Category Archives: international expeditions

La Estrella Amazonica to Set Sail on the Amazon

La Estrella Amazonica

La Estrella Amazonica

International Expeditions new riverboat, the La Estrella Amazonica, is set to sail the Amazon River starting this summer. The 31-passenger riverboat is replacing the more rustic, wood-hulled La Amatista, which has been retired.

The La Estrella Amazonica offers a range of amenities new to the region, including private balconies for every cabin, a multimedia lecture room, fitness center, kayaks, a nightly reception with complimentary Peruvian cocktails, wine and beer, and the Amazon’s largest observation deck.

Read the rest of this entry

International Expeditions Offers Two New Ways to Cruise the Amazon and Save $500 This Summer

International Expeditions, a pioneer in travel to the Peruvian Amazon, is offering $500 savings on two new programs designed to help explorers discover more of Peru’s wonders within often limited vacation time.

International Expeditions is offering travelers two new tour options combining a four-night Amazon River cruise with many of Peru’s other wonders. Guests traveling on June 29 or July 27, 2012 departures have the option of pairing a four-night Amazon riverboat expedition with four nights at either Machu Picchu or IE’s rainforest lodges. As a special introduction to these new Amazon programs, IE is also offering guests a discount of $500 per person.

Read the rest of this entry

Smithsonian Magazine Introduces EvoTourism – An Evolution World Tour

In the January 2012 issue, Smithsonian Magazine is introducing Evotourism. The word isn’t in the dictionary. But they think it’s worth adding to the lexicon because it describes a new kind of travel.

evo•tourism (ē vō toor’ iz’ əm) n. travel intended to promote awareness of evolution.

The article celebrates ten desinationa that span 300 million years and six continents. The destinations include:

  • Kangaroo Island, Australia – Where the Wild Things Are
  • Foraminifera Sculpture Park, China – 330-Million-Year-Old Organisms
  • Wadi Hitan, Egypt – Whales Walked Here
  • The Cradle of Humankind, South Africa – Human Evolution History
  • Jurassic Coast, England – A Fossil Treasure Trove
  • Mendel’s Garden, Czech Republic – Where Modern Genetics Was Born
  • Ashfall Fossil Beds, Nebraska – The Prehistoric Pompeii
  • Isle Royale, Michigan – A Fight for Survival
  • Galápagos Islands, Ecuador – Where Darwin Found Natural Selection
  • Mount St. Helens, Washington – Life Begins Anew

Of these, the last two are destinations visited by small ships (which, of course, excites us at Sunstone Tours & Cruises).

Read the rest of this entry

Amazon Rainforest Destruction on the Decline in 2011

Decline in Amazon Rainforest Destruction

As reported by International Expeditions, the work of the WWF and many other organizations in fighting for more than 40 years to preserve the rainforests seems to be paying off. Forest loss in Brazil fell to the lowest levels since the government began tracking it in 1988. reports that only about 2,400 square miles of forests were cleared in 2011, which is down 10.9 percent from last year’s losses.

Read the rest of this entry

2011 Holidays Aboard Small Ships

Many people settle down with family during the holidays to catch up, and reconnect with loved ones. For a small group, the holidays are a perfect time to explore and experience the world.

Small ship cruises have been busy this holiday season, exploring diverse areas of our world, from the southern reaches of Antarctica and the South Pacific, up to the unique Galapagos Islands and Central America, and further to Europe and America’s southern Atlantic coast.

Read the rest of this entry

No Single Supplement Fee on Select 2012 Galapagos Cruises from International Expeditions

Galapagos Blue Footed Booby

Galapagos Blue Footed Booby

Solo travelers looking for savings can take advantage of no single supplement ($1,200 savings) on eight Galapagos adventures offered by International Expeditions. The single supplement fees will be waived on International Expeditions’s February 3 and 17, March 16 and 30, May 11 and 25, and October 12 and 26, 2012 Galapagos Island cruises.

On the 10-day Galapagos Islands cruise, solo travelers join a group of like-minded guests aboard International Expeditions’ 32-passenger yacht M/V Evolution. This immersive expedition navigates to captivating islands, where the small group size allows for easy access to the wildlife and far more personal attention than guests find aboard larger cruise ships. Onboard, guests sail in comfort with spacious accommodations, fine cuisine and a host of amenities including an observation deck (perfect for whale watching) and canopied bar, plus complimentary snorkeling equipment, wetsuits and kayaks.

Read the rest of this entry

Celebrate in the New Year with an Authentic Pisco Sour

A Pisco Sour

A Pisco Sour

Celebrating New Years and looking for a different cocktail to ring in the new year? Look no further than an authentic Pisco Sour, a claimed national drink of both Chile and Peru.

Pisco is a clear, fermented brandy that has been distilled from fresh musts of Muscat grapes in copper alembic stills since the Spanish conquest, and is considered part of Peru’s cultural heritage. This liqueur is also the national spirit of Chile, although each country has a distinct history and uses Pisco for different cocktails.

