Rainforest Tours

You must have heard about the Amazon rainforest which covers a majority of the Amazon Basic of South America. This special piece of land mainly covers Brazil, the Peru, and a proportion of Ecuador and Bolivia. In addition, other South American Countries are also included in this rainforest area.

Being the richest ecosystem in the world, the Amazon Rainforest covers about 5% of the total surface of the Earth. Spread in a stretched area of about 7.8 million kilometers square, the region comprises of the Earth’s largest concentration of animals and plants. You will find some of the richest species of trees, insects, and animals here. Being a vital region for the health of the Earth, you will enjoy here a lot!

Unfortunately, the region is facing the highest rate of deforestation which has become an issue of great concern. Between the time periods from August 2003 to 2004, a large portion has been destroyed, it straight away mean losing rare species of both plants and animals. So, if you want to visit this natural marvel, you will get to see something that you haven’t experienced before. Enhance your understanding and knowledge about so many new things that you haven’t encountered in your life.

If you are thinking about a cool place for your upcoming holidays, visiting South America can be a truly cherishing experience. Apart from cherishing the Mother Nature’s true blessing, you will get to see so many new things that would be delightfully make your day. Comer to South America and be with the God’s own land!

Costa Rica Eco Tourism – Visit Tirimbina Rainforest Center and See Scientists at Work

Eco tourism in Costa Rica can take many forms, is enjoyed or experienced in different ways, affects visitors in various ways, and produces different societal consequences-some obvious, some not.

And, indeed, the very word “eco tourism” brings different images to mind in different people.

For some, Costa Rica eco tourism brings to mind enjoying the country’s extraordinary biological diversity. Hence, it’s appropriate to label the kinds of ecotourists traveling this country.

Only about as big as little West Virginia, comprising about 1/10,000 of the globe’s land surface, nearly one of every twenty species of plant and animal in the world is found in Costa Rica.

There are actually more kinds of butterflies in tiny Costa Rica than on the whole continent of Africa. And,almost as many types of birds have been observed in its forests and lands as in the continental United States.

The world’s largest Green Sea Turtle preserve is off the Caribbean Coast at Tortuguero Park. Sometimes tens of thousands of female turtles come ashore to nest on the deserted beaches.

35% of the world’s species of cetaceans (porpoises and whales) are found in its offshore waters—and humpback whales from Antarctica travel north to Costa Rica while humpback whales from the Arctic travel south to the same waters.

Remote Corcovado Park, just 20 miles long and 8 miles wide, has been called “the most biologically intense place” on the planet by National Geographic.

Folks who pay a visit to Costa Rica for any of these things are best described as “vacation eco tourists.”

However, eco tourism in this tropical land is more diverse than bird watching, taking a photography tour, or hiking jungle trails to lovely waterfalls-which brings us to an internationally acknowledged but little known and relatively little visited place known as the Tirimbina Rainforest Center.

The Tirimbina Rainforest Center sits on about 345 hectares (850 acres) of primary rainforest. “Primary rainforest” is the original, never logged, jungle that blanketed 99% of Central America when Christopher Columbus visited its Caribbean shoreline and discovered (and named) Costa Rica in 1503.

In the following centuries, widespread logging and burning to make more agricultural areas decimated primary forests and only only a small portion of this valuable resource still exists.

The Center’s history goes back to 1960 when an American, Robert Hunter, traveled to Costa Rica to work for the Inter-American Institute for Science and Agriculture and bought the land now occupied by the Center. He invited American researchers to the property, one of whom was Dr. Allen Young of the Milwaukee (Wisconsin) Public Museum, and an internationally identified expert on cacao cultivation and rain forests.

Dr. Young, and others like him who’ve worked from the Center over the last 50 years, are “research eco tourists.” Their professional curiosity and work on rain forests have proved invaluable to understanding the ecosystems of tropical climes.

Tirimbina proved fascinating not merely to Dr. Young but to the Milwaukee Public Museum itself which, in 1986, designed a permanent exhibit on the tropical rainforest, called “Exploring Life on Earth.” Over the following years hundreds of thousands of museum visitors have viewed the Tirimbina exhibit as “virtual eco tourists” whose awareness of the importance–and fragility-of rain forests have contributed to conservation efforts.

Indeed, the Museum eventually bought the Tirimbina Rainforest Center and maintained it until 2006 when it was sold to a Milwaukee nonprofit called the Pura Vida Foundation. More recently, the Center was transferred to a Costa Rica nonprofit organization, the Asociacion Tirimbina Para La Conservacion, Investigacion y Educacion.

