OneSeed Expeditions http://oneseedexpeditions.com Wed, 23 Jul 2014 20:47:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Be a Know-It-All: 7 Fun Facts About Colombiahttp://oneseedexpeditions.com/colombia-facts/ http://oneseedexpeditions.com/colombia-facts/#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2014 18:19:45 +0000 http://oneseedexpeditions.com/?p=10435 OneSeed is happy to announce our newest location, Colombia! With mountains, jungles, beaches, coffee farms, modern cities, and more, Colombia has it all. We wanted to give you a little background about this incredibly diverse and beautiful country. Here are 7 facts you may not know about this South American gem!

Vamos a la Playa

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Tayrona National Park

1. Colombia is the only South American country with Atlantic and Pacific coastlines. With over 300 beaches in the country, you can have your pick.

Birds, birds, and more birds.

Andean Emerald

Andean Emerald

2. Home to 1,879 species of bird, Colombia has most diversity of birds in the world.

60 score and 14 years ago…

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The Lost City in the Sierra Nevada Region

3. OneSeed’s Hidden Colombia Expedition travels to the Lost City in the Sierra Nevada region. Experts conclude that the ruins in this area are 650 years older than Machu Picchu. If wisdom comes with age, those are some wise rocks!

Talk about biodiversity.

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A coffee plantation in the Cauca Department

4. With 340 different types of ecosystems, Colombia is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. We have already mentioned the pristine beaches but did you know that Colombia also houses the Andes? The highest peak, Pico Cristóbal Colón, reaches 18,700 feet! From top to bottom, there is a bit of everything in this country.

Take a deep breath.

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La Candelaria District of Bogota

5. At 8,360ft above sea level Bogotá is the highest city in the world with a population greater than 3 million. It has also been named one of the smartest cities with many modern advances like its TransMilenio public transportation and ciclovia, where 75 miles of Bogota roads are shut down for bikers, runners, and and rollar-bladers every Sunday.

The Liquid Rainbow.

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Caño Cristales River

6. Caño Cristales, also referred to as “The Liquid Rainbow,” is considered the most colorful river in the world due to its rock formations and diversity of flora and fauna. Is there a pot of gold at the bottom? Only one way to find out!

Ready for an Adventure?

El Cocuy National Park

El Cocuy National Park

7. Colombia has 58 National Parks, which is the same number as the US. These parks cover over 11% of the country. That is over 55,000 square miles for you to explore!

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The Air Up There: Weather in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Martahttp://oneseedexpeditions.com/weather-sierra-nevada-santa-marta/ http://oneseedexpeditions.com/weather-sierra-nevada-santa-marta/#comments Wed, 18 Jun 2014 18:00:05 +0000 http://oneseedexpeditions.com/?p=10020 The Weather in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

Colombia is one of the most diverse countries when it comes to climate. Ranging in elevation from sea level  to nearly 19,000 ft, the weather can change quickly depending on where you go. On the Hidden Colombia Expedition, you will be traveling to the Lost City, which is located in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta region.

The weather in this region is warm and wet year-round. It is the jungle! With the average highs in the upper 80s, having streams to jump into periodically will be a nice treat to cool you off during your trek. The lows in the evening tend to stay in the upper 60s, which is why a warm sleeping bag is not needed for this expedition. Because the Lost City is at 3,937ft, temperatures are a few degrees lower than in Santa Marta (see chart below).

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The peak season to travel to the Lost City is mid-December to mid-April because it is the dry season in the Sierra Nevada. However, the region can experience over 115 inches of rainfall per year! Be prepared to get wet, even in the dry season.

View the Current Weather in the Lost City

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Girl Power: 6 Reasons Why OneSeed Invests in Womenhttp://oneseedexpeditions.com/investing-in-women/ http://oneseedexpeditions.com/investing-in-women/#comments Wed, 11 Jun 2014 17:47:41 +0000 http://oneseedexpeditions.com/?p=9973 Noting the importance of women in society, Mao Zedong once said “Women hold up half of the sky.”

International economists and experts agree: The UN and IMF endorse investment in women as ‘smart economics’ because even small investments can make a huge positive difference for economic and human development around the world. OneSeed is proud to support women entrepreneurs through microfinance in the countries we visit—here are six reasons why investing in women is a smart idea.