Here’s a Pisco Sour recipe from International Expedition’s Amazon River tour Expedition Leader, Jorge Salas. The frozen Pisco Sour is a happy hour staple on their Amazon River cruise aboard, La Amatista.
Read the rest of this entry

Tsunami Galapagos update

Reports from the Galapagos Islands have just arrived with the following update on the passing of the waves that resulted from Japan’s earthquake earlier today: The waves arrived to the Islands about an hour later than originally expected. Seas are choppier than normal around the entire archipelago (according to our captains aboard M/V Evolution and M/Y Grace), but nothing out of the ordinary. Waves at Academy Bay, in Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz Island), were taller than normal as well, but there are no records of any damages caused to boats, coasts or ports in the Galapagos. The animals from the Charles Darwin Research Station that had been transported to the highlands as a precaution will be transported back down during the course of the day tomorrow. All appears to be back to normal in the Islands.

Local airlines have confirmed as well that all flights will operate normally tomorrow at their regular scheduled times. No delays are expected with our flight operations for tomorrow.

The Tsunami Warning in Ecuador is expected to be lifted in the next couple of hours.

I wonder if Curious George was up lifted to higher ground?

Tsunami precautions in the Galapagos Islands

Tsunami issues for the Galapagos
March 11
As you are probably already aware, an earthquake of magnitude 8.9 struck the coast of Japan about 11 hours ago, causing a large Tsunami alert for the Pacific Coast. A Tsunami warning was issued by the US National Weather Service earlier today for 50 countries, amongst which are Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. These waves are scheduled to arrive in the Galapagos Islands at 16h30 local time (17h30 Mainland Ecuador time).

Expected Impact in Galapagos

Weather experts in Ecuador declared this morning that a similar situation to the one witnessed in Hawaii earlier today is expected in the Galapagos. The taller than usual waves, which arrived about every 15 minutes to the Hawaiian coast had no real damaging effects on the shores and ports of the islands. A very similar scenario is expected in the Galapagos today. As a safety precaution, Quasar Expeditions’ yachts have been relocated to the southwest of the archipelago as of early this morning, 10 miles off the nearest shore. This is expected to be the most protected area of the islands from the waves that will arrive from the northeast. The Galapagos National Park has closed all visitor sites today and our guests will spend the day aboard their yacht until the Tsunami Warning in Ecuador is lifted.

International Flights to Ecuador

All international flights into Quito and Guayaquil are operating normally and no delays or cancellations are expected. We do not anticipate having any complications with our passengers for tomorrow’s departures.

Flights to the Galapagos Islands

As a safety precaution, local airlines have suspended flight operations to the Galapagos Islands today. However, we spoke to the operations manager of one of the major domestic airlines earlier who informed us that flights are expected to resume operations normally tomorrow. We do not anticipate any major delays with our regular operation for those passengers leaving for the Galapagos or returning to mainland Ecuador, but we do suggest that all passengers be patient with tomorrows’ commuting to the Islands. Airports in Galapagos are expected to have twice the number of flights tomorrow to normalize the situation of those passengers stranded in mainland Ecuador today. We will send an update later in the day with the status of tomorrow’s flight operations once we have received a final word from the airlines. Our yachts will be on stand-by at port tomorrow in case this scenario should change in any way.

A Further Update at the End of the Day Today

An additional update will be sent at the end of the afternoon today after the waves arrive to the Galapagos Islands. No damaging effects on the Islands are expected as a result of the waves, but we will keep you informed of the exact impact on the archipelago, the situation with flights for tomorrow and the status of the Tsunami warning in Ecuador.

Where are the small ships on Christmas Day?

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate. And a good movie and chinese food to those who celebrate Hanukkah

We have done some fun research as to where some of my favorite small ships are sailing on Christmas Day. To the best of my knowledge, every one of these ships were sold out, sailing at 100% occupancy. We have Christmas bookings for 2011 and 2011. It is not to early to start planning.

American Glory – Lake George, Ocala National Forest, Florida

American Safari Explorer- Kona Big Island, for Christmas 2011
American Safari Quest – whale watching, Baja

Cruceros Australis – Stella Australis – Punta Arenas – Chile
Cruceros Australis – Via Australis = Cape Horn – Argentina
Cruceros Australis – Mare Australlis – Patagonia – Argentina

I.E. Evolution – Espanola Islands, sea lions, Galapagos

Le Diamant – sailing Vietnam, South East Asia
Le Levant – sailing Trinidad
Le Ponet – sailing Persian Gulf

Lindblad Expeditions Salacia – sailing Egypt

National Geographic Endeavour – Santa Cruz Charles Darwin Station Galapagos
National Geographic Explorer – sailing Antarctica
National Geographic Islander – Seymour Island, Galapagos
National Geographic Sea Bird – day at sea whale watching, Baja
National Geographic Sea Lion – sailing Panama Canal Transit, Costa Rica

Paul Gauguin Cruises m/s Paul Gauguin—Moorea, Society Islands (French Polynesia)

Regent Seven Seas Navigator—sea day; from Cabo San Lucas to Zihuatanejo, Mexico

SeaDream Yacht Club SeaDream I—Jost van Dyke, British Virgin Islands
SeaDream Yacht Club SeaDream II—Coconut Grove, Nevis

Silversea Prince Albert II—South Georgia, Antarctica