Our Trips

Colombia Travel Tips

Did you know that Colombia is getting closer to the U.S. every day? Traveling to the country has never been easier. Over 200 flights per week leave the U.S. towards Colombia making it possible for American travelers to reach Colombia in the blink of an eye. With 884 weekly international flights operated by 22 different airlines, Colombia is now directly connected with 24 countries and is closer than ever. Also, on October 2nd, 2014, the decree 1903 from the National Directorate of Taxes and Customs (DIAN) came into effect and will regulate the reimbursement of the sales tax (VAT) on the purchase of goods encumbered in the country to all non-resident tourists. If you are traveling to Colombia make sure to get reimbursed for the sales tax!

 

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National Park Vacations: Top Destinations in Venezuela and Chile

National Park Vacations

Turpial Travel is happy to assist you in booking national park vacations in Venezuela and Chile. Read on to learn more about some of our top destinations:

Canaima National Park, Venezuela

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Canaima National Park includes the world’s highest waterfall, beautiful and unusual topography and some fascinating archeological sites. Known for its table mountain or tepui formations, the area resembles the mesas of the southwestern United States and shows geographic similarity to western Africa. The type of sandstone found in the park is the same as the sandstone found in the Western Sahara, as the area was once connected to Africa.

Canaima National Park vacations must include Angel Falls. At over 3,200 feet, Angel Falls is the world’s highest water fall. A trip to Angel Falls can be complicated as there are no roads in that region, and it can only be reached by air.

Much of the park is uninhabited wilderness, although there is a road from Ciudad Bolivar that runs through the eastern section of Canaima and provides access for tourists. Hotels and camping options are available. The region has been inhabited for 10,000 years and hand-made tools found in the park date back to 9,000 years ago.

Torres del Paine, Chile

Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia is one of the top South American national park vacations. The park offers almost 500,000 acres of spectacular scenery and encompasses four distinct habitats: forest, scrubland, tundra and mountains, each with its own species of plants and animals. It’s a great place for bird watching with over 100 recorded species, including eagles, swans and Andean condors. You may also see pumas, guanacos and Chillean foxes.

Hiking is a highlight of a vacation to Torres del Paine National Park. Choose a day hike to the Salto Grande waterfall or the spectacular views of mountain lakes at Mirador Nordenskjöld. If you are up for a longer hike, the Circuit takes five to eight days through the park, while the W is a bit shorter and can be completed in three or four. Glacier trekking and mountain climbing tours are available to the truly adventurous. Other popular activities include kayaking, fishing, horseback riding and wildlife photography.

The park’s busy season is October to April, which is spring and summer in Chile. Mild temperatures in the lower elevations–highs in the 60s and lows in the 30s or 40s–make this a year-round destination. Hotels and camping are both available in the park and the admission fee is $38 US dollars.

Rapa Nui National Park (Easter Island)

The mysterious stone heads of Easter Island are an iconic image and one of the most notable national park vacations. Known as moai, the giant sculptures are made of volcanic rock, and their average height is 13 feet and weight is 14 tons. There are no written records of the methods the island’s inhabitants used to move or create the moai or what their purpose may have been, but they are a sight not to be missed.

Plan to include the Ranu Raraku quarry in your vacation itinerary. This is where the giant heads were carved, and the island’s early inhabitants left over 400 sculptures in various stages of completion.

It is easy to get around the island with cars, motorcycles and bicycles, which you can rent. The best time to visit is January through March, when excellent diving, surfing and swimming are available.

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Mochima National Park: Paradise in Venezuela’s North Coast

Mochima National Park

Turpial Travel can help you book your trip to Mochima National Park. Read on to learn more about this paradise in Venezuela.

Mochima National Park: Paradise in Venezuala

Founded in 1973, Mochima National Park is located on the Caribbean coast of Venezuela. At roughly 235,000 acres, the park is home to some spectacular scenery. From the white sand beaches and turquoise seas of the Caribbean to the cloud forests of the Turimiquire mountain range, visitors to the park consider it one of the most beautiful in Venezuela.

Mochima National Park was set aside in an attempt to protect the northeastern marine coastline and the water shed contained in the mountain forests. Named for the town of Mochima, which is included in its borders, the park stretches from Puerto la Cruz to Canama and includes 32 gulf islands off the Caribbean coast. The boundary extends westward to the Turimiquire Dam and the mountain range of the same name.

Diverse Geography

The area includes diverse habitats which range from coral reefs, mangrove swamps and jungle vegetation to desert areas. Many species of mammals and reptiles live in the park, including four species of endangered sea turtles. The area around the Turimiquire Dam at the southern end of the park is a favorite spot for bird watchers.