  1. Women constitute the majority of the world’s poor, and are more vulnerable to economic crises and health risks.
  2. Investments in women’s preventative health and contraceptive services can yield quadruple returns! When women are healthier and have fewer children, the demand for government spending on emergency health care and social services decreases dramatically.
  3. Raising women’s participation in the labor force through equal opportunities and better use of their skills can increase economic output around the world. In some countries, empowering women to join the workforce could boost the economy by as much as 25 percent—that’s huge!
  4. If women have equal access to business resources, the economy as a whole will benefit. In agriculture alone, if women farmers have the same access as men to resources such as land and fertilizers, harvests in developing countries could increase drastically! That would make a huge difference in addressing global hunger.
  5. Studies show that across countries and cultures, women are more likely to invest household funds in ways that benefit children. Households with a steady female income have healthier children that are more likely to stay in school.
  6. When women are empowered as business owners and community leaders, they have more say in the decisions that will affect them. Countries that have strong female participation in politics and government are more likely to create pro-female policies, like protecting female property rights.

How it works: OneSeed invests 10 cents out of every dollar we make in micro-entrepreneurs, 95% of whom are women. These funds are directed through local microfinance partners in the countries where we operate. These are relatively small loans of around $500, but having access to funding can make a huge difference in helping to get a small business off the ground.  Meet our micro-entrepreneurs!

Why it matters: Each time you come on one of our expeditions, we invest in the local economy. You can to enjoy an amazing trip and invest in local business-owners, the majority of whom are women. That’s a win-win. Explore our upcoming trips in here!

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Mystery in the Mountains: Exploring Machu Picchuhttp://oneseedexpeditions.com/exploring-machu-picchu/ http://oneseedexpeditions.com/exploring-machu-picchu/#comments Fri, 06 Jun 2014 17:25:50 +0000 http://oneseedexpeditions.com/?p=9946 Is Machu Picchu on your bucket list? Learn a bit about the the famous ruins below!

History of Machu Picchu:

  • Constructed in the 15th century, Machu Picchu is an ancient Inca city located in Peru that has been named one of the new seven wonders of the world.
  • Archaeologists guess that Machu Picchu was abandoned around the time of the Spanish defeat of the Incas in 1572, but there is no evidence that the Spanish conquistadors ever set foot on the site.
  • Machu Picchu remained the best-kept secret of the Andes until 1911, when a Yale University professor and was led to the site by several indigenous children.
  • Archaeologists theorize that the site was constructed as a type of royal palace and place of worship of the Incan gods, and it continues to inspire spiritual wonder even today.

In the century since Machu Picchu was first published in National Geographic, it has become a must-see for travelers all over the world. The site has been amazingly well preserved, due in part to the enduring quality of the architecture and stone masonry. The stone structures of Machu Picchu were built without the use of mortar, and the stones fit together so tightly that even today, it is impossible to fit the blade of a knife between some of the stones. Machu Picchu was truly built to last!

Stone Masonry at Machu Picchu

Stone Masonry at Machu Picchu

Taking the path less traveled:

Many travelers ascend to the 8,000 foot summit of Machu Picchu using the Inca trail, but at OneSeed we take a slightly different approach. We ascend to Machu Picchu through the less-traveled Salkantay trek, which has been named one of the 25 best treks in the world by National Geographic. This trek follows an ancient and remote Incan footpath and brings travelers through lush tropical coffee farms and next to Mount Salkantay, which stands at a staggering 20,574 feet above sea level. As an alternative to the Inca trail, the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu offers adventurous travelers a more private and remote experience with stunning views. Such a magical site merits an equally magical trek, and OneSeed can guide you every step of the way.

For more information on our trips in Peru, click here.

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TAKE A SIP: Peruvian Coffee Demystifiedhttp://oneseedexpeditions.com/peruvian-coffee-demystified/ http://oneseedexpeditions.com/peruvian-coffee-demystified/#comments Tue, 20 May 2014 17:26:26 +0000 http://oneseedexpeditions.com/?p=9011 Love waking up to a fresh cup of coffee every morning? Before taking off for Peru, learn a few fun facts about coffee, one of the top exports!

