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  • About trip: Cuba Libre in Cuba

    About trip: Cuba Libre in Cuba Cuba was a very interesting country to travel because of its contrasts. I loved staying with the families as I felt I experienced more of Cuba that way. I enjoyed the home made mojitos, learning salsa and looking to the stars from our home stay family’s roof top. see more

    Danly Chan
    United Kingdom
  • About trip: Cuba Libre in Cuba

    About trip: Cuba Libre in Cuba It was an extra ordinary trip. Excellent organization with lots of varieties. It was a special experience to live in home stay families. It was great to see the old American cars and colonial buildings, to party in a real cave in Trinidad and chill on the beach in Baracoa. see more

    Barbara Honneger
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Cuba > Recommended Reading


Insight Guide to Ecuador & Galápagos edited by Tony Perrottet, Apa Publications, 1998 Hundreds of color photographs and informative text introduce the people, cultures, history and environment of Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands. An excellent introduction to the area.

Ecuador in Focus by Wilma Roos and Omer van Renterghem Latin American Bureau, 1997 A concise guide to the history, people, politics, economy, and culture of Ecuador.

Insight Guide to Peru edited by Tony Perrottet Ideal for pre-trip reading, this guide offers an enjoyable introduction to the people and places of Peru. The guide begins with a narrative history of Peru, from ancient times to the present day, followed by a series of essays designed to offer insight into the Peruvians, their culture, and their daily lives. The main part of the guide gives a rundown of all of the interesting places to visit—historic sites, cultural centers, and natural attractions. Hundreds of color photographs and maps accompany the text. 344 pp.

Apus & Incas: A Cultural Walking and Trekking Guide to Cuzco, Peru by Charles Brod Arranged as walking tours, the material in this book is so richly interwoven with cultural and natural history that it reads like an adventure in itself. Generously illustrated.


The Traveler´s Guide to Latin American Customs & Manners by Elizabeth Devine and Nancy L. Braganti A practical guide that breaks down customs and social rituals, country by country, point by point, it is also a fascinating glimpse into the intangible qualities that gives each country its special flavor.

Incas: People of the Sun by Carmen Bernand The story of the rise and fall of the Inca civilization. Excerpts from the writings of conquistadors, travelers, and the Incas themselves are included. Illustrated.

History and Antropology

The Cities of the Ancient Andes by Adrian von Hagen and Craig Morris Tracing the oscillation of cultural leadership between desert and highlands, the authors show how village settlements gave way to religious centers, which developed into cities, which in turn became empires. The latest archaeological finds are also discussed.

The Secret of the Incas: Myth, Astronomy, and the War Against Time by William Sullivan. Sullivan decodes the myths of the Incas to reveal that they embody an astonishingly precise record of astronomical events. He also shows that the Inca rituals of warfare and human sacrifice were attempts to stop time, to forestall a cataclysmic event that would destroy their world.

The Conquest of the Incas by John Hemming Harcourt Brace & Co., 1973
The classic account of the dismantling of the Inca empire. Drawing on a wide variety of sources, Hemming vividly describes pre-Conquest Peru, the Inca’s struggle against Spanish invasion and their eventual integration into Spanish society. Although the book deals mainly with Peru, there are a few chapters on Ecuador.

Personal Narrative: A Journey to the Equinoctial Regions of the New Continent by Alexander von Humboldt, Penguin Books, 1996. During a five-year period (1799 – 1804) Baron Alexander von Humboldt, a German naturalist and explorer.

covered more than 6,000 miles throughout Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Colombia. He kept meticulous notes of his observations. The information he collected enriched the fields of geology, zoology, botany, and ethnology.

Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin, Penguin Books, 1989 A shortened version of Darwin’s five-year round-the-world journey in the Beagle, via South America and the Galapagos. Darwin’s observations of the finches helped him form his theory of evolution. The basics: Language and maps

We recommend the Lonely Planet Latin American Spanish Phrasebook. It includes practical phrases that will help you communicate effectively with local people. All travel situations are covered: greetings, dining out, shopping, sightseeing, transportation and more.

ITM offers excellent maps of Latin America. Maps of Ecuador (1:1,000,000) and the Galapagos Islands (1:500,000) are available.

Natural History and Field Guides

Tropical Nature by Adrian Forsyth and Ken Miyata

Written by two young field biologists, this book of seventeen essays explores the richness of the tropical forests of Central and South America. Offering more than just facts about the plant and animal life of the region, the authors seek to provoke the curiosity of readers.

A Neotropical Companion by John Kircher
An extraordinarily readable introduction to the American tropics, the lands of Central and South America, their remarkable rainforests and other ecosystems, and the creatures that live there.

Galápagos Islands: The Essential Handbook for Exploring, Enjoying & Understanding by M. Stephenson.
Includes history, travel information, and description of plants´ and animals´ unique adaptations. An island-by-island description of terrain and what to expect is especially helpful. This book is a delicious read and will nourish your knowledge & whet your appetite for the trip ahead. Carefully chosen, illuminating illustrations and maps.

Galápagos: A Natural History by Michael H. Jackson, University of Calgary Press
Jackson details the natural history of the plants and animals found in the Galápagos Islands and discusses the ecology and geology of the Islands. Numerous photos, tables and graphs accompany the text.
Travel Writing, Fiction and Narratives
Cloud Forest: A Chronicle of the South American Wilderness by Peter Matthiessen
Matthiessen´s incisive, wry report of his expedition into the vast world to the south. Criss-crossing 20,000 miles of the South American wilderness, from the Amazon rain forests to Machu Picchu high in the Andes, down to Tierra del Fuego and back, Matthiessen followed the trails of old explorers. Along the way he encountered river bandits, wild tribesmen and the evidence of ancient ruins and fossils.

Savages by Joe Kane; Vintage Books, 1996
A first-hand account of how one small band of Ecuadorian Amazonian warriors defended their territory against hell-bent oil companies, dogged missionaries, and starry-eyed environmentalists. Kane brings readers face to face with the Huaorani, a nation of 1,300 Indians, and their battle to preserve their way of life.

The Inca Smiled: Growing Pains of an Aid Worker in Ecuador by Richard Poole, Oneworld Publications, 1993
The frank and entertaining account of a development worker’s encounters with the Ecuadorian people, his daily life, and his adventures as he coped with culture shock, language, work and play as a new volunteer.

Galápagos by Kurt Vonnegut, Dell Books, 1986
A novel about a group of people who are supposed to take a cruise to the Galápagos, but get stuck in Guayaquil as war breaks out. Only a few escape into the isolation of the Islands. This satirical story looks at the possible extinction of the human race and its survival as sea creatures.