The climate varies from the coast to the mountains with temperatures ranging between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. From November to May, the temperatures are hotter with regular trade winds on the coast, while June to October is cooler with higher humidity.

Things to Do

Mochima National Park is a great place to swim, snorkel, laze on the beach or go sailing. The mountain and forest areas offer hiking and some great views for photographing. Roads have been cut through the park making access to areas easier.

A wide variety of accommodations are available in Mochima National Park in some of the small towns located within the borders. This is one of the more populated of Venezuela’s parks, which has led some environmental groups to press the government for more restrictions in the park, especially in sea turtle nesting areas. Turpial Travel and Adventure’s tours are designed with responsible travel in mind. Tour groups use public transportation wherever possible to minimize environmental impact, and the number of visitors is kept small so as to reduce negative effects on the local area. Keeping groups small also allows tourists to interact with local residents and gain a greater cross-cultural understanding.

Especially in environmentally sensitive areas, like Mochima National Park, Turpial Travel and Adventure encourages tourists to purchase only locally-made souvenirs from resident artisans for a fair price, to frequent local businesses and, when possible, to eat locally-grown, organic food. Also, plan to pack reusable items rather than disposables and leave the outer packaging at home. You don’t want to contribute to the waste stream in an environmentally-fragile area like the Mochima National Park.

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Chile Tours Lead by Turpial Travel and Adventure for You

Chile Tours

Turpial Travel can help you book Chile Tours. Read on to find out about some popular destinations.

Santiago

A tour of Santiago can include any number of cultural, gastronomic or entertainment offerings. Founded in 1541, Chile’s capitol city is tucked in the Central Valley against the Andes Mountains. Chile tours can include visits to historical buildings, such as Palacio de la Moneda (the office of Chile’s president), La Chascona (a house built by Pablo Neruda featuring a nautical theme), or Iglesia de San Francisco, Santiago’s oldest surviving colonial building. Foodies will want to head to one of the city’s busy markets to sample the street food, a traditional steak house for some Patagonian beef or to a seafood restaurant for a taste of ceviche. No Chile tour is complete without shopping. Look for deals on lapis lazuli. Chile is one of only two places in the world with natural deposits of this semi-precious stone.

The best time to visit Santiago is in the summer. Not only are the temperatures mild, but the air is cleaner. Being situated between two mountain ranges not only provides lovely scenery, but also contributes to a smog problem.

Central Valley Wineries

Wine grapes have been grown in Chile since colonial times, but the wine industry really took off in the 1980s. Chile tours can include some of the country’s finest wineries. The most popular wine-growing region is the Central Valley near Santiago. You can tailor your tour to fit your interests. In addition to tasting and buying wine, some of the vineyards include restaurants or cafes, and others have bed and breakfast accommodations or spas. Many wineries offer horseback riding or picnics in the vineyard.

Chile’s climate is similar to that of two other well-known wine regions, California and France, and it ranks fifth in terms of world wine exports and ninth in production. The most popular Chilean wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carmenere.

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Many Chile tours head south to Torres del Paine National Park. The park covers almost 500,000 acres and offers hiking, glacier trekking and mountain climbing, as well as kayaking, fishing, horseback riding and wildlife photography. Experience four unique environments during your stay: forest, scrubland, tundra and mountains. Over 100 species of birds are found in the park including eagles, swans and Andean condors, and visitors often see puma, guanaco and Chilean foxes.

The best time to tour Torres del Paine is in the summer, which in Chile is October to April, but the climate is mild and there are fewer visitors in the off season. The park admission fee is $38 US dollars, and accommodations are available within the borders.

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New York Times features Torres del Paine National Park

The New York Times once again turns its attention to Chile’s tourist destinations. January 16th marks the 50th anniversary of the e legendary Torres del Paine! The 242-hectare park was created in May 1959 and is part of the National System of Protected Areas of the State of Chile. In 1978 it was declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.

If you travel to Torres del Paine we recommend doing the famous ‘W’ trek – chosen by Lonely Planet magazine as the best multi-day tour in the world, thanks to its spectacular views and for being one of the best ways to discover Chilean Patagonia.

The newspaper published an extensive report on the national park entitled: “Chilean Patagonia’s Peaks, Up Close“. Click-on the links to read more!

