Category Archives: Costa Rica

Hit the Seasonal Fast-Forward Button

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Ah, March. Those of us who reside in the Northern Hemisphere, can already see the soft glow of sunlight at the end of the long winter tunnel. We say to ourselves, “I made it! Spring is on the way!”

But when we look out the window, we notice the wind blow through bare tree branches dripping with rain. Then we step outside to feel the warm sun, only to receive the sting of the still-frosty air on our faces. Reluctantly, we wrap our scarf tighter around our necks. Sigh. It’s still winter.

Meanwhile somewhere else in the world looks like this:

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And people are sipping on drinks that look like this:

Costa Rica travel

Before you say to yourself, “that’s not fair”, take a moment to imagine your feet outside of wooly socks and rain boots, toes sinking in the sand, a ripple of seawater washing over them. The setting sun still feels warm on your skin.

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Despite the remaining cold and dark days, March is the perfect month to hit the fast-forward button and begin dreaming about summer in Costa Rica or Ecuador. During this time of year, planning your dash down south is a clever way to cheat the seasons and kick-start your warm, summertime soul.

What are you waiting for?  Fast-forward to summer and contact our expert Trip Designers today.

 

GreenSpot.travel kicks off tenth anniversary celebration, welcoming new president and managing director

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Tamarindo Beach, Costa Rica

Press Release:

GreenSpot.travel, a leading experiential travel designer for custom eco-luxe vacations, has kicked off its tenth anniversary celebration with the announcement that the company has expanded its team, welcoming Jeremy Sampson and Selena Solis to senior leadership positions.

Other announcements for this year include the recent expansion of trips to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, the planned unveiling of a reimagined website featuring GreenSpot’s growing list of destinations, and a special-access custom anniversary trip to be announced in coming weeks.

Galapagos Islands travel

In his new role with GreenSpot, Sampson oversees operations, destination development, and implementation of the company’s marketing strategy. A travel industry veteran who has worked in more than a dozen countries, Sampson balances a diverse set of cross-functional management skills with experience in sustainable tourism, social enterprise development, and community engagement. Sampson joined GreenSpot after a five-year stint at international NGO Sustainable Travel International, where he was most recently vice president of partnership development.

Solis, a native Costa Rican born and raised in San Jose, has worked in the travel industry for more than 25 years, focusing on trip operations and travel planning for upscale travelers and special interest guests, making her an essential asset to the team. Before joining GreenSpot, Solis managed an inbound tour operator and spent time exploring Nicaragua while working at Morgan’s Rock Ecolodge. In her new role, Solis oversees in-country operations for GreenSpot Costa Rica.

Ecuador HummingbirdSampson and Solis join a staff that includes company founders Irene and Richard Edwards, both of whom are Conde Nast Top Traveler Specialists for Costa Rica and continue to play integral roles at the company. GreenSpot is also a 2016 Trusted Travel Expert for Costa Rica on Wendy Perrin’s WOW List.

“We are thrilled to have Jeremy and Selena join the team,” says Irene Edwards. “Their expertise in the tourism industry, strong leadership skills, and deep commitment to meaningful personal and professional relationship building make them both valued assets to our team as we evolve.”

While Costa Rica, Panama, and Nicaragua have been GreenSpot’s geographic focus to date, the company is thoughtfully expanding based on customer demand and enthusiasm for exploring new places. New destinations recently launched include Iceland, the Yucatan Peninsula (Mexico), and Ecuador and the Galapagos. All destinations were selected based on extensive research and relationship building that align with GreenSpot’s values, including high standards of quality and social responsibility.

GreenSpot was founded on the idea that travel should support conservation and the well-being of destination residents. The GreenSpot team has deep experience in sustainable travel including community engagement, enterprise development, and best practices in responsible tourism.

“Our wish is that travelers are able to learn about conservation, biodiversity, and culture while experiencing just the right mix of adventure and relaxation they desire from a getaway,” says Sampson. “GreenSpot makes a point of getting to know the communities, companies, and local business people we work with, and we only recommend accommodations and activities that we have experienced and are aligned with our values.”

About GreenSpot.traveltree frog, Costa Rica

GreenSpot partners with travelers through its patented Trip Design approach to design customized vacations and unrivaled ecotourism experiences in destinations like Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Iceland. GreenSpot trips inspire meaningful exchanges with people and places, and leverage the top-rated boutique hotels, eco-lodges, and activity providers. As a result, GreenSpot clients embark on vacations that align with their values, including high standards of quality and social responsibility. GreenSpot has been a Condé Nast Traveler Top Costa Rica Specialist since 2006 and is included on Wendy Perrin’s 2016 WOW List as a Trusted Travel Expert for Costa Rica. www.greenspot.travel

Tips from a Ziplining Newbie

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I’ve experienced my share of adventure – white water rafting, paragliding, canyoning, high-peak trekking, a bit of rock climbing. I had a feeling that ziplining through a rainforest canopy was in my future. It was certainly on my bucket list. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go ziplining in Costa Rica.