  • The Arabica bean is the organically grown coffee bean that has quickly made Peru a huge global exporter of coffee.  In fact, 60% of Peru’s exports consist of the country’s coffee business alone!  The best part is that many of these coffee farms can all be found under the ownership of local farmers operating on small farms of their own, using the same traditional practices of their ancestors.
  • The presence of Peru’s exported coffee beans has made such an impact on coffee lovers everywhere, making up 2% of the world’s coffee bean supply, that Lidi and Fair Trade have joined together to work towards the sustainability and environmental protection of Peru’s coffee farming practices.
  • To avoid exploitation in the market place, many farmers have turned to using Fair Trade practices.  Today, most of Peru’s coffee farmers are part of a collective which allows the regulation of coffee prices and an increase in income.  The two largest collectives in Peru are CEPICAFE and COCLA.

Enjoy the fresh roast!

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Seeking Refuge: Lodging in Torres del Paine, Chilehttp://oneseedexpeditions.com/seeking-refuge-lodging-in-torres-del-paine-chile/ http://oneseedexpeditions.com/seeking-refuge-lodging-in-torres-del-paine-chile/#comments Tue, 06 May 2014 20:39:31 +0000 http://oneseedexpeditions.com/?p=9662 Sometimes backpacking means carrying a tent, digging a pit toilet, and struggling through days of dehydrated food-like substances. In Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park, the refugio system bringds a bit of class to the camping routine. While you’ll welcome the local wines, warm stoves, and beds, sharing a mountain shelter with others can have its own challenges.

A few tips to make your stay hassle-free:

1) That old golden rule.
Sharing a roof and a restroom with your fellow travllers means a bit of compromise. Accommodations are bunk-style shared rooms and communal bathrooms. A 20-minute hot shower sounds nice, but resources are finite and nobody wants to go without. Conserve energy, respect others’ space and belongings, and prepare yourself for the occasional cultural differences that make traveling fun.

2) Plan ahead.
Everyone has different needs when it comes to sleep; know what you can–and can’t–snooze through. Light sleepers should consider earplugs a packing list necessity when sharing a room with other hikers. Snoring happens and chucking a hiking boot at the offender is generally considered inappropriate in most countries.

Bringing a small arsenal of cameras and personal electronics? Don’t forget your adapter!

3) Wine tastes better at the end of a hike.
One of the best parts of trekking in Chile is the availability of excellent wine or a cold beer with each night’s dinner. While many refugios accept payment by credit card, these systems rely on power and connectivity that often fail. Be sure to bring a bit of extra cash ($20-30 per day) for extra drinks, snacks, etc. available at nearly all refugios. Salud!

4) Enjoy the view.
Refugios, while usually well-managed and surprisingly comfortable, are still mountain shelters where everything must be carried in and space is a shared resource. This means that dinner-time substitutions and special requests can be hard to accommodate last minute. It also means that you’ll encounter the occasional hiker doing laundry in the bathroom sink or airing out their less-than-fresh socks in the community dining area. Frustrating? Yes, but you’re in beautiful Patagonia! Take a deep breath and focus on the reason you’ve come to Chile: beautiful mountains and our lovely guiding team.

 

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So What Do Prayer Flags Actually Mean?http://oneseedexpeditions.com/so-what-do-prayer-flags-actually-mean/ http://oneseedexpeditions.com/so-what-do-prayer-flags-actually-mean/#comments Tue, 29 Apr 2014 20:38:15 +0000 http://oneseedexpeditions.com/?p=9598 You’ve seen them in photos, fluttering around in the background. They are attached to temples, houses, bridges, and mountains in Nepal, but what purpose do they serve? Read this quick synopsis to learn the history behind prayer flags and how they are used today.

Prayer flags contain Buddhist prayers or mantras that are printed directly onto the fabric. When the wind blows, the prayers are symbolically carried around the countryside, blessing the people they reach. Often, they are tied to the highest point in the area (i.e. on the mountains) to achieve greater access to a larger range of recipients. Each string includes 5 different flag colors: blue, white, green, red, and yellow. The colors signify elements of the Universe: space, air, fire, water, and earth.

Prayer flags even pre-date Buddhism when the Bonpo in ancient Tibet used colorful cloth during healing ceremonies. Today, they can be found in Nepal, Tibet, and India, particularly throughout the Himalaya.

They definitely make the scenery colorful but now you’ll know why they are fluttering all over the mountains. Happy hiking!

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7 Tips to Prepare for Your Trekhttp://oneseedexpeditions.com/7-tips-to-prepare-for-your-trek/ http://oneseedexpeditions.com/7-tips-to-prepare-for-your-trek/#comments Sun, 27 Apr 2014 18:31:56 +0000 http://oneseedexpeditions.com/?p=3999 Always be prepared! The scout’s motto is simple, but true. Being well prepared for your trek will make your time much more enjoyable, and you can focus on the wonders around you rather than your blistered feet! Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your trek. Starting on them sooner rather than later and doing them in small steps will make them much more manageable and less intimidating.

