of ethics when it comes to handling animals and to their credit they try mightily to adhere to it. Yet paradoxically the new genre of so-called survival shows is routinely allowed to violate these rules. I have seen one situation in which the couple who starred in the show, while “lost” deep in the Amazon forest, “found and captured” a large nonvenomous snake which they then dispatched, cooked and ate. The scene was filmed behind the comfy lodge where everyone was staying and the hapless snake was purchased at a local market. And all of this in contrast to standard wildlife films where one cannot even set up a natural feeding sequence with, say, a mouse and a snake. A strange business, to be sure!

Films about the natural world are crucially important education tools and the public needs them now more than ever. Habitats are imperiled and shrinking. Unless attitudes toward our fellow creatures and the places they inhabit become attuned to modern realities, the future will not be a bright one. We need excellent documentaries; if only we could convince the networks of that.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cuzco/Machu Picchu/Sacred Valley

This GreenTracks six-day program visiting Cuzco, Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley is an unforgettable experience of the history, culture and archeology of the Andes and the Incas. GreenTracks provides Private Service, you will have your own guide throughout, the best way to get the most out of the experience and expert knowledge of your guide.

The program begins with your arrival to Cuzco, the historic capital of the Inca Empire. Your full aftern

oon private guided tour of Cuzco includes the Plaza de Armas; the Cathedral that was begun in 1580 and took nearly a century to complete; the Twelve Angled Stone, an example of Inca architectural achievement that continues to amaze the world; the Koricancha Temple, known as the "temple of the supreme Sun God "; the nearby ruins Sacsayhuaman, a massive fortress made of large stones, including one weighing 125 tons, arranged in a zig-zag shape in three platforms that presently serves as the location for the Inti Raymi Festival (Festival of the Sun) held every year on June 24; and Kenko, another great example of skilled Inca masonry work consisting of a large limestone slab covered with carvings, thought to have been used for ritual sacrifices. The multilingual, experienced guides will bring these places to life as they detail the rich history.

The next day is a free day to enjoy Cuzco, exploring the many shops with colorful, diverse creative handicrafts. These include hand-made textiles from alpaca wool, ceramics, religious imagery, dolls, gold and silver jewelry and more. There are colorful fruit and vegetable markets that are a photographer’s dream. There are many fine restaurants in Cuzco where one can enjoy the delicious regional foods or just sit and have coffee or a drink and soak in the ambiance of this historic city.

Day three is a full-day tour of the Sacred Valley with your private guide. The first stop is Awanakancha, a beautiful Exhibition Center of Textiles and South American camelids such as llamas, vicuñas, and alpacas. Then on to the Urubamba Valley of the Incas, considered the historic heart of the Inca Empire. Here you will see the stone fortresses of Ollantaytambo and visit the colorful native market at Pisac. Ollantaytambo was the site of a major battle during Manco Capac's Inca rebellion against the conquistadors. Overnight at the Pakaritampu, a beautiful hotel surrounded by gardens of local plants and flowers.

The following day, again with your private guide, you ride the early morning Vistadome train, with its panoramic windows offering unsurpassed scenic views and photographic opportunities, to Aguas Calientes. Upon arrival, transfer by bus to Machu Picchu for a full-day guided tour of the Inca citadel including lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge. Machu Picchu is one of the world's most impressive archaeological sites. Built by the Incas on the summit of the mountain of Machu Picchu (Old Peak), it overlooks the deep canyon of the Urubamba River in a semi-tropical area at 8,000 feet above sea level. Overnight at one of several great hotel options.

The next morning you can return to Machu Picchu for some time on your own to take in the splendor of this magnificent site. Those that wish can hike to Huayna Picchu, (Young Peak) via a well preserved Inca path and enjoy an astounding view of the citadel and the valley below. In the afternoon you will return on the Vistadome train to Cuzco and transfer to your hotel for the overnight. The following morning you will be transferred to the Cuzco airport for the flight back to Lima and home.

GreenTracks’ many years of experience in this region means only the best in guides and hotels. This is an unforgettable experience that will last a life time.

This trip can also be combined with one of GreenTracks’ renowned  Amazon Cruises. Visit the GreenTracks website for other options and additions.

For more info click here

Monday, March 7, 2011

GreenTracks now on Facebook

GreenTracks now has a Facebook page where you can find stunning photo slideshows of Amazon Flora and Amazon Wildlife. Coming soon will be a slideshow of Cuzco, Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. Our Facebook page will also feature news, trip reports and more.

GreenTracks Facebook page

Check it out and LIKE us !


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

GreenTracks Christmas Riverboat Expedition

On the 22nd of December the historic riverboat Clavero set sail from the town of Nauta on a 7day/6 night GreenTracks Riverboat Expedition to the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. The Clavero was built in 1876 in Paris for the Peruvian Navy where it served as a gunboat, expedition boat and mail carrier. Restored and improved several times, currently the ship has 6 air conditioned cabins, an air conditioned dining room/bar and a top-deck observation area.

Besides enjoying the ambiance of the ship, and a sumptuous Christmas Eve dinner, the intrepid travelers participated in three or four excursions each day. By small boat they spotted a colorful array of birds, explored small creeks and fished for piranha. At night they went out by small boat to look for caiman, where they caught and released a 2 foot-long Black Caiman, and marveled at a star-filled sky and the night sounds of the rainforest. They hiked jungle trails in search of monkeys and saw ten Howler Monkeys, a troop of Squirrel Monkeys and heard Capuchin Monkeys. Oscar, the guide on this trip, pointed out and explained the use of many trees and plants by the people of the rainforest for medicines and construction materials. They also visited to two small villages to see how the local people lived in a rainforest environment and saw crops of bananas, yuca (manioc), papayas and corn.

Here are some photos from the trip. Click on photos to enlarge.

The Clavero on the Samiria River.

The Clavero navigating upriver to explore the rivers and inland lakes and view the diverse wildlife.

Cabins on the Clavero have been painstakingly restored in the style of the 19th century.

The Clavero Dining Room boasts a native hardwood floor and a panoramic view.

Christmas dinner included a turkey, jungle sweet potatoes and Piranha that had been caught that same day.

The giant oriole known as the Crested Oropendola uses hanging nests to protect them from predators.

Massive buttresses support this Ceiba tree, which actually has a very shallow root system.

Blue and Yellow Macaws display their colors in flight.

Famed for its reflective rivers the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve is known as the "Espejo de la Selva" or Jungle of Mirrors.

And for good reason. This is the same photo as above, but upside down.

One never knows what will be found when hiking through the rainforest.

The Giant Water Lilies (Victoria Amazonica) can get up to 5 feet in diameter.

Spectacular sunsets are common like this one of a rainy sunset on the Marañón River.

For more information see  GreenTracks Amazon Cruises page.