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February 11, 2009

Aqua Expeditions Offers South American Eco-Voyages

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

Iquitos, Peru – Consistently dedicated to improving the guest experience, Aqua Expeditions, Peru’s first five-star luxury-cruise company that ventures through rarely seen areas of the Peruvian Amazon, has recently made major headway on both the environmental and culinary fronts.

Manatee and Dolphin Rescue Center
Now all Aqua Expeditions itineraries include a visit to a Manatee and Dolphin Rescue Center, where guests can observe first-hand while biologists and volunteers care for endangered Amazon manatees and dolphins. The population of these mammals, specifically manatees, has been steadily declining over the past century due to hunting, destruction of their habitats and pollution. Although travelers often spot dolphins while aboard theM/V Aqua, manatees are impossible to see from the surface of the water, making this rare contact with them all the more special.

Freeing Turtles into the Pacaya Samiria Reserve
Peru’s Pacaya-Samiria reserve is home to the endangered Taricaya turtles, a river turtle that has been threatened for decades, primarily by humans, through the over-consumption of its eggs. In November 2008, Aqua Expeditions and many of its guests assisted in the release of 300,000 of these newborn turtles into the reserve. The entire process required the construction of artificial beaches in July (the river naturally recedes during this month), collecting eggs throughout August, incubating these eggs in September and October, and finally freeing the turtles in November. This method gives Taricaya turtles a 40 percent chance of living full lives, which can span more than 60 years, and has already begun to reverse the threat of their extinction in the area.

Aqua Gives Back
Aqua Expeditions has always made it a priority to support surrounding local communities, and is now taking it to a global level, supporting key foundations for world-wide medical research and education, including Stop Cancer and the Fernbank Museum of Natural History.

Culinary News
Aqua Expedition’s Executive Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino has created entirely new – and refreshingly imaginative – lunch and dinner menus that change daily, and a special kid’s menu. Guests will enjoy Italian, American, and Asian-inspired menus, as well as locally inspired dishes, such as cured salmon filled with local pepper mousse, crème fresh and cucumber salad, ceviche with corn and sweet potato, baked scallops with parmesan cheese and pisco and crunchy brazil nut cones filled with local guava cream and caramel-rum sauce. Latin classics such as fried plantains, churros, empanadas and tamales are available as well. Widely recognized for his culinary talent, Schiaffino was recently nominated as the only South American Chef to Madrid Fusion, an annual event in Madrid hosting high-profile chefs from around the world.

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