1.  Buy appropriate footwear and break your boots in.

  • Visit an outdoor retailer and do research to buy the appropriate pair of hiking boots for you.
  • Break them in! Showing up with brand new boots for a multi day trek is invitation for blisters and pain. Walk the dog in your boots, do yard work in your boots, take them hiking! You want them to feel nice and comfy when you arrive.
  • Buy good quality socks (non cotton, moisture wicking socks such as Smartwool, Thorlos, Darn Tough, Woolrich etc…)
  • Remember: Your feet are your best friend. Happy feet, happy camper!

2.  Get out hiking. Regularly!

  • Start slowly and build your intensity, difficulty and length of hikes. It is much better to start slowly and increase effort over several months than to wait to the last few weeks and cram in some serious hikes.
  • Wear what you will be wearing on the trail, especially if they are new items, so you know how they feel and can adjust anything that is irritating or doesn’t work. This includes your boots and the pack you will be carrying on the trail.
  • Go with a partner or a group. You won’t be able to cheat and going with someone else provides motivation and fun!
  • Cross train too (Bike, swim, run, yoga, stairs, etc). Different types of exercise work different muscle groups and will help condition your body. Strengthening your body can help prevent injuries on the trail.

3.  Learn about the OneSeed Fund

  • 10% of the revenue from your expedition will be loaned to local entrepreneurs via the OneSeed Fund.
  • The loans are extended by our partner microfinance institutions across many different industries such as agriculture, retail, food services and more.
  • Want to learn more about microfinance? Click here.

4.  Don’t bank on your bank.

  • Call your bank ahead of time to let them know your travel plans.
  • Sometimes, when banks see a charge in a foreign country, they assume it was theft and freeze your account.
  • While you’re on the phone, ask them about international ATM fees.
  • Be sure to have back-up alternatives such as cash, traveler’s check, and credit cards.
  • Having copies of credit card and passport information is a great safety net.

5.  Health, safety, and more.

  • Visit the CDC website or contact a local travel medicine office with any questions about immunizations or vaccines.
  • If you have any concerns about your health, contact your physician before you start a training program.
  • Learn more about tips to keep your belongings safe while traveling here.

6.  Insure Your Trip.

  • All OneSeed trips include medical and evacuation insurance for all travelers. This covers you from the moment your expedition begins.
  • We also strongly urge you to purchase the optional cancellation and interruption insurance. This third party insurance covers any injuries, illnesses, or other unforeseeable events between now and your expedition.
  • You never know what life has in store so it is better to prepare ahead of time!

7.  Pack light and early.

  •  Take a look at our packing list now and start to get an idea of what gear you have and what you will need to purchase. Waiting until the last minute is a recipe for disaster!
  • Outdoor gear can be quite expensive. Don’t forget that you can borrow from a friend, rent from outdoor stores, or look online for items on sale.
  • That being said, don’t skimp! Making sure your clothes are built to last is important as you will be hiking in the elements for many days on end.
  • To lighten your load, bring travel-sized toiletries.
  • Ziplock bags make for inexpensive, weightless, water-resistant organizers for loose items.
  • Don’t forget to bring an extra outfit for the city. You can leave any extra gear at our partner lodge before the trek.

Happy trekking!

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Peruvian Food for the Adventurous Eaterhttp://oneseedexpeditions.com/peruvian-food-for-the-adventurous-eater/ http://oneseedexpeditions.com/peruvian-food-for-the-adventurous-eater/#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 19:30:57 +0000 http://oneseedexpeditions.com/?p=9169 When I think of Peruvian food, I immediately think it must be similar to what you might find in a Mexican restaurant.  However, that guess is entirely misinformed.  In fact, the typical peruvian dish consists mainly of potatoes and meat.  Peruvian food has strong influences from the Incas, but also includes flavors from Europe, Africa, China and Japan.  In many dishes, you can find potatoes, a staple in the Andes, a wide variety of veggies, breads and sauces influenced by Europe, the vibrant stir fries influenced by the Chinese, and much, much more.  If you’re joining us in Peru or just heading to a local restaurant, here are some delicious recommendations to try:

1) Lomo Saltado

This dish represents the Chinese influence on Peruvian cuisine.  Lomo Saltado is best explained as a Peruvian stir fry, normally cooked with savory beef and sautéed veggies, such as bell peppers and onions. Add a little soy sauce for taste and then place everything on top of a bed of… wait for it… french fries!  How can you argue with french fries?  Especially when Peru has been perfecting all things potato since 1400 CE?