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New Online Reciprocity Fee Procedure in Argentina

For those traveling to Argentina, please take note that Argentina has recently changed the procedure for paying reciprocity fees for entry into Argentina.
Citizens of the United States of America,Canada, and Australia coming into Argentina from any entry point  (land, sea or plane) must now pay the reciprocity fee online at either migraciones.gov.ar or provinciapagos.com.ar.
United States: $160 (valid for 10 years)
Canada: $75 (valid for one single entry)
Australia: $100 (valid for a year — and multiple entries for that year)
Happy Travels!
Posted on by Joanne Castillo in Curiosities, Latest News, Our Trips, Travel Tips 2 Comments

Chile: Our New Travel Destination

After traveling to Chile in April 2012, Turpial Travel is happy to announce the grand opening of its new destination! Please visit our website and check out our new tour packages at www.turpialtravel.com. The packages were handpicked and designed based on our experience while traveling through this magnificent country.

What does Chile have to offer? Amazing destinations such as:

  • Patagonia one of most famous regions of Chile. It offers dramatic landscapes that include dazzling explosion of islands, glaciers, icebergs and mountains. As the Lonely Planet states, “it is an ultimate outdoor cathedral”. In the northern part you find Parque Pumalin that offers sublime settings of waterfalls, turquoise lakes, hot springs, misty fjords, fern-choked trails and ancient forests. Laguna San Rafael is awe-inspiring as it is a national park that has one of the most magnificent glacier a million years in the making and melting steadily. What about traveling through a dusty wash-road to nowhere? Drive through Carretera Austral, a 1200 km romp through Andean backcountry dotted with parks and pioneer homesteads. Lastly, for a true Wild West experience, don’t forget to visit Palena, a true a sample of Patagonia’s cowboy country! Southern Patagonia hosts the incomparable Torres del Paine National Park.

  • Atacama Desert, specifically San Pedro de Atacama, a precordillera oasis village turned into a tourist boomtown. Its popularity stems from its position in the heart of some of northern Chile’s most spectacular scenery.

  • Easter Island famous for its Moai statues which are symbols of what was and what was lost and Robinson Crusoue Island (Juan Fernández archipelago), a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve declared a national park in 1935 and once an anonymous waypoint for pirates, sealers and war ships, Juan Fernández is a real paradise for outdoors lovers who are great hikers up staircase-steep hills.

  • Central Valley (Valle Central) Region which hosts world class vineyards in the Aconcagua, Casablanca, Maipo, Colchagua and Maule.

  • Lake Region/District famous for its spectacular scenery of deep blue mountain lakes, snow-capped volcanos, pristine beauty of alerce (larch) forests, popular resorts, year-round sports, and traditional folklore, handicrafts and legends.

  • Santiago the capital is a focal point of Latin American commerce and the point of entry for nearly all international travelers. Places to visit include: Plaza de Armas, Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombiano, Placio de la Moneda, Mercado Central, Cerro Santa Lucia, Barrio Bellas Artes, La Chascona (Pablo Neruda’s house), Cerro San Cristobal, Barrio and Barrio Brasil. Top acitivities inlcude: skiing. trekking, horseback riding, surfing, and rafting.

  • Valparaíso located 120 km northwest from Santiago and in 2003 declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. In its golden years, it was known as “Little San Francisco” and the” Jewel of the Pacific.” Its historical importance, natural beauty, and unique architecture make this city a place worth visiting. Valparaiso is the birthplace of significant figures, such as Augusto Pinochet and Salvador Allende. Here you also find the residence of famous artists like Pablo Neruda and Nicaraguan poet Rubén Dario.  Viña del Mar, considered Chile’s most luxurious beach resort town, attracting visitors from all over the world. A beach to see Reñaca. Other major attractions to visit include the Municipal Casino founded in 1930, the famous Viña del Mar International Song Festival in the striking natural tree lined hill of Quinta Vergara Amphitheater; and the Viña del Mar Film Festival, founded in 1967 as the First Latin American Film Festival and was also the first gathering of Latin American filmmakers

We look forward to creating memorable traveling experience for you!

The Turpial Travel Team

www.turpialtravel.com

 

 

Posted on by Joanne Castillo in Latest News, Our Trips, Photos 7 Comments

The Condor Walk

The Condor Walk

The mighty condor, symbol of the Andes and the land bird with the larger wingspan (about 3 m or 10 ft) in the entire planet, proudly protects from the heights those places Timotes Indians traveled since ancient times. These are the same places that today surround the picturesque Merida, a university campus with a pleasant climate, surrounded by snowy peaks and the sober exuberance of the Andean Paramo. Few places on Earth offer this combination of tradition, hospitality and adventure you will find in Merida. Let the condor guide your steps toward adventure!

about this tour

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