If you are an eco tourist or interested in real-deal Costa Rica ecotourism, we recommend going to the Tirimbina Rainforest Center if you’re:

(a) A “research eco tourist.” This is a working rain forest research center and for 30 years has been used for doctorate research, graduate studies, and museum related work;

(b) An undergraduate looking for a one-of-a kind study abroad opportunity.

Ball State University of Indianapolis recently announced a new Study Abroad in Costa Rica program at Tirimbina Rainforest Center, starting Spring Semester 2010. This program is modeled after two very popular study abroad programs in Australia and England. If this is for you, you will be a “student eco tourist”; or

(c) Simply curious about visiting a working tropical forest research center that also hosts family things to do and educational projects like hiking through primary rain forest on several miles of trails; a bird tour; a frog tour; a bat tour; even a chocolate tour.

Additionally there is an aerial tram tour, boat tour, and a truly remarkable number of optional activities. Visit the Tirimbina web page for a list of the activities and become “family eco tourists.”

There’s a restaurant and accommodations on site for people who wish to stay overnight or for several days.

Though it has been known by the scientific community for more than five decades, Tirimbina Rainforest Center is visited by only about 8,000 Costa Rica eco tourists annually. Until now, its existence has been virtually unknown as a tourist destination, but no more. If you are planning a Costa Rica vacation, give this place serious consideration.

An Eco Tour of Puerto Rico Designed for Student Travel Groups

The island of Puerto Rico is an excellent choice for student groups who want to travel to a destination with well-preserved ecological features. Since Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, students, teachers and chaperones can travel there without a passport.

Puerto Rico is rich in Colonial and native history. It is also a spectacular destination for an eco tour. El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. and well worth the visit. The island is peppered with small fishing villages, offering unique hands on learning experiences for students studying marine science as well.

While student groups are touring Puerto Rico, they can also visit the historic cities of Ponce and Old San Juan, eat authentic Puerto Rican cuisine, take Salsa lessons, and learn about the local culture.

Following is an overview of some of the main sites student groups can visit while taking an eco tour of Puerto Rico.

La Parguera – A Fishing Village with Unique Learning Opportunities
Students will visit La Parguera, a small fishing village in Western Puerto Rico. There the group will be able to feed Iguanas, identify birds, and even catch starfish. A local fisherman will speak to the group about everyday life in his profession, and students will interact with marine life up close. After enjoying a meal prepared by the locals, the group will embark on a bioluminescent night bay tour. The bay tour is a supervised swim where students will see dinoflagelates (plankton) that glow in the dark and fish that light up underwater.

The Tropical Rainforest El Yunque
Protected by the Federal Forest Reserve for over one hundred years, El Yunque is truly a treasure, since it is a well- preserved rainforest. Like many rainforests, El Yunque has a complex eco system with a wide variety of flora and fauna, animals, insects, reptiles and birds. Exotic scenery includes large cascading waterfalls, views of the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea and a canopy of age-old trees. Student tour groups will take a guided hike of El Yunque that includes swimming under the waterfalls. Afterwards, students will have a lunch of Pinchos and spend time on Luquillo beach.

Ponce: Once Spain’s Capital City
Ponce is the second largest city in Puerto Rico and was named after Juan Ponce de Leon’s great-grandson, Loiza Ponce de Leon, who founded it in 1692. Student travel groups may opt to take a walking or trolley tour of this historic city, where they will explore old and new farmers markets, and see neoclassical buildings and facades, colonial homes, cathedrals and fountains from the 17th Century. Groups will also visit El Parque de Bombas, a Spanish and Moorish inspired architectural treasure that served first as a main exhibit pavilion for the 1882 Exhibition Trade Fair and later as a fire station.

Old San Juan: A Spanish Colonial City
Founded in 1521 and also known as ‘the walled city,” San Juan is the present day capital city of Puerto Rico. It sits on one of the largest and most accessible harbors in the Caribbean. Student groups will visit the old Spanish fort, explore the cobblestone streets of San Juan and view 16th and 17th Century Spanish colonial buildings.

Puerto Rico has a rich Spanish colonial heritage that has been well preserved. El Yunque rainforest is one of the 28 finalists in the World’s Seven Wonders competition and is a spectacular opportunity for learning about the ecological importance of preserving rainforests – right in this hemisphere.

On tour, there are also numerous opportunities for students to immerse themselves in Puerto Rican culture, cuisine, and lifestyles. The experience of visiting Puerto Rico is rich and varied. Guides are bilingual, so there is no need to be fluent in Spanish. However, for Spanish classes the guides will speak totally in Spanish (if desired) for total Spanish immersion.