Category Archives: Wildlife

5 Reasons to Visit North Peru

Tucman

Tucman

Away from the much visited tourist centers of Cusco, Machu Picchu and Colca Canyon, is the very varied and surprising north of Peru.  From ancient pyramids to surf beaches, and the best mountaineering in South America, North Peru makes a great addition to your Peru vacation.  Get off the beaten track and away from the crowds in adventurous North Peru.

Chan Chan

Chan Chan

Trujilo

Heading up the coast the first major city is Trujilo.  Peru’ s third city has probably the most impressive main square in the country.  Nearby are some beautifully restored colonial mansions such as Casa Ganoza Chopitea . The main reason to visit, though, are the incredible pyramids made by the Moche people around 1500 years ago.  The tombs, called Huacas, were built to house important members of society along with belongings, servants and family members; much as the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt did.  In Huaca de la Bruja are the remains of an important female shaman and in Huaca de la Luna has incredible,  intact,  colorfully painted friezes; preserved for centuries by the dry desert.  The main part of the largest adobe city ever built still stands at coastal Chan Chan.  The Chimu civilization who lived here before the Incas decorated their city with dramatic shapes and symbols; all easily visited from Trujilo.

Peru's Paddington

Peru's Paddington

Chiclayo

Chiclayo is also a good place for visiting Moche pyramids including one of the most important finds of modern times.  At the Lord of Sipan site, archaeologists unearthed a treasure trove of gold, silver, pots and even some weavings.  All these are on display at the purpose built museum in Lambayeque; and the Huaca of Sipan itself has a small but very informative museum.  On a visit to Chiclayo, don’t miss the wonderful reserve of Chaparri to spot all manner of wildlife including the Specactled Bear ; the Paddington  of Peru.

 Chiclyao and Trujilo Tour

Huaraz

Huaraz is a small town in the Andes that has become world famous as the access point to the best mountaineering in South America.   It is the location of Peru’s best school for mountaineering guides and a Mecca for lovers of trekking and climbing.  Huayhuash is the location of a stunningly beautiful 8-10 day trek as well as the incredible story of Joe Simpson in ‘Touching the Void’.  Peaks in the Cordillera Blanca include what’s known as the most beautiful mountain in the world:  Alpamayo.  Huascaran, the highest peak in Peru, and Pisco,  a popular climb for beginning mountaineers,  are also accessed from Huaraz. The 4-5 day Santa Cruz trek is popular and there are some beautiful day trips to lakes, mountains and glaciers in the area.

Ask about tours to Chachapoyas, Huaraz and Mancora

Chachapoyas

The Chachapoyan people were ‘the people of the clouds’ and the city of the same name is a pretty place located in the cloud forest, a 8 hour drive from the coast of Peru.  Few visitors get this far but numbers are growing as more and more people are enchanted by this very laid back and friendly place.  There re plenty of possibilities for horse riding, hiking and Indiana Jones-style exploring here.  If you are looking for untouched, centuries-old ruins, just peeking out of dense forest; then take the trek to Kuelap and watch out for hidden forts.  Kuelap itself is a stunning, extensive site perched on a mountain top.  Unlike Machu Picchu, Kuelap has been left mainly as it was.  Although dubbed the ‘Machu Picchu of the north, Kuelap is hardly visited by tourists; most visitors being Peruvians.

Mancora

At the end of all that exploring you’ll want to rest on a beach.  Mancora has year round sun shine, excellent sea and kite surfing and some funky beachfront hotels and spas.

Think out of the box and look into North Peru as a real alternative for your Peru vacation!

Blue Parrot in Movie Rio- What is the real Blu?

Rio The Movie

Rio The Movie

From the makers of Ica Age The Movie comes new release ‘Rio’.  This fun packed family animation features a rare blue macaw parrot called Blu.  He thinks he is the last parrot of his breed, so when he hears that there is one surviving female, he heads down to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to hook up with the feisty Jewel.    The movie features Ann Hathaway as Jewel and Jesse Eisenberg as Blu.  Itwas premiered in Rio on March 25.  Blu is based on a real blue Brazilian parrot, The Spix’s Macaw.

Visit the home of Jewel in Brazil

What kind of parrot is Blu?

Spix's Macaw (Blu)

Spix's Macaw (Blu)

‘Blu’ is based on Spix’s Macaw; an almost extinct blue macaw parrot from Brazil.  Like Blu and Jewel, the real Spix’s Macaws are bright blue with a slightly lighter blue on their head and under parts.  The underside of the wings and tail are black.  Adults have black beak and feet but young Spix’s Macaws often have a white stripe down the center.  These Brazilian parrots are 55-57 cm long and live for 20-30 years in the wild.  When mating they make a noise like “whichaka” by creating a low rumble in the abdomen bringing the sound up to a high pitched end of the vocal cords. These bright and noisy birds are unfortunately easy to spot by smugglers.

The Loneliest Bird in the World

The story of the last Spix’s parrot is a sad and poignant story.  In the 1980s, naturalists thought the Macaw had disappeared. Then, in 1985, 5 birds were found in Bahia, Brazil.  Unfortunately, by 1990, four had either died or been caught by trappers.  This left only one 10-year-old male living along in the semi-arid Caatinga area.  For 10 years, conservationists and naturalists observed this lonely bird, keeping close tabs on its movements in order to record how this almost extinct bird lived. In 2000 the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Natural Renewable Resources (IBAMA) sadly announced that the last Spix’s Macaw had disappeared.  After two months of searching,  the Institute concluded that the last Little Blue Macaw had probably died.

Why did Spix’s Parrot become extinct?

Caatinga Lanscape

Caatinga Landscape

Spix’s Macaw comes from just one area of Brazil: the dry Caatinga area of north Bahia state, Brazil.  It is there that the Caraibiera riparian woodland, and favourite nesting place of the birds,  grows along the river banks.    When much of the land was cleared for cattle raising,  the birds’ natural habitat was greatly reduced.  Poaching was probably what wiped out the Spinx’s Macaw in the wild, though.  Despite being highly illegal, poachers would capture these beautiful birds to sell overseas as pets for as much as $40, 000.

Is this the end of the story for Spix’s Macaw?

Spix's Macaw

Hopefully the future for the Spix's Macaw

The future for Blu’s breed is happily, not so bleak.  Conservation efforts are focused on buying farms in the Caatinga area and allowing the land to revert to its natural state; providing a habitat for Spix’s Macaw and other endangered birds.

The biggest focus  is on an international breeding program.  There are currently 85 parrots in captivity inlcuing 4 in Sao Paolo Zoo and 56 at the Al-Wabra Wildlife Preservation (AWWP), Quatar.   Thanks to the last lonely Spix’s Macaw, breeders have lots of information on how the bird behaved in the wild and the hope is that in the future, the Little Blue Macaw will again fly freely in the Carabibeira ribarian woodlands of Bahia.

Bahia, Brazil

Spix’s Macaws come from one of the most beautiful and fascinating parts of South America; Bahia,Brazil.   Bahia’s main city, Salvador is a vibrant city with a historical center, beautiful beaches and a lively tradition of street music and dance.    There are crystal clear waters in the diving and snorkeling center of Parque Nacional  Marinho de Abrolhos and the stunning interior in Parque Nacional da Chapada Diamantina is a trekkers paradise.

 

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