One of my travel companions had some ziplining experience. As we ate lunch together she said, “Oh, I don’t want to eat a big lunch before going ziplining.” “Why?” I asked. “It’s a bit scary and might make me queasy.” I sized her up as a person with a bit of a weak stomach and probably scared of heights. I’m not scared of heights.

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Into a void of green – Costa Rica

We set off and our guide went over all the safety precautions and did a little demonstration. The first zip-line stretched high above a beautiful canyon of treetops and disappeared into a dense void of green. I watched the person before whizz along and when it was my turn, I was ready and couldn’t wait to soar over the trees. I’m sure I had a huge smile on my face.

However, something funny happened as the subsequent platforms became higher and higher. For me, flying high in the air was a piece of cake, but each time I was standing on a platform (albeit hooked onto a safety wire) I felt vulnerable and a little shaky. I hadn’t expected that platform-standing would provide an adrenaline rush.

 

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This particular course also comprised of rappelling down the side of a rock cliff and climbing up the other side, which was a fun challenge. We also experienced a “Tarzan rope” that is used to swing from one high platform to another (additionally secured to a safety line, of course). I was first on the Tarzan rope. When I reached the other side, one of the guides thought it would be funny to throw me back over to the other side again. Turns out, it was quite funny, because everyone laughed at my stunned expression.

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Here a few tips for the Ziplining Newbie:

  • Keep an open mind. If you think you might be scared, consider a tandem zipline with a professional guide, like in the above photo. On the other hand, if you are a thrill-seeker and don’t think it will be thrilling enough…you might be surprised!
  • It is fun for the whole family, although children should be over 5-years old. Many outfitters will accommodate disabled and elderly people as well.
  • Wear well-fitted clothing and shoes (no flip-flops!)
  • Book with an operator who has researched outfitters with the highest safety standards. (Like us!)
  • Pay close attention to your guides while on the course.
  • Have fun!

An Earth Day Gift for You – 5 Tips for Responsible Travel

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It’s been many years since the terms ecotourism and sustainable travel first developed. Since then, the complex relationship between travel and responsibility to our planet, has grown in importance. Some even declare it an oxymoron to put the two together – opposites, like oil and water. Well, pardon us if we disagree.

Not only are there ways that tourism can benefit everyone, but the concept of  responsible travel is becoming more mainstream.

waterfallThe economic and social benefits of tourism are more obvious, particularly in developing countries, because (if done correctly) tourism can create jobs and increase the country’s revenue. It can also improve infrastructure and cultural understanding between guest and host. The environmental benefits are sometimes less obvious. However, tourism has helped promote awareness and conservation of natural resources and wildlife.

We thought that Earth Day would be a good opportunity to provide you with a list of a few things that you can do on your next trip, to be a more responsible traveler. This is not a comprehensive list. Travelers can do various little things to tread lightly and create a positive impact on the destinations they visit.

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  • Support local economies by buying local handicrafts and food that has not been imported.
  • Travel by public transportation within the destination, or better yet, walk or bike.
  • Respect the culture and engage with the local people.
  • Use natural resources sparingly.
  • Don’t buy bottled water – bring your own canteen instead.

*Bonus tip! Contact us to help you select sustainable hotels and local guides for a memorable (and responsible) holiday!

We would love to hear what responsible efforts (big or small) have you made while traveling.

Rainforest Lullaby

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Have you ever slept in the jungle? With the rhythm of nocturnal animals and the hum of insects soothing you to sleep? It might not be the soundless night you are familiar with, but there is a reason they make CDs of rainforest sounds with the purpose of lulling babies to sleep. It’s no secret that the noise of the jungle can be calming.

monkey in rainforestHowever, the best part of sleeping in the jungle might not be the sleeping at all. It might be waking up, to the mysterious sounds of the early risers, frolicking in the trees all around you. What will first cause you to stir? Will it be the high-pitched bird songs, the low cry of the howler monkey, the splashing of pelicans diving into the ocean for breakfast, or all of the above? You might be up early, but that’s okay. You need to set off in pursuit of those sounds.

Thinking of all this, caused me to modify one of my favorite poems:

 

 

“If Once You’ve Slept in the Jungle” {Adapted from the poem “If Once You’ve Slept on an Island” by Rachel Lyman Field}

If once you have slept in the jungle
You’ll never be quite the same;
You may look as you looked the day before
And go by the same old name, rainforest drops
You may bustle about in street and shop
You may sit at home and sew,
But you’ll see leaves of green and colorful birds
Wherever your feet may go.
You may chat with the neighbors of this and that
And close to your fire keep,
But you’ll hear birds whistle and monkeys howl
And rain beat through your sleep.
Oh! you won’t know why and you can’t say how
Such a change upon you came,
But once you have slept in the jungle,
You’ll never be quite the same.

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