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2) Aji de Gallina

If I had to compare this dish to another, I would say it resembles a curry because of its thick consistency and spice.  Its primary and European influenced ingredient is the aji.  This sauce was introduced to Peruvian cuisine by the Spaniards and has become a huge part of most Peruvian dishes.  The basic aji sauce is made by mixing together tomatoes, aji peppers, cilantro, onions, but many dishes, like Aji de Gallina, add a little flare to the sauce to make it even more amazing.  In this case, the sauce is cooked with aji, condensed milk, and bread to create thickness before adding in some chicken.  Cook all of those ingredients together and ‘ta-da!’ you have the ultimate Peruvian stew.

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3) Ceviche

Peru, like many coastal regions of the world, is a heaven for all seafood lovers.  The most popular dish, which can be found in most Central and South American countries, is ceviche.  Ceviche, at its core, is raw seafood with the juice of a lime and lemon squeezed on top.  The acid from these two citrus fruits cooks the raw seafood.  What sets the Peruvian ceviche apart from other recipes are the ingredients that accompany the seafood and citrus juice.  In Peru, you will find the citrus marinated seafood accompanied with sweet potatoes (can’t forget about those potatoes) and kernels of maize, or corn.  If you’re a seafood lover, this dish is most definitely for you.  It is undeniably a Peruvian favorite and is sometimes regarded as the national dish.

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4) Alfajores

I couldn’t end my list without a dessert!  I happen to be a huge sweets person and the alfajor is definitely one of my favorite, yet rarely eaten, desserts.  It’s pretty hard to find alfajores in the States, but in Peru the options are endless when it comes to these little cookie sandwiches of joy.  The alfajor is made with two very light, buttery cookies and filled with manjarblanco, or dulce de leche.  You’re probably wondering, “Why don’t you just say dulce de leche?”  Well, the answer to that is simple.  Dulce de leche is easy to find outside of South America, but manjarblanco isn’t and believe me, thats the stuff you want.  I believe that no meal is complete without a dessert so, with that logic in mind, don’t forget to treat yourself to an alfajor in Peru!

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Happy eating! 

 

 

 

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4 Tips to Survive Trail Foodhttp://oneseedexpeditions.com/4-tips-to-survive-trail-food/ http://oneseedexpeditions.com/4-tips-to-survive-trail-food/#comments Tue, 21 Jan 2014 21:10:07 +0000 http://oneseedexpeditions.com/?p=8867 When trekking in a remote area, there are certain expectations that will help you make the most of the meals on the trail. Here’s a quick list of things to know about trail food to help you prepare for your expedition.

  1. Carbs, Carbs, Carbs. In most of the areas where we travel, the diet is rich in carbs. When you spend 3-10 hours a day hiking, you need carbs for energy, so embrace it! Nepal is known for its dal bhat, Peru for its 3,800 types of potatoes, and Chile is the second largest bread consumer per capita in the world. But guess what? They all make really delicious carbs, so dig in!
  2. Eat like a local. They best way to order off the menu in a foreign country is to mimic what the locals are doing. If you’re staying at a teahouse in the Langtang region, ordering a pizza might not be the best option. Pizza with yak cheese isn’t going to taste like is does from your local pizza shop in NYC. Look around you to learn about the delicious local dishes and try sticking to them. It’s a great way to fully immerse yourself in the country in which you’re traveling. What if you’re craving some comforting American food? It will be there for you to eat the day you get back!
  3. Bring reserves. While trekking on OneSeed trips, you’ll be fed three large meals a day but some trekkers like to have power bars or granola bars to munch on while hiking. You can always bring a few just in case you need some extra fuel. (*Note: Customs rarely lets you bring nuts, seeds, or fruit into a foreign country)
  4. Be adventurous. Some of the countries where we travel have exotic local dishes that you don’t find everywhere. Push your tastebuds to the limit with new flavors. Try the tongue in Chile or the spicy pickle in Nepal because you never know what you might like.

Food is an essential part of any culture. Be prepared to try new things and expand your tastebuds’ comfort zone. Bon Appétit!

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